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Latest posts by obelixx

What's best to grow in terracotta pots

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 13:19

You could paint it inside and out with a couple of coats of clear acrylic varnish which is water based and that will help with water absorption and give some protection from frost damage.

I would then suggest a simple, hardy ornamental grass such as carex bronze beauty which is evergreen and will give year round interest.   The foliage will dance in the breeze and glow in the sun and just needs coming through by hand (wear gloves) or with a rake in spring to remove dead foliage.    


Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:21

One thing you can do is raise the crown of your trees to allow in extra light and water.  This simply means removing the lowest branches to expose mor etrunk and then thinning out crossing branches inside the crown to show of fthe structure of branches and let more air flow.

After that, the choice of plants will depend on how exposed your garden is to wind and frosts and the type of soil you have.   If possible, improve teh soil by forking in a good amount of well rotted garden compost and/or manure and then add a thick mulch of teh same stuff for the worms to work in over winter once you've planted and watered.

Plants to consider include hardy geraniums macrorrhizum and phaeum which do well in shade and dry soils, euphorbia amygloides "Purpurea", iris foetidissima, forms of lamium maculatum and vinca minor.

All of these have flowers and some have variegated foliage.  You can look them all up on the RHS Plant Selector - 

Allium seeds

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:10

I quite agree with your programme of sowing Berghill.  I'll be trying it myself to see if I can raise some Schubertii that will last more than one season here - challenging frost and munching rodents - but first I have to plant the bulbs to get the seed.......

Wooden garden furniture

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 14:27

Haisi.  I live in central Belgium, 30 mile south of Brussels.  Winter can last 5 to 6 months in a bad year and tend to be wet but with two or three weeks of very cold, dry conditions when the  winds come from Siberia and take us down to -15C to -20C.

Recent winters have been very hard with regular and sustained dips down below -20C and even to -32C, usually without a protective blanket of snow so yes, I try to take care of my teak table.  I've put plastic studs under its feet to keep them from sitting in water and tend to put shallow bricks under one end so it's tilted enough for water not to sit on the surface.

Wooden garden furniture

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 15:55

Olive oil with a drop of lemon juice is fine for sealing wooden worktops in kitchens.  i sue it on my beech counters.  However, for external use, teak oil is best as it absorbs and preserves well without making a crust and is easily cleaned up in spring.  

I like the golden glow of my teak table but it's too big to take under shelter so it gets left out all winter in temps down to the late -20sC.  last year, I was fed up of doing the annual spring clean with the sander and oiling it so I spent extra time giving it a coat of special wood preservative with a pale grey patina an dthen sealed that with a special coat of protector.

Lo and behold, these too products are not good down to -28C and have flaked off or grown algae so I've had an even longer job sanding it all off and have gone back to feeding with teak oil.  Next spring will be the last so I know it has a good seal of oil and then it can age with grace and go a natural silvery grey.


Setting up a large wooden planter.

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 15:47

Good advice from Dove.  I would also suggest lining the inside walls with black plastic or small grade bubble wrap and stapling it to just below compost level as this will reduce water absorption by the wood and, if you use bubble wrap, give an extra bit of insulation against frosts in winter.

Allium seeds

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 15:44

Sounds like an allium schubertii.  Sow wome seeds thinly in a tray.  they will come up looking like grass leaves.  As they get big enough to handle, pot them on into small pots so they can grow bigger and maybe again until they're big enough to cope with life in teh borders without being weeded out by mistake.  Lovely plants and well worth waiting for but yes, buy some bulbs too for flowers next spring/eraly summer.

No GW tonight so watch this

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 13:15


Best time to buy hostas and other plants?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 13:15

Verdun should point out that he gardens in the south west and has a very mild climate compared to the rest of the UK.

What works for him won't do inland or in frost pockets or in exposed areas where it's colder and winters are longer and harder.

I prefer to buy well potted hostas and roses and many other plants in spring which means the grower does the over winter care and takes the risks of losses rather than me and my purse.  Then again, my winters are severe and even established plants can get clobbered in a bad one.

Best time to buy hostas and other plants?

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 09:19

The general wisdom is that autumn planting allows plants to establish a good root system over winter because in autumn the soil is warm enough and moist enough to encurage this and, with most plants going dormant above gorund, there isn't a lot happening to stress the roots as they grow.

Plants that get established in autumn and over winter do not usually need any watering in teh new season.  Spring planted plants have to cope with establishing roots while supporting a spurt of energy and growth above ground so can get stressed and will require careful monitoring for watering and feeding.

However, in my own garden I have learned to plant all except the hardiest shrubs and trees in spring as I can lose new plants to hard winters.  Normal British winters should be OK unless you're in a very exposed area.  If you're worried about marginally hardy plants, pot them on into bigger pots and keep them under frost free shelter for winter then plant out in spring.

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