auntie betty

Latest posts by auntie betty

pruning lavender

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 08:44

I'd dig one up, cut all the totally useless bits out, then bury it in a free-draining pot with just the active bits above soil level. They should then root, after which you can lift it, snip off the rooted bits just below the roots and bingo! New plant cuttings to replace your old ones

Ideas appreciated for shrubs to create structure in my new garden

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 08:37

I'd consider the crab apples for the tree (malus 'john downie's my personal fave'). these dont get too big for you, have the blossom you're after, and look well as part of a border. For shrubs, I'd consider pyracantha grown againt the fence like a climber to give you a good backdrop. I'd never be without cotinus coggyria for purple foliage - it can get huge, but mine never do as I use it to fancy-up cut flowers in he house. Its such a fabulous foil to show off  other things. I might consider a small flowering shrub next to or in front of cotinus - white potentilla looks amazing, as does pink cistus. And both of those are easy shrubs to keep (i never prune them) and easy to put perennials with - they seem to look nice with anything. I love phormiums - they give you an evergreen version of what iris foliage does for a border - a great vertical. Like the potentilla/cistus kind of thing, not for the very back - just slightly forwards, perhaps in front of pyracantha, to blend the shrubs with the herbaceous. I also use euphorbia wulfennii in the same sort of role. You can't beat the odd spire of conifer to break up looser shubs too. I use 'elwoodii' cos it tends to be cheaper than 'skyrocket'. Spireas are good shrubs for clipping - I keep mine as 3ft balls in my mixed borders. They still flower, but are a good foil for the blowsy chaos of tthe perennials around them, stopping it all getting too out of hand. I'd also recommend viburnum opulus for a back of border shrub. Again, can go big if not pruned, but so useful for cutting that it never gets the chance to be more than 8/9ft tall here. Easy to keep clothed right to the ground if you prune, attractive leaf shape in itself, nice autumn colour and those spectacular green/white pompoms. What's not to like? Hope that's some more food for thought - got a bit carried away! Bx

Jewell garden - suggestions

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 08:14

Some of the cannas are short enough for u. oriental poppies maybe? purple salvia nemorosa. allium 'purple sensation'. drumstick alllium. yellow achillea. daylilies. red astilbe. pink monarda 'prairienacht'.chocolate cosmos. dahlia 'bloodstone' or 'greenside antonia'. penstemon. lupin 'thundercloud'. Bx


Posted: 26/04/2013 at 05:56

I've got a comedy pair of collared doves too - one does all the work, trying to build a nest in a tall conifer and the other just waits on a branch for it to bring each piece, then takes it out again and 'does it properly'. They've been a resident pair for a few years now and are obviously past the honeymoon stage! Wonder which one is the bloke...

white bugs eating roots of fuchsia

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 05:46

Vine weevil killer! Some plants are more susceptible than others, but anything in a container is a sitting duck for these. Google them to see what the adults look like so you can squish em on sight. I'd water VW killer on all your pots at once - otherwise they'll just come back sgain and again and use it prophylactically on things you know are at particular risk, like your fuschias. Tho not on edibles. The maggoty things turn into the weirdest looking little alien guys before becoming the adult weevil. Fascinating really, in a toe-curly kind of way. Fish love em tho, as do robins!

shrubs for cut flowers

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 05:37

Hi buds, I'm redesigning my pal's garden for her and want to include a small shrubbery. (Will that word forever start the Monty Python theme going in my head!?).This will involve adding plants to an area currently backed by laurel and a humongous weigela. She's not a gardener and has two very small children, so low maintenance is key. The area is half shade and the soil loamy, if a bit sucked dry by the laurel. She loves white hydrangeas and I'd love to give her some shrubs she can cut for the house. So I'm planning a white lacecap and also a snowball viburnum. Any more 'must have' ideas, perhaps for later in the year? Bxx

Crown Imperials

Posted: 25/04/2013 at 06:41

Yeah yeah Franco - nobody likes a smart a**e. I've got one (well, two now apparently) that were in my garden when I moved in 7 years ago, though I didn't discover that until I cleared the 6ft hedge of bramble that'd allegedly been there for at least 10 years previously. Shoot/s up every year, looks all promising, and then gets totally slugged OVERNIGHT, just as I'm hoping for flowers. Ah well. I only keep them as a decoy plant now - means the slugs get them and leave other things alone a bit longer!

herbs in oil

Posted: 25/04/2013 at 06:33

Golly. Who knew?! Whatever will we find out next.?. I can see it now - "Miraclegrow - my secret EBOLA shame"?! Ignorance really is bliss. Until u get botulism.


Posted: 25/04/2013 at 06:22

Yep, tumble drier fluff goes down well here too. Also coconut fibre from old hanging basket liners. And the the outer husky bits that the bamboos drop. The mice pinch those too. My kids discovered a blackbird had nested inside the top corner of their playhouse the other day. She's only about 4ft off the ground, but was looking very cosy in there with her fledgling. I'm looking forward to them moving out so I can see how on earth she's managed to build the nest - the building is just timber corner posts + plywood sides + lap roof and the nest is kind of floating in the corner like magic. Perfect quiet sheltered spot tho, clever girl. Assuming the cat doesn't find them

Ideas for the site of my garden pond 2

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 08:10

I wouldn't write it off just yet Gary. Your shaded pond will be slower to warm up than one in sun - it may be as simple as that. As far as wildlife is concerned, in general, fish and wildlife don't mix. Fish eat all the baby critters. You also may have an access problem with a raised bed pond. Perhaps a pile of logs and stones would help things climb in and out of the bed itself. Pumps and filters, too, are bad news for critters, as they kill the daphnia that many invertebrates and small vertebrates live off. I've managed to get an ecosystem now that manages to support loads of different animals by only having a few sticklebacks and minnows in the pond and no pump. When I cleared the silt a few weeks ago I found dragonfly larvae, two types of baby snails, bloodworms, loads of pond skaters and water boatmen, plus at least 7 or 8 different unidentified larvae type things. Goldfish are a no-no if you want proper wildlife really, though a good sized pond (maybe 2 x 2m) could probably cope with 2 or 3.

If you definitely need to shift the pond, choose somewhere that gets half sun and half shade, either permanently so, or because the sun moves.. Overhanging leaves are not ideal, though you can remove these if unavoidable. Too much sun tends to result in algae and blanketweed. Waterlilies can be useful to shade the water in very sunny spots and have the advantage of not shading out the marginal plants that may appreciate the light.

You could turn the raised bed into a bog garden, simply by puncturing the liner in a few places and filling with soil. Or, if you intend to reuse the liner, put some bin bags in the bottom to slow drainage. In a shady spot like that, you'll have a lot more choice of plants if you keep it slightly moist. Dry shade is a notoriously difficult planting habitat. A raised bed might be ideal for things like hostas as you can apply slug and snail killer easily, or even grit the surface to deter them, without it all disappearing into an open border like it does.


Discussions started by auntie betty

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shrubs for cut flowers

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