Arid Al

Latest posts by Arid Al

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propagation boasts and failures

Posted: 14/05/2013 at 08:12
hollie hock wrote (see)

Cotty,I sowed my scabious seeds outdoors in a cold frame this year, not had a great germination rate, but here everything seems about a month behind where they were last year. I'm growing the annual types.

Quite a few of last year scabious, by some miracle made it through the winter, grew into tall plants with a lot of flowers and I did see butterflies on them

Good going on the ceanothus, Arid Al, the new jasmine plant sounds beautiful. How long did the berry take to germinate? I went to a garden last weekend and they had a beautiful jasmine, I smelt it long before I found it

Sorry for late reply! The berries were sown around May 2012 into a plastic pot with garden compost. This was kept on a sunny window sill & kept damp. If my memory is correct, then I think 3 shoots appeared in autumn, some time after I'd more or less forgotten about the project (I didn't believe it would work).

Since my last post, I was delighted to spot a 2nd plant, smaller than the one I'm training by the kitchen, looking small but very alive in the front garden...

I'd planted 2 of the 3 into my front border with a view to them training upwards into some decorative wrought iron which tops a small wall. One of them got assaulted by the local squirrel, & this one I'd given up on & forgotten about since it looked pretty ropey a month after planting. 

It goes to show that sometimes nature will find a way, & we forget that at best we're helpers & not masters of our gardens!



Posted: 12/05/2013 at 16:48

I followed the advice of several posters (soaking teabags in Jeyes fluid and burying the little parcels about an inch deep where the moggy 'goes'). Seems to be working here!

propagation boasts and failures

Posted: 09/05/2013 at 20:44

Cotty, I wonder if it might be better to treat the scabious with a little less care; they're a wildflower after all & I've simply sown them into small pots with my own garden compost at several stages since Feb, warming them on a south facing windowsill. Got loads of them already & more on the way, hope they attract the butterflies.

Not so successful are lobelia; I sowed to instruction, initially with a plastic cover to keep humid. Only a few have made it to inch high plants, but I think I've got the right experience for 2014!

Got a ceanothus cutting from 2012, now a bushy, deep green plant, hooray! Happiest moment though, is the new jasmine I grew from berries on the mature plant I've had for 5years, & will be trained to grow against my kitchen wall so I get that lovely scent whenever it flowers.

Viburnums, periwinkles, butchers broom, berberis in full shade

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 20:21

I planted two different periwinkles underneath a mature ceanothus 7 weeks ago; they are in almost identical conditions, perhaps getting 4/5hours of direct light during the day. The result? they've doubled in size & have a growing display of flowers, and 'scout' stems reaching out for pastures new!

For another choice, try a skimmia; I planted one into same soil conditions at least 6 years ago into an area that gets no direct sunlight. Im very proud of this plant, as it is now sporting a great dome shape, around 3.5ft h/w, but best of all, it's currently in glorious full bloom. When I sit outside, I get the wonderful scent from it at least 15ft away. 

Tree Ferns

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 19:59

Sounds like you've done the right thing for frost protection; but remember, it's the crown that needs the help. I used some old scrunched up foam packaging (the stuff usually wrapped around electrical goods) the last 3years, but didn't do it over this winter. Despite this, it looks healthy enough and still has 3 very broad, deep green fronds on display.

However, these didn't appear until at least late August 2012. I think the bizarre weather has thrown it's growing habits out of sync. No new growth visible as yet!

Sawing the trunk? I'd want a professional to give the thumbs up on this: as you know, these ferns take a loooong time to get to anything near 4ft!

nesting blackbird

Posted: 24/04/2013 at 19:52

Yep, better than the TV, any day of the week! Haven't had the blackbird creche in the garden for a few years now, but had succesive years of enjoyment watching chicks (which are almost the same size as the adults) finding their wings.

They do get very used to you, & have often had the male begging at the back door; seemed to particularly enjoy raisins if memory serves me well. Nesting sometimes seems downright suicidal, as I once had a nest of 4 chicks on a small garden lamp, sited just above my head... probably helped incubate the eggs!

Robinia Tree problems...

Posted: 24/04/2013 at 19:35

Sorry to hear so many of you are having problems; I planted mine about 6yrs ago & although its a robust tree, it's having a slower start than usual.

Just been out tinkering in the shrubs, and have only now noticed some new leaf buds; the prolonged cold certainly affected mine as it's usually looking a little greener by now.

Wild Flowers/veg - how deep/what type?

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 16:23

Hi all, my first post on the forum, hooray!

I've gone a little OTT on wildflowers this season, having gathered a bit of experience & mixed success last year (all prompted by a TV prog. by Sarah Raven).

Was very pleased with a mixed colour Cornflower (sorry, can't remember variety) which had successive blooms which the bees/butterflies loved. Corncockle was also great but a little short-lived, Californian Poppies almost impossible to germinate, suprisingly. This year have many of the above, some sown under cover in September, but also added Scabious which are at a vigorous stage of growth & nearly ready to plant out. BUT lots got gobbled by sluggsies in 2012 so  I've raised nearly all in pots & have started planting out over last 10days. I know many people find wildflowers a bit 2nd rate, but I for one am hooked!

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