Your gardening questions answered

Guy Barter, Head of Horticultural Advice at the RHS, advises what plants are best to grow underneath lime trees
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Narcissus Jonquilla
© Tim Sandall/RHS
Narcissus Jonquilla (above) is ideal to grow under lime trees as it flowers before the tree is in leaf
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.

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.

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