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Latest posts by Bookertoo

Plant identifying help

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:02

Both of your triffids are called verbascum, and are grown by lots of people on purpose!!  However, they do take alot of spae, and probably do not look quite right on your allotment - there is nothing to stop you digging it out is there?  Maybe offer it to someone who has the room for it?   Glos gardener, if this is a verbascum, as I suspect, it will flower next year - they make the huge floury rosette the first year, then flower and often die then, though I see that marshmello has a perennial one.  They grow in the flagstones of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, quite amazing to see this huge plant come up where there does not seem to be any soil - year on year.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:03

Glad to hear not everyone is quite as mad as we are!!   Whar started as a convenience as work demanded that we moved house every year for a few years, has become little short of an obsession since we settled here 15 years ago.  You are absolutely right about wind and things in pots, but eventually when you have enough they become a wind baffle in themselves.  Meanwhile things like yur doubtless lovely loquat and some acers really do not like the wind. 

Pouring with rain today so no watering, and the butts will fill up too - sorry for the Jubilee celebrations, but from a purely selfish point of view, it is good stuff. 

Watch out for silver birch, it gets very tall and needs a great deal of weight to stop it falling over (mine is atually planted in the garden, not in a pot), I have some full grown willow trees in pots - but they are less than 1 inch high so perhaps don't quite count.  One is slightly larger as 12 inches, our contorted willow is also a ground dweller. 


Posted: 02/06/2012 at 22:15

Well, some of the pots are so large and have such mature plants in them that in fact it is extremley rare that they get any watering at all.  Some of the trees are now immobile as the roots have almost certainly gone throughthe bottom of the pot and are happily meandering around the world!!   The bulb pots get put out of sight by the shed in summer and can be ignored till they start again in Spring,  and provided you give things like clematis and smaller shrubs a really good soaking when you do water, they don't need watering as often as you might think.  Having said that, the potted summer bedding, the baskets and bowls and so on do of course need alot of watering, but it is a self inflicted problem, so I just get on with it.  It is rare that we have lost anything from not being able to water enough, though it does get tight sometimes and then hard decisions have to be made.  Many of the pots sit in beds between ground planted things, and get some ground water as well as rain or my efforts.   You are right about watering in the rain, some things jsut need it as the leaves are so large that the water runs off them onto the ground not the pot - but as my neighbours are alrady convinced I'm pretty mad, they don't notice any more!

Talkback: Most hated plants

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 17:46

Anything that has been bred to look and behave differenty from it's natural way.  Double flowers that the bees cannot use, pink daffodils, yellow geraniums, poky little pants that should be tall and graceful.  Variegated leaves with bright flowers, never meant in nature.  I suppose anything that has been interfered with so much that it no longer looks like a plant at all. 


Posted: 02/06/2012 at 17:37

As I have said many, many times, to everyones boredom I imagine - you can grow anything in a pot as long as you are prepared to put the work into watering, feeding and caring for it all year round  I have an oak tree, several acers, and quite a few other trees and shrubs in pots, including a golden catalpa and some Japanese flowering cherries, most there for several years, all doing well.  The only one which was sulking this year was the magnolia stellata, which probably wants taking out if its pot, root trimmed and fresh compost - will do it when I can find a spare pair of hands - hopefully attached to someone else.  

The downside is that you really do have to keep a very close eye on them and give them plenty of atttention and care - which is why we don't go away in the summer - but with 400 plus pots in the garden I can't ask my neighbour to pop in for half an hour every two or three days to water!!!  We get on well, but that might just put an end to it.  I'm not suggesting everyone, or anyone, should be as daft about pots as I am, the point is that you can grow anything in a pot if it is big enough, the pot that is, and you are willing to act as mother earth for the plant. 


Posted: 02/06/2012 at 17:28

Ants can only eat them if someone else has broken the skin for them, they are not able to get into a strawberry by themselves. One the bird has pecked them then it is a free for all for just about anything in the garden - including mold fungus.  There is an organic slug pellet that helps here, and I net them with fairly heavy netting so that the birds feet don't get tangled up in it as they do the thin stuff.   Just about everyone loves strawberries as much as we do, so physical measures are all you can really do.   You can use a thin fleece or fine mesh cloche over them - the light and water will get through - i have done this later in the season,  after the pollinators have had their chance to get in there.  Good luck.

shade loving ground cover

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 17:23

Wow, so good to hear positive things about the variegated ground elder, I agree that it is super in reallly difficult dry places - previously I got some very sharp notes about it when I mentioned it.  I've not tried alliums where it grows because it is so dreadfully dry, and I don't want the elder to escape - but the geranium phaeum grows there as well, with the pachysandrum - makes a good cover for a very inhospitable area.

interested to hear you grow it over the weedy one auntie betty - doesn't the green one overcome it?  I am overun with that in part of my fruit cage - there is a bank going down to an old quarry there which is just elder, nettles and so on, so I can't really beat it.  If I thought the variegated one would help I'd be tempted to try it there. 

Flippin' pigeons

Posted: 30/05/2012 at 12:03

On the TV that would be fine and admirable, as long as it was many miles from my garden!!!! 

Hanging basket trial

Posted: 30/05/2012 at 12:02

Have fed mine with clematis pellets, and top dressed with new compost and she is starting to look alot better.  Will cut to base next time as advised. 

Growing Sweetcorn

Posted: 30/05/2012 at 11:59

......  and use the very best butter you can get - oh yummy!!

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