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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Very specific hedge plant requirements

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 23:04

Pete8: 300ft beech hedge? Tall or long? This is a 300ft rock face. Those would be impressive trees!


My father has a lonicera hedge ... about 1.5m long, in the middle of the garden, as a feature ... ... and it's very dense, meaning it can be shaped very precisely, so it's good for "formal" looks.

Here, I'm losing a Japanese privet hedge to honey fungus and the GC say they can't get armillatox any more. It's being replaced with self-seeding elder, which doesn't really do hedges that well.

One big thing you have to do if you want a dense hedge is prune the **** out of it. The privet here was planted in a line and ignored for 20 years. Result: 8m high, 2m thick, hedge with long, thin trunks and long-thin branches in the middle rubbing the bark off each other in the wind. I took it down (with a hand-saw) to knee-height and have been pruning it ever since to get density for the small birds. If it wasn't for the armillaria killing it off from both ends, it'd be a beautiful strip of cover and habitat for them in another year or two.

"Sweet bay" comes to mind ... and a quick search reveals it's sold as a hedging plant and also known as "bay laurel" so I guess that's one you've already seen. They say Portuguese laurel is a good and hardier alternative for wintry locations. The reason I had it in mind was that it's more resistant to that fungus than most things.

The smallest ones on this website I found are 20-30cm, and based on experience planting woodland they'll get over being moved so much more quickly that they actually overtake the larger ones within a few years. They're also a lot cheaper, less than half the price of the 120-150cm ones. 3 to 5 per metre for 15m is 45 to 75 plants, £270 to £450. Free delivery, and 7.5% off for buying in bulk so £250 to £416.

Camera Corner

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 22:43

Well, I like bees, although I wouldn't go so far as to say that "I like my women like I like my coffee: covered in bees!"

Not enough of them around, really.

While I've been distracted by the new kitchen being (mostly) fitted, my first Akebia has gone from little green sausages to ripe, open and drying fruit:

 Anybody want the seeds?


Posted: 26/09/2014 at 19:24

For £160 you could have a couple of young goats ...

Music in the Garden

Posted: 26/09/2014 at 19:20

The Carpenters - while fixing the trellises.

The Birds - while cleaning bird-houses.

The Stranglers - while clearing bindweed.

The Shadows - while shooting rats.

Madness - while clearing up cat poo.

The Cure - while tending to the feverfew.

Skid Row - walking on exposed tree roots on a slope in the rain.

The Eagles - a little ambitious, but I'd be delighted if they came.

Er ...

Gladys Knight - while tending to gladioli.

Iron Maiden - where I'd like to put the neighbours' cats!

Billie Jo Spears - another possible solution to that problem?

Chopin - firewood an' haulin' it to me father's place ready for winter. Sorry.


Nobody Does It Better (even if that's only because I'm the only one bothering to do it at all)

For Your Eyes Only (well, actually, the dustbin men get to see it too, every 2 weeks)

Take My Breath Away (Really dusty ivy)

A Forest (takes a lot more maintenance work than you might think)

A Hazy Shade Of Winter (feed the birds and go back inside - sod the plants)

A Red, Red Rose (got two of them)

A Rock And A Hard Place (what I usually find when trying to plant fruit trees or dig out stumps)

A Thousand Hours (and it's still not done)

A View To A Kill (damnable grey squirrels)

Afraid To Shoot Strangers (so make sure you know what's behind that squirrel)

All By Myself (except that there's a man who comes round to mow the lawn)

Almost Over You (from the akebia to the fence - direct sunlight is within reach)

The Apparition (is nature's way of telling you to put away the toold, go inside and get something to eat)

The Ash Grove (well, three ash trees and one knee-high stump that regrew)

Autumn Leaves (make a mess)

Bad Medicine (not that I'm growing any such thing, as far as I know)

Bed Of Roses (does he mean the blooms or the thorny stems?)

La fleur que tu m'avais jetee (est mort, mais j'ai quel-que chose avec des fleurs comme la)

Che Gelida Manina (È necessario indossare guanti)

Clair de Lune (Les chauves-souris ont besoin d'amour trop, non seulement les oiseaux)

The Crimson Petal (on the ground indicates that rose has finished blooming)

Dances With Wolves (er, no, not in this garden)

Eden (you flatter me, Sarah)

El Condor Pasa (that would be most unexpected)

The Walk To The Paradise Garden (give me another 500 years to work on this and another 1000 acres and about £5,000,000 in the bank and I'll try, but no promises)


best evergreen climber

Posted: 26/09/2014 at 18:49

A quick search on Crocus yields one evergreen, fast-growing climber for a south- or west-facing location:

the cup and saucer plant.

Going for "semi-evergreen" gets another 7:

blue passion flower

purple passion flower

Halliana honeysuckle

Copper Beauty honeysuckle

Halls Prolific honeysuckle

Chilean potato tree

What I can't promise about them is ... well, anything, really. What Crocus don't bother to specify about them is what kind of climbers they are. I know the lonicera will twine up just about anything, as will akebia and, of course, bindweed. My jasmine (Jasminum beesianum), however, doesn't. It'll twine up itself or a wire, and probably up the akebia once they meet and mingle, but it won't twine up a trellis. How a climber will deal with a conifer remains to be seen. I know the akebia ties itself in knots on the thorny bramble stems. Really. Knots. It keeps finding another bit and trying to twine round it. One very confused plant. I don't know why pyracantha's listed as a climber at all. It's a tree. If you prune it a lot, it's a bush.

Three options so far. Let's seek more. Playing with "how much sun" gets no more plants. Going for "quite quick-growing" brings in the clematis and akebia.

Gold Flame / American Beauty honeysuckle

Dropmore Scarlet / Scarlet Trumpet honeysuckle

Clematis florida sieboldiana

Clematis flammula

Akebia quinata

Potato vine

That last one looks good. It says it grows through shrubs and other climbers. It's also a bit sensitive to frost, apparently, so no good at all up here, but you may be able to give it a suitable home. Nice, long flowering period, too. My akebia flowers came and went while the hyacinths were out, so I have no idea what they smell like.

Allowing deciduous plants makes for a very long list. Here:




Ivy invasion

Posted: 26/09/2014 at 18:27

I was going to mention the dust. Face protection highly recommended. Trimming that stuff on a house wall is a dusty, nasty job. We use secateurs and paint scrapers to cut it about 15" below the eaves and scrape the stems off the walls. We can just about get away with doing that once a year, but only just. It does, as mentioned, invade behind barge boards, under eaves, between tiles and everywhere else there's room for a 1mm stem, then grow into fatter and fatter stems.

Fun fact: killing ivy with glyphosate is almost impossible. It's like trying to paint over wax crayon with watercolours.

Camera Corner

Posted: 11/09/2014 at 19:08

Slightly better photographs of heather plants:

 Also, huge views!


Camera Corner

Posted: 10/09/2014 at 18:34

Lousy, lousy photograph of some ripe rowan berries:

 Honestly, they're hardly visible. What could I have been thinking?

Camera Corner

Posted: 24/08/2014 at 12:18


I thought peacock but that stripe isn't right for a peacock. They're speckled.

White ermine?

If it is a white ermine, you're in for a treat when it grows up. They're beautiful!

 Fluffy faces, big dark eyes and those beautiful antennae. I like ermine moths.

Camera Corner

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 19:09

Nice one Steve!

I don't see what's so unpleasant about that caterpillar. It's just a baby of a beautiful moth.

Now, do an image search for "Olthoi" and you'll see some fugly bugs with attitude problems and really bad manners (they spit formic acid at you). I'd much rather have the moths (and spiders).

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 623
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 428
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: 1706
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: 369
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 539
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 936
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: 2331
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned