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Latest posts by obelixx

Hydrangea help!

Posted: 03/09/2014 at 15:35

I have severe winters so can only grow the paniculata forms as the mophead stems get frozen to death every winter so I get new green stems but no flowers.   Ttey are recent acquisitions but so good I now have 5 of them doing well.   Might get some more once I've cleared the next bed of weeds - been out of action a while for foot surgery and the weeds have been taking advantage.  

Hydrangea help!

Posted: 03/09/2014 at 15:17

It dépends on what kind of hydrangea they are.  If they are the usual mophead/lace cap types they will produce next year's flowers on old wood so you need to remove the dead flower heads once spent but taking care not to spoil any bud forming behind them.   Flower colour will depend a lot on teh type of soil you have - blue for acid soil and pink for alkaline.  There are feeds you can buy in garden centres to enourage the blue flowers.  Follow the instructions on the pack.

If they are the paniculata forms, they flower on new wood so can be left now as they are and then pruned back to a pair of buds on each stem next spring.   How high or low these buds are will depend on teh severity of the winter which may kill off the ends of stems and also your choice as to teh eventual size you want the shrub to attain each year.

There is also a quercifolia form but you'll have to Google those or wait for someone else to reply.

Either type may appreciate a feed of bonemeal forked in around their roots in autumn as this helps root formation over winter when the rest of the plant is dormant.   Both types wil appreciate a generous mulch in autumn and again in spring with a dollop of either pelleted chicken manure or blod, fish and bone.   For extra flower power you can also give them a liquid feed of rose or tomato food.

When is the best time to plant out the varying bulbs?

Posted: 02/09/2014 at 17:29

Small bulbs need to be planted straight away to avoid them dehydrating and then failing to grow.  It's often a good idea to soak them in cold water for at least an hour before planting, especially snowdrops and snake's head fritillaries.   

Daffodils start putting out new roots as early as August so need to be planted as soon as you but them to get the best results.    I would also get alliums in as soon as possible as they will produce more and better roots in warmer soil.

The advice is always to plant tulips in November in order to avoid fire blight but a lot depends on what kind of tulip you've bought and when the first heavy frosts start to come in your garden.  I reckon it's OK to start in mid October but have also planted in December.

Too many chillis

Posted: 01/09/2014 at 16:34

I do chilli jams and flavouredoils and also freeze spare chillies but last year I also threaded assorted red, yellow and purple chillies on some fine cotton threads and hung them in my kithcen window so they could dry.  They looked very festive - to the point that my suspicious daughter had to ask if I was using them as Xmas decs.   Who me?

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 12:06

Awayon hols at the mo so no gardening.  

I planted a load of kale, Savoy cabbage and red cabbage a few weeks ago on a leaf day along with some spinach in the hopes I would get leafy plants as I like beetrrot leaves in salads.   They've been hopeless but the cabbages all romped away.  I just hope the slugs haven't had them all in my absence as apparently it's been wet for two weeks.

Back home late tomorrow so grass cutting and pest checking will be a priority on Sunday.  After that I need to know the best days for taking cuttings for overwintering if your calendar has that info please.

Foreign Seeds

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 11:57

Bringing in uncontrolled plant specimens as seeds, cutting or whole plants form non EU countries is fraught with danger - bacteria, viruses and pests can all get in and establish themselves quickly where there is no local resistance or predators.

Commercial growers and suppliers are required to follow strict standards and be licensed.   Bringing unlicensed and unprocessed stuff in from outside the EU is just plain daft especially given how easy it is to source quality checked seeds via the internet these days.

OZ, NZ and the USA are strict for good reasons.   Asia will catch up one day to protect their own flora and fauna.  We already know we need stricter controls within the UK to prevent invasive critters anf illnesses coming in form eastern EU countries - ash tree sickness, horse-chestut bugs, invasive pond life.  

Amateurs should not risk our own flora and fauna by exposing it thoughtlessly to foreign bodies of any sort.


Weed suppression

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 17:39

I find the weeds seed into the gravel or chippe dbark and then their roots penetrated the fabric.  The trick is to pull or hoe them before they get a hold or to do an annual spring sprayof glyphosate based weedkiller to clear them when they are in full growth and will send the poison down to their roots most effectively.   

However weedkiller at edgeso f beds can be problematical and is never any good near water so, when  I can, I send OH out to clear up the path and terrace weeds.   He's good at mundane tasks and at least if he sticks to clearing the paths he isn't adding my precious treasures to the compost heap.   Nasty tendency to blitz weed beds too!

Foreign Seeds

Posted: 27/08/2014 at 22:08

You can move plants and seeds within the EU but something you find growing in Greece is unlikely to be a success in the UK without resources like greenhouses and propagators and such.

There are regulations about movements of plants and seeds between the other parts of the world and the EU because of the risk of disease, invasion etc.    If you're unsure, check with DEFRA or the RHS.   Both are there to inform and help.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 13/08/2014 at 10:01

Well done with the chair cleaning.  If you like the wood grain why not do a sort of colour wash or liming wax rub to show up the grain?  Leave to dry a few days while you consider the results  then rub down gently and varnish to protect it or else change your mind and paint them.    Either way the wood will have been treated and fed and will be all the better lasting.

Tatton Park Show 2014

Posted: 12/08/2014 at 15:19

Thanks Tee Gee.  Very well organised commentary and photos as ever.   I haven't been to Tatton since 2007 - bit of a schlepp from here - and missed the TV coverage this year so your link is particularly interesting for me this year. 

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