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Latest posts by obelixx

Cornus alba 'Sibirica'

Posted: 27/12/2014 at 13:39

It will survive and thrive if the soil is right but the whole point of the red stems is to see them lit up by low winter sun so hiding it in a north facing aspect with just a bit of sun filitered through a fence won't exactly show it off at its best.  


Posted: 27/12/2014 at 10:10

Snow promised but not delivered.  However howling winds and driven rain all night and our paddock across the road is a lake again with a gaggle of geese and ducks swimming.  I shall have to plant more willows along the stream that marks the boundary.

Plants and snow and the Hardiness rating

Posted: 27/12/2014 at 00:12

Snow acts as an insulator so don't remove it from hardy perennials but do shake if off any branches it is weighing down as the weight can permanently damage plants.

The RHS has recently recognised that varying degrees of hardiness are needed to describe plants more accurately and found that the USA zoning system wouldn't work in the more moderate but also more variable over small distances UK climate.   I'm in central Belgium and find plants do better in winters with lots of snow than the ones where it is cold for long periods without any snow.   It can make the difference between surviving -25C and -15C.

Imperatas, pennisetums and evergreen viburnums do not do well here.

Dilemma........wot to choose?

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 18:35

I don't bother with annuals as they require the same expenditure on compost on time for the sowing, pricking out and growing on as perennials and then you have to do it all over again the following year.  Can't sow direct as the birds/slugs/weeds just get them.

I too have large borders to fill and always some losses after winter.   I do buy Cosmos babies for OH cos he loves them and cleomes for me but otherwise I plan to sow more perennials such as lysimachia Beaujolais and others that I can't find in local garden centres and which I hope will last some years to come. 

Great gardening weather

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 18:27

Grey here but not too cold so I finished the bubble wrap in the greenhouse and stashed all my big pots and troughs of bulbs and went to get some replacement panes for the three I found cracked or broken.   Rolled up and stashed the hose pipes too.

Radio forecast says to expect freezing temps and snow overnight which is a bit of a change of plan so I've got it done just in time.

Has Anybody Got This Rose?

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 18:25

Mine did sulk a bit when first planted out but she's fine now.  Just hope winter doesn't throw too much at her.


Posted: 26/12/2014 at 10:49

Check very carefully with the supplier.  Most Indian sandstone is quarried using bonded child labour.   I wouldn't want that in my garden.   There's a reason it's cheap, like Primark clothing............

Feeding birds Yes or No

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 10:46

I have built a simple square arch over 2 metres high - two fence posts with a bar screwed across the top with hooks for hanging feeders.   The rats never climb up and the cats can't pounce.   There's a twisted hazel nearby for cover when the sparrow hawk flies in.

However I also put loose seed down on a slab below for the ground feeders and rats do visit that from their burrows along the edge of the field behind.   When they get too cheeky I put down sachets of poison in the entrances to their burrow, especially now as they're thinking of going into breeding mode.

Has Anybody Got This Rose?

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 10:36

I bought Jacqueline Du Pré last year and have been very pleased - 

It is simple and elegant and the open flower attracts beneficial insects so triple pleasure as it has a pleasing perfume too.   The buds are palest pink but the flower opens white.

Where to put arch?

Posted: 26/12/2014 at 10:29

I think it will get lost all the way down the bottom so it should go at the start of the lawned area.  You'll also be able to grow a repeat flowering rambler such as Malvern Hills there and enjoy the flowers and perfume as you pass.   However, if your soil is light and sandy you'll need to did in an awful lot of well rotted manure and garden compost to give it the richness roses need.

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