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Latest posts by obelixx

Useless ideas and inventions

Posted: 16/01/2015 at 10:11

I like zips for chocolate but then I do buy chocolate chips in 2.5 kilo bags.

Mini plastic greenhouses - I've had 5 in all from different manufacturers and in different sizes and none have withstood more than half a spring gale without blowing over or losing their top or getting their frame bent or broken.   I now use the racks topless for stacking plant pots.

Bulb planters - when the soil is fit for them to be useable it's just as easy to use a trowel.  When it's not the soil either clags and sticks and won't come out or else it's too stiff to turn and twists the wrist or the handle and, in any case, I like to put daffs and tulips and alliums deeper out of harm's way.

Min max thermometers that die at -20C.

Holey jeans - the hole is usually at the knee so no good for gardening on my knees which is how I do close weeding and planting out of smaller plants.


An open note to all Shops big and small,

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 17:56

I went to Chelsea 2013 in a wheelchair as my new feet weren't yet up to a day on crutches.  Most people were incredibly kind and helpful about letting me get to the front to see gardens and displays both outside and in the floral marquee but some were really stupid and unpleasant.   I also found most of the big gardens very difficult to see from wheelchair height and one had actually put up a bar fence at wheelchair eye height!

Negotiating the tube was an eye opener - plenty of stations with lifts but all still with some stairs to negotiate before getting to the platform.  If I'd been a real invalid it would have been impossible.

Earlier on I went to a big building and renovation exhibition in Brussels and found most of the exhibits inaccessible because of narrow accesses or hard to negotiate bumps up where they had installed fancy flooring.   Negotiating Antwerp on crutches in sleet and snow wasn't fun either with people rushing past and knocking me off balance.

Viewing the world at general bum height is an eye opener too but for other reasons!

I know old buildings can be hard to convert but all new and recent buildings designed for public access from offices to shops to museums, cafés, restaurants and so forth really need to take disabled access and toilets into account right from the start.   Disability could happen to any of us on a temporary or permanent basis and is hard enough to cope with without unnecessary obstacles and lack of consideration from others.

Native alternative?

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 12:18

Mine has a lowish foliage base but the flower stems get very high - clearly happy just above the edges of my unlined pond.  I moved them there where they could have the space to grow high and a bit of protection from prevailing gales as they'd also been just a bit too happy in my damp bed next to the terrace where their stems were constantly broken by strong winds tunnelling along the back of the house.

Native alternative?

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 11:57

If my molinia is anything to go by, it is far bigger than the carex and may not suit the desired effect.

Have a look at this list for alternatives -   It does say carex evergold is native but there are some prettier (IMHO) forms listed too.

You could also underplant the cornus with native snowdrops as they look great against the red stems.



Regular contributers.

Posted: 15/01/2015 at 11:06

It's blowing a hoolie and chucking squally buckets today so I'm on admin and organising duties - annual ball on Saturday so lots to do.

Had to look up Brunswick Stew.  Hope it hits the spot and warms your laurels.

Regular contributers.

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 12:43

Me too - bad back, arthritic joints, new feet still a bit weak and, given the weather, lots of times when I can't garden but I do like to keep up with this forum - joined the original Beeb one in 2003 or 4 - where I find plenty of good tips, have a bit of a laugh and offer advice when I can.

I've also made some good friends on here, met some and keep up with them by email as they've mostly moved on to other forums.

There's a good community feel here and a wide range of both characters and gardening styles, situations and experience so something for almost everyone.

Trees For Containers

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 12:16

No worries PF.  There's been a thread on here for some time about poor plants from Parkers but new posters won't have seen it, hence my warning.

Which garden would you pick?

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 11:33

I'd go for Great Dixter too.  Lovely garden and lovely atmosphere.  I have visited in May, June and July and it's been glorious each time.

I was disappointed with Sissinghurst when I went in May 2013.  First of all I found the entrance and parking fees expensive as was the café and the quality and care of the plants on sale was poor.  In the garden there were beds that desperately needed weeding and replanting as the spring stuff had gone over, the white garden hadn't got into its stride and was a bit bare and the vegetable garden was almost empty but then it had been a hard winter. 

Another vote for Hidcote and Kiftsgae too although it's years since I've been.

I would love to visit Beth Chatto's garden but it's very much out of my way on my trips to to England so I'll have to make a special trip.

Daily Bird Sightings 2015

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 11:18

We have hawks too in the surrounding fields and they perch on the phone wires along the road edge so they can watch for rodents in the boundaries.  However, they are too quick for me to see exactly what they are.   Some are small and mostly grey and others mostly brown.

I did see a hen harrier just the once in a local field whilst out walking the dogs and we do have buzzards too who raise broods in the nearby woods.  Gerat to watch them teaching the young about thermals over the big back field.

Floralies, France is rather a large country so I expect there are some in the less populated parts but they are more likely to be predated by hunters and game keepers.  Found this on the RSPB site.  Scroll down to comments -


Trees For Containers

Posted: 14/01/2015 at 10:21

Don't buy anything from Parkers.  They have a dreadful reputation.

Japanese maples would be fine if you go fo rthe low, hummocky type as they won't get above fence height.   I have the more upright Sango Kaku growing in full sun and in a windy position but sheltered by a trellis and it is now 3 metres high - coral red stems in winter, fabulous foliage shape and colour from spring to autumn.

Growing it in a pot would mean you have to be vigilant to keep it fed and watered so the foliage doesn't dry out so get the biggest you can, minimum 80cms I'd say.  You can underplant with small daffs such as Thalia or Minnow for early spring interest and a contrats with those red stems.

You coud try a prunus serula which has shiny mahogany bark for winter interest and white blossom in spring but it's prone to diseases and often short lived.

The Italian pencil conifer suggested above would be good in pots but I personally think you need something more rounded to offset your already very angular garden and would echo the suggestion of a choisya Sungold which has evergreen golden foliage and orange smelling white blossom once it's settled and happy.  Great contrast too for the black paving and furniture and sunny on a dull day.



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