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Latest posts by obelixx

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.

Are sterile plants any good for wildlife?

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 19:09

There are other perennial foxgloves tho' not as showy as the new one.  Ferruginea is one with light rusty coloured flowers and I've seen bees on mine.  Grandiflora is another but it doesn't seem to like my winters so I always try and have some of the biennial forms as the white one in particular looks very good in my shady area.   Pam's choice is another favourite and I have seeds to sow for next year.  I do mine in pots as I know where they are and OH can't accidentally weed them..

Invasive plants to avoid

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 16:47

I'm fortunate in that my aquilegia Guiness or Magpie produce like babies and I get decent colours in the back garden where i've planted other forms.   I have japanese anemone very happy in one part of the garden but struggling in another where i'd really like it to spread. 

Lysimachias I'm picky with.  I've recently planted an orange flowered sister of lysimachia Firecracker that I'd be happy to have make itself at home but I don't like the yellow flowers on purple foliage of Firecracker itself nor the thuggish green leaved form with yellow flowers.    I really like lysimachia alba clethorides which is very happy in my garden and would like some of the Amethyst version.

Phlomis Russelliana is getting just a bit too happy so I'll be clearing some of that and not giving it away to unsuspecting gardeners even though it does look fab when it stays where i want it in my border.   I have a plain pink geranium and a paheum which are spreading a bit too far and wide but am happy for Rozanne, Johnsons's Blue, a white form and macrorhizum to spread where they like.

I've been given alchemilla mollis to full some of the gaps in my borders after more losses last winter.  I'll be cutting off those flowers with due diligence.


Ornamental grasses

Posted: 31/07/2012 at 15:44

Stipas don't like my garden either.  Neither gigantea nor th epheasant tail survived their first winter.  I have several clumps of assorted miscanthus though and they do look good with things like verbena bonariensis, lysimachia alba clethroides, Joe Pye weed, tall phloxand helenium Lemon Queen, depending on where I have them.

Grasses provide texture and movement but do not a whole garden make.

Black potatoes.

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 14:54

Sounds like soft rot.  Are the tubers smelly?

I don't think there's anything you can do about it now and I'd get your reds lifted sooner rather than later.   Found this on another site which may help:-

Rotten tubers. Bacterial soft rot enters tubers wounded by tools insects or disease. The vascular bundles in leaves, stems, and tubers turn black and bad smelling. Rot can not be cured. Plant potatoes in well-drained soil. Remove and destroy infected tubers. Remove all plants and plant debris at the end of the season. Promote good drainage by adding aged compost and organic materials to planting beds. Avoid over-head watering. Rotate crops.

Sulfur applied to the garden may reduce rots. Protect tubers from injury.


Ornamental grasses

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 14:46

I did notice that Cleve West's garden at Chelsea had not a single ornamental grass in it this year so maybe that's a death knell to their recent fashion status.

I like them in the right place but not too many because, as Gary says, they're not so wildlife friendly as they're wind pollinated though I do get birds eating their seed heads.

I use miscanthus zebrinus to help screen my natural pond from the rest of the garden as it tends to dry out in summer and looks unsightly.  It's there for drainage and wildlife so is unlined.  I really like carex buchananii for its bronze colour and swaying habit in a breeze.  It looks good all year, even in winter.   I have other tall miscanthus which I use as a windbreak on my eastern border (Siberian gusts of wind in winter) and between a roadside bed and my greenhouse so stray stones don't smash the glass.  I have molinia Transparent in the bed above the pond where it can enjoy damp soil.   Pennisetums have fabulous leaf colour and good seed heads but are way too nesh for my garden conditions in winter.  Blue fescue is no good here either.

I wouldn't ever plant a border full of grasses though.  I like more variety of colour and leaf shape and also flowers in my borders.

Hand trowels

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 14:06

Visit a good garden centre.  They should have a whole range of styles and prices.

clematis - Ernest Markham

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 19:18

It's a group 2 which means it flowers in May and June on old wood, sespecially stems made the previous year.  If dead headed after the initial flwoering and given a feed it will usually produce a smaller, second flush of flowers in late summer.

You will have to exercise patience till next spring but you may provoke it into flowering by gving it a generous dose of liquid tomato food and some special clematis food.  

Next spring, cut out any dead wood and give it a good general purpose feed such as blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure in Feb or March and then regular doses of clematis food to encoourage flower formation.  All these fertilisers are available at good garden centres.

Flower Identification

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 15:35

My gigantea is much creamier than the photo and yes, very tall and a bee magnet.  Which reminds me I need to dead head it.

Hellebore varieties - suggestions please

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 14:38

Helleborus foetidissima has lime green flowers and cut leaves and was in flower from November to early March in my damp, shady bed.  In drier beds I have a range of hellebores from the simple cream flowers thorugh pinky purples to almost black flowers.  Labels long gone so no varieties to name.   I don't grow the double forms as the simple ones are a good source of nectar for early bees.

To keep them looking good, make sure you cut down old foliage in winter/early spring when the flowers start to open.  This removes old material that can harbour disease and also shows the flowers off better.  They can take a couple of seasons to settle in and flourish and dislike being moved but once established will provide a good, long lasting display followed by attractive foliage and they will also self seed.  Being promiscuous, you may get some very interesting as well as ordinary babies so it's worth potting some up to grow on and see what you get.

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