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Gardening tips: how to tackle powdery mildew

The straw foxglove (Digitalis lutea)

The straw foxglove (Digitalis lutea) loves partial shade. Photograph: Ekaterina Aleshinskaya/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Get this If you struggle to tell a sycamore from an ash, get to know the trees around you by reading Sylvan Cities: An Urban Tree Guide (Atlantic Books). This new book by the urban-wildlife writer Helen Babbs will open your eyes to the stories and the science behind our cities’ most common trees.

Plant this The straw foxglove (Digitalis lutea) is a more reliably perennial, less brawny version of the purple foxglove, with beautiful pale-yellow flowers. It’s brilliant for partial shade and easy to grow from seed sown outside this month. Alternatively, buy young plants to sink into moist, fertile soil.

Check this White, floury patches on foliage are a sign of powdery mildew, which affects plants in dry soils and warm air. Mulch soil around affected plants and improve air circulation. Remove infected foliage and spray plants with SB Plant Invigorator to control serious outbreaks.