Latest posts by Obelixx

Garden design - blank canvas

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 23:13

You need to start with a list which identifies what you want in a garden.  eg seating area, eating area, grass, paving, plants for colour, perfume, ornamentals, veggies, herbs, fruit, pond, tree....

Then identify how much time you are willing or able to spend on building a garden and maintaining a garden and also how much money you have to spend on it now and in the future.

You also need to know what sort of soil you have as this will determine which plants can be expected to thrive and which will struggle - it can be clay, loam, sandy, a mix of these in different parts of the garden.  Also is it acid, neutral or alkaline.

Lastly, new build gardens tend to have lots of compacted sub soil and all sorts of rubble and gubbins below the surface.   Be prepared to do a lot of digging to improve the soil and remove crud and then working in lots of lovely compost and other organic matter to improve the soil.  

Get the initial preparation right and you'll have a lovely garden that will make you happy.  


Posted: 16/03/2017 at 23:02

Where can I get those mugs?   

Help with salix flamingo

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 22:19

Where have you planted it?  In the ground, in a pot?   A lot can depend on location and soil.

Hello Forkers - March Thread

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 22:16

We're back from dancing with clear skies and lots of sparkly stars up above.   Not to last tho.  Clouds and windy bits tomorrow.   We're having a day off gardening and going to a spring fair after I've done a coat in the middle annex.   Painting marathon here.

Lovely photo Liri.   I'm fine on boats but can get seasick doing a Viennese waltz...... or even a Paso Doble if there are too many turns, as I discovered this evening.

Pat - hope you feel rested soon.

Sweet dreams all.

Hello Forkers - March Thread

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 17:34

We've been to the SM and I found lamb's kidneys.  Haven't see those for over 2 decades!  Bought the remaining 2 packs.   The other end of the SM had a peach tree but I resisted cos I need to check varieties before taking the plunge.

I might have to start making my own crumpets.   I have the rings.........

23C as we left so OH went in shorts and a short sleeved shirt.  I asked him if he felt under dressed as we arrived at SM to find France still firmly in layers and layers of winter wear.    Cooler tomorrow so my legs are staying under cover for a while yet.

I've checked over my lily pots and seen no naughty creatures but we probably borught a few eggs with us so once the lilies grow I shall be checking regularly.

Lots and lots of lovely cowslips in the verges now.    Isn't it grand?

Hello Forkers - March Thread

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 14:36

Had to have a little snoozle after lunch cos my shoulders were really tired.  Been out and top dressed the hostas which are pushing roots out of their pots and got some mint and found Fabienne stressing about their dog - a geryhound/retriever cross so a natural chaser - watching our two kittens on our side of the fence.   Had to tell her that the cats have to take their chances and run up a tree if they trespass next door and their dog may gradually become accustomed, like ours did.

Coffee and shower now for a raid on a supermarket and then staying clean for dancing later.

I love liatris but it didn't like the Belgian garden.

Rose to climb through a magnolia

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 14:30

I agree.  A clematis will be better for the magnolia and you can cut back the group 3s once the leaves all go brown in autumn.  Just remember to mulch the base of the plant to protect the crown from frosts and don't plant it at the base of the tree where there will be too muck competition for water and nutrients and also difficult to dig a deep enough hole.

The same planting conditions would apply to a rose and you could try one of the repeat flowering ramblers.  David Austin list a few on their website but I'm not sure if they will grow tall enough to get to the light.

You don't say how tall yur tree is but If you do go for a clematis, you may need one that will grow a long way such as Huldine.   Don't go for a montana as they flower at the same time as your magnolia and are too rampant.    Don't go for  a group 2 either as they are fussy to prune right for maximum flowering.

Have you thought about lifting the crown on you magnolia and maybe thinning a few branches?  This involves removing lower branches to show more bare stem and then taking out one or two or more of the upper branches to make the tree more airy.  You should get a qualified tree surgeon to do it and during the dormant period or at least after flowering so it doesn't bleed.

Hello Forkers - March Thread

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 12:50

Wearing out my shoulders Dove.  Painted the annex again and then took the new loppers and the pruning saw to the mimosas.    The second one needs more attention but I came all over famished so stopped to make us lunch.

Now to get clean and go and raid the SM and take back the lovely new extendable loppers because one arm has lost its screw and its extension has fallen off.  Not useful.

We have apple int running wild in our grass so I shall take cuttings and grow a patch on purpose.   I alos have a tub of horseradish which needs liberating so the boring orange day lilies are coming out of their raised bed and I shall make that a herb patch and the horseradish can then go in the totally isolated stone raised bed with the one and only clematis we found growing here.   No idea what clem it is yet but it currently has thyme and arum italicum for company.

Last edited: 16 March 2017 12:51:10

Hello Forkers - March Thread

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 09:27

PDoc - adjusting to retirement can be difficult but it's do-able.   It can be like a process of mourning.

Are there no local groups that could do with volunteers so you could ease yourself down into enjoying "me time"?   Hospices, hostels, gardens,...........   The OU will stretch your brain and the volunteering will satisfy your need to be useful and allow you to recover your own health and strength.  And then, if you must, you can still head off to trouble spots but be less of a worry to your wife, family and new colleagues.

It's sunny here but still cool.  I've been out and watered all the pots we moved and fed yesterday as well as a few flowering shrubs that may need help to thrive.   2Nd coffee now then painting and then words with a mimosa that needs its crown lifting and then a bit of spraying to prepare the last bit of ground for the digger.

Have fun Liri.  Hope the visit goes well and you get your jobs done OK.

Enjoy the celebrations LP, and the sweet peas.

No primulas of any sort here but I shall be on the look out for some good ones to grow in the new hosta bed when I get it.   Wild primroses grow in the hedgerows and roadside ditches here but later on - April last year - and last week we saw our first solitary cowslip.

Lawn advice

Posted: 16/03/2017 at 09:13

If you can, buy a scarifier.  They're not that expensive and don't take up much space but they certainly earn their keep.

As for products, read the instructions on the pack for when and how densely to apply it.  You need to let the grass heal a couple of days after cutting before applying chemicals whether organic or not.   Don't be alarmed when things turn black.  It's a natural process of the treatment but don't overdo the dosage thinkin it'll be faster.  Yo'll just burn the grass too.

If there are large bare patches after you've scarified, rake the soil loose as it will be compacted and then, in April, sow a suitable seed - for shade, sun, hard wear etc.  It will take a few weeks and you'll need to water the seed if it doesn't rain.   Lave it to grow a few inches before giving it its first cut on the highest setting.   This will encourage it to strengthen and thicken.  

Never cut the rest of the lawn shorter than one inch high as this weakens the roots and allows weeds and moss to compete and grow.

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