Latest posts by Obelixx

Balls and mounds...

Posted: 11/03/2016 at 09:06

Good weed suppressants for me are hardy geraniums and geums and herbaceous potentillas which give lots of flower colours and bee activity.    Pretty dog proof too.    Early in the season, pulmonarias with a range of foliage and flower forms and colours.    They all just need cutting back after flowering to refresh their foliage and maybe flower again.   Don't pick lanky geraniums like Rozanne and Ann Folkard.  Lots of others make neat mounds.

If you like grasses, forms of carex buchananii mound well and wave about on the wind.  

Plant containers

Posted: 11/03/2016 at 09:00

The ones with no holes are surely sold for indoor use to stop you flooding your carpets?   But sometimes they have a colour or weight I need for the garden and out comes the drill - which lives in the garage and I do potting in the shed at the other end of the garden.........

The Storm With No Name hits our garden

Posted: 11/03/2016 at 08:55

It can be devastating but you do get over it.   Our main wind direction seems to be north westerlies so we put up windbreak fabric to protect our potager and ornamentals.   It then rained so much that the very next storm pushed all the fence posts, with their concrete boots, to an angle of 45°.  They are now buttressed.

We had a hail tornado one May that wiped out my rhubarb patch and all the hostas and left pitted scars on trees, roses, shrubs and ripped clematises apart.    Everything recovered over the summer but it was a shock to me as well as the plants.

We have a trellis panel fence between the potager and ornamentals and it has been drunk for years because of strong winds.   This winter half the panels have had the trellis strips ripped from their frames so we've taken them all down, will redress the posts when the ground thaws and replace the wooden panels with metal builders' mesh which will be indestructible and largely invisible and less wind resistant yet still support my Generous Gardener and all the clems.

Onwards and upwards.

How to prevent clematis from wilting

Posted: 09/03/2016 at 14:53

I only had a few cases of supposed wilt with my clems and in 3 out of 4 it was OH being happy with a hoe!   I plant new clematis deep and I put an upturned terracotta plant pot (with its bottom bashed out) over the base after planting, feeding and watering and he hasn't hoed any for a few years now.   Others have had stems munched or else broken by strong winds.

I've also learned that in my garden, where conditions can be extreme in winter, it's best to plant new clems in big pots and keep them as patio plants for a couple of seasons before planting them out.  This lets them establish a decent root system without any competition.   I lost several clems before doing this tho some did re-emerge 2 or 3 seasons later - after I'd binned their labels.

I've heard that the large flowered hybrids are most susceptible but get over it if pruned immediately to below the problem and then kept well fed and watered as this gives them resistance, just as well nourished humans resist illness better than the malnourished or under nourished..

Town or Country

Posted: 08/03/2016 at 17:51

Rural central Belgium.  Very exposed to strong winds and cold winters.  Fertile alkaline loam on clay sub soil.   

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 08/03/2016 at 16:03

That's interesting about prices BF.  I've been having a wee google for glasshouse prices in France and they compare very favourably with local suppliers.    Even better than the savings on paint in the UK.   Good haul in Canterbury yesterday and I found some decent garden gloves and cellular seed trays on offer too.

Homebase had the twisted willows I'm propagating at £12 each.   Must make sure I keep one for our next garden!

Gardening Book

Posted: 08/03/2016 at 15:54

I like Alan T too.  When I started gardening back in the 80s I too had the Reader's Digest book but found it too dry and formulaic and old fashioned so bought myself How to be a Supergardener by AT and he made it all seem accessible and possible.

If you can get hold of videos of his How to be a Gardener series that he did for the Beeb that would complement any book very well but his Complete Book would make a great easy access reference.

What is your weather like?

Posted: 08/03/2016 at 15:13

Yesterday morning we set off in snow at 6am for a raid on Canterbury.  Snow and blizzards off and on all the way to Calais but during the crossing the sun came out and Kent was fine.  Home at 11pm to find snow lying in corners and along ridges and 1C.

Very cold this morning and snow still there with heavy grey skies so no gardening for a few days though we're hoping it'll have thawed enough by the weekend for us to pull out and re-plant fence posts with proper concrete boots this time so we can replace the trellis panels that separate veggie plot from ornamentals.   Then maybe some cutting back of dead perennials and the usual spring clear up.

Willow arch - how to make it NOT grow?

Posted: 06/03/2016 at 14:42

It can be done simply by letting the stems dry out thoroughly.

It's easier to work with fresh green stems when binding and winding them to make a structure but then you need to park it on a hard surface for a few weeks to ensure it is dried and dead.   I did this with a home made willow obelisk and it never grew.  Others on the course who put theirs out straightaway had sprouting obelisks.


In Or Out Of The EU Garden?

Posted: 06/03/2016 at 14:39

Frank - home  grown British bureaucrats in council and government offices are well known for over interpreting EU rules.   Their tendency to interfere will only diminish when they are of better general calibre and that means paying better salaries - pay peanuts, get monkeys.  

Same applies to Sainsbury's and care homes and fruit picking - poor conditions and low wages are not going to entice the long term British unemployed off its sofa and away from its satellite TV.    UK benefit systems need to change so it's better to work than not.

On the other hand, improving those very same wages and conditions will entice more migrant labour.  Simple economics of the wages of picking fruit or wiping bottoms in Roumania or in the UK.   If Britain stays in the EU it can work to introduce and influence policies that will improve life and work in the poorer countries and thus spread wealth and security.    

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