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Latest posts by obelixx

Ask Alan

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 19:15

I'd really like to see him back on the Beeb with another How to be a Gardener type series that's of interest and relevance to both new and experienced gardeners.  It was thorough, varied, detailed, informative and fun.   Has he any plans for such a programme?  It could be on design, regional climate and soil variations, AGM plants, gardening for wildlife, water management (drought and flood), seasonal tasks and highlights.  Lots of possibilities.

Failing that, I'd like to ask him what shrubs he'd recommend for spring wow factor for those of us with fertile but alkaline gardens who cannot grow rhodos, camellias and azaleas.  They'd also  need to be very hardy for my garden.  H7 in the new RHS system. 

Clematis wilt

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 16:05

Planting them deeper doesn't prevent wilt but it helps the plant recover more easily by encouraging it to grow new shoots when it's been pruned back to remove the affected growth.   The large flowered hybrids are more susceptble than the later flowering viticellas but they can grow out of it once they've got themsleves well established so, every spring, give yours a good dollop of proprietary clematis food which will encourage good roots, shoots and flowers over the season but also a liquid tonic of tomato food when growth starts and then every couple of weeks till flowering starts.


What next?

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 11:00

Rake over your soil again to smooth it and bring up any stones and loosen any naughty weed seedlings then sow your seeds in straight rows across the space.  This helps you see what is plant and what is weed and you can then thin them more easily to give the strongest seedlings the growing space they need to flourish.

Sow a few now if yu're depserate to get going but save seeds fo a later sowing as the first lot may suffer and fail if the soil is too cold or wet and we get some bad weather.  When sowing outside, patience is a virtue but you can also start things off in modular seed trays on a bright window sill and grow them on till they're big enough to cope.  


Mussel shell uses

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 10:22

Typo - gabions are metal cages which are usually stuffed with stones or pebbles and used to make reinforcing walls.  They've been adopted by garden designers who fill them wit all sorts of materials for different effects and use them as seating, dividing walls, structural support for terracing and so on but I've also seen small ones hung as hanging baskets with aeoniums in pots.   Just have to use your imagination.

Mussel shell uses

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 09:18

Friends of mine have tucked this under a conifer hedge :-

 You can also tuck insect shelters into walls and crevices and I saw a garden at Chelsea where a dividing and seating wall within a garden incorporated blocks for insect homes, a bit like in Edd's photo but more organic in form.   Gabons could also be used if stuffed with appropriate material and they come in all sizes, even ones small enough to hang on a wall.


Combining climbers for year-round foliage - Wisteria and clematis?

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 23:45


I find it quite easy to distinguish between the clematis stems and the wisteria as they are so different but it's also true that my Red Robin doesn't get up as high as most of the wisteria and is a group 1 so only needs pruning when it gets out of bounds.    It flowers after the wisteria and only gets pruned once flowering is over.

Mussel shell uses

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 23:37

Thank you for all the kind comments.  I have a big enough garden with pasture to that side and arable land behind which get a certain amount of chemicals so I garden organically and have been doing what I can to help birds and insects insects, especially bees. 

The birds and probably some rodents have been picking at the pine cones and sticks so it all needs refilling this spring ready for the next lot of résidents.


Mussel shell uses

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:38

I made a  5 storey insect hotel from wooden pallets and then made a roof garden which I planted with sedums so the flowers would attract insects.  I used a gravel mulch to finish it off with assorted seashells, including mussels, upturned so they would catch rain water for the insects.  You could do something similar in a sink garden or some other container.


Combining climbers for year-round foliage - Wisteria and clematis?

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:33

I have a wisteria planted in the same growing space as a clematis Red Robin and they get along fine.  Not evergreen but this clematis, when in leaf, covers the trellis panel and bare legs of the wisteria.

You just need to make sure you prune the wisteria twice a year to encourage flower buds to form - see the RHS website for advice - and plant your clematis de^per than it was in its pot to encourage it to produce more flowering shoots.  Feed it every spring with propietary clematis food.   They may take a year or two settle in and get going but should be fine.

pussy willow cuttings

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:29

Don't bother.  They need the bark.  Make fresh cuts straight across the stems and then either stick them in a vase of fresh water till they root - as Nut advised - or else stick them in damp ground.    They will root very quickly as their bark contains a natural rooting hormone.  They are hardy and do not need protection.

As an indication of how vigorous willow is, I had roots  and plants grow from some willow bark chippings!

Discussions started by obelixx

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1389
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

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Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

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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Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
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Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1847
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

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Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2653
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 10676
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
11 threads returned