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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

removing flowers from helebore

Posted: 27/05/2012 at 09:21

I think the time to remove the older foliage is in the late winter as the flowers begin to show. Then you can take off a few more leaves during the spring as new ones grow to replace them.

I only discovered hellebores by accident a few years ago when I got a neglected tray of them from Focus for next to nothing, and decided to try them out. They're now very well established and I really love them.

HELP !!!!!what about ground cover plants- does it work?

Posted: 26/05/2012 at 21:03

I agree about ivy, it's a bit of a thug. Vinca (periwinkle) will cover the ground but it will also cover just about everything else, so it's another one to be cautious about. Pulmonaria is pretty and spreads quite easily. Campanulas and aubretias might work. I never had much luck with ajuga but it's worth a try.

You're right about shrubs, many of them are very easy to manage and soon fill up the space, leaving little room for weeds. Evergreens such as photinia, euphorbias and hebes need little attention and give you colour all year round. You could also consider a creeping, spreading juniper towards the front of the bed.

removing flowers from helebore

Posted: 26/05/2012 at 20:45

I think it's generally recommended to remove the old flowers, unless you want them to set seed, in which case leave them as they are. Removing the old leaves is a good idea and can't do any harm. I have removed the old foliage on mine but left most of the flowers, as they're still quite attractive, but I'll cut them back soon.

Marketmore cucumbers

Posted: 26/05/2012 at 17:25

I've grown these in a raised bed. I think I trailed them up a low slope on a bit of trellis that was propped at an angle to face the sun, and also it helped to keep the plants off the ground and minimise any problems with slugs or snails. But I think you can just let them trail if you want to, as you would a courgette plant. Depends on where you want to put them.

Subscribers' club discounts

Posted: 26/05/2012 at 13:24

I think the issue is that the lavenders are (technically) free, so you can't get a discount. The £4.90 is  P&P charge, and discounts don't apply to that. Also you can't use that P&P charge to cover other (payable) parts of an order, you have to pay it just for the free offer.

Has anyone had delivery of last month's free perennials yet?


Posted: 25/05/2012 at 19:24

I tried this last year but the courgette plant was promptly eaten by slugs or snails. it's not so easy to protect the plant from these pests on a compost heap.


Posted: 21/05/2012 at 14:10

Another form of temporary cloche (which I'm using on my courgettes right now) is those clear plastic punnets that grapes, nectarines etc come in. Those can be placed over the plant, and secured with a stick or tent peg through the drainage hole.

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:53

The tomatoes I mentioned that did so well were in a spot where they didn't get sun until the second half of the day. It was very sheltered, so perhaps warmth is as important as light.

tomatoes-growbags or not growbags?

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:31

Yes, I tried what David suggests, using two old flowerpots with the bases removed, and pushing them into holes in the growbag cut to the right size. This allowed the tomatoes to grow down through the pots into the growbag (it was a cheap £1 growbag so probably wouldn't have been enough on its own).I also cut a small hole in the middle of the bag and inserted an upside-down 2L pop bottle (with base removed) sticking up like a funnel. When I watered, I filled this up too as an extra reserve of water.

The plants - two bush tomatoes - did very well indeed, producing masses of fruits.

Talkback: Ground elder

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 12:22

Gillian, your sambucus query might get more response in a new thread, as ground elder is a very different beast and people just want to get rid of it.

But for what it's worth, once sambucus is established it's very tough. You can cut it right back in the spring and it will grown new shoots. As long as yours seems alive, I'm sure it will recover. Then next spring you could try taking out a third of the biggest stems, to encourage new growth.

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