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Latest posts by obelixx

Christmas tree needles turning brown

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 20:35

I think it's too late too but you could try reviving it with one soluble aspirin dissolved per pint of water.  It contains salicylic acid which is a natural growth hormone found in willow plants and can help sickly plants.

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 20:32

Snow certainly helps.  I've lost less when we've had the blanket than when we have weeks of bitter east winds and -15C or below and no snow.   Jan6 2009 we had a -32C out the back which was -26C at the front and nearly saw off my Kiftsgate.   It did see off several roses, several clematis and a dozen or more hitherto hardy and evergreen shrubs like viburnums, eleagnus, choisya and mahonia plus some conifers and a fancy hibiscus.

I now concentrate on sturdy plants that will survive and don't spend money on fancy versions and new varieties.     Looks like I've lost my Geoff Hamilton and William Shakespeare roses this year and my Orange Peel Hamamelis but I'll wait and see till June.

Where have all the hostas gone?

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 18:26

I do get serious frosts down and -25C is not unsuual in recent winters.    +38C happens for at least a week most summers.

All my pots for show are either thick, frost proof ceramic or terracotta look plastic.  Real terracotta isn't frost proof enough and flakes.  It also absorbs too much moisture in summer and can leave roots dry.   To save on weight and give some winter insulation, I use corks as ballast and crocks in the bottom.   They allow drainage but also absorb some water so roots don't dry out too quickly.    Works for my hostas, lillies, shrubs, herbs, dahlias, acers and veggies.

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 18:19

I certainly hope so.   I once hosted an East Midlans nurseryman from near Loughborough who came over to give a talk to the Brussels Gardeners Club one March about 10 years ago.  We had -6C by day -15C at night and no signs of green shoots anywhere and iron hard ground.  He was horrified as he thought -6C was a hard frost in his garden.    He had kindly borught me cuttings of some exciting new introductions of evergreen shrubs from Oz and NZ but not one survived.


environmental responsiblity

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 18:00

I'm not so sure.  Unless you read gardening mags regularly, or chat with up-to-date gardeners, it's not exactly widely publicised that certain prodcuts are no longer legal to use.    I meet all sorts of gardeners who don't know stuff has been banned and that old products have to be disposed of properly and not just poured away or dumped in the bin.

Unless relationships with this neighbour are bad, or he/she is know to be an idiot, a quiet word might go a long way and failingthat, a word with the environment office at the local council.



Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 17:54

It does get colder here.   -15C for 2 or 3 weeks at a a time is common in winter and in recent years -20 and 25C have been known too.   It's not so bad if we have snow but lethal without that blanket.    Funnily enough, my box cuttings have coped, along with some persicaria divisions but no green shooots yet on the baby dragons kept in the same sheltered corner.   

However, I never give up on shrubs till June.    Last year I was about to bin my fig in a pot when I spotted shoots in mid June.    I put it in the ground to see if it would do any better but it didn't think much of this winter either so I've moved it to the greenhouse and given it a pep talk.  

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 16:13

Bookertoo - I did root them in water and then potted them up but theyve had this winter to contend with so it's  a case of wait and see.   Mama dragon looks OK though so I'll take some more as insurance later on.

A couple of years ago my sister-in-law went green when she saw my tree as she'd spent a fortune and loads of petrol going round all the florists buying it up for her son's wedding decs.   Could have had it all free if she'd said.

Dragon claw willow

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 15:25

Well, I never knew my twisted willow was also called Dragon's Claw.   Much better name.

Mine was summarily hacked  to a stump last autumn by a man with a chain saw when the local electricity distribution board came looking for the causes of a power cut.   Two bird sown willows on the edge of my land had been blowing around in the gales and caused overhead cables to short.  They decapitated my Dragon's Claw too as a preventive measure. 

It has new shoots just starting but I'm still waiting for the cuttings I took to hsow any growth.   Have to be patient.


herbs in oil

Posted: 22/04/2013 at 10:49

I've put garlic cloves in virgin olive oil for years and am still alive.   Chillies and basil too.    And I've done strips of lemon peel in gin for a friend who likes G&T ebfore dinner when she stays and chillies in vodka for another friend who likes Bloody Marys but I have to say the chilli quickly reached lethal proportions so should be strained out after 3 or 4 weeks.

Morello cherry cordon

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 20:41

Morellos are often recommended by experts for planting up againts north facing house walls and have been for decades.    I can't see that they would still be doing that if problems had arisen.   If you buy one on a dwarfing or medium root stock it won't be invasive under or over ground.

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