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Latest posts by obelixx

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 11:57

I am hoping phlomis bracteosa will prove as sturdy, but not as invasive, as the russelliana.   Aquilegas are lovely and I let them self seed more or less where they like.

To deck or not to deck.....!

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 11:48

Unless there were some horrible chemicals in your shed one fire won't produce enough contaminants to spoil the soil and you could improve both the soil fertility and structure by forking in lots and lots of well rotted manure and garden compost.    However, if you don't want ornamenta beds or lanw there's no point.

Decking can be expensive to install correctly and requires constant maintenance to keep the wood in good nick.  It gets slippery when wet and also is an open invitation to rodents who nest under it.   Pesonally, I think it's a bad idea in damp climates.

Large expanses of hard landscaping are also expensive to get right and, unless you use a porous material, can lead to drainage problems for the rest of the garden.

I think your best option would be gravel laid over a weed suppressant fabric.   This would give you a clean area with good drainage and you can vary the texture with some paving slabs to support a table and some stepping stones and/or shapely larger rocks and stones laid through it.  You can cut planting slits for specimen plants and use standing pots and troughs to vary seasonal interest and forms.

Select the gravel colour to tone with your hosue walls or provide a good contrast.  Don't use too fine a gravel as this will just tread into the house.   Slate chippings can look good, especially when wet.   You'll need a border to hold the gravel in place at the edges and shoud aim for it to be an inch or two deep.    .

Plant support

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 13:00

Krissy - you'll do better at abuilders' merchants than a DIY store.  You need th emetal wires they use for reinforcing concrete.  It comes in several thicknesses.  I find 5mm works well as it's flexible enough for me to bend round an old railway sleeper.

You'll also need some wire cutters to get the lengths you need.  Here it's sold in 5 metre lengths which give me two plant supports each by the time I've bent them to a shape and height which supports big plants like echinops and giant scabious and the taller heleniums.

Which Witch Hazel!

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 12:22

Hi Edd.  Yes, it was shsattering but we did have a -32C that January.  Lost some roses and clematis too and nearly every stem of a huge Kiftsgate but it has now recovered and regrown.    I haven't planted new large trees as, somehow, a self sown oak has arrived where the nothofagus was and I'm letting that be for now.  

Deciduous forms of viburnum are just about OK but I've mostly been planting colourful stemmed cornus and hydrangea paniculata forms which stand up - so far - to anything we get here although even those were clobbered and defoliated by a freak hailstone tornado last May. 

I think maybe when OH retires at the end of next year we'll be looking for a more sheltered garden to nurture.

Which tree for my garden?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:55

Eucalyptus gets huge very quickly and gingko will grow very slowly at just a few inches a year but end up being enormous.

Have a look at Liquidambar which has attractive foliage with stnning colours in autumn and a neat, conical habit that won't cast too much shade.  You can gradually lift its canopy by removing lower branches till you get your head height clearance.

Have a look also at sorbus kahmiriana which dosn't get too big and has attractive flowers and berries.    Prunus serrula is another good small tree with fabulous mahogany coloured bark for winter interest as well as attractive foliage and blossom in other seasons.

Which Witch Hazel!

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:42

I planted a Diane about 10 years ago but she was clobbered by a very hard winter which also killed off a northofagus antartica, some golden conifers, a choisya ternata Sundance, an eleagnus and all 5 of my viburnum tinus.

I have since planted an Orange Peel which was also clobbered by a hard winter which began with a heavy snow fall at the beginning of December and went on till late March.  However this one has regrown and is now a lovely shrub with great autumn colour.  Lots of new stems this year after a mild winter so I'm expecting good lfowering and perfume next February if the winter is kind.   Fingers crossed.

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:33

I run a  garden group here - several nationalities, all sizes and styles of garden and levels of ability and many new to gardening in northern Europe with its seasons and hardiness issues.

We meet once or twice a month in each other's gardens from late March to early November and advise each other on what, where and how to do various gardening tasks and we swap spare plants raised from seed, cuttings and division.   We also offer spare plants to an annual sale for charity.

Even so, I find I get left with surplus plants and the only place left for them to go is the compost heap so they're not entirely wasted.


Would you buy a smallholding?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:26

Not for me.   We have a large garden which I love but having lost one whole growing season to neck problems and surgery and then another season and a half to double foot surgeries i'm finding it hard to get it all back under control where pernicious perennial weeds have invaded and my own plants have got a bit too excited and gone invasive.

We have a fruit plot, a veg plot, shrubberies, woodland corner, wildlife pond and shelters and a lot of grass for dogs to play and some stunning plants which are a joy but I don't want to be a slave to my garden and I don't want to be feeling it's a constant batte rather than a pleasure so when OH retires in 13 months time we're probably going to sell up and buy something a bit easier to manage.

Definitely no question of having chooks or other critters now.  We can take the dogs and cat with us on hols if we're clever about where we go and where we stay but I wouldn't want to be tied to other livestock which limits even short stays away.

Trusted chilli seed suppliers?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 00:13

They're a good company Zoomer.  I've ordered ornamental flowers and grasses seeds several times in the past and always been impressed with the quality.   They have some unusual plants.

Trusted chilli seed suppliers?

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 13:05

Last year I ordered Red Padron, Bulgarian Carrot and Hungarian Black from Plant World Seeds - - and had excellent results until most of the seedlings were wiped out by a freak hailstorm.   I had cleverly gathered all my babies together outside to get rained on rather than rely on OH to water them while I was away for 3 days.

Some of them eventually recovered and produced a few fruits which have been good so I'll be ordering more of the same this year and adding Fish to my list and also sowing some saved seeds just to see what I get.

They have interesting lookng tomatoes and other veg too and some fabulous flowering plants.

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