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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:10

I think it's been a funny year for clems.  Some of mine are romping away and I have three "Lazarus" clems that have just started to grow after playing dead all year but others are struggling to grow to their usual size and have feeble flowers.

I had surgery to fix both feet earlier in teh year so wasn't able to get out and train the new growth when it started in earnest but I did manage to feed them all and do slug and snail treatments at Easter.

I don't think a long, cold, wet spring did them any favours and then going to heatwave conditiuons and being baked for so long in July may have shocked them a bit.    i suggest trimming out any dead stems, dead heading as much as possible and then hoping for better things next year - along with lashings of proper clematis food in spring. 


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:04

I love these brocante markets - also called vide greniers or attic emptying which is nearer to the car boot ethic and doesn't include professionals - and have had some real bargains from bits of oak furniture to clean and oil and make smart again to kitchen items, jugs and old galvanised laundry buckets I've painted and use for planters.

The trick is to see past the grime and imagine it cleaned up.  A friend spotted a filthy lantern in one in Brussels and it now has pride of place as her central light fixture in the living room.  Once cleaned, it proved to have art deco metal lines and small coloured glass panes which were a perfect fit for her home.



Posted: 25/08/2013 at 13:59

Yes.  the conifers will have removed all goodness from the soil so working in organic matter  from compost or well rotted manure will help revitalise it.   Mycrorhizal granules work when in contact with the roots of the new plants so scatter them on the roots of the red robin as you plant them.   Make sure they're watered well before planting if in pots or, if bare rooted, soak them in a bucket of tepid water for at least an hour before planting.  Bare root tends to be chepaer than potted plants.

October is an excellent time to plant as the soil is warm enough to encoruage root growth and there's enough rain around usually fo rit only to need watering at the time of planting.   Once planted and watered give them a good mulch of compost, well rotted manure to retain moisture.  The worms will work it iin for you over the winter.

Next spring, give them a good general feed of either pelelted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone and mulch again if you can.  They should then get away well and provide a lovely hedge for years and years to come.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:07

I agree.  Just remove, or tie in stems that are in the way of the gate and train all others away from it.   Newt spring when new growth starts, train it in the direction you want it to go, away from the gate.  You have time bteween now and then to provide it with extra framework to support it if needed.

Moving a clematis 3' is pointless and success cannot be guaranteed as they have such deep, fleshy roots and are hard to dig out without doing serious damage.


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 15:49

I don't know as Ii've never used it but it's worth a try. Just make sure the pots are good and damp first as putiing food enriched water in dry pots can burn the roots and inflict further damage.


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 15:47

It depends on your hydrangea.  The mopheads and lace caps flower on last year's new  wood so mine never flowered as they were always frozen solid and just produced new stems and foliage each year.

Now I grow the paniculata types which flower later on new season's wood and I get a great display.

Remember also that hydrangeas like a lot of water and don't perform well if kept dry..


Posted: 24/08/2013 at 15:07

It has been very hot this summer and clematis like their thick, fleshy roots deep and cool so maybe they've just been too baked and too thirsty.

Try giving them a really good soak until you're sure the compost is damp all the way through and then give them a feed of liquid tomato food to try and perk them up.  Next spring, feed them with specialist clematis food and make sure they have enough to drink all through the growing season.

Large-scale weed clearing!

Posted: 24/08/2013 at 10:26

Totavating live weeds just makes so many more root cuttings that proliferate the problem.  You really need to apply a systemic weedkiller that kills them down to their roots before doing any digging or rotavating.

To make it easier, you can strim off the main plant growth then wait a week or so for new foliage to appear and spray that with a glyphosate based weedkiller.  It will work very well on healthy new growth but you may need two or three applications for persistent weeds.  It takes 2 weeks to work and you need 6 hours of dry weather after application for it to be absorbed and have a chance to be effective.


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 15:09

Hi Spurbear.  It shoud be fine with the seasonal pruning following the two RHS guides.  If that doesn't work, the root pruning suggested by Waterbutts is easy enough but may be hard work. 

Another tip is to clear any vegetation from the base of the trunk in a circle about a metre wide as grass and other plants compete for water and nutrients.    Once clear, you can mulch it with gravel or compost or chipped bark to keep it clear and looking good.


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 15:33

Personally, I think bark ringing is for someone with a decent level of expertise and understanding about trees and their growth and is for extreme circumstances too when all else has failed.  This is most likely just a case of a tree which will probably respond very well to the appropriate, and much simpler, pruning regime to psur it into production again.

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