Latest posts by Blueboots

Replace conifers with fruit trees?

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 18:50

We have two conifers (about 20 ft tall) that we'd like to cut down and plant 2 or 3 fruit trees instead (maybe apple, plum, cherry).  Problem is we can't get any heavy machinery to that part of the garden as it's accessed by steps.

I've never tried to remove a tree (roots and all) before. Any idea what I'm letting myself in for?

Also, if I'm planting a fruit tree where a conifer used to be, do I have to do anything particular to prepare the soil? Is it even a good idea to do this?

How shaded should clematis roots be?

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 18:39

That's valuable advice, thanks guys! I think you've probably saved me from a disaster (or at least a serious bit of timewasting while I slowly realised my plan wouldn't work.)

My nephew just made me a wonderful trough out of thick wood. The plantable space is 3' 3" long, 1' 1" front to back, and 1' deep. It sounds like that is much too small for clematis, let alone dealing with the problem of shading the roots.

I have two new trellis panels (totaling 12ft wide and 5ft tall - and also constructed by nephew ) with this trough below one of them. It faces east and will get full sun till about midday (i.e. will get hot). Any ideas what might like to climb out of that? There's no soil near it so I don't have the option of planting in the ground...unless I train something up a tree and across a path to reach the top of the trellis...

It's opposite the kitchen window and I really want it to look good.

How shaded should clematis roots be?

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 11:44

I'm going to buy a clematis. I believe they like sun on the foliage, but shaded roots. What does shaded roots actually mean. Do I need to plant the clematis under a leafy tree or a wall, then train it out to where I want it? Would it be OK to plant it in a trough in full sun, and plant other plants (e.g. violas) on top, or cover the soil with gravel, or rocks? 

Maybe a trough isn't the place for a clematis and I should consider a passionflower instead?


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 11:38

We sucessfully put a very cheap plastic slinky spring over the pole a couple of years ago. Squirrels can't climb up it. I just saw a video where someone put a slinky over the line suspending a feeder from a tree, squirrels didn't like that either.

At less than £1 for a cheap slinky spring toy, it's worth a go.


Posted: 29/08/2013 at 11:28

We liked squirrels till they got into the loft. We had a lot of trouble getting rid of them and they chewed up some wires.  Now we vigorously deter them.

Keeping them off a bird feeder on a pole is easy. Attach a slinky spring so it hangs over the pole and they can't climb up it. You can't support anything like a feeding dish half way up the pole, but it means squirrels can't get to the hanging feeders at the top. We put a very cheap plastic one (around 75p) up a couple of years ago, and it's still going strong.

Full sun fragrant climbing rose

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 11:06

Thanks everyone, it's been a great success.  I moved all the plants into quarantine and sprayed the whole patch with glyphosate. I put some leftover supermarket herbs in a couple of months ago (thyme, basil, parsley) and they have done well. Yesterday I dug out all the dead foliage in the rest of it and the mangy rose, and dug in fertiliser and some more compost. A nice lovage plant survived, and some marjoram, and to my surprise the chard. The chard bolted when moved and I thought it had died, but there are some fine new leaves coming up. It will probably bolt again now I've moved it back! I added lemon thyme, sage and tarragon, and it's looking lovely.

Now, the rose. I was going to get one of the gorgeous ones recommended above, but I've had so much trouble with deer eating the roses on the other side of the house I'm not sure it would be a good move. I might try it, but I might go for a passionflower or clematis instead.


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 09:01

The worst tool I bought was a medium sized (about 2 feet high, cylindrical) spray container for spraying weeds. The strap (just one) went over the shoulder and was attached to the bottle with two split rings.

I filled it and slung it over my shoulder. One of the split rings straightened under the weight, and the full bottle came down behind me and hit me on the calf, bruising it. If it had fallen at the front on my foot it would have broken it.

After that I tried another one (different make) and tied the straps as well as whatever clips it had. In the end I bought a magnificent backpack sprayer with pump handle attached. It's ergonomically much better, and works brilliantly.

Invisible something eating my roses

Posted: 08/08/2013 at 08:42

The deer has redeemed himself. We saw him eating bindweed .

Invisible something eating my roses

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 12:12

A couple of days ago I had an aaaaaah moment when a small deer skipped down the drive, under the kitchen window and off down to the bottom of the garden. The next day I had a Grrrr! moment when I noticed my latest (gorgeous) roses (and buds) had been neatly beheaded.

It's definitely deer.


Posted: 22/07/2013 at 14:14

LOTS of water. They grow enormous vines too. I was about to plant one in a small bed right next to my neighbour's fence when luckily somebody put me straight. Instead we planted at the bottom of the garden in the largely uncleared bit. One part became pumpkin jungle instead of nettle jungle. It was great fun.

We left a few pumpkins on the vines in case something happened to one of them.

I heard that peeing on them helps them grow, but we didn't try this. It's also a way of saving water I suppose.

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