auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

Getting rid of Bindweed

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 05:48

Bindweed at the centre of the earth... 1st time I've EVER laughed about bindweed!

My garden was full of it, plus brambles & nettles. Some of the areas had never been gardened at all, ever. 

First I used bramble killer on the lot. Waited for it do die then cleared surface. Then I sat on the soil, legs akimbo, all very elegant, and gradually shuffled along on my bum and dug it all out with a trowel. This took me every spare moment I had for an entire summer (the garden is big). I spent so long like that, that a robin took to sitting on the toe of my boot and waiting for me to turn up worms for her and her fledgling! Some of the roots were attached to rhizomey things that looked for al the world like giant parsnips. Guess it'd been there a good while! Then when I thought I'd finished I went around again with a spade and took out the deeper bits I'd missed (surprisingly few). Now I just spray the odd bit that comes up thru the fence or whatever. BUT, ths only worked because the soil is light and loamy, making it easier to get the roots out without them breaking. That's also why I did it by hand. Breaking up bindweed roots is also known as PROPAGATION. My neighbours spray theirs twice a year. It always dies off, and always comes back - to the tune of about 6ft of growth twice a year. They probably pitied me, shuffling along on my butt week after week, trowel in hand. But I bet they're jealous now!! 

P.S., u can mix weedkiller with flour and paint it onto plants if u don't want it to blow around. The flour makes it stick to the foliage rather than evaporating so it can really soak in. I use this on the odd bramble that comes up in amongst things. U can also chop the bottom off a pop bottle, then when your bindweed has grown up its decoy cane, put the bottle over the top (cut end down), and slide it down with the cane coming up through the neck. U've made yourself a nice little cloche full of bindweed. U can then squirt weedkiller thru the neck of the bottle to your heart's content, or put the lid on, gently upend the cloche and spray into the big end - leave the cloche in place on the soil in case you need to repeat a week later, removing it all when it goes brown. Doing it this way avoids snapping the stems, meaning maximum poison getting down where u want it. Cunning!

A Laurel Hedge no more!

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 05:20

Mattock, time, and elbow grease. I used stump killer on a laurel and an ancient lilac once and ended up effectively sterilising an area of about 3 sq metres for 3 years. Oops! So don't do that. Maybe try to do one every evening and save weekend gardening for fun stuff. You'll get there.

The very best variegated herbaceous n perennial plants....and do you like em?

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 05:15

I wouldn't be without variagted plants myself - but I'm less flowery and more foliagey in my current garden - lots of shade. I find it stops the garden all ending up the same mid-green come July. I use hedera 'clotted cream', various euonymous and aucuba japonica to bring light to deep shady corners, Not so keen on variagated herbaceous, though there are a few that I don't find too unnatural, like hostas, grasses, irises... I've got a brilliant bugle too, pale minty green with white edges and very pale blue flowers. Its taking over the world, so if it's sick, it's probably just as well. I also use the variagated ground elder, though only in confined areas. Personal hate - variagated foliage with pink flowers. Pink goes so much better with proper green, gold or red foliage IMHO. And on the theme of unnatural things... PINK DAFFODILS! I mean, really? If I ever see one my eyeballs may implode. Can these people not wait a month for a nice tulip? Saying that, pink lily of the valley doesn't bother me. Ho hum. Each to their own and all that. Except for pink daffs. Ha... I did a rant! Bx

Japanese area

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 09:46

Meant trilliums. Duh!

Plants for edging a path

Posted: 16/04/2013 at 09:45

Geranium macrorrhizum is a brilliant do-er, as is ajuga (bugle). Saxifraga urbium (london pride) is another toughie. All 3 will grow just about anywhere, making them good ones to use repeatedly in various areas to create unity and rhythm between fancier or more site-specific plants. The ajuga and saxifrage are evergreen, and all 3 spread without being invasive, and have shallow roots, so you can buy one or two of each, plant em, and then split them up to create more plants every year.

Japanese area

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 15:48

cornus canadensis and trifoliums. Yummy ground cover for acid-neutral soil, like rhodies love. I'm on limestone (jealous).

Shady spots

Posted: 15/04/2013 at 08:41

The london pride I mentioned is saxifraga x urbium - fleshy rosettes with teeny pale pink flower sprays on thin 6 inch stems. I've tried brunnera and it got eaten. And galium's a bit tall - I'm thinking more flat and cushiony like path edging... Shall check out that link and see if there's anything there. I may also start the hunt for another diddy geranium. Mine's very pale pink. I've already got tonnes of it so could do with a different colour. Hmm... Thanks all x

Shady spots

Posted: 14/04/2013 at 18:47

Hey all, I'm in need of some low-growing plants to cover ground and perhaps even trail down at the front of some dry stone terrace walls. Its all partially or even fully shady and slugs and snails are a nightmare because of the nooks and crannies in the walls. Soil is loamy - pretty neither/nor in terms of moisture, as is pH. I already use london pride, various ajugas and a very low spready geranium but am after some new ideas. Have tried aubrieta, but this just gets eaten within days of planting, as do sedums and veronicas. I want something mat-forming really, to cover ground and do a bit against weeds. Invasiveness isn't an issue as all the areas are easily accessible and maximum foliage height would want to be less than 6 inches - the flatter the better, as my to little boys tend to stampede about. Any ideas? Bx

Help - plant advice for wet, heavy clay shade

Posted: 14/04/2013 at 11:18

Euonymous fortunei, pyracantha, dicentra spectabilis, fatsia japonica, choisya ternata, pleioblastus, most ivies including colchicas, darmera peltata, some ferns, aruncus... Any and all would benefit from a good thick mulch. Your problem may well have been surface water freezing as the plants you've killed shouldn't have minded the clay or shade otherwise. Dig in some composted bark if you want to improve surface drainage.

What type of Bamboo??

Posted: 14/04/2013 at 11:08

I find the plain green and yellow stemmed phyllostachys actually prefer shade. Nigra does better in more light. The leaves of all are less likely to do that thing where the tips go dry when used in shade...

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