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Latest posts by obelixx

Poisonous Plants

Posted: 15/10/2015 at 15:13

Cats and dogs and children and adults have survived millennia living alongside a huge range of plants which, if used correctly, can feed, clothe, heal, make you sick and also kill you if mistreated.

The only plant I know of that can harm cats is the lily whose pollen is poisonous to them if they brush against them and then lick themselves clean.  The simple, rational solution is to cut off the pollen sacks and not ban lilies.

I assume you live in a home full of potential danger - stairs, hot oven and hob, iron, glass windows, sharp knives, electric sockets...... - and yet don't feel threatened.  It is the same with plants and gardens - grow your plants sensibly in the best conditions and right place and you will have a beautiful, safe garden.

Irrational fear needs to be recognised and accepted as such and will be part of the healing therapy.

Plant advice

Posted: 14/10/2015 at 12:32

I've lost too many new treasures planted out in autumn when the soil is supposed to be warm enough for them to develop their roots but they then get blasted by long, cold, wet winters so now I pot on and keep in a cold but insulated greenhouse or the shed depending on whether they need light or not over winter.  

Most herbaceous perennials disappear underground for winter so don't need light but they will appreciate being potted on to let their roots grow a bit over winter.  They'll then get a head start in spring and are easier to protect against slugs and snails while those all important juicy new shoots emerge.

Lychnis and lavender plantlets

Posted: 14/10/2015 at 11:20

In my experience lychnis is tough so could be planted out in a well drained spot that doesn't get water logged in winter.  

If your lavender is one of the hardy English varieties it should be OK too in a sunny well drained spot but I'd be tempted to keep all the lavender and some of the lychnis under cover for their first winter as insurance.

Talkback: How to lift and divide hostas

Posted: 13/10/2015 at 10:44

Regular applications of wildlife friendly slug and snail pellets.   Start on Valentine's Daya s it's easy to rememebr and scatter a few pellets very thinly about your susceptible plants - hostas, hemerocallis, clematis etc - and repeat weekly throughout spring and into early summer and then again as needed.

This routine gets them as they emerge from hibernation or hatch from eggs and stops them before the eat your treasures and have the chance to breed.  Works for me.

This system also leaves alone the slugs elsewhere in the garden that do an important job of recycling waste matter and feeding hedgehogs.   Nematodes would work too but are expensive maybe so best concentrated on hostas in pots.   Copper tape around pots and susceptible plants in borders is also supposed to be good but is also expensive.


Posted: 13/10/2015 at 10:37

It's better to put it in the ground than leave it in its pot where the roots risk being dried out from lack of water or frozen when it gets cold.  Give the pot a good soak first till all air bubbles stop rising then plant it and water again.  It will then have the best chance to grow well and give you some colour for a couple of weeks each season and then e disguised by its neighbours.

I had assumed you were planning to put it in a display pot with fresh compost and some TLC with regular watering and feeding.


ID this plant please

Posted: 12/10/2015 at 14:18

I suspect it's the damp that does it more harm.  I did have some and grew them in what I thought was a well drained spot but then we had a mildish wet winter and that was that.


Posted: 12/10/2015 at 14:17

I find the Wolf trowels very sturdy and their red handles make them easier to find when I put them down somewhere and forget.  You can pay more for something smarter but sturdy does it for me but for my hand fork I like a stainless steel one as it does well in all my soils which range from heavy clay to loam and well composted veggie plots.

ID this plant please

Posted: 12/10/2015 at 11:43

Not hardy for me but a friend grows some in an unheated greenhouse they built specially for alpines and succulents and which has two chairs and a wine shelf so they can go and sit in winter and enjoy their garden.


Strange problem....

Posted: 11/10/2015 at 18:33

Mine stuck around for a couple of weeks and drove the terrier mad trying to get to it.



Posted: 11/10/2015 at 15:25

Probably but I wouldn't.   They are short lived even in the best of conditions and only attractive about 2 weeks of the year when in flower.  The rest of the year they are desperately dull and need hiding by more interesting blooms and foliage - IMHO.

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