London (change)


Latest posts by obelixx

What's your worst nemesis, your most dreaded weed or plant?

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 16:59

It depends which bit of the garden I'm in.  Out the front I have horsetail and bitter cress and thistles and nettles.   I pull the horsetail regularly and put in the waste bin.  The others get pulled or dug up and go on the compost heap.

Out the back I have thistles, nettles, couch grass, sticky bud and creeping buttercup plus bindweed in one big bed around the natural pond and now trying to invade the big bed above the lawn.   I get bird sown brambles and bird sown wild roses too.   Every year I work my way round clearing them all and every year they come back with a vengeance because we are surrounded by arable fields and pasture so they creep in from the edges or fly in as seeds.  

I have now given up trying to grow fancy plants and stick with good doers that can cope but so far I have had to rescue 2 hydrangea paniculata planted last year and not doing well plus 3 new roses from last year - all now in pots to be nurtured till next spring in the hope they will get bigger and stronger so they can survive out in the borders.   Fingers crossed for this year's new perennials.


Posted: 27/06/2015 at 14:25

My garden is just too large for nematodes to be an effective solution.

I now use the wildlife and pet friendly slug pellets (no metaldehyde) which I start scattering very thinly around susceptible plants like hostas, hemerocallis, daffs, clematis and rhubarb starting on Valentine's Day as it's easy to remember.

Repeat weekly or after heavy rain throughout the season.  This ensures you get them as they emerge form hibernation or hatch from eggs and before they have time to eat your treasures and breed more slimesters.

Any slugs I find when gardening I throw in the road to get squished by passing traffic.  No messing with beer, salt or scissors.

Before doing this system I would go out at dark with a torch and pick hundreds just off the daffs in spring.   Life is too short and there are many nicer garden jobs to occupy my time.

Primula Auricula seedlings

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 13:57

That would do it.  Mine are in a shady spot and normally get to 34C with 38 being an exception of short duration followed by amazing thunder storms.

Primula Auricula seedlings

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 13:05

Really Busy?  I had some garden auriculas come through our winter which is a lot wetter than yours.  I was chuffed to bits.

Congrats 1of7.   Are you planning a theatre for their future display?

1000 Berghill?  Where will you put them all?  Even after weeding out duds you'll have a lot left.


problem patch

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 12:59

Sundance can be fussy and weak if it gets too cold but it's great for brightening up a dark corner and giving a sunny glow and when it's big enough to flower it smells of orange blossom.   Other possibilities would be golden forms of aucuba or variegated eleagnus or creamy variegations such as euonymous Silver Queen or Harlequin.   Variegated pieris would be good too if the soil is acid or neutral and not alkaline.

problem patch

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 12:25

I'd go for a golden choisya too but first work some good garden compost or well rotted manure in to the soil as it looks very dry and poor.    Soak the plant in its pot in a bucket of water till no more air bubbles appear then plant to the same depth in the soil and water again.  

Once the whole patch is well watered I would mulch the soil with a good thick layer of chipped bark - at least 2 inches and with no bare soil showing.  This will keep weeds down and any that do appear will be easy to pull.   It will also give you clean access underfoot to the water butt.

Summer shrubs that have nice follage in winter

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 19:21

I think lavender would look dreadful and be unhappy in cold, wet conditions so I can understand Fairygirl's dislike.   It only does well in one spot in my garden - at the top of a sleeper wall where drainage is fierce and it has full sun so can cope with all  the wet Belgian winters throw at it.  I have alternating HIdcote and Edelweiss so blue and white and they are always covered in bees and give a lovely pong and babies too in the gravel below.

I'd agree with shrubs like choisya and skimmia and rhodos if the bed is at least a metre wide.   Otherwise they're going to get too big and have to be trimmed constantly.  Hebes and small leaved ceanothus good too if it doesn't get too nippy in winter.   Photinia Red Robin could be clipped into a neat hedge with red new growth.   Mahonia will get much too big.


Posted: 26/06/2015 at 10:55

Again, it's all about perspective.   All sorts of native and ornamental plants are poisonous if ingested and then there are the ones that cause nasty rashes and stings - nettles, sticky bud, euphorbia, rue..........    That doesn't stop us growing yew or foxgloves and I can't see any legislation or rules keeping nettles at bay.

Then there's the danger of tetanus if you get some soil microbes in an open wound and being maimed when using a chain saw without observing safety rules or falling off a ladder when trimming trees or cleaning gutters.

With the right tools and the right safety precautions - ie common sense - gardening and gardens are as safe as any other pastime or job and are unbeatable for the pleasure they give and the calming effect on the soul.   Great therapy for all sorts of problems from grief to depression, positive benefits to education and behaviour in school gardens and a joy to be shared with family, friends and neighbours.

Summer shrubs that have nice follage in winter

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 10:15

English lavender would be hardier than French and, as long as it's trimmed well after flowering, doesn't get leggy and bare so stays looking well over winter.   It needs good drainage and full sun.   Once the flowers go over you cut them off at their base going no more than one inch into the foliage and that keeps the plants neat and compact.   

Have a look at Hidcote or Munstead dwarf which is a bit more compact.   You could plant white or purple or striped crocuses along the edge for extra spring interest and/or some dwarf white daffs.    Either would look good with the silvery foliage of the lavender. 

Plant ID

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 09:47

I agree.   Tansy is good for wildlife.   It is native and attracts a wide range of insects including beneficial hoverflies and bees.

Perovskia (Russian sage) is a shrubby plant that needs pruningback eery spring to make fresh new stems and foliage and then produces blue flowers in late summer.  It is of no great value to British insects.

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