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Latest posts by blairs

Moans about GW

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 21:15

I like all gardening programmes! Alan Titchmarch's ones on ITV, the ones on BBC and the odd one on SKY. My favourite programme is from the US on HGTV ( as the Americans really do know how to landscape well.

Lavender border in acid claggy soil - too big a battle?

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 22:10

Lavender do not need manure (unless you want it to grow lanky) and sand keeps moisture at the roots (bad idea). You are better to add in lots of large grit and bark and work that into the clay soil, adding in no compost (unless it is pure blue clay!). That will keep the soil light and drainage improved.

Lavender in slightly claggy acid soil, too big a battle?

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 22:02

Do not add sand or compost - just grit. Sand holds water and stays damp and so does compost and you are also feeding the soil. Just add in lots of grit (pea gravel is great). I have Lavender (Hidcote) on a south facing slope with really compacted clay soil and even with the very wet winter last year, they are totally fine.

Gooseberry & raspberry cane deaths!

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 14:36

"  They are well manured, fed (growmore slow release fertiliser) and watered.  The site is sheltered, free draining and in full sun."

Sounds perfect - so I am with Waterbutts - have a look at the roots and check for grubs or evidence of them.

Hi new to the forum and looking for design ideas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 08:09

Looking great already! I would add a similar but smaller curving border on the other side - it will make the garden look bigger and kids do not need large expanses of lawn. If you are lucky to live in a mild part of Ireland then your options of plants are wide.

I would add Fargesia bamboo as an evergreen backbone for the back of the border and in between put tall perennials like Hollyhock, Delphinium, Eryngium etc between those (Artichoke is a member of the Sunflower family and is cheap to buy lots of 'bulbs' for and they have small yellow flowers - look out for them in shops). Smaller perennials like Rudbeckia, Primrose, Primula and bulbs like Tulips, Daffs, Crocosmia, Crocus etc all add to the cottage look and are all low maintainance. You can get all of those quite cheaply over the next few months as bare roots or bulbs.

greenhouse set up

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 08:01

I tried one of those soft skinned plastic greenhouses last year - due to lack of ventilation (only opening the door allows air to cirulate and disspate moisture) it was always dripping wet. I found slabs and decking helped but did not solve the issue of condensation. To answer the question then weedsuppressor then gravel and regularly opening the door is the way to go. Greenhouses are good for keeping the rain and frost off but they can get colder than the outside during freezing weather as the heat only builds up during the night and the cold air stays longer during the short daylight hours of our winters.


perparing for next year

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 10:52

Am planning the garden for next year and have just bought some horticultural fleece. Greenhouse is also on order!

terracotta greek/roman wine urn planter

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 11:20

You can easily buy new ones in most garden centres for less than £20. Original Roman/Greek ones can be bought but they cost a few hundred quid plus. Victorian ones will be less than £100.

moving to scotland

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 10:33

If by the sea in Ayrshire then you will have the milding affect of salt air and the Gulf Stream but that will only extend a mile or so inland. Summer light is longer (up to 21 hours of potential sunshine in late June) but converse only 6 hours sunlight in winter. As far as I know inland Ayrshire is quite hilly and gets bad snow at times. West coast is also very wet and rainy and prone to cloud, further east you go the drier and sunnier it is. Further north and higher you go the colder it is - Aberdeenshire gets snow most years.

Metoffice has some stats on Scotland:

The driest place in Scotland is around the Firth of Forth (Fife and Lothians) which is close to the driest place in England - so it is not all wet and doom and gloom.

What to plant

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 13:52

Strawberries are easy but the fruit period is small and they are very cheap in the shops. Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries (nice varieties), Kiwi are quite expensive to buy in shops, so are worth growing in the garden.

Fig can grow in the UK and the leaves are attractive in their own right.

Mango and Papaya, unless you have a large heated greenhouse are not going to work in the UK.


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