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Latest posts by obelixx

hydrangea lacecap

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 22:34

Hydrangeas need a lot of moisture so I expect it's been under watered, especially in the heat of this summer.

clematis good for bees

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 13:55

My clematis Red Ballon - - was full of bees when two swift experts came to see me to advise about nests a couple of years ago.  They were astonished as they thought you had to grow wildflowers and weeds to attract bees.   They also like my Red Robin - - which flowers earlier and my alba luxurians is buzzing at the mo - 

I reckon any clematis would do as long as it's not a double so avoid things like and

Iris - to lift and move or allow seed pod to ripen?

Posted: 05/09/2013 at 13:46

Thi slate in teh season I'd let the seed pod ripen and sow the seeds.  The best time to lift and divide irises is immediately after flowering so I would wait till it's flowered next year to move it and then you can see what colour it is.  

Clematis "Dr. Ruppel"

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 21:13

As Bob says, you"re doing everything right and clems can take a couple of years to establish themselves and get going properly.  I differ on pruning though.

Group 2 contains the early and mid-season large flowered hybrids which usually begin flowering before the end of June.  Once new growth starts in spring, fcut out any obvious dead stems and then follow each stem back down to a pair of live buds and cut back to just above this point.    Feed it some clematis food which is usually slow release granules plus a liquid tonic of tomato or rose food for instant oomph.

Once flowering starts in June you can dead head or just wait till that flush is all over and remove the flowers all together.     This will keep the plant looking tidy and encourage it to produce a second flush of blooms later in summer.

Is this a Weed?

Posted: 04/09/2013 at 14:55

i'd go with brunnera too.  Borage has hairier stems and leaves.  Mine does anyway.

Dumb Question Amnesty!

Posted: 02/09/2013 at 22:50

I think, as a new home owner, you probably have plenty of other jobs you could get on with in the house and garden where you know your time and money will be well spent and will anhance your home and its value.

I think curb appeal projects almong a common boundary are best left until new owers/occupiers turn up and you can get to know them a bit before springing a project on them.   Assuming they're reasonable and you get along OK, you could then discuss some sort of solution but, as I said, to maintain decent plants in good health and looks you'll need something quite substantial as planters and you'll need lots of very good compost to grow them in and that doesn't come cheap. Then you have the cost of plants on top so it's going to be a fair financial undertaking plus all the maintenance to keep them looking good.


Cleome's how to look after them in winter?

Posted: 02/09/2013 at 16:10

Just to clarify, cleomes are half hardy annuals from South America so they germinate, gorw, flower and set seed in one growing season. 

Their seed needs to be sown under cover in spring and then you can plant them out after all frosts have passed in May or June, depending on where you garden.   They will flower until the first frosts which may be October or November, again depending on where you are.   The frosts will turn them brown and kill them but yu should be able to collect seed from ripe seed pods before the frosts.

Dumb Question Amnesty!

Posted: 02/09/2013 at 16:01

It's not your land to do anything with and you know it so I strongly advise you to leave well alone. 

In addition, no plant is going to thrive and grow to 5' high in a mere 40cms of soil.  Any container planting would have to be fed regularly and watered every day in summer and protected from freezing in winter plus all the training and pruning to keep it to shape.

If you want a barrier, just erect a fence on your side of the boundary and paint it an attractive colour - assuming there isn't a covenant on the properties about fences and barriers at the front.  I know there was one on the house I lived in in my teens.


Posted: 02/09/2013 at 10:26

Corks from wine bottles work well too and I use broken plates and dishes too.    If you're planting a deep pot with seasonal plants and wantto reduce the amount of compost needed you can use a layer of polystyrene shells or just chunks from packing.  Good insulation too in winter.

However, recent research by the RHS seems to show that crocks aren't necessary and you can just put a piece of gauze (or J-cloth) over the holes to stop compost leaking out and then fill directly with compost but then you do need to make sure the pots are standing on feet so that excess water can drain away more easily.

How shaded should clematis roots be?

Posted: 29/08/2013 at 15:02

Stones hide slugs and snails which like to feast on new clematis shoots in spring so none of my 50 or so clematis has a stone in front of it.   The more recent additions all get a clay plant pot with the bottom bashed out inverted over their stems to protect the base form my husband's slap happy hoeing action but shade comes from plants in front which also serve to hide any tendency to bare legs.

Clematis have thick fleshy roots which like a long, cool root run so a trough in full sun is not teh best place for them.   I wouldn't plant one in any container smaller than 60cm (2') wide and 75cms (2'6") deep and then only facing north or east so the pot doesn't get hot and cook the roots.

Clematis are also very hungry plants so need the best compost and regular top ups of feed, both slow release clematis food and quick tonic liquid tomato or rose food to keep them growing strong and flowering well.    They don't like to be too dry either so, if training up a wall, plant them at least 18" to 2' (45cms to 60cms) out and give them plenty of organic matter in their planting home then train them back to the wall.   Water them generously at planting time and until established.    You almso need to plant them at least 4" (10cms) deeper than they were in tehir pots as this protects against cleamtis wilt and encourages more stems to grow.

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