Cutting advice from the godfather of gardening

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The Independent Online
GARDENING for gangsters

My two rhododendrons have a ragged appearance due to the holes that some creature is making in their leaves. It can't be small, judging by the size of the holes, but despite a long search I can find nothing. A) What's doing it, and more important, B) how can I stop it?

A) How should I know? You think I had something to do with it, so charge me. If not, back off or I'll bite your face. B) Bullet-proof vests work well for me.

My neighbour is worried that my wildflower garden is going to run over into his garden. What can I do to prevent this happening?

Kill him.

For years I've listened to conflicting opinions about the advisability of using a grass-catcher when mowing the lawn. Should the mowings be collected, or left where they fall to nourish the soil?

Your soil is undernourished, I got better ways of nourishing it than with grass clippings.

I fancy the idea of letting my lawn go wild to go with my deliberately wild garden. How should I tackle this?

Go to bed. Get up in two years.

How can I mend a lawn edge that has broken?

Go to your gardener. Say to him: 'Hey you] Mend that broken edge, what am I paying you for] Sitting on your dumb butt on my time] You got an attitude problem - and I'm going to fix it up with two psychiatrists and a tyre iron] Do I have to do everything myself around here]'

How often should I put fertiliser on my lawn?

How many enemies do you have?

Is there any way I can get rid of slugs and snails without harming every other animal in sight, including my own pets?

Don't use a bazooka.

My morning inspections of my vegetable patch are blighted by the sight of my lettuces lopped through. I'm told this is the work of a cutworm operating under the cover of darkness. How do I get rid of him?

Meet him at a restaurant neutral to you both. Talk about old times. Order red wine. Swear you'll always be friends and your children will marry each other. Then put a bazooka against his heart and smile as you pull the trigger.

My neighbour has planted a Leyland Cypress less than 10 feet from my house. Already it is 7ft or so tall and soon it will block the light to my kitchen. Should I tell him he must keep the tree pruned?

You have the right to a lawyer. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to put a horse's head in his bed.

Since my neighbour started keeping bees in his garden, I've been stung several times. He says he doesn't intend to do anything about it and there's nothing I can do about it. Is this really so?

Horse's head in the bed.

My conservatory peaches and grapes crop well but the fruits are small, even though I feed them generously with fertiliser each spring. Should I prune them harder?

Yeah. Prune 'em down to the ground and drink a bottle of Chivas Regal over the stumps.

My dog urinates on the lawn, causing discoloured patches. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Give me your address, I'll see to it personally.

We are laying out a new garden but aiming for an old-fashioned effect. Cobbled paving looks quaint - is it practical too?

Absolutely. Hose it once and the evidence is down the drain.

I love patterned brick paths, especially the ones in herringbone. Are there any special problems in making them?

Depends who's in them.

Our two small children are always running around the garden and falling over on our hard concrete paving. They'd ruin a grass path, so can you suggest anything else that might leave fewer cuts and bruises?

No.

Weeds are constantly sprouting between the stone slabs on my patio. No sooner have I got one batch up than a new crop starts to appear. Is there a way of getting rid of them permanently?

There is a way. Take the weeds out of the patio cracks. Take them to a vacant lot near Alphabet City. Cover them in petrol. Point a flame thrower at them. Say: 'I told you once - what you think I am, a probation officer or something?' Then let them have it, woof] You know what I mean?

The most extraordinary thing is happening to my tomatoes. Each day the leaves and sideshoots droop, but every night they spring up again. Are they not getting enough water, or is the day too hot for them? Or what?

'The most extraordinary thing is happening to your tomatoes' is it? Oh rea-aa-lly? The answer to your question, cupcake, is this. Cut off your head with a machete right now, because if I ever catch up with you it'll be a whole lot worse.

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