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Latest posts by obelixx

what would you do

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 10:30

You need to make a list of what you need and then decide how to prioritise it according to importance and how much time and budget you have available.

Eg - sitting/eating area, play space for kids and/or dogs, fruit/veg/flowers/shrubs/lawn/pond, wildlife attractive, low maintenance etc

These will dictate what you need to get done now with an eye to future projects and what can be left till later. 


What is wrong with my Clematis??

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 16:40

This is normal for all except the evergreen clematis.    Wait till spring and then prune it back to a healthy pair of buds on each stem.   Give it a generous top dressing of proper clematis food and a boost of liquid rose or tomato food and make sur eit has good supprots in place for all the new growth that will follow.

Clematis are very thirsty, hungry plants so in a pot it is entirely dependent on you for all the food and water it needs to keep it healthy and flowering.


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:28

Absolutely in agreement Susan.  i was lucky enough to have a chat with CB at his Chelsea garden one year and suggested he should do more Flying Gardens and even a Euro FG but nothing came of it.  Loved his Hidden Gardens series too and would love to see more like that plus a follow up of the ones he visited then to see how they're getting on.

Yviestevie - it is no less valid for being repetitive.  GW needs some oomph or a sister programme for newer gardeners and/or small gardens.


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:08

Verdun!!   You silly boy.

Even stuck in your far away corner of Cornwall you must have heard of Beth Chatto, Rosemary Verey, Gertrude Jekyll, Bunny Guinness, Vita Sackville-West, Joy Larckom, Sylvia Crowe, Arabelle Lennox-Boyd, Elizabeth Banks, Jekka McVicar, Sarah price - not pretty pretty gardeners at all but women who know their plants and how to grow and associate them to great effect.

Of the Soicety of Garden designers there are more than twice as many women as men in the membership.    Surely you can't be aiding and abetting the Beeb in putting a green glass ceiling on women as gardening TV presenters and dumbing down gardening on TV?


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 11:30

Alice was good when she knew her stuff - not forest gardening then - but Toby was truly dreadful - bad ideas, shoddy work, incomplete projects, no follow up and he was disrespectful of both plants and tools.

Monty is a bit boring and definitely out of touch with people with small plots and/or little experience and/or limited time and resources but he's a practical gardener and amiable.

I get much more pleasure and info from Beechgrove which has the added bonus of Chris Beardshaw and lots of practical info and comparisons of methods and products. 

Carol Klein is good but needs to learn the art of presenting in a normal, conversational tone of voice.

The main problem with GW is the production team.  I get the distinct impression tehy are not gardeners and do'nt find plants or gardening particularly interesting and that is reflected in the choice of topics and the camera angles and focus.


Stratification in warmer climates (Cornwall)

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 22:52

Take them out of the greenhouse and let them get any cold and frosts going.  If none appear by the end of Feb you could try chilling them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

hacking back my hedge

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 14:25

Privet can be cut back quite hard but it's best to do it over 2 years, cutting back one side harda nd leaving the other side lightly trimmed so its leaves act as a food factory for the plants.   You need to do it before March or next autumn or you risk disturbing any nesting birds.    I would also advise giving the hedge a good mulch of garden compost and a scattering of pelleted chicken manure to feed it and encourage thicjk new growth.

The next year, do the same thing on the other side of the hedge and trim the top.  repeat the feeding.   Thereafter, keep the hedge trimmed a couple of times a year being careful to avoid the nesting period for birds.

Here is what the RHS advises for renovating overgrown hedges:

How to renovate hedges

 Before undertaking work on hedges, check that there are no nesting birds in the hedge, as it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Where drastic renovation is necessary (i.e. more than one-third reduction in height or width), it is better to stage this gradually over two or three years.

Year 1
  • Cut back the width on one side of the hedge only
  • Cut to at least 15cm (6in) less than the desired width, or almost to the main stems if necessary
  • Remember to cut the hedge to a 'batter' (sloping sides), so it tapers from the bottom to a thinner top, allowing light to reach the bottom of the hedge
  • Trim the other side of the hedge as usual
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 2
  • Cut back the other side of the hedge, cutting almost to the main stems, if necessary. Cut to a similar batter as the previous side
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 3
  • Cut back the height of the hedge to at least 15cm (6in) below the desired height
  • Cut back harder where the upper portions of the hedge are open and patchy 
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation

Climbing Rose

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 13:43

And this - 

I would also suggest making sure it gets a good feed of well rotted garden compost and/or manure and a dollop of bllod, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure every spring and occasional liquid feeds of rose or tomato food from March to June.   Roses are very hungry plants.


Talkback: Looking back

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 12:58

Once again I have to wonder why all the blogs are disappearing.

I haven't bought GW mag for over a decade because it became very samey and the subscription rate for Belgium is expensive and doesn't include the freebies available in the UK.  It's better value for me to subcribe to the RHS which gets me free access to their gardens when I'm there, free access to some good gardens here on the continent, favoured access to shows, free advice,  free seeds from the gardens and a monthly magazine.

Green path plants

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 12:51

It depends on soil and drainage and sun levels.   Thyme is often recommended for paths and gaps between paving stones as it likes good drainage and full sun and doesn't mind being walked on.

Chamomile lawns are another option to replace grass if the soil is richer and you want a solid grass effect.

Otherwise, several alpines, dwarf dianthus, saxifage and probably ophiopogon planescarpus nigrescens aka black lily turf would be happy in there.


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