auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

What type of Bamboo??

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 17:24

I'd go with any of the phyllostachys. Can often be picked up for bargainous prices at garden sections of DIY places - I've paid as little as £25 for one with a dozen stems, to about 8ft. If you ca get one that's bursting from its pot you're virtually guaranteed a few new (much taller) shoots as soon as you plant it. And its a clumper, not a runner, so you don't get the annoying thing where all the growth eiither emerges miles away or through your patio (really!) and has to be chopped of and thus wasted. I have various varieties, that currently go to 10-12ft tall or so. I just cut old stems out (with a hacksaw) to keep it airy and fine instead of the dense thicket it wants to be. Easy. Just keep it watered for its first year, put plenty of muck in the hole and you're away. Bx


new border for boring garden

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 16:46

Pyracantha for clothing fences. Evergreen, grows like a hedge when tied in loosely against a fence, flowers for insects, berries for birds and dark green background for you. I grow on heavy clay in sun or shade, though flowers/berries better in sun. Red column is my personal fave. You could plant those immediately and then spend some time improving the soil in front, but at least they'd be getting going in the meantime. I can recommend COMPOSTED bark for improving clay. You could make pots out of the brown stuff in my last two gardens, but fork in some composted bark plus whatever grit, compost, leaf mould and even a wee bit of grass cuttings and you've got that lovely moist 'christmas cake' soil in no time. The worms love it and it opens the structure better than anything else I've tried. MUST be composted tho - not chipped or decorative. Its worth its weight. Bx

2 plants for large pot

Posted: 11/04/2013 at 16:39

I'd do for the plain green or, at a stretch, amber heuchera. In my experience, the purples and limes prefer it cooler than your agapanthus will want it. IMHO you'd preobably be better off with one of the small sun-loving hardy geraniums, or even the tough but lovely alchemilla mollis in with the agapanthus. Foliage would give a similar effect and both would flower well before the aga, lengthening your season. The geranium may even stay evergreen, given that you'll have to put the pot somewhere sheltered over winter for the aga anyway... I'd expect the heuchera to start to suffer after a season or two, so unless you want to move the plants into the garden and buy anew each year, they're really not quite right for a hot dry pot...Either of my suggestions would trail a little too, addressing Matty2's point. A different approach would be to plant the aga in a narrower pot, sinking it into the larger with soil around. This would have a double benefit of insulating the aga in the winter and allowing you to put annual bedding around it into the soil at the margin - you could cram it in as you would in a hanging basket without fear of it stealling nutrition/water etc from your aga. You could even tuck some little bulbs such as muscari in deep down in there too (under the bedding) for some spring colour, without the usua worry of it legging it off around the garden ... Just a thought. I've used this approach with smaller clematis to cool their feet and hide their ankles with great success. But if you're set on heuchera, some of the greens with red flowers are real toughies. Bx

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 17:04

Ha, just imagining u shuffling round the garden on ur bum. I actually did a bit of that myself last year! Trouble with a gammy knee is, you're fine up and fine down, but getting from one to t'other is a real skill when you can only bend one leg. And I'm 5'10" so its a long way down!! Get well - I think some time spent sitting with your foot up pricking out etc sounds just what you need. Here's to a better year for all of us in every way. Bx

Looking for flowers to 'fill in' a border

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 16:59

Red is always tricky in even partial shade. If you've moistish soil, red astilbes and red lobelias (the perennial spire-shaped ones) might do you. And you can get some pretty reddish geums. There are also some varieties of hemerocallis (daylily) that are red. I'd suggest buying any of the above when in bloom, however, as reds can be very variable in exact colour, and you'd want to be sure you picked the 'reddest' ones! Whites and blues are pretty easy for shade, though blue becomes hard to get come July - later-flowering stuff tends to be any colour EXCEPT blue.  Tradescantia, maybe. I'd suggest some white anemones for later in the year (look carefully though - different varieties vary a lot in height, though because the flowers kind of hover well above the foliage this may not bother you), and blue hardy geraniums. Perhaps annual bedding is the way to go to get late blues - bedding lobelia does ok in partial shade and goes well in tall narrow pots to give it a bit more presence. I use this with blue and white muscari bulbs underneath it in the pot for earlier flowers. They're lovely too, but rampant spreaders in the soil, so potted up are ideal and will go year after year. Theres also cerinthe major which grows easily from seed and does fine in partial shade too, so long as it isn't dry. General advice - try for clumps of things that are AT LEAST 2ft across, and use some of your plants more than once in the bed, to give it a unified, less bitty feel.  Bx

Soft yellow or hot pink climbing roses

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 16:42

Hi all - anyone recommend particular varieties of the above? To go in a very sunny but not windy spot against 8ft picket fence (wired) with yellow/white honeysuckle and clematis jackmanii. Soil isn't that fab but will be improved as much as poss, limy, very free draining to 1ft depth, then clay and solid limestone blocks. Ideally, scented and thornless (wouldn't they all be?) but flower power is the most important thing. Definitely want plants with good repeat. Any favourites out there? Have got a few ideas, but was hoping for the benefit of actual growing experience... Must be strong bright pink or soft primrosy yellow - orangey or peachy yellows would be disastrous.  Ta in (optimistic) advance. Bx

new guinea impatiens

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 16:32

Cheers folks - I'll give em a go. I'm not mad keen on them, but needs must and all that! Will perhaps start them indoors and shift out when they're looking ready to bloom... Thanks Bx

new guinea impatiens

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 07:01

Anybody grown these in containers in shade? I'm avoiding the usual buzy lizzies cos they succumbed to the horrible mildew thing that's going arund last year and wondered if the new guinea type would be a good alternative. Touted as more sun tolerant, but I'm not sure if that means they actualy prefer it, or will just put up with it if they have to...  Reluctant to just take a flyer on them, due to cost... Bx


Hanging baskets and window boxes

Posted: 23/02/2013 at 16:12

Hi Obelixx! Get well soon.  White bacopa + purple brachyscome or felicia + purple heuchera + ophiopogon + echeveria, underplanted with white muscari bulbs and maybe even narcissus Thalia is a nice subtle combo, especially in a basket that's ornamental in itself, like wicker. Long season too, and u end up with stuff you can plant out and keep. For full flower power, I do million bells + bacopa, + something upright in the middle (like pelargonium or diascia or nerine or anything available really) + yellow variagated ivy + brachyscome (or any daisy-type jobbie). Colours are usually white plus mauve and lemony yellow. You can pick up the yellow with the middles of the other flowers. If you don't want the yellow, sub in a second shade of purple and use plectranthus instead of ivy. This is the only colour combo I dont end up sick of by mid August. Plus, if you use white and pale yellow, its very forgiving of the whites not being identical. Unlike other colours, which to me clash horribly unless every plant is exactly the same shade. Purples not too bad, but reds?! Yucksome. Don't know what your op was or how elective the timing, but nice one doing it during the winter!! I had a knee faffed with last year and it totaly spoiled the entire season. Saying that, I ruined it with some ill-advised mega-gardening, so its probably karma... 

Pots of summer colour in partial shade

Posted: 23/02/2013 at 15:50

I haven't got around to the planned big tree chop this autumn/winter AGAIN so was hoping for some help with getting some summer colour in the shady bit of my garden - it needs to flower for ages - perhaps something tender or half-hardy - but the shade is enough that even last years' snapdragons struggled to show much after their first flush. Anyone had any success with anything they've grown from seed? I've tried any likely garden-centre candidates ready-grown - the usually available suspects are all too sun loving. The area in question does get late afternoon/evening sun directly, but only the dappled light from between trees for the bulk of the day. I could do with using long-tom pots for height (its for colour between small-med shrubs) so nothing that wants super-cool/wet roots please...? And preferably upright rather than trailing, though beggar's can't be choosers.  I know, its a big ask!!! Just hoping someone out there can provide me with a brain-wave. Had considered some of the plainer fuschias but reluctant to risk the expense without someone else's say-so.  Bx

Discussions started by auntie betty

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Soft yellow or hot pink climbing roses

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new guinea impatiens

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Pots of summer colour in partial shade

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best annuals for shade / partial shade

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Flowers for July?

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