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ChapelGirl2


Latest posts by ChapelGirl2

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.

 

hydrangeas

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.

conifer

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.

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

Posted: 12/08/2012 at 12:20

We have inherited a Blue Atlas Cedar which has been planted below the house, at the foot of a steep bank.  The trunk is now 2 metres or so high, and with a pronounced lean outwards from the slope.  The arching branches add another couple of metres to the overall height, and it is somewhat wider than it is tall.  The previous owner had fashioned some 'crutches' from wooden poles, to prop up the main 2 lateral branches.  It has been a handsome plant but its angle and general appearance now give me an 'edgy' uncomfortable feeling which is difficult to describe.  The weeping branches overhang the grass strip at the base of the bank and make mowing difficult.

Is it possible to pollard these trees effectively?  It would need to be cut back quite hard, and even then, since the main trunk is leaning outwards I wonder if it wouldn't just grow back looking ugly?

Should I take it out and replace with something else, perhaps a lower-growing form of blue cypress?

Dying Thymes

Posted: 11/08/2012 at 22:15

Yes, check for pests.  Another thought is if your pots are in the 'glorious' sun they might have dried out just a little bit too much.  If they are actually brown and brittle all over they may be beyond recovery, but it might be worth moving them into a more sheltered spot and increasing the watering to see if they put on any new growth.  I've got some common thyme in a 12 inch pot on my patio and at the moment I am watering it well every evening.

Discussions started by ChapelGirl2

To landscape fabric, or not to landscape fabric?

weapons in the war on weeds 
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whats-your-favourite-green-bean

suggestions for next year's bean sowing 
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Identifying beneficial insect larvae

How do we know what the 'good guys' look like? 
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preserving heritage tomatoes

keepin' it real 
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Last Post: 15/06/2013 at 11:21

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

can it be salvaged or should we start again? 
Replies: 14    Views: 1179
Last Post: 17/08/2012 at 12:56

I-Spy Carol Klein

Potting up French runners 
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Last Post: 09/08/2012 at 22:27

Roses on my driveway

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

Something is eating my lavender

pests of lavender 
Replies: 9    Views: 1705
Last Post: 30/07/2012 at 15:35
8 threads returned