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obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

Pruning a baby clematis

Posted: 01/03/2014 at 18:11

Have you planted it several inches deeper than it was in its pot?  This helps encourage extra shoots from the roots and makes for a strudier plant. 

Clematis can take a couple of years to settle in before they really get going so, unless it's an early spring flowering variety and group 1 for pruning, I would prune it back to just above those buds and give it a good feed of proprietary clematis food plus a drink of liquid tomato food to help it along.   This will let it put its energy into good root formation which will pay dividends in future years for extra top growth and flowers.

 

 

   

 

Wet Ground-When to Sow

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 22:48

A moonbeam of farmers?

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 14:12

Monty is indeed a good communicator and uses language well.  I'm just not convinced he has anything of much relevance to communicate to the average suburban garden plot and new builds in particular.  There is nothing for people creating a garden from a patch of mud and builder's rubble.   None of his garden rooms would answer for a family garden, bringing up kids from toddler to teens and beyond with room for games as well as plants and maybe some veggies.

I just don't find GW instructive any more tho it is a pleasant half hour to while away with a  glass of wine.   Same with the French series - too much faffing in the 3CV and not enough on the actual gardens and plants.  Lyrical but not informative.

Beechgrove packs in loads of info without seeming rushed and covers all sorts of gardening styles and sizes.

 

mixed beds

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 13:08

I have daffs planted in my blueberry bed and strawberries along the front edge of my black and redcurrant bed.

You just need to make sure the bulbs aren't right in the roots of your fruit bushes but further out under their canopy where they will get enough sun and rain and light to perform before your bushes are covered in blossom and foliage.

You can also spread a 2 to 3 inch thick mulch of bark chippings under your shrubs once the bulbs are planted and that will help deter cats too as they won't be able to dig in the soil.

Wet Ground-When to Sow

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 13:04

I remember one TV or maybe radio gardener saying if it's too cold and wet to sit on the soil with your bare bum it's too cold to sow seeds.

Be patient.  Seeds will germinate and grow way fast enough when the conditions are right.  Do it too soon and you'll just have to do it again because your seeds or seedlings will struggle and fail.

Astrantia

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 12:46

Astrantias are quite tough but I would give yours a coupl eo fdays to acclimatise before planting out.  Once soaked, pot it up in a slightly bigger pot, water thoroughly then allow it to drain and keep it outside by day and sheltered by night for a week or two.  By then it should be ready to cope with the great outdoors - unless we get a sudden blast of late winter.

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 12:40

The drop in viewing figures is easy enough to understand.  GW now is often boring and irrelevant.    For those of us who remember GW with Geoff H at the helm the programme has changed beyond all recognition and no longer delivers useful, practical garden advice for the majority.  GH had divided his property into different plots especially in order to do GW his way so there were small gardens and grander ones, cheap and cheerful ones with lots of DIY and more expensive ones for those who could afford to buy rather than make obelisks and arches and pergolas and coldframes and ponds.   

Planting plans and démos were also varied and suited to many kinds of garden and he used them in different situtations.  He had regular guest slots with experts on house plants, pests and diseases and design and he turned to promoting organic gardening without chemicals and without stripping nature of its resources such as limestone pavements but all in a down to earth, non preaching style.

Like AT, he had the common touch and could talk to anyone at any level and make them think gardening was the best thing ever for people and wildlife.

Monty has some interesting plants but with all his hedges and paths and huge pots and greenhouses his garden does not reflect average UK gardens and gardeners and is all too personal.  He has yet to acknowledge the help he receives to maintain and develop his garden and I always feel he is out of touch with ordinary folk who have to fit in gardening bewteen work and family commitments.

The best bits of GW for me now are the visits to see how other people garden and what plants are good in a particular season and situation.    Even current filming of basic stuff like sowing seeds or taking cuttings is often badly focussed or from the wrong angle to see what's happening.

I love the Beechgrove garden.  It's practical and the presenters each have their own specialities and preferences so there is variety and something for all.    Bringing in Chris Beardshaw was an inspired move.    It can be a bit old fashioned with its bedding plants but does good tests and comparisons and lots for the fruit and veg grower too as well as a wide variety of ornamentals.   Being as cold and wet as it is, Monty's garden is also behind most of the UK.

GH's garden has been taken over by his son and family and is open to visitors and has a nursery - http://www.barnsdalegardens.co.uk/   It's on my list of places to visit.   They also have a stand at shows such as Chelsea with some luscious plants.

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 11:28

In actual fact, GW is a lot less popular now than it was with Geoff Hamilton at the helm or Alan Titchmarsh.    Monty may well be a very nice chap and have a lovely garden but GW has become just a quiet half hour of TV to relax with a glass of wine.   Audiences have more than halved in recent years and are now down to just over 2 million.

Monty's garden is too idiosyncratic to serve as an essential guide to what to do in your garden that weekend or to show what most people in smaller gardens and with restricted time and budgets can achieve, copy, or interpret for their own garden and planting in the future.   I still enjoy it but very little that he does is relevant to my garden which is large and very fertile but also very alkaline and exposed.

We definitely need a new programme aimed at beginners, smaller plots, time constraints and budgets for modern living.

As for people being unkind to new posters I think that's a pity.  If a post seems suspicious, best to wait and see or ignore rather than go into public attack mode - unless it's the usual Grid troll who is easily recognisable or yet another weekend kitchen ad.   

 

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 17:36

I don't think Twitter is exactly Monty's cup of tea and he has had some fierce criticism for things he's posted.   As spring is very much on its way and his garden has been flooded again this winter I rather suspect he has better things to do with his time.  I know I do and I don't have deadlines to meet to prepare for broadcasts or write revenue earning articles and books for a living.

Container drainage

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 20:32

In Belgium, Oz and Kiwi bottles are not returnable for a deposit and, until about 10 years ago, there weren't ubiquitous bottle banks so we built up quite a collection of empties.    When English speaking friends learned I intended to build a bottle wall the men all scoffed (closet engineers of the failed variety) but brought me their empties too. 

OH wasn't convinced either but my bottle wall was quick to build and has been in place 10 years and withstood temps ranging from -32C to +38C.   What is not to like?

If you should fancy making one yourselves, the straight sided bottles with high shoulders work best.  No cement needed, just a firm base and an end wall made, in our case, from granite pavers fixed with cement.  The top is made from marble slabs recycled from dismantled fireplaces when we renovated this ex farmhouse. 

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