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gardenning granny

Latest posts by gardenning granny


Posted: 27/10/2014 at 14:20

I've been wondering what to do with my tibouchina (bought from Lidl this year) which has developed into quite a large shrub and is covered in buds.  It's still outside on the patio but reckon it should be coming indoors soon.  Any advice on how hot/cold it might like to be?

Then like you I will be struggling for space in my lobby as I bring in the geraniums.  I'm too much of a softy to throw out plants that are in full flower!

solar or not

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 10:33

Here in France, where I am at the moment, every school roof is covered in solar panels, they have started to put solar shades over the supermarket carparks (shae is very welcome here in the summer) and every winegrower covers the rooves of his buildings.  The system is different here, but they get an excellent return from the government and so much more friendly than fracking which seems to me to be very destructive.

It is a myth that they need sunshine to work, they generate all the year round though much less when it's cloudy.  We considered it a longterm investment - we were promised it would have paid off the installation costs in ten years, but it is likely to be seven or eight the way things are going.  So for those years you have the reduced cost of electricity, but after that you have around £2000 a year income which is worth considering.

Anyone know what this is please?

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 10:26

Thank you for reminding me of the name of the Duchess, Bilje - I had quite forgotten it.  It doesn't seem to multiply very quickly, nor does Topsy Turvey (which I leave outside in France, but bring in in England - but it came from the Eden project, and I love it's "inside-out" habit).

I'm not usually into detailed names, I just need to know that on the whole the houseleeks are happy outdoors and love the wet weather, while the echeverias definitely don't like the cold and the wet.  They live in my cold greenhouse quite happily through the winter.

Anyone know what this is please?

Posted: 18/10/2014 at 19:39

the large plant in my sink, in flower, is an echeveria (as is the purply one in the foreground).  It will need to be brought under cover for the winter (I lift mine and keep it in the cold greenhouse during the cold months).  I also have them growing in balconnieres in my place in southern France - they manage with virtually no water through the summer, but again are brought under cover for the winter as they can't stand the wet (you will see they are surrounded by gravel to keep the leaves off the soil).  Treated right they produce many offspring around the original rosette and can get quite big.  The flowers on mine are a salmony pink.


Moving clematis

Posted: 18/10/2014 at 19:23

I'd leave the winter flowering one until the spring.  If it's in the wrong place I'd give it a go then anyway, after all, it's not going to cost a fortune to replace it if it doesn't survive (Wyevale usually have a 3 for £10 offer in the spring).  The other option is to plant some of the feathery seeds - the winter flowering ones seem to grow quite easily from seed.

solar or not

Posted: 18/10/2014 at 19:18

Like gardenmaiden we had ours installed some time ago.  The cost was higher then than it is now, but we will re-coop the cost in 8 years, and our electricity costs have been greatly reduced (about £80 p/m dual fuel for a four bedroomed house).  We take great pleasure in not running the dishwasher until the sun comes out, and the panels generate all year round, though considerably more profitably in the summer.  Our 18 panels pay us arounf £2000 a year, in addition to the reduction in electricity costs.  We thought of the installation costs as being more effective than an ISA in terms of pay-back.

I cannot understand why it is not mandatory to install solar panels on all new-builds.

Trailing Fuchsia and Grasses

Posted: 18/10/2014 at 19:07

Hello pennymax - I've already added something to another "fuchsia" overwintering query which may help.  Fuchsias like to be cold and frost-free in the winter, but definitely not wet.  Please look at my other answer which is much fuller.

over wintering fuschias

Posted: 18/10/2014 at 19:04

My fuschia book recommends burying the dormant plants.  I have a pit under the staging in my cold greenhouse - about 15" deep.  At end of october I strip off all the remaining leaves, cut back any straggly bits, then give the pots a good watering.  Once they have drained they are laid horizontally in the pit, side by side then one on top of another and covered with damp newspaper (it is supposed to be loose compost but I never have enough of that!) and then bubblewrap tucked in around the whole area.  They are then left until the end of March when they are brought out and will already have new shoots forming.  They return to the staging, are well watered, and will grow on enthusiastically.  This is when I also have the most success taking cuttings.

If I don't have enough space the pots are brought into the shed (they need to be cold but frost free) - and virtually left until watering recommences in March.

These two methods seem to have worked really well for me.


Posted: 04/10/2014 at 19:26

leaving the heads on over winter gives winter interest - then cut them back in late spring, after the frosts. I have found they need a damp situation - one of mine gets very dry and never flowers!  I guess I ought to move day.

loved gardening quotes

Posted: 04/10/2014 at 19:11

you've had all the best ones already but

Old gardeners never die, they just throw in   the trowel

Discussions started by gardenning granny

where have all the avatars gone?

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help - bignonia - campsis radicans

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more seed sowing queries

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overwintering solanum rantonnettii

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Last Post: 01/11/2014 at 12:51

how to grow Bignonia from seed

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Last Post: 28/10/2014 at 12:57

anyone tried taking grevillea cuttings?

Replies: 0    Views: 127
Last Post: 27/10/2014 at 15:03

guess who's hiding in my compost bin

Replies: 14    Views: 458
Last Post: 18/08/2014 at 21:39

can anyone ID this plant please?

Replies: 5    Views: 313
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 22:13

seeds for drought resistant meditteranean plants

Replies: 7    Views: 561
Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 10:56


how to get rid of it - and then will the wasps return next year 
Replies: 14    Views: 2808
Last Post: 27/07/2014 at 19:26

When can I put the geraniums out?

Replies: 10    Views: 3406
Last Post: 04/10/2013 at 10:36
11 threads returned