London (change)
Today 21°C / 15°C
Tomorrow 22°C / 16°C


Latest posts by obelixx

Does piling up potatoes make that much difference?

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 10:26

Last year on GW MD found that he got excellent yields growing potatoes in raised beds and without all the earthing up that growing in traditional rows entails.

As WO says, to get bigger spuds for roasting you have to choose a good variety and grow them for longer.  It can be done in pots or raised beds but in pots they depend entirely on you for all their food and water as rain will not give them enough.

I actually prefer small new or salad potatoes for roasting but I do them Italian style with rosemary, garlic and a bit of olive oïl and no parboiling.   For traditional British roasties you really need Desirée or Maris Piper. 

Holly hedge from cuttings

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 22:54

PP - Holly, being evergreen, tends to come with a root ball rather than bare-rooted, so is more expensive than a deciduous hedge would be.   Why not try beech or hornbeam instead as you can get them bare rooted and they will grow much more quickly.   Hawthorn would be good to and grow fast.  It is deciduous too but if trimmed regularly the branches will thicken up and hide the chicken wire and it will also be very good for wildlife as it provides food and shelter for a wide range of birds and insects.

Have a look at cornus alba sibirica too.   It has bright red stems which are usually thicker and hardier than Midwinter Fire and responds better to pruning back for new stem colour.

I personally find that Kilmarnock Willow is depserately dull for the 50 weeks of the year it doens't have its catkins and Russian Vine/Mile a Minute is unattractive all year round and can quickly get out of control.   There are willows which have far more attractive habits and stem colours and more interesting climbers. 


Holly hedge from cuttings

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 12:26

Holly is very slow growing and doing it from cuttings would add several years to the time you'd have to wait to get a hedge of any size.   I think you should ask yourself how quickly you need a hedge to be acting as a boundary and how long you expect to be in the current garden.

If the answer to the either is less than 10 to 15 years I suggest you go and buy some small plants from a hedging specialist and plant them in very well prepared soil so they get away quickly and grow strongly.


Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 08:21

Pleased you've had some sun Punkdoc.   It can indeed make you giddy.    We've had an exceptionally sunny few days and the plants are giddy too.   I shall be out there shortly pegging some Sceptr'd Isle roses to form floriferous hummocks as it seems too cruel to cut back all the growth they've put in this week. 

Eggs, and cooking with them

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 08:17

Freeze the whites for making pavlova and soufflés.  Use the yolks to make custard based ice cream.

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 20:07

I love going to Chelsea to see the gardens up close but also because I can chat to world class nurserymen and women about their plants asw ell as strike up conversations with complete strangers in the crowd.   I enjoy the evening coverage but wish they'd cover every garden and more of the nurseries in the marquee instead of all the repetitive stuff from the same few gardens and the time wasted covering celebrities' gardens.   I haven't been able to watch the midday programme with Nikki.  Too "lite" and stupid, especially the flower arranging gimmicry.

I don't see why the RHS wouldn't be in a position to demand a certain presenter or quality of presentation and production when drawing up contracts for future TV coverage of Chelsea so we'll just have to wait and see how MD does and what the viewing figures are like compared to other years.

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 18:52

Punkdoc - I have bought several DA roses over recent years and the advice given is always to bury them so that the base of the stems (ie graft union) is below the soil.  On their website they say to plant so the base of the stems is 3 inches below soil level. 

Fairygirl - I'd love to see more of JAS presenting gardening and plants on TV.




Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 14:28

He is.  He also communicates great enthusiasm for plants without gushing, has design credentials in the UK and aborad as well as gold medals and people's awards at Chelsea, has a broad range of experience on TV as a presenter on GW plus his own shows - Flying Gardener and Hidden Gardens and is now on the team at Beechgrove where he has slotted in very well with the rest of the team. 

He'd get my vote.

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 13:20

8 million viewers for GW was a long time ago when GW was outsourced to a professional production company who knew their gardening stuff and wanted to be filming gardens and gardening.

The rot set in when they moved it to Berryfields - a garden not owned and loved by the main presenter - and with a BBC production and camera team with ambitions beyond mere gardening.   It has now reduced to just over 2 million viewers which couldn't possibly have anything to do with the quality of the production, editing or presenting teams, could it?

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 07:49

Alan Titchmarsh is highly quaified as a horticulturalist and gardener, is a skilled and experienced TV presenter and interviewer, is vice president of the RHS and has won gold at Chelsea.  He has also just been appointed as the first ever ambassador of the RHS precisely because he has communication skills and makes gardening fun and is willing to meet and greet and promote gardening for everyone at every level.   

The Chelsea Flower Show is, on a superficial level, about gardening bling but for those who look deeper it heralds trends in design and use of materials and showcases new plants and gives a platform for nurserymen and women to show new introductions from plant hunting and breeding as well as revive the popularity of older plants.   The TV coverage has to cater for keen gardeners with all levels of expertise as well as celebrate British excellence and, with luck, inspire others to have a go, rather like after Wimbeldon there is an increase in tennis playing.

The RHS is more than just the big flower shows and needs this window of publicity to promote all the work it does and encourage more people to join up and contribute to our horticultral experience, heritage and future through its work in schools, in communities and in research and teaching.  

Monty has no qualifications and, whilst he is a good amateur gardener and writes very well about it, his personal style is less warm and enthusing than AT's.  He has also said and done things in his articles and on GW which inspire everything from wrath to dismay to disdain in professional horticultural circles. 

Sophie Raworth is a professional, intelligent news reporter used to researching her topic and who has shown herself capable of presenting other formats and will, I'm sure, prove to be a vast improvement on Nikki C.  

If this combo doesn't work and viewing figures go the way of GW's have I can see the RHS offering the TV coverage contract to other channels in future which would be a great pity.

Discussions started by obelixx

Plant id for Obxx

Who knows what this is please? 
Replies: 5    Views: 222
Last Post: 01/07/2015 at 16:53

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1646
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1716
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 805
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 1153
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1523
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 809
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 4236
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1976
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1147
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2922
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 13333
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
12 threads returned