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Latest posts by obelixx

Clematis montana problem

Posted: 30/10/2012 at 11:28

Wildlife friendlypellets do not harm anything except slugs and snails.  Any surplus breaks down into the soil to make a harmless iron compound whereas metaldehyde based pellets kill or make ill all sortsof other creatures.  

I'm not suggesting blanket pelleting so there will be plenty of slugs and snails left over in other parts of the garden to feed hedgehogs and thrushes.  Recent studies indicate that hedgehogs don't actually eat that many slugs anyway.

Clematis montana problem

Posted: 29/10/2012 at 15:35

Put some wildlife friendly slug pellets out now if it's warm and then again on Valentine's Day (cos it's easy to remember) and at regular intervbals throughout spring.  this way you'll get the blighters just before the hibernate and also when they emerge, hatch and before they start to munch and breed.   Used sparingly but regularly they can save clematis, hostas and other plants from becoming slug and snail gourmet feasts.

Growing under holly

Posted: 28/10/2012 at 08:37

I have a holly hedge and weeds seem to manage very well under there.  As you can imagine it's a pain to clean up so we're going to have on last good go and then put down weed suppressant fabric and chipped bark.

If your holly is a tree or large bush and you can raise the crown by removing lower branches you should be able to get some plants growing.  Improve the soil with a thick mulch of good garden compost and or well rotted manure now and leave it till spring to plant up with things like geranium macrorhizum which copes well with dry conditions, has pretty white or pink flowers in May and scented foliage which is usually evergreen.   It turns a glorious red in autumn and lasts through winter.  You just need to pull or cut off the tatty bits on spring.

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.

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