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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:51

I have a damp, shady bed next to my terrace that is particularly pleasing at the moment - golden hakonechloa, yellow day lilies, a golden dwarf conifer with ferns unfurling, blue, green and variegated hostas, tall white primulas and an astilboides all performing now to be followed by astilbes, Japanese anemones and chelones in shades of pink and purple.   Some aquilegias and sweet rocket have self sown and it's looking stunning, all offset by a low hedge of blue toned conifer between it and the grass beyond.  In early spring there are snowdrops, dwarf daffs, shorter primulas, helleborus foetidus and snake's head frits.   Fab.

All the other beds are as weedy as the fashionable stuff seen at Chelsea - not a good look - but they'll have to wait till I am fully recovered from the neck op.  However I love the rhythm of golden and purple foliafe shrubs along the back border - golden sambucus and a purple acer, another golden sambucus witha physocarpus diabolo, a golden robinia frisia with a prunus cerastifuga to one side and a sambucus black lace to the other.  The gold is picked up by phlomis russeliana and the purple by self swon sweet rocket and verbena bonariensis and some clems.    Out the front I have a purple smoke bush and a gold/bronze conifer which glow in sunshine and even on grey days.


RHS and National Trust.

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 08:45

The RHS is a gardening charity intended to promote horticultural excellence and to disseminate information, advice, training and advice to gardeners both professional and amateur.  It undertakes research into pests, diseases, best techniques, best plants and trains gardeners.  It promotes gardening in schools, in the commnity and in private. 

The National Trust is a charity devoted to preserving British heritage.  It buys, or is bequeathed, historical houses of particular cultural or historic significance as well as gardens and landscapes which it works to maintain and preserve for posterity and in doing so keeps old crafts such as traditional carpentry and stone masonry and so on alive too..




trimming blackcurrants

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 16:11

If you can wait a few weeks until the fruits are ready you can prune the blackcurrants without harming next year's crop by simply cutting out all the fruiting stems and then picking off their fruits at your leisure while sitting comfortably on your favourite garden chair with a suitable beverage at hand.  This leaves enough non fruiting new shoots to mature over the summer and produce fruits next year and keeps your bushes to a reasonable size.

I'm not sure if this system would work on redcurrants as mine have not yet grown so big I need to cut them back.

Talkback: Most hated plants

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 16:07

Anything that looks plastic so begonias, busy lizzies, exotic orchids although native meadow European orchids are lovely.

Euphorbias in all their forms - native, exotic, poinsettias.

Bedding plants and schemes from marigolds to Love Lies Bleeding and the Victorian and public planting schemes usuing flowers and foliage in gaudy colours and formations.

Golden Rod.

And then the abominations like pink delphiniums, blue roses, pink daffs and so on.   Definitely not an improvement on nature.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:14

Grasses are wind pollinated so don't do anything to provide nectar for insects so do indeed use the black grass which is actually a form of lily and has blue flowers in late spring/early summer.

Bronze forms of carex buchananii are evergreen and clump forming and will neither get too high nor invade.  They look extremely good with verbena bonariensis which does grow tall but is light and airy and also has nectar and pollen for insects.

You could also consider forms of stipa such as tenuensis or even gigantica as this forms a fairly low mound of grassy foliage with tall, elegant stems of oat like flower and seed heads.

shade loving ground cover

Posted: 03/06/2012 at 08:43

Thank you Bookertoo and Betty.  I'm going to try moving some of mine into my 'woodland' area where the only things prospering in one large area are nettles.  Not ideal ground cover.

I've found some proper bluebell seeds to try for a spring carpet, have geranium phaem seddlings I can move and am collecting dryopteris ferns so, just as soon as I get the all clear following my op, I'll be out there with gusto and optimism and aiming for a beautiful transformation.

'weeds' at Chelsea

Posted: 01/06/2012 at 23:26

Obelixx actually thinks exotics are anything a bit wussy about cold temperatures and native is from Europe, given that she lives in Belgium now.

The Korean garden won the RHS president's award for best garden because of the concept and execution but that doesn't make it something you want in your own back yard.  Cleve West won Best Garden from the judges, Diarmuid got Most Creative garden but a silver gilt medal and the People's Choice was Thomas Hoblyn's Arthritis garden.

'weeds' at Chelsea

Posted: 01/06/2012 at 11:55

You can see my photos here - but I didn't take photos of the weedy gardens as they neither interested nor excited me.    I saw a baby blackbird in the Korean war and peace garden but there were more insects and birds flitting about in the other gardens.

Good luck with your new garden.  Sounds like it needs truck loads of garden compost. 

I have moved from an acid, clay soil in Harrow to an alkaline but fertile loamy soil in central Belgium and much harder winters which have been deadly these last 4 years.   Bit of a shock to me and a lot of my treasures.

'weeds' at Chelsea

Posted: 01/06/2012 at 11:12

It's actually possible to attract wildlife such as beneficial pollinating insects and hedgehogs and amphibians to a garden without growing weeds.  Growing single flowers instead of sterile doubles provides masses of nectar and they're not fussy about whether it comes from imports such as buddleia or home grown weeds.  It's also easy enough to make insect, hedgehog and bat shelters and provide nesting boxes for birds and log piles for insects and amphibians to shelter.

I actually found the "natural" planting at Chelsea did just look weedy and in need of a good strim.  I'd rather have an attractive tapestry of plants with varied flower forms and foliage contrasts.    I don't do exotics as my garden is too cold but I do have plants from Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa and even a zantedeschia from New Zealand that survives over by the pond and my garden is full of birds, rodents such as field mice as well as larger and less welcome cousins, insects and amphibians and no doubt countless creepy crawlies I never see. 

Roses growing through Hazle mounds at Chelsea

Posted: 30/05/2012 at 14:27

I've looked but I can't find the instructions.

I've done willow weaving and it will root if fresh but not if older and dried.  However it doesn't last long.  One good winter is enough to wreck an obelisk.

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10 threads returned