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Latest posts by obelixx

Container plant with year around interest

Posted: 28/08/2015 at 17:02

You could also grow something like a variegated holly which would give you year round foliage interest and berries in autumn and winter as long as you choose a female or self fertile variety.    They lend themselves well to pruning to a shape so you could easily keep it to a cone or a pyramid or let it grow a main trunk with branches.

The RHS has this article on trees in containers - 

If the pot is generous size, you could try quite a few of the flowering cherries.  Prunus serrulata will give you a lovely shape and fabulous, glossy winter bark as long as you pick one of the cultivars as they don't get as tall as the original.

Apples and pears on dwarf root stocks would be good too and you can now get "family" trees with more than one variety grafted to the main stem so they cross pollinate and you get blossom and fruit.  

How much....

Posted: 28/08/2015 at 14:14

No idea what OH paid for his first car and I didn't take a test til I was 30 and we moved to the outskirts of London with no more tubes and buses everywhere.

Possum has just got her first car.   In Belgium learners must first pass a theory test then either have a minimum number of hours with a fully licensed driver - parent or friend - or pay for 20 hours with a driving school at €2000 which we had to do as both our cars are automatics.

Then they take a driving test of sorts.   She now has a provisional license and can drive on her own but not after 10pm and not on Saturdays and public holidays.   We have bought her a tank - Toyota Corolla - €1750 - with a good engine and sturdy bodywork and manual gearbox and I am no longer a taxi - except on Saturdays.

Transplanting Perennials

Posted: 28/08/2015 at 12:16

Lavenders hate wet feet so it's the only way Monty can hope to grow them well as he has long, wet, cold winters.   

Since he's always on about right plant right place and going with what you've got I'm not sure why he's persisting with lavender in that situation but let's hope it works. 

I too have long, cold, wet winters and grow my lavender hedge in a raised bed just along the retaining wall so they have fierce drainage and full sun all year.  Happy as Larry but I did choose hardy English varieties.   French lavenders can be a bit wussy.

Stag's Head Sumach

Posted: 28/08/2015 at 11:01

Cut off the three branches that spread directly over the lawn, preferably after leaf fall so you get the autumn colour.  Remove any remaining horizontal shoots that spread over the lawn and stop you mowing.   You'll need a pruning saw.   Wolf do one that is good and not expensive and can be attached to handles of varying length - short for hand work, long for high branches and hoeing heads.  

New shoots should appear in spring on the branches that are left.   That curving, serpentine one is very attractive.

Be warned however that sumach's often respond to pruning by suckering with gay abandon and you may well get new shoots appearing in your lawn.  You can mow them off quite easily but you may also get them in your border around the trunk.

Transplanting Perennials

Posted: 28/08/2015 at 10:16

It's best to move plants once they have finished flowering as then you can cut off the spent stems and reduce stress on the roots and foliage as they settle in again.

I have friends who garden on heavy clay and have carved their garden out of a former wilderness of gangly conifers, even ganglier birches, brambles and weeds.   Apart from digging over new borders and gving a generous layer of muck and compost to their new beds their soil improvement regime consists of giving all the beds a generous layer of well rotted compost every autumn after they've moved any plants that need relocating, dividing or introducing and once perennial foliage has largely died down.   The worms work it all in over the winter and the new shoots come through happily the following spring.  

Their garden is 2.5 acres and they get the local council to deliver a truck load of municipal compost as they can't generate enough themselves.   You could simply reorganise your bed in September and October while the soil is still warm and not too wet to be workable and then mulch in the same way in November and December using your own garden compost or bought in soil conditioner.  You don't need to dig it in first apart from adding some to the soil when re-planting.   Putting piles of grit under individual plants can have the reverse effect and lead to water collecting there in a sort of sump effect.

Need a couple of trees to screen a shed

Posted: 27/08/2015 at 18:25

I have to say I tried the Try years ago when I first started converting former cow pasture to a garden.   Found them hopeless as  I placed a huge order for hedging plants, shrubs and conifers and he couldn't source some of the more special ones and ended up delivering none and was rude.  

However, my friends have excellent service from them and they have a 1 hectare garden that features a lot on Jardins Loisirs on RTBF and will be open on Sunday 13th of September as part of Jardins Ouverts for charity.   I shall be helping by manning the gate and taking the money and maybe doing a bit of guiding if needed.

PM me if you want the address.  It's in Bousval so not far away.   Excellent opportunity to "meet" lots of shrubs and trees.  These photos are from April - 

Bedding plants - flowering now and for a few months to come?

Posted: 27/08/2015 at 16:47

Summer bedding plants don't last the winter. Petunias are not hardy and will be almost finished by now anyway.   If you can wait a couple of weeks you should be able to plant a fine display of pansies, violas and/or primulas in a wide range of colours.   Keep them dead headed and they'll go through autumn and winter to spring but will, of course, go limp and sad if we get a spell where temps go, and stay, below freezing.  However, they do recover and carry on flowering once they thaw.

Another plant you can put in between them or behind them for a change of height and form is wallflowers which tend to come in bundles from the garden centre.   Soak the bundle's roots in cold water for an hour or so then plant out the individual plants as you see fit.  They will provide colour and perfume in spring and come in a wide range of colours - but garden centres won't have as many colours as if you'd sown them yourself.

Need a couple of trees to screen a shed

Posted: 27/08/2015 at 16:35

In that case Matteo you need to get yourself to Wavre market on a Wednesday morning if possible as there are lots of Flemish nurserymen who sell plants there in the square in front of the church that plays the carillon.   Some are also there on Saturday.   Fairly standard plants but good prices.

I have friends who swear by this nursery near Céroux-Mousty - for good shrubs and conifers.   

There are also plant fairs in autumn and spring where you can get non bog standard plants from specialist nurserymen and women who are happy to chat about what their plants need to grow well and how big they'll get and how hardy they are:-

12 & 13/9    Hex

26 & 27/9    Celles - La Feuillerie

4/10            Kalmthout Arboretum

2 to 4/10      Aywiers, Lasne

9 to 11/10    Beervelde, near Ghent

Google them for addresses and times.

I get my metal trellis grid from Big Mat on the Ch de Tirlemont at Gembloux.  It comes in 5m x 2m lengths and they will deliver.

Need a couple of trees to screen a shed

Posted: 27/08/2015 at 13:11

I am in central Belgium, surrounded by open arable and pastoral farmland and with nothing between us and the Channel or the Urals to stop the wind.   Wire mesh, as sold for reinforcing concrete for builders, is strong, light, cheap and usually made with twisted rods so attractive too and dead easy to attach to posts.   

I also have wooden trellis panels but this morning I saw that on one panel the central diagonal "woven" panel has detached from its frame and is flapping along with its clematis and  6 more in other parts of the have broken slats and need replacing.   Builders wire mesh it will be.

Need a couple of trees to screen a shed

Posted: 26/08/2015 at 21:55

I have wire mesh trellis attached to 3m fence posts of which 60cms are buried in concrete boots.   Last autumn I put 1m high wind-break fabric along the base of the trellis to protect the fruit bushes in my veggie plot from winter gales and stop frost rolling down the field behind us and into my frost pocket back garden.  We had an exceptionally warm and wet winter and, when a serious storm hit in March, all the posts and their concrete boots were blown over to an angle of 45° because the ground was so soft.   They are now vertical again after being buttressed with 2m fence posts.   Not quite the look I was after.


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