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Latest posts by obelixx

Talkback: Gardening by the moon

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 17:58

We have tides because of the gravitational pull of the moon.  It is also known to affect human behaviour - hence the term lunatics - so why would it not also have an effect on water tables in the earth?

Whether it does affect gardening activities will never be resolved scientifically as there is no commercial interest in any of the big agri firms in doing so.  We thus have to rely on anecdotal evidence form those who practise it over long periods and there is a wealth of old and new literature on the subject dating back to ancient Egyptian texts.

I suspect it's of importance to farmers and peasants with limted resources of machinery, fertiliser, weed killer, water for irrigation and so on who need to maximise their crop fertility but of far less import to those of us who garden in the developed world with plenty of resources.    I would remind you though that our climate is changing, that population pressures, particularly in the south east, make water an increasingly precious and expensive resource.  Unusual floods and droughts around the world mean this year's harvests are poor so fruit, corn and veg will be more expensive to buy and I suspect that one day rather more of us will be embracing old and new methods of making the most of our crops whilst limiting our impact on the planet's resources and ecology.

After all, it's not so many years ago that everyone thought going organic was bonkers and just look at how many of us avoid chemicals on our food crops and flowers for our own sake and for wildlife. 


RHS Wisley - Organised Trips?

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 12:16

If you can't find an organised trip there's always bus and train and then a local service to the gardens:-

By bus

515 Kingston to Guildford via Surbiton and Wisley. There is no service on Sundays or Bank Holidays. For details call National Traveline on 0871 200 22 33. Visitors who produce their train or bus ticket on the day of their visit will gain entry for £8.69.

By rail

Closest stations are West Byfleet (3 miles) or Woking (4 miles) There are no taxis on standby at West Byfleet. Visitors who produce their train or bus ticket on the day of their visit will gain entry for £8.69.

climbing rose question

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 12:08

Both roses and clematis are hungry plants so feed generously next spring with a balanced fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure and top up with a special rose or clematis fertiliser which will encourage blooms.  If you do decide on a clematis, have a look at this site first - - to check on colour, flowering time and ultimate growth as there are some which will only grow as tall as your supports and others which will want to takeover the whole structure.

roses and climbing roses

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 12:03

Climbing roses need to have their stems tied in to a framework or support before the autumn gales so that their branches do not get damaged.  Any surplus or unwanted branches can be cut off then.

The main pruning is done in spring to remove older stems and damaged stems as they flower on new wood.  The trick is to tie the stems as horizontally as possible a sthis helps the sap flow more easily and promotes the growth of flowering stems.  There's some advice here -

Varieties for shade include Albéric Barbier, Golden Showers, Souvenir du Dr Jamain, Guinée.  Try websites from ros egrowers such as David Austin, Peter Beale and Harkness for info on colour, perfume, disease resistance, repeat flowering and more varieties.

Orange flowers

Posted: 09/09/2012 at 11:53

Geums, varieties of heleniums, roses, wallflowers, some forms of achillea,  alstroemaria, hemerocallis, kniphofia, euphorbia................

Spring Bulbs

Posted: 08/09/2012 at 15:16

But don't you want to build up a decent flower bud too?

I fed my bulbs in containers thus this spring, plus pelleted chicken manure for all round goodies, and they're now in the ground for a permanent display - the ones, that is, that didn't freeze to a mush spending winter in pots.

Spring Bulbs

Posted: 08/09/2012 at 13:49

Yes it will and you can feed them once they start flowering and until the foliage starts to turn brown.

can anyone name this plant?

Posted: 08/09/2012 at 08:51

It's a good border shrub that responds well to pruning so can be kept in bounds.  I know how easy it is to be tempted in sweetie shops like Tatton Flower Show but maybe next time you should chat with the grower about eventual size and cultivation needs before succumbing to temptation.

Blueberry bushes

Posted: 08/09/2012 at 08:48

U usually have good crops from my two shrubs but this year theer was a heavy frost at blossom time and that killed off the flowers so very few berries this year.  I also lost a good part of my shrubs to frosts over winter.

To remedy this, I cut back all the dead growth once leaf burst was over, fed them both with a good feed for ericaceous plants and mulched them with chipped bark once they'd had a good wetting following the drought we experienced from April '11 to April '12 but especially over last summer.

Both shrubs have now put on lots of healthy new growth and will get a cage of fleece to protect them from the heaviest frosts and strongest winds this coming winter.  It'll stay on until blossom time next spring when I'll open it to allow in the pollinators.

Hosta splitting

Posted: 07/09/2012 at 10:52

In my experince, hostas split in autumn can often sulk or even die so I would wait till spring.  Turf it out of the pot in late Feb or early March, cut into 2, 3 or 4 sections - an old bread knife is very good for this - and repot at the same depth with good quality compost such as John Innes no 3.  Give each plant a good drink to get it going and maybe some liquid rose or tomato food to give it an extra boost.

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9 threads returned