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Latest posts by obelixx

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 11/03/2014 at 08:17

It seems bizarre and perverse to me.  Monty has always made clear his dislike of the razzmatazz of Chelsea preferring simpler shows like Malvern which are also closer to home.  

I've always enjoyed AT at the helm at Chelsea as he combines so well the role of gardening knowledge and expertise with ease in front of the camera and with other people from all walks of life.  He's also desiged a garden and won gold at Chelsea which MD has never even attempted. 

Sophie Rayworth has to be an improvement on Nikki Chapman who has no shame in showings he knows nothing abut plants and gardening even after all the years she's been doing daytime Chelsea.   I sincerely hope she bringe her intelligence to the role.

I too can do without poking around "celebrity" gardens.  I want to see good gardens so for me it would be better to show case yellow Book gardens - but not during Chelsea coverage.  There I want to see the gardens, big and small, in the show and the nurserymen and women who combines all their skills and experience to bring wonderful plants to exhibit.

Can someone please recommend me great colourful pink/red/ climber :)

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 14:35

There are also pink and red climbing roses that will love a south facing position.  Have a look at websites such as David Austin, Peter Beales and Harkness who all develop their own new rose varieties as well as selling reliable older forms.   Be aware that not all are repeat flowering so check détails.  

Roses can be successfully combined with group 3 clematis which are pruned in late Feb or March so all their old growth can be pulled away before the rose gets underway with new shoots and flower buds.   Both plants will be hungry and thirsty so will need plenty of food and water to get established and keep them flowering well each year.

Can anyone help identify what bird this is?

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 14:08

I agree.  They visit my garden in two family groups - one that likes the peanut feeders and one that prefers the fat balls.  Great fun when they bring their babies.

When to plant new clematis?

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 14:06

I had a huge montana killed by a late frost that did for all its new buds and shoots one year so it may be a good idea to put them outside in the daytime but put them somewhere sheltered from frost for a few nights till they've hardened off a bit.

When you do plant them, dig the hole at least 4 to 6 inches deeper than the pot they're in, water them thoroughly and then back fill with plenty of garden compost or bought soil improver plus some proprietray clematis food granules as clematis are hungry and thirsty plants.   Burying them deep encourages extra shoots to form so you get more flowers.

Every spring, give them another feed of clematis food and a liquid tonic of tomato or rose food to get them going.  Prune them after flowering in spring but only to keep them in bounds and encourage flower buds to form lower down for next year.  Montanas are very vigorous when happy so give them plenty of space to grow. 

what to do with my HUGE laurel???

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 13:53

Laurels can be cut back hard but they respond by putting on amazing amounts of growth so I would consider digging it out as soon as you can.  You can get privacy from a trellis panel or 2 to replace it - raised up on tall fence posts if needs be - and grow some decorative climbing roses and/or clematis or honeysuckle depending on soil and aspect.

Another alternative would be a small tree such as a sorbus kashmeriana or a prunus serrulata which have extended seasons of interest and won't cast so much shade.

Chalk loving perennials

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 10:50

Assuming it's sunny and well drained :-

achillea (various colours available), agastache, alliums, anemone blanda, anthemis punctata, artemisia, asters, aubretia, campanulas, catanache, coreopsis, delphiniums, dianthus, dictamnus alba, echinops ritro, erigeron, eryngium, hardy geraniums , geums, lavatera, lychnis, nepeta, papaver (oriental poppies), penstemon, persicria affinis, phlox, phormium tenax, alvias, scabiosa, sedums and verbascums.

This should give you plenty of choice for form, colour and season of interest with some bubs thrown in for early colour. 


 will give a good range of colour and form.

Choosing a clematis

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 07:44

I have an Etoile Violette growing over a metal arch abotut 3' wide and deep.  It is gorgeous but more vigorous every year so I would recommend it for a wall or trellis where it can spread further.

Little Nell is more delicate in flower.  Betty Corning is perfumed.  Princess Diana is a lovely rich pink.   Alba Luxurians has lovely flowers and more delicate looking foliage.  Caerulea Luxurians is also lovely.  Blue Angel aka Blekitny Atholl is lovely from front and back as it has a stripe on the reverse.

I found that Viennetta couldn't cope with my cold winters but Chrystal Fountain does.

Another good perfumed one is this - small flowers but you'll be able to see them, and smell  them, close up on an arch.


sorbaria sem pruning

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 07:31

Some trees, such as birch, will bleed copiously if pruned during the active growth period in spring.

Your sorbaria is a plant known for suckering and spreading when it's happy.  You can dig those up and pot them on or replant elsewhere.  I wouldn't prune the top growth back apart from taking out any obvious dead twiggy bits.   It doesn't get very tall and looks best when left to show off its lovely spring foliage followed by the frothy flower heads.

Three weeks ago I dug up 7 "babies" from one of these that I've had to leave to its own devices for 2 years because of various surgeries.  I have replanted them along part of my road edge border to make a bit of a hedge and they're already looking really good.  In future, I shall force my spade in vertically around their roots about a foot from the main stems in order to sever any roots heading off to make new plants.

Gardeners World 2014 BBC2

Posted: 09/03/2014 at 17:22

We currently have James Martin on food and cooking 5 days a week plus Mary Berry on Mondays and Saturday Kitchen on Saturdays plus Best of on Sundays and the Hairy Bikers on Thursdays.  

It seems to me that we could do with a similar spread of programmes on gardens and gardening promoting good techniques, how to make life easier and how to manage our ingredients - soil, weather, time, local climate, plants and equipment.  I'd be happy with a few prcatical gardening repeats too but not the A to Z they're churning out again here and there.  There were some lovely programmes on front garden design in the past as well as GH's special series and AT's How to series.

I did eventually watch the repeated GW this afternoon but I fell asleep.............  Kept it though so I can watch the bog garden again.  That was fab and I just happen to have a bog that needs sorting.

Where to put greenhouse?

Posted: 09/03/2014 at 17:12

Slightly shaded is fine as long as it gets plenty of light.   Next to the coldframe will be very handy for the hardening off process.

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