London (change)
Today 15°C / 9°C
Tomorrow 17°C / 10°C


Latest posts by Ginglygangly

1 to 10 of 116

Putting in a border here

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 11:38

and dig in lots of muck. Soil under the gravel is likely to be pretty thin on nutrients

How do you all know so much

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 11:35

I'm just a passionate amateur. I've learned lots from reading magazines and watching GW but have to say mainly from just having a go! I've learned what grows well in my garden (shady, London clay) largely through trial and error, but I would probably be posting a lot of questions if I moved to a sun-baked seaside garden or somewhere more prone to frost. I can grow flowers and shrubs fairly well, have grown a lot from seed, but have very little luck with veg - haven't advanced much beyond "beginners' " tomatoes and salad! As others have said, you never stop learning and this forum has certainly taught me a lot

when do i take root cuttings of Japanese anemones?

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 11:25

if they are young plants, I would wait till Autumn to give them a chance to beef up a bit. I planted some years ago and found they sulked for a good year, then settled in rather too well in places! I have just pulled some up to stop them taking over a border and stuck them in pots for a friend who wants some, but am not expecting a massive success rate.

A question about flowers.

Posted: 29/03/2014 at 18:18

I've just been pulling the whole head (stalk and all) off some of mine. Might encourage them to flower again - it doesn't really matter if you leave the stalk on, just looks a bit messier and might encourage mould. I twist and yank and keep a finger on the plant itself to stop it lifting out of the soil!

Replacement for overgrown ivy and heavily-trimmed shrubs in clay soil

Posted: 17/03/2014 at 19:29

when I moved into my London garden flat, the garden was probably in a similar state to yours. Very overgrown shrubs hogging the light, little else, soil very compacted and indeed sort of "sick" looking - yellowish. I double-dug one border, but having a bad back never really got round to the rest. I just "tickled" the top of the soil to open it up a bit, and in the first year, chucked loads of compost on it, topped with newspaper to thwart the weeds and covered with bark for appearances sake. I then just dug nice big holes for planting. Since then, I have just chucked organic matter - compost, leaf mould, manure, whatever - on the surface and let the worms do the work. Clay is actually very fertile. As long as you dig big planting holes, and add plenty of compost, most plants should thrive (unless they like sandy soil).

It can look pretty horrible when you hack back overgrown plants, but things will grow really quickly now and in a few weeks even, it will look better. Of course, having cleared the ground and increased the light, you will have to contend with weeds - they will have been waiting for such an opportunity and will germinate in spades.

Depending on how much light you have, I would recommend quick-growing clematis to clothe the borders and then think about a few choice shrubs. I can recommend Daphne - pretty modest most of the year, but gorgeous scent in winter and early spring. Doesn't grow too fast or too big either. Then maybe some euphorbia (they need a bit of sun, not necessarily all day). My euphorbia melifera (well, it's spelt something like that - honey-scented spurge) is just coming into flower now, and again, the scent is knock out, but there are other wonderful varieties with various outstanding features - there's bound to be one to suit, unless you garden in deep shade.

Philadelphus and deutzia have white flowers and lovely scent later in the summer. If you are on a  budget and are patient, you can buy these very cheaply in several high street budget shops. Then think about perennials - hardy geranium will cover the ground and give you months of flower power.... but really, the list is endless. If you have a sunny border, enrich the soil a bit, buy some annuals and scatter them - you will get some quick-fix colour while everything else gets going and you think about longer term planting.

Good luck!



Plants for new border

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 19:19

oops didn't manage the quote function very well

Plants for new border

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 19:19

Thanks gingly gangly. I was actually going to ask about the hellebore seeds, do I just leave them to self seed or collect the seeds and sow them?


Sorry Tracey - haven't been on for a while! I do a mixture of both. I leave some seeds on the plant to drop and germinate the next February (you'll find the seedlings near the parent plant) and I gather some and sow them in pots, cover in grit and leave outside. They still won't germinate till next Feb, but you might find them easier to manage in pots. Either way, you can pot the seedlings on and eventually you'll have lots of hellebores! Does take patience though - they flower about two years after germinating, so three years in all!

Plants for new border

Posted: 04/03/2014 at 20:23

looking toptastic! and I am so glad that some of your first purchases are hellebores.You will get seedlings and in three or so years, they will flower. Sounds a long wait but worth it. I have the most gorgeous shiny purple hellebore, grown from a seedling, giving it's all in my garden at the moment! You really are off to a cracking start.

Can someone please help me identify this lovely smelling shrub/plant

Posted: 04/03/2014 at 20:14

How true Busy Bee! And when you have a scented plant, associated memories seem stronger don't they? I have a Daphne Aureomarginata in my front garden. It's covered in flowers this year and the other weekend, when it was a breezy day, the gorgeous perfume was blowing down the street. I could see passers by sniffing appreciatively. You can't find that smell in a bottle.

Advice required

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 17:29

Hi Babs

Sounds like you are desperate to get started! Re the soil, good advice to have a dig. You may have very good soil, but even so it would be a good idea to add some compost to the existing borders, and in a month or so some slow release fertilizer like fish blood and bone or bonemeal - especially if you plan to plant shrubs. This will ensure that you don't spend money on - and a lot of time planting - things that then don't thrive. There are lots and lots of plants to choose from - most things will romp away if the conditions are right. Now is a really good time to chuck muck on the soil, so that the worms can work it in and get your borders ready for planting.

You need to try and work out if the soil is acid, neutral or very alkaline. Likely to be neutral, but if your neighbours are all growing whopping rhododendrons, or conifers, could be acid. If your soil has a lot of chalk in it, again, no point planting things that like acid conditions. You also need to see whether it is heavy clay, very well drained or somewhere in the middle. In the current weather if it's heavy clay you are likely to have a lot of water on the surface. Actually, in the current weather ANYONE is likely to have a lot of water on the surface! ask your neighbours. There are plants that will thrive in water-retentive ground, whereas others really like it on the dry side.

I know this all sounds a bit dull when you are desperate to get plants in the ground, but like a lot of other gardeners on this forum I have learnt a lot from my mistakes and no longer try to grow what will not thrive in my garden. Gardens can eat money! There is always a lot of choice of plants, no matter what your conditions (unless you are in a desert or on a mountain top!) it's often more a question of narrowing down your options.

Also be wary of going down the "fast growing "route. Seems a nice idea  to buy things that will grow quickly but in practise, they can outgrow their welcome and become a bit of a thug that needs constant pruning.

Wish I could say "plant this" but really recommend you go to a good garden centre, have a look round and collar somebody knowledgeable. If you are interested in trees and shrubs, better still seek out a specialist nursery. Time spent carefully planning now will save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the long run.

Good luck!

1 to 10 of 116

Discussions started by Ginglygangly

Ginglygangly has not started any discussions