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Latest posts by obelixx

Killing Comfrey

Posted: 07/09/2015 at 23:08

Instead of digging you could strim or otherwise cut off all the current foliage as far and wide as the entire clump you wish to remove.    When the comfrey regrows - and it will - cut all the lovely new foliage and dump it in a large old dustbin with a lid.  Cover with water and leave for 2 weeks.   Stir well - at this point you'll understand the need for a lid.   Dilute the resulting mix and use to to feed flowering and fruiting plants next spring and summer.

When it regrows again, spray carefully with a glyphosate solution which will kill the new foliage and the leaves.  It takes 2 weeks so be patient and be prepared to repeat a couple of times as comfrey roots go deep and take a while to die and the smallest piece can regrow.

Once it's all dead you can just fork over the bed without going too deep then layer on some good garden or bought compost and plant your new treasures.



privacy screen

Posted: 01/09/2015 at 17:47

Neither.  If the garden is sheltered dig in and layer on loads of lovely well rotted compost and manure to improve water retention and nutrient levels then plant lots of lovely clematis and honeysuckle and roses for perfume and pyracantha which is good for wildlife and evergreen.

Bamboos and conifers offer very little for wildlife and can run away with themselves all too quickly and end up being a nightmare of dullness.

Island beds - are they a bit twee or retro?

Posted: 01/09/2015 at 10:02

Go for it.  friends of mine have been doing this in their garden ever since they visited the Blooms' garden at Foggy Bottom.

They have a large garden so indulge themselves in themes of seasonal interest, colour or form so they have a winter bed, a grasses bed (very boring), a hot colour bed, a spring bed, a cool colours bed and the latest which I have yet to see is spiky formed plants with hots colours so lots of hemerocallis, kniphofias and crrcosmia.  

It does indeed mean something new to see round every corner and you do want to turn the corners.

Advice for my rose Falsataff please...

Posted: 31/08/2015 at 18:57

I have one doing similar things this year but not quite so exuberantly.  Try tying the stems down a bit at a time until they end up diagonal.  They'll produce flowering shoots next year.

Gardeners and their 4 Legged friends

Posted: 31/08/2015 at 11:28

We always had cats but 7 years ago we took in a rescue dog who was badly in need of TLC and grooming.  Her coat was like sheep's wool with a 3" layer of felted mat underneath which proved impenetrable so we had her shaved.  She was skeletal.

 3 months later she's bouncing with health.

 4 years later we got her a playmate - another rescue dog who had never been outside in his 3 years of life and was frightened of anything new but soon settled in and loves having a garden and going on long runs.  He's still frightened of new stuff but is a joy.

 He too was underweight but not starved and is now a bouncing fit boy.

The last of our current menagerie is Pusscat who we found hiding in an outhouse one cold September 5 years ago.  She too was starving after being abandoned.   5 years later she's fit and healthy despite 2 ops for breast cancers and another for neutering where they found polycystic ovaries.   She's finally decided we can be trusted and comes for cuddles but does not approve of dogs so lives upstairs apart from occasional forays into the

 garden when she decides to sneak out.

Both dogs "help" with gardening.  Rasta hunts moles and rats and digs.  Bonzo lies next to me when I'm working, often on new plants to keep them warm you understand.



BBC -entertainment or education?

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 12:57

There used to be a regular GW slot with Pippa Greenwood doing pests and diseases and that could be brought back in some form with additional info on beneficial insects and critters.

The current GW is very much about Monty's garden and his way of doing things which doesn't suit a lot of people with limited time, space and budgets and he's also in a cold, wet part of the country so his style is too idiosyncratic and his season is out of kilter with half the UK.

I still watch but haven't learned anything new or do-able for my garden for ages.  thank heavens for the visits to other gardens and the inestimable Beechgrove.   I suspect BBC 4 is more likely to produce an intelligent, scientific based garden show than anything the English branch of BBC 2 might commission these days.

Climbers, fences and shade

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 11:59

I never think of alpinas as the ones I planted some years ago, along with two montanas, all got frozen to death in heavy late March frosts and as they flower on old wood that's no good.  They do have lovely flowers though.

Summer flowering clems do it on new season's stems so escape frost damage and their flowers would bridge the gap between pyracantha blossom and berries.

Climbers, fences and shade

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 11:37

If they're well fed and watered in in autumn they'll have all winter to grow some good new roots and get a head start on spring.  They'll only need a season or two to get to height and you can fill the gap with annual climbers such as sweet peas or just let a well chosen clematis have its head.

Climbers, fences and shade

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 11:24

Have a look at this article here on the RHS - 

I would suggest pyracantha which has woody stems so would support its own weight but can be tied in to a wire framework screwed to your posts and stretched across your fence panels so it hides the posts.   If you plant several of them at regular intervals you can cut the leader at the top of the trellis and train all the side shoots along horizontally.  Remove any shoots that grow out away from the fence and can't be bent in and tied to the framework.

It is evergreen, has spring blossom attractive to birds and insects and autumn berries attractive to birds.  When mature it provides good shelter for birds and insects and a good backdrop for other plants.

I wouldn't go for a montana clem as they are very vigorous and need constant training to stop them getting top heavy and bare at the base.   A viticella such as Etoile Violette will provide flowers all summer long from June to September but can be cut back in autumn once the foliage goes brown to reduce wind resistance.  It then needs to be cut back to about 9" in March and given a very generous feed of clematis food to encourage all the new stems and flowers and occasional liquid tonics of tomato feed.   Blue Angel is a good clem if you prefer lighter flowers but will take longer to get established and produce lots of stems.  Huldine will spread to 6 metres if well trained and has lovely pale flowers with a bar on the reverse.

As FG says, bulk up your soil with loads of well rotted manure and/or garden compost before you plant anything.


planting grasses

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 11:03

B3 - imperata Red Baron is not hardy here and nor are any of the pennisetums or stipas or uncinias.   Verdun gardens in the very mild south west so he can grow many plants that just won't do in a colder, wetter climate.

Miscanthus, molinia, carex and hakonechloa are much hardier.   When planting perennials in between, allow space for the foliage of the grasses to do their fountain thing.   They can be much wider than their root ball would suggest and you don't want the foliage spilling over and hiding your perennials.

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