London (change)


Latest posts by obelixx

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 10/01/2016 at 11:13

My fig tree started in a pot but it's top was frozen every winter so 2 years ago I planted it in the end of the greenhouse, since when we've had mild winters and it has tried to take over the whole space so come spring it's going in the ground at the back of the shed where I can train it.   It will be full south and sheltered from strong winds.

Our rhubarb has been showing buds for a couple of weeks so has had a bucket of compost on each crown just in case we do get any frosts this year.

How can I cover my house?

Posted: 09/01/2016 at 15:31

Any support screwed to a wall to support plants needs to be very secure to take the strain of wind and wind resistance once the plants grow.   Our trellis panels have been up 10 years or more and have withstood strong gales and even a tornado but I did use long screws for the battens and good brass ones to attach the panels to the battens.

Agree about sealing fixings done in pebble dash.  If that's a real problem, think about erecting posts in front of the walls - bury their feet in concrete for security - and attaching trellis or wires to those.   The posts and trellis could be painted to match the walls and reduce their visibility or contrasting colours to add interest.  I stained our wooden trellis dark green so it looks good when bare in winter and also prolongs the life of the panels.   here's one recently planted up with a clematis after Rosa New Dawn was wiped out by a -32C frost.



How can I cover my house?

Posted: 09/01/2016 at 14:27

Pebble dash won't take kindly to any self clinging climber so I suggest you erect supports to cover your wall and then train climbing roses, rambling roses, clematis, honeysuckle, pyracantha, wisteria and so on.   You can also combine roses with clems, for example to give a longer season of interest.


Supports can be elaborate - plain or stained terllis panels attached to battes which are screwed to tehwall.  The battens allow air to circulate behind which is better for the plant and, if you hinge the trellis to the bottom batten, you can let it down to do wall maintenance such as painting without having to cut down the plants.

A cheaper and more discreet alternative is to screw strong vine eyes at regular intervals in horizontal lines at intervals of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45cms).  You then stretch tension wires between them (available for good DIY and garden stores)  and tie in the plants as they grow.  The horizontal training increases flower power.

I have both systems and they work well.   Two trellis panels support two clems on the back wall, either side of our back kitchen window and wires allow a rampant Kiftsgate rose to cover our dull brick frontage.  This rose will happily grow to 10 metres or more.   It only flwoers once but then has healthy foliage for the summer and a profusion of hips that give a show through autumn and winter.

Who are they???

Posted: 09/01/2016 at 11:43

Choosing the right plants involves knowing the aspect of your garden - which dictates how much sun it gets; the location - exposure to wind, rain, frosts etc; the kind of soil - loamy, clay, sandy, alkaline, acid; and the width and depth of your wall beds.

You also need to decide whether you want permanent plants or seasonal changes.  either way, the soil of compost in the walls will need to be improved every season to maintain nutrients for healthy plants.   You also need to think about how much time you have for pruning, dead-heading, weeding and general maintenance.

If you can supply all this info here we can help.  Photos would be good too.  Use the tree icon to load them.

Alternatively, google for a good plant nursery near you or an independent garden centre (chains don't always have trained staff) and take the info to them and ask for advice on plants.  They'll be happy to advise.


Posted: 09/01/2016 at 10:48

I like topiary but don't want to maintain it year after year so am happy to admire it in other people's gardens.   I restrict myself to keeping "dwarf" conifers tidy and trimmed or hedged.

Yew forms, some conifers with fine needles, lonicera nitida as mentioned above all work well and I suspect other fine leaved evergreens such as sarcococca and some hollies would be good.   Box is the original plant of choice but is now susceptible to a virus which kills it off and is unsightly in the process.

Here is a link to photos taken at Levens Hall, the oldest topiary garden in England I think -  They should help with colours and forms.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 08/01/2016 at 22:55

SG - sounds like your undergardener needs to be given indoor jobs if he won't help outside - washing up, dusting, vaccing, ironing, cleaning loos - anything that leaves you the time and energy to do outside stuff.   You might find that motivates him to do heavy lifting for you.

Can I plant these out now?

Posted: 08/01/2016 at 16:41

Keep them sheltered and chec regularly.  Pot on in good compost when you see roots at the bottom of the pot as restricted roots can check growth.

Can I plant these out now?

Posted: 08/01/2016 at 11:07

As long as the soil is neither frozen nor water-logged I would go ahead but if your garden is exposed I might consider potting them on in bigger pots and keeping them in a sheltered corner or coldframe.   Winter may yet arrive and freeze their socks.

Out of season growth

Posted: 08/01/2016 at 10:32

Except for the worry about the Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times - in other words lots of challenges and disruptions.

My daffs and primula are behaving normally but I have geranium macrorhizum in flower which is far too early and the hamamellis has already finished.   We've had to bung a bucketloads of compost on the precocious rhubarb shoots and my blueberries are showing fresh buds opening.  

One clem on the north wall has new shoots over 3' long.   That's a signal to go and trim and feed all of them now which is 2 months earlier than normal.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 08/01/2016 at 10:27

Clear blue and sunny here too.  OH has cleared all the crud I piled up on Tuesday and removed the bits of trellis panel I couldn't shift so we are now clear to cement the posts to firm them up (metposts don't resist winds) and install the new panels but not today.   We're off to hunt for a new sewing machine for me.

I will go and take some cuttings of the purple gooseberries though as it's an auspicious fruit day according to Biofreak's biodynamic calendar.

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