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Latest posts by obelixx

Cleome's how to look after them in winter?

Posted: 02/09/2013 at 16:10

Just to clarify, cleomes are half hardy annuals from South America so they germinate, gorw, flower and set seed in one growing season. 

Their seed needs to be sown under cover in spring and then you can plant them out after all frosts have passed in May or June, depending on where you garden.   They will flower until the first frosts which may be October or November, again depending on where you are.   The frosts will turn them brown and kill them but yu should be able to collect seed from ripe seed pods before the frosts.

Dumb Question Amnesty!

Posted: 02/09/2013 at 16:01

It's not your land to do anything with and you know it so I strongly advise you to leave well alone. 

In addition, no plant is going to thrive and grow to 5' high in a mere 40cms of soil.  Any container planting would have to be fed regularly and watered every day in summer and protected from freezing in winter plus all the training and pruning to keep it to shape.

If you want a barrier, just erect a fence on your side of the boundary and paint it an attractive colour - assuming there isn't a covenant on the properties about fences and barriers at the front.  I know there was one on the house I lived in in my teens.


Posted: 02/09/2013 at 10:26

Corks from wine bottles work well too and I use broken plates and dishes too.    If you're planting a deep pot with seasonal plants and wantto reduce the amount of compost needed you can use a layer of polystyrene shells or just chunks from packing.  Good insulation too in winter.

However, recent research by the RHS seems to show that crocks aren't necessary and you can just put a piece of gauze (or J-cloth) over the holes to stop compost leaking out and then fill directly with compost but then you do need to make sure the pots are standing on feet so that excess water can drain away more easily.

How shaded should clematis roots be?

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 15:02

Stones hide slugs and snails which like to feast on new clematis shoots in spring so none of my 50 or so clematis has a stone in front of it.   The more recent additions all get a clay plant pot with the bottom bashed out inverted over their stems to protect the base form my husband's slap happy hoeing action but shade comes from plants in front which also serve to hide any tendency to bare legs.

Clematis have thick fleshy roots which like a long, cool root run so a trough in full sun is not teh best place for them.   I wouldn't plant one in any container smaller than 60cm (2') wide and 75cms (2'6") deep and then only facing north or east so the pot doesn't get hot and cook the roots.

Clematis are also very hungry plants so need the best compost and regular top ups of feed, both slow release clematis food and quick tonic liquid tomato or rose food to keep them growing strong and flowering well.    They don't like to be too dry either so, if training up a wall, plant them at least 18" to 2' (45cms to 60cms) out and give them plenty of organic matter in their planting home then train them back to the wall.   Water them generously at planting time and until established.    You almso need to plant them at least 4" (10cms) deeper than they were in tehir pots as this protects against cleamtis wilt and encourages more stems to grow.


Posted: 27/08/2013 at 18:36

I moved from Harrow to Belgium and took some plants in pots with me, including an acer which was over 3' wide at the time and almost as high and a photinia daviddi "Palette" which was taller and a bit narrower.

It's best to let the removal company see the pots when they come to quote for the job and ask them about whether or not you need to pack them to protect them or whether the removal company prefers to do it.  How they're packed, and by whom, will affect the insurance policy for the removals job. 


Posted: 26/08/2013 at 22:04

Looks like a cirrhosa to me.  They flower in winter or very early spring, before the montanas and alpinas and macropetalas and are usually vergreen except in extreme winters.

To find a clematis that is suitable for the size of wall you have available, the flowering time desired and the colour, have a look at this site - which allows you to enter those criteria and several others to help with selecting a good variety.   Then go to your local garden centre or nusery to see what varieties they have or contact a reputable clematis grower such as Taylor's - - who have a wide selection, a very good reputation and deliver nation wide.



Mahonia leaves turning brown

Posted: 25/08/2013 at 22:23

Thanks for letting us know.  It's such a nice feeling when a plant recovers.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 18:05

Give them a good soak to make sure their compost is damp throughout and then, the next day, give them a liquid feed of tomato food to see if that helps.   Next year, treat them to some specialist clematis food in spring and refresh at least the top of the sompost in the pot.  After that, follow the instructions on the pack for frequency of feeding.

Clematis have fleshy roots and like a long, cool root run so if your pots aren't big enough, or they've been baked too hot in the hot summer sun, the plants will suffer.  Cut out any dead stems right back to the base and dead head any flowers.  With luck, the tomato food will perk them up.



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:10

I think it's been a funny year for clems.  Some of mine are romping away and I have three "Lazarus" clems that have just started to grow after playing dead all year but others are struggling to grow to their usual size and have feeble flowers.

I had surgery to fix both feet earlier in teh year so wasn't able to get out and train the new growth when it started in earnest but I did manage to feed them all and do slug and snail treatments at Easter.

I don't think a long, cold, wet spring did them any favours and then going to heatwave conditiuons and being baked for so long in July may have shocked them a bit.    i suggest trimming out any dead stems, dead heading as much as possible and then hoping for better things next year - along with lashings of proper clematis food in spring. 


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:04

I love these brocante markets - also called vide greniers or attic emptying which is nearer to the car boot ethic and doesn't include professionals - and have had some real bargains from bits of oak furniture to clean and oil and make smart again to kitchen items, jugs and old galvanised laundry buckets I've painted and use for planters.

The trick is to see past the grime and imagine it cleaned up.  A friend spotted a filthy lantern in one in Brussels and it now has pride of place as her central light fixture in the living room.  Once cleaned, it proved to have art deco metal lines and small coloured glass panes which were a perfect fit for her home.


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