Latest posts by Bookertoo

Invasive plants to avoid

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 17:52

Yes, I find geranium phaeum a real thug, trying to get rid of as much as possible of that, had forgotten that one!

pineapple tops

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 17:50

He probably did, but he is really quite something else again, most of us just do not have his time or space - but good luck to anyne who tries it here. 

pineapple tops

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:09

You can grow them as pot plants, the leaves will grow on, but you will not get any fruit unless you go for a very hot hot house, which would make pineapples a very expensive treat!   We grew them in our garden in Zambia, they do indeed look unexpected, not at all what we might have imagined before.   I have a very old gardening book from 1895, which describes growing them, took several people a great deal of work, lots of horse manure, straw,  and an enormous greenhouse, plus several small boys to keep the boiler lit all night! Somehow I don't think we would manage that these days!

Advice for a novice

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:06

It is a bit late to put permanent planting into pots, though there are such things as hostas which you can plant now, probably better to wait until spring for most things to start permanent planting.  Bulbs for spring need to start being planted end of August into September for daffodils, much later for tulips, violas are good now and may flower all winter depenedent upon the weather.   Evergreens such as the small hollies are good, christmas box, any of the smaller euonymous, golden laurel  - lots of choices for pots, worth looking around some good web sites for what is on offer now. The reality is that you can grow anything in a pot as long as you are willing to do everything for the plant that it cannot do for itself.  For eating, small apples, plums, blueberries and - of course - strawberries.

Climber to cover large wall

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:01

If you use a montana it really requires little or no pruning as you want it to cover a large area, just the odd stem to tidy it up, not complicated as the summer ones are often seen to be.  After flowering it it leaves a covering of pretty leaves, and a good stenciling of twisting stems in the winter.  Once established it may support other lighter clematis when its own flowers are over - we do that here.   What it will need is a good strong set of support wires as a well grown montana can weigh a tremendous amount in full flower, especially when wet.  Grandiflora and rubus are  the the largest, there are others which are more perfumed and slightly less strong in growth. 

What is this strange plant?

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 10:44

Liverwort appears whenever soil or compost gets persistently wet, and this year that means a lot of liverwort!  We get it on and between our flagstones, mostly it dries up and disappears, but in pots I do remove it as I find it quite ugly - besides, it usually means something needs correcting in the pots.  A very old 'plant' that appears to be somewhere between lichen/moss and ferns. 

Viburnum Bodnantense. " Dawn".

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 10:40

We've got hellebores in flower too, plus some lilac - poor plants don't know what time of year it is!

Invasive plants to avoid

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 23:01

Depends I suppose what you mean by invasive? I love my lysimachia firecracker, yes it does spread, but it easily enough removed where you don't want it. Lily of the valley gets everywhere, but who could object to that? Well, I guess some folk might.  The invasiveness also varies from garden to garden, I have trouble getting japanese anemones to grow at all, never mind become a problem, whereas my friend a couple of miles away finds them a dreadful pest. Artemesia limelight is a pain, but others are Ok, it used to turn up in hanging baskets but not so much now I'm glad to say.  After all, Japanese knotweed was introduced as an ornamental plant - a message to ponder maybe.  One mans invasive pest is another persons joy and delight - maybe some of my hardy geraniums might be considered as invasive - what a delight!


Posted: 30/07/2012 at 22:54

Just to add insult to injury, we actually deliberately grow a variegated type of this in pretty deep shade under a large red sycamore tree, where nothing else will grow.  It has stayed in place for many years now, is never allowed to flower and lightens up the area very well.  The horrid green version does infest a couple of beds lower down in the garden, where I do my best to keep it under some sort of control - with limited success.  I do make the tea I mentioned, it doesn't taste beautiful - cabbage water springs to mind, half a teaspoon of honey helps, but it really does help the muscles & bones. 

Stinging Vine

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 18:09

That is indeed a golden hop, and indeed it can bite, especially if it wraps around yoyr wrist or so.  A bit of hydrocortisone cream from the pharmacy helps.  You don't need to cut it down, the huge thing just dies back in winter, digging up some of it where you don't want it, or pulling it out (wearng good gloves) when it is coming through, once it starts up it flies, amazing how quickly it grows.   Mine grows up an obelisk, over a trellis over a path then up the side of the house - it lives with a grape vine, and they look stunning together.   

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