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Latest posts by obelixx

Mussel shell uses

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 10:22

Typo - gabions are metal cages which are usually stuffed with stones or pebbles and used to make reinforcing walls.  They've been adopted by garden designers who fill them wit all sorts of materials for different effects and use them as seating, dividing walls, structural support for terracing and so on but I've also seen small ones hung as hanging baskets with aeoniums in pots.   Just have to use your imagination.

Mussel shell uses

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 09:18

Friends of mine have tucked this under a conifer hedge :-

 You can also tuck insect shelters into walls and crevices and I saw a garden at Chelsea where a dividing and seating wall within a garden incorporated blocks for insect homes, a bit like in Edd's photo but more organic in form.   Gabons could also be used if stuffed with appropriate material and they come in all sizes, even ones small enough to hang on a wall.


Combining climbers for year-round foliage - Wisteria and clematis?

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 23:45


I find it quite easy to distinguish between the clematis stems and the wisteria as they are so different but it's also true that my Red Robin doesn't get up as high as most of the wisteria and is a group 1 so only needs pruning when it gets out of bounds.    It flowers after the wisteria and only gets pruned once flowering is over.

Mussel shell uses

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 23:37

Thank you for all the kind comments.  I have a big enough garden with pasture to that side and arable land behind which get a certain amount of chemicals so I garden organically and have been doing what I can to help birds and insects insects, especially bees. 

The birds and probably some rodents have been picking at the pine cones and sticks so it all needs refilling this spring ready for the next lot of résidents.


Mussel shell uses

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:38

I made a  5 storey insect hotel from wooden pallets and then made a roof garden which I planted with sedums so the flowers would attract insects.  I used a gravel mulch to finish it off with assorted seashells, including mussels, upturned so they would catch rain water for the insects.  You could do something similar in a sink garden or some other container.


Combining climbers for year-round foliage - Wisteria and clematis?

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:33

I have a wisteria planted in the same growing space as a clematis Red Robin and they get along fine.  Not evergreen but this clematis, when in leaf, covers the trellis panel and bare legs of the wisteria.

You just need to make sure you prune the wisteria twice a year to encourage flower buds to form - see the RHS website for advice - and plant your clematis de^per than it was in its pot to encourage it to produce more flowering shoots.  Feed it every spring with propietary clematis food.   They may take a year or two settle in and get going but should be fine.

pussy willow cuttings

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 17:29

Don't bother.  They need the bark.  Make fresh cuts straight across the stems and then either stick them in a vase of fresh water till they root - as Nut advised - or else stick them in damp ground.    They will root very quickly as their bark contains a natural rooting hormone.  They are hardy and do not need protection.

As an indication of how vigorous willow is, I had roots  and plants grow from some willow bark chippings!

For those with cat, fox or other animal problems....

Posted: 04/03/2014 at 21:01

For the water scarecrow to work you have to keep moving the sensors regularly so the offending cat/fox/badger doesn't learn to avoid them.

To feed or not?

Posted: 03/03/2014 at 14:11

I have had cats young and old for over 40 years and have always fed the birds.   The trick is to feed them high up with hanging feeders out of reach of cats and then set up a bird table or ground feeding station far away from cover from which cats can pounce.

I've lost none to cats and just a few to sparrowhawks as there are shrubs in which the small birds can hide when they swoop.  Birds of prey have a right to feed too.

Pruning a baby clematis

Posted: 01/03/2014 at 18:11

Have you planted it several inches deeper than it was in its pot?  This helps encourage extra shoots from the roots and makes for a strudier plant. 

Clematis can take a couple of years to settle in before they really get going so, unless it's an early spring flowering variety and group 1 for pruning, I would prune it back to just above those buds and give it a good feed of proprietary clematis food plus a drink of liquid tomato food to help it along.   This will let it put its energy into good root formation which will pay dividends in future years for extra top growth and flowers.





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