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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 11/09/2013 at 09:11

How big are they?  I collected some tiny ones 3 years ago from a nursery in Cumbria and they are only just getting to about a foot wide and 6" high and haven't flowered yet.   No confusion about seasons though as some leaves are starting to colour up a beautiful red.  One or two leaves turning on the neighbouring blueberries too.

All of them are looking very healthy though so fingers crossed for a good crop this year.  The blossom on the blueberries was frozen at just the wrong moment so we only had about a dozen berries in all this year.

Fingers crossed for better luck next year and I hope you get a good crop too.

Moans about GW

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 21:32

I like Beechgrove.  It's packed with interesting info without seeming rushed and crowded and I like the mix of presenters.  Some of their plants and schemes are a bit old fashioned but since Chris Beardshaw arrived this season we've had some lovely ideas and info about old and new techniques for doing things plus the whys and wherefores.

I find GW isn't challenging enough nor is it relative to the vast majority of urban and suburban gardeners and their small plots.  Monty's garden is interesting and has some gorgeous plants but is too far removed from the norm in form and content.'  I can do with less of NIgel and the arty (time wasting) strolling shots and more actual gardening too.

GW is so relaxed and laid back that I find myself falling asleep and it can take me four or five goes to watch a 30 minute programme through to the end.   Having said that, I strongly disapporve of it being pushed aside for sport or anything else.  30 minutes a week is surely not too much to ask for in a whole week's schedule.   If they absolutely must they could air it earlier in the day in place of a repeat of one of the daytime progs on its 3rd or 5th time round.  At least then we can record it and watch it when we can instead of doing without completely.

Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 21:10

Conifers suck all the nutrients and moisture out of the soil for quite a distance so make sure you work in plenty of goodness, as suggested above.   removing lower branches will at least allow in more rain and light.


Posted: 09/09/2013 at 19:38

Not a tuneful bird but it's good to hear their chatter.  Our flock has done well too and tends to gather all together in the shrubs near the feeders or have conferences in the conifer hedge which has a hollow centre.

They nest in the eaves and seem to have done well this year here too.  For the last couple of weeks they've been feeding on spilled grain after the wheat harvest in the fields behind but are now returning to my feeders.   They and the assorted tits have done a terrific job hoovering pests off my brassicas, clematis and I've had no bovver from aphids or caterpillars.  Just a few naughty slugs and a very busy and irritating mole who's been tunneling under the beetroot and fennel patch.

What's best to grow in terracotta pots

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 13:19

You could paint it inside and out with a couple of coats of clear acrylic varnish which is water based and that will help with water absorption and give some protection from frost damage.

I would then suggest a simple, hardy ornamental grass such as carex bronze beauty which is evergreen and will give year round interest.   The foliage will dance in the breeze and glow in the sun and just needs coming through by hand (wear gloves) or with a rake in spring to remove dead foliage.    


Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:21

One thing you can do is raise the crown of your trees to allow in extra light and water.  This simply means removing the lowest branches to expose mor etrunk and then thinning out crossing branches inside the crown to show of fthe structure of branches and let more air flow.

After that, the choice of plants will depend on how exposed your garden is to wind and frosts and the type of soil you have.   If possible, improve teh soil by forking in a good amount of well rotted garden compost and/or manure and then add a thick mulch of teh same stuff for the worms to work in over winter once you've planted and watered.

Plants to consider include hardy geraniums macrorrhizum and phaeum which do well in shade and dry soils, euphorbia amygloides "Purpurea", iris foetidissima, forms of lamium maculatum and vinca minor.

All of these have flowers and some have variegated foliage.  You can look them all up on the RHS Plant Selector - 

Allium seeds

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 09:10

I quite agree with your programme of sowing Berghill.  I'll be trying it myself to see if I can raise some Schubertii that will last more than one season here - challenging frost and munching rodents - but first I have to plant the bulbs to get the seed.......

Wooden garden furniture

Posted: 08/09/2013 at 14:27

Haisi.  I live in central Belgium, 30 mile south of Brussels.  Winter can last 5 to 6 months in a bad year and tend to be wet but with two or three weeks of very cold, dry conditions when the  winds come from Siberia and take us down to -15C to -20C.

Recent winters have been very hard with regular and sustained dips down below -20C and even to -32C, usually without a protective blanket of snow so yes, I try to take care of my teak table.  I've put plastic studs under its feet to keep them from sitting in water and tend to put shallow bricks under one end so it's tilted enough for water not to sit on the surface.

Wooden garden furniture

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 15:55

Olive oil with a drop of lemon juice is fine for sealing wooden worktops in kitchens.  i sue it on my beech counters.  However, for external use, teak oil is best as it absorbs and preserves well without making a crust and is easily cleaned up in spring.  

I like the golden glow of my teak table but it's too big to take under shelter so it gets left out all winter in temps down to the late -20sC.  last year, I was fed up of doing the annual spring clean with the sander and oiling it so I spent extra time giving it a coat of special wood preservative with a pale grey patina an dthen sealed that with a special coat of protector.

Lo and behold, these too products are not good down to -28C and have flaked off or grown algae so I've had an even longer job sanding it all off and have gone back to feeding with teak oil.  Next spring will be the last so I know it has a good seal of oil and then it can age with grace and go a natural silvery grey.


Setting up a large wooden planter.

Posted: 07/09/2013 at 15:47

Good advice from Dove.  I would also suggest lining the inside walls with black plastic or small grade bubble wrap and stapling it to just below compost level as this will reduce water absorption by the wood and, if you use bubble wrap, give an extra bit of insulation against frosts in winter.

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