Gardening Grandma

Latest posts by Gardening Grandma

getting on with the neighbours

Posted: 22/07/2012 at 08:21

My neighbours on all three sides (or 2 sides and bottom of the garden) have been offended by my garden at different times. None of them likes me to plant near the boundary wall, and all are concerned that the wall may be undermined. All of them, by the way, claim that the dividing wall belongs to them. (I'm not arguing!) One of them even asked me rudely to control a Virginia creeper inappropriately planted next to a six foot wall. I did so and investigated talking it out, only to discover that it was actually planted in her garden! I took over the garden seven years ago and did not actually plant the ivies or the small tree at the bottom of the garden (which seeded itself). I have taken down most of the ivy and have planted climbers and herbaceous plants along the boundaries, keeping shrubs largely for the front boundary and areas where they are not a problem to neighbours. I want green boundaries to my small garden and the tree provides welcome privacy from the houses behind, without taking all their light, (though I do realise that it may prove too much of a problem in the future.) My garden seems to me transformed, a green oasis among bare and neglected gardens, and I can't understand why anyone would object to seeing beautiful greenery over their wall. Any comments or advice?

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Posted: 22/07/2012 at 08:03

I might add that my trachelospermum asiaticum, also bought last year, is doing even worse, although it is in a sheltered spot near a wall in sun (or it would be if we had more sun). It is alive, not thriving, not growing, not flowering. I'm wondering whether to put it in a pot (better drainage) and overwinter it indoors. I'd prefer it to remain where it is because I want to clothe the pillars of a pergola, preferably with evergrreens, and because it is not large enough to undermine the boundary wall or trouble the neighbours. Perhaps I ought to start a separate thread about this.

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Posted: 22/07/2012 at 07:33

There's another thread about this from about a fortnight or three weeks ago. I have also had a similar experience with one bought last year and had wondered about a deficiency of iron or magnesium, but I think the root rot idea is very likely to be correct in this cold, wet summer. We've had quite a lot of windy, stormy weather here in Wales and so there could be an element of wind damage, too. My trachelospermum jasminoides is in flower, but hasn't grown and doesn't look as though it is thriving.

rejuvenating shrubs

Posted: 20/07/2012 at 19:39

Where would we be without bargains and impulse buys? My garden is composed of them because I can't walk around a garden centre or open garden without buying something. I've made quite a few mistakes but learnt a lot, too, and had quite a lot of fun. Shrubs are a bigger problem than herbaceous perennials, and I have no idea how I'll accommodate some of mine when they reach their eventual size. That's why I learnt something about pruning them!  

what base is best for a compost bin

Posted: 20/07/2012 at 14:47

Great idea about the chicken wire. I once asked about rats in the compost bin at a gardener's question time at Shrewsbury Show and was told that the best way to keep rats out of the compost bin is to keep the compost wet.

Deadheading RhodedendonDead

Posted: 19/07/2012 at 16:24

Joe, you are certainly entitled to question and test advice given, but who are you going to believe if not the specialists?

I did a bit of research into rhodo fungal diseases and found that the rhodo leafhopper lays its eggs in rhodo buds and flowers then dies when winter comes. The eggs overwinter in the flowers and hatch in the following spring. They do not do much harm themselves but their presence encourages the appearance of bud blast, which is a serious fungal disease. Deadheading prevents the leafhoppers from overwintering and hatching and so helps prevent bud blast.

I got this from an online article called 'Insects and other Arthropods' by David A Kendall on and compared it with the RHS advice on Rhodos on their website.


rejuvenating shrubs

Posted: 19/07/2012 at 08:33

Pieris is more slow-growing anyway, and needs acid soil, whereas most Photinias are more tolerant of either somewhat alkaline or acid soil. If your pieris is healthy, your soil must be OK for it, but it might be a thought. The eventual spread of a pieris can be 2 metres or more so when it gets larger it will need space. Photinia can stand hard pruning but will not flower as well the following year.

Deadheading RhodedendonDead

Posted: 17/07/2012 at 21:27

Here's Millais Nurseries' advice (rhodo specialists) -

'Dead heading is the process of snapping off the spent flower truss after flowering. It really does make a difference, and gives the plant that well groomed look for the rest of the season. However in reality, it is not always possible due to the size of the plants or the size of the garden. Therefore prioritize the operation, and concentrate on your younger plants, and those which seem weak or sick.

If you do not deadhead, then the plant will waste loads of energy making big fat seedpods, and this will inhibit growth and flowering the following season.

Simply snap the flower truss off at the base, above the whorl of leaves, using your thumb and forefinger. Be careful not to break off the new growth coming through underneath. You will soon be an expert and it will certainly pay off next season!'


Posted: 17/07/2012 at 17:00

There's one thing about garden 'thugs' - an awful lot of so-called cottage garden plants are pretty rampant in one way or another - is that you have lots of plants that you could pot up and sell at the gate or in boot sales.

Deadheading RhodedendonDead

Posted: 17/07/2012 at 16:50

Obviously not, but then things are a bit different in the average private garden with limited space and the need to maximise the iumber of flowers and make every corner of the garden count.   

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