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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:06

I can remember eating native bilberries as a child and them having a much more intense flavour (and blue effect on the tongue) than blueberries.

I have my blue and bilberries planted ina part of the veg patch where I have dug out deep, fertile but alakline loam and rpelaced the soil with bags of ericaceous compost.   Apart from having their blossom frosted at teh wrong moment, my two blueberries have enjoyed the cool wet spring and put on masses of new growth and look amazingly healthy.  The two wee bilberries have done well too and almost doubled in size this season.

For winter, I shall erect a sturdier frame than last year and place a netting windbreak around them and I'll leave it in place till the frosts have passed and the fruit has set.  This year the winds bent and broke the frame so I ended up removing the netting too early.   We've also booked our hols for next August and not July so I'm expecting to get the best of the black and red currants and all the blueberries and strawberries.  This year a lot ended up being scoffed by the birds.  I always leave them some but there are limits.

Moans about GW

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 14:21

Joe Swift's allotment planning was risible, but not a sstupid as his execution of those plans.  BIg mistake in my opinion.  I want a section on growing veggies to be done by someone who has relevant knowledge and experience and isn't going to be making bigger mistakes than most beginners.   They should have got Cleve West to do it rather than have him just hanging around occasionally.

Monty is getting better at showing how to do stuff but I still reckon it's stuff not many find relevant to their gardens.

I do so agree we need more gardening with programmes better focussed to wards particular audiences with all levels of experience and skill and different styles of garden and conditions.



Posted: 11/09/2013 at 09:11

How big are they?  I collected some tiny ones 3 years ago from a nursery in Cumbria and they are only just getting to about a foot wide and 6" high and haven't flowered yet.   No confusion about seasons though as some leaves are starting to colour up a beautiful red.  One or two leaves turning on the neighbouring blueberries too.

All of them are looking very healthy though so fingers crossed for a good crop this year.  The blossom on the blueberries was frozen at just the wrong moment so we only had about a dozen berries in all this year.

Fingers crossed for better luck next year and I hope you get a good crop too.

Moans about GW

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 21:32

I like Beechgrove.  It's packed with interesting info without seeming rushed and crowded and I like the mix of presenters.  Some of their plants and schemes are a bit old fashioned but since Chris Beardshaw arrived this season we've had some lovely ideas and info about old and new techniques for doing things plus the whys and wherefores.

I find GW isn't challenging enough nor is it relative to the vast majority of urban and suburban gardeners and their small plots.  Monty's garden is interesting and has some gorgeous plants but is too far removed from the norm in form and content.'  I can do with less of NIgel and the arty (time wasting) strolling shots and more actual gardening too.

GW is so relaxed and laid back that I find myself falling asleep and it can take me four or five goes to watch a 30 minute programme through to the end.   Having said that, I strongly disapporve of it being pushed aside for sport or anything else.  30 minutes a week is surely not too much to ask for in a whole week's schedule.   If they absolutely must they could air it earlier in the day in place of a repeat of one of the daytime progs on its 3rd or 5th time round.  At least then we can record it and watch it when we can instead of doing without completely.

Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 21:10

Conifers suck all the nutrients and moisture out of the soil for quite a distance so make sure you work in plenty of goodness, as suggested above.   removing lower branches will at least allow in more rain and light.


Posted: 09/09/2013 at 19:38

Not a tuneful bird but it's good to hear their chatter.  Our flock has done well too and tends to gather all together in the shrubs near the feeders or have conferences in the conifer hedge which has a hollow centre.

They nest in the eaves and seem to have done well this year here too.  For the last couple of weeks they've been feeding on spilled grain after the wheat harvest in the fields behind but are now returning to my feeders.   They and the assorted tits have done a terrific job hoovering pests off my brassicas, clematis and I've had no bovver from aphids or caterpillars.  Just a few naughty slugs and a very busy and irritating mole who's been tunneling under the beetroot and fennel patch.

What's best to grow in terracotta pots

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 13:19

You could paint it inside and out with a couple of coats of clear acrylic varnish which is water based and that will help with water absorption and give some protection from frost damage.

I would then suggest a simple, hardy ornamental grass such as carex bronze beauty which is evergreen and will give year round interest.   The foliage will dance in the breeze and glow in the sun and just needs coming through by hand (wear gloves) or with a rake in spring to remove dead foliage.    


Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:21

One thing you can do is raise the crown of your trees to allow in extra light and water.  This simply means removing the lowest branches to expose mor etrunk and then thinning out crossing branches inside the crown to show of fthe structure of branches and let more air flow.

After that, the choice of plants will depend on how exposed your garden is to wind and frosts and the type of soil you have.   If possible, improve teh soil by forking in a good amount of well rotted garden compost and/or manure and then add a thick mulch of teh same stuff for the worms to work in over winter once you've planted and watered.

Plants to consider include hardy geraniums macrorrhizum and phaeum which do well in shade and dry soils, euphorbia amygloides "Purpurea", iris foetidissima, forms of lamium maculatum and vinca minor.

All of these have flowers and some have variegated foliage.  You can look them all up on the RHS Plant Selector - 

Allium seeds

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:10

I quite agree with your programme of sowing Berghill.  I'll be trying it myself to see if I can raise some Schubertii that will last more than one season here - challenging frost and munching rodents - but first I have to plant the bulbs to get the seed.......

Wooden garden furniture

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 14:27

Haisi.  I live in central Belgium, 30 mile south of Brussels.  Winter can last 5 to 6 months in a bad year and tend to be wet but with two or three weeks of very cold, dry conditions when the  winds come from Siberia and take us down to -15C to -20C.

Recent winters have been very hard with regular and sustained dips down below -20C and even to -32C, usually without a protective blanket of snow so yes, I try to take care of my teak table.  I've put plastic studs under its feet to keep them from sitting in water and tend to put shallow bricks under one end so it's tilted enough for water not to sit on the surface.

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