Latest posts by karenfletcher

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How do irises flower?

Posted: 01/05/2014 at 08:11

Hi Mark, is there any way of recognising which ones have flowered after the fact, or do I really have to keep track? And is this the case for all irises, or is it dependent on the sort?

Fidgetbones, my garden doesn't get a huge amount of sun, so that may be it.

My thanks to both of you.

How do irises flower?

Posted: 25/04/2014 at 09:16


I acquired an iris at a plant swap and for a couple of years it didn't flower but did multiply. Last year I had one beautiful flower (see pic), and this year I can see four flower heads appearing (from a total of about 15-20 rhizomes).

I'm actually planning to move some of the rhizomes and probably discard some, so my questions: does it take a few years for an iris to flower, so that I should keep the ones that have flowered this year? Or do they take it in turns so that I'd have better luck with ones that haven't flowered this year? Or are they supposed to flower every year so I must be doing something wrong?!

On a side note, something has been eating the leaves, I think it must be some kind of leafcutter bee since there are nice tidy chunks taken out of the edges, fairly high up. I assume this won't bother the plant in the long run, it's just an interesting thing to see!

Thanks for any advice.


Pruning a Photinia

Posted: 13/01/2014 at 14:28

Just looking up this question again because my photinia is still pretty sad looking. I cut about 3 branches back at the time of this discussion (June or so), and they did absolutely nothing! They are only now showing the hint of new shoots at the end. So mine definitely did not respond to pruning with enthusiasm.

On a different issue, however: the leaves are now completely covered with spots. Is this normal for winter, or should I rush to the garden centre for a treatment?

Thanks to all.

Tidy or mulch?

Posted: 30/12/2013 at 16:46

Thank you to you all for your replies, and sorry I didn't spot them sooner (auto notification didn't work). I'm glad to see there isn't a clear wrong answer! Yes, I had gathered that it's necessary to rake grass because that dies without light.

I must say I've seen magazine articles with pictures of beautiful frost- or snow-covered gardens where the dead flower heads are a feature - but I never go out to admire my garden if it's that cold! In any case it's very small, not somewhere I can walk around (and I don't have anywhere to put a compost heap to make my own mulch).

Bob, thanks for the reminder about rose leaves - yes, I have a problem with black spot too, so I need to be careful there.

Landgirl, thanks for the reassurance about my bulbs!


Tidy or mulch?

Posted: 26/12/2013 at 14:47

Happy Boxing Day, all!

I'm confused as to whether or not I should clear up the dead leaves in my flowerbeds before winter (I know, I'm running a bit late...) or not. My  mum always said you should do so because otherwise the plants will get diseases, because the stuff we grow in gardens is not as hardy as plants that grow in the wild. However, I have gained the impression somewhere that leaving a layer of leaves should protect the plants from frost. And isn't mulching pretty much the same thing anyway?

The only 'problem' I've noticed from not having cleared up leaves in the past is that when I clear them up in the spring, the bulbs are taken by surprise and left with shoots above ground that aren't even green. I don't know if that matters or not.

I'd be interested to know if there is a 'right' answer, or if this is a matter of opinion!

Pruning a Photinia

Posted: 09/06/2013 at 17:16

Excellent, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the support.

Pruning a Photinia

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 06:57

Thanks Verdun, I"ll chop back some of the lanky stems. Will it get upset if I cut it repeatedly, i.e. a few branches this month and a few next and so on? By the way, it doesn't get a huge amount of sun, so I would expect regrowth to be relatively slow.

Seeds & cuttings on a windowsill

Posted: 01/06/2013 at 06:53

Thanks for your responses. Yes, I did hardening off for a while before planting out, and indeed the first fuchsias I planted are gaining extra leaves so I assume they are happy enough now. I guess I just have to wait and see how long it takes before they may feel like flowering.

Maybe it's time to move the seedling trays outside as well, perhaps that will help. Thanks for the reassurance that they'll get there in the end!

Seeds & cuttings on a windowsill

Posted: 20/05/2013 at 14:50

This year for the first time I took some cuttings in the autumn (verbena, fuchsia & pinks), and to my great pride I have managed to keep them alive through the whole winter and even multiply them, even though the location isn't ideal - it doesn't have light enough hours in the day, but in the middle of the day it can get blazing sunshine, plus it's on top of a radiator.  In the spring I started with seeds (Livingstone daisies, cosmos, foxgloves) and so far everything is going well, and I've now started to plant some of both cuttings and seeds out in the garden.

The thing that is troubling me is that my precious babies are so wimpy compared to what is available in the garden centre, and far behind - absolutely no sign of flowers yet, while the garden centre has had blooms for months already.

Am I doing something wrong (e.g. starting too late), or is this because they have a more controlled environment? Is there a chance that e.g. the fuchsias will do better next year (assuming they survive the winter), or will they always be stunted? Is it worth bothering to grow annuals from seed when you don't have a greenhouse, if it takes so long for them to mature that you don't have long to enjoy the flowers?

I'd be glad to hear your advice and experience!


Pruning a Photinia

Posted: 20/05/2013 at 14:36

I also have a Red Robin, it's part of a loose 'hedge' consisting of different plants that just break up the view into my living room but is really not dense at all, and actually I'm wondering if I was sold a dud. I've got branches that are two feet long and only have a clump of leaves at the end, nothing along the branch, plus a lot of the trunk has no branches at all.

I assume the usual rule of thumb applies, i.e. cut just above a leaf, but what if there aren't any to cut above?

It's shooting nicely now at the ends, but it's really too open. I'd appreciate any advice on how to thicken it up - preferably without having to cut it down to the ground and start again . Oh, it's probably 6 or 7 feet tall and I don't need it to get much taller than that. Thanks.

1 to 10 of 21

Discussions started by karenfletcher

How do irises flower?

Replies: 3    Views: 984
Last Post: 01/05/2014 at 08:11

Tidy or mulch?

Replies: 10    Views: 1389
Last Post: 30/12/2013 at 16:46

Seeds & cuttings on a windowsill

Replies: 4    Views: 3555
Last Post: 01/06/2013 at 06:53
3 threads returned