Wednesday 21 March 2018

Gardening, Ask Marie

Marie Staunton

Can you recommend some herbs for companion planting?

I use tansy quite a lot to deter pests from plants in the polytunnel and also in the veg patch. It is a very good companion plant for cabbages as it seems to deter the cabbage white butterfly. When using companion plants, make sure you use enough to create a barrier, otherwise, a gap in your defence will encourage the rebels over the line.

And let me tell you, they inform all their buddies and, before you know, they will have won the war. French marigold works well for me planted next to my tomatoes, and it kept the polytunnel free of whitefly.

I want to grow a rosemary hedge. Is there a particular variety that will grow tall, rather than along the ground?

Rosemary 'Miss Jessopp's Upright' will make a very fine hedging plant and it has those lovely pale-blue flowers in spring. I have seen it used to great effect along the inside of a wrought-iron railing in a garden.

As gardeners, we sometimes use the old reliables instead of trying something a bit different, but this rosemary variety is well worth trying. Provided you give it an annual trim and place it in full sun, you should find it easy enough to look after. It wouldn't be the fastest-growing hedge in the world but it will, in time, reach close to 1.5m in height. It would probably work best in a cottage garden.

Irish Independent

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