Latest posts by Obelixx


Posted: 11/07/2016 at 14:48

Sitting in a car park in a "hotspot" near Luçon minding the dogs while OH tries to get us a temporary internet connection so we can receive emails form notaires and such.   I've texted him to find a paper too.

No news here as the gîte only has a few channels of French TV and that's either footie or dubbed US soaps as far as I can see.   Hopeless.  Everyone and everywhere seems subdued today............

Happy gardening all - assuming weather permits.   Bit muggy and grey here at the mo but blue bits around.

2016 - the year of the ant

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 15:46

Hire a flock of green woodpeckers?  

Ants like dry places so try giving your raised beds, compost heaps and greenhouse a regular thorough soaking so that they move elsewhere.   I'd just put up with them in the lawn but be careful where you sit or lie as they bite and it hurts.

To get rid of ants, you have to kill the entire colony in one thorough move or they just disperse and set up several small new colonies....

I'd just put up with them in the lawn but be careful where you sit or lie as they bite and it hurts. 

Hedges and Raised Beds

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 13:06

I wouldn't bother with raised beds - lots of work and investment and future maintenance.  It may be easier and more effective to string a decent wire mesh fence just inside your boundary and then plant borders or shrubs in front of that or train climbers such as roses or clematis or honeysuckle to soften it.

If you really do want a hedge, I would plant directly in the soil.  The best time to do this is the autumn when you can get cheap, single stem whips in bundles.   This will give you plenty of time to dig a trench and improve the soil with well rotted manure or cheap potting compost if you have no garden compost.

Evergreen plants will grow more slowly then deciduous but you should have a look at pyracantha which will have spring blossoms and autumn fruits and is very good for wildlife.   It also has thorns so will deter intrusions from the nasty neighbours.   If you keep it trimmed on the sides, it will thicken up nicely from the base.   Trim the top shoots back when about 12"/30cms below desired eventual height and the top will thicken up too.

Deciduous hedges grow much faster.  Hawthorn will do 6'/180cms in one season.  Keep it trimmed top and sides and it will thicken up and be a perfect haven for wildlife.   The thorns will deter intruders.   Copper beech is another alternative.  It keeps its old leaves through winter and they drop off in spring when the new growth starts so sort of evergreen and no thorns.

Hedges need regular trimming to keep neat but you need to wait till August when birds have finished raising their broods. If you intend to plant in front of it, make a path of slabs or chipped bark so you can access the hedge without damaging your plants.  

Don't worry about thorns and your toddler.  Explain what they are and teach her to play safe.  It worked with our daughter, now 21 and a survivor of hawthorn, holly and pyracantha hedges plus all sorts of plants in the garden.

Growing jasmine

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 12:40

There are two main types of jasmine - nudiflorum which is fully hardy in the UK and flowers in winter - yellow and no scent -  and officinalis which flowers in summer - white and scented - and is hardy except in exposed gardens in the UK.  There are some forms which are less hardy and need a conservatory for winter survival.

You need to get acquainted with the RHS website which has this comprehensive information on jasmine - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=291  Follow the links for more info on particular named plants.

Coastal Perennial Plants

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 10:39

The RHS offers some advice on their site - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=472

If you need salt tolerant plants then T&M have a useful ist too - http://www.thompson-morgan.com/plants-for-coastal-gardens 

Plants in pots will need sheltering from prevailing winds as they'll dry out very quickly.   My garden isn't coastal but is exposed and the pots I have out in the windier bits need far more watering than the others.

Picture Postcard Request

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 10:31

Hi DD - glad it's going well.  I posted a packet of them a week ago.  Did they arrive OK - Colchester, Flatford Mill, London and Gembloux.

Covering a shady fence

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 10:25

They'd need watering a great deal and their weight might affect the fence.

Have you considered just painting or staining it a lighter colour?   How much do you actually use the space in front of the fence?  If it's just a walk through I'd concentrate my energies on making the two open ends as attractive as possible and leave the passage as open as possible for easy access.   If you have a window that looks onto it then paint and maybe a plant in a pot or a trompe l'oeuil design.

nettle fertiliser

Posted: 08/07/2016 at 10:19

It's high in nitrogen so leafy plants like salads, spinach, brassicas.   For flowering and fruiting plants you need a comfrey tea.


Posted: 08/07/2016 at 10:16

Punkdoc - make sure the police are informed and also your doctor knows why you are stressed and ill.  Maybe also consult with the Citizens Advice Bureau?

GWRS - will you use you bus pass much?  Our local service doesn't go where I need to go or even when I need to go anywhere so utterly useless.  It assumes we want to go to school or the station so nowhere near bank, post office, shops, services....  Trains are good though, and cheap.

Hosta - I had Hampton Court on TV last night but was distracted by a hamamelis catalogue...   Will watch it again later with my finger on the FF button.

Clari - has the choke button found a home?  What does it belong to?

Pat - mission accomplished?  Early days for i-pad sketching so don't give up.

IKEA - good for cotton bedding and tall storage jars for linguine but I'm never again buying any of their furniture.  

It's a middling sort of day here.  Bits of sun, lots of cloud but dry.  Damp bit of attic now liberated and airing.  I have to spend today gathering plants in pots together for easy watering, packing a holiday bag for the dogs, a holiday kitchen/picnic bag for us and some clothes then do a quick clean round and a pedicure.  OH and I are off to the Vendée for a week.  Possum is working her first proper holiday job so staying here with Pusscat.

I hope it's dry where you all are.   Did that garden sell plants or just lunches and cake?


Posted: 07/07/2016 at 22:48

Sorry you're having a hard week.   Hope the weekend does you good, and the Pilates.

Our second dog has had to learn about being a dog - Labrador kept cooped up in a terraced house with a teeny courtyard for the first 3 years of his life.  Came to us and knew nothing - how to sit, how to pee, how to sniff, not house trained, doesn't know how to gret other dogs, frightened of anything and anyone new.......  He's learned loads from Rasta but is still a nervous bit of a bozo and so soppy.

None of our cats has ever respected personal space if they wanted a fuss or a cuddle.........

Hope tomorrow is calmer for you so you're not frazzled for the weekend.

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