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Latest posts by obelixx

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?


Mint varieties

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 18:32

You can grow plants which have plant breeder's rights (PBR) restrictions and you can propagate them for your own use or to give away but not to sell for profit without having a licence form and paying a forfeit to the plant breeder.  I doubt very much if ginger mint has such a restriction as it's been around for years and I found a list from a nursery indicating which of its plants have a PBR and their ginger mint listing has none.

English forest design for front garden.

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 11:07

You rplan sound good to me.   Sango Kaku should be fine in this situation.  See here -

Your ferns and hostas will disappear in winter so the stones and stumps will add interest but you could maybe consider some bergenia as these keep their foliage over winter and would help with ground cover -  There is a white flowered version too.

MD in current GW

Posted: 26/07/2013 at 13:19

I think just growing natives is a bit precious and very boring in the UK.  It's going to look like a bed of weeds with a short flowering season and not much other interest for most of the year.   I don't really like prairie style planting but I feel that does at least offer more variety of form, texture and colour for longer.

My garden is a mix of European natives and plants from other parts of the world.  There's no shortage of nectar available and I have a pond, an insect hotel, log piles and bird feeders plus a good range of trees, shrubs and perennials to provide food and shelter all year round for all sorts of wildlife.   The place is buzzing.

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