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Latest posts by obelixx

GARDENERS' WORLD 27 April 2014 ratings success

Posted: 12/05/2014 at 20:56

Well, in Geoff Hamilton's day the programme had over 3 million viewers.

I suspect the Beeb may think better about taking GW off, especially on long weekends when we all want to be out there in our gardens, if more gardeners wrote and complained about snooker and other sports taking its place.   GW always use dto be a constant and I can't see why we gardeners can't have our 30 minutes even in Wimbledon fortnight or World cups or Olympics.

However, I find Monty Don generally so out of touch with ordinay gardeners now that I just thank heaven for Beechgrove which combines solid gardening advice on many subjects with a sense of fun.

Mad veg idea needed for small terrace house front garden

Posted: 12/05/2014 at 14:58

Small pumpkins such as Utchi Kuri or Sweet Dumpling would do very well and are small enough for the fruiting stems to be trained uwards on obelisks or frames of some sort to allow several plants to be grown.   Maybe a bit late to start them this year but you could buy plants in a good garden centre or make a note to order seeds for next year when the time comes.

For winter, you could grow colourful stemmed Ruby chard and purple sprouting broccoli which you can sow now in pots or modules and pot on until you have space to plant them out in the autumn after you've cleared your summer crops and added some good garden compost or other soil conditioner to maintain fertility.

What's wrong with my clematis? And what can I do?

Posted: 12/05/2014 at 14:47

You need to cut off and remove all the stems at the base and give your plant an instant tonic of liquid rose or tomato feed so that it can recover.    You can also give it a generous handful of slow releas cleatis food and mulch it - after it's had a good drink - with well rotted compost or garden manure or bought in soil conditioner to retain moisture round the roots and encourage beneficial soil organisms which will help it absorb food more easily and make it stronger.

It may take a while to recover so be patient and scatter a few wildlife friendly slug pellets the minute you see new shoots coming through as they are slug and snail caviar.   Feed it, as above, every spring and early summer and it will eventually grow big and strong and not succumb to clematis wilt and be better able to deal with pests - just as well nourished humans with a balanced diet have a better immune system and fight off illness.


Peanuts for birds

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 11:26

They'll be fine and probably all gone by the end of May anyway.

Peanuts for birds

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 10:43

If the peanuts are sticking together or looking a bit mouldy, throw them away and clean and rinse the feeders thoroughly.   It's fine to offer them in feeders as they can't get whole ones out that will then choke their babies.   Don't offer them as loose feed.  

I keep all my peanut, fat ball, insect block and loose seed feeders topped up all year so that I have healthy adults prodcing healthy eggs and with the energy to forage for insects and larvae to feed their young who need juicy food for its moisture as much as its protein to grow well.  It works very well and I never have to spray for pests.

However at certain periods of the year they forage in my garden, local fields and woods so consumption of my offerings slows down.  Even the best quality peanuts can get a bit mouldy if left long enough, particularly in wet conditions so it's just a case of regular checking and cleaning as necessary.

Keeping wind off a windy allotment

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 00:19

Using a solid wind block just causes air currents to flow differently and sometimes makes things worse.  Keep your glass panels for coldframes.

Have you thought about a permeable windscreen mesh?  You can buy rolls of usually green windbreak fabric which is perforated so it allows air through for ventilation but slows it down so it doesn't damage plants and crops.

It comes in various heights and lengths so have a look in local garden centres and DIY shops and then you just need to erect some strong stakes or fence posts and  stretch it between them.   I would also stretch some wire between the supports and attach the fabric to that for extra strength.

Clematis sulking in pot

Posted: 10/05/2014 at 14:08

As Dove says, it's probably hungry if not starving so, if it can't go out in a border, try and find a bigger pot and give it plenty of fresh compost and regular feeding and watering.

sloping garden need help

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 16:51

How big is the height difference between the top and the bottom and how long is the garden?  How high are boundary walls and/or fences?  What's your budget and expertise?

It's perfectly possible to build up decking to quite a height but that will leave a lot of space underneath to lose things through the gaps left fro drainage and you should also bear in mind that critters like rats and foxes just love the shelter decking provides for housing and breeding.

Clematis for a south facing border

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 13:56

My Arabella has been in about 8 years now and is very happy so now outgrows a 2.2 metre obelisk and spreads into a nearby cotinus.   It would swamp my Alionushka which, admittedly, has only been in 3 years and just makes it to the top of a 2metre trellis panel.

Clematis for a south facing border

Posted: 09/05/2014 at 13:42

I find the group 3s work best for me in my sunny south facing border, or group 2s that can be treated as group 3s which means cutting them back hard in spring, giving them a feed and then watching them grow and flower over summer - training them as they develop.

I have Betty Corning, Princess Diana, Sunset, Arabella (non self clinging), Chrystal Fountain and Hendryetta (non clinging) all very happy and their flowers don't fade in the sun.  I also have Dr Ruppel, Omoshiro, Star of India and Westerplatte in beds to the north of the house but which get full sun from March to October and they'd be good on your obelisk too.

I also have Red Robin which is a group 1, flowering now with lovely whorled seed heads to follow.  It just gets pruned to keep it in bounds on its clematis panel.

One clematis per obelisk is ample as over the years their vigour will increase and they'll easily cover it.   Do not mix tow clems from 2 runing groups as you'll never untangle or distinguish which stems to prune and which to leave.

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