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Latest posts by obelixx

Painting a trellis...

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 14:47

I suspect this one has even more -

Need Bees This Year!

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 08:45

I have seen 4 species of bee on one head of sedum spectabile.  They also like achilleas, echinops, aconitum, foxgloves and early flowers are needed too so snowdrops, crocuses and so on.

Is this spring worse than last year's?

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 08:42

This time last year I came out of hospital after back surgery to a mini heatwave and a few blissful days in the garden and great success with seed sowing which was later than usual.    Then we had a frost so deep it wiped out lots of plants, both perennials and roses, and killed others back to their crowns for a long slow recovery over what passed for summer.

This year it's foor surgery that has kept me housebound and a warm start to March saw me sowing seeds indoors rather than in the greenhouse.  They're doing very well but the summer savoury is now very leggy and the PSB is heading that way.   I shall have to pot on my Christmas basil this afternoon and then play hunt the window sill as they need more space.  The toms have already been potted on and the chillies will be next, followed by lupins.  It'll be OK if the greenhouse warms up by the weekend, honest. 

And then I can sow more seeds.


Posted: 24/03/2013 at 22:23

Simples here.  10 or more years ago the local council announced that they woul dbe giving out transparent blue bags into which we should put PMC - plastic bottles, tetra pak cartons and tins - and they would be collected for free.  At the same time, each household would be issued with a bar coded wheelie bin and every time we put it out to be emptied it would be weighed and scanned and we would be charged accordingly.  It really worked and recycling is now an automatic habit for the vast majority.  Now we just pay a flat rate for rubbish removal but it hasn't gone up in years.

Papers and cardboard are collected once a month, the blue bags every 2 weeks and wheelie bins as often as we put them out as there's a weekly collection.   Our council encourages people with gardens to make compost bins and offers classes in compost making but also allows garden waste to be taken to the container park for composting.  They will collect from any home with no transport.   They also come round every 3 months for large objects that don't fit in cars such as old furniture and mattresses.

There are bottle banks next to every cemetery - on the grounds that you can't wake the dead with late night bottle smashing - and the container park has sections for electrical goods, batteries, chemicals, plastics, packaging, plant pots, car oils, kitchen oils, medicines and so on.   All part of teh service for residents but a scale of fees for commercial users and people who live elsewhere.  We have to produce our ID card when we go.

Old household appliances have to be taken away by the people supplying the new one and we pay a €20 fee with every purchase of a new fridge or washing machine to cover the cost of safe dumping and recycling.

Painting a trellis...

Posted: 24/03/2013 at 22:07

The summer flowering clematis can be cut down as low as you like right now but do give it a good feed afterwards so that it is encouraged to prodcue new shoots from below ground.  If that makes you feel nervous, cut each stem back to the lowest pair of buds and feed it anyway.

I'm not familiar wit Jingle Bells but freckles is a group 1 which means you only prune it to keep it in bounds or renew vigour and then directly after flowering.   I suggest you cut off the more tangled top growth and then try and unwind lower stems and then re-attach them to the trellis once it's been painted.

If you can give your trellis 2 or even 3 coats, it won't need doing again for years.

Weekend 22 March

Posted: 24/03/2013 at 18:00

Good boy Geoff.  We are now safely back from Antwerp where the teenager and firend had a great time at the Hip Hop competitions.  OH and I had a decnet Italian lunch then visited the cathedral - Ruebens art and some guest stuff on display - and then Ruebens house.  First time it's been open when we've been in Antwerp!

Bit of a grotty drive as the windscreen washers were frozen all teh way and it was -3.5C when we got there with what I shall euphemistically call a bracing wind comng off the river.   Brrrr!

I've checked my seedlings and they're still doing OK.  Been worrying about them damping off with their being so little light on days like today.   Onwards and upwards tomorrow then.

I laways take clematis cuttings and have had several plants to give away to good homes.  This year I've sown seeds from my princess Diana, some viticellas and some integrifolias I bought.  It'll be interesting to see what, if any, comes of those.

The first Gardeners' World

Posted: 24/03/2013 at 17:52

Monty gets a fee for presenting GW.  I suspect that, plus spin off earnings for articles written for GW magazine, other magazines and newspapers and books related to his series on French, Italian and Round the World gardens are sufficient to pay for such a greenhouse without the Beeb having to pay a separate sum.

Either way, it's immaterial.  AT made a fortune from his books on How To Be A Gardener which allowed him to buy a new house and garden which he'd always promised his wife would not be invaded by cameras.

GH took a punt and bought the land which allowed him to develop many gardens for GW and other series such as Paradise Gardens and The Ornamental Kitchen Gardens.   Luckliy for him it worked and his fees from GW, articles and books helped pay for it.  The difference was that GW was then produced by an independent company and sold to the Beeb.

With Monty's versions of GW, and the subsequent Greenacres fiasco with Toby, it's been a BBC team that produces and I still don't think they do it as well as the GH lot did nor as well as the outside company that produces Beechgrove.  

I wish the Beeb would have the foresight and conviction to set up a national garden like Beechgrove which has the scope for various styles and sizes of garden within it plus trials beds and greenhouses and polytunnels and an acknowledged team of permanent gardeners who keep things going when the presenters are elsewhere doing their day job.  I'm still waiting for Monty to introduce us to his team and give them credit.


Weekend 22 March

Posted: 24/03/2013 at 08:58

I have just put mytrya of nemesia seeds out for a frosting to see if that gets them going.  the packet said 10 to 21 days to germinate and now we're at 4 weeks and nothing.

Have just cleared 3" of snow off the car and turned on teh engine to thaw the windows.  Roads OK apparently once we get out of the village..

have fun everyone;


Weekend 22 March

Posted: 24/03/2013 at 07:56

Belgium has no Gulf Stream so is colder in winter and a bit warmer in summer.  We are in the middle on the crest between the Meuse and Scheldt basins so, whilst not very high, there is no shelter from draughts.  Not so bad when it's westerlies coming from the Atlantic via France but perishing when it's from Siberia.

It's still snowing a bit but the main roads are clear so we should be OK once we get to them.   Just a bit slippery on the way but the winter tyres can cope.

Meanwhile, another chilli has popped over night.  Excellent.

Hops it's not too bad your way everyone.

Weekend 22 March

Posted: 23/03/2013 at 22:26

It has turned white outside!  And we have to take Possum and a friend to Antwerp to support their teacher in a Hip Hop competition.   We'll be rugging up warms and taking blankets and chocolate just in case.

Maybe while we're out the rest of the chillies will pop while I'm not watching.

Geoff - get that ceiling painted so you're free to garden when it's better weather.

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