London (change)
Today 17°C / 10°C
Tomorrow 15°C / 8°C


Latest posts by obelixx

Which tree for my garden?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:55

Eucalyptus gets huge very quickly and gingko will grow very slowly at just a few inches a year but end up being enormous.

Have a look at Liquidambar which has attractive foliage with stnning colours in autumn and a neat, conical habit that won't cast too much shade.  You can gradually lift its canopy by removing lower branches till you get your head height clearance.

Have a look also at sorbus kahmiriana which dosn't get too big and has attractive flowers and berries.    Prunus serrula is another good small tree with fabulous mahogany coloured bark for winter interest as well as attractive foliage and blossom in other seasons.

Which Witch Hazel!

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:42

I planted a Diane about 10 years ago but she was clobbered by a very hard winter which also killed off a northofagus antartica, some golden conifers, a choisya ternata Sundance, an eleagnus and all 5 of my viburnum tinus.

I have since planted an Orange Peel which was also clobbered by a hard winter which began with a heavy snow fall at the beginning of December and went on till late March.  However this one has regrown and is now a lovely shrub with great autumn colour.  Lots of new stems this year after a mild winter so I'm expecting good lfowering and perfume next February if the winter is kind.   Fingers crossed.

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:33

I run a  garden group here - several nationalities, all sizes and styles of garden and levels of ability and many new to gardening in northern Europe with its seasons and hardiness issues.

We meet once or twice a month in each other's gardens from late March to early November and advise each other on what, where and how to do various gardening tasks and we swap spare plants raised from seed, cuttings and division.   We also offer spare plants to an annual sale for charity.

Even so, I find I get left with surplus plants and the only place left for them to go is the compost heap so they're not entirely wasted.


Would you buy a smallholding?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:26

Not for me.   We have a large garden which I love but having lost one whole growing season to neck problems and surgery and then another season and a half to double foot surgeries i'm finding it hard to get it all back under control where pernicious perennial weeds have invaded and my own plants have got a bit too excited and gone invasive.

We have a fruit plot, a veg plot, shrubberies, woodland corner, wildlife pond and shelters and a lot of grass for dogs to play and some stunning plants which are a joy but I don't want to be a slave to my garden and I don't want to be feeling it's a constant batte rather than a pleasure so when OH retires in 13 months time we're probably going to sell up and buy something a bit easier to manage.

Definitely no question of having chooks or other critters now.  We can take the dogs and cat with us on hols if we're clever about where we go and where we stay but I wouldn't want to be tied to other livestock which limits even short stays away.

Trusted chilli seed suppliers?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 00:13

They're a good company Zoomer.  I've ordered ornamental flowers and grasses seeds several times in the past and always been impressed with the quality.   They have some unusual plants.

Trusted chilli seed suppliers?

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 13:05

Last year I ordered Red Padron, Bulgarian Carrot and Hungarian Black from Plant World Seeds - - and had excellent results until most of the seedlings were wiped out by a freak hailstorm.   I had cleverly gathered all my babies together outside to get rained on rather than rely on OH to water them while I was away for 3 days.

Some of them eventually recovered and produced a few fruits which have been good so I'll be ordering more of the same this year and adding Fish to my list and also sowing some saved seeds just to see what I get.

They have interesting lookng tomatoes and other veg too and some fabulous flowering plants.

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 12:50

Yesterday I dug up and composted about 2 square metres of phlomis russeliana which is a plant I like but not when it's on a takeover bid. I also dug up several clumps of sorbaria which has turned out to be a suckering shrub.  Fine when it stays along the boundary but not when invading my border.

Next on the list is lysimachia clethroides alba which I really like but has also proved to be jut a bit too happy so a couple of clumps will be dug up for a newly cleared area over and the rest will be composted.

Next year's big project is to clear and replant the beds around the pond.  They've  been invaded by flag iris and yellow dead nettle and rush grasses which can all go.



Favourite allotment food recipes

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 12:37

I make a sweet and sour red salad with red cabbage and beetroot.  Much nicer than brasied red cabbage.  Good with hot or cold pork and chicken and sausages and good for snacking too.   Depending on the time of year, the cabbage, radishes, beetroot and red onion come from the garden:- 



250g / 8oz red cabbage, shredded

430g / 15oz tin        red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

125g / 4oz radishes, sliced

1              small red onion, sliced thinly

1              red bell pepper, cored and diced

200g / 7oz beetroot, cooked and cut into strips

1              red apple, cored and cut into chunks




4 tbs        red wine vinegar

4 tbs        soft brown sugar

2 tbs        light soy sauce

2 tbs        sunflower, safflower, rapeseed or grapeseed oil


Cover the cabbage with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes without further heat.  Drain well.

Combine all the salad ingredients.

Combine all the dressing ingredients and taste for seasoning.   Some people find it more sweet than sour so you may want to adjust the vinegar levels.

Toss the salad in the dressing.   The salad benefits from being left to marinate an hour or two before serving and keeps well for at least a week.   


Fragrant tree

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 10:07

Milk is such a verstaile product which produces a wide variety of godies - milk, cream, clotted cream, sour cream, butter, buttermilk, ice cream and cheeses and so on.    I try always to but organic milk, cream and cheeses or else regional products which aren't mass produced.

Our neighbours have a mixed arable and pastoral farm.  When we arrived 21 years ago they had dairy cattle and sold milk, butter, yoghurt and fromage blanc but then the EU introduced rules about having separate, tiled rooms for each process and which would have cost a fortune to convert their perfectly adequate facilities.

They sold all the cows, bought a few more horses and opened a riding school and archery club and now earn most of their income from their 2 personal interests.    Clearly not every farmer can diversify this way and it will take a great deal of organisation for farmers to band together and resist supermarket pressures to sell at below cost..

There is a movement slowly starting in the UK which is seeing customers change from supermarket shopping to smaller and more local shops and suppliers.  Let's hope it gains momentum and good quality producers who care for their animals and land can start to get decent prices again

Tulbaghia - wow!

Posted: 25/11/2014 at 17:41

I love these plants and had some in my sheltered front bed for 3 seasons where they were well drained and sheltered from prevailing winds.  They did fine for 2 winters with plenty of snow and -10C in full sun but didn't like the following very cold winter with less snow for insulation.  

Discussions started by obelixx

GW 2015

Programme content discussion 
Replies: 46    Views: 1465
Last Post: 16/03/2015 at 18:44

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1604
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 743
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 997
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1396
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 751
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 4050
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1876
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 1078
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2736
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 24    Views: 11370
Last Post: 22/02/2015 at 15:50
11 threads returned