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Jim Macd

Latest posts by Jim Macd

Perennial Planting

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 17:07

Put up some new strip lights in the garage over my potting bench so I've got no excuse for not getting in there and doing some work. I didn't realise how much stuff was hiding in the gloom. I can pot up some seedlings tomorrow now. I can't plant them out because the meadow is too long to get in there so they will have to wait for autumn. I've got 240 cowslips, 120 cosmos 120 birds foot trefoil, and 240 dropwort to do though. Yikes. If only I could put them in the freezer until autumn. And I've just ordered more seed. This is the only reason I'm not going to plant them now: …


Perennial Planting

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 13:36
Verdun wrote (see)


Love debates on my fav hobby but all good humoured and respectful of other viewpoints 


Yes, me too, I love a good debate and don't take it too seriously. I edited my replay very badly though, but I see you didn't take any offence. You probably didn't read it all, I don't think most people do, I try to keep my replies down to a few lines but when you touch type it's too easy to waffle on. Especially on days when it's doing nothing but rain.

Perennial Planting

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 12:55

Verdun wrote (see)

Hiya Jim, 

What I meant to say was before I "knew"  anything about the "Chelsea chop" I was already doing it.  It simply made sense to me.  So, fashionable was wrong term.  

However, Jim, it's good to debate, argue, compare notes, etc.  I take on board everybody's views and then do it my way.  

I remember the great Geoff Hamilton advocating hard pruning of hypericum hidcote to control rust.  I was already doing that for exactly same reason......I'm not especially clever but fairly logical and I was fairly new to gardening.  

We all learn in our own way.  

Yes, I totally agree. We think we're so smart but really it takes us ages to get the simplest thing. 


Orchid Lady wrote (see)

Well that's one thing we agree on…... 

I'm totally confused regarding the perennials and just think I will do half and half, call it an experiment 

Don't worry it's complicated We think because we can repeat what's been said we get it. Ugh Ughhh!  I remember in I think 'Insignificance' Marilyn Monroe explains Relativity to Einstein. He's totally blown away and tells her very few people get it. She very modestly explains that she doesn't get it all but she's just learned it like a script. Such a profound moment and so true of how we all are and why we should always be humble in case we make ourselves look stupid.  which I do all the time. 


As with many internet threads people usually only appear to disagree. My rounded argument I've presented all along really has had both sides of the debate though I've tried to steer you into doing the 'less work' method which is to plant now but that might not suite you. 

You need to ask yourself what it is you want. As you can see from the debate, happy plants can be achieved in many ways. So, that's not an issue. Do you want big impact this summer but planting out other things to fill gaps, moderate borders now and less work, or variations on the theme. Simples! You decide.

Perennial Planting

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 17:21
Verdun wrote (see)

 … I have experimented with the Chelsea chop before it became fashionable,  

 Fashion has nothing to do with it. It's a technique that has been used, well before there was a Chelsea, to make plants flower on shorter stems rather than having to be staked. Perhaps people talk about the 'Chelsea chop' because of mentions on GW, GQT  and in the papers but I can assure you it's an age old technique not a fashion.; and nothing to do with the other separate technique of 'pinching out' used to make plants branch.  


Posted: 23/05/2014 at 15:44

It's very good ground cover so will prevent weeds from growing. It spreads very quickly but I've never had a problem clearing it away. Nothing is ever perfect.

Perennial Planting

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 15:32

Yes, I know what you mean, I am a trained Horticulturalist and have been gardening for over forty years. Some people get snippets of advice here and there and it is right in context but not always the broader picture. A bit like a blind man describing an elephant from behind. Sometimes it's good advice if you're a professional grower or growing for show but a bit over the top if you're growing for your own pleasure. Many things will work in Horticulture and what's best really depends on what conditions you have, which is why when I give advice I try to give a rounded view. I now only work in an advisory role. Make up your own mind what you want to do. Keeping them in pots could well give bigger plants in the end but that all depends how much work you want to put in and the comparable conditions in the ground. As I said at first if you have room to put them in the ground then they will fair better with less fuss, and cutting off the flowers is really only going to make a small difference as long as you don't let them seed and even them I'd challenge you to see the difference. 

As for pinching them out, they're herbaceous plants not shrubs, what a plant needs is to grow a big root system. For that it needs to get light so really pinching them out isn't going to aid that. Unless your plants are very highly messed about by breeders then I would let the plant do what mother nature 'designed' it to do. There's no 100% right answer or wrong answer though, and cutting them back could well be the best thing if they're leggy from too little light which they will be if you hide them away to stop you having to water them three times a day when it's hot. 

Perennial Planting

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 15:01

Hi OL, well, you can faff about repotting and protecting from frost, slugs, vine weevils, making sure you don't forget to water or they'll be dead completely, pinching out and cutting off flowers, don't forget feeding, OR you can get them in the ground and ejoy their beautiful flowers and leaves. It's up to you of course. 

Perennial Planting

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 12:43

I can't disagree more, Dave. The earlier you plant out the long the plant has to establish. If you don't plant out you're going to have to re-pot. As long as the plant has room when you plant out it is better than putting it in another pot every time. Obviously not if the plant won't have room. Planting out early means the plant will not be disturbed again.

Hazels looking for a home

Posted: 22/05/2014 at 15:07



Perennial Planting

Posted: 22/05/2014 at 11:45

How big depends where they're going, if you're going to give them lots of space and look after them, then plant them sooner. If they're going to have to fight it out then plant them only when they're in a 1 litre pot or bigger if it's really crowded with aggressive neighbours. I planted plugs of cowslips in grass three years ago. They are only a little bigger now than when they went in. Where as ones I left in pots and potted on for one reason or another are huge.

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