Latest posts by obelixx

Hosta alternative

Posted: 19/06/2016 at 07:36

I started my first major hosta plantings in full sun, buying specimens from Diana Grenfell who was an expert on hostas and hemerocallis.    They did so well that after just 2 or 3 years I had to lift and divide the lot.  

There is a small hosta called Gold Edger which is happy in sunshine and, as the name suggests, good for edging beds.   Sum and Substance is a large leaved gold coloured hosta that needs sun to keep its foliage yellow, rather than green.   Gold Regal, Gold Standard and Sundance are other possibilities for a sunny site.

The hostas with fragrant flowers need sun to develop the perfume - Fragrant Bouquet, Royal Standard, Honeybells.  Invincible has glossy green leaves and perfumed flowers and is supposed to be slug resistant but in my garden it's the first one they go for, whether in the ground or in a pot.

As Dove says, you do need to make sure your soil is beefed up with plenty of organic matter - garden compost, well rotted manure etc - for moisture retention.   Avoid white and cream variegations as these scorch in the sun.

Gardening Crafters

Posted: 18/06/2016 at 22:02

I watch the Sewing Bee and sit there mostly horrified at the projects they come up with.   Why, in today's world of machines that thread their own needle would you want to set a challenge using 60s machines that can barely do zigzag and PVC macks as a transformation project?  Why the transformations in the first place?

From the first series, why, if you can sew something that fits from the start, would you bother transforming an oversize t-shirt into anything other than dusting cloths or just wear it for gardening or decorating? 

Having said that, anything that starts people sewing again instead of buying crap from Primark has to be a good thing.   I just wish they did styles that appeal to younger people like Possum.

Have to wonder what on earth Esme was wearing for the 60s programme but love chappy with his sharp suits and wry comments and willingness to be quirked.


Posted: 18/06/2016 at 14:58

Downpours all day with occasional dry spells.  Have spent my morning at the AGM of the AFCD - French speaking dance clubs - discussing accounts, projects, forming a new federation with the clubs in the Ligue........ then apéro and lunch and more chat with old and new friends.   Home now but still living with Mr Chestikof so will take myself off for a snoozle as we're off out tonight to a Japanese restaurant chosen by Possum to celebrate the end of her exams.

Tomorrow it should be drier.  I hope so as I'm manning the gates for an Open Garden hosted by friends with a 2.5 acre plot.  i wa sthere for garden group in May - http://s211.photobucket.com/user/Obelixx_be/library/160510%20Fleurisart?sort=2&page=1 so it will have changed a lot.  Should be ablaze with roses but I suspect they're going to be a tad soggy and bedraggled.

Get well soon to all with bugs or injuries or new bits to bed in.

Happy gardening to those who can.

Garden Visits

Posted: 18/06/2016 at 14:15

Thanks Busy.  If there's one thing Beth Chatto's garden and your lovely photos illustrate it's that I have to stop planting groups of just 3 or 5 and go for 7, 9 and 11 and make big bold groups of all my plants - so much more impact.

Can anyone know or recognise the identity of this plant.

Posted: 17/06/2016 at 16:25

I let mine scramble around on the ground as well as guiding it into a cotinus coggyra.  Hendryetta is another pretty, non clinging clem which isn't quite as vigorous as Arabella.

Why has my rhubarb gone mad!

Posted: 17/06/2016 at 16:22

Ours is huge too and I have 7 plants.   Mild winter, cool wet spring.  perfect conditions for rhubarb.

I bake a batch regularly for OH to have with ice cream and make cakes to give away or feed groups and then there's chutney, jam, freezing for autumn........

Safe to pick and eat till mid July after which levels of oxalic acid build up so best avoided by anyone with arthritic or gouty tendencies and the plants need a rest to build up energy for next year's crop anyway.

Removed old deck... now where to start!!

Posted: 17/06/2016 at 14:08

For the bed under the camellia, I would fork in a couple of big bags of ericaceous compost which will improve the fertility for the camellia and then plant shade lovers such as hostas, ferns, geranium macrorhizum, cyclamen hederifolium to give you an extended season of form and colour.

For the rest, it depends on what you want to do and how much time you have.   In such a small, shaded space a lawn may well be more bother than it's worth to prepare the soil, plant or sow and then maintain and the dog won't help either.   

Build your raised beds for veggies in the sunniest spot and be prepared to limit your crops to things which don't need prolonged sunshine to ripen them so salad leaves and assorted brassicas - see here for more info - http://www.harvesttotable.com/2012/04/vegetables-for-growing-in-shade/

Then make a decision about those paving slabs - keep or throw - and consider making a solid paved area on which to perch a table and chairs securely.  The rest of the space should then be cleared, levelled, covered with a  weed suppressant membrane which allows water to penetrate and then cover that with gravel or slate chippings or chipped bark according to budget and taste.   You can use changing pots of other plants such as spring bulbs, summer bedding, winter interest plants to add colour and form throughout the rest of the year.

You may want to consider painting or staining the fence to make it look smarter and/or plant a climbing rose such as New Dawn which doesn't mind shade and will give lightly scented pale pink flowers.  Depends on where your raised beds end up.

Last edited: 17 June 2016 14:10:33

Garden Visits

Posted: 17/06/2016 at 11:21

OH and I visited Harlow Carr and Beth Chatto's garden in Essex after Chelsea.  Too many photos to post individually so here are the links:-



Harlow Carr is clearly a work in progress with a winter garden being planted, a new vegetable garden and lots of trees being planted.

Beth Chatto's garden is inspirational from the dry garden to the main garden with its water features and luscious plant combinations.

I visited Sissinghurst a few years ago and was extremely disappointed but it looks as though the new head gardener is getting to grips with it.   Great Dixter is fab.

Dark foliage plants

Posted: 17/06/2016 at 11:13

There's a purple leaved persicaria - https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/152665/Persicaria-microcephala-Red-Dragon-(PBR)/Details - and a ligularia Britt-Marie Crawford.    For low ground cover there's ajuga reptans "Burgundy Glow" and almost black leaved ophiopogon planescapus nigrescens.   You can heck out their cultivation needs on the RHS site.


Posted: 17/06/2016 at 10:38

The news is just depressing.  So much senseless violence in Yorkshire and France.   

Weather depressing too.  Mid June and I'm rugged up as though it were March.  More deluges and thunder expected so no gardening again today but I can do some potting indoors and then make a rhubarb cake and some savoury muffins for tonight - last ballroom class of the season.

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