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Latest posts by obelixx

FRENCH gardens in midi - pyrenees-where to go?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 07:22

You need to go to the nearest tourism office and ask them about gardens and parks to visit.    Look in local newsagents and see if there's an English language magazine for the area.  There's one called Living Magazine for the Charente and Bordeaux area so maybe there's one for further South.    That would give you info about life in the area and where to go/buy/do things.

Then research weather patterns of summer highs and winter lows plus rainfall.   Plants do cold winters better under snow than if it's cold and wet or seriously cold and very dry.  

Found this on Google for the Saint-Lizier area - de beaux jardins sur les hauteurs de Foix (les “Epines de Lespinet”) et à Loubières (les “Jardins de Loubières”)

and this - 

Growers or Killers?

Posted: 30/06/2014 at 16:48

I happily kill flies, especially the biting kind but I rescue bees and wasps and ladybirds and lacewings and I throw slugs and snails in the road to be splatted if the eco pellets haven't got them first. I rescue worms and good insects when I find them in need of help.   I also feed the birds every day so the adults will hoover up aphids and caterpillars on my roses and veggies.   Good trade. 

I nurture plants I want and share the spares with friends but I'll happily put weedkiller on paths and cobbles too expansive to weed by hand and I pull up other weeds from the borders.  OH does weed and feed on the grass but not every year.   I don't care that much as long as it's green.


Posted: 30/06/2014 at 12:35

You can cut off the spent flower heads if you don't want any seed and cut off any brown or spotty foliage but leave the newer, greener leaves to feed the plants roots and make the energy for next spring's show of flowers.   If they are otherwise green but wilting they may just be thirsty or need moving to a shadier spot but if you do move them, water well first and again after transplanting and until they re-establish themselves.

ants under huge pots

Posted: 30/06/2014 at 12:31

It indicates that your pots are on the dry side.    You can put down poison traps as indicated by Lesley but you need to stop them coming back too.  

Give the pots a thorough soaking several times to make sure the compost absorbs the moisture instead of it just running through.   Keep them watered well in future.    I read somewhere that one inch of water on the top of the pot will soak down 9 inches.   Adjust your regular watering accordingly and water every couple of days in the growing season.

Once the compost is thoroughly moistened you can also water on a solution of one small bottle of essential oïl of cloves diluted in 10 litres of water.   The ants can't stand the smell and move on.

If you can, raise your pots onto special feet or even just bricks in order to ensure they drain well and aren't waterlogged, especially in winter.  Give your plants a feed or two of liquid rose or tomato feed to help them recover as their roots will have been damaged by the ants' nesting activities so they'll be having a hard time taking up enough moisture and nutrients.

Perennials from seed

Posted: 29/06/2014 at 21:41
Chiltern seeds do send a leaflet with sowing advice for their seeds and they're good quality seeds. Another good site is Plant World - again no or Little info on packets but instructions in a leaflet.

Have a go. It's no more effort than sowing annuals and the rewards last for years.

Help to identify

Posted: 29/06/2014 at 15:52
I think geums too. Very hardy and good flowerers as long as you haven't got the weedy one Bob mentions.

Deadheading roses

Posted: 29/06/2014 at 09:39
OH did some of our roses yesterday by just snapping off the flowers with his thumb. It looked dreadful with all those little stalks sticking up and likely to get dieback so I went round with the secateurs and trimmed back to a leaf node.

Raised beds

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 21:47

The alternatives are brick walls or breeze block walls which require foundations, material and labour so weigh up the various costs and you'll find railway sleepers come out not so expensive.

May I ask why 3'?   For sitting on the wall to work the beds or to get access from a wheelchair something lower would be far more comfortable.    Knee height works well and would need fewer sleepers as well as less soil.


Tips on de-potting a Magnolia

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 17:21

Water it well first so it comes out easily.

Have the new hole ready  - twice the width of the pot and a bit deeper if you can - prepared with plenty of organic material mixed in the bottom and also mixed into the soil you will use to backfill.   Plant it at the same depth it was before and water well.   Give it a feed of some rose or tomato fertiliser to help it grow strong and form flowers for next year.  Use a sequestered iron product for ericaceous plants if you have hard water or are on a neutral soil.  If your soil is alkaline, keep it in the pot but feed it generously.

Keep it well watered till the autumn rains start.  Do not feed it after the beginning of July as new growth needs time to harden off before the frosts and winter come.

Cows in garden

Posted: 20/06/2014 at 16:42

We had a cow problem.  They are separated from our garden by an old barbed wire fence that comes up to their chests and we have put a green mesh fence Inside half of that to stop children and dogs escaping.   However the front half was planted with a holly hedge to act as a windbreak except it grew short and fat as the cows nibbled all the fresh young growth and kept it pruned. 

I have now erected some of that strong steel mesh that builders use for reinforcing concrete.  It is cut to 5' high and attached to the fence posts.  It is practically invisible so doesn't spoil my view and the cows, who are curious beasties, can still come and see us going about our business in the garden.  My holly hedge is now getting taller.

The wire mesh is very inexpensive from builders merchants and comes in lengths of 5m x 2 m.   You'd need a few wooden or concrete posts to hold it up and permission from the farmer unless you can erect it on your side of the wall. 

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