auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

pyracantha, honeysuckle or other

Posted: 19/02/2013 at 09:22

I use pyracantha like this and keep it trimmed to about 4 inches thick easily. I grow silver euonymous fortunei through it like a climber to break up the dark green, and also small clematis, such as alpinas and macropetalas for some extra flower power and fluffy seed heads. Birds love it. Easy to underplant too as its roots don't tend to do that thick matted thing that some plants do.

Suggestions please

Posted: 19/02/2013 at 09:15

Hardy geraniums are great - you can split them into bits and they'll grow away and fill space quickly. Most are unfussy about conditions and flower for ages. Some, like ger. phaeum, self seed too. The seedlings are easy to recognise, flower quickly, and transplant easily too. Daylilies are also easy - hemerocallis - and their strappy foliage is good for contrast. Sedum spectabile (ice plant) is quick to bulk up, late to flower and very popular with bees and butterflies. Again, easy to split and increase your stock. Some good-sized flowering shrubs would be a good idea too, and perhaps some grasses.

Hedge or border

Posted: 12/12/2012 at 16:58

Lavender makes a great hedge and is wildlife-friendly, especialy if u mix 2 or 3 varieties that flower at slightly different times to lengthen the season. You could probably expect a hedge of perhaps 2ft, plus flowers held above. Berberis isn't evergreen so wont suit what you're after. Lonicera is a good evergreen hedge if you want to keep it small. Also very fast and very cheap. Has tiny leaves, so you can keep it super neat like box, but because its fast you'd prune twice a year at least. Saying that, some lightweight hedge trimmers will whip through it in minutes because its such a fine-stemmed thing. I love mine. Yew is good for wildlife because of the berries, but is much slower. You can keep it to a metre so long as you don't let it get away from you - an annual prune should do it. 

Laburnum Tree

Posted: 03/12/2012 at 06:44

I'd give it a thick manure mulch now and a liquid feed when in growth. You do get this with flowering trees - they'll adopt a good year / bad year cycle if food is getting short or conditions have been unusual. I generally consider it the tree's way of saying "Oi! You with the mud under your nails! Little help here!".

Plants around a pond advice

Posted: 02/12/2012 at 03:40

I've got some lovely lime green frilly heuchera I use to edge my pond. Mine's called 'Key Lime Pie'. 'Lime Rickey' is good too. Foliage stays on all year and trails slightly into the water, hiding the edge of my liner, and both above will stay vibrant lime in partial shade rather than going yellow. I have it with bergenia and polemonium in conditions much like yours and it does beautifully. xx 

best annuals for shade / partial shade

Posted: 11/11/2012 at 07:03

what do you have success with in these kinds of places to add colour after June? I mainly need to plant in stealth pots (long toms painted dark brown) to stand a chance against slugs and snails. Antirrhinum and nicotiana always do okay, but I'm bored of them. Any suggestions?

Front Garden

Posted: 07/10/2012 at 07:37

Potentilla is a maintenance-free shrub that likes sun - it flowers for ages (comes in various colours - white is nice) and stays at a 4ft-ish dome. You could put that on the back corner. Maybe a small tree, such as a malus (crab apple) or robinia would be nice, somewhere in the middle, just to give it a bit of vertical. Or for that matter a columnar cypress, elwoodii, or small thuja if you want it evergreen. You might consider a prostrate juniper to front the border next to the grass - they're pretty quick to grow and cover ground maintenance free. Or edging with a lavendar 'hedge' - this would just need a quick clip after flowering to keep it compact. 3-plant clumps of hardy geraniums would work well - just chop them back to ground at the end of autumn. I personally like the blues best. These too flower for ages and don't need messing about with, so lots of bang for your buck. To separate your roundy clumps you could use crocosmia, daylilies (hemerocallis), grasses, or even irises. You could also stuff in a few clumps of 5 or 6 allium 'purple sensation' bulbs for accents. Anywhere u like. Again, easy to maintain - just chop off every when they go brown. For mid-height, sedum spectabilis (iceplant) is a good easy do-er which likes sun, drought and general neglect. Flowers late in the year too, so good for continuing the show. And I'd spray that fence dark brown - shows off the greens of plants better.  I'd keep foliage to greens - its too small a border imho to start mixing in varigation and purples, though you'd get away with something like euonymous fortunei 'emerald gaiety' (small evergreen shrub that'll almost climb a fence if put next to it), particularly if you had some white flowers elsewhere, as the variegation is very white, or 'emerald and gold' if you had yellow flowers, as the variagation is very yellow. If you wanted another shrubby-job, euphorbia 'wulfenii' would be lovely, maybe at the front behind the wall. 

I'd stick with getting your contrast between neighbouring plants through their leaf shape and size rather than mixing too many different colours. And I'd plant the non-shrubby stuff in triangles of 3s or 5s - you need decent clumps if it isn't to look 'bitty'. All of the above are quick to establish, easy to maintain (and to find in garden centres), and won't go mad and take over the world! Hope that helps xx

Dicentra Spectibilis with no new growth at base

Posted: 07/10/2012 at 07:08

I give mine a haircut when flowering's finishing as its usully starting to flop and look tatty by then. I cut each stem to just above a leaf - about halfway. I find that gives the foliage a bit more longevity - i grows back a little and creates a nice tidy clump of about 2ft tall and wide. It is an early finisher though. Mine is planted around with marbled arum, as that starts coming up for the winter as the dicentra goes brown and needs chopping right back - usually mid-Septemberish. Then the dicentra takes over again come spring, leaving just the berrying spikes of the arum poking through. I chop these as I have small children. Both like the shady spot with heavy soil where I have them. I never feed or mulch either. You'll see the dicentra when it emerges in spring - it looks like celery!

Brand New Garden - 1 Year on

Posted: 24/09/2012 at 06:46

If you made those borders twice the size and packed with bigger clumps of the same things you've already got (plus a few large things - maybe shrub roses?) you'll be amazed how much bigger it'll look. Honest! Many of your current plants could be divided and spread out - I'd say you're looking for clumps of about 2ft diameter in a garden that size. The best tip I ever got was to think in triangles when planting - different shapes and sizes of triangle mean plants blend with each other rather than look 'plonked'. So true! Its why buying in 3s always a good plan! Yep, you're garden's well on its way (especially for a year old!!!) but I think you need some deeper borders and some shrubs. And if you want to cheat your way to a 3rd 'tier' of height, climbers are your very bestest friends, as you seem to know already. That post and rail fence cries out for a climbing or rambling rose to me! Time to give it some welly - how exciting! xx

How to overwinter?

Posted: 23/09/2012 at 18:43

Lucky you! First of all, don't prune out anything healthy, if you were going to. That way, anything that gets frost-nipped was more likely to be superfluous anyway). I'd put something around their feet (those foam packing thingies are ideal as they don't rot or hold water, but straw or even thick grass cuttings would do) then surround them with tall canes. Then place a couple of taller ones together somewhere in the middle of the plant. Wrap the outer in 2 or 3 'ply' of garden fleece and then give them a separate 'lid' of it too (perhaps wrapping string round to tie it on). I use cane toppers to hold my fleece on. You should end up with each plant sitting in its own little tent. That should do it - just remember to take the lid off now and again to let a little air in, and to shake off snow before it has chance to cave the roof in. In spring, you can gradually reduce the thickness of the wrapping and even leave it off altogether during the day, just draping around loosely at night and when its frosty. That'll let them know the days are starting to lengthen. Thats also a good time to remove the insulation from their feet. If you dry the fleece etc before storing, you can reuse it the next year. P.S. A friend of mine uses that woven willow screening to hide her tents for the winter!

Discussions started by auntie betty

topiary ideas

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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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Shadyish paving creepers

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