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Latest posts by obelixx

Plant disruption - Spring or Autumn

Posted: 22/09/2014 at 07:41

Lead can have serious effects on human fertility and brain functions so I wouldn't dismiss the need for this work out f hand but maybe a soil test of your own might confirm the need for it to be done.    The RHS offers a soil testing service to members.  The joining fee is equivalent to an annual GW magazine subscription and gets you a monthly magazine plus free access to their gardens and advice service..

Autumn is the safest time to move or disrupt the majority of plants except grasses and hstas which can sulk and maybe die.   If you have those, I would lift and pot them up yourself and keep them somewhere sheltered while the work is going on.

Take photos of your garden before any work starts and keep an eye on what does and doesn't come back in case you need to complain.

Good luck.

Novice needing advice!

Posted: 22/09/2014 at 07:24

Pyracantha is evergreen and has white flowers in spring followed by red, orange or yellow berries in late summer and autumn.  It is a very good host for wildlife providing shelter, nectar and berries for insects and birds.

There are two evergreen honeysuckles you could try - Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' AGM: An evergreen or semi-evergreen, vigorous climber with dark green leaves and white fragrant flowers from spring to summer. Height: 10m (33ft).
L. henryi: This is an evergreen, vigorous honeysuckle with purplish-red flowers between early and mid-summer, followed by purple-black berries. Height: 10m (33ft). 

If your house is not too exposed to cold in winter or heavy frosts in spring you could also look at evrgreen forms of clematis such as cirrhosa which has matt red or cream and purple speckled flowers in winter or armandii which has scented white flowers in spring.  Use this site to search for more info 

You would need to drill eyescrews into your wall and thread and tension wires horizontally at 12 to 18 inch intervals so you can train and tie in your chosen plants.

For self clingers you need to look at the hydrangea mentioned above or else a variegated ivy which will be slow to cover but will eventually provide shelter for insects and, when mature, flowers and nectar followed by berries but that will take years..  Just don't let it get in round your windows or the roof as it gets higher.

You will also need to do a lot of soil improvement and make sure the roots of the plant are well away from the wall to avoid its drying effect and the rain shadow from the roof.   Make your planting hole 2'/60cms away from teh wall but with the stems angled towards the wall.   Water in well and mulch to retain moisture.

Evergreen scented climbing/rambling rose

Posted: 22/09/2014 at 07:16

Very few rambling roses repeat flower but Malvern Hills form David Asutin is one.  However as Pansy says, roses lose their leaves in all but the mildest winters so you need to combine it with another evergreen climber.

Clematis armandii would be good as long as you don't have heavy frosts in spring when it is in flower   There are two honeysuckles which are evergreen.  One flowers in spring and the other in summer.

Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' AGM: An evergreen or semi-evergreen, vigorous climber with dark green leaves and white fragrant flowers from spring to summer. Height: 10m (33ft).
L. henryi: This is an evergreen, vigorous honeysuckle with purplish-red flowers between early and mid-summer, followed by purple-black berries. Height: 10m (33ft).

You will need to install tensioned training wires at 12 to 18 inch intervals up your fence in order to be able to train the stems as horizontally as possible to get maximum coverage and flowers.   Roses and clematis are both hungry, thirsty plants so be sure to add plenty of well rotted manure and garden compost to the soil before planting and give them a good watering and mulch after planting.


Chlorotic skimmia and peris

Posted: 21/09/2014 at 17:20

Plant snowdrops, daffodils, hellebores and pulmonarias for early spring flwoers which will provide food sources for early bumble bees to forage.   That will help your population improve and then you'll have guests in your hotel.   Keep them going through the season with plenty of other nectar rich plants and try and make sure there are simple, single forms rather than doubles which are often nectar free.

This is what the RHS advises for bees - 

Anyone for Coffee

Posted: 21/09/2014 at 17:14

If applied thickly enough the caffeinated grounds are supposed to deter slugs who don't like caffeine but I just add ours to the compost heap with all the other green kitchen waste.

hormone rooting powder

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 16:47

It's not a food product for consumption so maybe the rules are different.

hormone rooting powder

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 14:04

It does lose its potency after just a few months so is probably no good after a few years.    Pelargoniums root readily without help as long as you give them a gritty compost.

Hardy geraniums can simplify be divided and potted up with bits of root attached.  Water and keep in a sheltered spot out of direct sun until new growth starts.









Looking after my gunnera

Posted: 19/09/2014 at 08:04

Hi LL.  Mine will be moved into a cold greenhouse lined with bubble wrap.  I will sink the pot to its neck in the compost filled bed.   I do have a heater I can put on at night if I think it's going down below -10C and I can also cover it with a couple of layers of horticultural fleece for added protection.

Next spring I will start wtareing gently when the temps get around 5 to 8C which is when I expect it to start thinking about growing again and then I shall take it out again after the worst frosts and pot it into a bigger pot for it to grow on and get bigger.

Mine will be planted out when it reaches a pot size I can no longer carry with OH so 60cms max or 90cms if I use one of my plastic terracotta effect pots which are so much lighter.    I keep mine on the terrace in summer and it gets full sun most of the day but has a saucer of water to keep it moist.    When it does get planted out it will be at the edge of my unlined pond where it can get its roots deep into moist soil.   It will be in full sun but they can take partial shade too.

Here is what the RHS says about them -


When & how do blackcurrents need to be pruned

Posted: 18/09/2014 at 22:11

Pruning time is picking time and for me that's July when the fruits are ripe.

Belfast sinks and their true value?

Posted: 18/09/2014 at 18:25

I have an old tin bath.  I painted it glossy black and used it for chilling beers in packs of ice but haven't needed it fo rthat in years.  It may very well become a planter when I have time to decorate it and punch some holes in the bottom.   I also found some old galvanised laundry tubs in a street sale.   One has been painted red and gold and stencilled with Xmassy stuff for the Xmas tree and the other is still waiting to be painted to hold pots of plants............

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