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Latest posts by chrissieB

Weeds and new mulch

Posted: 19/07/2013 at 08:07


I agreed with Verdun and Dovabove above. If you already have a membrane down adding more mulch is not going to help. Are the weeds growing through the membrane? If they are then you need to lift it, dig out what are probably perennial weeds and start again. If the membrane was out flown some time ago and/or is very cheap they do degrade and break apart.

if area roots are just in the mulch then they will be annuals and if you keep clearing them off they should reduce over time as any weed seeds in the mulch will be used up. you also need to think about where the weeds may be coming froHavel you lots of weeds in neighbours gardens? If so then you may to just accept that it will be an ongoing chore. It may be that the seeds were in the mulch, especially if its home composted?

another way of controlling weeds is to plant up the beds so there is not too much spare soil. Once the plants you want have spread and grown then there will be less space for weeds to grow and germinate. I know this also tait's time to achieve but at least you know the work will reduce over time.

If you want to mulch but can't afford the costs. The following can be used although I admit they aren't pretty to look at, they will gradually rot down cardboard, newspapers, harass cuttings. You could use the first two to add a barrier layer under your existing mulch.

Hope we have offered some help or glimmers of hope 


How to restrict the spread of a climber?

Posted: 19/07/2013 at 07:55

If you don't want the drastic option of removing it, you need to maximise the benefit you get from your pruning.

prune in the summer rather than the winter, as the re-growth will be less vigorous and prune back so that you allow for growth before it reaches your neighbour. It's always instinct to prune it back to where you want something to be forgetting that the minute it starts to grow it will again be encroaching. Maybe enough so that you only have to prune it every couple of years? That would maybe also help make it more affordable to get someone in to prune it for you.

using any sort of glyphosate will kill the whole plant and the Chinese feet treatment would simply kill the ends which were actually covered but if the plant is as healthy as it looks it will simply grow replacement shoots.

sorry I can't offer a magical solution, I would love it if I could as it would solve some of my pruning headaches!







Why won't plants grow under my Holly tree?

Posted: 11/07/2013 at 18:23

Don't forget that the holly will also be staking all the goodness out of the soil as well as the water. The leave drop may also have raised the acidity of the soil. You probably need to focus in plants that thrive in dry shade and give them plenty of good compost and feed when you plant them. A regular mulch with old compost will also probably help



Please help me design my garden - part 3

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 18:26

These are reliable for dry shade

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

Trachystemon oreintalis

Jasminum officinale - the variety Fiona Sundrise 'Frojas' is really colourful, these may flower less than if in a sunny spot but foliage and stems are colourful

As ground cover - epimediums are very tolerant of dry and shade and some have quite colourful foliage as well as flowers

Have added a link to RHS article on top 10 plants for dry shade which may help inspire

Fruit Hedge for Exposed Site

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 18:18

To fruit well blackcurrant and raspberry need to be regularly pruned so am not sure that you would get much fruit whilst maintaining enough of the plant/canes to create a hedge? But both would probably cope with the winds, I dont know anything about sloe

What about some other native edibles such as elder (flowers and berries can be used), hazel and maybe blackberry- I expect these would all be robust. Rugosa roses are tough and I think you can use the hips although not sure how tasty they really are.

hedge ideas for privacy

Posted: 13/05/2013 at 18:11

It's going to be quite difficult to find anything very narrow if you want it to be so high - many hedges if that high need enough width to balance the height or they will be vulnerable to wind damage- you will also have a wait until you get the height you need. You could plant some trees with light canopies so they don;t cast too much shade but this might not give you the level of privacy you want? (Rowan and silver birch.almelanchier lamarckii are fairly light).

You can trim back conifers but musn't cut further back down the green growth as it can't re-generate - am guessing that this isnt given you enough of a 'reduction'.

The narrowest option would be to use trellis and cover this with evergreen climbers - mixing a couple would also give you a mix of foliage and flowers in your garden - but there are council planning limits on the maxiumum height for boundary fences which you would need to check. But a combination of this with maybe a strategically placed light canopied tree may give you the level of privacy that you want. Breaking up your neighbours view of you and yours of them can be just as effective that a solid barrier. If you place the tree away from the fence it will create a greater sense of privacy for you than if placed on the boundary - try it out in various positions until when you stand back it blocks your view of their window(s)

Hope thats of some help





Ground Drainage

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 10:21


I'm guessing that you must be lower than your neighbours if you get all the run-off?

It may be that you have a cultivation or iron pan which is stopping the water draining away - these can be broken up or removed (if iron pan) but you may have to dig down quite deep to find it - might be worth digging a test pit in the worst area to see if that is the case.

You don't say what sort of soil you have  - if high clay content drainage can be a problem but can be improved over time, by digging in lots of organic matter (compost and manure) and also liming. Liming causes something called flocculation which is plain english means it starts to encourage the soil to develop larger particles which will improve the structure giving more air pores for drainage - you should be able to get a suitable product from your garden centre. Don't go on the soil or cultivate it when wet as that will make the problem worse. If it's loam/sandy then I suspect it may well be a pan blocking the waters path down.

Good luck!


Grassed area at the side of my house.

Posted: 14/01/2013 at 09:27

As its quite a small area how about some of the smaller Hebes - they are usually fairly tidy so wont bother the path, evergreen and with lovely flowers.

If perennials what about some perennial herbs - they would enjoy the sandy soil and sun and release some scent when you brish by them on the path?


need help

Posted: 14/01/2013 at 09:19


The Natural History Museum have a search by postcode which will then list which wildflowers are native to your area.

Just to warn you, meadows are lovely and I adore them, but they can be hard work to establish and they have a definite peak and can then look pretty messy for a good chunk of the year.



Living Walls

Posted: 14/01/2013 at 09:14

Hi Busy-Lizzie

Unfortunately it's shortage of floor space that is the problem - I already have to pirouette quite comically to reach everything to water it - tiptoeing through the tulips (et al) literally! But I don't have any climbers at present so a reminder to see what I can squeeze into my existing pots.

Thanks for the link, Heliotrope, looks really interesting and the finished project looks quite smart. I have some spare pallets on my allotment as well

Discussions started by chrissieB

Living Walls

Any advice/ideas on how to create one 
Replies: 12    Views: 829
Last Post: 01/10/2013 at 19:44

Protecting broad beans?

Advice please 
Replies: 10    Views: 912
Last Post: 26/11/2012 at 16:20
2 threads returned