Latest posts by Fairygirl

Pruning hedging whips

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 18:48

Hi Diane - I wouldn't worry too much about pruning if they're only a couple of feet tall. It's usually a good idea to prune if they're bigger sized whips. 

Are you sure you mean Acer? Did you mean Maple? If so, you'll need to be prepared to do a fair bit of pruning as those will get very big. They're not really an ideal specimen in a hedge.

If there's lots of ivy in the hedge, you may want to try and get rid of some of it in order to let the hedge you want thrive. That can be tricky, but if you keep pruning it right at the base it might weaken it. Alternatively, you can use a weedkiller on the foliage, very carefully, and wait for it to die back. It'll take several applications though. If you bruise the foliage a bit, that helps weedkiller to penetrate. 

Re tackling your whole hedge - I think you're doing the sensible thing by attending to a small stretch at a time - perhaps twenty feet or so. Bare bits at the bottom of the hedge can be improved with correct trimming and pruning over time, and also by clearing up and tidying the base of the hedge, giving it a general feed in early spring,a thorough watering and a mulch of well rotted manure, compost or bark. If you add any whips in the gaps, perpare the ground well to start with, and they'll stand a better chance of thriving. 

messy lawn

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 18:16

I'd agree with Philippa - chickens and nice lawns don't go hand in hand usually!

If you want the nice lawn, you'll have to keep them off it I'm afraid. 

Feeding a Camellia

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 18:13

It's probably needing a bigger pot, and more importantly, more water. 

Use a soil based compost - or mix some garden soil (if it's not alkaline) with some compost - and use that. Even in reasonable rainfall, water doesn't penetrate very well, so check the soil regularly to see that the soil isn't dried out. There are specific feeds for Camellias etc , but you can use a general feed to promote flowering. In a pot, you might find it easier to use one of those slow release plant foods instead. 

After watering thoroughly, use a mulch to help prevent evaporation, and put the plant somewhere with a bit of shade which will also be less stressful for it. The key time is late summer/early autumn for these shrubs, and rhododendrons, as this is when the new flowers form. Make sure it doesn't go short of water at that time. 

What Wood ?

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 17:48

If you can source pallets, they would be ideal. Or 2nd hand scaffold boards. You can usually find those for next to nothing.

I used heavy duty  fencing timber for mine, which wasn't that expensive, from a builder's merchant.

Plug Plants

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 17:42

Tomatoes don't need feeding until the first fruits are set. That will usually be well after you've potted on a few times and have them in their final pots (if growing undercover) or in their final position outside.  

Breaking the rules

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 17:37

I've frequently moved mature evergreen shrubs in the middle of summer - laurel, conifer, pieris etc. No problem. I suppose the fact that we get a lot of rain in summer helps though.

As Hosta says - plants can't read ... 

Re 'shade' and 'sun'  plants - it's not always a case of either/or. Many plants are very adaptable, and it's what's underneath them that's as important as what's above.  

Hello Forkers - April edition

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 17:33


I need to change my car this year and the Renault Captur would suit my needs, but apparently they're already experiencing reliability issues with them, so that's off the list. Maybe I'll get and old Land Rover - that'll be fine bumping up and down on glen roads!

Wonks - I missed answering  you about the tap fitting thingies. I had one in the house round the corner and it was a bit hopeless. Much easier to get an outside tap 

As I suspected - those fat a**ed wood pigeons were guilty of breaking one of my narcissus earlier today. I looked out the window ten minutes ago and one was sitting in the raised bed, in amongst them, under the feeding cage, and the other one looked like a duck - head first into the big pot of daffs next to it. 

I had to laugh though  

Containers of tulips

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 17:26

Put them into another pot of gritty compost and let them die down naturally. A liquid feed  is all they need as the foliage dies down. The bulb will do the rest. Just keep them somewhere sheltered for next year where they won't get dried out completely, or waterlogged. 

They tend to last only a few years and diminsh gradually , unless it's the species types you have, which are different.

Honeysuckle mildew problem

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 12:48

Too dry for it probably. Sounds exactly like mildew. They need a lot of moisture at the roots. If it's in a container, it'll never thrive properly. They need to be in the ground. They're edge of woodland plants, so they need some shade at the bottom and will then look for a bit of ligth as they grow. 

Vine weevil are an issue in pots, so that's probably what was eating your first one. The grubs eat the roots and do all the damage -  the adults just eat notches round the edges of the foliage.

What climber?

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 12:40

How big is the oak tree? That will take a lot of moisture from the ground.

Most honeysuckles get very big given the right conditions. I don't think the conditions sound great for one anyway, but if you could post a photo of the site to give us a better idea of what you have, that will help. 

Very few climbers will look good all year round, and will require some care. A clematis may suit better if the soil's suitable and the surroundings are favourable. You can also use things like Euonymous which will grow almost anywhere, and will act like a climber if up against a support.  

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