How to - Techniques

Confessions of TV gardeners, part 2

Bad booboos (and good tips) from Canada's television gardeners. illustration by Paul Howalt

Charlie Dobbin -- co-host, One Garden, Two Looks, HGTV

Booboo As a welcoming way to come home, I have fragrant roses growing along the side of my garage. I heard that coriander was an effective repellent for aphids, so I planted it among the roses. Its scent was so pungent, I never smelled a rose that year.

Tip Don't be afraid to prune, but know your plant and its natural form and flowering time; leave the high [hard-to-reach] jobs to the professionals. Use sharp tools on a dry day; you never want to open wounds in wet or humid conditions, since plants are more likely to ooze and turn into a mess.

Martin Galloway host, The Secret World of Gardens, HGTV

Booboo I put in some variegated goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum'), didn't prevent it from seeding, and 35 years later, I'm still not able to totally eliminate it. Most problems in horticulture are not serious and eventually just go away, but goutweed's not one of them.

Tip Do your homework. Learning about a plant, its origins and lore will build a relationship with it and provide insight as to its needs in your garden.

Haig Seferian -- host, Garden Architecture (first show to air in HGTV's inaugural season, 1997)

Booboo My first client hired me to design a front entrance. The senior landscape architect advised, “What-ever you draw on paper, double [the size] when you get outside.” Unfortunately, I must have tripled it-when the front walk was finished, you could have parked a car on it!

Tip You have to catch proportion in the design stage; measure it up [to scale] in your kitchen or dining room. It will help you get a handle on what needs to be done outside.

Read more in How to and Techniques

  • Page 1: Part 2 - Charlie Dobbin, Martin Galloway,

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