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Latest posts by blairs

Topping Monkey Puzzle Tree

Posted: 25/01/2014 at 13:21

You will kill it (as growth comes from the leader only) and make it look terrible, just terrible until it dies. If you really must 'top it' then just cut the whole thing down and plant a more suitable plant.


Posted: 24/01/2014 at 21:52

Pampas grass is oddly invasive. I found lots of it growing in gravel at my in laws house in Inverness in quite heavy shade. I wondered what the strange leaves were, Cordyline looking but rough like reed. I do think that it could be fitted into more modern plantings but it does look dated in a 1970 raised island in suburbia.


Posted: 24/01/2014 at 19:40

For an unusual screen then I do recommend Loquat. It grows thick and is evergreen. You may even get fruits on it that wildlife love.

Only nightmare plants for me are Mint and fruits (blackcurrant and raspberry). Mint really does sprout like mad from seemingly nothing. This mild weather has not helped - I found loads of it in a 'cleared bed'.

Olive Tree problem

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 13:49
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

I believe that an important part of the trick is to keep the roots dry when it's cold 

That is the key with most arid and Mediterranean plants.


Posted: 24/01/2014 at 12:52

Fargesia bamboo do not run and you do not need bamboo rhizome barriers for them, so no need to buy that. I have aseveral different types of bamboo and Fargesia are very compact, have created a screen quickly and going by the Frogs, Toads and insects that I have found around mine, nature has adapted to them. They quickly form a mulch around themselves as well.

Do not bother with them in pots as you will not be able to water them enough and every time you have high winds they will fall over.

Olive Tree problem

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 12:46
star gaze lily wrote (see)

We bought from a good supplier and they kept some of theirs in a poly tunnel. Our conservatory isn't heated but we haven't covered it at all in fleeze or wrap.

Polytunnels are humid and not warm. With the mild weather Greenhouses and polytunnels are not being heated and they are very humid.

Olive trees are hary to half hardy. They are not tender plants. So there is zero need to fleece or wrap them inside a conservatory even if we get 2010 temperatures again.

Olive Tree problem

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 10:58
star gaze lily wrote (see)

Hi Nicols, there is another thread here with help about olive trees, I'll bump it up for you. There is also a web site with good advice that i'm sure I have bookmarked, will find that too. We have one that we are keeping in the conservatory over winter (unheated)  If kept outside they do advise to wrap the pot in bubble wrap and cover the branches in fleeze. ( sorry just read ans above) 

Will find website for you.

Yo only need to fleece if the weather is well below freezing otherwise you will kill the plant with Botrytis moulds. Outside is always best as houses are too dry for them.

Portugal - plants to survive

Posted: 22/01/2014 at 15:00

Where in Portugal? The Atlantic coast can get mist even in summer, lowering the temperature to jumper and jacket wearing territory till it lifts. It can also get close to freezing in winter in much of Portugal. She should see what thrives in local parks and gardens and use that.

Allium, Oleander, Wallflower etc should do fine.

Vines like Mandevilla, Bougainvillea should provide almost evergreen flowers.

Weeds-wanting to grow lavender border

Posted: 21/01/2014 at 21:30

For Lavender you do not want to add any fertiliser, just add in lots of grit or perlite.

So I would weed, dig over the soil adding in grit and perlite then the Lavender. And that is it. You feed Lavender then they get leggy quickly. I would then top dress with a stone mulch to keep the soil warm and it is easy to pick out any weeds.


Posted: 21/01/2014 at 21:26

The annual/fibrous ones tend to be sold cheaply in the likes of B&Q and Homebase, esp after a week of bad weather! You can get trays of them for a few quid if that. Tuberous ones are worth keeping and paying that extra for. Watch out for vine weevils grubs though - been a pest on mine this year.

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