London (change)
Today 23°C / 16°C
Tomorrow 27°C / 19°C


Latest posts by obelixx

Can any holly be made into a standard?

Posted: 30/12/2013 at 09:45

It looks undernourished to me so feed it and, if possible, trim back any nearby growth which is shading it from light and rain.   You'll be able to see your standard much better if it has less visual competitition too.

Cut down Clematis now?

Posted: 28/12/2013 at 16:41

If this is a Montana - and it seems likely - then you will lose one season of flowers if you cut it back hard before mid April asthey flower on old wood.   On the other hand, by cutting half back now to leave a manageable bundle, you will have an easier time replacing the old supports with something stronger and more extensive and then you can more easily train in the new shoots come spring to have a more manageable and attractive plant in future.  

Montanas are pruning group 1 so usually they are tidied up once flowering finishes in spring but only pruned enough to remove any dead wood and keep them in bounds.   They are vigorous so it will need to be regularly monitored and trained in to its support.   They recover well from a severe haircut as long as the new growth isn't zapped by untimely heavy frosts which is why I suggested earlier that you could take it back by a half - as insurance.

Cut down Clematis now?

Posted: 27/12/2013 at 10:45

You can safely cut back half the growth now to tidy it up and reduce wind resistance.  This will leave plenty of stems to produce new buds next spring even if some get clobbered by early frosts.  i'm about to d this on a Little Nell taht has been torn of its supporting arch by the high winds.   As it's a group 3 which regenerates from th ebase I can safely do this.

Given yours is an unknown quantity, just prune off what you need to make it manageable.  What's left can be untangled from its support and leaned away from the house wall while you put in a stronger support.   If you are attaching new trellis, screw it to battens fixed to the wall as this will allow air to flow and reduce the likelihood of disease.  

Come the spring, feed your clematis generously with clematis food and then wait fo it to flower.  You can then use the month of flowering and the colour to try and identify it and see what pruning regime it needs for the future to keep it looking good.  This site has a search facility and lists over 3000 clematis so yours should be in there -  it also has advice on pruning.

Overgrown Clematis

Posted: 24/12/2013 at 10:32

As KT says, if you cut it back hard you risk losing the flowers fo rthe next season but you will have a rejuvenated plant.   Wait until early or late March - depending on how severe a winter we get - and then prune it back to just two or three buds on each stem.  Pull away all the unwanted growth and then give it a generous feed of proper clematis fod - available in good garden centres - and an instant liquid tonic of rose or tomato food.  

Once it does flower, note the month and colour and size of flowering and you can look it up on this site -    A general pruning rule is that if it flowers before the end of June you prune after flowering.  If it flowers from July onwards, you cut it back in March.    The clematis site explains in more depth.

Just moved - horrible garden

Posted: 24/12/2013 at 10:19

Making a new, unlined pond is the obvious answer to drainage problems.  We did it as our garden would otherwise be waterlogged all year.    Make it good and deep in the middle - 3' is good - and plant the edges with marginals such as iris sibirica and other irises plus some tall plants like miscanthus zebrinus which will mask the pond a bit when water levels recede in summer.   As it is unlined you will need to referee as plants like yellow flag, bullrushes and native grasses will do their best to invade and terraform it so invest in some waders form a fishing supplies shop.

Since you can't do much else in winter, get to the lirary and borrow books on shade gardening.   There are lots out there and an east facing garden should present plenty of opportunities for beautiful and interesting plants.    Wildlife doesn't need native plants so much as plants which provide pollen, nectar and shelter.   You can also consult the RHS Plant Selector for plants suitable for an east facing garden -

With a new and unknown garden it's also a good idea to let it be in its first year and just weed borders, cut tehgrass and do obvious pruning.  Then you can see what you have and what you need to change.  Take photos and jot down ideas as they occur so that, come autumn, you can start the planning and design of all the changes you want to make.    You can also sow seeds and bring on new perennials for planting out later on.


Sports personality

Posted: 20/12/2013 at 10:34

Maybe they should call it Sports Person of the year as that encompasses sporting achievement without refernce to a trait such as personality.

As for Abby - I don't care who she's married to or what she does to earn a  crust although being a model is no less valuable to society than being an actress - probably more as there are real jobs involved in designing, creating and selling the clothes she promotes.    She has turned out to be a delightful and accomplished dancer who has worked hard and improved her technique and performance every week.


Gardening Clubs

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 16:20

We do it in Euros so anything from 50 cents for a 3" pot with something common like forget-me-not or a primula to €5 or more for a large pot with a perennial or a shrub.   Seeds like honesty and verbena bonariensis will go for 50cents.  Sometimes we get spare packets of sweet peas or pumpkins and sell those for €1,00.  Last year I picked up 8 unwanted deep purpe gladioli for just €1 as they were left at the end.   They did very well in a pot with purple and white petunias.

Gardening Clubs

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 15:36

I do this with my garden group.   It's the usual suspects who bring the most plants and like to have first pick which seems reasonable to me but then they're all very polite about it being all women with an honorary husband who tags along and who provides some of the best plants.

We also provide many of the plants for a charity sale in May and that can vary from our well prepared seedlings, cuttings and dvisions to poor plants that have been grubbed up and stuck in a bag or pot with no care at all.

I would insist on having plants properly potted up and labelled so they can be identified and looked up.   Proper labels on any seed packets too and then charge according to plant or pot size depending on how easy it is to find and propagate.


Talkback: Front gardens

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 13:01

There are rules about the materials used for off road parking now.  It has to be porous to reduce run off and thus the likelihood of flooding.    It surely doesn't take too much imagination to make an attractive parking space that's god for cars, people, plants and insects as well as reducing flooding.

I see a programming opportunity for the Beeb here - a new Front Garden Design series such as they've had before but with particular attention being paid to materials and design for the environment.


Badly explained help!

Posted: 19/12/2013 at 12:56

KEF - It's winter yet it's 8C at head height on our north facing back wall.   That is positively balmy.

Discussions started by obelixx

Plant id for Obxx

Who knows what this is please? 
Replies: 5    Views: 131
Last Post: Yesterday at 16:53

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1551
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1655
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 770
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 1072
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1447
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 778
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 4148
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1926
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1105
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2830
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 12358
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
12 threads returned