auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

Lawn turf and rubble query

Posted: 01/07/2013 at 19:04

I would have thought so, yes You might even give the gravel a miss and just use sand. It'll fill gaps better. I'd say, get the sand down, give it a month minimum to settle, then lay soil, give that a good month, and then turf come cooler September/October weather. Its mega-frustrating, but I know from experience that its better to take it steady and let what's underneath settle fully before lying turf. Nothing worse than ending up with a bunker in the rough when you wanted the putting green. SO much easier to do it right first time thn to try to reverse-engineer a decent surface. Bx


Posted: 29/06/2013 at 17:20

Hi Keen1, welcome! I'm EXTREMELY knowledgable, myself, but only about what I know. Don't know ANYTHING about what I don't know. Y'know? If you want an opinion about toughies for awkward spots, I'm your gal. And building stuff. And general design / plant combos. Rhodies, alpines, veggies and super-tenders, ask someone else. And I kill houseplants. Not on principle or anything - that's just how it seems to go.. Ho hum.

Any ideas please?

Posted: 29/06/2013 at 17:12

Yeah, a phygelius of some sort. Can be short lived, so if it has sentimental value I'd suggest taking cuttings for a 'spare' plant. It won't mind!

Open Gardens, Sunday 23rd June 11- 5pm entry £5

Posted: 23/06/2013 at 07:25

Curses - got the monster-in-law today! Such a pretty area, and a beak at other peoples' gardens is always great fun. I used to live in Harrogate, so know that neck of the woods well. For anyone travelling up via H'gate area, can I recommend adding in a couple of hours to visit RHS Harlow Carr. Also, Bluebell nursery (Horticap) over the road from HC is always good for cheap plants - very worthwhile cause too.


Posted: 23/06/2013 at 06:50

Hi Sara - gunnera roots do travel a long way, making it a devil to shift, but shouldn't puncture a pond liner. They're pretty fleshy and fibrous, rather than stiff and woody, and travel along quite near to the surface for the most part. That said, have you looked at darmera peltata as a much easier, smaller, hardier, but otherwise similar plant? Its leaves only get to about 18inches across each and it tends not to exceed about 3 or 4ft in height. Has a lovely habit, with biggest leaves in the middle/back and smaller ones towards the edges, on shorter stems, hiding its legs well. Its a rhizome that sits on the surface, making it very easy to chop bits off and relocate them if it outgrows its space or if you just want more of it. It is lovely - I too wanted gunnera, but just can't overwinter it in my northern garden, so darmera is perfect for me. Not a poor relation by any means. Bx

Lawn edging

Posted: 23/06/2013 at 06:36

They do, but its a slow process and in a small area doesn't take much effort to pull out the offending bits now and then. That said, if ur a perfectionist Katie, a little bag of mortar (sand and cement mix) poured dry into the gaps will do the job. Its a small enuf amount between each sett that rain/groundwater seepage will moisten it. Then it'll go off as it dries. Part of my sett edging morphs into a little quarter-circle patio bit and I just brushed dry mortar over and then let it set like this. Worked beautifully and still hasn't moved at all 5 years on. Tip #1: get a 1ltr plastic bottle, use a funnel to fill it with the dry mortar, then remove funnel & use the bottle to pour your mortar into the cracks. MUCH easier to get it where u want it. Also, if you get rained off or want to do it in stages, just pop the lid on the bottle and it'll stay dry til next time. Tip #2: either pull up the soil behind the setts' back egdes or put something against them before you pour the mortar, or it'll just flow out the back of the crack! Seems obvious, but then so was my garden hose and that didn't stop me tripping over it and going face-down on my lawn yesterday. Think I may even have aqua-planed just a little bit too - it was VERY wet and I was VERY muddy afterwards. And the pigeons won't make eye-contact this morning...


Posted: 20/06/2013 at 06:30

And lysimachia.

Lawn edging

Posted: 20/06/2013 at 06:24

I use driveway setts - they're small and light, cheap (less than 30p each), come in various colours, and are easy to lay to an irregular wavy edge. I just dig a shallow channel, slap em in & give a tap with a rubber mallet to make level-ish. Tesco sell a mini spirit level for about a quid that makes this kind of thing easier if ur a perfectionist. If you set them so they sit about 2cm above the lawn's soil level (ie slightly lower than newly-mown grass height) you can mow straight over and get a really neat edge. You do still have to tidy the edge now and again, but only every 5th of 6th mow instead of every time. Major time-saver in my garden. DIY stores keep em, but often worth asking a builder's merchant if they've got any leftovers they'd sell cheap. Match colour to any existing masonry, such as garden walls, driveway or house for a cohesive look. Or choose the brownest ones to 'disappear'. Use them side by side for a wide edge, or end to end for a narrow one.

You can also get green plastic edging that you slide into the soil vertically to provide an 'invisible' edge. I've never used it, maybe someone else here has...

Some people edge with log roll. It's decorative, but actaully makes edging harder imho.

If u do choose driveway setts/pavers, lay the turf 1st and let it settle in for a month. Much easier to choose the pavers' height according to the grass than vice versa. I never even broke out the spade doing my edging btw. It involved sitting on my bum on a cushion, with a just a hand trowel and my little level, and seeing how far round I could get before the vino ran out! 4 or 5 evenings of that and I was done. And my lawn's massive!!! Bx

Acer advice needed

Posted: 15/06/2013 at 10:23

Here's a tip - water with rain, not tapwater, or you'll be making soil less acidic/ more alkaline all the time. Leaving soil level 2 or 3 inches down below pot rim helps plant make the most of the rain, and surface mulch (eg slate chips) reduces evaporation. xx

Design Ideas

Posted: 15/06/2013 at 06:16

You could put a neat little box or lavendar hedge around the edge and then have the wildflowers frothing out the top... That real contrast between the formal and blowsy works fantastically and has been a design staple for decades. Just bear in mind the short season of native wildflowers - you may want to add bulbs for early interest and maybe some prairie-style grasses and late flowering perennials to extend the season. You could even keep a few little pots of something clipped and topiary-ish to stand in there in winter, when everything else is akip. The world's your lobster...

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