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Latest posts by obelixx

Hardiness of Shrubs

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 17:17

Parts of the Charente and Dordogne get -15C in January/Feb so can't assume an oleander will be OK outside.

Hardiness of Shrubs

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 11:35

That depends on how frosty your bit of the Dordogne gets in winter as it will only withstand very light frosts.    You could plant it in a sheltered spot and cover it with a couple of layers of garden fleece in winter to give an extra 2 or 3 degrees of protection.

Have a look here for info on the group of plants -  and here for more on named plants - 


Clay soil under membrane

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 10:17

How big an area is it?   Can you fork it over?   If so, try and source a large pile of well rotted compost - local council recycling? - or well rotted horse manure and lay it on thickly as soon as possible.  Fork it in lightly then leave it over winter for worms to work into the soil.

Autumn is the best time for planting shrubs while they are dormant above ground and can then concentrate their energy on putting out new roots over the winter.   You can plant through the mulched layer it adding extra soil conditioner to planting holes and some coarse grit to improve drainage and a handful of bonemeal or microrhizal fungi to help with root development.  Both available form good garden centres.

Water in and mulch with more soil conditioner.   Wait till spring to plant perennials but you can get some daffodils in now too.  Not tulips.  They don't like heavy clay.


Posted: 14/09/2015 at 09:34

They can be late in a cool summer and do require full sun. 

I grow mine in pots and move them to shelter over the winter so they don't get frosted.

Non flowering hydrangeas

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 09:32

Ideally you should scatter BF&B or chicken pellets every spring all over your flower borders - except wildflower beds - in order to maintain fertility.  Using some slow release rose or clematis fertiliser or liquid tomato feed on high energy plants like roses and clematis will promote flowering.  

Try some of that on your hydrangeas and make sure they never dry out over summer.  You could also mulch them with some well rotted garden compost in autumn so the worms can work it in over winter and improve your clay soil's ability to sustain your plants.   Clay is naturally fertile but needs organic matter to aerate it and improve its texture for roots to seek out what they need.

Veg plot in field

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 20:18

Can you borrow some pigs for a week or two?  They'll work over the ground and eat all the plants and uproot weeds looking for grubs and goodies.   Then let the chickens loose to get rid of the inevitable weed seeds and then there's nothing for it but you have to at least fork over the ground to uproot any persistent weed roots and stones.

If you can get all that done by mid November you ca then fork over a good layer of well  rotted manure and then cover it with cardboard.  Over the winter the worms will work in the manure and the cardboard will rot down and and to the mix whilst excluding light to deter weed seeds from germinating and growing.

Come the spring it should be ready for a good raking level and then sowing and/or planting.

Seed ID, if possible

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 20:00

Can you take a photo with penny and a pound coin so we can see the scale?

Is lawn edging popular?

Posted: 11/09/2015 at 17:44

We have sunk railway sleepers to lawn height to serve as a mowing strip around half of our main lawn.  It was much more but then I cut out a new bed in the lawn.....    This edge is gradually being finished with granite paving sets taken form the former cowsheds.  

I don't have the time or inclination to edge with a half moon blade and I don't like any other lawn edging product I've ever seen apart form bricks or stones laid as a mowing strip with border plants flopping over to soften the effect.

I have a dreadful wind problem!

Posted: 10/09/2015 at 17:49

We have strong winds that can be devastating in winter when they're really cold or the rest of teh year when they get a bit too strong and wet.  We've put up wind resistant fabric to a height of 1m10.   It has made a huge difference to our fruit bushes and rhubarb in the veggie patch and the ornamental shrubs and plants too.  

However, we did have to buttress the fence points after one spring storm this year blew all the posts over to 45° despite being in 2' concrete boots!  We did have a very wet winter and the soil was unusually soft and soggy.

terracotta pots

Posted: 10/09/2015 at 16:59

They don't work here I'm afraid but then it can get seriously cold.   Glazed pottery is better but not foolproof for me.   All but two go into shelter and the two that don't are in full sun - when there is any in winter - either side of the front door against a south facing wall so reasonably sheltered.

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1 to 15 of 16 threads