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Latest posts by obelixx

Joys of Spring

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 16:33

i've just been pottering at the back of the house in the work area - rescuing a great tit who'd investigated a piece of unused drainpipe as a nesting site and got stuck.  Anyway, what should I find but signs of growth in some pots I didn't have time to move to shelter before winter - some persicaria and pink hemerocallis divisions.

Feeling very chuffed and proud of them.




Clay soil and boggy lawn

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 16:29

Keep poking holes, every 4 inches if poss and then brush in some sharp sand to aid drainage.   This will take time and effort but will slowly improve drainage.

The other alternative is to rotavate the lot adding plenty of sharp grit and sand as well as some organic matter such as garden compost to the soil then let it settle, rake smooth, go over it with a roller or with your heels to remove air pockets, rake again and then sow new seed in early April when it's warm enough to germinate the seed and moist enough for it to grow.

The very serious alternative is to dig trenches and lay drains then put back the soil and proceed as above.

If you do give up and pave it, make sure you use permeable blocks and joins to allow run off in wet weatther or you'll end up with a more serious drainage problem in the rest of the garden.



Vine Wires

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 14:45

Don't worry.  Once your plants grow up to use the supports the fence will be hidden.

Training climbing rose

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 13:00

If you remove the stems growing away from your fence, energy will automatically be diverted to the others which are where you want them.   Tie these remaining stems in as horizontally as possible as this will encourage the formation of flowers.    Every spring you need to repeat the process to keep the shape and, once they're established, you'll need to remove a main stem occasionally to encourage the plants to renew their vigour.

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 17/02/2013 at 11:13

Hi Yakram.   Good to see you popping in.   How's tricks?

Very pleased they've got CB for Beechgrove and even more pleased it'l be on nationwide Beeb 2.  GW had better look to its laurels.


Posted: 17/02/2013 at 11:04

It depends what kind they are.  Paniculata forms can be pruned to size or shape at any time of year except once they've begun forming their flowers in summer.   Best done in early spring to remove any frost damaged stems or immediately after flowering to improve shape.

Mopheads and lacecap hydrangeas should have spent flowers removed as soon as they go over or by the end of July before they set buds for next year's blooms.  Just remove the flowers by hand without damaging the bud forming below.  They can be pruned at any time to remove dead stems.    Removing any other stems to tidy up the plant or reduce size will reduce flower power as they flower on old wood so bear in mind that any new stems will not flower till their second year. 


Posted: 16/02/2013 at 17:29

Unless you have laods of money to pay for man power, grit and organic material to break up the soil and improve its texture, you're going to have to be patient.   You can go round with a large tined fork poking it into the soil as deeply as you can, wiggling it back and ofrth and then pour sharp sand down the holes to improve drainage and aeration.    Annual mulching in autumnw ith a few inches of well rotted garden comost and/or manure will also help.  The worms will work it in over winter and, in time, you'll end up with lovely soil.

There's another thread about clay soil and teratment advice here -


Planting for a Philosophy Garden

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 17:09

I think it's far too late to be trying to produce anything form sowings or cuttings now so would try and source some plug plants of bedding plants that you can bring on quickly at home.  If you have enough money left, rhodos and azaleas should be in bloom then and can be grown in pots for easy moving.  

Problem Clay soil

Posted: 16/02/2013 at 11:37

As Bob and others have said, clay soil is very fertile and will grow many plants very well but you do need to be patient and very generous adding layers of well rotted manure and/or garden compost every autumn.   The worms will work it in for you over the winter and the prodding with a garden fork will help aerate as well as improve drainage.

Friends of mine have just such a one hectare garden they started 9 years ago.   They make their own compost and also buy in tonnes of council compost every autumn.  He then spends December and January barrowing it around the beds.   Even after a few years it's making a huge difference and they grow a wide variety of trees, shrubs, roses, climbers and bulbs and hardy perennials so there's something to look at or smell all year round. 

The Potting Shed.

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 22:57

We have a garden gnome OH inherited when his dad died.  I'm hoping it dies of frost bite.    I have birds in my garden - 4 different guineau fowl made from clay sculpted in the UK and 2 in Belgium, 6 made from metal in Zimbabwe, one clay owl, one metal heron, one metal cock, one metal hen, one metal cat and a metal frog.

I really dislike gnomes and fairies and twee stuff but that's a matter of taste and they'd look very foolish in my garden.  Don't think it's stuffy of the RHS to ban them from Chelsea but I expect the designers and exhibitors will have some fun with them this year.    The RHS does a lot of really good work promoting gardening for children, schools and communities as well as research and advice on plants, diseases, design and so on.   Most of its experts and committee members are professional gardeners and nurserymen and women earning a modest living, not landed gentry and toffs.

Discussions started by obelixx

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
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Mare's tail

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Encouraging bats in our gardens

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Beechgrove this weekend

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Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
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Good Morning - 21 March

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Choosing chillies

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Hanging baskets and window boxes

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New shed - any tips?

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Last Post: 12/01/2013 at 08:55
9 threads returned