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Jess is in the Garden


Latest posts by Jess is in the Garden

Raised bed with clay soil

Posted: 04/02/2015 at 10:20

Grit I have used in pots for mediterranean plants is a fine grade horticultural grit. Good for top dressing of succulents etc too.

In the raised bed, I used a courser grade grit. I suppose it also depends on how long you are willing to wait before your soil improves with your continued efforts and how much of a budget you have..

Raised bed with clay soil

Posted: 04/02/2015 at 10:17

I have a bed similar to yours. Mine is in semi shade and the clods of clay I was lifting out of it were so dense, I could have almost made a pot out of it!

I got really fed up sifting in good stuff, turning it over, breaking it up etc.

In the end, I took the decision to empty pretty much the entire raised bed completely and start again.

I only left perhaps 20cm or so of clay at the very bottom, which I had turned, raked, broken up etc.

Back filled the rest of the bed as other s have suggested - grit, good quality compost, some manure.

My roses, by contrast, are in in the open ground (not the raised bed) in clay soil - I have turned it over so many times and add manure every year, but it is still heavy. They love it, no complaints!

My rosemary and lavenders and any other mediterranean plants were suffering in the ground, so I stuck them all in a big planter, half backfilled (as Monty advises) with broken crocks, The rest gritty soil. They are now thriving.

You can put mediterranean plants in a raised bed, provided drainage is excellent and as someone on here has said, add loads of big pieces of material around the plants and keep them near the front. Personally, unless I am doing a 100% mediterranean plant raised bed, where I can get the conditions perfect for them, I don't bother and always stick them in pots instead.

If you soil, in spite of you efforts, remains fairly heavy, go for perennials that don't mind those conditions (as someone else has said). In my wetter, heavier and shadier parts of the garden, I have real success growing ophiopogon (black grass), as well as Japanese anemones, heucheras, hakkonechloa grass, cyclamen hederifoliums, snowdrops, ferns of various types, aucuba and astilbes. Worth pointing out though that the garden drains well now, even though it didn't used to. There are few plants I know of, except certain irises and ophiopogon grass, that will relish sitting in water.

Good luck!

jasmine id

Posted: 04/02/2015 at 10:06

I didn't know that Busy L!

Yours looks like the 2 I have in my garden - bog standard jasminium official.

Tough as old boots, mine has been growing throughout the winter down here in London. They say it's semi evergreen, but mine seem to both be fully evergreen. Were  bought for me as houseplants in M&S! But they were suffering indoors so I stuck them outside. 

Recommendations for coping with large numbers of aphids

Posted: 01/02/2015 at 19:24
Hi Sharon, just to be sure- your lupine are in the flower bed under the tree, right? Provado is a very strong product which is generally watered into the soil, not sprayed into leaves as such. It works by being absorbed into the plant's own sap system, so when sap suckers eat the plant, they die. I do recall reading on the back of my Provado bottle that it's for use in pots, rather than open soil. This is partly because in open soil, the Provado water is washed away and so won't be half as effective as in a container and also because manufacturers don't know how potentially harmful to other life this product is. It is lethal to aquatic life for example and also to frogs. The EU has banned it (UK didn't go ahead with ban though) as it has been shown to affect pollinating insects when they feed from nectar coming from Provado-treated crops.
This isn't to say that I disagree with using it at all, but if be very cautious and selective. I only use it on pots, watering only those plants that don't flower and in soil where I don't plan to grow any edibles, for example.
If you're planning to water it into your open soil bed, it won't be effective, in other words.
SB will and is very safe indeed.
I would try the ladybirds again to see if, like another person on here mentioned, you have better results this year, as well as cutting back overhanging bits of that tree.
The biggest problem with aphids, I have found, is that they are notorious at becoming resistant to spray insecticides anyway. So you could spray the entire tree, only to find they return...as happened to me on my roses. Whereas SB wiped them put!

Music in the Garden

Posted: 30/01/2015 at 12:35

Me too Joyce  I do get a bit carried away with my gardening...

Thanks for that David - made me smile! I have one resident blackbird who perches in next doors' pyracantha and watches me as I garden (probably like you Joyce, just waiting for me to go away so he can check for worms!) but in return he does give me my own personal concert most days. Plus the goldfinches, tits, robins and occasionally a tiny wren. All music to my ears.

Recommendations for coping with large numbers of aphids

Posted: 30/01/2015 at 12:29

You can buy SB from many suppliers. Due to its good results, its popularity is spreading. I shop around on Amazaon and gardening sites for the best deals, as I get through a lot. That said, I buy a huge bottle and dilute it down (it's about 10ml of SB to 1 litre of water) so it does go a long way. As long as you're patient and thorough - and always respray after it rains, you'll see a marked difference in very little time. My plants also look healthier and stronger  - which is a bonus, as the stronger they are, the less they are susceptible to attack from other pests. 

I find that the aphids on my roses are 100% controllable and it also controls red spider mite and thrips, to some extent, but if I miss a week of spraying, it can slide backwards.

Blairs is right - legally, you are allowed to remove any part of a plant that overhangs your garden - might be worth considering with this tree, also to open it up and give the plants under it more light.

Lucy - I found that ladybirds are really good, but sadly there weren't enough aphids in my little garden to feast on (this was before I'd used SB) so they hung around a bit and flew off. That was an expensive trial for me 

Could be a really good idea to set up ladybirds in the aphid tree though, possibly sticking a house for them under the tree itself....then using SB on your plants Sharon? That way, the ladybirds are incentivised into staying, as they have loads to eat on the tree, which is hard to spray as well and your plants underneath get a good foliar feed and chance with the SB.

Any ideas of what to do with this garden?

Posted: 30/01/2015 at 12:20

Lizzie's right - never wade in and start planting left, right and centre (as I did, with my first garden ), as then you end up making many mistakes regarding suitability of plants, exposure etc. I wish I'd just waited and watched and made a few notes about how the sun comes 'round etc, before I'd gotten stuck in. It wasn't a disaster in the end, but it would have ave dmd loads of moving plants about and cursing, under my breath.

Help to identify plant

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:28

Beautiful plant.

Any ideas of what to do with this garden?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:24

Pansy has a good point - maybe you need to turn it over/rotavate it and aerate it as well. Do you know what type of soil you have? If it's heavy clay, it would benefit from being broken up and having some lighter soil added to it as well. As far as sorting out drainage go, also look at the lie of your land and whether it slopes toward your right hand fence. You may need to level it out as well as looking at soil composition.

Great to do that now and then you can enjoy landscaping and planting once the weather improves.

Blank slates are very exciting! 

Golfinches have landed!

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:16

Who knows...but I'm going to carry on with my sunflower hearts, just because I love seeing them so much!

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1 to 15 of 66 threads