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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 29/03/2014 at 13:04

No.  They won't produce new flower buds this year.  However, picking will have the same effect as dead heading by encouraging the bulbs to put all their foliage energy into making a big fat bulb for next year so the display gets better every year.  You can help the process along by feeding with blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.  Leave the foliage for at least 6 weeks or, better still, until it dies down completely. 


Posted: 29/03/2014 at 11:43

Happy Planter - line it with black plastic.  This will stop chemicals leaching and also protect the wood from moisture in the soil so it will last longer.

Square Foot Raised Gardens

Posted: 29/03/2014 at 11:20

My veggie plot is all raised beds filled with garden soil, some of which came from digging out the paths between them.  They get added garden compost as and when available. 

Bernie Bungs BBC Bosses

Posted: 29/03/2014 at 11:18

I have never seen the point of watching people race round a circuit either in a car, on a bike or on foot.  Waste of time.   However, F1 creates a great deal of high end employment and is a source of invention in the UK so I suppose it's fortunate that people are ready to spend hours vegging on the sofa to see it whilst absorbing all that advertising.

I would suggest that the horticulture industry employs even greater numbers from the lowliest unskilled serving staff in the big organised chains of garden centres to the highly skilled nurserymen and women running their own plant sale centres and on to industries making and inventing everything from garden fencing to furniture, tools, fertilisers, composts, pots, seed trays, obelisks, ornaments, paving materials and decking, rocks, gravels and sand and all the other paraphernalia.  Let us not forget either the seed companies who employ more people to plant, nurture, collect, sort and pack what we sow every spring, or the bulb companies.

F1 may be sexier for advertisers and therefore attract more money for TV but I rather think there's more actual gross domestic product and employment tied up in all the many and varied aspects of horticulture.  All that and good for the soul and the environment too.   What's not to like?

During the war there was a Dig For Victory campaign that saw allotment holdings multiply and the nation's health improve as people ate more veggies than ever before as a proportion of the national diet.   Modern health is deteriorating at an alarming rate as people consume excess quantities of sugars, transfats, refined carbs and processed food full of chemicals.  The TV companies would do well to tap into the need to educate people on how to grow and prepare their own healthy food and make more people understand the joys and benefits of growing your own.  Good for the economy too as Britian is once again reliant on far too high a proportion of imports to provide its daily food.

The Great British Bake Off had huge audiences and has brought about a resurgence in home baking.  Gardening for pleasure, health and fresh food and flowers is ripe for just such a resurgence and would get it with a good format and presenters.  The Allotment challenge the Beeb has launched is too restrictiven too demanding and requires people to run an artificial plot away from home.  Never going to work and probably even worse in concept than the Great British Sewing Bee.


Posted: 28/03/2014 at 00:29

Ashleigh - no favourites really.   I love the delicate alpina forms but can't grow them here as they want to perform when my winters are usually still dragging on and they die of cold.   Ditto montanas and armandii.

I stick to a few group 2s such as Nelly Moser which I've paired with Ravarhinne for extra impact on a north facing wall, Red Robin which is a group 1 and all the rest are group 3s hardy down to -25C - Blue Angel, Chrystal Fountain, Arabella, Princess Diana, Silver Moon, Sunset, Hendryetta, Little Nell, Minuet, Alba Luxurians, Betty Corning (scented), Huldene, Dr Ruppel and many more.


Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:57

Training clematis to spread horizontally will naturally encourage them to make more shoots and more flowers but the two key things are to get the pruning regime right for each plant and also to make sure they get generous feeding from very early spring up until the end of June or when flowering starts, whichever is later.

New clematis can take a year or two to settle in and get their roots happily established  and producing new shoots and flowers.     As Bob says, planting deep is key to clematis success.

I have about 40 clematis after having lost some to severe winters but this spring, one of last year's no shows is pushing up new shoots and looking good, a benefit of deep planting.    I shall be training it as horizontally as possible and feeding it well..


Add Ash to Soil ??

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 14:33

Like many things, they are fine when used properly for their intended purpose.  Disposal is another matter it seems.

Need advice on very small, boring garden!

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 13:48

You need to move some of the gravel to see what lies below.  If it's concrete or builders' rubble that yu can't dig out you could make some raised beds or large planters from timber lined with black plastic and plant them up with all sorts of plants depending on what colours you like and which way your garden faces. 

If there is soil beneath the gravel then you can scrape away the gravel and plant shrubs, roses, clematis and so on with soil improving material (garden centres) and then spread the gravel back to keep down weeds and retain moisture.   Climbers can be trained along wires attached to vine eye screws at regular intervals up the fence.  If the brick walls are too fragile to drill, see if you can erect some posts and attach wires to those.

Add Ash to Soil ??

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 13:42

I've had a look and the panels will most likely have been made from tanalised wood which contains arsenic so be very careful of the dust and ashes.  Wear a mask to be safe.

Add Ash to Soil ??

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 13:16

Wood ash contains potash which is an essential ingredient in fertilisers for plants.  however, yours may now be contaminated by whatever chemical was used to preserve your fence panels so I would not use it on any vegetables or fruits and I would check for info on teh vital component before putting it on flower beds.

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