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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Looking for best/fastest creeper/vine for a time lapse music video idea

Posted: 05/06/2013 at 19:42

Also this:

Far too fond of "camera shake," flashing lights and fades in and out, but it's got some good bits.


The jungle in my garden needs to go.

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 22:25

Yeah, that's a pretty horrific bramble mass there. Not going to be walking over that with a backpack sprayer.

I suspect it's a job for a steel-blade strimmer or a chainsaw plus someone with a rake hauling it all out of the way to clear it down to stumps then, as advised, let them put out lots of fresh green growth so you've got something to spray and go over the lot with weedkiller.

How long it takes depends on the weedkiller. There's stuff the farmers up the Dales use to take out nettles and docks in the pastures that will make them curl up and fall down in 24 hours. Glyphosate won't make a visible difference in 10 times that long, but it'll kill almost anything.

Under all that, it's probably such a mess that you'll have to dig it out and start again anyway, so you could skip the weedkiller and go straight to tearing up the top 50cm of soil with some sort of scary machine.

Covering it with biodegradable cloth and then turf will buy you a lot of time to think about what to do next, and a lawn can be kept bramble-free with a broadleaf-killer. Best to leave the lawn clippings on the lawn if you're using that stuff.

Looking for best/fastest creeper/vine for a time lapse music video idea

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 22:09

Two further thoughts on design:

Build your city in a valley, and start filming from behind the crest of the hills overlooking it, so the ground through which the giant plants will grow is not visible.

Build a 15m track down the side of the city, put a truck on the track and put your camera on the truck, then advance it 0.5mm for each frame. At 1 frame per 10 minutes for smooth day-to-night-to-day transitions, that'll give you 208 days, which is enough for early April to mid-October. At 60 frames per second, that's 500 seconds, or 8 minutes 20 seconds, of playback, but you could skip most of the nocturnal frames, like 11pm to 3am Summer Time. LEGO is your friend here, although a gently curving track to keep the city centre in centre-frame might be a better design than a linear pass.

fast growing climbers

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 21:54

My experience with pyracantha is that it has exactly as many thorns as leaves, and pretty much grows as a tree. I've got one woven into a trellis but it's not really paying attention to where I want it to be. It just grows. Definitely a good anti-climber plant.

Neighbour has winter jasmine growing up the wall and a trellis on top of the wall and trailing down on the public side ... two feet thick. Fortunately, it's a wide path. That's not really a climber, either, just a bush that tends to be taller if it has somewhere to rest on the way up.

Honeysuckle Lonicera and Chocolate Vine Akebia Quinata would be my first suggestions, because my experience of clematis is that they have a 12-month half-life. Of the two, Honeysuckle definitely favours the sunny side, so if you've got a south-facing fence there you'll probably be looking at the leafless inner branches while the public get the display. You could probably beat this by having fence panels on the public side and trellis on your side. ChocVin's a bit more inclined to just grow in all directions, but really likes being sunlit.

I've got "climbing" roses too, but attempts to get them to branch out into big fans of climbing roses merely caused the root stock to grow past the grafted climber. Turns out the root stock produces gorgeous flowers, so I'm letting it do that. Again, though, it's not really doing the trellis thing.

If it's a long fence, I'd suggest putting purple and white varieties of Akebia and a few of Lonicera along it, pruning them each spring for a few years to get them to spread out and then letting them mingle on the trellis. It'll be a few years before you get really good cover, but you should get a charming mix of foliage and flowers and loads of hoverflies, your very own anti-aphid air cavalry! A little layering will spread each plant both ways, to give you a more thorough mixture.

Just beware with the Lonicera that not all of them are climbers. Some are shrubs and some are best grown as hedges. I don't know, personally, because it might not like our winters down here in the frost hollow, but if you get the trellis filled with other climbers it should cope with growing up through them.

Having typed all that I read the rest of their list and hit Wisteria at the bottom. Hmm. Well, you'd certainly get some privacy with one of those 8m high and 8m wide but you might need planning permission for that trellis. O.o

If you like it riotous, the mixed honeysuckles and chocolate vines with berberidopsis to follow once they provide shelter. If you like it neat and simple, just one or two kinds of wisteria.


Posted: 03/06/2013 at 17:56

Two websites with Lonicera say it "will flower best in a warm, sunny position" and produces more flowers "when kept in check." If it's in the shade, it's probably putting everything it's got into climbing higher, trying to find sunshine.

If you have a sunnier place for it, you'd probably get away with cutting it right back and moving it some time around first frost. Just make sure you get a big root ball. It'll probably take a while to decide it's big enough to flower, but that might work.

help: bindweed is coming over from neighbour!

Posted: 03/06/2013 at 17:47

Now that is a ****-ton of bindweed. Dry day. Big bucket of diluted glyphosate. Unwind the bindweed as far down as you can get it, draw it out from the fence and trail its growing ends into the bucket. Leave it there all day. It may look fine two weeks later, but two months later it should be dead. You may have to go along a section at a time.

Ivy's glossy and the stuff'll just run off it onto the plants below. I've had near-enough success just ripping ivy out with my fingers. You don't have to get it all, just all of it between within 6 inches of the ground. You could try painting the broken stem ends at ground level with glyphosate to get the roots too.

Looking for best/fastest creeper/vine for a time lapse music video idea

Posted: 03/06/2013 at 17:36

Honeysuckle behaves the same way, wrapping around things it finds as well as growing in a spiral, and in layering one for a friend's garden I found it growing at 1 inch per day.

I'm not sure how fast the Akebia's going, but it does go fast on warm, sunny days.

The problem in either case will be one of scale. Honeysuckle has leaves I'm not about to measure but let's arbitrarily call them pairs of 1 inch leaves at 2 inch intervals. Akebia's got 3 inch fans of leaves on 2 inch stalks at 6 inch intervals. You'd need some big model buildings.

Honeysuckle's reputed to be able to pull down a fence. That might be handy. It could take years, though, not months.

Either of them climbs by twining. Twining climbers have a maximum support width, so you may have to leave out all the windows to let it go in and out of the buildings.

Ground elder's certainly an aggressive thing, and grows quickly. That could be a good choice.

I'm not sure how fast brambles are but they have beautiful stems.

Willow and sycamore are hard to kill, but you'd need to get them established first, cut them right back and then build over them, on a thin and fragile platform on stilts. Ideally, for that, you'd make the ground in slabs with gaps between them to let sunlight down and plants up, and film from a very low camera angle.

If you're going for large models, like a 1:40 or 1:72 scale, an actual elder is probably a better choice than ground elder. It's fast-growing for a tree. You could have a tower block built hollow so the tree grows up the centre of it, and it would seem intact for quite a while then the treetop would emerge, and after a while it'd just burst. You might have to CGI the collapse.

Nettles seem to be one of the few things that can grow in among Himalayan balsam, so I guess they're really shade-tolerant, making them a good choice for ground-bursters. I've got some with beautiful white flowers on them here at the moment.

Bulbs tend to come up fast, especially the really tall lilies.

Famous for growing so fast you can see it happen: bamboo. Not very pretty, though, compared to some of the others.

MOB rants

Posted: 02/06/2013 at 20:32

KEF: Betterware woman probably won't trouble you too much if you stop being so polite about answering the door. Men have something of an advantage here, as not bothering to put a shirt on is rude, rather than generous, but I'm sure you can find a way to make yourself unwelcoming (short of answering the door wearing a blood-stained Tellytubby costume and holding a chainsaw).

A good .177 underlever is great for keeping the squirrels off the songbirds' eggs ... permanently, in any individual squirrel's case ... and makes a great prop for bad manners. Answer the door. Say: "Yeah, yeah, I see the bastard. I'm on my way to drill it now." Push past her. Go round the back. See whether she's still there when you come back. If she is and she wants her catalogue back, ask her why she pushed something she wanted to keep through your letterbox. You can get the right tone of voice by imagining she's somebody else's particularly stupid spaniel.

Got a border, have brought some plants, what now!? help

Posted: 02/06/2013 at 20:12

I second putting the tall ones at the back. Don't worry too much about it looking odd.

It might be a good idea to get batches of mixed sizes, or get the tall ones first, and plant from end to end or from back to front, rather than just getting a few things each time and trying to predict where they'll go.

Advice on soil type, position and eventual size can often be found on a seller's website, and Crocus for one has a handy "goes well with" at the bottom for inspiration.

Bit of a difference between 2.5m and 60cm there. I'd be careful with the feather grass as it looks like permanent foliage, and you don't want to "lose" other plants behind that. I note that the first one has "pheasant's tail grass" as a recommended companion, so maybe that and the "feather grass" could go around its base. Both also recommend one Allium or another, so consider a seasonal patch of those.

Now that's spectacular foliage. It says it forms dense shrubs. I'd say allocate it some space along the back and prune it every early spring to get it to grow dense and bushy and really fill that space.

Fancy foliage and 60cm high again, so I'd put that and some grasses with your giant Stipa and both the feather grasses with the Coprosma. The recommended bugle looks like a good one for either side.

Again, colourful year-round 60cm foliage, so mix in with the others at the front.

1.2m flowering some of the year. That'd go on both sides of and between the two tall things, for me.

The Salvias look a little delicate compared to the others, so I'm not sure how 'd mix them in. Maybe what you need is a dozen of each colour so you can put a broad row of them along the front edge. You could mix it with these:

... which should take over the flowering duty around the time the Salvias are quitting.

That's another recommendation for a "purple ball" Allium as a companion. They are lovely, but I'm not sure how I'd mix them in with your selection. If you planted them among the grasses you'd get the flowers in among the tops of the grasses, which probably isn't what you want. You could mix them with the Salvias to get different flower styles together, but they've got a similar flowering period so you wouldn't be extending that.

I think you need more of the smaller plants to create areas of them. I'd go for a whole bed containing the two big ones at the back with lupins around them, the grasses, heuchera and hebe through the middle and the Salvia, Allium and/or Dianthus along the front.

Nightmare - keeping a greenhouse base level!

Posted: 02/06/2013 at 19:47

For a level concrete base, you should have a wooden former in place and pour a runny concrete mixture in to "skim" it. You can check the corners of the former are all level with a "water level," a home-made tool that's handy for this sort of thing. You'll need a long piece of clear, flexible tubing, two short bits of 2x1 pine offcut or something like that and means of attaching tube to wood, which can be wire ties, proper clips or whatever. Attach one end of the tube to each piece of wood, hold them together on a level surface with the open tube ends uppermost and fill the tube with water until the water level is about halfway up the wood. Mark the water level on both pieces, and then mark inches or centimetres up and down from those marks on both pieces. Then, when you're digging a base or building a former or whatever, you can put one stick upright on each corner and check whether they're level.

Without actually trying to build your greenhouse, I can't tell you what the tolerances are on getting the frame square. Some designs probably have a lot more margin for error built in than others.

Generally, a spike set in concrete should stay in concrete. What's the model? Maybe there's a diagram online somewhere. If the spikes have little round holes in them, maybe you're meant to bolt them to the sides of the base, or to put rods through those holes before you pour concrete in. Again, without seeing it .....

Do not discount the possibility that your concrete base is near enough perfect and your metal frame is bent.

Discussions started by Charlie November

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Rose cuttings: timing

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At least I didn't spend anything. 
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It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
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Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
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Planning? Measuring? Me? 
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Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
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7 threads returned