Latest posts by ChapelGirl2

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 09:45

The tree trunk is about 2 metres high and 45cm circumference at the moment, and the branches arch out to the left and right of it, parallel with the base of the slope.  The branches are longer than the tree is tall.

I suppose the reason I started this thread is that I am in two minds myself whether to keep it or chop it down.  I think I will probably try cutting it back this year, and if I'm still not happy with it next year (and I haven't killed it) I can always take it out then. 

Does Anyone Know What This Mauve Flowered Plant Is Please?

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 09:29

Yes, I did that once.  Then the next year, in an area I thought I would NOT like them to grow, there they were... and so on.  

Beech Hedge

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 22:16

Good luck with your beech hedge!  When we were in Norfolk I planted a mixed deciduous 'Tapestry' hedge from bare-rooted stock from Buckingham nurseries.  The proportions were 5 Green Beech, 2 Golden Privet, 5 Hornbeam, 2 Purple Beech, 5 Field Maple and 1 Cotoneaster.  For some reason, possibly connected to our local soil conditions, everything else thrived apart from the beeches.  We had several 'spare' plants, which I heeled in at the bottom of the garden.  I had to replace quite a few of the hedgerow beeches over the next 2 years, and even the 'spare' plants did not survive or did not flourish once placed in the hedge.

Here in the Savoie we have very alkaline soil and we have a variety of hazel nut with purple bronze foliage which grows like a weed here.



Posted: 12/08/2012 at 20:18

We have some fabulous hydrangeas which are overcrowded, and against the north-facing wall of our house, which is in the shade of the sun most of the day.

The soil here is alkaline and full of limestone pebbles & cobbles.  Our hydrangeas vary in colour between purple, violet and pink.  They are flowering well. They may have been treated or fed before we moved here, but not for the last 15 months or so.  Our garden is free-draining, but being on the side of a hill, in times of heavy rain we get the occasional lake quite close to the house!

We are intending to have some steps built, which probably means we will have to move the hydrangeas this autumn/winter.  I have read that they don't like full sun, so I will probably put them lower down in the garden, in the shade of a high laurel hedge (but not too close to it).

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 19:58

Thanks, Dovefromabove.  I have learned that I should remove no more than 1/3 of the tree at a time, and should do it in winter. (But I think I won't wait until it is snowing, though!)

We also have a very nice twisted willow, but the previous owner planted it in the corner of our plot and on the boundary with next door, and it is now a mature tree.  Fortunately we have good neighbours who don't mind it over-hanging the fence, but to all intents and purposes it is 'wasted' in our garden, because it doesn't get to show off its full glory, being right next to the other neighbour's overgrown laurel hedge, and it can't be seen from any of the windows in our house.  Location, location, location, as they say in the house-buying programmes.


Posted: 12/08/2012 at 19:42

You don't say what type of conifer it was, how big it was or how long you have had it for.  As trees go, some conifers are relatively short-lived.  Alternatively, it may have died through disease, or through drought.  It's hard to say without more information.

If it was a Leylandii, personally I'd throw a party!  

If the needles are on a lawn or something like that, I'd definitely rake them up or hoover them up with a blower.  I might put them down elsewhere in the garden as a weed suppressant mulch though, especially if I had very alkaline soil (which I do).

christopher2 suggests growing a clematis Montana through the dead branches rather than cutting down & digging out the dead tree.  That's a good idea and would work well, if the shape is good, but thinking about some of the dead and dying conifers I've seen in my lifetime, personally I remain to be convinced.  Do you know of one you can show us in a photo, christopher2?

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 19:05

That's a good thought, Alina W.  Thanks.

I have just been out to take another look and measure the circumference of the trunk. It is about 45cm around, and the trunk is not actually leaning, as I first thought, but is the shape of a shepherd's crook.  All the branches are at the top, so it gives the impression they are being thrown forwards. The optical illusion of falling seems to be further magnified because it is at the foot of a very steep bank.  I find it really quite disconcerting to look at - perhaps because subliminally it makes you think of somebody about to jump off a cliff, or something like that.  Hard to say, but it just looks WRONG.  

We have tried to straighten a wonky gatepost of a similar size using ratchet straps, so I have a pretty good idea that trying to adjust a trunk of this size by means of ropes might not work all that well!

I think that once we get into the colder weather and it starts to go dormant I will have a go at cutting the side branches back fairly hard and see what happens next year.   If all else fails, there's always the chain saw the year after, but we have had to take out so much from this garden since we moved in that I am now trying to conserve, where possible, rather than pull up or chop down.

Perhaps I can make it into a topiary Tom Daley?  

Does Anyone Know What This Mauve Flowered Plant Is Please?

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 18:34

It's borage!

Get Rid of your Lawns

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 18:13

Palaisglide, when I were a lass (up where Carol Klein comes from) we had a small front garden next to the (short) drive which had a standard rose in the middle, a little circular path around that and annual and perennial flowers, sedums etc. in the borders around it. That was the bit "for show", but no lawn.

In the back, we had a York stone paved back yard next to the house, a small border against the brick wall between us and next door, and behind the house was a long narrow lawn (with washing line).  When we were kids we had a swing on the lawn.

The rest of the garden was privet hedges fronted by borders filled with dahlias, a Conference pear tree and plum trees, and a greenhouse at the bottom with lots of tomato plants in summer.  My mum used to fill Kilner jars full of bottled tomatoes and pears.

When a local factory closed down my dad got the chance to buy some panels from the greenhouses they had in the grounds, so about 50% of the lawn was turned into greenhouse!  But by that time us kids had grown up and didn't need the space to run around in any more.

Green Magpie I agree with you, you need a bit of open ground so that you can stand back and admire your borders etc.  The only alternatives to lawns, as I see it, are gravel (which needs spraying with chemicals), decking (expensive to fit and also requires maintenance) or paving.  Or you could live in an Italian mansion with stepped terraces affording a panoramic view over your immaculately manicured trees and shrubs!  

Get Rid of your Lawns

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 12:57

Well said, Frank.

I wonder if Bob Flowerdew was being provocative?

My 'lawn' is actually a mixture of grass, bugle, primroses, dandelions, plantains, you name it.  It has 'evolved' from the meadow it used to be before our little estate was built in the 90s, and the meadow over the other side of the fence supplies it with plenty of weed seeds, if ever I run out!  

It is steeply sloping in some parts, and lumpy and undulating in others.  I take the mower over it when it starts to look really untidy and I dig out a few dandelions and plantains when I get the urge to, but it never gets watered and it seems to survive.  The bees and hoverflies love it, as do our 2 dogs. 

The amount of 'gas' that my grass guzzles is probably about a third of a can per session.  If I were to lay the whole lot to gravel (what a horrible thought), the diesel used by the lorries which would have to bring it here would doubtless be the equivalent of a whole lifetime's worth of petrol mower outings.

Discussions started by ChapelGirl2

Hose-end fertiliser feeder

what's the best hose attachment for fertliser? 
Replies: 1    Views: 1535
Last Post: 14/08/2015 at 13:42

To landscape fabric, or not to landscape fabric?

weapons in the war on weeds 
Replies: 6    Views: 3152
Last Post: 18/09/2013 at 22:16


suggestions for next year's bean sowing 
Replies: 5    Views: 1538
Last Post: 12/08/2013 at 06:28

Identifying beneficial insect larvae

How do we know what the 'good guys' look like? 
Replies: 9    Views: 2161
Last Post: 14/06/2013 at 19:41

preserving heritage tomatoes

keepin' it real 
Replies: 6    Views: 1486
Last Post: 15/06/2013 at 11:21

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

can it be salvaged or should we start again? 
Replies: 14    Views: 2989
Last Post: 17/08/2012 at 12:56

I-Spy Carol Klein

Potting up French runners 
Replies: 2    Views: 1329
Last Post: 09/08/2012 at 22:27

Roses on my driveway

Thoughts for a low-maintenance sloping drive 
Replies: 4    Views: 1376
Last Post: 09/08/2012 at 22:05

Something is eating my lavender

pests of lavender 
Replies: 9    Views: 8181
Last Post: 30/07/2012 at 15:35
9 threads returned