Latest posts by Bookertoo

Talkback: Growing hellebores

Posted: 08/05/2014 at 11:15

Oh dear, what a kindly thing for your OH to do, even if not quite as you wanted it - perhaps more explanations next time?

All you can do now is a) visit friends with seeding hellebores, admire them and beg some seeds, b) buy some which are in seed c) wait till next year, and have a loving talk about how seeds really work, and what you hope to do next time?

Do keep the tray going, plants will do their level best to grow, you may be surprised by them, some may actually germinate?


Posted: 28/04/2014 at 20:08

I gave in to temptation and bought some clems from the clematis man - and am very pleased with the quality for such young plants.

I have been ill so haven't been out in the garden much recently, but the plants are romping away in the cold greenhouse - will have to get them out before they take it over!!


Posted: 28/04/2014 at 11:22

Interesting that this lovely plant, that we call 'Honesty', is called something very different in the Netherlands where it is known as 'Judas's pennies' - not an exact translation but close enough.  Guess the seed pods look like the 'pieces of silver' that Judas was given. 


Posted: 21/03/2014 at 21:42

KEF, hi - when I grew it is was called gunnera magelenica (Hmm, not dreadfully certain of the spelling there!), at one time Beth Chatto's nursery stocked it, but no idea if they still do.   Try the plant finder on the RHS website - they will be likely to know if it is available.  There are in fact two, but I cannot recall the second ones name.  It is some years since I grew them, but they were a delight.  I'll have a look it my records and see if I can find more details, but I promise nothing!!

Dahlia Tubers

Posted: 21/03/2014 at 18:05

Don't worry BizzieB, I chat to my plants all the time!


Posted: 21/03/2014 at 18:03


These grow outside at Chatsworth (which is not far from us so I go and look at their gardens whenever I can.) They are never covered or anything, the huge leaves presumably protect the crown in winter - we had -18C two years ago, not as cold as you obelixx. They get to about 25 feet across  and 15 feet high, with leaves several feet across, stunning  - but even with my passion for growing nearly anything in a pot, even I wouldn't try that - poor things.   There is a tiny gunnera however, which grows to about 3 inches high, otherwise looks exactly like its huge relative, that is a joy and a delight - and alot of fun to say to people that you grow a gunnera in a pot!

Heated Propagators

Posted: 21/03/2014 at 17:55

So easy to understand the enthusiasm which gets people planting so early, but over the years I have discovered (not fast, 'cos these things take time to percolate through to my brain!), that sowing much later gives me much better results.  

Interested in your remarks pundoc re rooting cuttings in the heated trays - I'll try that and hopefully get better results than previously. 

I also get rather cross with the shops which sell rooted seedlings in February, the people whom buy them often don't have a place to rear them well, or possibly the knowledge - the plants die, the person thinks he/she cannot 'do' gardening - and spend a second lot of money later - I think this is just a cynical way of getting people to spend more money, which most of us can ill afford these days. 

Heated Propagators

Posted: 21/03/2014 at 16:39

Indeed, when I started out (not recently!), I cooked lots of seedlings, not realising that is what I was doing, in a non thermostatic propagator.  Rarely use mine with heat now, just as a sowing tray.


Posted: 21/03/2014 at 16:37

If you do it now you will lose all, those pretty blue flowers for this year - most flowering shrubs can be pruned immediately after flowering, so if you like, you can do it then.  I think they are all lovely - enjoy this years flowers and then prune.   They take quite hard pruning well, so you can make it narrow at the back of your border, leaving you more growing room.  Ceanothus are pretty tough, but the branches are brittle so be careful you don't snap more off it than you want to cut off.

Enjoy -  it will soon be gorgeous again.

Best buy books!

Posted: 20/03/2014 at 21:32

Wow, that's a real bargain.  Not much going to get that much out of date,plants remain plants and their care varies little - some plants move families as the botanists decide needful, but they're still mostly findable in the RHS book.   Enjoy, I love mine - both the very old one and the newer ones I got a couple of years ago. 

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