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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Need ideas

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:45

Privacy? Is your home on the left like the neighbours shown? Privacy from what angle? Does it need to block out the view from upstairs windows out of shot to the right or what?

You can get a list of plants for a spot from crocus, especially if you know your soil type (acidic, chalky, heavy clay, sandy or "haven't a clue" but "soggy" isn't an option):

"Perennials" i.e. small stuff:

"Shrubs" i.e. bigger stuff:

3m dogwood and laurel and the taller types of the 1.5m-4m hydrangeas all look like candidates for privacy, with some of the smaller ones underneath for extra colour.

Bear in mind that the more your big plants screen you from a view from the south the more they shade the soil north of themselves, and beware making your home and garden gloomy. I'd start by standing something tall on that plot and sitting where you want to be out of sight then looking at the viewpoint from which you want to hide and marking how far up the pole your plants need to reach to hide you.

Also bear in mind that a 4m-high shrub is not easily pruned.

Ideas for metal trough

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:31

You could plant alpine strawberries.

New Gardener - Big Garden

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:29

As everyone said, spend this year finding out what you really have, whether you like it, where there are gaps at a particular time of year, where it's crowded and so on and then working out what to change and how to look after what's staying.

You're not far from me.

Talkback: Ivy in the garden

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:24

Right. That's part of the "credit where it's due" part done. The other part is bird nests: yes, once it's well-established on a house wall it'll get bird nests in it, high up out of reach of cats. Then you just have to go up there with goggles, ear defenders and breathing protection every year and cut two feet of it back from the top and a foot around each window and door and the actual bird box to stop it invading the attic, covering the windows and doors and consuming the bird box, wash everything you were wearing and take a long shower, don't you? That's if you grow it in a narrow strip between house and drive and it can't get into the garden. Here, it's on the riverbank, under the hedges, on the end wall et cetera and I've spent hours ripping it out by hand, trying to get rid of it. It works eventually but every little piece left behind will grow, and if you just throw the lot on the compost heap the lot'll grow there. I put it on the barbecue to dry out and thoroughly die before I compost it. At least it doesn't come back from that.

Talkback: Ivy in the garden

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:20

In a three-year project, Oxford researchers analysed the effects of ivy growing on buildings in five different parts of England and discovered that the plant plays a protective role. They found that an ivy canopy was like a thermal shield, combating the extremes of temperature which often cause walls to crack.

English Heritage commissioned Professor Heather Viles of Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment to analyse the effect of common ivy (Hedera helix) to guide them in their important role as the steward of hundreds of historical sites. Professor Viles's research team monitored the effect of ivy on walls situated in different parts of the country with varying climates and challenges.They found that ivy acted as a thermal blanket, warming up walls by an average of 15 per cent in cold weather and cooling the surface temperature of the wall in hot weather by an average of 36 per cent. The ivy was also found to absorb some of the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. Walls where ivy was growing were less prone to the damaging effects of freezing temperatures, temperature fluctuations, pollution and salts than exposed walls without ivy

Professor Viles said: 'Ivy has been accused of destroying everything in its path and threatening some of our best loved heritage sites. Yet these findings suggest that there are many benefits to having ivy growing on the wall. It not only provides colourful foliage but also provides walls with weather-proofing and protection from the effects of pollution.'

Slugs and Roofing Felt

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 12:47

Never heard of it, but we get shiny trails almost everywhere here, 5m up a sycamore tree, up the house wall, around the stinkpipes, on the paths, in the lawn, everywhere ... except on the shed roof and cars, so I guess they don't like it.

An alternative is coffee grounds. Just be sure you're drinking organic coffee, and build a little bailey of coffee grounds around each plant. Hmm. Maybe talk to the supermarket cafe and get them to save their organic coffee grounds for you? Go in, have a coffee from their machnie, take the bag of ground home, build up the defences ...

The other approach is not to keep the slugs out but to keep them in. Sink a jam jar with a quarter inch of beer in the bottom rim-deep in the soil, and they fall in and can't get out. Mice can jump out, but slugs can't climb when they're beered.

Fuchsias! to prune or not to prune?

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 23:04

Really don't know about the rust. Waddington seems to have had a dry Feb, Mar, Apr and a very wet May last year, but that may be irrelevant. Maybe it was lurking in the unpruned stems, and cutting them away removed a lot of it and left only vigorous growth that was too healthy for it to fight? RHS reckon it's cyclic between hosts or lurks or both. Very helpful.

An octopus's garden in the shade

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 22:49

I was thinking of sticking to the "35cm max height" ones for that area and nothing over 50cm south of it, so stuff couldn't whip across it. I'll have to see how near the ground my own bedding gets before I can decide that one, I suppose.

If I pave the whole area, that's something like 16 sq m of paving, with 16 sq m of sand under it. That's a lot of weight to haul around and a big job to get properly level.

I reckon most plants will cope with a flower being pulled off or with being pulled up and trodden back into place, and if they don't I can replant.

So ... variations on a theme:

 A reduced central group of flowers, where there isn't actually any line, or a central gravel patch and access a little nearer the approach, with more gravel between the access and BT's cover.

Thing is: I've got to hide the messy concrete block and the stump of the old line in the middle and don't fancy filling in enough to pave over them or smashing it up and hauling it all out then redoing the base on the new line. Some pretty gravel might be the better option, though.

The circles are where the ends of the four arms go, so laundry will be hanging well within those circles not around the edges of them. I think it's probably far enough from low-growing plants.

Ooh, new find: 60x30 and 40x40 slabs and matching circle-in-a-square sets. That might work better. 1.85m, 2.17m and 3.05m diameter, though? That doesn't fit with any of their slab sizes. That's not rational!

Oh, well, if I hide the corners with plants overhanging them I can make it look rational enough, eh?

 Solid patio under the line. Gravel in the centre space. Access from path beside house is all of 45cm wide but there won't be anything even knee-high next to it. More gravel between there and the telecoms hatch thing. Solid edging to protect the patio structure, then plants around the outside overhanging to hide the corners.

Now it seems a LOT of work for a washing line. I'd think if I was going to do all that I'd want ... a fountain or a statue or a statue holding a fountain or a little table with four chairs or ... something other than a washing line.

Cat Poo on my raised veg beds

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 17:45

A wooden frame the same size as the veg bed, braced at the corners, with wire pulled across it back and forth at narrow intervals, standing tall enough to be a nuisance for a car to walk across, ought to work. They won't like to stand on a 2mm wire and they won't like having to lift their feet over the wires, and if the wires are far enough apart for their legs to go through but too close together for their bums to go through, they won't be able to sit down through them. You may have to weave the wires at right-angles to stop them pushing the things apart and making wider gaps.

If wire doesn't put them off, try barbed wire. No way will they slide that stuff around once it's woven together.


Posted: 20/03/2015 at 17:39

Stephen King book was The Stand. That's from X-Men: Last Stand.

Runnybeak: can't you put the collar on the pitbull's neck? That might work better.

They don't scare Texans called Matt, though, apparently.

Discussions started by Charlie November

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 7    Views: 350
Last Post: 20/03/2015 at 22:49

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
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Rose cuttings: timing

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When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
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Apple tree with white leaves

It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
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Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
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Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 21    Views: 1222
Last Post: 22/03/2015 at 19:14

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 2670
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
8 threads returned