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Latest posts by obelixx

Potatoes in containers very poor yield

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 21:41

Beechgrove garden did a comparison of the results from gowing 3 spuds of the same variety in pots and in the ground and the ones in the ground had double the cropping weight.  

It must have a lot to do with pots having restricted rot runs and needing watering every single day as well as feeding whereas the ones in teh ground can be left t get on with it except maybe in a drought.

Magnesium deficiency

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 16:30

Epsom salts are usually used as a foliar spray which you can do now.   I would suggest proper clematis or rose food as a slow release fertiliser mixed in with the top layer of their compost in spring and again when they first flower.  Use liquid tomato or rose feed in between times and till mid summer as they will quickly consume all the nutrients in the compost..

Clematis are very hungry plants so, if you can, move them to bigger pots in the autumn when the foliage has died back and you can cut the stems to make it easier.   Give them a pot of at least 60cms wide, deep and high and a good John Innes no 3 type compost.   They will need feeding as above every year.

Prevention Better than Cure

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 16:23

I wouldn't feed it any more now as any new growth needs time to Harden before the frosts zap it.   Make sure it has plenty to drink though.   Can't help with rust as I don't get it except on hollyhocks and then I just ignore it but remove all affected leaves and bin them as they die down.

I don't have either of your new roses so can't help with hardiness.  I have Gertrude Jekyll, Sceptr'd Isle, Falstaff, Generous Gardener, Teasing Georgia, Queen of Sweden, Crocus Rose and Benjain Britten all doing well.   William Shakespeare, Malvern Hills and Geoff Hamilton don't do so well buthave been OK this year after an unusually mild winter.   Tess of the D'Urbevilles had to be dug up so I could dismantle her trellis to let a mini bulldozer pass and is much happier in her new home with less east wind.   Hot Chocolate,  Jacqueline Duprée and Munstead are new this year so have yet to be tested.

Molyneux, Grace, Guinée and New Dawn all curled up after two very hard winters in 2009 and 2010.  Even Kiftsgate was nearly wiped out at -32C but has finally grown back and has been glorious this year.

Prevention Better than Cure

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 15:06

Roses are hungry plants so add as much manure and/or compost as you can.  They prefer heavy soils that retain moisture but are not soggy.   

If you plant a lot of roses together you are asking to concentrate pests and diseases so I would plan to space them so you can grow other things between them - hardy geraniums make good ground cover and the macrorhizums keep low and don't sprawl and will flower earlier so won't compete either.   They have perfumed foliage which turns red in winter so are very good value plants.

Planting lavender in and around the bed will help keep pests away and also alliums such as Purple Sensation which will add a vertical accent.  The onion scent is weak for us but strong enough to deter greenfly and so on.

When your bare root roses arrive, steep the roots in a bucket of water for at least an hour before planting and give them a handful of bonemeal each at planting time and water in well.  Microrhizal funghia - also available form DA - will help them establish well.    Plant them with the graft join an inch or two below soil level and protect from strong winds for at least their first winter.

Which roses did you order?  i find some are very gutsy and can cope well with our colder winters but some are definitely wusses and need coddling.


Posted: 27/07/2014 at 12:35

I have a wall mounted Hozelock retractable 40m hose.  It's fabulous.   Best garden toy I've had in ages.

Tatton Flower Show

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 12:32

The varieties of plants you get at a flower show like Tatton are not the cheap, mass produced, common or garden ones you find in garden centres and supermarkets and DIY stores.  They are more unusual and usually raised by hand by the nursermen and women selling them and sometimes from seed they have gathered themselves on expéditions to their place of origin or specially bred and selected.  That explains the price difference. 

Primulas increase quite easily so you could have bought one, grown it on and multiplied it by division when it was big enough and then you'd have free plants.   Most plants can be increased by division or cuttings so, as long as you have patience, you can get lots of free plants.

The size, style and budgets of the show gardens at Tatton, Hampton Court, Malvern and so on are very different from the ones at Chelsea and they tend to have themes.   The great thing about all the shows is being able to see plants at the peak of their condition and talk to the growers about their cultivation needs so you can determine whether they will be right for your garden or skills level.

Next time, go with propagation in mind and a friend who likes plants and it will be a much more rewarding day out.


summer pruning

Posted: 27/07/2014 at 10:10

You can prune shrubs like philadelphus immediately after they finish flowering as they flower on old wood.   This method keeps them to size whilst encouraging new shoots which will flower next year.

As they get older they can get congested and then you take out a third of teh stems each year, taking the oldest each time.  That helsp your shrub stay airy and well shaped.

For me, summer pruning of roses should simply consist of removing dead heads back to a leaf node but if I find a particularly weak, spindly or bare stem I'll cut that right back to its base to improve the look and direct energy into stronger stems that will give me more flowers..

Belfast Sink Ideas

Posted: 26/07/2014 at 23:06

Here it is then, at the back of the garage where I have my work area.   All the plants are either seedlings, rescued plants from clearing beds or divisions - all waiting to be big enough to cope with life in the borders.



Posted: 26/07/2014 at 19:03

I have two of these and one is doing well but the other has just died back so I'm going to cut off all the dead stems, water it thoroughly and give it a liquid feed of tomato fertiliser in the hope this will spur the roots into sending up new shoots.

This treatment has worked on a few other clematis that were decapitated or battered to shreds by a severe hailstorm in May so fingers crossed.

Belfast Sink Ideas

Posted: 26/07/2014 at 19:00

I use my old ceramic sink as a pot wahsing and newly divided plant watering sink.  It's installed on a stand I made just under the outside tap and has been a boon since I finally got around to setting it up a couple of months ago.    Looks good and is practical and, because it's not attached permanently, I can take it with me when we move.............

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