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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 24/09/2015 at 14:15

If you have acid soil they can go in the garden now in a sheltered spot.   If you don't, you need to plant them in pots of ericaceous compost and water them with rain water.  Either way, keep them protected form early morning sun and strong winds which will burn frosted buds and desiccate the foliage.   They don't want wet feet but it's important that their roots do not dry out in late summer and autumn as this is when they are forming the flower buds for next spring's show.

Splitting rhubarb

Posted: 24/09/2015 at 14:11

You can do it once the plant goes dormant - late autumn - for best results.  Dig up the root and split it with a spade or bread knife, depending on size, making sure each portion has some of the thickened roots and one or two of the growing point buds.

Replant each section in a well prepared hole with added garden compost and/or well rotted manure.   Water in well and then mulch with a generous dollop of more garden compost or manure.   Come spring, feed it some pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone.

For the first year after division you need to be careful to take just a very few stems from each clump so that the leaves can feed the roots to build up a good strong plant for successive harvests.   Never force a plant that is newly transplanted.  However, once you have 2 or 3 good plants you can force them in rotation and enjoy the lovely tender, juicy pink stems every year.

More info from the RHS here - 


Posted: 24/09/2015 at 12:35

I'd still go for a mix as a long green hedge can be desperately dull and dark.   There's some good info and food for thought on these sites - 

If you plant a mixed hedge you'll attract all sorts of bird activity and beneficial insects and have something changing to look at every day.  It would still just need one good cut a year so no extra work.

Garden mesh

Posted: 24/09/2015 at 12:28

Make sure you drill deep holes and use good quality rawl plugs.  We've done it on our brick façade and it's all coping well with a large Kiftsgate rose and has withstood some very strong gales.


Posted: 24/09/2015 at 10:24

Where are you?  If in a residential area there are rules about fence and hedge heights and 2m is the norm.

However, if there are no such restrictions, I think you can do a lot better than a wall of conifers which would be desperately dull, very wide at the base and suck all the goodness out of the surrounding soil plus not being good wildlife habitat.

Think instead of a mix of plants such as holly - one male and one female so you get berries or two self fertile to improve berrying - hawthorn, sorbus (rowan), prunus padus (bird cherry), amelanchier, elderflower, euonymous europa and so on to give variation of form, structure, foliage colour and also shelter and food for wildlife.


When to plant bulbs

Posted: 23/09/2015 at 22:14

Small bulbs dry out very quickly so are best planted immediately.  Anemones do better after an overnight soak in cold water to plump them up.   I do it with fritillaria meleagris too.

If you can't plant them straight away try keeping them somewhere cool, shady and draught free to reduce dehydration or else plant them in small pots that you can then plant out when your other bulbs arrive.

When to prune rose

Posted: 23/09/2015 at 15:29

There are different pruning routines for ramblers which usually flower on wood produced the year before and climbers which do it on current season's growth.   What you should be doing now is tying in your stems to their supports so they don't whip around in autumn gales and get broken and damaged.   You need also to cut out any stems that won't be trained in or are growing in the wrong direction and any that are broken or damaged.

The RHS offers this advice - Scroll down for ramblers.

This winter

Posted: 23/09/2015 at 14:00

A bit of winter is good - cosy nights in, lovely frosts on the garden and winter walks on crisp, sunny days, suitably rugged up and shod.  I just think it can go on too long and gets depressing when it's relentlessly cold and grey and damp for months.

Heat is good as long as it's dry and not humid.   Then you just need to time your sorties to before and after lunch and a snoozle.

Garden mesh

Posted: 23/09/2015 at 13:04

Are you using rawl plugs for the vine eyes?    Stretched wires are fine for all climbing plants.   Horizontal is usually easiest for training and improving flower poawer but diagonal from a main base would also do.

What do I do with my turf??

Posted: 23/09/2015 at 11:18

You can stack the turves in a neat pile in a corner placing roots to roots and grass to grass in layers.  It will rot down to make wonderful soil for your new veg beds.

For the clay soil, break it up with a fork if you can then layer on loads of well rotted farmyard manure and leave it over winter so that the elements and worms can break it all down and mix them up.   Fork it over in spring and rake before layering on some of your compost and planting plugs rather than sowing seeds as they'll cope better.

Keep mulching with more compost and manure every autumn and you'll ned up with healthy, fertile soil.

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1 to 15 of 16 threads