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Latest posts by obelixx

really need help

Posted: 21/08/2012 at 21:28

Like any domestic project it's all in the preparation.    If you want a newly decorated room to look good the first thing you do is clear all the crud you don't need or want and put all the stuff you do want in a safe place (or cover it) and then tackle the cleaning and preparation of surfaces for painting, papering; flooring etc.

Sorting out a garden is the same.  Clear the rubbish, tidy up what's left and see what you want to save or recycle.  Small people are generally safer on a soft surface such as grass so I'd agree with the sugegstion of making a lawn at the bottom level unless those slabs are laid on thick concrete or drianage is poor and a lawn would just become a muddy bog.

Then decide what features you want and also how much time a week you have to devote to garden maintenance ( horticultural equivalent of dusting and vaccing) and then choose to add features accordingly - flower beds, herbs, veggies, shrubs, a seating area, a dining area and so on.   I'd do something about that timber wall first though as it doesn't look strong enough to last and a collapse would be disastrous for anything you do in the future, on either level. 

As for budget, you can do it very cheaply growing a lawn from seed in either September or next April/May.  You can also grow flowers from seed next spring and ask friends, family and neighbours for cuttings and divisions of plants you like.  Whatever you plant though, soil preparation is key to success so remove rubble and rubbish and add some home made compost which you can get for free by making a heap now and recycling raw fruit and veg peelings and scraps from your kitchen along with paper, cardboard and so on.

Doing things in small bites is good advice.  Select one goal or project at at a time and see it through so you can feel proud of yourself and encouraged by the progress rather than looking at it all as one mammoth and overwhelming task.  

Come back when you have questions too as there's plenty of people here who can advise and suppost.


Planting along a garden path

Posted: 20/08/2012 at 22:07

I too would recommend English lavender such as Hidcote or Munstead Dwarf.  I have a hedge of the former and it has withstood some very harsh winters in the 12 years it's been planted.  It provides perfume and is a bee magnet.  If you leave the trimming till some of the flowers have set seed, you'll have babies to grow on in case you do need replacements?

Robinia Frisia - brown spotted leaves - treatment?

Posted: 20/08/2012 at 16:37

Like I said, there's no known treatment and no certain cause either.  Various factors could be at play as stated here - and research is ongoing.

If yours is badly affected, get rid.  Mine has had its first bad year so I will give it one more year and then probably get rid if it continues as it's certainly not attractive this year.   I might replace it wit a gleditsia which has golden foliage without the problems or a gingko.    The rambling rose I was pondering can go up a purpose built support with a clematis.

Robinia Frisia - brown spotted leaves - treatment?

Posted: 20/08/2012 at 13:52

As far as I know there is no treatment available and the tree will eventually die so the question is, do you take it out now or after watching it struggle for a few more years till it's dead?

I have one too that seems to have caught th ebug and am debating removing it or growing  a rambling rose up it.  Decisions decisions.

Albizia not flowering

Posted: 19/08/2012 at 15:19

Patience!  It's small yet for all the commitment of energy needed to flower and produce seeds.  Give it time and keep feeding and watering and you'll get your reward in due time.

Frugal gardening techniques

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 15:17

I think frugality comes as much in using the appropriate product - and thus wasting neither time nor money - as from being thrifty so, for example, I do spray our weedy paths and boundaries with a glyphosate based product as it works out cheaper, quicker and less smelly than gallons of white vinegar.   I use no other garden chemicals.

I also always buy in fresh seed sowing compost and and fresh planting compost for tubs, baskets, window boxes etc as it gives best results and reduces disease.  However, I recycle old compost as a soil conditioner or mulch on the garden.

We have a "compost corner" in the kitchen for all waste which can go on the compost heaps - fruit and veg trimmings, egg shells, coffee grounds etc and also compost the grass after lawn mowing, weeds after they've been pulled and left to dry for a day or so, cardboard and so on.   I've been much better at collecting seeds from my favourite garden perennials this year and taking cuttings form plants I've pruned to use as spares, swaps or give away.

Sowing seeds for the veggie plot is generally cheaper than buying plugs but I still buy plugs of most salad leaves as it saves me time and space for seeds of more unusual veg I can't buy.    Similarly, we grow soft fruits which are easy to grow but cost a fortune for a small punnet in shops.


Albizia not flowering

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 14:59

They are grown as street trees in Tuscan seaside towns and also in the Charentes region of France and no doubt other hot and sunny areas.  I've seen them in flower and they're glorious but always on big mature trees.  Maybe you just need some patience with yours before it gets to flowering size.

You could also try giving it regular doses of high potash feed from next spring as this will encourage flower formation.  Rose, clematis or tomato food will do.


Clematis Pruning

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 12:20

As far as I know, Constance is an alpina with deep pinky red flowers and that would make it a group 1 which flowers in spring on old wood and should not be pruned at all except to keep it in bounds and renew vigour.

Hurrah! New Gardening Prog.

Posted: 16/08/2012 at 19:29

I don't understand why homes like these are not required to have safe and stimulating outside areas where inmates, families and staff can enjoy the outdoors in security and comfort.  Why does the Beeb have to send in the "experts" and drum up help from the community.  It should be a standard feature of all care homes for the elderly, disabled, whatever.

As for the programme, I missed the first 15 minutes and, given what we got, won't be in a hurry to watch the next three programmes.

As LL says, we need help for people of any background and experience to cope with their plot, be it from scratch or just needing a tweak or two, so they can make it a resource for their family to relax in, play in and/or feed themselves.  This programme won't do it and nor will GW in its current form so a new series is clearly needed.

Get Rid of your Lawns

Posted: 13/08/2012 at 19:08

As I recall from previous appearances on GW, Bob Flowerdew thinks gardens are productive places for growing food and keeping hens.  He is not too bothered with aesthetics and thinks nothing of filling his garden with od fridges and freezers and piles of tyres inorder to make cold frames and water reservoirs.

Clearly, for him, a lawn is a waste of space.

I can see that a lawn may be an uphill task in dry places where they go brown every summer and sitting and relaxing areas are better served with a terrace and table, chairs and lounger or  hard to keep well in poorly drained and northerly aspects where they just grow moss but for most of the UK there is an adequate supply of rain to make a span of grass, even one that's mostly green from clover and other weeds, a thing of beauty that is easy to maintain, sets off the borders to perfection and provides a safe playing surface for children, pets and doddery relatives as well as a place to lie and enjoy the sun, read a book or just relax with family and friends.

I have a large garden with large borders, a veggie patch and a terrace and we need a sit on to cut our grass but it consumes at most 5 litres a month of petrol and gets a weed and feed maybe every 2 years so isn't an ecological disaster.   It will get smaller when the next phase of house renovation starts but will still be an essential feature of our garden. 





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