Obelixx


Latest posts by Obelixx

Hello Forkers ... July Edition

Posted: 27/07/2017 at 14:47

Good afternoon.   We have had a drop more rain!  47.5cms since mid Jan.  Met farmer Luc out on walkies yesterday and he's already been having to take water to cows in fields that don't usually need it till mid August and previously reliable water holes in other fields have dried up too.   Since there's no grass left either all the cows due to drop a calf in August are being brought in to make feeding, watering and calving easier.


Meanwhile, OH is out in the potager weeding since he can now, just about, tell the difference between plants grown in rows and blocks at even spaces from random weeds.  Lovely carpet of mini bindweed in there now with fetching pink edged flowers.  Humph!   He's also building more raised beds.


It's a lovely day for gardening with a cooling breeze and plenty of grey stuff scudding about but I still have a blister on my palm from rhe other day and a very stiff pair of middle fingers where they meet the hand so am sewing quietly.  Nearly finished another pair of shorts and a top for Possum.


Probably too late but enjoy your weekend away Pat.   Sounds great if you can avoid the techy shop and get some arty crafty stuff.


We are off to Nantes tomorrow so I've been looking up addresses for the piano shop, a patchwork doings shop, a proper brasserie for lunch and other things to see.  Did not know Nantes was once the capital of Brittany!  Seems that boundaries and provincial capitals all changed in the second world war.  They've recently changed again so Busy and DD are now in New Aquitaine and we are in the Pays de la Loire.


I don't want to end up in a home in any language but we'll cross that bridge when the time approaches.  Meanwhile we have to stay fit so OH can achieve his ambition of playing golf when he's 100.


No runaway tomatoes here but they are still in their pots and just starting to crop well.  First ones we've had were very tasty.

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 27/07/2017 at 13:28

That photo was early May.  All brown and crispy now except for a planting of sweetcorn and the pumpkins which have woken up a bit in recent rain and the brassicas.  OH has been weeding those patches and putting in more edging for raised beds.

Hello Forkers ... July Edition

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 21:59

Not at all Busy.  Sounds like a lovely day and another CB fan here.   Very approachable too.  There is never enough seating at RHS shows so I always take a plastic bin bag to sit on, just in case.   


Would love to visit Barnsdale but it would need a major detour on the way to anywhere I might be visiting friends or rellies.  Been watching GH on Ornamental Kitchen Gardens while sewing today.  Lovely stuff.

What to plant here

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 17:31

Neither.   Anything that grows fast quickly gets out of control.    Laurel grows like the clappers and needs pruning with secateurs to keep it in shape but then responds by growing even more.   They're also a desperately dull dark green all year.   Conifers, especially leylandii, are also very dull and soon get out of hand if not regularly trimmed but you have to be careful not to cut into brown wood as they won't regrow leaves form there and they're also susceptible to a new disease that's turning them brown and dead.


If the aim is to cover up that dark brown fence, I would go for an evergreen variegates shrub such as aucuba japonica, or one of the euonymouses with cream or godl variegated leaves or maybe a golden form of choisya ternata to brighten up the brown.   You could also consider stretching wires across the fence at 12 to 18 inch intervals and training a climber along them or some pyracantha which will provide spring blossom, green foliage and autumn berries and be a haven for wildlife.


You could also grow a Japanese maple such as acer sango-kaku which will give you lovely coral red stems in winter, fresh golden foliage in spring turning to green for summer and then gold and copper in autumn or an ornamental cherry with burnished copper bark for winter and then spring blossom and autumn foliage colour or one of the smaller rowans such as kashmiriana which will give you pink berries after lovely spring blossom and good foliage.  trees can be underplanted with bulbs for spring and then herbaceous perennials or annuals as ground cover for summer and autumn.

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 17:09

We're an hour to the north of La Rochelle GWRS and not supposed to have droughts or heat like we've had recently.   There is a well but it has long since dried up.  It's in the deeds that we share the water with our neighbours but there hasn't been any for years apparently.   There are streams and ponds and lakes about and we're at the northern edge of the Marais Poitevin so being this dry is just not normal.


I have ordered a copy of Beth Chatto's Dry Garden which has just arrived and will be having words with our neighbours about all their spare horse poo.  The plan is to make raised beds all over the potager and use the poos and other organic matter tp beef up moisture retention and fertility.


We had 8mm of rain over the weekend in two doses but I still couldn't get my spade deeper than 4 inches in one of the small beds where I have already put a 3 inch layer of MPC compost.   Things are better in another, larger ornamental bed that received such a layer but it is now riddled with bindweed coming up from deep below.   Win some lose some.


Our farmer neighbours have a very traditional potager so I'll arrange t go and see how they get stuff to grow and I've noticed some very lush plantings in public beds in La Roche-s-Yon so it is possible.  Just need loads of muck and mulch plus some patience and probably adjustments to sowing and planting times.  View from upstairs across to newly cleared potager with neighbour's cattle sheds behind.  As you can see, the potager grew a fine crop of weeds after being leveled, ploughed and harrowed!


Last edited: 26 July 2017 17:10:55

To dig or not to dig ?

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 16:54

Digging compacted soil in wet weather is not a good idea as it will be very hard work and risk compacting it further.   How long it takes to drain will depend on how much clay is in the soil composition, how deep and how compacted it is and also what lies beneath it.


If you're still planning on plastic grass, you'd be better off just piercing deep holes with your fork, wiggling it back and forth to enlarge them and pouring on a good layer of sharp sand - not wet, rounded builders' sand - to provide drainage.  I assume the artificial grass will be on some kind of woven mesh base to allow drainage.

Roses - almost giving up

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 16:48

As you have so many maybe it's worth removing the worst affected roses, adding plenty of well rotted compost and manure to the soil and planting other things you like better in the autumn when they'll get a head start in warm soil and with plenty of rain.    I suggest you see how they go between now and autumn which will give you time to think about any replacements as it may just be a bad year for black spot or else those rose sare particularly susceptible and not worth keeping.


I don't think age matters.  There are some beautiful long established roses around and it sounds like you've given them the pruning and feeding they need to rejuvenate them.  If they don't respond well, time for the chop.

Help with a border

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 14:13

Good job Tom.  Well done.  Plans for the base sound good too.

Hello Forkers ... July Edition

Posted: 26/07/2017 at 14:08

Pansy I fear you are probably right.   Have you tried doing holiday lets Hosta?  Loads more rent per week it's let, especially if you put in a dishwasher and washing machine.  Have to weigh up pros and cons I suppose.


It's drismal here with wet air again.  Not the promised rain yet.  No odds to me as it's a sewing day cos I have a fine blister on my palm from making bulb planting holes with a trowel.   Not so good for holiday makers at the beaches but OK for OH who is used to playing golf in Belgium and mostly being wet.


Pat - your jonquil is lovely.  Hope it survives the night - or you could cut it for indoors and save it.


I need a coffee so I can read back properly.  Catch you later.

Poor soil

Posted: 25/07/2017 at 21:59

In autumn, as soon as your plants have gone dormant, pile on loads and loads and loads and then some more of well rotted garden compost, well rotted manure and/or leaf mould and leave it for the worms to work in.   


You can usually get good deals on basic composts at the end of the summer as garden centres clear their spaces for the autumn bulbs and then Xmas displays.   Some local councils also sell stuff from the municipal heaps at their recycling centres.   Stables are usually happy to let people take manure away.

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