Latest posts by Obelixx

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 16/02/2017 at 09:27

9.8C already and sunny now the mist has cleared.   Just waiting for the dew to burn off and then I'm out with my trusty sprayer to kill the donkey field.    Don't like using chemicals but digging and removing all roots by hand is nit an option here.  Should be a one-off if all goes to plan.

I need to know what brand of nail varnish they used on Rasta as it's still there despite long walks and lots of play.   Mine never lasts thru that sort of trial.

I think our bedroom is on the wrong side of the house for a dawn chorus but we also have roll down shutters which may be blocking it.  Plenty of birds come to the feeders now but only sparrows, assorted tits, chaffinches and robins.  We get blackbirds, buzzards and magpies elsewhere but not up close on the feeders.  I hope we'll get woodpeckers again and then swifts and swallows and house-martins later on.  

I have now tried 5 garden centres for fat blocks with insects and none in stock.  I sthere a shortage of insects?  On the other hand I have found "clean" sunflower seed which they love.

Mimosas coming into full flower now. I shall cut some for the house.

Well done for Waitrose Hosta - our favourite when we're in the UK.

Dove - I find knitting complicated enough but last night I had a dog on my lap and two kittens hovering.  Impossible.

Pat - I hope you and yours are all safe from fires.  Such devastation is dreadful for those affected and all the wildlife.

Courage to all the lurgy sufferers.

Something to cover side of neighbours house

Posted: 15/02/2017 at 16:19

We have some very tall clumps of bamboo in this garden which we moved into in October.  It is desperately dull except when a gale is blowing it over horizontally and whipping it about.

I think that if you put a line of 3m high posts and wires or post and trellis in a continuation from the curved olive coloured boundary you show on your diagram then plant it up, your sight line/perspective form house to seating height and even standing height in the garden will mean that much of the wall is masked and you will be looking, in any case at your plants.   

You could also ask maybe about painting the wall and then you could go for a simple colour, bands of colour, trompe l'oeuil and all sorts with your designery bits. 

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 15/02/2017 at 16:11

Lovely and sunny here too after a little hiccup with some gery bits after the sun came up full of promise.   We've been to Les Sables d'Olonne - my cunning plant to calm OH down after I bought an impromptu cupboard yesterday and we had to put the roof rack on to fetch it.   We did the market in the Halles for veggies and fish - spring onions and pointy cabbage no less - plus the usual suspects and then fish.  Whole hake for 4.90€.  I've cut it into 4 steaks and a tail.  No fish pie.

Thence to a portside restaurat for a fishy dinner.  No moules frites but the 22€ menu had crab mayo in the starters.  Delicious but very simply served as half a crab complete with claws plus a set of pincers, a wedge of lemon and a pot of mayonnaise.  Half a crab is a lot!  Then more fish for mains and he, typical man, had tarte tatin while I had poached pear wrapped in puff pastry and filled with caramel.  Yum!

Then we got to the Troc and 3 chaps lifted the cupboard into the roof rack and one mentioned that there was a matching chest of drawers for 39€ if I was interested.  I expected a wee thingy but it's huge and has 3 big drawers and is also very solid and has fancy carvings so that came home too.  A good wash and a little woodwash to lighten the pine and they'll be perfect.

OH has donned his shorts to walk the dogs and I am going to put my feet up and rest before dance class this pm.

Sorry you're crook too now GWRS.  Rest and lots of fluids.  Hope all the other lurgy people are getting better.

I put all sorts in our dishwasher - when OH isn't looking.   If you wrap it well in a couple of layers of foil and don't use detergent it's supposed to be an easy way to poach a large salmon for a party......

pet companions

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 19:52

I bet he loves being clean and shorn instead of matted.  Rasta does.    

I expect Dudley is going to be a digging sort of helper and will get filthy paws and moustache, like Rasta.     Her version of helping in the garden is digging holes and looking for rodents and moles.   Bonzo, a nervous Labrador rescue, likes to stay close by which often means lying all over what I've just cleared for planting or else on the plants I've just planted.


Posted: 14/02/2017 at 19:43

The RHS says they like sun .  Their info includes advice on care, sowing seed and taking cuttings - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=728 

Suitable rose / clematis combination for trellis arch

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 18:12

I that case you need to know they are hungry, thirsty pants and one or two group 2s suffer from a problem called clematis wilt which they usually grow out of after a few years.

The best way to deal with clematis - and any new plant -  is to make sure you soak their pot in a bucket until no more air bubbles appear.   Meanwhile, for clematis, prepare a planting hole twice as deep and wide as their pot and mix in plenty of well rotted garden compost or bought planting compost or soil conditioner and add a bit of blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure to the soil.

Remove your clematis from its pot and gently tease out the fleshy, yellow roots so they don't wind round themselves and then plant it about 4" deeper than it was.  Back fill and water generously then give it a mulch of more soil conditioner.   This will encourage new shoots to come from below the ground and make your clematis stronger and more floriferous.    Keep it watered in dry spells and feed generously every spring.  Occasional liquid tonics of tomato food will help too.

Tie it in as it grows so it doesn't get blown about in the wind.  Same goes for your rambler.  It will appreciate being tied in as horizontally or diagonally as possible and also a spring feed with occasional tonics up to but not after mid July so any new wood has time to harden off before the frosts come in autumn..

Last edited: 14 February 2017 18:14:10

Something to cover side of neighbours house

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 17:42

It's not safe to plant trees too close to a wall.   Most shrubs and climbers will need to be planted away from teh wall base as it will have a drying effect and stress them for moisture.    Nor do you want self clinging plants like ivy and hydrangea as they may lead to dispurtes with your neighbours and will leave unsightly root marks if pulled down.

Better perhaps to erect tall posts at 6'/2m-ish intervals along the wall and stretch galvanised or green wire across according to preference.   You need to buy tensioners to make it very taut.    Do this by drilling holes through at 12"/30cm intervals to make a horizontal framework to support a couple of repeat flowering rambling roses - David Austin offer a few now - and a clematis or two.  Other climbers to consider are honeysuckle and winter flowering jasmine.  Summer flowering jasmine and campsis if you are in a mild area.    If the aspect is right you could try grape and/or kiwi vines.

With a judicious mix, you should cover the wall for most of the year and get some colour and perfume for you plus food and shelter for birds and insects.

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 17:34

Knowing Rasta I'm assuming one held and t'other painted.  It won't last.  When she's feeling better she'll be scamping round the garden digging for rats, voles, moles and just the fun of it and OH has just done their usual 70 minute circuit, mostly unmade gravelled, stony or cobbly lanes with ruts and some grassy bits and about 25 mins of tarmac.   Bonzo does so much to-ing and fro-ing he only ever needs his dew claws cut.

Great card Clari.

Suitable rose / clematis combination for trellis arch

Posted: 14/02/2017 at 16:14

It depends on which way your arch faces and how much sun it will get.   Some clematis like more sun than others which prefer dappled shade or else fade if in too bright sunlight at the height of summer.

A climber is usually stiffer and less biddable than a rambler when it comes to winding up and over an arch and most ramblers are once flowering but some aren't.   The one you have chosen is a repeat flowerer and should be lovely.

The only thing word of warning I would say about Etoile Violette is that the one I had, and the one I knew in a friend's garden, became more and more vigorous with each successive year.   Mine had a 100cm deep arch and 2.5m high arch to scramble up and covered it completely then headed down the other side to meet Little Nell who was much more restrained.   The first year I had about 5 stems appear form the roots.  Last spring there must have been 50 new stems.............  I expect t plant another here in this garden as it is a very good doer but I shall give it trellis fence and room to spread.

You might want to consider Rahvarinne or Star of India or Jackmanii or Gipsy Queen to get a similar deep purple without the swamping effect.

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