Gardening Grandma

Latest posts by Gardening Grandma

Whats your plans for the garden this year?

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 18:27

We have lived in our house for ten years. When we arrived, most of it was very badly paved with horrendous raised beds and a semi-derelict drive. On a shoestring, we gradually took up the paving and demolished the raised beds, covered broken paths with membrane and chippings and planted rather haphazardly with cheap plants and cuttings. It looks much better and I've learnt a lot in the process of improving things, but it has dawned on me that the garden is much too bitty and the secret of a successful small garden is strong design and greater simplicity. My aim for this year is to improve the framework and strengthen the basic shape of the garden. I'm a plantaholic and tend to plant one of everything, so that I have room for lots of different herbacious perennials. I hope at least to divide plants and create more repetition and to colour theme different parts of the garden, so that the overall effect is simpler. It is a learning curve, so I expect to succeed in some areas and cotinue to work at it in the coming years, should I be granted them.

 I .  

 This is the back garden last June.


 The front garden.

 These took forever to upload, so I'll stop at that. We have a large pergola and summerhouse. The summehouse is actually an old chicken house with the front removed and clothed with wood cladding and decking, my husband's pride and joy but unoffically known as 'Grumpy's shed.' I've planted roses,clematis and jasmines to climb over it. It all looks great when things are in flower and messy when they are not and the lack of good structure shows.



B******* Magpies

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 17:26

I live in a suburb in a country town with plenty of large trees and my garden has shrubbery and a bird bath. Yet we seldom hear birdsong and if I put out fat balls and bird feeders, there are no takers. (We don't get rats and mice either, which is a blessing!) All we get are seagulls and lots of magpies which eat bread and bits of meat that I throw onto the garage roof. I think the magpies are driving away the smaller birds. Can I attract smaller birds back into the immediate area? If so, how can I protect them from the magpies?    

Early flowering white rose

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 17:07

Thank you so much, Rosa Carriola, for taking the trouble to post this information. As it happens,I had looked on this website and a couple of others, but with no success. I found an encyclopaedic site last year with lots of illustrations and got the result I wanted within minutes, but can't even find the site this year. It seems to have been taken down. Rosa banksiae is now on my wishlist, but I don't have room for another big rose, unless I get a brainwave.  


Posted: 03/02/2013 at 16:56

Are these the tough common or garden buddleias or a posh cultivar? As Sotongeoff says, you can't kill buddleias and the ordinary garden types can withstand terrible conditions and respond well to fierce pruning. If you let them go on unpruned, they will get leggy but if you cut them back really hard they will double up and become a much better shape. I've got one that I'm training into a standard at the moment, because I don't have room for it as a shrub. It does not seem to mind how much I chop it about. They are great plants.

Can I train a rambling rose over an arch?

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 16:46

i was given a rooted cutting of an unnamed but rather lovely red rambler and, three or four years later, it is beginning to take off. I planted it next to a cheap metal garden arch and it is now throwing out long shoots which need to be tied up, running the gamut of fierce thorns. Is it foolish to think of training it over this arch? Will it be too heavy and too rampant? I have a place next to a summerhouse to which I could move it, but it is in shade. 

Naked Rose

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 16:31

Roses are quite amazingly tough and can survive quite a lot of neglect, and you have clearly looked after yours. We get a lot of black spot here in Wales and I have realised that it is best to spray really early in the season, before it gets a chance to get hold, and then repeat spray at regular intervals. Hiowever, even rampant black spot does not seem to kill them, only disfigure and weaken them for that season. I am definitely a learner when it comes to roses. In the past I've avoided them, since we have such a problem with black spot in this wet climate. However, I have learnt that the difference betwen roses thriving and merely surviving lies in feeding them and mulching them really generously.  

Early flowering white rose

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 16:21

I'm sorryRosa Carriola but don't have a worthwhile photograph at the moment and it seems the wrong season to take one. Busy Lizzie, I've looked up rosa banksiae alba plena and the flowers are too large and showy. I believe this is not a species rose and I remember that it had a woman's name (I think ).Thanks for the suggestion though. Actually I rather wish I had bought the rose you suggest. I indentified mine on the net last year and foolishly for a woman of my age failed to write it down, with the inevitable result that I have forgotten it. This year, the website I used seems to have disappeared.The flowers on this rose are not at all showy and you could easily think that it is not a rose. They look a bit like a flattish and not very impressive head of hydrangea or something like that. However, it is a rose. It would help if I could remember which grower bred it but again the elderly brain has let me down.

Talkback: Fat hen

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 21:15

Vinegar weed is trichostema lanceolatum and you can look that up in wikipedia. It has blue flowers. I've never heard of fatweed, though there is a weed called fat hen, which is different from vinegar weed. I should have thought that raking your lawn regularly would pull out seedlings and that using a product like Weed and Feed would help a lot. You probably know this already and I'm wondering what it is about the weed that makes it a particular problem?

What's special about gardening In your county?

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 20:47

Here in South Wales, we have mild, wet weather. In my small, walled grden, I can grow quite tender plants but the waterlogged ground means that some things rot in the ground and the wind does not dry up the ground. It would be a very sunny garden except that we get so much cloud and rain! 2012 was terrible, here as everywhere else, but there is always a lot of rain. Rose black spot is a severe problem.

We have dealt with the rain problem by building a large pergola with sheets of plastic nailed to the top, so that we can get into the garden in warm,wet weather. Plants that like moisture are lush and green, but sun-lovers struggle. Wales is a breattiful place with ever-changing scenery, from the coastal plain and beaches to the lower hills of the south and the rugged mountains of the north, but sometimes I think that the only way to really enjoy the garden would be to put a roof over it all!

Early flowering white rose

Posted: 02/02/2013 at 20:26

I planted a very vigorous white rose two years ago and, frustratingly, have lost the name. It is a thornless climber and flowers very early, in May. It is not repeat flowering. It dores not lose its leaves in winter. I believe it was bred in the 1950s. The flowers are very small, in flat clusters. Can anyone help, please?

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