auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

Garden gaffes

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 09:01

II'm like wintersong. I have an attitude of, well i'll shift stuff about willy nilly and hack lumps off things whenever i like and if it dies... well it just wasnt trying, was it? Plants are living things, after all. I also firmly believe in giving things a go. A certain plant might "prefer" a certain place but that doesnt mean it'll turn up its toes just because things are less than absolutely ideal... I "prefer" partial sun, a temperature of 16-21 degrees and a large glass of wine in each hand, and yet i dont actually die in the winter. Just go a bit limp for a bit. The wine's non-negotiable though! I've discovered all sorts of things I never would've got from a book by having this attitude and think I have a more interesting garden because of it. For example, heuchera 'lime rickey' is supposed to like sun. DON'T DO IT! In sun, its a putrid yellow colour and the leaves shrivel even on moist ground. In shade, its a vibrant lime green, and the foliage stays fresh all year. The variagated bamboo, pleioblastus, is used as a pond marginal, but actually copes perfectly well with dry shade. That said, I've had epic failures too, like the fantastic huge clump of paeony molly the witch that finally karked after being moved for the 4th time in one year (SO should've known) and the many, many attempts to get anything at all with purple foliage not to go green or bronze in shade. And the massive phormium I didn't wrap that year we had the mega bad winter which died horribly, with only me to blame. Shame shame on me!


Posted: 04/06/2012 at 21:49

yeah, i have several large laurels - i like them for the same reasons as wintersong. i clip mine into great big spheres. i use a hedge trimmer and then just snip out any brown bits with secateurs as and when they appear (and bug me enough to be bothered). i used to faff on doing it all by hand but find hedge trimmers encourage them to stay more dense. more cuts, so more bushy new growth i guess. i have to do them twice a year as a rule. only cos i'm anal tho.

Talkback: Unpleasant plant smells

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 17:04

I hate the smell of most lilies, but love hawthorn blossom - just as well as my garden's full of them. Hubby says they smell of old cat wee to him.  I think hyacinths smell like bad air freshener and I also can't bear jasmine. Too pungent. But love fressias, and magnolias have the best fragrance ever. And cherry pie is great (forget the proper name). And pelargonium foliage. And ramsons. ...this is making me hungry!


Posted: 04/06/2012 at 16:55

What plant associations are you particularly pleased with in your garden? I'm loving from back to front, smoke bush + white potentilla + dark geranium phaeum + allium purple sensation + stachys at the front. Also a massive clump of bergenia with blue hardy geranium peeping over from behind, and crocosmia behind that. Especially good because the sun comes from behind it all, so the crocosmia foliage lights up. Yum.

And what do you struggle to find a fabulous friend for? I'm struggling with some aruncus. It behaves like it wants to be right up front, but at the same time is just too big! Grr!

Barnsley Lavatera

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 16:38

I wouldn't Lesley 4. You could give it a go if you've got a super-huge pot (I'm talking half-barrel sized, minimum).  It'd be much happier and longer-lived in the ground though. It likes a sunny and well drained spot and will get to 7 feet tall and the same wide (and front-to-back) so is a fairly biggun.

Can anyone help identifying a plant?

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 16:32

Could be cerastium tomentosum (snow in summer)...? Needs a sunny, well-drained position. And you'd better be sure you really want it, lunarz, cos you'll never ever get rid of it once it gets hold! I love it myself mind you... 

top 5

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 17:31

Yeah, forgot euphorbias... Wulfenii and martinii and robbiae for me, though it tends to wander off in my garden. Do fancy a quince, y'know.... may have just the spot.... what soil conditions do they prefer?

top 5

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:38

What are your top 5 plants you'd never want to be without - because you love them for themselves as individuals or because they're indispensable as part of a group? Thought it'd be interesting to hear what other people are mad about and maybe get some ideas for things thata might not have come naturally.  Mine are:

bergenia, because its huge evergreen leaves show everything nearby off brilliantly (and snails eat my hostas). You do need huge clumps though.

hardy geraniums, because they grow anywhere, flower for ages and are generally a nice polite green clump the rest of the time. Very very useful.

pyracantha, because they wilingly clothe my shady walls and fences with evergreen leaves, plus flowers, plus berries, so work really hard.

irises, because there's one for almost every situation, and sometimes you just need that leafy spike in your scheme. And the flowers are a bonus.

heuchera, because a well-behaved, evergreen (or silver, or purple, or orange, or lime) clump of something that flowers for an age is truly indispensable front of border plant.

And smoke bush. Because I love it. Especially with the sun behind it. I know thats 6. I don't care. I'm not leaving out smoke bush. And bamboo. And ivies. And ferns. And aruncus. And darmera... Ha! I'm an addict.

Talkback: Most hated plants

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:21

ooh, and hyacinths. i HATE hyacinths. they reek and they look like they're from Mars. I can appreciate most plants, really, and can see they all have a role if placed well, but if somebody FORCED me to put hyacinths in my garden i really have no idea where i'd begin trying to make them look nice. Yucksome, as my kids would say.

June in Your Garden!

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:09

that's CLEVER! gets me thinking....

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