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Latest posts by obelixx

clay soil

Posted: 27/10/2012 at 12:54

Patience and ever more manure and compost.  Lay it on in thick layers in autumn and leave it over the winter for the worms and frosts to play with.    It will get better and clay soil is very fertile.


Posted: 27/10/2012 at 10:43

Try some of the smaller varieties like Kutchi kuri which may well ripen more easily than teh larger ones.   A packet of seeds won't break the bank.  Start them off in individual pots on the window sill in April to have plants to put out after the last frosts of May.  That should give them time to ripen well.  Make sure their soil has been improved with plenty of good garden compost and/or well rotted manure so it is fullof nutirents and retains moisture as they are hungry, thirsty plants.

Insulating Greenhouses

Posted: 27/10/2012 at 10:39

Bubble wrap.  Buy it in sheets off a roller in a good garden centre or DIY store.  If you have an aluminium frame, you can also buy the little clips that slot into the frame to attach it.

I've had mine for several years and it's still in fine fettle.   I'm going to buy some more to make a double layer to insulate the lower walls better.


Bitter beetroot

Posted: 26/10/2012 at 12:02

I know that a lack of magnesium is thought to make tomatoes taste bitter so maybe it's the same for beetroot.  Also, if your soil is acid, some plants can find it difficult to take up magnesium so try giving them a weak dose of Epsom Salts every couple of weeks next year - 1 tsp to a gallon - poured over the foliage and around the plant but not on  sunny days.


Posted: 24/10/2012 at 14:07

A good handful per plant lightly forked in around the base.    Good to add to the soil at planting time too.

Advice On Garden Design

Posted: 24/10/2012 at 09:47

Well, Plainleaf did first come to notice as Grid Gardener advocating square foot gardening.   Oops, what a give away.


Posted: 22/10/2012 at 22:35

Like I said, clematis are greedy.  Bonemeal given in autumn and worked in round the base of the plant will help roots over winter and thus betetr above ground shoots next srping and summer..   Blood fish and bone is a balanced general fertiliser that will help growth of the whole plant.  Clematis food is sepcifically balanced to help flower production and tomato food is specifically balanced to help with flower and fruit production so I will use all four feeds at different stages of growth because I want good growth, good flowers and good fluffy seedheads on the early group 1 flowerers such as Red Robin and then a repeat season of flowering in May/june and then late summer from the early hybrids (group 2s) and a long season of flowers followed by seedheads from the summer flowering group 3s as well as perfume from the ones that have that too.

The same feeding regime will be good for roses and any other climber or shrub from which you expect a high performance level.


Posted: 22/10/2012 at 14:09

I agree with Alina.  Clematis are very hungry plants and most of mine have suffered this year from an excess of rain and lack of warmth after already being challenged by drought all last year.   Some of my 40+ clems have done very well, others have struggled then finally put on a show and some have just struggled despite TLC.

I plan on giving them all bonemeal to feed their roots this winter plus a mulch of compost and then big feeds of blood, fish and bone in early spring and clematis food as growth starts in earnest.   If they look at all dodgy, I'll give them instant tonic with liquid rose or tomato food once the worst frosts are past in May.   

Royal Purple Plant

Posted: 20/10/2012 at 13:11

Have you tried using the Plant Finder facility on the RHS website? 

Filling a small garden with small plants seems logical but actually just makes it look smaller and bitty so try a few large scale plants.  You can also make your garden look wider by widening the borders at the sides and introducing angles or curves that stop the eye going straight to the back fence. 

You can also break up the expanse of fence by attaching horizontal wires to vine eyes screwed in at 12 to 18 inch intevals and then using them to train climbing roses, clematis and/or honeysuckle to give flowers and perfume through the groing season.       

Shrub or tree? what will determine???

Posted: 19/10/2012 at 16:05

Look at its shape and look at the label.  Generally speaking if it's growing low and hummocky it will stay that way but may reach quite a large spread and a bit more height over time.

More upright forms will get taller.  Sango Kaku is a good small tree with bright red stems in winter.  Mine started out about 4 or 5' tall and is now well over 2 m high though its stem ends get frosted every winter here so it may grow taller and faster for you..

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