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Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 02/07/2014 at 20:32

Clematis are usually grown outdoors and are not conservatory plants except for one or two recent introductions from NZ which are not frost hardy.  I have about 40 clematis in the garden and they all withstand -25C or more which is what I need here.

Ernest Markham is hardy to -25C.

Native mixed hedge against a fence?

Posted: 02/07/2014 at 20:28

I can't see that many stems would grow on the dark, fence side so it should be OK but, if needs be, Plan B could be trellis panels erected 60cm inside the fence so you can get round behind if needs be for maintenance and then grow something like pyracantha up it - evergreen leaves, blossom in sprng and berries in autumn so very good for wildlife.  

Pyracantha are easy to train, cheap to buy and produce berries in yellow, orange or red according to variety.   Soil preparation as above but they tend to come as container plants so can go in any time as long as you water them regularly if you plant between spring and autumn.  You can add ivy, hops, clematis and dog rose to the mix to train over the trellis and provide food and shelter for insects.


Posted: 02/07/2014 at 20:19

Questions first - how big is the container, how deep did you plant it, what sort of compost did you use and have you fed it since?

Clematis are hungry, thirsty plants so if it's been underfed and watered it will struggle to grow.  Also, they can take a year or two to getthemselves established and have a happy root system before they really start to perform.

I would suggest patience and a generous liquid feed of rose or tomato food now and again next week and maybe the week after but not more than that this year or it will just produce soft, sappy growth that doesn't have time to ripen before the winter frosts zap it.

Urgent advise required regarding seeding a lawn now!!

Posted: 02/07/2014 at 16:23

Grass seed germinates best in the cooler moist conditions of April and September.  Too much watering to get it to grow now will simply wash away the seed and a lot will go to the birds.  Ask him if his budget includes a second batch of seed for september sowing.

Native mixed hedge against a fence?

Posted: 02/07/2014 at 10:23

60cm would be better.   I have a hawthorn hedge on my Northwest/Southeast boundary and it's doing very well but there is no fence either side.    I don't see why it wouldn't work for you as long as you prepare the soil well before planting.   Dig it to a depth of between 1.5 and 2 spades, remove stones, rubbish, weeds and then put the soil back with plenty of added garden composta nd well rotted manure to improve its structure and nutrients.

You can buy whips - short, single stems - of hawthorn in autumn which is also the best time to plant.  Soak the roots in a bucket of cool water for an hour and then plant at 9 inch intervals if you're doing just one row which will be enough for your purposes.  For  a thicker hedge you can plant them in two zig zagged rows at 9 to 12 inches.    Trim the stems to 9 inches high and water well.  They will spend autumn and winter growing new roots which will then provide the energy for new stems in spring.

Mine grew 6' in their first year.   You'll need to trim them back to about 3 or 4 feet heigh the first autumn after planting to encourage them to bush out and thicken up and so provide more flowers, berries and shelter for birds and insects.  You can keep them trimmed to 6' thereafter.  How wide you keep it is up to you.

Hydrangea paniculata Sundae Fraise

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 23:33

All hydrangeas like moist but well drained soil and full sun or partial shade.   They can get very large if left unpruned and are best off planted in the ground where their roots can stay cool and reach out for water and nutrients.  

Dig a hole at least twice as wide and half as deep again as the pot it is currently in and then improve the soil in teh hole and for back flling with plenty of good garden compost and/or well rotted manure to help enrich its soil and moisture retention.   Soak the pot in a bucket of water till no further bubbles appear then lift out and plant at the same depth.   Water generously once planted and for the rest of this summer to get it established.

The paniculatas flower on new wood so you can prune yours to shape or size at the beginning of spring and it will then grow new stems and flower on those.   Give it a good feed of pelleted chicken manure or bllod, fish and bone worked in around its roots every spring and it should be good for years.

Can anyone identify this shrub :)

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 07:30

If it is phytolacca you need to be aware that it is poisonous to people and animals but the birds love the berries and scoff them with gay abandon and no ill effect.   This plant self seeds liberally in my garden but is easy to control and keep in bounds.

FRENCH gardens in midi - pyrenees-where to go?

Posted: 01/07/2014 at 07:22

You need to go to the nearest tourism office and ask them about gardens and parks to visit.    Look in local newsagents and see if there's an English language magazine for the area.  There's one called Living Magazine for the Charente and Bordeaux area so maybe there's one for further South.    That would give you info about life in the area and where to go/buy/do things.

Then research weather patterns of summer highs and winter lows plus rainfall.   Plants do cold winters better under snow than if it's cold and wet or seriously cold and very dry.  

Found this on Google for the Saint-Lizier area - de beaux jardins sur les hauteurs de Foix (les “Epines de Lespinet”) et à Loubières (les “Jardins de Loubières”)

and this - 

Growers or Killers?

Posted: 30/06/2014 at 16:48

I happily kill flies, especially the biting kind but I rescue bees and wasps and ladybirds and lacewings and I throw slugs and snails in the road to be splatted if the eco pellets haven't got them first. I rescue worms and good insects when I find them in need of help.   I also feed the birds every day so the adults will hoover up aphids and caterpillars on my roses and veggies.   Good trade. 

I nurture plants I want and share the spares with friends but I'll happily put weedkiller on paths and cobbles too expansive to weed by hand and I pull up other weeds from the borders.  OH does weed and feed on the grass but not every year.   I don't care that much as long as it's green.


Posted: 30/06/2014 at 12:35

You can cut off the spent flower heads if you don't want any seed and cut off any brown or spotty foliage but leave the newer, greener leaves to feed the plants roots and make the energy for next spring's show of flowers.   If they are otherwise green but wilting they may just be thirsty or need moving to a shadier spot but if you do move them, water well first and again after transplanting and until they re-establish themselves.

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