Latest posts by Bookertoo

VERY small garden ideas on a budget

Posted: 18/06/2013 at 12:03

One of the things for a small garden is to use the sides to grow climbng plants, as this makes the whole area more 'garden like', I - personal opinion only -  cannot agree with less is more in a small space. I have seen some of the most stunning small gardens, absolutely packed with suitable planting - and that's the thing, it does need to be suitable for the space.  What position is the garden in, when does the sun shine and where, what kind of soil do you have  -  and most important - what do you actually want? A place to sit, flowers with perfume, colour or green, pots or ground planting - £800 sounds like a huge amount of money to me, although I have a bigger garden than you have, I rarely have spent large amounts of money on it.  You can get membrane at any good retailer or on line, and a builders merchant will tell you exactly how much gravel you want need for the site, and will deliver it alot cheaper than stores.  I would suggest that if you do go the gravel route, you keep the colour muted and almost diaappearing as the emphasis needs to be on the plants, and you will quickly tire of a fancy colour in a year ot two - hopefully with something neutral you will just stop seeing it at all.  Allow things to develop slowly, you don't have to 'finish' it all at once.  Take time to get it right for you - gardens - whatever their size - evolve as nature and you work together to grow something special.

There are some excellent books about small gardens, it might be helpful to use your public library to look at some of these, and see what kind of thing makes you feel happy, and that is right for your area.  Take your time, you will have to live with the results, and you do not have space to hide errors.  Most of all, have fun and enjoy the search and the making of your own special place. 

Greenhouse erection is up..but will it stay up??

Posted: 18/06/2013 at 11:49

Any part of the greenhouse that is not absolutely square will put strain on the rest of it.  I am assuming it is a metal, aluminium framed one, not wood? (I ask this as wood is more forgiving)  Glass has no flexibility whatsoever so any slight strain will cause a crack or even a break in due course.  The end frame certainy should not be 'wobbly', either you have missed a cross bar or it really is very out of true and is struggling to stay erected.  The manufactureres tell you where the clips should be for a very good reason, that's where they need to be to hold the glass in stability. (Reminds me of the poster my son had as a child 'when all else fails read the instructions' !)  The bowing sides and unstraight roof bar does worry me, I am fearful that you or someone else will get a drop of glass upon them, it really sounds as if some of your stabilising bars are either not there at all, or are really unable to do their job.  I don't want to sound negative, a greenhouse is a thing of joy, and I would not be without mine, but I really do think you need to get this one very carefully looked at by someone who has expertise in the erection of outdoor structures, you need to be safe, and at this time it does not sound as safe as it should be. 

Climbing hydrangea

Posted: 18/06/2013 at 11:41

Time and patience is indeed the answer, mine took a few years to get climbing and flowering - be aware they can get very heavy so be sure your trellis is weighty enough for the job.  They will flower all in their own good time, and are well worth the wait. 

Care for bedding tulips after flowering

Posted: 18/06/2013 at 11:38

Yes, and then it is a good idea to give them a feed while they boost for next year.  There are various bulb feed products out there, but any good general fertiliser will do the job.  I usually use seaweed fertiliser.  Having said all that, I am not conviced about tulips ability to perform a second year, unless they are the specie types.  I regard nearly all tulips as annuals, they are cheap enough now to do that - compare with a half way decent plant for example.  When autumn comes I just replant the area or pots I want with new bulbs, and if any of last years arrive as well, that is a lovely bonus.  I do have a very few that have come back year on year, but the vast majority do not.  Still, if you want them, feeding them will certainy improve their chances, and the daffodils etc. will surely appreciate the feed. 


Posted: 17/06/2013 at 12:21

I have read of this before, though sadly I cannot tell you the answer.  I think it has something to do with if your plant was a cutting or seed grown - it appears that some just don't flower.  I think you have been patient enough - maybe send a clematis montana or a climbing rose up it - but that would be very heavy with the wisteria as well.It may be time to grit you teeth and get it out, replacing it with a wisteria you see in flower before you buy it - whatever you do, good luck. 


Posted: 17/06/2013 at 12:18

.... and, as RF says, you do not want to put the roots, vast numbers of them that there will be, into your compost, nor anyones elses either.  If you can, burn them.

I agree with paying someone to do the job for you if possible - there are some things worth paying out for and I suspect your problem is one of them.   You could try tree stump killer on the cut ends, but I'm not sure that will be enough to get rid of it entirely - running bambbos are difficult - the clump ones behave themselves well - sadly they are rarely labelled as such. 

Talkback: Hostas, slugs and snails

Posted: 17/06/2013 at 12:14

Yes it is pricey, but rremember what you have paid for your plants, and it does last for ages.  If you know a friendly plumber, ask if he/she will give you some of the little scraps of copper pipe they cut off fittings - it's mostly plastic these days I know, but some copper is still used.  I put these on the ground around delicate plants, and this seems to help. I am toying with a way of fitting the copper better around the ground plants, maybe on short bit of bamboo or so - must be possible. 

Sambucus woes

Posted: 17/06/2013 at 11:33

Hi, yes cottinus would be good - needs hard pruning to give of its best copper leaves and smoke.  Physocarpus 'diabolo' is good too, more upright than cottinus, with little pink flowers.

Can you move your sambuccus?  It is such a beauty when out of the wind, but it certainly does get severe wind burn.  I grow mine in a pot and it is very good, though of course it will never get to the larger size I might have liked, but my garden is also a wind tunnel in places, so that was the only realistic option, so I could move it around until it was happy.  Where it is happy I cannot put it in the ground, about right huh? 

Talkback: Hostas, slugs and snails

Posted: 17/06/2013 at 11:27

Agree with keeping tender hostas in pots, in fact all of mine are in pots.  Each pot has a collar of copper tape around it.  Sometimes slugs will climb up the wall and drop into pots, or the leaves drape over the sides so they get up those, but on the whole it has reduced the problems to manageable size.  The copper gives out a tiny electrical charge which they will not cross - I have the idea it works for snails too as they are soft bodied underneath so I assume they would get shocked too.

The very big disgusting slugs are in fact our friends, they live on small slugs, the little ones that hide under ground, and which devastate our plants.  So although they may look awful, they are not the ones you need to get rid of to protect your hostas. 


Posted: 17/06/2013 at 10:34

Please do let us know how you get on, I am fascinated by the idea and have been considering it for single bees.  We have one that lives under a stone in our alpine bed, a neat tunnel that is sealed every winter - don't know how long solitary bees live, so maybe it is the originals grandchildren - but someone is there.  Would love to encourage more to the area. 

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