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Latest posts by obelixx

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.

What plant?

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 00:03

The botanical family is lysimachia and it come sin many forms.  Yours is lysimachia vulgaris and it can be invasive.

I have purple loosestrife growing by my natural pond and lysimachia clethroides alba which is a much more attractive form spreading happily, but controllably, in a large sunny bed and I have the seeds to grow some lysimachia Beaujolais after seeing it at Chelsea a couple of years ago.  

Lysimachia Firecracker has purple foliage and yellow flowers and is good for moist soils.  Loads more forms out there including some low growing ground cover.


Posted: 25/06/2015 at 23:14

I have mine at the backs of borders where only I ever go and I do always wear gloves when weeding and pruning or lifting and dividing.  it's a lovely plant in all its forms.  You just have to be sensible and careful and not plant it where kids can reach it.

Any ideas?

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 22:39

Definitely try and make friends with the neighbours and get them to cut it to a more socially acceptable 2 metre high.

You could then erect trellis panels in front of it and grow a wide range of climbing or rambling roses, clematis, honeysuckle, 

Failing that you could try covering the ugly stuff with clematis which will cling and climb but you'll need more than one and they'll need to be vigorous so have a look at the montanas.    You could also try Virginia creeper which will give fabulous autumn colour.  You could also try a really large rambling rose such as Kiftsgate, Rambling rector or Wedding Day if you can tie them in and up.

Whatever you plant will need very good soil preparation as the conifers will suck all the goodness and moisture out of the soil so prepare deep holes and back fill with a mix of garden soil and good quality compost plus some slow release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.   Sprinkle some mycrorhizal fungi on the roots of your new plants to help them grow well and water in well at planting time and until established.

Clematis benefit from being planted several inches deeper than they were in their pot and roses need to have the graft union buried an inch or two below soil level.   Feed them with specialist fertiliser every spring to keep them healthy and vigorous.

Plant ID

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 22:25

Not a perovskia and not an achillea whose common name is yarrow.  I think you mean tanacetum Hester.

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