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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 22/08/2013 at 09:27

I did this last year but I think I was too ambitious and did too many layers in a big ceramic pot.  The deepest tulips came up short and early and it looked messy most of the time as older foliage went over.   I shall turf them all out into the garden this autumn and then just do two layers with new bulbs for next year.


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 13:48

They were made from metal bars that you buy at builders' merchants.  They use them for reinforcing concrete.   They're made from iron as they rust if left out but not so much they can't be left out for years..

I have used this system since Monty showed them.  The thinner ones bend easily enough.   I used a railway sleeper post to bend mine in the middle to get the curve that goes round the plants then set it on the ground, put another piece of railway sleeper across it and stood on it to pull up the two ends to vertical.  

Then it's just a case of pushing the two ends into the soil either side of the plants to be supported and letting them fall into the curve.   They can stay out all year, don't bend or break in strong winds and disappear from view as the foliage and plant growth increases over the season.  


Posted: 21/08/2013 at 09:29

Use the glyphosate now and it should kill most of the top growth but still leave time for new growth to come from surviving roots and any seeds that germinate in the warmth and damp of September.   You can then apply glyphosate again to kill the new growth.  It takes two weeks for the prodcut to do its job and get to the roots and then another couple of weeks will be needed for germination and regrowth to show through so  you need to get at it asap.

You will probably need to do another spraying, or even two, in spring as some roots will inevitably survive or creep through from next door or arrive by seeds on the wind or birds so make sure you sow your wild flower seeds in trays in plugs so they get a head start and are good, sturdy little plants by thetime the gorund is ready to put them in.  This will give better results than just sowing seed if you can't clear the ground completely by digging and raking.


Posted: 19/08/2013 at 11:39

The best thing for breaking up clay soils is to add a good layer of mulch each year in autumn and winter when most plants are dormant.  Mulch can be well rotted alnure, well rotted garden compost, compost bought in from the council heaps or a commercial supplier, shredded paper and cardboard mixed with grass clippings and so on.  

Mulching in autumn gives the worms and other soil critters and micro organisms all winter to break it down and mix it up.   Don't bother trying to dig it in yourself as this is hard work and can also damage what soil structure and organisms are already there.

When you want to plant, just plant through the mulch and into the clay for deeper rooted specimens such as trees and shrubs and mix the soil up a bit so you don't get a sump which will attract water and drown their roots.

People always used to say potatoes were good for breaking up heavy soils but in fact it's the digging and earthing up and harvesting that does it and you still need mulch to improve the structure permanently.



Posted: 12/08/2013 at 13:22

If possible, paint the walls and/or fences white or cream to bounce any light around and help the plants. 

Hostas, uvularia, Solomon's seal, aquilegias, ferns, clematis, astilbes, geranium phaeum and geranium macrorhuizum, ligularias and hellebores all do well in beds along my north facing wall but they do get sun after 3pm in summer. Grassy haakonechloa does well too and has beautifully sunny and golden foliage.   I also have snowdrops and small daffs in those beds which get no direct sun at all during their flowering period.


Posted: 12/08/2013 at 11:00

The annual fee to join the RHS is extremely good value - cheaper than an anuual sucbscription to many gardening magazines and you get a monthly magazine, free access to the RHS gardens and quite a few more plus free advice if you need it for a particular problem and access to the shows on members' days.


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 12:12

Patience.  Peace lilies are resilient but you'll have to wait and see if it recovers over the next few weeks.

If it does, water it in future by dunking it in a bowl or bucket of tepid water till no air bubbles appear at the top and then let it drain completely.  Water it only when a finger pushed into its compost up to the first knuckle feels dry.   This should be about once a week in summer but less in winter.

They also appreciate a spritz of moisture on their leaves from time to time.

They don't like chlorinated water so if your tap water is chlorinated, put out a bowl or bucket the night before so the chlorine can dissipate overnight.



Posted: 08/08/2013 at 11:21

Looks like an imposter to me and rather healthy so wait and see if it produces a different flower stem.


Posted: 08/08/2013 at 09:52

It's not always safe to go buy what your neighbours grow.  Across from me is a farm and riding centre and their garden is on deep sand which they try and improve with cartloads of horse manure each year but still have to come to me for a rhubarb crop as I am on deep loam over a clay subsoil.

My soil is alkaline with neutral pockets and very fertile.   The next nearest garden is acid to neutral and can grow ericaceous plants whereas I have very good clematis and lavender and brassicas.   Most plants don't mind alkaline soil if it's as fertile as mine but some just can't get the essential minerals they need, such as iron and magnesium, as the calcium locks it from their roots.

The RHS plant selector site gives good cultivation info on plants it lists but Google will find info for those it doesn't.    The RHS also publishes good gardening guides and the DR Hessayon series is also very helpful, simple and cheap. 

I would beware of investing in the big encyclopedias too soon as they are expensive and go out of date as new plants are introduced but are lovely to browse and make wish lists and generally improve knowledge.   The RHS has also recently introduced a new, more detailed system of hardiness ratings which won't be in the encyclopedias just yet.  Worth waiting for them to catch up.



Posted: 07/08/2013 at 18:00

You can buy soil tester kits from a garden centre.   Follow the instructions and make sure you use distilled water, not tap.  

You can look up plants online to find out their cultivation needs - soil PH, shade, sun, moisture, exposure and hardiness.   The RHS also publishes a huge book of garden plants which you could probably consult at your local library before deciding to buy.

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