Latest posts by Newcastle

Talkback: Growing foxgloves

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 16:23
Mine are growing quite nicely too Kate. The clay soil seems to suit the pretty well. One thing you do have to watch I have found is that you have to watch they don't take over the whole garden as they seed like mad.I am having go at Verbascums for the first time this year although there will probably be no flowers till next year specially in view of the cold and wet Spring. I have found Alliums are helping to give borders some height although I think quite few of the ones I have been raising in containers have succumbed to the cold and the slugs. At least the weather seems to be improving now so hopefully I should get something useful done in what remains of the Summer.
I am debating whether to give up on a veritable clutter of pots with sees sow last year - some my well have rotted over the Winter but even now I am occasionally seeing some green shoots emerging and having to decide whether what I planted has actually germinated or whether I am unlucky and they are simply self-seeded weeds. All part of the excitement I suppose!


Posted: 13/05/2013 at 19:23

I have over-Wintered three Strelitzia plants (grown from seed last year) in the bathroom and now Spring has arrived there are some brownish blotches on the leaves which I have sprayed with a fungicide. The growing point looks healthy also the stems and the compost is moist but not soggy. I re-potted the plants once they started into growth this Spring.

Does anyone else grow these and have they had similar problems? Any idea what the pest or disease is please? There is no sign of visible insect life that I have noticed.

Edgworthia shubs

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 22:09

I recently bought one of these having admired the plant in a catalogue - the flowers looked really handsome. Apparently it is a Himalayan shrub resists frost well but not if it gets damp, and I am protecting it with genorous layers of hoticultural fleece. Please let me know the area where you garden if you decide to reply. 


Posted: 14/02/2013 at 21:57

It might be a good plan to strike some cuttings on a regular basis in case of loss. I find the old 7" pot and compost covered by a plastic bag works quite well and they will grow on quite happily on the window ledge. Most hardy shrubs will survive even harsh Winter weather under a couple of layers of horticultural fleece or in a frost free greenhouse (or both). I am trying this with an Edgworthia (delivered about a month ago) but whether this will work remains to be seen in the Spring. It's from the Himalayas so can stand the cold but not the damp and cold like most shrubs as this forms ice on the leaves. Hope you have better luch this year!

Talkback: Couch grass

Posted: 14/02/2013 at 21:45
One option is to use landscape fabric to cover the infectted area and make sure you weight it down well at the edges. It looks unsightly and it does tke some weeks to weaken the weeds but it does work and now would be a good time to start. There is an additional advantage that you can cut cross shaped slits in the fabric and plant throught these into the soil leaving the leaves of the plant you want to grow above the surface and pin down the cut ends around it with bent wire etc. Slugs will want to use it as a refuge of course; slug pellets or regular killing forays by hand recommended.

Talkback: Growing a yew hedge

Posted: 01/02/2013 at 01:08
I started some yew cuttings off last year and am pleased to see some of them have survived the Winter. I would like to experiment with doing some topiary with these as they grow and I have raised some Holly cuttings too with the same idea. It's going to take me a while to do this but like many people these days I am gardening on a budget.
I wrote in some years ago to Christopher Llloyd about his topiary article in The Guardian asking how this was done and he suggested his Father's book (Nathaniel Lloyd)"Garden Craftsmanship in Yew and Box" which is an inspiring read. I can certainly recommend it. David.

Help with creating new border

Posted: 01/02/2013 at 00:54

You might find it easier to use landscape fabric to suppress the grass abd any weeds growing amongst it. Nothing will grow through that and you can cut slits into the fabric and put in shrubs or other plants (provided the soil is warm enough) and they will thus have a head start over the weeds. It is important to tuck the fabric back around the plant you have put in the hole and peg it in place with  pieces of bent wire/ stones etc. Water can get in but plants cannot grow through it.

Covering the area you plan to plant with your new border with polythene can help to warm and dry out the soil to get it ready for seed sowing later. It's certainly cold and wet around this area and seeds will not germinate till the soil warms up.

Chiltern Seeds and Thompson and Morgan sell a great range of hardy annual and shrub seeds, some of which need the frost to break the dormancy so now can bee a good time to sow them and it can be fun to see what comes up. A great advantage is it's also cheaper! 


Seed swap

Posted: 03/01/2013 at 20:46

The Hardy Plant Society is a great place to swap seeds as well as being a great forum for learning more about growing hardy oplants from experts. There ia a coordinated seed swap from a central location by post once per year. If you decide to join now you might just be in time to participate and there are often plant swaps at the meetings where there are often really good guest speakers - Bunny Guiness came to our last meeting.

Talkback: How to create an autumn pot display

Posted: 07/12/2012 at 21:02

I did finally get a few flowers earlier this year but whether the plants have survived this years deluge remains to me seen. They may have managed tomake some bulbs despite all the odds - who knows?

Pruning tall evergreen holly

Posted: 06/12/2012 at 16:33

Holly is usually pretty robust but frost protection might be good if it is excptionally cold, as it looks as if it might be this Winter. A drop of water would be a good plan occasionally so that they do not dry out too much. The yellow leaves may simply be young growth after the late mild spell we had. I am not an expert and what I have found out is from reading and trying things on my own but some of the Holly cuttings I took some months ago have struck. It's worth doing as decently trained specimens cost a lot from a nursery. After the Winter the cuttings which have struck will just need watering and a some liquid feed to keep them going, with some fresh compost as they get established Try to avoid them becoming root bound and pot them into a bigger container or the open garden soil as the roots start to fill the original pot.. Not all the cuttings will necesarily root of course (some of mine didn't) so it is worthwhile taking more than you need in case of casualties.  

Discussions started by Newcastle


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Talkback: Making Christmas decorations

I was introduced to wreath making for the first time this year by a member of a community group I belong to in Nottingham. I take the point ... 
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Edgworthia shubs

Anybody had much experience of growing these? 
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Last Post: 21/12/2013 at 22:56

Bromeliads from seed.

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Pulmonarias practicalities 
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Talkback: How to create an autumn pot display

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Talkback: RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2009 - companion planting

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