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obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

hostas

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 13:17

It varies for me according to variety.  Some have gone yellow and soggy looking already and others still have strong foliage and even flowers.

What I do find makes a difference is cutting off the spent flower stalks immediately the flowers have finished so they send their energy to the foliage rather than making seeds.   This works for me whether they're in pots or in the ground.

Soil fertility

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 12:12

Have fun and enjoy your plants.

Soil fertility

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 11:54

As I understand it, fertile soil is full of minerals which feed the plants so nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, iron, magnesium and so on.   The soil structure needs to be good to release these goodies to the plants so heavy clay soils need opening up with houmous and grit to help roots grow and penetrate.   Lighter soils need houmous to retain the minerals and moisture and stop it all draining away so fast the plants can't absorb what they need.

Humous rich means there's plenty of organic matter which opens up the soil and keeps it aerated as well as retaining moisture but allowing drainage.   Adding well rotted manure will do this for you and increase fertility.  

Garden compost is less nutrient rich but is a good soil conditioner and adds micro organisms which help release nutrients to plant roots.  If you have lots of nettles in the compost, they will add nitrogen which is good for leafy plants and comfrey will add nutrients good for flowering and fruiting plants.   You can also make liquid "teas" with these two plants for feeding specific plant groups according to their needs.

Spent compost and leaf mould are also good soil conditioners and mulches which don't add many nutrients but do help improve soil structure and retain moisture in the soil when used as a mulch.

An annual autumn mulch just spread over the soil and around the plants will be worked in over winter by the worms so is the easiest option once your beds are planted and the choice of material used - manure, garden compost or spent compost and leaf mould will determine how many nutrients are added.

Lavenders come from hot, dry places with alkaline soil so they need to have good drainage to stop their roots rotting and full sun to flower well.   The British varieties such as Hidcote and Munstead Dwarf are the hardiest in UK winters but still need good drainage to do well.    I grow mine at the top edge of a bank next to the retaining wall which gives them dry feet in cold, wet winters.  The soil is neutral to alkaline clay improved with plenty of garden compost and they are in full sun.

From 24 degrees on Sunday to the first snow today!

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 14:29

What I miss when I go to England now is decent coffee whether staying with rellies or friends or going out.   Can't bear the cr*p in the ubiquitous Starbucks, Costas and motorway stations.   Thank heavens for Pain Quotidien in Covent Garden and Café Nero when I find one.

From 24 degrees on Sunday to the first snow today!

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 12:59

Hard to say as we don't know what you can and can't get there.

When we first moved to Belgium 20 odd years ago I missed being able to go and get a good curry so I started making my own pastes and sauces and mango chutney and lime pickle but now I can buy good pastes and mango chutney from a supermarket 20kms away - or pay almost double in the English shop 55kms away.   No brainer.

Haven't found a source of NZ Lindauer fizz since the Tesco and Sainsbury drinks shops at Calais closed following the single market.   Can get Oz stuff though and Cava and Prosecco and some of the French stuff isn't too bad either.

Falling leaves-loads of em.

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 11:49

If they're falling on grass, use the lawn mower to shred and collect them and then bag them as they make excellent compost.

If not, and you can cope with the look of it, leave them be.  The worms will take them down into the soil over winter and that'll improve the soil in your beds effortlessly.  That's what happens in woods.

Today's observations?

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 11:29

I had just one flying visit from a group of long tailed tits a couple of years ago.  Never seen them here before or since and I have feeders up all year.   No other gardens or feeders nearby but we are surrounded by arable and pastureland and have woods nearby so maybe they don't need my feeders.

We have local buzzards who use the thermals over the field behind to teach their youngsters about flying.   Lots of mewing and whirling.

Very quiet in the garden this morning but the riding school over the way has put its ponies and most of the horses in the paddocks opposite so they can air the boxes  and they're great fun to watch as they skit about.

Hydrangea

Posted: 07/10/2015 at 16:48

I have Vanille Fraise which was my first and have since bought Limelight, Mega Mindy, Prim White and Pink Diamond.   I've had to rescue all except VF and PD from the beds they were growing in and grow them in pots this year so I can do some serious clearing of weeds such as couch grass and bindweed that were taking the mickey after 2 mild winters and my gardening absence for new feet.  

They are all doing well but will be even happier back in the ground.   They all turn pink eventually but I like it.

Today's observations?

Posted: 07/10/2015 at 16:40

Here in central Belgium they are migratory but we haven't seen any great egrets during the last 3 relatively mild winters.

Talkback: Plants for damp shade

Posted: 07/10/2015 at 15:59

All of those plus ligularias, chelone, astilboides, candelabra primulas and Japanese anemones in mine which gets full sun from 3:30pm between the spring and autumn equinoxes so no direct sun at all for 6 months of the year.   

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