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Latest posts by obelixx

Leylandii hedge

Posted: 03/08/2012 at 11:01

We did this a few years ago with a conifer hedge, taking off about 6'.  It helps to use large loppers or a pruning saw if needs be to cut the stems at a diagonal facing down and inwards so they are less visible.   As long as there is green growth left at the outer edges of the hedge it will regrow and cover up the cut stems and be easier to keep trimmed with normal hedgecutters.

To lift or not

Posted: 03/08/2012 at 10:58

Me too.  The best time to move things is autumn when most plants go dormant and thus suffer less shock from being moved.   It will also help to prune some of the top growth so the roots have less work to do maintaining the plant above soil and can concentrate on re-establishing themselves for a healthy future. 

Make sure the root ball is well watered before digging it out and that the new hole is ready for it to go into without it hanging around and risking drying out precious roots.  Add some bonemeal and some Rootgrow to the new hole to encourage new root growth.  Water well.

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Posted: 02/08/2012 at 15:05

I've just been wanging aquilegias, giant scabious and creamy aconitums.   Foxgloves have to wait till I get to their bed but there's enough wind to do it for me I suspect.  Have noticed loads of bees on white lavender, astilbes and hosta flowers.

Creating a Hedgerow

Posted: 02/08/2012 at 13:46

In my experience elders respond well to being hacked back, even the fancy ones like sambucus Black lace and the golden form.   You could plant another clematis such as tangutica Red Ballon to add flower interest later in the season.  i have one scrambled up a tree and never prune it.  It's loved by bees and the flowers start yellow then fade to a dusky red followed by twirly, silken seedheads.

The general rule for pruning shrubs is immediately after flowering if they flower before end of June.  Otherwise prune in late winter/early spring.   You will inevitable lose some flowers and thus fruits.  

You could also consider hawthorn and honeysuckle for your hedgerow as both provide nectar and fruit for birds and insects.  Being thorny, teh hawthorn also lets small birds shelter from predator cats and raptors.

A good garden centre should have hedgreow plants in stock come autumn.  Honeysuckle and clematis should be available all through the growing season.

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 02/08/2012 at 12:25

We have rescued a Labrador who is about 2 yrs old but behaves like a 4 month old pup at best - lots of leaping and bounding and playing.   We got him to keep our rescue terrier cross amused while I was laid up and unable to do walkies for several months.

She likes to dig up moles and rats and voles when she hears them underground so sometimes our lawn looks like a bombsite and I find plants in borders with their roots hanging in air.   He likes to chase butterflies and romp through the pond and sit or lie near me when I'm working so I have squashed hostas and bent plants and child gates on the living room so he doesn't spray pond juice all over the sofas.   I've also noticed brown patches appearing in the lawn where he's peed but the cons are far outweighed by the pros and we do love our daffy dogs.

I find long walks help, as do occasional play sessions and also making sure they have their own toys they can chase round the lawn rather than chasing each other round the borders.  The best one is a large knotted rope they can both get hold of and play tug-of-war.   A small football was good enough for Rasta when she was on her own but he shreds them in a few minutes.  

Climber to cover large wall

Posted: 02/08/2012 at 09:53

Dom, given their vigour, I would have though one of each would do the job.  It may take them a season or two to get there but there will be less refreeing afterwards.

I would give each plant its own separate planting hole and initial support to get it started so they don't compete for nutrients and I'd plant them spaced at 2 or 3 feet apart at the open end of the wall away from the rain and light shade of that tree/shrub to the left.

Climber to cover large wall

Posted: 01/08/2012 at 18:29

You could consider planting a Kiftsgate rose - gets to 30 ' and has scented creamy flowers in June followed by red hips in autumn which are good for birds.  Combine this with a clematis montana for spring flowers and a scented honeysuckle for summer flowers and you have an extended season of interest.    All offer nectar for insects and thus food for birds.

As stated, you'll need to support them but this is easy enough if you are permitted to screw in some serious vine eyes to the wall and then stretch heavy gauge wires between them.  You'll need a wire at 18" intervals up the wall.

Make sure you improve the soil with plenty of good garden compost and/or well rotted manure before planting and put your plants in at least 18" away from teh wall so their roots have better access to food and water to maintain growth and health.

Replanting between leylandii stumps

Posted: 01/08/2012 at 17:59

You should add goodies such as garden or bought compost and well rotted manure to the soil to improve it before planting.  For an instant screen, erect some trellis panels and grow climbers, or not, at your leisure, or you can put up 6' high fence panels and stretch wires alon,g those on vine eyes screwed to teh fence posts.  For a less instant result stretch wires between 6' high fence posts and train climbers along those.

Replanting between leylandii stumps

Posted: 01/08/2012 at 10:49

If they're that small then you can wiggle them out as and when you have time.  Remove all the branches to prevent them gorwing any more.  This will weaken the roots over the next few months.  Then just take a trunk and wiggle it out.  

We did this when we moved into our garden in Harrow in '82.  I thad a "hedge" of 30' high leylandii planted 3 feet or so apart.  Being innocents, we started by raising their crowns by cutting off all the lower branches to head height, thus uncovering a paved path down one side of the grass and a bare conifer border.  Suddenly our garden was 2 metres wider.   Then we got on step ladders and took out the tops, then took off some more till we were left with bare stumps which gradually got wiggled out as we worked our way down the 80' garden boundary over the next year.   Our neighbours were chuffed to bits as they suddenly had no more rain shadow and got afternoon and evening sun for them and their plants.

Invasive plants to avoid

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 19:16

I've been given some of the smaller alchemilla too so have to assume it has come from seedlings.  We'll see.

I'd rather have miscanthus zebrinus than bamboo as I find the ones I like with coloured stems you can strip bare to show off are always the most expensive and the rest are very ordinary and usually thugs.

I have hakonechloa aurea which is spreading nicely in a moist bed that only gets sun in summer.  Happy for that to go mad as it's lovely, especially in a breeze.

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