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Latest posts by obelixx

Blueberry Winter Care

Posted: 01/11/2014 at 12:45

They are very hardy bt will appreciate some protectio for the worst of winter.   When mine were in pots I'd move them to a sheltered corner out f teh way of the strongest westerlies and coldest easterlies as this helps prevent the loss of the ends of branches through dessciation or freezing and helps ensure a decent crop.

Now I have them in the ground and can't move them I put a protective windbreak round them and leave it up till after the last frosts to protect the blossom.  In a normal year we get down to -15C for a few weeks and, apart from last year, -25C and worse have been frequent occurences over the last few years.

This year I lost every single blossom to a hail tornado whilst away at Chelsea so from now on the windbreak will stay up till I get back.

Purple Carrots

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 22:59

The purple carrots I grew had orange centres and were very tasty.   Must have another go next year.

I tried yellow beetroots one year but we didn't like them.   Love the purple ones though, and their leaves, though I do fancy trying the stripy chioggia ones.

Olearia x haastii

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 22:44

Same here Berghill.   I don't buy anything that says it's nesh but Bishop's Children dahlias do OK in pots and this year i've had a couple in the borders as they got going so early after the exceptionally mild winter.

I can't get flowers on hydrangea macrophylla either but I have recently discovered the paniculatas which are a joy and now I have several.     I bought and planted a new HP Diamant Rouge at a plant fair a few weeks ago and it has turned a fabulous deep, rich red in both flower and foliage.   Luscious.


Posted: 31/10/2014 at 17:29

I get really cold winters so grow mine in pots which I over winter in a cold but insulated greenhouse.   A few years ago I lost the lot but it was an exceptonally long, cold winter with weeks below -20C.    

Nothing daunted, I now have more including some babies of the original plants returend to me by friends who had received seedlings from me.

In the UK, they should be OK in pots in a greenhouse but be careful not to bring them back outside too early next spring and start watering slowly and leaving the greenhouse doors open during the day so they can get accustomed to the temps outside again.

Olearia x haastii

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 17:24

I've never heard of this so looked it up.   Various sites suggest it's a good hedging plant in mild and coastal areas so no good to me in this garden then.

It can be hard pruned or lightly pruned in April, according to need.

I like the look of it so it's going on my wishlist for if/when I get a more sheltered garden.    Another gem Berghill.


Posted: 31/10/2014 at 14:59

I spent years on the Beeb boards before migrating here and chats often went off topic.  It's all part of conversations evolving and going into asides and jokes just as they do in the real world.   Similarly, some close friendships are formed and also some dislikes.

I still come here because I find I still learn and sometimes have useful advice to offer based on my experiences of gardening here in very fertile soil but extreme winters and also in my previous garden in Harrow.

New people come and go all the time.   They either stick around to share and learn or disappear when they've got what they wanted.   There are givers and takers in every walk of life and every activity.    

Some people form close bonds and meet up outside the forum and that's fine.  It doen't make a clique.  It just makes you comfortable and maybe leads to in jokes and a sort of posting shorthand that can feel exclusive to some.   Such friendships can be of great value.   I'm still in touch almost daily by email and occasionally meet with people I met on the Beeb years and years ago even tho they no longer post here.  

Equally, there are one or two posters here whom I avoid, just as in real life I don't seek the company of people I find irritating or frustrating or stupid or selfish.   It's also easy enough to spot a  thread that isn't going to be of any interest and leave it to other posters.

You need a sense of perspective on the boards plus a sense of detachment and a sense of humour and shouldn't take any of it personally.   It's virtual after all but good fun and, on the whole, is helpful to new and old gardeners seeking advice and support.  

The best gardeners have always been sharers whether it be time, plants, knowledge or chat.   Let's keep it that way and be grateful for those willing to repeat the same advice time and time again or to go and research solutionsand answers to problems they know something about.. 

Couch Grass

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 12:15

Yes, but you need leaves to transport the compounds and that takes 2 weeks and then you need to wait a month or so to see if any more suddenly pop up.  Couch grass is very persistent and also new bits may come in from surrounding, untreated areas.   It does not respect garden boundaries.

Once you do dig over the soil for replanting make sure you add plenty of organic matter - well rotted manure and/or garden compost - to improve the structure.  This will make hand weeding or hoeing of future weeds much easier.   You will need constant vigilance but it will be defeated eventually.

Couch Grass

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 11:58

Defintely do not rotavate.  It will just make hundreds and thousands of cuttings as the roots are really persistent and grow again form the tiniest bit.   

Do as advised and spray again in spring when any new growth starts but let it get a couple of inches high before spraying or there won't be enough green foliage to transport the active compounds back to the roots.   Be patient, even if it takes a couple of months and several applications.   It will be worth it.

When you do eventually dig, use a fork rather than a spade as this will produce fewer cut pieces and allow you to wrestle more or less whole roots out of the ground.    Leave these aside on a plastic sheet so they can dry out and die over a week or two before putting them anywhere near a compost heap or trying to burn them.

What to plant under a tree?

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 10:48

I agree with the others about planting a more attractive tree as this one will get huge and will require regular attention from a tree surgeon to keep it under control and that will add up financially.  It will also self seed all over the place and need constant vigilance in your borders.

Have a look at liquidambar whiich will grow tall but not wide and has fabulous foliage colours or forms of rowan which and will give foliage interest but also blossom and berries which are good for wildlife

Purple Carrots

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 10:38

It's revolutionary stuff Philippa.   All to do with the Dutch revolting against the Spanish and becoming independent in the late 1500s.   I fond this on the web:

When a man named William the Silent from Nassau inherited the rule in Orange in 1544, he became William of Orange. He led the Dutch in Revolt against the Spanish in the late 1500s, and they eventually won their independence in the form of the Dutch Republic.

Back then the Dutch were known as carrot farmersand you could get their carrots in white or yellow or purple. Then in the 17th century a breed of carrot was developed that had a lot of beta-Carotene and was orange. And the Dutch started growing this in great abundance in tribute to William of Orange to such a degree that almost all other forms of carrot had gone out of mass agricultural production.

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