Latest posts by obelixx

mile high club

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 12:56

You can stop the main trunk at about a foot below the height you'd like them to be but leave the side stems to grow and cover up the wounds.    We inherited a straggly conifer hedge and have taken 3 metres off its height.  It's very wide and will never be a tightly clipped precise hedge but it does provide a wind break as well as shelter for birds as its middle is a bit hollow now.

Trimming the side growth regularly will encourage yours to thicken up but make sure you only cut into green stems as they don't grow back from brown wood.

Help with seating area

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 12:46

Make sure you only do it once by getting the preparation right.

Prepare the area well by digging out any weeds and big stones then levelling the soil as flat as you can and firming it down.  Spread on a layer of weed suppressant membrane and peg it down.  Put a border round to conatin the bark chippings so they don't spill out onto neighbouring beds or lawn.   You can use bricks, stones, log roll, rope tiles or whatever suits your taste and budget.  Fill with bark to at least 2" deep.  More if you can. 

The bigger grades of bark will rot down more slowly than the finer stuff and are les slikely to blow around in strong winds.    You'll still find some opportunist weeds will seed into it but they're easy to clear.   

Install your seat and enjoy.

EVIL Japanese Anemone

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 12:39

It's funny isn't it.  I like the plant but have a well bahevd clump of the pink stuff that isn't invasive at all.   I would dearly love to have some of the white but it just won't grow.   I have deeply fertile akaline loam which varies from well drained to boggy and the stuf fthat grows for me isin a shady, dampish bed that only gets full sun from 3pm between the equinoxes. 

Good luck with getting rid.  I can sympathise having my own problems with the usual suspects - creeping buttercup, nettles, thistles, couch grass and mare's tail which all love my soil and grow with gay abandon no matter how much I weed them out or paint with glyphosate.

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 23/04/2013 at 11:02

Gardening here was fairly normal till 2009 and the bad winters started.   We'd have about 3 weeks of -15C to -20C in January or February when it did little harm and winter was always a little longer than when we were in Harrow but I find increasingly that winters have more extreme dips and highs and the poor old plants don't know whether they're coming or going with a warm spell in Jan followed by deep misery in Feb or this year where we had a balmy start to March and then 6' drifts of snow.   Last year I lost most plants to hard frosts in late March after a couple of weeks of warmth conned them into opening up their leaf buds and blossom.   Wipe out for many.

I increasingly plant short daffs to avoid the broken stems problem but do have lovely drifts of Ice Follies out the front which I really love and which flower late enough to miss a lot of teh worst winds.   I've even managed to get some species tulips to grow in two well drained beds but never yet a long stemmed one.  I planted 300 the first year and only 5 came up.   I reckon rodents got most and the rest must have frozen.

Last year was hard -too dull and cool and wet like yours.  Still, I shall be out there  sowing seeds and pricking on and planting out and lifting and dividing with the usual optimism just as soon as I can get about on one crutch.

I hope we all have a better gardening year.

EVIL Japanese Anemone

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 23:14

Do you really mean Japanese anemone which most people find attractive and easy enough to dig up if it gets too exhuberant or Japanese knotweed which is ramapntn hard to destroy and can lift tarmac and concrete and invade drains and foundations and is a notifiable weed?

Bought 2 more fuchsias today

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 21:17

Thanks Goldilocks.   I'll look out for Claudia.   My hanging baskets are by the front door and the French windows so easy to remember to water them.

I had a hardy form of variegated magellanica that has survived several bad winters in its corner but not this one it seems.   

Bought 2 more fuchsias today

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 20:54

I should like some for 2 hanging baskets on the north side of the house.   I should find some at a good plant fair I'm going to this weekend.  Any recommendations?    Not fussed about colour but do want good doers.

Christmas tree needles turning brown

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 20:35

I think it's too late too but you could try reviving it with one soluble aspirin dissolved per pint of water.  It contains salicylic acid which is a natural growth hormone found in willow plants and can help sickly plants.

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 20:32

Snow certainly helps.  I've lost less when we've had the blanket than when we have weeks of bitter east winds and -15C or below and no snow.   Jan6 2009 we had a -32C out the back which was -26C at the front and nearly saw off my Kiftsgate.   It did see off several roses, several clematis and a dozen or more hitherto hardy and evergreen shrubs like viburnums, eleagnus, choisya and mahonia plus some conifers and a fancy hibiscus.

I now concentrate on sturdy plants that will survive and don't spend money on fancy versions and new varieties.     Looks like I've lost my Geoff Hamilton and William Shakespeare roses this year and my Orange Peel Hamamelis but I'll wait and see till June.

Where have all the hostas gone?

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 18:26

I do get serious frosts down and -25C is not unsuual in recent winters.    +38C happens for at least a week most summers.

All my pots for show are either thick, frost proof ceramic or terracotta look plastic.  Real terracotta isn't frost proof enough and flakes.  It also absorbs too much moisture in summer and can leave roots dry.   To save on weight and give some winter insulation, I use corks as ballast and crocks in the bottom.   They allow drainage but also absorb some water so roots don't dry out too quickly.    Works for my hostas, lillies, shrubs, herbs, dahlias, acers and veggies.

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