obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

gravel bed/border ... replace with bark?

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 16:27

Bark does rot down over time but then needs replacing so you have to factor that in as a continuing cost and chore.    Some people also worry about the rotting of wood depleting nitrogen from the soil but I think the levels would be negligible.  A far better soil improver is well rotted manure or garden compost or bought in compost.

I understood you would be planting beyond the gravelled area but if you're planning to remove all the membrane and plant that area I would just remove all the gravel and put it somewhere else. as without a membrane it will work its way into the soil and get lost and look naff then be expensive to replace.  

There isn't really a short cut to good soil preparation but it does pay dividends and your plants, if well chosen, will cover the soil and supress weeds and look beautiful.  You can use annuals as fillers while they get established.

gravel bed/border ... replace with bark?

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 15:38

As long as the gravel or bark is spread on a weed suppressant membrane neither is any good to the soil and neither will harm it.   You can scrape back the gravel pebbles, flatten the membrane and repair it as needed then just put the gravel vback witha  few pebbles and larger stones to break it up and add texture.  I wouldn't recommend replacing the gravel with bark as it can be blwon around in strong winds, can be pecked and trewn about by birds looking for insects and also allows weeds to self sow quite easily.

For the soil you want to plant up, yes, add well rotted compost or manure, some fine grit if the soil is heavy and fork it over thoroughly removing any perennia weeds and tehir roots.   Plant up and water well.  Keep new plants watered till well established.   Lots of plants love acidic soil and clay can be very fertile once its structure is improved with houmous and grit so you should be able to find a wide range of plants to suit. 

Sting in the Tale

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 15:29

Thanks Goldi.  I've bookmarked it for later.

clematis suggestion please

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 15:27

Nelly gets bleached pale by sunlight but keeps her colour well on a north facing wall and, like I said, is good contrasted with a darker on like Rahvarinne.

clematis suggestion please

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 08:35

The Hull site is excellent and I use it a lot but it doesn't indicate hardiness.  My local supplier here does and I now only buy those labelled hardy down to -25C which I suspect would be good in north Scotland too.

Try Blue Angel/Blekitny Aniol - http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/new-clemdetail.cfm?dbkey=88; Caerulea Luxurians - http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/new-clemdetail.cfm?dbkey=564Luxuriant ; Nelly Moser and Rahvarinne look good planted together but have to be treated as group 3s, Omoshiro http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/new-clemdetail.cfm?dbkey=1545 

I've just bought Minuet http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/new-clemdetail.cfm?dbkey=577 to plant on another bit of north facing wall.   Others you could look at are Etoile Violette, Little Nell and Betty Corning.  

Clematis montana to cover a 5' high fence

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 08:25

Montanas can be pruned back after flowering to keep them in bounds and encourage new flowering stems down below.  They are vigorous and will always want to grow well so need decent support in the form of trellis or sturdy wires stretched taught across the fence and held in place by vine eyes.

Acer tree coral bark

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 08:22

Mine gets like this every winter as some branches get frozen to death, especially at the tips.  I take out the grey ones in early spring, cutting back to red stems then give it a good top dressing of pelleted manure and a liquid tonic of tomato food and then I wait.

By the end of May it's clear which stems are live and shooting and then I cut out the rest.  Sometimes late spring frosts do a bit more damage.  My tree is now about 8 years old and 2.5 metres high.

Non-cultivar flowering plants

Posted: 06/05/2013 at 22:31

Insects like plants with open access to pollen and nectar so, as said above, no doubles as they are often sterile.  There are plenty of clematis that like shade.  You could try rose Ballerina which has open blooms and tolerates shade.  Just make sure it's planted in good soil and gets a regular top dressing as roses, like clematis, are hungry plants.

Aquilegias are good, foxgloves (bees not butterflies), astilbes if the soil is not too dry, primroses and primulas for early season nectar, japanese anemones, sweet cicely, geranium phaeum, lobelia cardinalis and simple busy lizzies.  Try heliopsis and eupatorium if you have some sun on the bed.

red onions

Posted: 06/05/2013 at 22:16

Mine went out on April 14th - last day before foot op so they had to go in - and are only just shooting now.  We've had some frost but also some very dry weather so i watered them on Friday and bingo, shoots.   I still have half the packet to plant but they'll just have to wait another week or so till I'm mobile again.

Acer P Taylor

Posted: 06/05/2013 at 19:13

Have you checked in its root ball for signs of vine weevil?  Curly maggoty things that eat the roots and gradually kill the plant.

If you have them you can pick them all out and feed them to the birds then repot your acer and cross your fingers that it recovers.   If you're not organic there's a Provado product that kills them.  You might want to do a protective treatment on other susceptiible plants like heucheras.

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