Latest posts by ChapelGirl2

I-Spy Carol Klein

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 18:39

Today I treated myself to the August copy of "l'Ami des Jardins", which is a French gardening magazine.  Imagine my surprise and delight to see our very own Carol Klein on page 48 holding a box of strawberry runners she has potted up!

Unfortunately the magazine didn't say who she was or anything, but it's nice to see the French appreciate English gardening talent.  Particularly Lancashire English gardening talent!


Roses on my driveway

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 18:30

We live in hardiness zone 7 and our house has quite a long gravel drive (about 30 metres), with beds either side which are about 2-2.5 metres wide.  The drive is south-facing and sloping (about 1:10).  To the east is a laurel hedge and to the west is a neighbour's garden separated by a wire mesh fence.  The soil is sandy loam, alkaline, free-draining but relatively poor.  

I am looking to plant something which will give colour and interest, and preferably perfume too, but which will be tolerant of cold winters and warm, sometimes dry summers.  

I have been growing lavenders from seed since the spring (Hidcote, Munstead & Elegance Sky) and rosemary, and my plan is to use these as between and underplanting for some rosa rugosa.  I will probably go for Roseraie de l'Hay which is said to be strongly perfumed and will tolerate poor soil and drought.

The rose growers are now accepting orders for bare-root stock.  

My question is, is this a good plan, and should I go for all one variety of rose or perhaps use other varieties too?  My personal feeling is to stick to one variety, to make it more integrated and 'designed' rather than a cottage garden feel, but I'd welcome other people's thoughts & ideas.

I will need quite a few roses to make a border on each side, so it is a fairly large financial investment for me, not to mention my time and effort, so I'd like to do 'a proper job' first time, if at all possible.


Posted: 31/07/2012 at 19:15

I like Buddleia too but it can be a bit invasive if you don't keep an eye on it.  They can self-seed all over the place and they put up root runners too.

I would like to get some blue cranesbill (geranium pratense) for my garden.  We have some in pink and the bees seem to like it, but I am also a big fan of blue flowers.  The cranesbills are easy to look after and are good ground cover.  I like this one:

I've recently planted some blue salvia and some Russian sage (Perovskia)

Maybe if we ask nicely we can persuade the RHS website to include a search option for "bee & butterfly-friendly"?

slug slime

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 17:29

When I collect them I use 2 plastic bags.  I save all the small thin bags you get from the greengrocery counter in the supermarket etc. to use as binliners in the bathroom bin and these also make ideal slug collecting bags.  Put one bag over your right hand (if you're right-handed) and use this as a glove to keep the slime off you. Place the slugs into the other bag. When you have finished collecting, put the 'glove' bag inside the slug bag and securely knot the top, then put the whole thing in your bin.


Posted: 30/07/2012 at 17:05

Coincidentally, someone today sent me a link to which is a French organisation who have an epetition to try and get these neonicotinoids banned in France (so clearly they aren't banned there at the moment).  I am a huge fan of Monty Don and I am trying to follow organic methods.  I am shocked to learn about the routine treating of seeds and bulbs with pesticides, and the fact that this does not even have to benmentioned on the labelling when we buy these things for our gardens.

Does anyone know what this is?

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 16:01

Where we are they pop up all over the garden like weeds.  The one at the bottom of our drive is about 2.5 metres high.  Many of our neighbours use them as a sort of informal low hedge but if you trim the tops they tend to end up with all the growth at the top and half a metre of bare trunk underneath.  They are quite hardy, even though the flowers look exotic.  The flowers come in various shades, from white through pink, purple and lavender blue.  They use the dried petals a lot in those fruit-flavoured 'teas' you can buy because they make a nice red colour, and hibiscus tea is supposed also to be good for you.

Something is eating my lavender

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 15:35

Well, figrat, I admit I have only caught a quick glimpse of the hamster-like creature but I didn't notice any white markings on it and its fur was more mole-grey than reddish-brown like the European hamster. Also the range map on Wikipedia doesn't show any in our part of Europe.  It could just be a brown rat which has lost part of its tail, of course...

Something is eating my lavender

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 14:05

I think I may have found my lavender eater.  There was a tiny bright green caterpillar (about 1cm long) in one of the pots this morning. It's not there any more!  I didn't think lavender had many pests, but you live and learn. I'll keep an eye out for any more.

Something is eating my lavender

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 00:36

We've been in France permanently for about 3 years but we only bought our house here just over a year ago.  Still lots and lots to do, and it's only a tiny and very plain house compared to many, but we love it here.  Is your parents' rodent a coypu or ragondin?  We don't have them here, I don't think, but they are an escapee from fur farms in certain parts of France.

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 00:23

Fair do's.  They're nice people, so they might be able to suggest someone closer to home you could buy from, if you give them a ring.

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