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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Large Canvas

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:55

Narrower beds in front of the decking and their E end and the SE raised bed curved around each other to make that corner smoother, plus a big curve in the raised bed in the SE to make the lawn less pointy and give you space for something spectacular like a sunken water feature with cascading water on all sides (except where the hedgehog ramp is, of course) or a group of choisya that'll smell fantasic when they're in flower.

 Any plans for the fence at the south? Are you going to spread the climbers from the pagoda all the way along it or hide it behind shrubs, for example? If that's a 6' fence and those are 3' beds, it'll only be 3' of visible fence anyway, a bit short for climbers.

Large Canvas

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:41

3' retaining wall? Got one of those to rebuild at my father's place.

I'd make a small change in the NE corner by pulling the fire pit and benches a little away from the perimeter fence and having some plants in there so you'll be more "tucked into the garden" than "tucked into the corner of the property."

It also looks a little like "over here or over there" between the fire pit and pagoda. It may be nicer to have them more separated so they're separate groups rather than two groups that don't mingle.

  I've added two beds to the decking, or a bed all the way round it except three access points, if you want. It's less likely to give people stage fright that way. I've also moved the fire pit forwards and added a bed in front of that to make it a more intimate space.

I'm not really happy with that though. The lawn looks a bit fragmented.

What does everyone think

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:13

Well, I think the water feature being a different colour and standing proud of everything else isn't good, actually. First impression was that you'd left some crumpled tarpaulin or something on the near side when you took the picture.

That'd be fixed by filling it with plants enough to stop it standing proud and hide the other rocks, but then you'd be hiding the other rocks, and you'd probably lose the three feature items there too in the process.

I think it'd be better with the water feature one pond edge further back, draining across rocks that match the rest of it, with the rockery built up around it so it's more like a natural gorge, and a lot more green on the rest of it. The plants you've got kind of look like they grew from bird- or wind-borne seed after you built it, rather than like they're part of the design, because the main impression is of an expanse of sterile, white gravel.

Sorry, but, well, you asked!


Get it off your chest

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 12:18

Maybe I should go round and flirt with her husband. That ought to scare him.

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 11:15

Last of the lilies is still bravely showing its fading petals. Not much of a star any more but credit where it's due. Glory of the snow or anemone are already coming up for next spring. Like the enthusiasm, not sure about the sense of timing. Brambles are producing some lovely fruit. They're beautiful plants as long as you don't grab one.

I'd say the star was the nutter who dug out 2 tonnes of rocks and soil and builders' rubble, laid 500 bulbs and put another 2 tonnes of compost 'n' stuff into the trench over them. Lunatic.

Whats the difference,Fresh or green.

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 10:23

The only problem I have with tea bags on the compost heap is that I drink Morrisons green tea with mint (tried Twinings and another company's and decided Morrisons got the blend right). The used tea bags smell of mint. This brings cats to the compost heap and they play with the tea bags, scattering them around the lilies and the lawn.

Yes, lilies. Stupid cats.


So ... green manure here, brown manure there, chicken manure for these plants, horse manure for those plants, rotted coffee grounds here, rotted seaweed there ... All this s**t and rot being so useful in the garden and we still haven't found a use for the stuff that dribbles out of parliament?

Whats the difference,Fresh or green.

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 12:31
Diddydoit4u wrote (see)

  • Urine (diluted with water 20:1)


So it's okay to pee on the compost heap rather than coming inside to use the toilet, then, as long as I live somewhere that gets rain?

Talkback: How to take lavender cuttings

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 12:20

It's not made clear in the article, but was pointed out in another article about taking cuttings of another plant elsewhere, that the plastic bag shouldn't touch the leaves. This would trap water between leaf and bag and that leaf would rot, and the rot would spread. With the slender leaves of lavender this may not be as much of an issue, and with them being tiny cuttings a sandwich bag may well stand over them without touching anyway, but I was taking cuttings of "Late Dutch" honeysuckle and they were a bit bigger than that, so I added five half-length canes around the pot to tent the bag and keep it off the leaves.

There's a balancing act with cuttings and water: they need to stay moist, and they're losing water through their leaves, but if they're in wet soil their bases rot. The plastic bag is there to trap moisture in the air around them, increasing humidity and reducing evaporation, so they don't dry out despite being in dry enough soil to inhibit rotting. I added a little plastic dish (the lid off a Nutella jar, actually) of water on top of the soil to raise humidity without wetting the soil.

You could, if you're not the organic gardening type, treat the cuttings with fungicide before inserting them in the soil. One of those ones that claims to protect for a few weeks ought to buy them time to set roots or die trying before they have to fight.

Which fast growing plant would you recommend? Help!

Posted: 11/09/2013 at 10:40

There's a fairly good "narrow it down" facility on the crocus website.

That should be "fairly quick-growing" hedging plants on 2 pages, and this should be "yes they are quick-growing" hedging plants, of which there are 2:

Then again, they could have some session-specific thing going on with the URLs.

Anyway, the 2 are field maple and oval leaf privet. I don't know the maple but we've got Japanese privet here and it grows like a weed. Fast, yes. Low-maintenance, no. That's the balance you're going to have to strike. The faster it grows the more work you have to do to keep it down once it's as big as you want it. Incidental tip: prune it back every year even before it's up to height so it bushes out and grows dense. Otherwise you get a line of bare trunks.

There was a thread about something similar to this earlier. Someone wanted a front wall to be livelier and provide some privacy. It was a rather longer wall than the one shown, in front of a larger garden, so the ideas may not translate well from there to here, but I think I suggested either one or two wisteria (on a really sturdy trellis) for a neat semi-formal style or a mixture of all the climbing honeysuckles and akebias he could find for a more casual style. This ... may be a bit overwhelming if grown that close to the front window.

If you want something prettier and less daunting, you could try mixing "climbing" roses, which don't actually climb in my experience but will provide a lovely feature. I got two dozen blooms from one stem this year, but I'd suggest planting several. I never went for the Alice in Wonderland gardens myself (every single one of them the same shade of red) but it's an option. I'd go for ...

 Feel free to crowd them together a little, as long as you're going t

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. 

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 611
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 410
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: 1667
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: 353
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 524
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 921
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: 2268
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned