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Treat 'em mean

Mavis Francis writes from Walton-on-Thames about her agapanthus: "Three years ago I bought three agapanthus and put them in a 16in pot. I have kept them ever since on the patio. I imagine I put them in some sort of compost, and I have never used any

sort of fertiliser. I get crazes for things then just expect them to grow.

"So, I have left them severely alone and hope every year that they will flower. I don't feel they are crowded as all the examples I have seen featured several plants in one pot. They look healthy, with nice glossy leaves, but they are not flowering.Do they take a long time to come to maturity? Should I be feeding them?"

Agapanthus increase slowly and flower best when they are pot bound. Mrs Francis should not be worrying whether the plants are too crowded in her 16in tub, but whether they are crowded enough. They also seem to flower better if the tubs are kept reasonably dry through the winter. When you can see the first sign of flower buds, you need to start feeding them each week with a quickly absorbed liquid manure.

Champion trees

One hundred great redwood trees have recently been planted throughout Britain to commemorate the fact that the unique Tree Register of the British Isles now has 100,000 records. Last year Trobi began the massive task of transferring the card index on to a computer database.

There are still gaps. Trobi is looking for the country's champion ivy (diameter of stem is the criterion) to add to its book of Champion Trees. Measurements of more than 2,000 champion trees are given in this little book which is available from Forestry Commission Publications, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH (0420 22255 ext 2305). It costs £5 plus 50p postage and packing.

Although most of the measuring and checking is undertaken by volunteers, this small charitable outfit is in need of funds. If you are interested in furthering its work, send a cheque to Mrs P Stevenson, 77a Hall End, Wootton, Beds MK43 9HP.

Hepatica show

Tomorrow Michael Myers, chairman of the Yorkshire group of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, is inviting people to view his collection of hepaticas. The garden at Fairview, Smelthouses, nr Harrogate, North Yorkshire is

open from 12-4pm, admission £1. Plants for sale.