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Latest posts by obelixx

Pruning Pieris

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 14:48

Pieris flower in early to id spring so fall into what the RHS classifies as pruning group 8.  This just means prune lightly after flowering finishes.  If you prune it now you risk frost damage to the remaining foliage and flower buds and also fewer flowers next spring.

Here is what the RHS advises:-

When to prune evergreen shrubs

 You can prune most evergreen shrubs just before growth starts in mid-spring, after any risk of frost has passed. Pruning at this time will avoid frost damage to new shoots, and any pruning scars will be concealed by new growth. 

Evergreens that are still flowering or about to flower in mid-spring can be left until flowering has finished.

How to prune evergreen shrubs

 When pruning any evergreen shrub (except old, overgrown shrubs, see below), aim to remove about one-third of older wood in total.

  • Prune out any diseased, damaged or dead shoots using long-handled loppers or a saw if necessary
  • And finally, thin out crowded shoots and any badly positioned ones that spoil the shrub’s appearance
  • After pruning, plants benefit from mulching and feeding. Use either a general-purpose fertiliser or specialist rose or other high-potassium fertiliser

For convenience, we have divided evergreen shrubs into three groups on the basis of timing and type of pruning required:

1. Early flowering evergreen shrubs (Pruning group 8)

Timing: Prune immediately after flowering. 
Examples: Berberis, box (Buxus), CamelliaCeanothus, ChoisyaDaphne, HypericumMahonia,Pieris, Azalea (Rhododendron), RhododendronViburnum tinus.

Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 11:41

UN and other reports show that up to 50% of food production is lost, world wide, to poor harvesting methods, porr storage facilities, poor transport and logistics, over buying in developed countries leading to loads being chucked out and corruption in governments and customs.

There is plenty of food produced and enough to feed everyone so there needs to be some political and cvil will to sort out the rest.   We can do our bit by buying wisely and not overtsocking our larders with stuff that will be wasted.   Supermarkets could give food that is still edible but past a notional sell by date to food banks and hostels instead of chucking it out.

Governments across the world need to take steps to enable better harvesting, storage and transport and eliminate corruption and inefficiency.  The developed world has come a long way in food production and transport in the last 200 years.  The rest of the world needs to catch up as soon as possible by learning from our past and taking advantage of new strains, methods and technologies.   They don't all have to be high tech solutions that cost a fortune.


Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 10:34

Oh yes, Fair Trade for coffee and lemons and chocolate.

Td immunisations...

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 09:55

Here in Belgium we've been computerised for years and my doc reminds us all about boosters for tetanus and other stuff as well as annual checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and so on so we're all up to date - OH and me for gardening and Possum for horse-riding which is also mucky.  Her gardening genes haven't kicked in yet.  May have skipped a generation with her.

Supermarket fruit and veg

Posted: 15/09/2014 at 09:51

You don't have to buy fruit and veg that have come from half way round the world and you don't have to buy out of season either.

We all surely know that eating seasonally and freshly picked is best for nutritional and taste levels in our fruit and veg and also best for reducing energy consumption in producing and supplying it.    There are lots of recipes on BBC Food and BBC Good Food and other sites so we can vary our dishes and don't have to get bored with seasonal gluts.

When it comes to melons and peaches and fruits that don't do well locally I find it's best to buy them ready to eat in small quantities and eat them within a day or two.

The problem for me with buying produce grown in 3rd world countries is that they require enourmous resources of water and chemicals to grow and clean and pack and I just think they'd be better off growing local food to feed local people at reasonable prices and thus free the labour for something with greater added value which would benefit their economy.  I also fear that a lot of these companies are globally owned which means profits are not re-invested locally and taxes paid are probably minimal so no support for government social or economic projects either.


Plant (weed) identification 2

Posted: 14/09/2014 at 16:52

Not sure about the top picture as I can't expand it but the second one is definitely two plants.  The nepeta is the variegated one.  The other needs to have all its trailing stems gathered up and then the central stem and roots can be pulled out in one go.  

Water first to make it easier and reduce collateral damage to the nepeta.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 14/09/2014 at 16:49

It's a lovely colour and looks great.  

I've painted our bench a silvery grey and finally put it out in July after we'd renewed the path and bench area with fresh chipped bark.  I sat on it then to check it was OK but haven't had time since.

Don't sit at the terrace table much either.  Never seem to have that holiday, relaxing feeling in my own garden.  Always something to do.........

Looking after my gunnera

Posted: 12/09/2014 at 10:31

I had one wiped out completely but a surprise - 8C frost in October one year.  It had previously survived -20C under a 3' pile of compost.

This one is getting winter TLC in the greenhouse till it's big enough to plant out and will then get a very thick blanket of compost and straw every winter.   It's currently on my terrace in a 50cm pot sat in a saucer so it holds water and stays moist and is very happy.

Looking after my gunnera

Posted: 11/09/2014 at 22:45

It depends on how cold your garden gets in winter.   They come from Brazil and the central crown where the new growth points are is frost tender so you need to fold a couple of leaves over it and pile on a thick mulch of garden compost to protect it.   

However, since yours is still in a pot you could also lift it and keep it in a sheltered spot.  I sunk mine in the greenhouse border last winter and it was fine but we had a mild winter.  This year it's in a larger pot but will still be moved to the greenhouse once frosts are forecast and I will be sure to keep an eye on it and protect the crown more fully as we surely won't get two mild winters in a row.

Seed Suppliers who Sell Small Amounts of Seeds

Posted: 10/09/2014 at 16:01 do small packets and a wide range of interesting plants.  Prices vary but they're good value and I've had loads of success with their seeds.

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