auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

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Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:02

festuca glauca is good too.


shade loving ground cover

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 09:35

Nice plan. Goes nice with violets, alchemilla, solomon's seal and hostas too. Lots of my garden is woodlandy (one big area is dry stone terracing on a disused railway embankment bordered entirely by huge hawthorns, laurels and birch). So I go in for a fair bit of shady ground cover! Tell you one thing that unexpectedly thrives... you know that variagated grass, pleiobastus i think, that you see sold the golden one sold as a pond plant, of all things... The white variagted one that looks a lot like the miscanthus but isn't does super well in dry shade. Another one that looks good with phaeum! Who knew...?!

shade loving ground cover

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 07:51

Spray off the offending area with bramble killer and then (after it goes brown) remove as much of the rubbish as poss, then dot little pieces of the variagated one across the area. It competes better than I expected, so does reduce the amount of the green one, but more importantly makes the whole area look prettier. ONLY consider this if you really have given up on the idea of total eradication for a good while tho! It isn't a solution - just a way of making a problem area more tolerable. That said, its no harder to get rid of than the ordinary ground elder if and when you feel like trying mass extinction again...

June in Your Garden!

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 21:03

yep, that poppy's YUM. i'm jealous. sorry for the lack of caps btw - doing this one-handed! i dont have any luck with poppies at all. their stems get eaten thru just when i think they'll finally open. gave them away last year. big fritillaries the same. and daylilies sometimes. boo! i do have some rather scrumptious if weirdly luminous purple hardy geraniums going mad at the mo. potentillas have nearly finished their huge main flush (i know! and I'm oop north too!). i spent this morning planting a dodgy bit under a mature hawthorn. lotsa ferns i've been growing on for AEONS finally went in and look soopadoop. and epimediums. and some phaeum. resisted the urge to put variagated ground elder there (for now) and pruned all my zingy lime green spireas into 4ft balls, all the better to stop them fading to green and to enjoy the flowery frou-frou around them. also confirmed that my much-loved and hard to replace aster divaricatus definitely croaked over the winter. double boo! tadpoles have no legs yet, but look happy enough and the bullfinches have babies. yay bullfinches! unlucky magpies! dont you just love the way every plant is still a slightly different shade of green in june? hasnt all merged together quite yet... best month for me.

Talkback: Most hated plants

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 20:11

Blue asters. I just don't want purple flowers that late in the year when I'm feeling all orangey and warm! Its maybe because I like a lot of blue in spring and summer, so I'm fed up with it come autumn. Really not a fan of mahonia - I don't think I've ever seen one that wasn't leggy, frost-damaged, or both. Cordylines. Why would you, when you could have phormium, or even yucca?  

HELP !!!!!what about ground cover plants- does it work?

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 19:02

Yeah, perhaps I should've been more specific - ground cover is great if your problem is with annual weeds. If its perennials, you actually make life harder, because you can't spray them or dig them up easily. Get rid of them first with a herbicide, would be my advice. My violets don't bother me, Berghill, because the soil where I have them is an average-density loam, so they pull very easily. A heavier soil would obviously be more problematic...

shade loving ground cover

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 15:36

Yep, I'm a lover of variagated ground elder too. I've used it before where the ordinary one was growing and it hid it really well! Everyone else thinks I'm crazy. In my current garden it is growing in a terraced bed, though, so is going to struggle to get away from me. Fab stuff for bringing a splash of light to your driest, most shady bits where nothing will grow. Particularly useful under things like laurel bushes and leylandii hedges, which are so notorious for killing off just about anything else. Looks really good with dark geranium phaeum and purple alliums all just mixed up randomly. And if is gets away, there's always bramble-killer!

garden is just grass!!!!

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 15:17

I've had exactly this problem in  more than one garden myself. First thing to ay - CLAY IS A GOOD THING! No really!! Once you get it improved a bit, it holds so much more water and nutrient in is, most plants will thrive. One of the best things for digging in is composted bark. It can be tricky to find (DON'T use the chipped stuff that's meant for mulching or ground cover). The bag needs to say "composted". Its really fibrous and rough and is better than anything else I've found for preventing the clay you've just dug from clumping back together as soon as it rains. Any sort of general compost is also fine - the rougher grade the better -, plus grit, sand, leaf mould... I've even been known to chuck grass and conifer clippings in, but only where I wasn't planning to plant immediately. Digging a mixture of the above into stuff you could make pots from, you end up with what I think of as christmas cake soil - dark, rich, moist, full of bits to keep it open. Lovely. If you have a lot of huge sticky lumps, you can leave them on patio to bake dry / freeze. depending on the time of year, and then chuck them hard onto the ground to break them up. Of, you can just use them to lay paving on along the lawn edge... Good luck - it'll be so worth the effort.

Plant suggestions please

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 15:06

Hey all, I've got a bit of mixed border I'm altering and was hoping for some ideas for a specific spot. Soil is heavy alkaline clay, position is fairly shady. Bit windy from 4ft up and slug and snail infested.

Nearby plants are bergenia, euonymous fortunei (gold), tall white anemones, pyracantha on the fence. The gap in question has lawn at the front, a huge fern to the left, bamboo at the rear, and a raised dry stone bed full of bergenia to the right. The space is probably 3 or 4 feet diameter. Could use one biggish thing, or perhaps 2 smaller... Struggling a bit - so many things that like heavy soil in shade are slug or snail magnets!

Whaddya reckon folks?

HELP !!!!!what about ground cover plants- does it work?

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 14:50

My garden's on the edge of countryside, and my next door neighbour's garden is left completely wild, so I have a big problem with weed/wildflower seeds blowing in. I've tried everything to minimise this, but have to say the final solution has been a combination of spring hoeing before everything's come up too far and ground cover planting. Favourites in my garden are ajuga (purple or pale green variagated), wild violets which seed wildly but are so small and pretty and easy to pull and move that they're never a problem, persicaria (the little flat ones), sedums (same), hardy geraniums (some very short, some taller), lamium, epimediums, cotoneaster, bergenia, and heucheras at the front of a border. The violas, ajuga, persicaria and sedums are particularly useful deep into a border as they don't mind being heavily shaded later in the year as everything swamps them, but cover the ground from very early in the year, meaning weeds don't get the jump on them. Its also worth considering putting the odd bit of slab or something anywhere yu habitualy have to stand to prune or tie in larger stuff. Saves you standing on plants. Things like geranium phaeum flop over my paving and hide it - but I know its there and can kind of shuffle it aside when I want to get in there. I've also got several of my shrubs tightly clipped - things like golden spirea and potentillas work well. That stops light penetrating and keeps things weed free round their feet. Shows off the blowsier, freer herbaceous stuff in between better as well. Anyway, yeah, ground cover saved my life...

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