Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

What did you do in your garden today?

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 20:55

This weekend I have planted what I hope will be a very hardy perennial indeed: the new washing line.

Other tasks accomplished: pruning the privet hedge and various lonicera, reburying the bulbs that *******ed cat keeps digging up, feeding the birds. The lawn needs mowing too, and badly, but ... I'd rather be feeding the birds. Sweet little coal tit has started coming very close to me for mealworms, a bluetit's learned to do the same, that blackbird is obviously ferrying my offerings straight back to the nest and the robins are pretty quick to show up when I open the shed too.

Not done, but needs doing: pull all the grass out of the front of the bulb bed now that the crocuses and anemones have gone back into the ground. Can't weed further back until gladiolus and grape hyacinth get out of the way. Allium is only just opening and the lilies haven't even formed flower buds yet. It's going to be a long job.

MOB rants

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 01:42

Oh, I didn't mean applying a bulldozer to the speed bumps. I meant applying a bulldozer to the BMW sitting on the "SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR" markings to pick up The Only Important Child On The Planet.

Need a climber for a pergola in full shade, ideally fragrant! Any ideas?

Posted: 25/05/2013 at 23:57

"Sausage vine?"

"Holboellia coriacea 'Cathedral Gem'. ... It blooms in late winter to early spring they say and requires part shade and consistent moisture in rich, but well draining soil. The straight species can grow up to 20 to 20 feet when mature."

Further poking around says: partial shade, full sun

Light needs: Full to partial shade Water Needs: Water regularly; requires consistently moist soil.

Hrm. They think it'll like your shady pergola. Credit to the second site for calling it "climber, twining" not just "climber" 

Is the top of your pergola sunlit? Some plants grow well and flower if they're well-lit and some where they're well-lit.

Poking the website for scented, shade-friendly climbers gives a list of roses, clematis, honeysuckle and akebia:

Adding "Evergreen" gives three Clematis:

(Akebia's "semi-evergreen")

Adding "easy to grow" gives just one Clematis:

My experience: clematis all die, "climbing" roses are bushes that smell gorgeous when in flower (for up to 2 days), honeysuckle will only go green on the sunny side and akebia will look terribly drab and weak until it climbs into sunlight, if it can do that, then start to look a lot healthier and happier.

Purple Akebia from BlueBell

White Akebia from BlueBell


MOB rants

Posted: 25/05/2013 at 18:17

I think the speed bumps should be linked to those radar things that display your speed. Ours only light up if they think you're speeding. In Austria they light up if you walk at them: "Ihr Geschwind: 7km/S" (that's kilometres pro Stunde not per second).

I'd link them to SQUARE speed bumps. Have three flat tops flush with the road surface, so everyone can drive over them with no trouble at all, day and night, all year ... but if the radar picks up someone going over ( speed limit + 1d6 ) without a flashing blue light the central wall lifts up four inches and *WHACK* he gets to pay for the price of repainting those yellow zig-zags outside the school that mark the area near the gates where only parents of extraordinarily precious little snowflakes get to park to drop their kids off and pick them back up.

I'm thinking ...

Bulldozer, maybe?

MOB rants

Posted: 25/05/2013 at 09:36

Today's little rant, then: the word "climber" as a plant description. It's a bit like "tree," isn't it? Oak, birch, weeping willow and fir are rather different shapes but they're all "trees." I've got honeysuckle, which is a "climber" in the sense that it twines around anything up to a couple of inches wide. I've got chocolate vine, which is a "climber" in the sense that it twines around anything up to a couple of inches wide. I've got jasmine, which I thought was mis-labelled as a "climber" when it should have been labelled "thing one can weave into a trellis" until I saw it twining around itself. It turns out jasmine only climbs strings and wires, not trellises. I've also got hydrangea, which climbs in the very different sense of growing like a bush but putting out little clusters of grabby roots, ivy-style, when it hits something, and an old Virginia creeper on the wall that climbs entirely by clinging to the wall that way and I've got "climbing" roses that seem to be a lot like wild roses of the "sprawling heap" type, but they're all "climbers." Last weekend I went to Homebase and they had a new Wisteria called Amethyst Falls that looks gorgeous and is labelled as ...


... a climber.


What KIND of climber? The BBC says it's a "deciduous climber." Crocus says it's "ideal for training against a sunny house wall." BlueBell Nursery finally give me something more specific: "Habit: Wisteria floribunda 'Macrobotrys' grows to be a large climbing plant which requires support as it will not self-cling."

Maybe I need to ask an Army gardener, if such a thing exists. "Thing wot goes be'ind wires." "Thing wot climbs wooden frames." "Thing wot climbs wires." "Stonkin' HUGE thing that eats trees." "Plasticky-lookin' stuff that spreads up everythin' like mould."

Today I feel so happy....

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 22:23
Pennine Petal wrote (see)

Trying to work and the birds outside keep distracting, ...


Ah, they're there to help you. When you catch yourself asking the birds which branch you ought to cut next and at what height, it's time to put down the saw and step away from the hedge.

MOB rants

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 22:21
Palaisglide wrote (see)

G/G, i too think them mad, I have my Dads wartime police truncheon handy in a draw and having used them in the Army would not hesitate and to H@## with the consequences.



Advice from a US policeman to his daughter, the day he bought her a gun to take with her to her new home: "If you ever have to use that, you make sure the court only gets to hear your side of the story."


Farmer's complaint about an unfinished drain: "If someone tries to break in here tonight and falls in that, he'll sue me."

Answer: "Not if you fill it in really quickly, he won't." 

MOB rants

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 22:15
flowering rose wrote (see)

I wish the person up the road would cut his hedge so as I don't have to get poked in the eye every time I walk past 


Had this problem locally with a PYRACANTHA. Lovely flowers, but not something we need at eye-height over the pavement. 6am Sunday, bucket, thick gloves, secateurs and a branch saw. Onto the compost heap went the excess. It'll be a denser, prettier tree for it, too.


Alan4711 wrote (see)

Grandma we have a close neighbor whose leandali stuff  leans out half way across the kerb at head height, talk about in ya face on dark nights  and its 12 feet high never gets trimmed and is a pain in the AAA Some people seem to go through life in a dream world completely oblivious to others  


Glyphosate. Bucket. Walk into tree. Be startled. Stumble. Spill bucket contents. Go home grumbling about waste of expensive hogweed-control agent. 

Easy care plants

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 22:08

How big is the garden?

How big are the children?

How many of them do you have, and for how long?

Having just been in the "how to take honeysuckle cuttings" thread, I could suggest a scientific experiment to see what length of cutting to take and what fraction of it to bury for best results, but this leaves some children with the unsuccessful numbers feeling left out unless you've got enough room (and a big enough source plant) for them to take multiple cuttings each.

I can't recommend trying to grow fruit trees from seed. The current pupils' children may just get to see fruit. That's a rather long wait for rewards.

Plants grown from bulbs are pretty fast-moving things. Crocuses and anemones have been and gone, hyacinths have come and are fading and the gladioli are doing fine right now. What'll work for you depends on climate and drainage. Hyacinths don't like it soggy. Lilies seem to be a bit late coming, listed as "June-July" or "July-August" on, so they may flower too late, which would be a shame. Hyacinths will make an enclosed garden smell fantastic ... and just like concentrated bathroom disinfectant. 

My previous computer is now serving as a karaoke machine, but with a £15 webcam and two pieces of free software (autoclicker and Gimp 2.2) it was able to record germinating seeds:

I wanted to do the same with a lily or hyacinth but never did. I still have the kit, so maybe I still can. That might be a fun project, but you have to make sure the camera's in the exact same place for each frame of a plant, meaning you basically only get to film one flower per year.

As an alternative take on it, how about a wildlife space? Butterflies and bees have been mentioned. Add hoverflies, ladybirds and lacewings to that, and maybe even birds. There are a lot of things you can do to attract them, and you could tie in environmental lessons.

You may think I'm bragging

Posted: 24/05/2013 at 21:44



This one:


We wantsss it, pressciousss.


Now I have to look these things up and find out whether they grow well in ... umm ... two inches of turf on a mix of boulder clay and builders' rubble at the top of a steep six-foot bank next to a small river. in a frost hollow.

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 558
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 347
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: 1468
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: 310
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 475
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 864
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: 1607
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned