Latest posts by Busy-Lizzie

Paralysed but excited

Posted: 22/01/2016 at 12:57

Make a list of the plants you like as they pop into your head. I have an exercise book where I note down things to do with the garden. Then, if you can, go to a garden centre when plants are growing, too soon now, and see what they have that looks nice on your list. Look plants up on Google to check things like their heights and growing conditions. Note that in your book too, so that you will be forearmed when it's time to buy.

Tree suggestions

Posted: 22/01/2016 at 12:51

I agree with Nutcutlet. Pleached hornbeams are lovely but you have to keep them pruned every year. What about a mixture of small trees, like fruit trees, rowans, flowering cherries, silver birch Jaquemontii? You would have to prune trees like apples though.

Potatoes - Earlies and Main Crop

Posted: 22/01/2016 at 12:45

I agree too. But I grow Charlotte, which is a second early. I leave them in the ground, digging them when I need them and they usually last until Christmas. They are like new potatoes to start with, then they grow bigger and the leaves die down and they are more like maincrop potatoes.


Posted: 22/01/2016 at 12:34

I only think of 2 or 3 days in advance too, but there is always something in the freezer. I buy fish when there's a promotion, have one meal and freeze the rest. I always think of something to do with the leftovers too, hate throwing food away. Tonight it's simple, burgers and salad with chips for OH. French burgers aren't like English ones. They are just lean beef minced and formed into burgers, almost like tender steak. Tonight's are 5% fat, you can get them 15% fat too. No additives.

Help with design

Posted: 22/01/2016 at 10:30

I'm afraid I'm not a fan of pyracantha, it is very, very spiny and needs regular trimming to keep it under control. It's far to dense to grow clematis in and would make it very difficult to prune the clematis.  But the birds love the berries.

I'm also not a fan of Parthenocissus, or Virginia Creeper, it can be very vigourous and must be kept off the roof. I hate heights! A previous owner of my house planted it and I just can't get rid of it. It's now growing in the vegetable garden the other side of the house.

I much prefer climbing hydrangeas, clematis and climbing roses. The last two would need tying onto a support such as wires on eyelets screwed into the wall, or a trellis. They look more cottage gardeny too. Look up clematis on this site which gives  lot of information. http://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk/  and look up roses on theses sites. http://www.classicroses.co.uk/     http://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/ 

Classic cottage gardens don't have lawns, or very little - but I think a lawn sets off the plants nicely. But if the lawn is in curves, rather than straight lines and sharp corners it looks softer and more cottagy.

Aubretia is lovely spilling over walls and paths, but it will only be in flower early in the year. Other plants could take over for later. There is a huge choice of perennials, I think it would help if you could buy a book about them and how to plant a cottage garden. It's too soon to do much outside anyway so winter can be used for research. Study the Internet and look up plants and garden styles on Google.

Lupins are very easy to grow from seed but if you sow them this year they will be gorgeous next year. Beware of slugs and snails, they love them. There are many different varieties of plants like hardy geraniums, salvias, veronicas, nepeta etc. Search for them with Google.

Have a look in the garden centres. Note the names of plants you like and plants on seed packets then go home and look them up on Google to get more information about growing conditions. The photos on seed packets and in publicity are often better than in real life! They are trying to sell them!

Don't make it too formal with lots of clipped shrubs. Box balls look nice in pots by the front door or in a corner for contrast. DON'T plant Leylandii, they grow enormous very fast and if you prune into old wood that bit stays brown and ugly. Lavenders are nice, for sun, they don't like heavy clay. Perovskia are lovely too, but some can get a bit floppy.

I don't really think anything clashes much when there is green in between from foliage. And if one plant flowers early and another late in the season it doesn't matter if they clash as they won't be out together.

You need a bit of contrast from the leaves, like Hemerocallis (day lily) with long pointy leaves with Alchemilla Mollis with it's rounder leaves. Alchemilla will spill over the path but can seed itself a lot so you need to cut off the dead flowers. The leaves are pretty after rain as the droplets sit on them.

Good luck.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 22/01/2016 at 09:50

My snowdrops are coming out and the Roe deer here don't eat them. -2° frosty, too cold for gardening. Need to get logs in for the woodburner.


Posted: 22/01/2016 at 09:45

I hope the Doc manages to find a cure for Pat quickly. Hope Wonky's OH feels better soon.

That walk sounded painful, Lesley.

More curtains and cushions to make today, love the new machine - it's like driving a BMW instead of a Fiat Panda. My car feels good too, but the repairs were a bit pricey, will have to be extra careful with money for the next 2 months. But the sewing machine came from the money my lovely Mum left. She would be 91 if she were still here.

Grey sky, frosty, -2°.


Posted: 21/01/2016 at 22:01

How newly planted are your asparagus? If it's a new bed I would leave them alone. If an established bed I expect they will stop if the weather gets cold. But I feel if you keep cutting them it will exhaust them. I grew asparagus for years, but they never grew this early.


Posted: 21/01/2016 at 21:57

We've been out for the evening, a French social thingy, quite fun. Less fun for OH who finds French hard.

Glad you like your new floor Wonky.


Posted: 21/01/2016 at 12:54

I sent RB a PM, don't have her email, haven't had a reply yet, but I only sent it this morning.

My Mum had a Singer with a handle to turn. It wasn't as easy as the treadle one at school. There were electric ones too. I wasn't going to say , but then thought, why not, I would have said if I'd got a lower mark, I got distinction in needlework.

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