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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Clematis id

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 18:03

I usually cut back to a pair of buds a few inches from the ground. New shoots will then grow up. If cut do it a bit  higher up, it will still be OK. And watch out for slugs and snails munching the new shoots as they start to grow!

Bees and more bees!

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 17:55

No, they don't get drunk but when they have a tummy full of nectar, they become quite docile. If you see one that looks wobbly it may just be dying or ill - an individual bee may not live very long, and some get diseases. All the male drones get pushed out of the hive to die off at the end of the season. I'm not sure if they actually sleep in the way we do.

Although they can go seven miles, they dont't normally go more than two or three miles from the hive - they'll go for whatever is nearest and most abundant in nectar. If they find any oil-seed rape, they will happily pig out on that and not look any further.

The popular plants with bees in our garden at the moment are various cotoneasters, sage, and the perennial geraniums (cranesbill-type). They bees are practically queuing up to get at the geraniums. The thing I really must get is a flowering shrub called abelia (there's a clue in the name) which bees really love.

Clematis id

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 17:40

It's also similar to one called Bees' Jubilee (which is in flower now in my garden right now). It goes on to develop pretty silvery-gold whorly seed-heads. It's almost certainly one that you cut right back in the early spring, so if you never find out its name, it won't matter much.

What Bee friendly climber for West Facing wall???

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 11:30

Many plants suits some sorts of bee but not others. Bumble bees have longer tongues and can reach further into flowers than honey bees. On Gardeners' World last week they had a feature about aquilegias, and showed how some bumble bees bite into the back end of the flower to get straight to the nectar, so you never know, except by watching, what will appeal to bees or why.

I agree, cotoneasters are very much liked by bees, who seem attracted even by flowers that are almost invisibly small to us, but some are a bit rampant and ungainly. Or pyrocanthus can make a stately climber if you train it well.

garden help for someone on a budget and a novice to boot

Posted: 05/06/2014 at 17:24

I think you may have som good plants there, so don't rush to cut them back. Wait and see how they perform. Evergreen shrubs (which some of them must be) are usually quite low-maintenance and give interest all year round.

Looking at your photo, it looks as if you've got a whopping great honeysuckle on the left-hand fence. You may want to prune that drastically, they can rather take over (and they can block drains). On the bottom right, it looks like lily of the valley, which either won't grow or won't stop growing (the latter in your case! Mine all died). You might want to get that under control too. Close to the path you have some pretty dianthus (pinks) and some sort of herbaceaous thing (a geranium?) that may soon flower. Those look worth keeping. At the back there'a nice yellow bush - possibly euonymus, which is attractive all year round. Between the solar lights is possibly a herb (oregano?), I'm not sure, and behind it is what looks like a hydrangea - leave that alone and see if it flowers later in the summer. They're usually quite well behaved. The heather looks a bit big and dominant, but they're not eay things to tame once they spread.

All this is just opinions and guesses, but do give your garden time to show you what it can do, and then you can decide what you want to keep or change. You'll get lots of support here.

Underachiever Award

Posted: 05/06/2014 at 17:09

My parsnips have scarcely germinated (grand total of 9 so far, in three whole rows). My mange-tout have not all appeared, and many of those that did have been ravaged by weevils. Autumn raspberries look a bit slow but may come good. Dahlias have vanished without trace.

Hope this makes someone feel better!

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Posted: 04/06/2014 at 21:17

Just a follow-up to the above: I kept the plants indoors or on a sunny terrace for most of the last couple of weeks, and they were great! Each basket had dark blue, light blue and white lobelia. We found that a little balloon-weight would just tuck in among the plants, so the balloons came up out of the flowers. Then the baskets and flowers were given away to friends and family afterwards.


experiences with free offers of plants

Posted: 03/06/2014 at 12:22

I ordered the free perennials in the autumn/winter of 2012. They were very tiny and I didn't want to have to nurture them all through the winter, so I put them out in the beds, but very few survived and they were all feeble.

Last autumn I ordered the three free clematis. They were also very tiny, in little plugs with only a few centimetres of top growth. The instructions were to plant them out at the time, but I knew they would just get lost or eaten by snails, so I left them in a sheltered corner. I planted them out (still tiny) early in the spring, and found that they had quite strong, healthy roots. I am happy to report that all three have shot up into proper grown-up plants now and look as if they'll do well.

Potato help

Posted: 25/05/2014 at 08:08

Some potatoes (my Charlotte, for instance) don't seem to flower much but the potatoes may still be ready even without/before flowers. The best thing is to put your hand gently into the soil and have a bit of a grope around. If you find any that seem suitably potato-sized, pull them out and you can start to eat them. If not, leave them a bit longer. I do this for a week or two before I pull up any whole plants, thus giving the rest of the spuds a chance to carry on growing.

Don't worry too much about the planting dates. This year mine are way ahead of where they were last year, and I'm planning to have an exploratory furtle around in the soil in a week or so, even thought there are no flowers yet.

ladybird poppy seeds

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 16:16

The instructions on the packet said just to sow them direct. But a friend of mine bought seeds for these poppies last year, and told me that when she sowed some direct, they didn't appear (as for most of us here). So she sowed the rest in a seed tray and then planted them out when they'd germinated, and they were fine. I was too lazy to follow her advice, but if anyone hasn't sown theirs yet, it might be worth a try.

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