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Latest posts by obelixx

globe thistle cut back..

Posted: 08/07/2014 at 11:11

I don't.    They need the foliage to feed the roots for next year's growth and the top growth also protects the crowns from heavy frosts.  The seed heads look good frosted even it the seeds have been taken.  I only cut mine down in autumn if a strong gale blows them over.  Otherwise, I tidy up at the start of spring.


Posted: 08/07/2014 at 11:06

If it's Midwinter Fire it can be spindly but the stems do thicken with age.  However the object is always to have fresh new stems each year in order to get the flame effect of the bare, coloured stems in winter.

Mine have lovely bright green foliage tinged with red all summer and it turns golden in autumn.


cutting back tree branches

Posted: 07/07/2014 at 16:37

You can buy a pruning saw and handle form the Wolf range at good garden centres and DIY stores.   Good quality and not expensive.   Then I suggest you lift the corwn by removing loawer branches all round the trees.  Once you've cleared those away and can see what is left you can then thin th ecrown by removing some of the branches to allow air, light and rain to circulate and permeate.

Make a first small cut under the branch and then cut it cleanly from the top.   This will help prevent the bark and wood tearing and splitting and maintain a nealthy tree.  Do not use wound paint.  The tree will heal itself.   Make sure you remove all dead and crossing branches first.

Here is what the RHS advises -

Crown lifting: Lifting the crown by removing lower branches will allow access for mowing, mulching and enjoying the shade cast by the tree.

Crown thinning: Thinning crowns to let in more light by removing some, usually up to 30 percent, of the branches and concentrating on dead or congested shoots is another strategy.It is very easy to spoil the appearance of the tree so this is best attempted in stages evaluating the effect before removing more.

If branches larger than the diameter of your wrist need to be removed or if there is a lot of work up ladders needed, it would be best to call in a professional arborist.

Why do perennials die?

Posted: 07/07/2014 at 14:55

Just keep adding a thick mulch of compost every year in autumn and leave it to the worms to work in over winter.   Wen planting new treasures, looesen teh soil in the hole and around the plant and add pleanty of weel-rotted organic matter and a handful of grit.   You will end up with enviably healthy, fertile soil that your plants will love but you need generous amounts of compost and also patience.

Rose not planted correctly

Posted: 07/07/2014 at 14:52

I'd replant in autumn when the soil is still warm and will encourage new root formation.  Water well before you dig it up and again after replanting.   .   Plant it with the graft join one to two inches below soil level.  Give it a mulch of well rootted compost or manure

Like mine, your husband needs some training but he scores points for trying.

globe thistle cut back..

Posted: 07/07/2014 at 14:44

I don't dead head mine as the birds like the seeds.  They do produce more and more flowers as they mature each year and yes, they are perennial and will come back.   They self seed quite happily in my garden but are easy enough to weed out in spring.  I lift some to swap with friends.

Weed Control and Ground Covering

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 17:07

I don't like chemicals either but I do resort to glyphosate for persistent weeds.   I don't use pesticides or fungicides but rely on having healthy soil and plants and lots of visiting and resident birds to keep my garden clean.  

I agree with Bob about the worms too.   Loads more in the bed in question now that the fabric has gone.    Like Salino, I found digging a decent hole through the slit in the membrane was problematical.    I think a natural mulch is the way to go so consider a good thick layer of chipped bark once planting is done.  It will help retain moisture and reduce weed seed germination and is a lot lighter to handle.


Weed Control and Ground Covering

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 12:54

I once did a new bed with plants inserted through weed suppressant fabric and chipped stones.  Despite cutting generous crossed and folding back the fabric, two years later all the plants were gasping for space as they had grown big and strong and wanted room.  Removing the stones and the fabric was a nightmare but I did eventually liberate all my plants.

I would suggest a better method would be to mark out your new beds and then apply a dose of glyphosate to kill off any perennial wildfowers and grasses.  Once this has worked, dig the soil over adding as much well rotted manure and or garden compost as you can.  

Plant your new treasures with enough space in between to hoe any new seedlings and taking into account there eventual height and width.  Water them in well so they establish quickly.  Keep them watered well until the autumn rains start so they don't get checked by drought.   Then it's just a question of hoeing regularly to remove any unwanted seedlings.  

Your border should get established quickly if you do the soil preparation right and then spread to cover all the soil.  There will always be new weed seeds arriving on the wind or dropped by birds but hoeing will deal with these until there is no bare soil visible for them to set up home.


Is it Right or Wrong

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 10:51

Milk in a compost heap?  It will stink to high heaven and attract rats and other vermin.

Is it Right or Wrong

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 09:50

The big thick roots anchor the tree.  Damage those and you will get instability and a potentially damaging and costly tree fall in a storm.    The fine, fibrous ones feed and water the tree.   Reducing those will reduce the tree's vigour but only temporarily as they regrow quickly.   

Having bought a garden with trees and neighbours it behooves you to work with, rather than against them, especially those belonging to neighbours.    For trees in your son's garden, get a tree surgeon to advise whether the whole tree or part of the tree or some of the roots can be safely removed and get them to do the job properly.   They and their work should be fully insured and guaranteed.  They can also advise you on whether or not the neighbours' trees are too close to buildings or drains and whether or not pruning or removal is advisable.   Don't do anything without advice and without checking tree preservation orders and local council policy on trees or you could find yourself with bigger problems down the line.    Don't do anything without first talking to your son's neighbours.   It's a basic courtesy and he will have to live with them for years so it's best to stay friendly.

As Dove says, you can also use the trees as a design feature and make a shady woodland corner that future grandchildren will love to play in.    There are lots of plants that will thrive their and make it beautiful.   Have alook here for some ideas -  

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