Question: Please can you advise what will grow under a lime tree? There is a large one in the street and it overhangs a large piece of our small garden. When it is in leaf, honeydew falls on that part of the garden. I have made several costly mistakes before I realised what was causing plants to turn brown and wither.
© Tim Sandall/RHS
Answer: In cases like this there is great scope for spring bulbs such as aconites, snowdrops and narcissi - including daffodils. They do their growing and flowering before the tree is in leaf.
By mid-summer, when the honeydew drips down, they are safely below ground. Autumn-flowering crocus, colchicums (potentially harmful so best avoided if children use the garden) and cyclamen are well worth planting in these situations too, as these spend summer below ground to emerge in autumn.
This might not sound very exciting, but lime trees are lovely billowing features of summer gardens, have charming flowers and seeds and like all trees are very valuable indeed for wildlife.
Send your questions for Guy Barter to: email@example.com.
Only one question per fortnight can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.