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Latest posts by obelixx

French tarragon - getting it though the winter

Posted: 31/08/2012 at 08:49

I had French tarragon growing for years in a thick ceramic pot outside in a sheltered south facing spot.   It survived severe winters with and without snow blankets but did not survive the nasty frost last spring when everything was pumping sap and in the mood to grow.  Lost loads of stuff to that.

Your tarragon should be fine outside as long as it's in a well drained and sheltered spot.  I have now bought a new one from the herb section in the local supermarket but will be keeping it on my kitchen window sill for the winter and then trying it outside next spring after the worst of teh cold is over.

topiary box plants

Posted: 30/08/2012 at 15:53

It depends on how big you want the finished topiary to be but if they've been in those pots 4 years already I'd recommend potting them up a size or two so their roots can expand to carry more growth up top.  Do this every two years till they get to the size you need and feed them in between times.  You'll need patience.  I started some plants off as cuttings 2 summers ago and they're still tiny and have done hardly anything this year in the cold and wet although the ones that went to fill gaps in my box hedge have grown much better.

A decent sized box ball or column or pyramid needs a decent sized base to grow from but you can start clipping to shape quite early on to thicken it but always leave at least 2" of the new growth so it gets bigger each year.  Mid summer is the best time as box does most of its growing between spring and mid summer.

If you want to grow fancy forms you'll need to let the plants get much bigger before you start to shape them.   There's some useful info here - 


which veg garden planning methods do you use?

Posted: 30/08/2012 at 10:37

Jean - Not so much a rat as a smelly sock (puppet).

Clematis going yellow

Posted: 29/08/2012 at 16:23

We've had such a lot of rain this year that maybe nutrients have been leached from the soil and it is suffering mineral deficiencies.  Clematis like alkaline soils but still need iron and magnesium to function well so try giving it a liquid feed of iron rich food for ericaceous plants as an instant tonic.

You could also give it some calcified seaweed as a general tonic and a foliar spray of Epsom Salts - 2 tablespoons per gallon of water - which will give it magnesium.


Cornus Kousa

Posted: 29/08/2012 at 16:12

I think this year has been very bad for pollinating insects.  I have many friends whose apple and pear crops are nil because the blossom was frosted and we've all noticed fewer insects about, probably from lack of food earlier in the season and then too much cold and wet in spring and early summer.

There's always next year.  Gardeners have to be optimists.


Cornus Kousa

Posted: 29/08/2012 at 15:51

I seem to remember reading somewher that cornus kousa is not self fertile so you may get better fruit production of you can grow another one nearby.   If you haven't the space, then settle for what you get as the fruits are not edible and the foliage and flowering bracts are the main attraction of these plants. 

They are also insect pollinated so try growing other plants with nectar rich flowers to attract them.

Robinia Frisia - brown spotted leaves - treatment?

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 17:35

I don't think healthy plants need extra help aprt from maybe some Rootgrow at planting time.  This is a newish product which supposedly helps roots form sybiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil and this leads to improved root function and thus a healthier plant.

Look here for all you need to know about Gleditsia.  Sunburst seems to be the one for your requirements - 

The last two weeks here have been quite dry and my robinia is looking much better with fuller leaves so I will give it one more year and see how it goes but it's for the chop if we get another bad winter and another bad summer and it carries on looking tatty and sick.

Talkback: Beekeeping

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 16:16

I thought about beekeeping but was put off by the investment needed just for protective gear and a decent hive.  We don't eat much honey either so I'd have the bother of selling it.   I do, however, have  several species of wild bee in the garden and that'll do for me.

I do like to have honey for cooking and occasional crumpets though.   Chestnut honey bought on hols a couple of years ago was really tasty.   This year I bought a pot of local Charente spring honey - really pale and delicate from all the wild flowers - and a pot of sunflower honey which is so yellow I thought it was lemon curd.  Haven't tried it yet.


veg garden planning software

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 14:30

I rest my case.  Plainleaf is Grid the Gardener amongst many other ids.


Posted: 27/08/2012 at 14:09

Roses deplete all the goodness out of the soil so just planting new ones can lead to rose sickness.  If you want to replant in the same place you need to remove all the old soil and replace it with new.

Dig a hole at least 60cm/2' deep and wide and fill with new soil then plant your new roses with the graft join one to two inches below soil level.  

Discussions started by obelixx

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9 threads returned