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Latest posts by obelixx

Wildflowers - to dig over soil before planting or not?

Posted: 25/07/2012 at 11:59

The trouble with a native wildflower meadow is that it's all over by July and looks dull and is, more importantly, of no use to pollinators for teh rest of teh summer and autumn.

I would echo the advice to raise plants form seed and plant them as plugs to give them a head start.  I would also include yellow rattle in the mix to weaken the grasses.  For late season interest and food for insects I would include echinaceas, heleniums, achilleas and other so called prairie plants.  These are perennial so you'd have to plan not to mow.   If you sow and plant annual wildflower seeds each season for a few years the flowers will eventually out compete the grasses and you'll have an insect haven.


Poorly clematis

Posted: 25/07/2012 at 11:25

It's a bit late to prune them now but you could give them a feed of special clematis food and an instant tonic of liquid tomato food to encourage growth and flowering.  Come September, give them a sprinkling of bonemeal to encourage root production.

I'm assuming you planted them at least 4 inches deeper than tehy were in their pot.  If not, it may be worth digging them up after a generous watering and replanting at the proper depth as this helps keep their roots cool and encourage the formation of new shoots. 

Next spring in Feb or March, depending on the weather, give them a good feed of general fertisliser such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure and a liquid tonic of rose or tomato food.  That will encourage good roots and foliage.   Then feed regularly with clematis food from spring to mid summer.

The Montana should only be pruned when it gets out of bounds and then only after flowering is over.  The tangutica, Arabella and Jackmannii should be pruned back to the lowest pairs of buds in March as they regrow each season and flower on the new shoots..

wild flowers

Posted: 24/07/2012 at 14:49

I suspect the one you want is Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'.  You can buy it as a plant but it tends to be expensive as it's fashionable or you can google for a seed supplier.

Talkback: Feeding birds in summer

Posted: 19/07/2012 at 21:23

I hang peanut and fat ball feeders from a high cross bar held up on two 2.5 metre posts.  There's also a tray with loose seed in that the ground feeders are learning to use as well as the turtle doves.   This means I can put less food on the ground and, by teh tim ethe pheasants, jays and early ground feeders have finished there's not much left for the rodents.  I have other penut and fat ball feeders strung up around the garden near roses so waiting birds come and feed on any aphids.

I put sachets of poisoned food down near their tunnele ntrances every now and again and that delas with the rats.


Posted: 19/07/2012 at 13:09

Make sure it's planted in a sheltered spot.  Mine died in its second winter at -15C.  After the first one it decided to become a shrub as all the top growth was dead but it regrew from the base.  The second winter finished it off.

High Boundary

Posted: 19/07/2012 at 09:27

You could plant a "hedge on stilts" inside your boundary and have just a 6' fence on the boundary.  You plant a row of hedge such as beech, copper beach, hornbeam or even catalpa and use a system of tall posts and cross bars to train horizontal stems to provide a privacy or shade barrier.  There's a photo here to illustrate -

They are used a lot here in Belgium to provide shade in parking areas, privacy in gardens and also just as attractive features within gardens because they give height and structure without bulk and you can plant other things beneath them.

Strengthening river banks

Posted: 18/07/2012 at 14:48

Just pull or dig up the surplus trees.  The remainder can be controlle din one of two ways.

We have pollarded willows growing along a stream that makes the boundary between our paddock and the neighbour's.   This involves cutting them back in autumn or winter while they are dormant and taking the branches back to a main trunk about 3 metres high.  This can be done every year and needs to be done every couple of years or it becomes a huge job.

Another possibility would be to stool them which just means cutting them back to a low stump.   This method is easier to do yourself and the cut stems are very useful for willow weaving so can be sold or given away or you could have a go yourself.  Pleanty of info on the net.  The cut stems can also be used as plant supports in the garden but dry them out first or they'll root!


Posted: 18/07/2012 at 13:55

We have lots of rhubarb and it's been really juicy this year with all the rain but i'm finding now that stems are getting a bit woody and that's the time to stop and let the plant rest and recuperate.


Posted: 15/07/2012 at 13:49

Clematis are very hungry plants.  Try giving it an instant tonic of liquid rose or tomato feed.  You should also try and find some special clematis food for a slower release feed.    You can give it some now and then make sure you feed it next spring when growth starts again.

Why the Gap?

Posted: 12/07/2012 at 13:41

With GH I believe it was filmed only one or two days in advance but then that was an outside company that specialised in gardening programmes.   It was also done in the same week at AT's.  Things changed when the Beeb took it all in-house when they started filming at Berryfields with Monty and I guess they've just kept the same habits for this version of GW.

I'm more concerned about why the Beeb can't fit in half an hour (let alone a whole hour) a week.  Sports coverage and the Proms can be done on another channel or half an hour later, surely?.



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