Latest posts by obelixx

removing grass to create planting area

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 18:26

Weedkiller works on live foliage on growing plants.  That looks pretty dead and dry to me so you'll have to dig it out and make sure you shake the clumps to get all the roots and leave soil behind.   It's often made easier by giving the area a good soak the night before you plan to dig so the soil isn't rock hard.

Use a fork, rather than a spade, near any plants you wish to keep as it will be less damaging to their roots.   If they get loosened, firm them back and water well.

Once cleared, rake it level and then spread on plenty of well rotted garden compost or manure to improve soil texture and nutrients.   Autumn is the best time for planting shrubs and bulbs and hardy, early flowering perennials as the soil is still warm and they have plenty of time and good conditions for developing a strong root system.

Autumn Blues

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 18:01

Hardy geranium macrorhizum for the aromatic foliage which colours to red in winter and flowers in late spring.  Geranium phaeum is another good one for shade.   Cut back after the flowers in spring to get fresh new foliage with dark purple splodges.    

Some varieties of phlox flower in late summer/early autumn and in dappled shade.  

Pulmonaria and brunnera are good foliage plants for shade as long as you beef up the soil with some garden compost.  They'll flower in spring and then you can cut them back to encourage fresh new foliage for the rest of the season.  

There's a variegated, spotty persicaria virginiana that needs shade rather than sun.  I like the Painter's Palette best.

Epimediums like shade and have gorgeous foliage plus spring flowers.  

Snowdrops for winter and one or two narcissi like shade.

Alchemilla mollis - but cut off the flowers to stop it self seeding with gay abandon.

Quite a few grasses such as carex Ice Dance.

Water Gel Crystals

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 17:47

I never had any success with the water gel so gave up after just a couple of years' trying.  Last year I found a brand of compost with teeny water gel crystals already mixed in and that worked very well in the baskets and troughs in full sun but I didn't find any this year.    

I line my hanging basket bottoms with a  square of plastic from a compost bag and put a small plastic plant pot in the middle where it's invisible but helps get water straight to the roots.  These days I keep the planting simple too and only use trailing pelargoniums which are forgiving if I have to leave them for a weekend.

Still, it's best to water at least once every day and twice in a heatwave but that's baskets for you.   Window boxes only get sun and wind on one side so need less frequent watering.

Things I don't get

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 16:52

Succulent - as in food - actually means juicy and tasty which it can be if you buy decent ingredients and treat them well rather than industrial processed stuff.

Funnily enough Frank, with the possible exception of Madeira cake I find Victoria sponge the most boring cake going.   Don't get them at all.   I like my cakes to be full of flavour and moist but not soggy.

I don't get donuts.


Posted: 29/08/2016 at 16:38

Oops.  Hadn't spotted they were the OP's cats.  Yes, house training with litter trays or a secluded litter tray spot in the garden.

Autumn Blues

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 16:35

You need more plants of the perennial sort - rudbeckias, heleniums, Japanese anemones, physostegia, verbena bonariensis, sedum spectabile, hardy geraniums, Michaelmas daisies...

If you just want to cover bare soil to keep weeds down, cardboard.  Get some boxes at the supermarket or beg some from any store whose goods come packed in boxes they just throw away.

Signs that Autumn is upon us

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 15:13

I'm still enjoying summer.  Don't want autumnal for a few more weeks yet please.   


Posted: 29/08/2016 at 15:11

Google "water scarecrow".  Most effective deterrent which is legal and does no harm to the cats or your garden and will keep other unwanted intruders away too.

Things I don't get

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 12:52

Oh yum!  Although I do also like chocolate carrot cake and chocolate beetroot cake and chocolate raspberry brownies.   Very moist and chocolatey, all of them.

Things I don't get

Posted: 29/08/2016 at 12:05

Me too, but I like home-made cup cakes and muffins with no icing but maybe a ganache for some and my chocolate chip biscuits, not shop bought.

When I go to the UK now I have to look for a café Nero to get a decent coffee.  Starbucks has arrived in Namur.  Quel horreur!  and there's a cup cake shop too!   Fabulous Belgian patisserie available and they're selling cup cakes. 

I've only worn jeans in the last 10 years or so.   Practical and hard wearing for dog walking and housework and DIY but not gardening or going out.

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1 to 15 of 19 threads