auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

Newbie help

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 18:18

Yep, astilbe. Fluffy flowers will be white, pink or red. Likes soggy heavy soil in sun or partial shade. Whites cope better with more shade. Stems of whites are green, pinks and reds usually have reddish stems and/or leaves when they emerge. Lovely plants, best in large clumps. Good companions for similar conditions are iris sibirica, daylily (hemerocallis), darmera peltata, hosta, lobelia cardinalis, rodgersia, bergenia cordifolia and any white-variagated evergreen euonymous. Can I recommend the rhs encyclopaedia of planting combinations to you? This is a great go-to book for inspiration for newbies and old-hands alike, as well as being a lovely browse with a brew! Get the soft-back 2012 edition (I got my latest copy from Amazon, having given my old one to a friend) as it has lots of extra stuff in that'd be useful to a novice. If you've got that, plus any general encyclopaedia of plants to look up stuff you've never seen before, then you're away. Put the encyclopaedia in the car wen u go plant-purchasing so u can look up stuff when u see it at the nursery/gdn centre! And best advice a newbie can get... Plant in BIG CLUMPS. Shrubs etc can be one-offs, but for herbaceous, triangles of 3s or 5s works perfectly. Have more of less and your garden will feel balanced and mature so much faster. Hope the unsolicited advice isn't unwelcome! Bx

Houtiyana, Bishops Weed, Heartlead, EVIL!

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 17:59

Bramble killer. Spray on, let it dry, repeat and then wait a few days. If it hasnt blackened within a week, do it again. And when bits grow back, do it AGAIN. Until it gives up, which it will. Any time its actively growing is fine to do this.

Name your favourites - help me fill a trellis

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 17:55

Climbing hydrangea isn't evergreen though the similar schizophragma sometimes is.. You might consider trachelospermum jasminoides. Evergreen, scented and pretty happy to combine with clematis.

swell gel and plant food

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 17:50

I always pre-swelll water retaining granules for summer containers, as I find it stops the compost overflowering when I first water. I was wondering if it was a good idea to use diluted plant food instead of plain water to fill them. Whaddya reckon? Presumably the water in swell-gel is availabe for the plants to actually use, and so the fertiliser would be too.. Just a thought. I don't like using feed granules as I'm never convinced they stay wet enough to actually disperse the food - they're always still there at the end of the season.  Does anyone else do this? Bx

Help please

Posted: 08/06/2013 at 05:58

Choisya maybe? Easy evergreen shrub (or ever-gold, depending on variety) known as mexican orange blossom for its lovely white fragrant flowers. Likes clay. Plant some hardy geraniums or daylilies (hemerocallis) around it/in front of it until it gets bigger. I'd avoid the skinny-leved ones as they tend to be much slower and foliage can suffer a bit in full sun. The larger lobed-leaved ones are tough as old boots but really lovely. Bx

Screening ideas

Posted: 07/06/2013 at 06:52

Can you make a lightweight screen out of split willow /bamboo panels and hide it that way? Then any planting is just a bonus against the backdrop? I've used it and it just staplegun's onto timber - very very lightweight and easy to cut to size. You could hinge one panel to allow easy access...

Inspiration required for replacing a pond

Posted: 07/06/2013 at 06:46

I'm so cheesed off - we've (read I'VE) just put in a mahoosive new pond for OH, which was meant to be for wildlife, and the rotter's gone and put 8 small rudd in it. Every time I import frogspawn and surface insects from my pals pond, they scoff the lot! And I'm transferring them by the bucketful because her pond is so hugely overcrowded!! I'm FURIOUS! Who knew tiddlers (like finger-sized) could fit so much in!!! So they just spend their days basking in the sun looking all stuffed. Which is funny, but still... Gonna have to create an area the pesky varmints can't get into and hope the next batch of taddies have the sense to stay in there. So yeah - don't add fish if you want critters. Maybe I'll get a nice little pike, see how they like them apples.. Bx

Pruning a Laurel hedge

Posted: 07/06/2013 at 06:39

Yeah, I'd second all that for general thickening. I'd add that if you want it to bush out at the bottom and there isn't currently growth where you want it, you need to shorten the overall height quite a bit. Have a good look at the plants in the area you want to fill out. You'll be able to see little green buds on the branches where leaves aren't. Those are what'll grow if you prune to a little bit above them. So, just prune off anything that's growing past that point and all the plant's energy will go into those buds instead of supporting what it had before. That may mean you end up with not much left, but rest assured, having spent all the time between planting and now putting on root, you'll be amazed how fast they'll grow back - they'll just do it from where you want. If you dont do it, you'll end up wishing you had, because you'll have a hedge on stilts forever. Good bottom growth is very hard to get down the line. For the future, as it grows, as nutcutlet says, basically chop branches back to where you want them to thicken, creating new stems and leaves. And chop out entirely (so no buds remain) anything that's weak and spindly or heading in a direction you don't want/need - let it send its resources in more useful directions. I prune my established laurels with a hedge trimmer, then wait for the cut leaves to go brown and then go over and whip them off with secateurs. If I did the whole lot by hand it'd be like the Forth road bridge... And remember, the ideal hedge is almost triangular in section, so as nutcutlet says, the top doesn't shade out the bottom, causing it do go bare down below. So to speak.. Oh, and when you're choosing a bud to grow on in this way, make sure it faces outwards, otherwise your new growth wont go where you want. The new stems that emerge can always be pruned to THEIR low buds, causing THEM to branch, and so on, creating the dense hedge you want. Or not, if you want it more open. See wot I mean? You will once you start examining your stems I hope - sounds more complicated than it is. You're just allocating resources really. Bx

Recommendations please..

Posted: 05/06/2013 at 06:57

Hebe, choisya (easy to keep small), prunus lauroceros "otto luytens"

Inspiration required for replacing a pond

Posted: 05/06/2013 at 06:02

Easiest thing is a bog garden - just chuck in some soil and you're away. I can imagine you sitting there watching frogs and critters do their thing in some miniature bullrushes (typha minima) and astilbes. I do also think it'd look nice and increase your sense of space if you did away with the liner, imported some topsoil and just turfed it - kind of finishing off the kidney-shape of the lawn. Grass doesn't need much depth of soil, so you could even use some of the unwanted edging to fill out the bottom of the hole, helping with drainage. If you want to turn it all into a veg patch you'll need to get rid of it properly because they'll need good deep diggable soil. I assume its sunny enough for veg otherwise you wouldnt be considering it... I do think some sort of focal point would be good opposite you bench - maybe a small ornamental tree if you turf, or a climber on the fence, or even a nice birdbath in amongst the plants it you go for a bog garden. Something to enjoy when you're sitting there. Really does depend on how you use your garden, but you have lots of options.  Bx

Discussions started by auntie betty

topiary ideas

Replies: 6    Views: 1608
Last Post: 21/09/2013 at 13:16


Replies: 5    Views: 1413
Last Post: 09/07/2013 at 21:37

Duck / no duck

Replies: 2    Views: 1189
Last Post: 08/07/2013 at 15:51


Replies: 3    Views: 1047
Last Post: 09/07/2013 at 09:44

PVC Fencing

Anyone used this? 
Replies: 2    Views: 1080
Last Post: 14/06/2013 at 16:22

swell gel and plant food

Replies: 0    Views: 1239
Last Post: 09/06/2013 at 17:50

shrubs for cut flowers

Replies: 1    Views: 1224
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 10:51

Shady spots

Slug proof plants 
Replies: 7    Views: 1741
Last Post: 15/04/2013 at 08:41

Soft yellow or hot pink climbing roses

Replies: 2    Views: 1464
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 17:22

new guinea impatiens

Replies: 10    Views: 2273
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 20:03

Pots of summer colour in partial shade

Replies: 2    Views: 1585
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 20:18

best annuals for shade / partial shade

Replies: 6    Views: 2978
Last Post: 11/11/2012 at 17:42


Replies: 5    Views: 1831
Last Post: 01/09/2012 at 19:24

Flowers for July?

Replies: 3    Views: 1498
Last Post: 26/08/2012 at 19:32

Shadyish paving creepers

Replies: 1    Views: 1601
Last Post: 06/06/2012 at 22:11
1 to 15 of 18 threads