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Latest posts by obelixx

Nettle feed for tomatoes

Posted: 23/07/2015 at 11:22

On Beechgrove last year the home made comfrey feed used in their tomato trials did better than the commercial products  - bit of a shock for old Jim - so he's doing it again to make sure it wasn't a fluke.    Comfrey feed is good for all fruiting and flowering plants.  Nettle feed is good for leafy plants like cabbages and hostas. 


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 14:52

Sarah5 - make sure that you make your planting holes at least 15inches/40cms and preferably even further from the base of your wall and bury them deeper than they were in their pots, angling them towards the wall and giving them plenty of rich compost mixed in with the soil and then very good drink.

Feed them generously every spring with clematis food and give them a mulch of garden compost to retain moisture.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 14:48

I grow Blue Angle and Crystal Fountain as group 3s Busy - winters too cold to keep the top growth - and they do very well as long as they're fed.    Betty Corning is fabulous.   Pretty flowers, lovely scent and she does it for months.   Took mine a couple of years to get going but now she's spreading well.



Posted: 22/07/2015 at 11:39

Lack of water makes leaves turn brown.   Give the plant a generous soak today then let it drain and give it some food tomorrow or the next day.

Be patient.  Clems can take a couple of years to get settled and I now plant all my new purchases in pots for their first year so I can coddle them before plunging them in the ground - again at a deeper depth than I had them in my pots.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 11:05

I think 18" is too small for a permanent pot for a clematis. 2' wide and deep would be my minimum.

Did you plant it deeper than it was in its original pot?   This helps keep the roots cool and encourages the plant to produce extra stems.

I don't think you should expect flower power as well as growth in the first year.  Try removing the spent flowers to stop it wasting energy in seed and give it a liquid feed of tomato food as well as making sure it is watered regularly.  Rain is not enough for plants in pots and clematis are very thirsty, hungry plants.

Next spring, cut back its stems to about 9" and give it a generous helping of specialist clematis food and weekly waterings with liquid tomato food until the end of June with regular plain waterings in between as needed.   In a pot, it is entirely dependent on you for food and water as the nutrients in the compost will all be used up in the first season.   Treated well it should get bigger and better every year.

why cover seeds of hardy plants

Posted: 22/07/2015 at 10:12

I no longer sow any seed in the ground, whether bought or saved from my own plants.  There are too many obstacles - birds, dogs, slugs, competition from other plants and then there's OH who doesn't know a weed from a treasure when "helping" with weeding.

I'm always happy when I find self sown goodies such as hellebores and foxgloves and then can pot them up and bring them on and plant them where I want them and I don't mind verbena bon and hollyhocks popping up as they're easy to pull up if in the wrong place.

I sow all my veggies in trays or cells and plant them out when they're big enough to cope with my local weather conditions as we're prone to late frosts and strong winds.   Works for ornamentals too.


Posted: 22/07/2015 at 10:01

It is unwise to mix clematis from different pruning groups in one planting place as their pruning requirements to keep them healthy and flowering are so different.

If you want it to look good all year either go for evergreen honeysuckle or variegated ivies or the winter and spring flowering forms of clematis such as cirrhosa or armandii.

Another alternative is to paint your trellis so it looks good when bare in winter and then grow a mix of either group 2 or group 3 clematis.   personnaly, I would suggest the group 3s as they are simply pruned back to about 9" in March, fed and then they regrow and flwoer all summer and just need training in as they grow.   

They will lose their leaves and become a woody tangle in late autumn and can then be cut back to tidy them up but your should then mulch the crown of the roots to protect them from frosts.

Sunset, Princess Diana, Blue Angel, Betty Corning (scented), Caerulea Elegans, Huldine, Little Nell, Crystal Fountain and clems from the viticella group such as Etoile Violette will all perform well and be very hardy.

I have ordered my spring bulbs

Posted: 20/07/2015 at 20:36

That's very organised of you.  I usually just wait till they come in the local shops and then see what jumps in my trolley.

Vigorous climber

Posted: 20/07/2015 at 16:17

Rambling Rector and Kiftsgate will both get too big for a 20' tree though they are good plants.  Maybe a less vigorous rambler would do but remember they only flower the once except for Malvern Hills and Phyllis Bide which only get to 10 or 12 feet high.   See here for a selection - 

I have a clematis Betty Corning which has nodding lilac bells, flowers from June to September and is scented.   She's a group 3 so needs cutting down each year in March but, given a generous dollop of clematis food in spring every year, she gets bigger and taller and has more and more flowering stems with each season.  Brilliant plant.

Wet soil

Posted: 20/07/2015 at 15:59

I have a permanently damp, shady bed and grow hostas, ligularias, hemerocallis, astilbes, primulas, hakonechloa and astilboides and they love it.   I also have some cornus alba in there at the back in a gap in the conifer hedge.  

This is it in late June.   When the ligularias and hostas flower they give some height and spike to all the hummocky stuff.

 I grow foxgloves in better drained parts of the garden.

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