Latest posts by Obelixx

White Hydrangea

Posted: 22/04/2016 at 08:33

It depends whether it's a mophead or a lace cap as the latter is hardier.  See below.   For now, I would be tempted to put it in a bigger pot for now and tease out the roots so they grow into the new compost.  This will help it gain strength for planting out when the flowers are finished.

The RHS advice for mop heads and lace caps is as follows:-

  • Dead blooms on mophead hydrangeas can, in mild areas, be removed just after flowering, but it is best to leave them on the plant over winter to provide some frost protection for the tender growth buds below. Remove the dead flowerheads in early spring, cutting back the stem to the first strong, healthy pair of buds down from the faded bloom
  • Lacecaps are hardier, and the faded flowerheads can be cut back after flowering to the second pair of leaves below the head in order to prevent seed developing, which saps energy from the plant

Pruning established mopheads and lacecaps
  • Cut out one or two of the oldest stems at the base to encourage the production of new, replacement growth that will be more floriferous
  • Poor or neglected plants can be entirely renovated by cutting off all the stems at the base. However, this will remove all the flowers for that summer, and the new stems will not bloom until the following year

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 22/04/2016 at 08:22

I wonder if the statistics for celebrities pan out across the general population - too many leaving too soon.    Either way, I'd be worried if I were a celeb of a certain age.    

Cold and grey here.   I have a heavy date with some serious housework and still can't garden yet anyway.  Another few days for the thumb to heal and I am definitely right handed with hoes and trowels.   Can't even cut the grass as chappy hasn't returned the mower.   Only 2 weeks later than expected and the grass is growing thick and strong.........

I have a golden leaved physocarpus with glorious bright spring foliage.  Unfortunately, from this angle, sat on the sofa looking out, it is clashing with the stems of a cornus Midwinter Fire so I shall have to move it.

Punkdoc - the source of your irritation is known for being someone who takes offence easily but does not hesitate to give it.   Incontinent to boot, forgets or ignores what he's said previously and has never grasped the principle of not posting when less is more.

Home made organic way to kill aphids

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 22:32

The problem with any insecticide, organic or otherwise, is that they are indiscriminate and harm the good guys too.   The best thing is squishing with fingers or blasting with a spray from a hose pipe to remove them from the plants.  

The next best thing is the garlic spray as it puts insects off by smell without harming them.   If you grow the plants strong and sturdy in good light and ventilation they can fight off pests and beneficial insects will come and eat the aphids if you give them time to find them and don't kill them off with spraying.

For outside plants, I find feeding the birds is an excellent trick as the sparrows and tits feed aphids and caterpillars to their young and that keeps pest populations down.   Hang peanut and fat ball feeders near susceptible plants so they spot the pests whilst queuing for feeders.

What a morning

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 17:25

Used to have lots of greenfinches but they got succumbed to that illness going round as I haven't seen any for several years.   We do get chaffinches though and a full range of sparrows and tits (except long-tailed which I've only seen once).

Depending on the season we also get lots of small brown jobs such as robins, wrens, warblers, siskins and so on plus blackbirds and fieldfares but not mistle or song thrush.  Then there's spotted woodpeckers and turtle doves and jays and jackdaws and crows plus an occasional sparrowhawk swooping in.

Very few butterflies last year despite all sorts of nectar plants for them and the nettle patch I leave.   

Our blueberries haven't blossomed yet.

Bark chips

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 14:20

You are right to complain.

Bark chips should be sold graded by size, like gravel or frozen prawns.   When we first made our long, thin triangular bed out front I ordered the biggest possible so they wouldn't get blown away in winter gales.  This was years ago and most of it has now done its job and also decomposed into the soil which is fine as the perennials and shrubs have now more or less covered the bare soil.

For more sheltered beds, under dwarf conifers and the holly hedge and our woodland path I use a medium grade.   I never buy the finer stuff as it degrades too quickly into a happy weed seeding medium.   Easy to clean but not wanted.

Picture Postcard Request

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 14:09

Bought a postcard in France but didn't have time to find a PO for a stamp.  Will put it in an envelope with one of Gembloux. 

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 12:04

Joyce - OH's ambition is to play golf when he's 100 and he's a December baby so that means another 35 years before he can happily croak.   Thinking along those lines you should see the tree peony flower and a couple of generations of its offspring too.

Cool today and vaguely sunny but no gardening still as thumb is still all wrapped up and tender.   Getting better tho so maybe next week?

Busy - our roofing man has been due to fix a couple of loose tiles for the last 4 weeks!   He passes by on his way home to the village nearly every day so it's a bit frustrating.   Recent gales have been having a merry time with our slates.   The electrician has been going to pop in for months to fix a circuit of ceiling spots in our bedroom.  He too lives just down the road so treats us as not urgent for when he has a spare half hour!

It took the plumber's son (two villages and 6kms away) 3 visits to identify that a leak in a bathroom was the toilet cistern and not the u-bend or the connector pipe both of which he "fixed" and then he had to come again with a new cistern.  At least he comes when he says he will and cleans up. 

Hope everyone's having a good day at work, play, visits etc.


Choose just one ...

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 09:21

Stipa anything dies in our winters and i have enough other grasses.  Acanthus grow well here but in my fertile soil they don't flower, just do glossy foliage.

I have alkaline soil which limits choices but, assuming I could grow anything and wanted a shrub it would be this https://www.woottensplants.com/product/corylopsis/corylopsis-pauciflora/

I'd choose this clematis to brighten up winter - https://www.woottensplants.com/product/clematis/clematis-cirrhosa-jingle-bells/

I'd have a group of dieramas for their grace and elegance and height.

Nothing tender or that needs cosseting.



Posted: 20/04/2016 at 19:06

Lot's of laziness and poor vocabulary in English language comes from the Americanisms creeping in to every day usage.    I often have to correct Possum who has grown up bilingual and without grammar instruction in English.

In general, the French speakers are better but I have noticed of late that younger people - under 30s - being interviewed on radio or TV start the answer with a "Donc".  Must be watching dubbed US TV!

Steve - add "gobsmacked" for amazed or astounded.   Such an ugly word.   BBC presenters using the plural verb with singular nouns such as government.   They should know better.

problem sparrows

Posted: 20/04/2016 at 15:41

Lyn, you seem to have argumentative sparrows.  We have loads of them here and they happily share the food with assorted tits, chaffinches, siskins, warblers, robins, wrens, blackbirds, turtle doves and so on but I do put out loose seed mix, fat balls, peanut feeders, plus insect, fruit and fat blocks so there is something for everyone.

The bolshy ones are the greater spotted woodpeckers which shoo everyone off the peanuts and fat balls and the jackdaws and jays whose size is imposing compared to the others.

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