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Latest posts by obelixx

North facing Garden

Posted: 29/09/2015 at 00:15

My last garden in Harrow and this one in Belgium both have mainly north facing gardens.   Harrow had acid clay soil so lots of compost went in and we grew rhododendrons, azaleas, roses and a wide range of perennials.   The shadiest bit was up by the house but the bottom of the garden had full sun in summer.   I expect your sister's is the same.

This garden is alkaline loam on a clay sub soil so clematis do very well in shade and sun.   I can't grow ericaceous plants but buddleias, roses, conifers, mahonia, weigelias, Japanese maples, sambucus, choisya, physocarpus, colourful stemmed cornus, philadelphus and so on do very well.

The list of perennials that love it here is huge but in the heaviest shade up by the house I grow hostas, Japanese anemones, filipendula, primulas, ligularias, lily of the valley, astilbes, astilboides, fuchsias (in pots and baskets), snowdrops and miniature daffs.    

Hardy geraniums, dicentras, pulmonarias, brunneras, persicarias for dappled shade and then an almost endless choice for the sunnier parts depending on colour preferences.

Use well rotted garden compost and manure or spent compost or bought in soil conditioners to improve the drainage in the clay before planting.  Save the microrhizal stuff for roots at planting time.

Confusing info' re: onions sets (planting conditions)

Posted: 29/09/2015 at 00:04

RHS for me too.  

Their experts all have training and experience and experiment with different varieties and growing conditions to be able to give the best advice.   They've only been exchanging and developing gardening expertise since 1804 and do change their advice according to new research, new products, new varieties, new social conditions such as the drive towards being wildlife friendly as well as changes resulting from government and EU policies on garden chemicals and products for gardeners.


Soil. How good does it need to be, really?

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 23:57

Shrubby hydrangeas generally need moisture and a bit of sun to do well.   Hydrangea petiolaris is best suited to north facing walls and can cope with drier conditions.

Evergreen climber - white flowers - partial shade

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 23:09

Have a look at this honeysuckle - lonicera japonica Halliana and pileostegia viburnoides.

The RHS website plant finder feature will give you cultivation details and also suppliers. 


Spring onions left in the ground too long

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 22:50

Absolutely.  I've just harvested mine today and plan to dry them out and then cook them in the usual way.   They're the best onions to use for curries, or baked whole but almost quartered with a knob of butter and fresh thyme pushed in the centre or red onion tarte tatin or in roast Mediterranean veggies.

Mine started as spring onions but got too big while we were away on hols so I left them to grow and they've turned out better than the crop I got form sets planted in spring and which then suffered from a long, cold, wet spell and then a hot, dry summer.

Soil. How good does it need to be, really?

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 22:42

That doesn't look too bad at all but do add plenty of compost before planting and then look up plants that like shady positions. 

Not sure about a hydrangea but if the soil is acid, camellias should be OK as long as they don't get early morning sun when frosted as this will burn their buds.   You can also try foxgloves, ferns in the dryopteris family, variegated ivies, euphorbias if you like them and one or two other shrubs such as sarcococca which flowers in winter and gives perfume, mahonia, viburnum x hillierii and variegated euonymous.

wedding music

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 17:45

Another excellent song for the walk out.   How about Bill Withers and Just the Two of Us if we're going non traditional and non religious?

Billy Joel - She's Always a Woman for going up the aisle?

Soil. How good does it need to be, really?

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 12:54

Some plants do well in poor soil, especially wildflowers and weeds but if you want the more usual garden plants you really do have to get the soil right before you plant.  A bit of hard work now to clear crud and rubble and then lashings of well rotted garden compost and manure added will pay dividends over the life of your garden.  

No need to import topsoil if you can get your hands on garden compost.  Ask if your local council has a communal heap and distributes the proceeds.

wedding music

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 12:30

That is an excellent quickstep for beginners.  Thanks Dove.

wedding music

Posted: 28/09/2015 at 11:41

Pachelbel is really very solemn whilst the arrival of the queen of Sheba is all about her rather than a couple so, as it is an exhuberant, uplifting piece, I'd go for that for the bridal entry.

Love the idea of Stevie Wonder for the walk out.  It will make everyone smile.  Does the bridal dress lend itself to a boogie down the aisle?

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1 to 15 of 16 threads