London (change)
Today 14°C / 4°C
Tomorrow 11°C / 5°C


Latest posts by obelixx

Blackcurrant Harvest

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 16:13

We've already picked form 4 of our bushes and I've made spiced blackcuurant jelly which is yummy on toast or with cheese or meat.  

I'll freeze the fruit from the last two to make puds - assuming there's still enough fruit left on them after Saturday night's storm which brought down two trees in the paddock over the road and did its best to blow down all our trellis panels.

No blueberries this year.  The blossom got frosted but the shrubs are looking exceptionally healthy with lots of new growth after the long wet spring so I have high hopes for next year - as long as I can get a decent winter windbreak constructed.

Clematis problems

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 12:17

It may just be reacting to the recent spell of hot weather.  Cut out and remove all the brown stems and give it a tonic of liquid tomato food to encourage recovery.  Scatter a few wildlife friendly slug pellets to protect any new shoots.

Wooden planter for clematis.

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 11:48

I would line it with bubble wrap round the sides to protect the wood from wet compost but also to give extra insulation to the roots in winter.   Line the base with more plastic pierced to allow drainage.

Use good quality compost such as John Innes no 3 which is heavy so less easy to walk off with if you're worried about security.   Add some clematis food granules to beef it up and mix them in well before planting.  Add a top dressing of these granules every spring to encourage strong growth and flowers.

A north facing clem doesn't need extra shade at its roots but will look better for it as plants will hide bare legs.   Bulbs will add spring interest.  Your plan to use evergreen eunymous is good as it will add winter interest and hide the dying bulb foliage.   Just make sure you keep the planter watered reguarly and give occasional liquid tonics of tomatos food in spring and up to the end of June.   Give the planter a good watering at the end of autumn and before heavy frosts are forecast.  It should then be OK till spring unless you get an unseasonal warm spell.

English forest design for front garden.

Posted: 29/07/2013 at 09:44

Hostas are best planted in spring in my experience which gives you time to find a supplier who will deliver by post or a nursery you can visit to selcet plants yourself.   Check out the RHS plant finder facility on their website.

For stones and pebbles, best to go to a builders' merchants where prices will be better than in a garden centre.  If you buy enough, they'll deliver.


Posted: 28/07/2013 at 17:43

Actually, bothe of these are Group 2s which mean they start flowering end of May and June and then go quiet and then, if well fed and lightly pruned to remove all the old flower heads, will produce a second flush of flowers in late summer.

However, my garden is too cold in winter for group 2s to retain live growth above ground so I treat mine as group 3s and cut them back in March and then feed them generously with proprietary clematis food.  If we get a poor spring, I also give them a liquid tonic of tomato food.

They all flower very well from late June and then I dead head where I can and they keep flowering through summer but you do need to dead head regularly for this to happen or they start to set seed and no longer make flower buds.

Clematis cuttings are tricky but you can try them from mid spring to mid summer taking double leaf cuttings with half the length of stem between them and teh next set of leaves and burying them up to the leaf nodes in a pot of suitable compost.   layering is probably easier.  Just take a stem and peg a leaf node to the ground or in a pot of moist compost and wait for it to root.

Ants nesting in my mint tub!!

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 14:36

Nesting ants means dry soil or compost so give it a thorough soaking morning and evening for a couple of days and then pour on a solution of one small bottle of essential oil of cloves mixed into 5 litres of water.  It will permeate the compost and they will move away as they can't stand the smell and you can continue to harvest your mint.

It's Pennyroyal that ants don't like, not mint.

Mint varieties

Posted: 28/07/2013 at 11:08

It wasn't a definitive list.  Just one from a nursery listing their plants and whether or no they had a PBR or an AGM - award of garden merit.   

I expect if you google about a bit you could find a list of PBR plants.  They have to be registered so some organisation will have a list.


The other side of Monty Don.

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 18:48

I fell asleep again and missed that bit.  I record it as I'm usually busy but now find I fall asleep whenever I watch GW so it takes 3 or 4 goes to see the lot.

We all need to do our best to help beneficial insects thrive after such poor wet summers in the two previous years and the long, cold, wet winter and spring we've just had because they're in crisis, especially butterflies and  moths which have such specialised needs for their caterpillars.    

Hoverflies are such good friends to gardeners taht we need to get over any squeamies about their larvae and help them along.   MD should be making that clear. 

English forest design for front garden.

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 18:42

I wouldn't.   When I first planted my 7 x 5 metre bed I used weed suppressant membrane and planted a mix of hostas, acers and grasses through it and then found them being strangled as they wanted to expand over the years.   I ended up lifting the lot and transplanting the hostas and grasses and now have a rose bed under planted with geranium macrorhizum and lavenders with several clematis on obelisks and bulbs and aquilegias for spring colour.   The Sango Kaku is in the west corner sheltered from prevailing westerly winds and afternoon sun by a trellis with a climbing rose and another clematis.

I do have to weed it now but I've learned my lesson and don't use membrane anywhere now except for gravel or chipped bark paths.


Posted: 27/07/2013 at 18:34

Clematis are greedy plants and need plenty of food and a decent supply of water to do well.   They can also take a year or two to get established before they perform with gay abandon.    Are the non flowering varieties getting enough food?

It may also be that your are pruning them in the wrong way for their group.  Can you tell us what varieties they are and when you are pruning them?


Discussions started by obelixx

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1356
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1536
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 712
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 934
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1343
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 718
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 3919
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1826
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1045
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2605
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 10148
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
11 threads returned