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Latest posts by obelixx

Overgrown Clematis

Posted: 24/12/2013 at 10:32

As KT says, if you cut it back hard you risk losing the flowers fo rthe next season but you will have a rejuvenated plant.   Wait until early or late March - depending on how severe a winter we get - and then prune it back to just two or three buds on each stem.  Pull away all the unwanted growth and then give it a generous feed of proper clematis fod - available in good garden centres - and an instant liquid tonic of rose or tomato food.  

Once it does flower, note the month and colour and size of flowering and you can look it up on this site -    A general pruning rule is that if it flowers before the end of June you prune after flowering.  If it flowers from July onwards, you cut it back in March.    The clematis site explains in more depth.

Just moved - horrible garden

Posted: 24/12/2013 at 10:19

Making a new, unlined pond is the obvious answer to drainage problems.  We did it as our garden would otherwise be waterlogged all year.    Make it good and deep in the middle - 3' is good - and plant the edges with marginals such as iris sibirica and other irises plus some tall plants like miscanthus zebrinus which will mask the pond a bit when water levels recede in summer.   As it is unlined you will need to referee as plants like yellow flag, bullrushes and native grasses will do their best to invade and terraform it so invest in some waders form a fishing supplies shop.

Since you can't do much else in winter, get to the lirary and borrow books on shade gardening.   There are lots out there and an east facing garden should present plenty of opportunities for beautiful and interesting plants.    Wildlife doesn't need native plants so much as plants which provide pollen, nectar and shelter.   You can also consult the RHS Plant Selector for plants suitable for an east facing garden -

With a new and unknown garden it's also a good idea to let it be in its first year and just weed borders, cut tehgrass and do obvious pruning.  Then you can see what you have and what you need to change.  Take photos and jot down ideas as they occur so that, come autumn, you can start the planning and design of all the changes you want to make.    You can also sow seeds and bring on new perennials for planting out later on.


Sports personality

Posted: 20/12/2013 at 10:34

Maybe they should call it Sports Person of the year as that encompasses sporting achievement without refernce to a trait such as personality.

As for Abby - I don't care who she's married to or what she does to earn a  crust although being a model is no less valuable to society than being an actress - probably more as there are real jobs involved in designing, creating and selling the clothes she promotes.    She has turned out to be a delightful and accomplished dancer who has worked hard and improved her technique and performance every week.


Gardening Clubs

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 16:20

We do it in Euros so anything from 50 cents for a 3" pot with something common like forget-me-not or a primula to €5 or more for a large pot with a perennial or a shrub.   Seeds like honesty and verbena bonariensis will go for 50cents.  Sometimes we get spare packets of sweet peas or pumpkins and sell those for €1,00.  Last year I picked up 8 unwanted deep purpe gladioli for just €1 as they were left at the end.   They did very well in a pot with purple and white petunias.

Gardening Clubs

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 15:36

I do this with my garden group.   It's the usual suspects who bring the most plants and like to have first pick which seems reasonable to me but then they're all very polite about it being all women with an honorary husband who tags along and who provides some of the best plants.

We also provide many of the plants for a charity sale in May and that can vary from our well prepared seedlings, cuttings and dvisions to poor plants that have been grubbed up and stuck in a bag or pot with no care at all.

I would insist on having plants properly potted up and labelled so they can be identified and looked up.   Proper labels on any seed packets too and then charge according to plant or pot size depending on how easy it is to find and propagate.


Talkback: Front gardens

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 13:01

There are rules about the materials used for off road parking now.  It has to be porous to reduce run off and thus the likelihood of flooding.    It surely doesn't take too much imagination to make an attractive parking space that's god for cars, people, plants and insects as well as reducing flooding.

I see a programming opportunity for the Beeb here - a new Front Garden Design series such as they've had before but with particular attention being paid to materials and design for the environment.


Badly explained help!

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 12:56

KEF - It's winter yet it's 8C at head height on our north facing back wall.   That is positively balmy.

When is the best time to cut back roses?

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 11:49

It depends on their type.   It is usual to reduce tall whippy stems on shrub roses in autumn to reduce the likelihood of wind rock loosening the roots and damaging the plant.     Autumn is also the time to tie in and tidy up new long stems on climbers and rablers and remove any that are broken or growing in the wrong direction and can't be tied in.

Shrub roses are then pruned back in late Feb or March depending on how harsh a winter we're having.  Do not prune when it's freezing or a frost is expected as this can damage new cuts.    Take out all broken, twiggy or dead stems back to the base.   When you can see the structure more clearly you then cut the remaining stems back to an outward facing bud and remove any stems that cross each other to leave an open goblet shape.

Give the plants a good dollop of slow release general purpose food such as pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone and a liquid tonic or rose or tomato food.





Badly explained help!

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 11:41

They're different.  A bract is a leaf like structure found just below a flower.  Usually the flower is insignificant in form and size but essential for reproduction so the bract is brightly coloured to advertise it.  

Leaves are for transpiration and photosynthesis.

Sports personality

Posted: 18/12/2013 at 14:55

Not remotely interested in who won Sports personality as I don't care but I expect they had all the candidates lined up for a possible presentation wherever they were.     I do watch Strictly and am keen that Susannah gets to the final as she does have personality which she puts in to every dance as opposed to Sophie whose performances seem very reserved - except for her Charleston early on - and Nathalie who seems cold and clinical.

I'd like to see Abby win as she has made excellent progress from the first show and has turned out to be a very talented dancer and equal to every challenge.

I'd also like a revamp of Strictly itself as it's current format is getting ever more farcical and the direction of the camera work is appalling and the fancy new lighting effects often mask the dancing even when they do focus on it.   There are an awful lot of keen social and amateur dancers like OH and me out there who want to see the dancing from footwork to hold and topline and not how clever the techies are.

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10 threads returned