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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Need vines to cover my house

Posted: 11/09/2013 at 10:15

Well, if it can handle a Yorkshire winter it can handle a London winter, so my father's ivy and ... what's the thing called? Looks like poison ivy ... Virginia creeper. That. They should do well. I have Hydrangea petiolaris here, which is rather prettier than plain old ivy, imo. According to the website, it grows up to 15m tall. Unless you're trying to cover a 5th floor or higher flat, that should be enough ... eventually.

It doesn't have to grow that high. You can prune anything, and it'll regrow from behind where you pruned it. With his ivy, he's got an annual job taking it down to 50cm from the gutters, and it's still in the attic again next year. It fills with bird nests every winter and spring, as it's elbow-deep on the wall.

Those are the clinging options that spring to mind. Hydrangea will happily grow as a bush in the open, but given a tree or wall it grows centipede legs and gets hold, then climbs up the surface.

The other way to do it is with trellises or wires. Some things will climb either, like some lonicera (honeysuckle) and akebia (chocolate vine) and some will only twine round fine stuff, like some other lonicera and jasmine (summer-flowering beesianum, that is, not winter-flowering nudiflorum). The drawback is that you'd have to drill into the exterior wall, hammer in wall plugs and either screw spacers to them and the trellis to the spacers or screw eye-bolts into them and tie wires all over the place. The advantage is that you could limit the vine's spread by simply not providing anything for it to climb. Just check out how far from support the vine you choose will reach. Jasmine's fairly tame that way, honeysuckle will droop flowering stems out maybe 60cm and chocolate vine will feel around for something else to climb up to a metre away. I really want to set one up indoors with a time-lapse camera on it and get video of that. It'll also grow as a low, loose bush if it can't find a support. 

GardenIng jokes

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 22:54

Now that last one reminds me of songs we used to sing on long coach journeys.


Lulu had a bicycle;
Its seat were mighty sharp,
An' every time she sat on it
It went right up 'er ... (interrupted by chorus)
Lulu had a boyfriend;
'is name were Tommy Tucker.
'e took 'er down the alleyway
To see if 'e could ... (interrupted by chorus)
I took her to the pictures;
We sat be'ind the stalls,
An' every time the lights wen' out
She grabbed me by the ... (interrupted by chorus)
Lulu 'ad two boyfriends;
They both were mighty rich,
One the son of a banker,
The other a son of a ... (interrupted by chorus)


They say that in the Army,
The boots are mighty fine.
I asked for size eleven
And got an eight or nine.
Oh Lord, I wanna go,
But they won't let me go!
They say that in the Army
The booze is mighty fine.
I asked for a pint of lager.
They served me turpentine.
Oh Lord, I wanna go,
But they won't let me go!
They say that in the Army
The food is mighty fine.
A pea rolled off the table
And killed a mate of mine.
Oh Lord, I wanna go,
But they won't let me go!
They say that in the Army
The beds are mighty fine.
Well, how the **** would they know?
They haven't slept in mine!

Apple tree with white leaves

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 18:34

Thanks. I think I should get some 1cm tubing to shove into the ground around some of my plants to I can pour food down to their deep roots rather than feeding the surface.


Posted: 10/09/2013 at 18:28

Alright. Thanks. I may have to just remove the seedheads then. Perhaps I'll give one to a mathematician friend.


Posted: 10/09/2013 at 18:21

The depth's a bit deceptive, as that surface is actually sloping down left to right. See that earth wall on the right side? The top of that is significantly lower than the lawn edge on the left. The deepest part is about a foot below the lawn level.

Done! Anemones, crocuses and glory of the snow all the way to the end.

 Here's hoping they're not too shallow now. Thanks to cats disturbing the surface and the rain eroding it, the lilies fell over this year. That's why they're propped up with sticks in the background there.


Apple tree with white leaves

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 13:12
Possibly I just got a weird hybrid here, and possibly it's in deficient soil or it caught a dose of something nasty sprayed on the other side of the fence. I don't know. It's just had white leaves on the new growth the whole time. By "the whole time," I mean years, so it's not dying of glyphosate right now. It's just ... white. Nothing else growing there has any trouble. It's between an elder running rampant and a winter honeysuckle that I grew by cutting off a two-foot stem, stripping the bark from the bottom 2 inches and shoving it a foot deep into the soil, so I don't think it's a soil problem.

 You can see the rich green of the lilies around it in both pictures for contrast.



Posted: 10/09/2013 at 13:09

The three-way symmetry was incredible. It's gone a bit shrubbier now, but it was beautiful before I had a camera.



Posted: 10/09/2013 at 13:06

This autumn's big plan: extend the existing flowerbed.

I worked out on paper how to lay out all the bulbs I'd ordered, and I dug a trench more than large enough:

 You can see that I carefully built up a turf wall to protect the apple trees that I'm using to plug the gap in the hedge there where all the privet died.

Having dug that, I lined it with compost, tipped the bulbs out of the box and sorted them:

 Then it was simply a matter of putting them in place ... which was going fairly well until I got to the grape hyacinths, with anemones, glory of the snow and crocuses still to place:

 Hrrrrrmmm ... oops?

Well, maybe I'll dig all the way along a little wider and put some of those 200 of the same thing along the front edge of the existing bed, to keep the front straight. It'll mean the tiny crocuses aren't at the front, but they tend to come up on their own anyway.

Sure. That'll work. No problem. Just let me get a cup of tea and my spade and I'll have that half tonne of turf shifted and some more compost laid in there in time for tea. No problem.



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 22:53

Caterpillar tracks was the first thing that crossed my mind, but they tear the place up when you turn, because they're dragged sideways. I'd actually think your best bet would be something like this for a chassis ... ah ... scaled down, obviously. It steers with and drives all 8 wheels.

Other things that might help: feet sprang to mind, as in hydraulic arms that swing out and put down feet to stabilise the thing, but then I thought that people with mobility problems wouldn't be leaning over all that far anyway so it probably doesn't need them unless you're going to build a 1/5-scale JCB digger arm on it. What might be very useful is a tool rack, or rather a set of tool racks for different sizes of tools. I'd suggest checking out some gardeners' tool collections and then building racks to hold those.

A frame on which a spade can be pivoted could also be a good idea.

Oh, yes. Buckets. Taking cuttings requires a rack for the plant pots, a bucket of water and a supply of compost. Something that can hold a sack of compost may be a good idea, preferably with a lid so it only has to be put in once.

The tricky part there is that a gardener won't want to be taking that sack of compost with them the whole time. Ideally, this thing would have a garage in which it was parked, with all its add-ons parked in their spots around the sides, and one could drive up to the compost box add-on, connect it to the vehicle, fold up its feet and drive off with it, use it, drive back in, fold its feet back down, disconnect it and drive off without it.



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 22:42

Don't dump the poo over the fence. Take it round and hand it back to the owner. Smile sweetly while you do so.

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 589
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 385
Last Post: 31/03/2014 at 17:26

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 1585
Last Post: 26/10/2013 at 16:46

Apple tree with white leaves

It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
Replies: 2    Views: 337
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 505
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 896
Last Post: 07/05/2014 at 16:57

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 2172
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned