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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 15:29

laurel want too much space and like to grow wide as well as high.   Yew is poisonous so you have to be careful with any clippings and make sur eany small people in your family don't eat the berries but it does make a lovely hedge which is easy to shape and can be trimmed back hard if needs be. 

Hawthorn will grow at about 6' a year - mine does - so is another possibility.  Keeping it trimmed back will encourage it to thicken and grow high and is also wildlife friendly though not evergreen.  The pyracantha will eventually thicken up too if trained and pruned appropriately.



Posted: 22/08/2013 at 13:58

I have bought plug plants which are growing well but have poor germination in my direct seed sown beets so I shall be sowing some more in modules the first week of September as I'm away next week and then cossetting them and planting out under cloches if necessary. 

OH and I love fresh beets cooked with onions, tomatoes, cumina nd chilli (Madhur Jaffrey) or baked with butter beans and horseradish or roast whole with garlic and thyme.  Yum.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 11:55

In my experience laurel is a thug and the more it's pruned to size the more it wants to grow outsize.  It's also very dark and dull, especially on grey days.

Those box plants will provide a decent hedge in three years if you remove the grass and feed them as suggested above.  Box is also easy to maintain and trim whereas laurel looks a mes sif done with power trimmers as its larger leave sget shredded and turn brown at the edge.   

To encourage fatser growth, you can give them a good thick mulch of well rotted garden comost (or bought) this autumn and then feed them pelleted chicken manure or blood fish and bone next spring and give them a liquid tonic of seaweed too.  trim the fornt and back sides of the box but not the tops or facing sides around Derby day to encorage vertical and lateral growth to fill up the hedge.

Photinia would be a good alternative if you're really impatient but you'll need to wait till autumn to plant new shrubs and will have to do a lot of work to improve the soil to give them a good start as a hedge is a long term investment in future growth.  It will also cost a fair few quid to buy enough to replace all that box but, if you're clever, you could save the box by digging it all up carefully - in autumn and after a good watering - and potting them then selling them on E-bay or via a local gardening club.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 11:45

Both apples and pears need regular pruning to retain flowering and fruiting vigour.   Yours is probably worn out after producing well and just needs encouraging.

Follow the advice given by the RHS here -

and here - and things should improve.  

Do not trim the bark as suggested above because the cadmium layer just beneath it is what carries all the water and nutrients and growth hormones up and down the tree and you may kill it completely.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 11:38

It may not have had enough water so give it  good soak with at least 10 litres of water that can soak in deep and encourage any surviving roots to go lower down instead of staying near teh surface where they can dry out all too quickly.    Keep it well watered but not drowning and wait and see.  It may recover.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 11:35

You need something spiky to deter unwanted visitors and vandals so I would suggest pyracantha which is evergreen, thorny and has spring blossom and autumn fruits to feed and attract wildlife such as insects and birds.

It can be grown quite narrow and encouraged to spread upwards and across and you can choose form varieties with red, orange or yellow berries though the birds will like the red and orange best.

You will need to enrich and improve the soil with plenty of well rotted or bought garden compost and maybe some well rotted manure or just pelleted chicken manure before you plant anything.

Pyracantha maidens or small shrubs can be bought quite cehaply and the best time to plant is between mid September and the end of November which give sthem plenty of time to get their roots established before the spring surge of growth and blossom.  Soak the pots in a bucket till no further air bubbles appear and water again after planting.  prune any stems heading away from your wall and into teh walk space then watch them grow.

Yo may need to think about installing some tall posts and wires to train the branches across to form a solid barrier when they get above wall height.   Smaller plants will get there faster than ones that are already tall and mature as they settle in better.



Posted: 22/08/2013 at 09:27

I did this last year but I think I was too ambitious and did too many layers in a big ceramic pot.  The deepest tulips came up short and early and it looked messy most of the time as older foliage went over.   I shall turf them all out into the garden this autumn and then just do two layers with new bulbs for next year.


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 13:48

They were made from metal bars that you buy at builders' merchants.  They use them for reinforcing concrete.   They're made from iron as they rust if left out but not so much they can't be left out for years..

I have used this system since Monty showed them.  The thinner ones bend easily enough.   I used a railway sleeper post to bend mine in the middle to get the curve that goes round the plants then set it on the ground, put another piece of railway sleeper across it and stood on it to pull up the two ends to vertical.  

Then it's just a case of pushing the two ends into the soil either side of the plants to be supported and letting them fall into the curve.   They can stay out all year, don't bend or break in strong winds and disappear from view as the foliage and plant growth increases over the season.  


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 09:29

Use the glyphosate now and it should kill most of the top growth but still leave time for new growth to come from surviving roots and any seeds that germinate in the warmth and damp of September.   You can then apply glyphosate again to kill the new growth.  It takes two weeks for the prodcut to do its job and get to the roots and then another couple of weeks will be needed for germination and regrowth to show through so  you need to get at it asap.

You will probably need to do another spraying, or even two, in spring as some roots will inevitably survive or creep through from next door or arrive by seeds on the wind or birds so make sure you sow your wild flower seeds in trays in plugs so they get a head start and are good, sturdy little plants by thetime the gorund is ready to put them in.  This will give better results than just sowing seed if you can't clear the ground completely by digging and raking.


Posted: 19/08/2013 at 11:39

The best thing for breaking up clay soils is to add a good layer of mulch each year in autumn and winter when most plants are dormant.  Mulch can be well rotted alnure, well rotted garden compost, compost bought in from the council heaps or a commercial supplier, shredded paper and cardboard mixed with grass clippings and so on.  

Mulching in autumn gives the worms and other soil critters and micro organisms all winter to break it down and mix it up.   Don't bother trying to dig it in yourself as this is hard work and can also damage what soil structure and organisms are already there.

When you want to plant, just plant through the mulch and into the clay for deeper rooted specimens such as trees and shrubs and mix the soil up a bit so you don't get a sump which will attract water and drown their roots.

People always used to say potatoes were good for breaking up heavy soils but in fact it's the digging and earthing up and harvesting that does it and you still need mulch to improve the structure permanently.


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