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That really is an impressive hedge - it's a shame they couldn't wait to prune it until after both the blooms and the nesting season were over.
It doesn't poison the ground, but it will take all the water and nutrients out of the soil nearby.
Lots of mulching with organic matter, garden compost, farmyard manure etc will help.
I think it's Campari & soda o'clock here
If you want to beat the squirrels you can pick the walnuts before they ripen and make some Pickled Walnuts http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/pickled-walnuts/ - I love them with cold meat at Christmas
Asleep on a deckchair in the shed?
We bought our liner from http://www.pondkeeper.co.uk/flexiliner.asp and the underlay was half price. We got the liner that is guaranteed for 40 years.
As long as the soil isn't too stony a layer of sand or soft soil then the underlay is all you need.
Pondkeeper are really helpful and there's a calculator to help you work out how large the liner needs to be.
Better late than never folks! I got sidetracked by some dead-heading
It's the friendliness that makes this such a good place to be
It looks like some sort of bacterial or fungal thing to me - there's all sorts of things about this year following such a mild winter. I'd remove the affected leaves and burn them.
Don't fertilise too much - it makes soft growth and the leaves are therefore more susceptible to such things.
Brilliant! Thanks Panda
A friend has this growing in her garden - does anyone recognise it?
Is it a Knapweed?