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Latest posts by obelixx

Cat allergies

Posted: 20/11/2012 at 07:05

Go to the vet.  It's far more likely your cat has something treatable than an allergy to plants.    And make sure you use a regular flea and tick treatment and also worming every 2 or 3 months.

Gardeners World program

Posted: 19/11/2012 at 10:58

I recorded GW for years and would watch them again in winter but when MD took over at Berryfields I found the content insufficiently informative or interestuing to bother watching a second time.   It's the same now.  Nice way to pass a half hour but nothing new or exciting and often stuff which is not applicable to me or my garden.   It's too specific to monty's garden which is fine in its way but not for a glagship gardening programme aimed at the whole country with its variety of garden sizes, local climates, soil conditions and so on.

I suspect the i-player facility has been pulled for one of two reasons -1.  the powers that Beeb think on-one is watching or interested ingardening over winter.  2.  They've sold it to a satellite channel for re-broadcast and need the exclusivity for advertiser revenue.

Garden aspects. N,S,E,W? Which is best?

Posted: 17/11/2012 at 11:10

I have garden on all 4 sides but the main area ia to the north which means the sun gets round to the main terrace at about 3pm.   Too cool for sitting out except on warm days but usually a breeze of some sort when it's really hot and we get to enjoy the sun till it sets at 10:30 in midsummer as we have no shade from neighbours.

When we've finished sorting the house out we'll ahve a sitting area to the east and to the south can have all year sun for sitting out at veraious times of day.

Each aspect has its virtues - hot sun lovers to the south, soft fruits to theh west for warm, ripening sun, shade lovers up next to the house to teh north and pretty well anything I fancy further away from the house as long as it's bone hardy..  Veggies are currently on the north side in raised beds but have short sun hours in spring and autumn and none in winter so may migrate to the east where they'll get more sun as it's open to the south too..

When to transplant clemetis

Posted: 16/11/2012 at 16:37

I would mobe them now so they can get their roots established over winter ready fo rthe growth spurt in spring.  


Make sure you have their new holes well prepared and that you watre the roots of each plant generously and leave to soak away for at least an hour before digging them up.    Dig them out as deeply as you can with as much rrot ball as possible and then plant them at least 4 to 6 inches deeper than they were.  This will encourage the formation of new shoots for extra flowering stems next summer.

Adding some well rotted manure and/or garden compost to the new planting hole will help too.  Water in well.   Next spring, protect the new shoots from slugs and snails by scattering wildlife friendly pellets from Valentine's Day onwards.



Posted: 16/11/2012 at 16:32

Rural, central Belgium surrounded by pasture and arable crops with woodland nearby.  We've planted up former cow pasture to include trees, shrubs, hedges and plenty of bulbs, perennials and grasses plus soft fruit and vegetables.  Plenty of shelter and planty of ssed heads, berries and insects for food.


Posted: 14/11/2012 at 11:20

When we moved to this ex farmhouse there was no garden and about 3 sparrows.   We have turned the surrounding cow pasture into a garden, erected a feeding station out of reach of our cats and a ground feeding site away from pouncing cover, feed the birds all year round, sectioned off the ends of our attics so the birds can nest safely in the eaves and bingo, we now have about 30 or so nesting pairs who live in the eaves and produce 2 or 3 clutches each summer as well as others who nest elsewhere but feed and play in our garden.

We also have assorted tits and finches as well as seasonal dunnocks, wrens, and woodpeckers plus pheasants, jays, corws, magpies and so on.

I never spray against pests and diseases and find the birds hoover up caterpilars and aphids to feed their young.   A case of give and take that works for us.   

The cats have never caught one and the sparrowhawk has only caught one pigeon and one sparrow that I've ever seen. 




Ride on mower / mini tractor - help!

Posted: 09/11/2012 at 10:29

Simple sit on mowers are generally best for smooth, flat lawns.  The one's that look like  a mini tractor are more rugged and can cope with bumpier terrain but won't be good on real slopes as they can topple.

You can buy them with grass collectors, without grass collectors or with a mulching action which chops the cuttings up really fine and leaves them to feed the lawn.   We have one without grass collection as they always seem to get clogged and I spent more time unblocking the tubes on the old one than actually mowing.   Friends have the self mulching model and it is excellent but their grass is less lush than ours.

Our new one is a Lazer.  It cost about €1000 3 years ago and should last 10 or 15 years.   I could have got a robot for the same price but OK was agin it.  I'll get one next time though as our grass area will be reduced in the next year or so.  

Very underweight hedgehog found on doorstep

Posted: 06/11/2012 at 21:34

Keep him warm and fed and he'll not feel so sleepy but hibernaton may also be triggered by the shortening of the days so maybe give him light too.   make sure theer's water, and no milk, to drink along with teh cat biscuits.  Cat food is excellent for hedhehogs but they can't digest milk or bread and get diarrhoea which dehydrates them and can make them very poorly if not deceased.

FIR TREE PRUNING and shaping, or not???

Posted: 05/11/2012 at 15:21

You just need to cut down the main stems to the height you want.   The side stems coming from below the cut will still have green bits taht will grow upwards to cover the cut.   Then you can start trimming the sides back bit by bit, always leaving some green foliage to regrow.  Eventually you'll get a decent shape and still have their protective presence.

As for the neighbours' conifer hedge, you have the right to cut off any branches which overhang your garden but must offer them to the owners.   If that leaves you with unsightly brown branches, try scrambling a climber up them to disguise them.   Honeysuckle is quite vigorous and will give you flowers and perfume and will respond well if you need to cut it back.

FIR TREE PRUNING and shaping, or not???

Posted: 05/11/2012 at 09:18

We inherited a leylandii hedge which was 12' tall.  We have gradually cut it back and it is now an acceptable 6 or 7 ' tall and provides a good windbreak and screen for that part of the garden.  We haven't been able to do anything about it's widthe because you have to cut back only as far as green shoots as it doesn't regrow from brown wood.

I would therefore also recommend getting rid of the leylandii altogether and keeping the attractive blue fir if possible.  If not, get rid too cos topping it will look bizarre.

In our previous house,we inherited 30' high leylandii which had been planted as a hedge but never trimmed.  We cut those down ourselves taking off the tops and then the middles and then removing the branches from the stumps and gradually wiggling and axing them out.   It took a while but we ended up with so much more space and light and happy neighbours too.


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