- My garden is high in the Pennines where no-one else is mad enough to even try. I keep it as natural as possible so it blends with the borrowed landscape, but try for lots more flowers.
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Yesterday at 18:03
They are equipped to cope with the worst our winters can throw at them .They hate being hot or dry.
I can keep them in my porch, which is like an icebox, provided I water them when they need it. After a couple of months I will plant them in the garden and they will go on for years.
As they get bigger you can split them and pot up one or two to bring inside providing you have somewhere cold enough.
If not, plant them in a nice pot just outside your windows or door and enjoy them that way
Yesterday at 17:50
OOps - I obviously hit the word limit and got cut short
Just wanted to say the choice is yours and wish you good luck
Yesterday at 17:46
Dock, thistle and nettles are greedy plants and thrive where there are high levels of nitrogen in the soil. They will over power any more desirable wild flowers which generally prefer poor soils.
Meadow strictly refers to fields that were cut for hay, so the grasses and flowers were left to grow tall before being cleared. The hay was removed, so the nutrients did not go back into the soil. People often think cornfield weeds such as poppies and cornflowers grow in meadows but their requirements are different.
So first you have to decide what kind of meadow you want. You also have to think about your conditions - a damp shady place will suit different plants from a dry sunny one, and how acid or alkaline your soil is also makes a difference.
I have 3 different 'meadow' areas in my garden.My soil is acid.
The first is only meadowy in spring, when I leave the grass to grow longer and it has daisies, buttercups, celandine, cuckoo flowers, selfheal, violets and forget-me-nots, with red campiom and ferns at the edges. When the spring flowers finish, I mow it as normal for the rest of the summer. It is partially shaded, never fed and always green as we get plenty of rain. I weed out docks, dandelion and large plantains by hand, otherwise pretty much anything can grow as it likes.
The second area is a summer meadow, but has loads of daffodils in spring. The grasses are left to grow long and there are some plants that grow naturally here - pignut, knapweed, hogweed, wound wort, alchemilla, buttercups and clovers and others that I grew from seed and then planted out - meadow cranesbill, betony, agrimony. It is cut to the ground in September/October and raked and all the grass removed and I mow it again if it keeps growing so that the grass is short in spring to enjoy the daffs. This patch is drier and quite sunny, again never fed and I weed out thistles, docks, nettles (it is next to the sheep field, so the edge gets too much nitrogen) rosebaywillow herb and some of the hogweeds if they get too large.
The third patch is shaded and has a little stream running through it and it can be very wet in winter. It gets strimmed occasionally in autumn/winter if it is dry enough and I have time. Often it isn't or I don't, so it is left. This has different grasses, like tussocky deschampsia, pignut, buttercups, marsh marigolds and cuckoo flowers. It also has a few shrub roses, camassia bulbs and a martagon lily and bistort (Persicaria bistorta superba) and sanguisorba (burnet) which I have added. I don't feed or weed this area except to remove large rushes which would otherwise take over. I call it my exotic meadow as it has non-native plants. It always looks lovely in late spring and into summer, then No 2 takes over.
Though I would like a mini cornfield 'meadow', I don't have one as there is nowhere really suitable. That would need an area of freshly turned soil, not too rich, and a sunny spot, to sow seeds in. The plants would die off in autumn (they are annuals) and the stems would be removed, leaving the seeds behind to germinate for the following year.
Sowing seeds into grass is seldom successful as the grass always has a head start. You can buy plug plants , grow them on and then plant out, choosing ones suitable for your site, or sow seeds and do the same.
Alternatively you can strip off all the topsoil and remove it, dig the area over and buy seeds of a suitable meadow mix to sow in spring. It will take a couple of years at least for the plants to reach a balance and some may do better than others.
You could choose mainly spring flowers and treat it like my first meadow, butt don't cut too early if you want the plants to self seed. You could choose mainly summer flowers and treat it like my second meadow. This one is the hardest work.
Last edited: 20 January 2018 17:49:09
Yesterday at 12:21
The clump at the back with the fluffy seeds is one of the willow herbs, probably Rosebay. The white stalks and yellow roots could be nettles. Their roots are strong and will take some pulling, but they tend to make a hopeless tangle underground, and you need to follow them up on at a time in order to get them out - unless you are really strong!
Looks pretty much like the selection I get in the wilder bits of my garden, which is most of it! I'm such a sad soul that I can now tell a nettle root by its feel and the degree of resistance, and can almost weed them out blindfold
It will take a bit of digging, but you should be able to get most of them out eventually.. Don't rush to plant straight away, give it 3 or 4 weeks and see what comes up, so you can get bits you missed. You could cover part of the plot with thick cardboard to stop them growing any more, while you tackle the first section.
2 days ago at 23:45
You could start to grow sprouting beans or pea shoots and/or some micro herbs on the classroom windowsills at anytime, so the children could watch them grow and them eat them in their sandwiches or sprinkled on their food. Them move on to broad beans grown in jam jars initially to see the roots grow, then into small pots and then hardened off for a few days before planting them in a raised bed. Label them with each child's name and see whose does best!
Cut and come again salad leaves grow fast and can soon be eaten and radishes are fast too, though not all children may like them. You can get things like packets of carrot seed in mixed colours and taste test them, beetroot likewise.
You could grow some edible flowers (mixed packets available) that would help to attract pollinators so the children could watch bees and butterflies as well as try the flowers.
It would definitely be worth growing a courgette or two, as they look very different from other veg and you can almost see them getting bigger every day, they grow fast once they get going. You might come back after summer to a lot of marrows though - or you could try growing a pumpkin for Halloween, if there is any chance of someone to keep it watered through dry spells.
It will depend a bit on the age of the children and what aspect of growing things you want to focus on. It might just be for fun with very little ones, you might talk about the science side or the importance of insects or you could do maths, counting seeds in rows, peas in pods, how many left if I eat some etc or writing stories or poems about their experience.
2 days ago at 16:46
A Victorian one: every gardener needs a back with a cast-iron hinge!
2 days ago at 16:43
I've done quite a few bits over the years and found it very satisfying. Like Obelixx I have used different finishes to suit the piece and its purpose and it is very easy to find suitable products now as there is much more interest in recycling.
It is a skill worth acquiring, especially if, like me, you enjoy an eclectic look. Among my pieces is a little Edwardian sidetable, £3 from a local market, looked awful with partly stripped white paint, now shining with beeswax. A lovely, late Arts & Crafts sideboard, bought on ebay for about £50, now cleaned up and Danish oiled and better than anything from **k furniturel**d. A half moon sofa table that came with the house, and that I cleaned and French polished, using ready-mixed stuff, and a funny little side table that was in M-i-L's shed. It had a pretty little daisy brass handle on the drawer, so I painted it with cream eggshell and added a stencilled daisy border for my daughter's bedroom.
Two were free and the others hardly broke the bank, but to replace them with modern pieces would be many times the cost and none of the new ones would be as well made!
2 days ago at 16:02
My best garden related present, many years ago now, was my shredder. Admittedly I asked for it, but it has been so useful and I just love being able to reduce a huge pile of cumbersome prunings to a small pile of useful chippings
2 days ago at 15:57
A pretty Hebe maybe, or how about a perennial grass? The pennisetums might overwinter outside for you (not a hope here!) but there are plenty of others, of different sizes, that make good hiding places for insectlife and food plants for some, and maybe seeds for birds too. Even ones that are not evergreen can look good through winter and be cut baclk just before new growth in spring. I've got ponytail grass in some pots and a brown Carex that looks great with orange tulips and pansies in the spring.
2 days ago at 10:39
We have Soay sheep and unlike most other breeds they moult, so you can just pull the wool off them in late spring. A bit tricky to spin, as it is short, but I made myself a woolly hat. No ethical problem there, the only problem is that you are restricted in colour - they only come in brown
You can get fibre made from bamboo and even soybeans but the process is not necessarily kind ecologically, as it may use toxic chemicals. As with cotton - the heavy use of fertilisers and water to grow the plants makes it environmentally damaging.
3 days ago at 10:15
The regulars on here don't need blogs.
We've talked about our gardening in 'What did you do today?', posted pics in 'Gardening Gallery', asked about problems and used our experience to help others. We talk about what we have bought and about what has done well, and all sorts of other things on 'Forkers'.We have learned about each others' gardens, the good and the bad, the challenges and successes and tried to help out along the way. That has even extended to support for those struggling with huge issues unrelated to gardening.
For many of us posting on here is talking to friends, less one sided than a blog.
14 Jan 2018 23:29
If you are lucky you might get a peregrine by attracting pigeons with corn, but more likely you'll just get the pigeons. Is that really what you want?
Try watching with binocs for a while to see if you can identify any birds flying at your level. Small birds need cover as well as a suitable and ample food supply and you will only attract those that are aware of what is on offer. City high rise buildings are more like a cliffscape and attract birds that can cope in that habitat.
13 Jan 2018 14:12
I would think in curves, not straight lines. Your patio at the far end would be a good destination for a path that starts and ends near the house. You could wind it round a central planting area, perhaps including a pond, but definitely add a small pretty tree where it would help with your screening. I envisage a wide grass path, but you could make it of other materials, or add flags or stepping stones depending on the effect you want and the amount of traffic.
You would not see all the garden at once, but that makes it more inviting to explore and you could have different planting aeas to suit the amount of sun or shade, or just to create a different feel. Put some suitable taller planting near the back fence and a pergola or arbour in your patio corner for additional screening. Curve beds around the edges to enhance the shape of your pathway.
If you want to retain a central lawn, think round or oval and add planting in places around the edges Now is a good time for planning as you can see the garden's 'bones'. Take some pictures from various viewpoints and try out various ideas to see how it might look, then on a fine day take canes and string and a hosepipe and position them to get a feel of how it might work for you.
Last edited: 13 January 2018 14:13:47
13 Jan 2018 08:26
Don't take out your last male holly, unless your others are self-fertile varieties,. or there are others around!
13 Jan 2018 08:17
12 Jan 2018 10:02
Dog tired, dogging my heels, have the black dog. Happy as cows in clover
The one I know (and even use sometimes!) is 'Hell's bell and buckets of blood'!
09 Jan 2018 10:09
When we moved here, 34 years ago. there were 3 successively larger ponds, created by damming a little valley through the garden. There is a spring line just beyond our boundary and the ponds were fed by the largest of these. We get our domestic water from another, higher up the hill. The subsoil is clay and I do not know whether it is this alone that creates the ponds or if they were 'puddled' but there is no kind of liner and the large dam does not leak.
All three ponds were almost completely silted up and we had a hired digger excavate the largest and the smallest and all the silt was dumped in the middle one. This for two reasons, mostly because the flow of water year round is not enough to sustain the surface area of all 3 ponds and also because it made the garden space more useable.
The smallest pond and its dam act as a partilal silt filter for the remaining large pond which is still fairly deep - to the tops of my wellies near the edge, and deeper in the middle. The small pond, about the same size as yours, is full and like yours needs digging out, it dried out almost completely last summer. The same system operates for our domestic water supply - a small tank higher up overflows into the much larger one - and works well. Perhaps if there is space you could do something similar and add another pond - a kitchen sink would do - into your water system, that is easier to clear out, even though it would need doing more often.
Digging out is on my list for this year, but I am less concerned about the wildlife as the ducks ensure that there is little in this pond, though it finds more hiding places in the large one. I am aiming to move a few bucketsful at a time and use them to smooth out levels on the grassed areas around.
08 Jan 2018 11:25
No chance of ever cleaning my greenhouse except for the height of summer!
It is currently stuffed to the gunwales with a variety of ornamental and non-hardy plants, pots of bulbs etc. Have to overwinter lots of stuff that those in gentler climes can leave outside.
I will need to add another temporary shelf unit at seed sowing time!
06 Jan 2018 16:40
I live in the Pennines on the Cheshire/Derbyshire border and you can see the Dee estuary from the top of the hill. Probably fairly similar cold, wet and windy conditions to you.
I don't think I have ever seen a honey bee here, have to rely heavily on bumble bees and other insects. Last spring my broadbeans had flowers on them for 5 or 6 weeks before they finally got pollinated and I found out that it is not just overall numbers that matter .
Different species of bumbles emerge at different times in flushes, and I think as my beans went in a bit late (making a new raised bed) that I missed the first flush, as there had been bees about. If the apple blossom is affected by a cold snap or a warm spell it may affect the overall orchestration of pollination.
The more I find out out about this world of ours the more marvellously complex it appears.
06 Jan 2018 16:21
Cos he told his wife he'd quit?