Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 26/03/2013 at 23:48

Climbers flower on new wood so I train my main stems as horizontally aspossible to encourage the sap to flow more easily to make flower buds.   In spring, I cut off all dead and broken shoots and any showing die-back.  I then remove all the small shoots coming up, down or out from the main stems and any weak and spindly stems and then I give the plant a good feed of general purpose food for foliage and rose fertiliser for flowers. 

Each year, on the more established climbers I take at least one main stem out right at the base so the plant puts up new shoots and thus continually renews itself and stays vigorous.  I have some newer climbers which are still too young and small to do this too as yet.

Ramblers flower on wood produced the season before so, other than taking out dead or damaged wood in spring, should be pruned after flowering.


Posted: 26/03/2013 at 23:25

I'm waiting till the very cold nights and bitter winds have gone as I've learned from experience that new cuts and heavy frost lead to damaged cells that attract disease or die back.   I have friends with warmer, more sheltered city gardens and they can prune now with confidence but not me yet.

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 26/03/2013 at 10:30

Light boxes are used to reflect light backaround seedlings.  You can get very fancy or do as GH did - simply cut a wall form a cardboard or wooden box to let light in, paint the interior white and.or line it with tin foil and bingo - a light box to keep your seedlings straight and short.

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 21:03

Geoff H and AT only had 30 minutes too and managed to show us simple tricks.  With this version of GW, many beginners wouldn't ever know that a light box or similar is needed to help seedlings grow straight and sturdy instead of leggy and bendy.  They'd just assume it can't be done without greenhouses and cold frames and give up before they start.

When all the people who haven't yet seen it realise how much Beechgrove gets done in its 30 minutes and all without seeming pressured or stressed or rushed they'll see just how little we get each week in the current incarnation of GW and it's not all how tae - it's what, where, when and how and sometimes who plus which plants and materials do best.

MOB rants

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 15:57

Can't stand mobile phones either.  For me they're a useful emergency tool if I'm stuck somewhere or am waiting to meet someone who's late.  They are not a life enhancing gadget or an every day need.  Nobody I know is so important they need to be on the end of a phone 24/7 and it's rude to let the ringing and chat interfere with and intrude on valuable family and social time.

Teenager's room is another point of frustration.   I'm fed up with picking clothes off the floor and having tto pick my way through the obstacle course of detritus as though I were negotiating a minefield so I've told her I am buying no new clothes till she can look after what she already has and anything I do find on the floor goes in the bin as it's clearly not wanted.

She's been "cleaning" her own room for over a year and gets to do the landing and spare bedroom too.   Since I went in for my first foot op at the end of Jan, she also makes her own lunch for school.  If she doesn't tell us she's run out of rolls or fillings she has to buy lunch with her own money.  

Hard work trying to get a teenager to organise itself!

Never buying KEA furniture again.  I'd rather buy second hand made from proper wood and do it up.  It's usually much more attracive, sturdier and cheaper too.   My last buy was red Billy bookshelves.  OK so they were an interim measure while I find real ones but they've flipping well bent under the weight of real books! 

is will you use the extra hour next weekend

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 15:22

We don't get an extra hour though do we.  Just a change of time which, I've discovered, irritates the Belgians too and they'd like to stay on permanent summer time and stop messing about.

The forecast is not good for the next week so we'll be happily employed sorting out theh barn and clearing and sorting stuff so the walls are accessible for damp proofing injections.  If we get some sun, we'll snatch an hour or two outside but we do have to get all our walls cleared by the 2nd.


Painting a trellis...

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 14:47

I suspect this one has even more - http://www.clematis.hull.ac.uk/

Need Bees This Year!

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 08:45

I have seen 4 species of bee on one head of sedum spectabile.  They also like achilleas, echinops, aconitum, foxgloves and early flowers are needed too so snowdrops, crocuses and so on.

Is this spring worse than last year's?

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 08:42

This time last year I came out of hospital after back surgery to a mini heatwave and a few blissful days in the garden and great success with seed sowing which was later than usual.    Then we had a frost so deep it wiped out lots of plants, both perennials and roses, and killed others back to their crowns for a long slow recovery over what passed for summer.

This year it's foor surgery that has kept me housebound and a warm start to March saw me sowing seeds indoors rather than in the greenhouse.  They're doing very well but the summer savoury is now very leggy and the PSB is heading that way.   I shall have to pot on my Christmas basil this afternoon and then play hunt the window sill as they need more space.  The toms have already been potted on and the chillies will be next, followed by lupins.  It'll be OK if the greenhouse warms up by the weekend, honest. 

And then I can sow more seeds.


Posted: 24/03/2013 at 22:23

Simples here.  10 or more years ago the local council announced that they woul dbe giving out transparent blue bags into which we should put PMC - plastic bottles, tetra pak cartons and tins - and they would be collected for free.  At the same time, each household would be issued with a bar coded wheelie bin and every time we put it out to be emptied it would be weighed and scanned and we would be charged accordingly.  It really worked and recycling is now an automatic habit for the vast majority.  Now we just pay a flat rate for rubbish removal but it hasn't gone up in years.

Papers and cardboard are collected once a month, the blue bags every 2 weeks and wheelie bins as often as we put them out as there's a weekly collection.   Our council encourages people with gardens to make compost bins and offers classes in compost making but also allows garden waste to be taken to the container park for composting.  They will collect from any home with no transport.   They also come round every 3 months for large objects that don't fit in cars such as old furniture and mattresses.

There are bottle banks next to every cemetery - on the grounds that you can't wake the dead with late night bottle smashing - and the container park has sections for electrical goods, batteries, chemicals, plastics, packaging, plant pots, car oils, kitchen oils, medicines and so on.   All part of teh service for residents but a scale of fees for commercial users and people who live elsewhere.  We have to produce our ID card when we go.

Old household appliances have to be taken away by the people supplying the new one and we pay a €20 fee with every purchase of a new fridge or washing machine to cover the cost of safe dumping and recycling.

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