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Latest posts by obelixx

When to plant spring bulbs

Posted: 30/09/2012 at 22:02

Small bulbs like snowdrops, crocuses, scillas and so on need to be planted as soon as possible or they'll dry out and fail but they can usually be inserted between plants that are still busy looking good.    You can soak them for an hour in cool water to rehydrate them and give them a better chance of success.

Tulips can wait till late October or November as they can be prone to blight if planted too early.    Daffs and hyacinths and alliums can wait a month as long ast they're kept somewhere cool and don't dry out.

 When I was tidying up the garage at the end of Feb I found some packets of alliums I'd forgotten about and planted them out and, while not all of them flowered, many did and most produced foliage so I should get decent flowers this next spring.


Shy Bill

Posted: 28/09/2012 at 13:48

Clematis can take a year or two to get established and are very greedy so I would give it a good general purpose feed next spring to get it growing well and add special rose, tomato or clematis fertiliser to promote flower production.  That will help the Kiwi too and you can top up every couple of weeks till mid June.

It's a myth about clematis needing their head in the sun and their feet in the shade.   I've grown them in hanging baskets before now and have some planted in full sun as well as others in shade or semi shade.    Some varieties like shade and some like full sun and they all like a deep root run and plenty of food.


Posted: 28/09/2012 at 13:40

Cats, foxes and herons can be deterred witha device called a water scarecrow.  It fixes to an outside tap and has a sensor so when the offending critter passes, it gets sprayed and soaked.   They don't like it and go elsewhere.

You need to move the sensors regularly as they learn the trigger points and make sure you don't site it where the postman will get wet.  You can google for models and suppliers.

The other good alternative is a well aimed water pistol but that means you have to be there and constantly vigilant.  


Windy garden

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 22:04

I used rolled willow once but it didn't last a winter - too wet and windy and it shredded or rotted.

Box is certainly tough and does well here in a slightly exposed part of my garden but it's slower than hornbeam and there is box blight increasingly widespread which will ruin a hedge.  I have my fingers crossed for mine.



Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 16:43

My in-laws - now deceased - used to make home made wine from all sorts of stuff they grew at home or garnered in hedgerows, including dandelions.    Definitely a taste I did not acquire.

Windy garden

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 11:46

A hornbeam hedge would cope with wet clay better than beech and can be kept quite narrow to save space. 

Our garden is exposed too and I have used rolls of split bamboo tied to the wire mesh fence as a wind break while my hedges get established but it does rot and break eventually so this autumn I'll be stringing proper netting along the fence to protect exposed plants.

Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 11:42

I also supply our neighbours whose soil is too sandy, despite lashings of manure from their riding school and some friends too as they have either the wrong soil or insufficent space.

I've tried growing gunnera but 3 plants have been clobbered by winter frosts despite having thick blankets of garden compost so I give up.   Ornamental rhubarb is much more robust and does very well over by the pond.

Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 11:03

My rhubarb  - a dozen large plants - was also looking very healthy till the gales arrived on Sunday night.  It's now looking very flat with nearly all the stems broken off at the base.   I shall let it flop and go limp and then divide it between the .compost heaps.

I usually force one or two plants for early spring crops then leave those to rest and pick from the other plants - lots of stewed rhubarb, baked rhubarb, crumbles, cakes and chutney.   Yum!  But not after July as I have arthritic bits and OH gets gout occasionally.


Is it Ok to keep picking rhubarb

Posted: 25/09/2012 at 09:29

After mid July, the stems contain more and more oxalic acid which can cause stomach upsets and exacerbate arthritis and gout in susceptible people.   The advice is always to stop picking by end of July which also allows the plants to build up reserves for next year's crop.

acanthus spinosus

Posted: 24/09/2012 at 20:17

I think you're proably being too kind.  The best flowering specimens I have ever seen were at the base of a wall in almost no soil at the side of  a driveway.

Mine have never flowered as I have fertile soil and they do try to spread given half a chance.

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9 threads returned