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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Clay Soil

Posted: 12/11/2013 at 18:54

Dove is bang-on - it's always preferable to improve clay that way.  In severe cases lime will help but it's best to do a soil test with a cheap kit first as adding lime to an already alkaline soil isn't a good idea - there are far more plants which prefer neutral to acid soil than those which prefer alkaline conditions.  In really bad claggy alkaline clay, adding gypsum (builder's plaster is the cheapest way to buy it) will help it break down  without increasing alkalinity.  Frost will do a fine job, too - leave big clods of clay on the surface over Winter and they will be broken down a little every time there is a frost.

Clay is naturally very fertile and although it's hard work to improve the structure, once done you will have one of the best soils there is.

Compost again

Posted: 12/11/2013 at 18:27

It will still help John.  The composting process is exactly the same in Winter but just proceeds more slowly.  Anything which provides a bit extra Nitrogen will help accelerate composting.

Pots going green!

Posted: 10/11/2013 at 12:45

It's almost certainly algae and will be more likely to appear on pots which are in shady areas and never dry out.  I actually quite like the effect as it suits my cottage-style garden but I can understand it looking unsightly in other garden styles.

It can be cleaned off by removing the plant from the pot and scrubbing with soapy water.  Soaking them in a diluted bleach solution afterwards will stop it coming back so quickly, but it's almost inevitable with unglazed clay pots.

Talkback: How to prune a plum tree

Posted: 10/11/2013 at 12:37

Hi poppies, while Summer pruning will encourage growth less than Winter pruning (and plums must be pruned in Summer to avoid Silver leaf disease, as is mentioned earlier in this thread), any kind of pruning will promote stronger growth.  My advice would be to avoid pruning it for a couple of years at least - if it is still growing strongly after then, prune it back in Summer to the size you want.

can you make a free hedge?

Posted: 10/11/2013 at 12:30

Hawthorn can be a bit reluctant from cuttings too - when I tried, success rate was only about 20%.  Let us know which hedging plants you already have and we'll be able to advise, as Dove said.


Planting in winter

Posted: 07/11/2013 at 19:20

Absolutely.  If you go for bare-root trees and shrubs you will find that the suppliers have only just started shipping them.  Bare-root trees should only be planted when they are dormant and tend to establish better than pot-grown ones in any case.  The only time you shouldn't plant such things is when the soil is actually frozen or waterlogged - any other ground conditions between now and March is fine and the ideal time for planting these.  Go for it.

Honey Fungus

Posted: 07/11/2013 at 18:53

Judging by the size compared to the blades of grass and leaves, I'd say that almost certainly ISN'T Honey fungus so you have nothing to worry about.


Zones in gardening terms?

Posted: 06/11/2013 at 19:18

The USDA ratings are simply the lowest temperatures a plant is expected to survive and in that respect the map above is perfect.  It's nothing to do with the 'weather' as such.  However, the text to the right of the Trebrown map says exactly what fidgetbones said and is something with which I fully agree.  Microclimate and rainfall are what will determine whether a plant will flourish and the USDA ratings say nothing about that.  I don't even bother to look at USDA ratings, ever.

Zones in gardening terms?

Posted: 05/11/2013 at 21:38

Hi Treesrgreen, if you mean the US plant hardiness zone system, the website below has made the UK equivalent using the same system.  In the text on the right you can see places to click which will swap the colours to match the USDA system, too:


Help me tranform my front garden!

Posted: 05/11/2013 at 20:07

I think it looks lovely already, Amanda!  Verdun has come up with some good plants for you.  Personally, I've always wanted a Japanese rock garden so would try putting an interesting looking rock in the centre and rake circular 'ripples' around it in the gravel.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

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ID trumpet flower

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Flower ID

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Oh no, lily beetles are back!

More of warning than a plea for help.. 
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Last Post: Yesterday at 19:38
15 threads returned