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Latest posts by obelixx

last night's Gardeners' World

Posted: 02/09/2012 at 13:00

Unfortunately Beechgrov starts later and ends sooner than GW.  Someone at Beeb Scotland obvioulsy thinks gardens have a shorter season.

I didn't like dahlia chappy's garden.  I find any monoculture is boring even with all that colour variation.  Couldn't be doing with all that staking and dead heading and the autumn lifting and especially couldn't be doing with having nothing to look at the rest of the year.  I like a bit of winter structure and interest and something different to see all through the changing seasons.

Get Rid of your Lawns

Posted: 01/09/2012 at 11:30

Wind farms are unsightly, inefficient, expensive (and subsidised by tax payers who hae no say) and also cause environmental harm if they're on migratory flight paths.  In addition the WHO recommends a minimum distance fom habitation because the whirling and whirring can have detrimental effects on eyesight and cause tinnitus, loss of balance and nausea in some people.

Far more effective to have well insulated homes and water heaters to reduce energy consumption.   Better also to extract heat from the ground (geo-thermic exchangers) or harness solar energy but the jury's out on the life span and recyclabilty of the solar cells.  The scientists to whom I teach english are all being sent on courses to learn fuel efficient driving techniques and encouraged to take the train, car share or cycle where possible.   They get bonuses for doing so.  

Turning out lights, turning down the thermostat and wearing an extra jumper would also go a long way to reducing energy consumption.   I know a couple who like to sit outside with a glass of wine of an evening and would rather light the patio heater than put on a pair of socks and a jumper.  Madness.

Get Rid of your Lawns

Posted: 01/09/2012 at 08:12

There is in fact a new requirement that paved front gardens be done with materials that allow rain to soak in so impermeable tarmac and concrete are no longer legal.  If parking off street is the safest thing for one's own car and also for passing traffic I see no problem with making aparking space but, with imagination, it can also be a garden with floral or foliar or achitectural interest on either side of the car parking space and even plants such as thymes or small sedums or other alpines growing under the car and enjoying the sunshne by day when the car isn't there.

evergreen perenial border

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 18:37

Russian sage which looks similar but has the white stems in winter - see post above.

patio with circular bed

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 15:21

If it's a sunny site and well drained, think about lavenders such as Hidcote or Munstead Dwarf - grey foliage, blue flowers, perfume and magnets for bees.   They can be kept compact by pruning back once flowering finishes cutting about an inch into the new foliage growth.

For more colour, look at lonicera nitida which has a golden form or euonymus Emerald and Gold which has green and gold variegated foliage.  There's a cream and green version too.  Consider also dwarf conifers which can come in a range of colours including glaucous blue, bronze and gold.   They respond well to regular trimming for a low hedge.  I have one with blueish foliage with a fine white bar in the needle.  Don't know the variety though.

Pruning Buxus

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 15:10

I have done them as late as the last week of July but wouldn't leave it later than that as any new growth hasn't time to ripen and harden before the winter frosts and the plants can get badly damaged.


Posted: 31/08/2012 at 15:07

I have a second hand greenhouse, also 8'x6', which we first built against the back wall of the house where I have water and electricity plumbed in for outside use.  Unfortunately, as it is north facing, the sun didn'tget there till 3pm and light levels were very poor so whilst it was good for storing dormant pots over winter it never produced decent tomatoes and I ended up having to move chillies into the kitchen to get them to ripen.

We have now rebuilt it in an area where it is in full sun most of the day but sheltered from prevailing winds on its west side by a 6' hedge and, in summer, by tall miscanthus and helenium lemon Queen to the south which mean I haven't had to do shade painting.  Despite cool temps and low light levels this summer we've managed some decent cucumbers and tomatoes and the chillies are looking good. 

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 10:32

It is cold, dark, wet and windy here so no gardening today.   However, set to be warmer and sunnier and dry tomorrow so that's OK.

Gave up trying to grow sunflowers so, of course, I have a crop of them from the garden compost I spread on a newly cleared bed and also from the bird food.  Typical.

evergreen perenial border

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 09:09

Hardy geranium macrorhizum is evergreen except in very harsh winters and the scented foliage turns red in the cold.  Pale pink or white flowers in late spring are an added bonus.   I find that phlomis russelliana are evergreen thought they can look tatty in a very bad winter (but mine are worse than UK).  Thge leaves are a soft sage green and there are tall spikes of soft yellow flowers in early summer followed by interesting seed heads for birds and frosted winter interest.  It will spread if happy and will need controlling.

Hellebores are evergreen and have flowers in late winter/early spring which is when old foliage should be cut off to show the flowers and allow the new foliage through.  carex buchannaii is a bronze evergreen grass that will sway beautifully in teh wind and not spread madly.  It just needs combing through with gloved hands in spring. 

Don't just think of foliage either.  Russian sage will give aromatic blue/green foliage throughout the spring and summer plus blue flowers which insects love and then striking bare white stems in winter.   Cut these back every spring to promote new growth and maintain the colour and vigour.

As for giving you a plan, the best thing is to buy the plants you like and which will suit the soil and aspect and then place them in the border in their pots then move them around till you have pleasing combiations of toning or contrasting colour shape and form.  Definitely a good idea to match the planting in the pots for your bench as long as they will have equal sun and shade.   If not, plant to suit available light.

What to do with soil that's got coal in it

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 08:57

I recently visited a garden in Charleroi which has a lot of coal slack in its soil and the bottom end is almost completely coal slack and yet, with added compost, the owner has made a beautiful garden open under the Belgian Open Gardens scheme and has a prodcutive fruit and veg plot.

I suggest you prepare the soil in the usual way for new or revamped beds - dig it over well to open it up and than add plenty of garden compost and well rotted manure to improve it before planting.   Mulch with compost in subsequent years and Bob's your uncle.

Discussions started by obelixx

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
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Mare's tail

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Encouraging bats in our gardens

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Beechgrove this weekend

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Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

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

Good Morning - 21 March

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Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

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Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

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Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 18    Views: 3591
Last Post: 12/01/2013 at 08:55
9 threads returned