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Latest posts by obelixx

Witch hazel

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 14:17

I'd leave it till autumn, immediately the leaves fall,so the plant has a couple of months to get its roots re-established before it is under stress again from flowering and then the energy consuming production of new spring foliage.


Rambling roses

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 13:26

Busy - I have Malvern Hills but it struggls a bit with our long, cold, wet winters.  How does it do your way?

I like the look of your Phyllis Bide.  One to remember for a furture garden.

Back on topic - I think any rose benefits from generous dollops of well rotted garden compost and/or manure in early spring to help it produce all the new growth that will mature and flower and, for climbers and ramblers, judicious training and tying in to keep the stems as horizontal as possible as this encourages flower power.

I have a huge Kiftsgate which flowered prolifically every year but in 2009 was almost wiped out by a freak (I hope) -32C.  It has taken some years to recover its former size and flower as prolifically but now whe have it properly trained on wires on the house wall so I hope it's a bit better protected and will continue to flower in profusion.




Posted: 11/01/2015 at 12:52

If, like me, shooting is not an option, you can get rat poison or ask the local council to send in the rat control people.

You also need to move your fat ball hanger to a new location where rats can't climb up and get them.

what would you do

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 10:30

You need to make a list of what you need and then decide how to prioritise it according to importance and how much time and budget you have available.

Eg - sitting/eating area, play space for kids and/or dogs, fruit/veg/flowers/shrubs/lawn/pond, wildlife attractive, low maintenance etc

These will dictate what you need to get done now with an eye to future projects and what can be left till later. 


What is wrong with my Clematis??

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 16:40

This is normal for all except the evergreen clematis.    Wait till spring and then prune it back to a healthy pair of buds on each stem.   Give it a generous top dressing of proper clematis food and a boost of liquid rose or tomato food and make sur eit has good supprots in place for all the new growth that will follow.

Clematis are very thirsty, hungry plants so in a pot it is entirely dependent on you for all the food and water it needs to keep it healthy and flowering.


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:28

Absolutely in agreement Susan.  i was lucky enough to have a chat with CB at his Chelsea garden one year and suggested he should do more Flying Gardens and even a Euro FG but nothing came of it.  Loved his Hidden Gardens series too and would love to see more like that plus a follow up of the ones he visited then to see how they're getting on.

Yviestevie - it is no less valid for being repetitive.  GW needs some oomph or a sister programme for newer gardeners and/or small gardens.


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:08

Verdun!!   You silly boy.

Even stuck in your far away corner of Cornwall you must have heard of Beth Chatto, Rosemary Verey, Gertrude Jekyll, Bunny Guinness, Vita Sackville-West, Joy Larckom, Sylvia Crowe, Arabelle Lennox-Boyd, Elizabeth Banks, Jekka McVicar, Sarah price - not pretty pretty gardeners at all but women who know their plants and how to grow and associate them to great effect.

Of the Soicety of Garden designers there are more than twice as many women as men in the membership.    Surely you can't be aiding and abetting the Beeb in putting a green glass ceiling on women as gardening TV presenters and dumbing down gardening on TV?


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 11:30

Alice was good when she knew her stuff - not forest gardening then - but Toby was truly dreadful - bad ideas, shoddy work, incomplete projects, no follow up and he was disrespectful of both plants and tools.

Monty is a bit boring and definitely out of touch with people with small plots and/or little experience and/or limited time and resources but he's a practical gardener and amiable.

I get much more pleasure and info from Beechgrove which has the added bonus of Chris Beardshaw and lots of practical info and comparisons of methods and products. 

Carol Klein is good but needs to learn the art of presenting in a normal, conversational tone of voice.

The main problem with GW is the production team.  I get the distinct impression tehy are not gardeners and do'nt find plants or gardening particularly interesting and that is reflected in the choice of topics and the camera angles and focus.


Stratification in warmer climates (Cornwall)

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 22:52

Take them out of the greenhouse and let them get any cold and frosts going.  If none appear by the end of Feb you could try chilling them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

hacking back my hedge

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 14:25

Privet can be cut back quite hard but it's best to do it over 2 years, cutting back one side harda nd leaving the other side lightly trimmed so its leaves act as a food factory for the plants.   You need to do it before March or next autumn or you risk disturbing any nesting birds.    I would also advise giving the hedge a good mulch of garden compost and a scattering of pelleted chicken manure to feed it and encourage thicjk new growth.

The next year, do the same thing on the other side of the hedge and trim the top.  repeat the feeding.   Thereafter, keep the hedge trimmed a couple of times a year being careful to avoid the nesting period for birds.

Here is what the RHS advises for renovating overgrown hedges:

How to renovate hedges

 Before undertaking work on hedges, check that there are no nesting birds in the hedge, as it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Where drastic renovation is necessary (i.e. more than one-third reduction in height or width), it is better to stage this gradually over two or three years.

Year 1
  • Cut back the width on one side of the hedge only
  • Cut to at least 15cm (6in) less than the desired width, or almost to the main stems if necessary
  • Remember to cut the hedge to a 'batter' (sloping sides), so it tapers from the bottom to a thinner top, allowing light to reach the bottom of the hedge
  • Trim the other side of the hedge as usual
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 2
  • Cut back the other side of the hedge, cutting almost to the main stems, if necessary. Cut to a similar batter as the previous side
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 3
  • Cut back the height of the hedge to at least 15cm (6in) below the desired height
  • Cut back harder where the upper portions of the hedge are open and patchy 
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation

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