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Latest posts by obelixx

Help with Clematis

Posted: 26/10/2014 at 16:35

Judging by the colour of the petals and the anthers plus the foliage, I would say it's a Nelly Moser, one of the large flowered hybrids in Group 2 for pruning.

This means it would usually be given a light prune and dead-heading in late June once the first flush of flowers finishes and it will then flower again in late summer, assuming it is healthy and has plenty of nourishment.   However I grow mine as a group 3 as the heavy frosts here cut it back every winter.   This involves cutting all the stems back to about 9" above ground or to the lowest pair of buds.

Yours looks as though its been there a long time and isn't used to producing fresh new stems every year so maybe such a hard prune is not a good plan.

Can you lift it off its current supports and lie it on the ground while you paint the wall and fix new trellis?   Then all you have to do is lift it back up and ie it in and prune accordingly next June.   If not, try cutting the main stems back to one or two smaller shoot nodes and then paint the wall and erect the trellis.

Whichever you do it will need feeding to compensate.   In early spring it needs a generous dollop of proprietary clematis food which will act as a slow release feed.  Give it a weekly dose of liquid rose or tomato food from early spring to late June.  I mid to late autumn, give a generous mulch of well rotted manure and/or garden compost around the base as this will help retain moisture, protect the roots and feed the beneficial micro-organisms that help roots take up food and water from the soil.

Make sure your new trellis panels are attached to battens fixed on the wall as this allows air to circulate and reduces problems like mildew.   If you hinge them along the bottom, it also makes future maintenance and painting much easier as you can simply fold them down whle you paint without disturbing the plant too much..

Hydrangea Help

Posted: 25/10/2014 at 23:03

Yes.  That pot is far too small and it's probably starving now.   Plant it in the ground and let its roots grow as they should.   Make sure you give the root ball a thorough soaking first and then again after planting.

Talkback: How to grow agapanthus from seed

Posted: 25/10/2014 at 22:58

It means just that.  Put a thin layer of sharp grit over the compost once the seeds have been sown.  It helps keep down algae that can form and also retains moisture and keeps weed seeds out.

Happily for me, one of the friends to whom I gave some babies has returned me a plant in  6" pot.   All his babies have produced white flowers but I think I have twins in my pot as there's been a blue flower stem and a white one.  I shall leave it in peace for now and see about separating them in spring.

Archer - they do look like grass when small.   Pot them on and they'll develop into thicker, stronger strappier foliage and eventually produce flowers. 

To prune or not to prune

Posted: 25/10/2014 at 12:02

Lavender can be cut either as soon as flowering finishes or in spring just before new growth starts.  I've done both and they've been fine.

Clematis get pruned according to their variety which dictates their pruning group so you'l have to be more specific but I wouldn't be pruning any now before spring except to remove unsightly dead growth on obelisks and arches and to reduce wind resistance.  I have Princess Diana, Silver moon, Sunset, Nelly Moser, Huldine, Alba Luxurians and flammula still flowering and will leave well alone till spring but Etoile Violette, Little Nell, Westerplatte, Omoshiro, Perle d'Azur, Arabella, Hendryetta, Star of India, Rahvarinne and Caerulea Luxurians have finished and started turning brown all over so they can be trimmed .  My  Red Robin and Red Ballon don't get trimmed at all as they are group 1s.

Gadioli need to be left to die down so the foliage can feed the corms for next year's flowers.   If you're in a sheltered spot you may get away with leaving the corms in the ground but otherwise it's best to lift - once they've died down -  and store them somewhere frost free till next spring.

Roses don't get pruned till Feb or March except to remove any long, whippy stems that may get caught by strong winds and rock the roots loose.

If, by Russian Ivy you mean Russian Vine, I personally would prune it now and dig it up and get rid as it's a thug that will spread and swamp other plants and there are far more attractive climbers for covering walls and fences.

Pleached hedging advice

Posted: 25/10/2014 at 11:17

The whole point of pleaching is that the plants are pruned and trained to shape. You'll need a support structure until the stems and horizontal branches become established but once they harden up you can take that down.   You'll need to do at least an annual pruning and training session to maintain it.   You'll also need to prepare the ground well to make sure that the chosen plants stay healthy.

Hornbeam makes a lovely pleached hedge but I've also seen it done with catalpa and beech.  There was a lovely one at Chelsea with copper foliage.

 See these articles for some hints -


what color is your garden

Posted: 24/10/2014 at 14:13

Whites from japanese anemones and Michaelmas daisies, purples and pinks ditto plus cyclamens, purple verbenas and pink and red roses and persicaria.  Orange geums, heleniums, rudbeckias,   White agapanthus and acidantheras with purple throats, lilac hostas, vivid fuchsia pink, white, scarlet and burnt orange dahlias.   Deep pink and creamy white clematis.   Pink penstemons.   Deep pink and red sedums.   Mauve pink physostegia.   Golden foliage on cornus midwinter fire, red stems on cornus alba.   Other foliage and stem colours.


Posted: 24/10/2014 at 13:00

If you want British suburban 30s style it will be rather different from Aert Deco UAS stuff or high end design in the the UK.   I rtaher think it was hard landcaping, square lawsn, narrow beds, shrubs and annual bedding such as alyssum and lobelia maybe with some pelargoniums and standard roses with bare soil in between .   Definitely not cottagey.

You could contact these people - 

Have a read of this too -



pots in beds

Posted: 24/10/2014 at 12:43

You can certainly plant things in pots in beds but it's usually a technique for filling in gaps eg pots of tulips in springor lillies in summer which then just get lifted and left to die down quietly in a corner once flowering finishes, or cannas or dahlias that need winter protection so get stashed somewher frost free for the winter.

Neither rock rose nor broom will produce enough roots to do damage to your house wall or foundations so you should just plant them direct so their roots are free to seek out moisture and nutrients which will be challenging enough up against a wall without being confined in a pot.   Depending on the state and type of your soil you could also grow roses, lavenders, hibiscus and many more. 


Posted: 23/10/2014 at 17:45

The flowers do fade to brown as they age and it is the end of their season now.

Fat balls in plastic NO

Posted: 23/10/2014 at 11:51

I buy what I can get, sometimes in tubs, sometimes loose and sometimes in bags but nearly always with the plastic strings.   It's a simple matter to cut off the strings and put them in the assorted holders I use to hang them up safely for the birds.

Just need to educate people to do it.

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