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My brother in law, who obviously knows everything, has me second guessing myself. I have built a small retaining wall in my mother in law's garden intending to fill it with rocks, compost, the Camellia, Peonies etc. He has filled it with old cement, blocks and render from an old wall and claims that if I just top it off with compost the plants will love it. I'm not off my head am I? He's barking isn't he?


Well, drainage is good ................................. but how big are the lumps of cement and blocks etc for a start?

And how much depth of compost will you have?

And then, what I suspect you're most worried about, we have the lime content of the cement ......not being a camellia grower I can't really help you there, except to say that my parents had a very healthy camellia (Donation if I remember correctly) in a bed surrounded by concrete paths, and I have seen others in similar situations, and I've discovered this article on the internet which implies that it ought not to be a problem.

However, I think the knub of the question for me is that you would know the stuff is there, it's not how you think the bed should be constructed, and I've a feeling that a certain brother-in-law has just chucked it in there because it's easier than taking it to the tip and disposing of it properly.

If you want it done properly you can try telling him that Dove on the GW website has recommended that the base of the bed should be filled with a layer of crushed and graded hardcore mixed with gravel no deeper than one eighth of the depth of the bed - the rest of the bed should be of good ericaceous compost - and then stand well back - I'm wearing a hard hat for the rest of the day 


Well, we cannot grow Camellias here in much of the garden as the soil is full of lime-mortar and that definitley affects the leaves of any Camellia which we have planyed.

I would agree with Dove about filling the bed with Ericaceous compost though.


Camellias do have a fairly shallow root run but do not like lime. you need at least 2 foot of compost. Remember that Camellias do not like early morning sun.

flowering rose

get rid of the rubble,Camillias do not like lime and prefer Erichaous soil.


Thank you all! I will post photos of the finished product for your judgement!


Seems an awful lot of lime content there. Camelias tolerate more lime than rhododendrons, azaleas etc but not that much. The whole set up seems to be intolerable for Camelias even usIng ericaceous soil. Put your camelia elsewhere

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