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Latest posts by obelixx

Raised beds

Posted: 27/06/2014 at 21:47

The alternatives are brick walls or breeze block walls which require foundations, material and labour so weigh up the various costs and you'll find railway sleepers come out not so expensive.

May I ask why 3'?   For sitting on the wall to work the beds or to get access from a wheelchair something lower would be far more comfortable.    Knee height works well and would need fewer sleepers as well as less soil.


Tips on de-potting a Magnolia

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 17:21

Water it well first so it comes out easily.

Have the new hole ready  - twice the width of the pot and a bit deeper if you can - prepared with plenty of organic material mixed in the bottom and also mixed into the soil you will use to backfill.   Plant it at the same depth it was before and water well.   Give it a feed of some rose or tomato fertiliser to help it grow strong and form flowers for next year.  Use a sequestered iron product for ericaceous plants if you have hard water or are on a neutral soil.  If your soil is alkaline, keep it in the pot but feed it generously.

Keep it well watered till the autumn rains start.  Do not feed it after the beginning of July as new growth needs time to harden off before the frosts and winter come.

Cows in garden

Posted: 20/06/2014 at 16:42

We had a cow problem.  They are separated from our garden by an old barbed wire fence that comes up to their chests and we have put a green mesh fence Inside half of that to stop children and dogs escaping.   However the front half was planted with a holly hedge to act as a windbreak except it grew short and fat as the cows nibbled all the fresh young growth and kept it pruned. 

I have now erected some of that strong steel mesh that builders use for reinforcing concrete.  It is cut to 5' high and attached to the fence posts.  It is practically invisible so doesn't spoil my view and the cows, who are curious beasties, can still come and see us going about our business in the garden.  My holly hedge is now getting taller.

The wire mesh is very inexpensive from builders merchants and comes in lengths of 5m x 2 m.   You'd need a few wooden or concrete posts to hold it up and permission from the farmer unless you can erect it on your side of the wall. 

Percy Thrower quote

Posted: 19/06/2014 at 14:56

Same here and he was a bit chemical happy ad not necessarily into recycling or concerned about environmental sensibilities.

Trough Liners

Posted: 19/06/2014 at 13:39

Alan Titchmarsh once did an experiment and found that old woollen jumpers make very good hanging basket liners.   At Keukenhof (Dutch bulb garden) I've seen hanging baskets lined with plastic but with a piece of colourful fabric between it and the basket to pretty it up.

I use the coconut fibre thingies with a square of old compost bag on the inside to retain moisture.    I did once find some sort of compressed cardboard liners and they lasted several seasons.

japanese maple in the way

Posted: 18/06/2014 at 16:45

I'm not sure hard pruning is the way to go with Japanese maples.   Do you not have a friend or family member who could move it for you in autumn as soon as it has shed its leaves?   You'd need to water it well and let it soak for an hour or so while a new hle is prepared an dthen dig it up with as much of its rootball as possible and plant it at the same depth with plenty of well rotted garden or bought in compost and a dollop of bonemeal sprinkled in to help it make new roots over winter.


Posted: 18/06/2014 at 14:28

If it is clematis wilt there is no need to destroy the whole plant.  Just remove the affected stems to the base and then give it a good feed of liquid tomato or rose fertiliser to provide a tonic and encourage new stems to grow.   Do this for a few weeks to give it a chance.

New clematis can take a year or two to get established and grow strongly.  It helps to pant them at least 4" deeper than they were in their pot and to provide plenty of soil conditioner such as well rotted manure or garden compost when planting and then as a mulch every autumn.   In spring, give each one a generous dollop of specialist clematis food which will release nutrients slowly plus a drink of liquid rose food.

Clematis are very hungry, thirsty plants so keep up with the nutrients every year and make sure they don't dry out but don't drown them either.   Yours looks as though it is very close to a fence so may be in a bit of a rain shadow.   If so, water it thoroughly and then mulch it to help retain moisture.

What to do with rhubarb?

Posted: 16/06/2014 at 14:52

I have lots of rhubarb cake recipes but it also makes excellent chutney.  Very good with sausages and in sandwiches:-

Rhubarb Chutney

 2 lbs         rhubarb in 1" chunks

8 oz          onion, chopped

1.5 lbs      brown sugar

8 oz          raisins

1/2 oz       mustard seeds

1 tsp        pepper

1 tsp        mixed spice

1 tsp        ginger

1 tsp        salt

20 fl oz     vinegar

Combine the lot in a large pan and cook till thick, with no excess liquid.  Transfer to warm jars and cover.   Leave to mature a few weeks before eating.


Clematis dying

Posted: 16/06/2014 at 08:54

Stand the pot on feet so that excess water can drain away but do think about giving it more root room.  That pot looks too small to me.   

The only pests I get on my clematis are slugs and an occasional snail who think the fresh new stems and foliage are caviar.

Clematis dying

Posted: 15/06/2014 at 18:21

From what I can see of the compost it looks very dry.  Clematis are very thirsty, hungry plants and in warm weather need watering every day if grown in pots as Wella s regular feeding.  You can buy specialist clematis food which is slow release but for an instant tonic, once its compost has been thoroughly wet again, use liquid rose or tomato food.

Give it a  very good drink now and cut off all the dead stems just above a leaf node.  If it recovers, keep it watered and fed and consider planting it in the ground if possible or in a bigger pot.

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