London (change)
Today 22°C / 13°C
Tomorrow 21°C / 13°C

Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

What can I do under this hedge?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 11:14

Digging under that will be a sod of a job. You know that, right?

It'll be a mess of roots. You may find it easier to build a low wall (bricks, turfs or a rockery) and fill behind it than to dig planting holes.

Plant things that are small and let them grow bigger rather than trying to dig out a 14-inch cube of soil and roots from under the hedge. You'll do less damage to the hedge's own roots in the process that way.

Once they're in, your new plants will, as you guessed, need some help competing with the hedge. Where I put in a seedling tree to fill a gap in the privet hedge here, I gave it an advantage by making a big hole in the hedge's roots on purpose so it wouldn't have to compete for a while. It's doing alright. In your case, I'd suggest feeding and watering the new plants often and in small amounts to give them a boost. That got a hydrangea going right next to a sycamore. It's got ambitions to climb the thing now.

As for what will grow there, either something low and colourful to brighten it up or a climber that can scramble up through the hedge and cover the face of it in flowers.

My usual approach to the question is a website with lots of filter options to reduce their thousands of plants to a few suitable ones. For "sunlit, south-facing, bottom of a hedge, climbers," their options are Virginia creeper, ivy and a clematis that only grows 50cm high. Failed.

More luck with "shrubs": 52 results. Up to you which you like. I'm always inclined to add "low maintenance" to that, and in your case the 19 drought-tolerant and non-poisonous ones might be a better shortlist. Heh. VERY short list. Bunch o' Vinca, bunch o' Berberis. Berberis are thorny monsters that make pyracantha look cuddly, so you probably don't want them. That leaves a lot of little Vinca.

Another search: neither climber nor shrub but rose! I don't have any of those, but if they're anything like mine, they'll be all over that hedge in a few years and smell fantastic in summer. Pink and white options there. Maybe atropurpurea goes with veilchenblau and Gertrude Jekyll goes well with Wedding Day or Albéric Barbier, or maybe you prefer contrasting colours.

5m, 7m and 8m heights on those white roses. Not in the first few years, probably, but ... yeah, be aware they'll get all the way up that hedge and pruning and training them will require ladder access.


3-part hedge

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 10:40

We have these little "planter" areas in front of the buildings here. They have hedge-type stuff in them or shrubs or just a mass of ground cover. I probably ought to do something about them, but they're not my top priority here. Anyway, today I noticed something unexpected on one of them: flowers!

 On inspection, it seems that the hedge in that area has died and been replaced by something else, something with crinkly leaves, smooth green stems and lovely yellow flowers.

The far end's also been replaced by an invader with brighter leaves.

Image appears tiny but click it then click again in the pop-up window to zoom in and you can see them.

 Now, I'm not complaining about that, because they're nice flowers and the far end looks no worse than the middle, but it's a bit scruffy having a 3-part hedge.

Then I looked at another "planter" and found the same yellow flowers:

 ... plus some other ones, with fewer petals and a more open design, growing on bare stems:

 Now, I'm not complaining about these things, because I think they're rather nice, but I have no idea what they are (other than the ****** ivy in the bottom) or which ones to keep or whether the new ones need the skeletons of the old ones to support them or what. Anybody know them?

To one off nematode slugs or not?

Posted: 03/04/2015 at 22:32

I'd say apply them the first day you spot a slug. Probably not scientifically accurate, but you'll know you're getting something that way.

My snails have a different organic nemesis:

 She's really diligent, too.

Logic suggests nematodes should increase in number for a while, but their local population probably crashes when the local population of slugs hits zero. Presumably, they spread out through the soil and the slug population around your garden for a long time after that.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 03/04/2015 at 18:41

Heck yes!

 I've photographed a pink hyacinth ...

 ... twice!

That totally counts, right?

Not only that, but I photographed some white hyacinths too!

Wow. How busy was I? I've stopped for a well-earned cup of tea.

Oh, yeah, while I was photographing them I also did this:

 Chunk of tarmac ... REMOVED!

That's not really gardening, though, is it?

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 23:03

NO, Edd, falling 20ft down a well and having a soft landing is NOT a normal phenomenon. That's actually something most people NEVER experience.




stokes49er, if you want firewood, I've got a little stacked up here at the moment, the council left a few mature trees cut into 3' lengths and stacked up by the canal, I'm waiting for a quote from a contractor to cut down several trees here and I know someone who needs about 2 acres of woodland clearing of dead branches, low branches and dead trees. It's not that he can't use the wood, just that his woodsheds are all full and he's very busy.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 19:37

I'm quite happy to not recommend clematis ...


... because in my personal experience, they die.


By the way, does anybody want about 10m of honeysuckle? I seem to have forgotten to prune it and it's apparently got plans to layer itself somewhere on the far side of the road. Maybe I should just cut it into 50cm length and stab them all into the ground under the privet hedge, so after the honey fungus finishes killing it it'll still be green.

Living Willow

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 15:35

How to grow willow: stop uprooting it.

Yes, you can cut the lot down to six to nine inches high and the stumps will put out a lot of long, thin, supple, new growth. You can then cut the ones on the outside that you don't need and stab them into the ground between existing trees to fill any gaps. Spare whips cut from the outside can be woven through the ones growing on the inside and sides to help to form them into the dome.

As for how ...

You're going to need a means of pruning it over the top within a few years.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 15:30

Lovely day today. Pruned what's left of the privet hedge. Found an akebia stem near the ground and set it up to layer in a 500ml soup pot. Ripped out a lot of ivy and left it to dry. Removed some brambles and dead stems from the far side of the fence. Pulled sycamore seedlings out of the cracks in the block paving. Cut a straight edge at the bottom of the main lawn and lined up the turfs behind the roses so I can add compost without it trickling down into the river. Decapitated many dandelions, which are welcome to feed the bees but not to set seed. Added some compost around a few roses. Stood them up away from the lawn with canes. Mixed up some glyphosate and attacked goose-grass along fence line, plus some ground elder, dandelions and nettles. It's having a go at ivy now. Time to move it along a bit and attack some more stems.

I should probably punch some drainage holes in that soup pot, too. Forgot that earlier.

Rabbit friendly plants?

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 14:57

I've seen rabbits taking on willow saplings and the new growth on cut willow, and also going at feverfew like little drug addicts. Willow bark and feverfew both contain aspirin. Rabbits apparently like it. I doubt they'd be all that interested in a 30-year-old willow tree with gnarly bark, though, so if you plant willow for the bunny you may want to keep cutting it down to a height the bunny can reach. This way there'll be lost of fresh growth with soft, juicy bark to nibble.

Of course, with willow, the year you forget to prune it *boom* instant circular hedge.

Weather warnings issued

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 17:13

gina: Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay, Weymouth or Bristol?

Dry, some cloud, lows of 2 to 4 (1 in Bristol), highs of 11 or 12, with Sunday being clear (except in Bristol).

Weymouth, it turns out, was a very popular town name among colonists. They've got them all over the place, including one in Barbados and one in Jamaica. "Showers early becoming less numerous later in the day. High 29C. Winds E at 25 to 40 km/h. Chance of rain 40%. Partly cloudy skies early giving way to a few showers after midnight. Low 24C. Winds E at 15 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 30%. Rain showers, with winds diminishing later in the day. High 29C. Winds ESE at 25 to 40 km/h. Chance of rain 40%. Partly cloudy. Low 24C. Winds E at 15 to 30 km/h." Sounds hellish.

Hey, could be worse. Hanoi at this time of year? "A mainly sunny sky. High 36C. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 km/h. Clear. Low 24C. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 km/h. Sunny. High 34C. Winds SSE at 15 to 30 km/h. A mostly clear sky. Low 24C. Winds SE at 15 to 25 km/h." Yeeeuuugh. Too hot. Humidity in the 30%-50% range in the afternoons this week but over 90% next Friday. Know where else has a temperature of 36C and humidity over 90%? My armpit!



Discussions started by Charlie November

Uh-oh ...

This one doesn't look good. 
Replies: 9    Views: 428
Last Post: 05/07/2015 at 23:08

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 381
Last Post: 04/04/2015 at 22:42

Most embarassing failure of the weekend

Replies: 10    Views: 766
Last Post: 09/04/2015 at 19:59

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 8    Views: 605
Last Post: 01/05/2015 at 17:05

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 792
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 8    Views: 707
Last Post: 22/03/2015 at 14:30

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 2185
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: 497
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 676
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1626
Last Post: 01/04/2015 at 19:53

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 3790
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
11 threads returned