London (change)
Today 9°C / 7°C
Tomorrow 9°C / 8°C


Latest posts by obelixx

squirrels and their cleverness

Posted: 06/11/2014 at 21:36

Charlie N - moles travel by tunnels which can be deep or just below the surface.  Whichever, they collapse sooner or later either from rainfall, gravity or people walking on them.  In teh former cases they just look unsightly.  In the latter they can twist or sprain ankles and twinge dodgy backs/knees/hips most painfully.

If I do happen to catch one live and try and liberate it in the paddock across the stream they squeal and bite and scratch with those flipping digger front claws.   Not appreciative at all.

I fail to see what purpose a mole serves.  They mess up my lawn, uproot plants when they pass and eat my soil improving worms.  In late winter and early spring they run rampant huntig for amate an dthen when the bairns go independent there's another flurry of tunnels and hills as they head of to find their own territory.   Flipping pains in bum - and ankle and knee and hip and back depending.   Make it jolly bouncy going round on the mower too.

Skimmias - chalk soil

Posted: 06/11/2014 at 16:43

 The RHS reckons they can be grown on alkaline soil but when I tried they got sick and chlorotic with yellowing leaves.   They also didn't like my cold winters whether in the ground or in pots.

I suggest you look at variegated forms of eunymous or aucubas, Chinese ligustrum, berberis and escallonia, all of which are evergreen and can be pruned to shape and size.    Some have blossom and berries for added interest.

Plants for Winter interest

Posted: 06/11/2014 at 14:56

Hellebores would be very good but she does have to go out and remove all the old foliage as soon as the new shoots appear in winter/spring depending on variety.  This removes old and possibly infected foliage from the plant but also allows it to show off its new flowers and fresh foliage.

Whatever you plant, do work in as much well rotted manure and/or garden compost as you can before planting as this will improve drainage when wet but also moisture retention when dry.   Once everything is planted and watered mulch with something like chipped bark or cocoa shells in agood, thick layer as this will reduce weeds.

Have you thought about a choisya ternata Sundance?  Golden foliage all year and orange smelling blossom in late spring/early summer once it gets established.   Happy in clay and shade. 

Strictly 2014

Posted: 06/11/2014 at 14:11

There are many forms of Argentine tango from the anglicised, formalised ballroom version to the sultry, flowing Argentine groucho version, the backstreet milonga version, the social version danced at soirées and the spectacular mixes of all the styles you get in touring shows with professional Argentine dancers.

Tango is infinitely variable depending on who's dancing it and where - except there are rules about deportment, posture and movements in the ballroom version, especially applicable in competitions.



squirrels and their cleverness

Posted: 06/11/2014 at 00:28

Runnybreak - there is a gadget which deals with moles but you can't get it in the UK.  I have used it successfully here but not since we got dogs.  However I'm going to set the device again soon but inside a protective cage to keep the doggies safe and stop their curious noses setting it off prematurely.

Watch the wee video - 

I plan to get the one thats' been taking the micky through my veg patch this week and then the one that's having a laugh in the lawn before they get into gear tunnelling every which way to find mates next spring.


Welcome to the potting shed

Posted: 05/11/2014 at 12:30

Welcome.   Sounds like you've got your priorities right - structure first.   Newt is soil preparation which is best done thoroughly so you only have to do it once.

One tip once you have your edges done is to pile on lots of compost and/or well rotted manure and let the worms and weather work it in over wnter.   Easier than digging, especially for your back.   In spring you can then simply fork it over, removing any weeds and stones as you go then rake it over and plant in spring.  This way you have all winter for playing with layouts and plant lists.

Get some bulbs in now if you can though as they need all winter to grow their roots to be ready to put up shoots and flowers next spring.  

New shrubs and roses are best planted in autumn as they then have all winter to grow new roots, especially the feeding roots and shoudn't need extra watering next year.   However, if you haven't yet got the soil ready or haven't yet decided what to grow, you can also plant container grown specimens at any time of year as long as soak the roots before planting and you keep them well watered till the autumn rains come.

Rose Cuttings

Posted: 05/11/2014 at 12:07

I have taken cuttings of my Generous Gradener climber this year but, like Dove, i've done them outside in the gound tho mine are dibbered in to some soil in a spot sheltered form prevailing westerlies.  I'll be leaving them a year before disturbing them.

As yours are in pots, I would keep them sheltered but outside for winter - maybe a cold frame to reduce risk of the entire pot freezing in cold spells.   When you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot you'll know they can be safely potted on to grow big enough to plant out in the borders.

Acer palmatum Sangu Kaku

Posted: 05/11/2014 at 11:42

My soil is mostly alkaline too but is fertile loam and I have other acers grwoing happily in suns and shade in the back garden.

I suggest that, if you can, you plant yours in the garden but prepare a hole 2 or 3 times as wide as the pot it's in and just a little deeper.  Dig it out, clear weeds, work in plenty of well rotted manure and/or garden compost so the roots can spread wide to seek water and nutrients.   Plant it at the same depth as before and water well.   You can underplant with suitable ground cover or mulch with chipped bark or gravel according to taste.

If this is not an option, give it a deeper, wider pot and good quality compost so it can grow its roots.   It's also worth checking for vine weevil grubs.  These are small, white maggotty looking critters that chomp their way through roots and can kill off pot plants if untreated.   Provado will fix this for you and it may be worth watering some of this in anyway as a precaution. 

squirrels and their cleverness

Posted: 05/11/2014 at 11:31

Can't remember what but the greys carry some disease to which they are now immune but which affects red squirrels.  It's a pity it's not a commercial proposition to reverse engineer some bug that will reduce the greys.

Not a problem we have here in Belgium where there are plentiful red quirrels - but not in my garden unfortunately.   I took some scientists on an imemrsion trip to bristol once and they were nechanted by the lack of fear of the greys who posed for photos by Cabot tower.  Couldn't believe they are vermin when in the wrong place.

I don't know where you are Bookertoo but maybe this site and this organisation can help -


Acer palmatum Sangu Kaku

Posted: 05/11/2014 at 11:16

My acer Sangu Kaku is in full sun but protected fromprevailing wetserlies by trellis panels with a climbing rose and a clematis.   It ha sbeen in about 8 years now, has survived some dreadful winters and grown to about 2.5m high.    It does lose some stems in bad winters but is otherwise fine and healthy, planted in neutral, mostly clay soil with loads of manure worked in when I created the bed.

Is yours in a pot or in the ground?   If it's in a pot do you give a dribble every day or a good soaking each week?  Do you feed it?  Th enutrients in potting compost are all used up afet a fex months so if it's in a pot for life it needs regular feeding and a top dressing every spring.

If it's in the ground, what kind of soil is it?  


Discussions started by obelixx


Horticultural Retail Therapy 
Replies: 2    Views: 272
Last Post: 03/10/2015 at 15:29


Horticultural Retail Therapy 
Replies: 0    Views: 278
Last Post: 03/10/2015 at 13:04

Phuopsis stylosa aka Crosswort

Replies: 9    Views: 443
Last Post: 02/10/2015 at 10:01

Lawn care after moles

Replies: 4    Views: 279
Last Post: 05/08/2015 at 23:00

Plant id for Obxx

Who knows what this is please? 
Replies: 8    Views: 585
Last Post: 03/10/2015 at 12:49

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1939
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1931
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 939
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 1351
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1735
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 925
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 4639
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 2144
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1325
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 3181
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12
1 to 15 of 16 threads