obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 16:28

Game is expensive here too so I buy it at the end of December when they start to reduce the price in the shops to get rid and I stick some in the freezer for later on.

Saw the moon and Jupiter last night on our way home from Soul class in Gilly.   Stunning but flipping cold and frosty.  Been cold all day and we've had everything except gales - bright sun, black clouds, rain, hail, sleet and snow in turn.  Blue skies again now but not for long as it's nearly sunset.

I'm sticking with patchwork and sewing projects for the next week or so apart from taking more twisted willow cuttings tomorrow and seeing if I can get some weeping willow cuttings from our neighbour's tree.

Nice day

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 16:21

Freezing again today after days and days of rain which have left the garden too sodden to work in or on.   We've had some sunshine but also black clouds with rain hail and snow in turn today.

Sunny again now but down to 0C and getting dark soon.

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 24/02/2016 at 14:51

In Belgium they've changed the hunting season which now ends on December 31st.   However, local gamekeepers reserve the right to shoot any dogs running around off their leads if they think they'll upset their pheasants and roe deer.  We have several hunting grounds here so have to be careful.

Once the local sweetcorn gets above tail height on Rasta terrier we can lose her completely as she quarters back and forth looking for pheasants to chase - after the babies have hatched and grown and before the hunting season starts again.    Bonzo Dog Labrador doesn't need anything to chase.  He just likes to run.

No wild boar here yet but they have learned to swim the Meuse and are heading north out of the Ardennes where, it seems, the local hunters are not keeping down the numbers.   Something to do with quotas and licenses.......

Blazing Leylandi Hedges

Posted: 24/02/2016 at 10:18

Sounds like a carelessly dropped cigarette or match to me.   As Dove says you'll need to clear the remains, getting out as much stump as possible, and improve the soil a lot with plenty of well rotted garden or bought in compost and some well rotted manure if you can get it.  

If you want to stay evergreen I would plant yew which does regrow form the wood if ever you need to prune it hard.    Holly will look good and also provide food and shelter for birds and insects but is very slow growing.   Escallonia is another possibility - grows faster than holly, has attractive, small leaves which lend themsleves to being clipped and flowers and berries for wildlife.

A mixed hedge with some hawthorn in it would extend the wildlife habitat but be bare in winter.   Hawthorn does grow very quickly and pruning the tops will help it thicken out quickly.  It's also cheap and can be planted close in single or two staggered rows depending on how much space you have at the base.

 

Unwelcome garden visitors

Posted: 24/02/2016 at 10:09

Our pond was dug out for drainage as the neighbouring pasture (of which our garden used to be part) is very boggy.   It is gradually being terraformed by invading iris pseudocorus and boggy grasses but still provides a home and drinking and bathing spot for assorted amphibians, insects and birds and the hedgehogs can get out easily.

Only shelled peanuts here.  Don't want the birds to waste energy getting through shells or have the mess to clean up.

Unwelcome garden visitors

Posted: 24/02/2016 at 08:52

Clear skies, bright stars and big fat moon last night coming home from our Soul class.   heavy frosts followed of course and it's still only -2C at nearly 10am in bright sunshine.

When it's this cold, I put down fresh ground food earlier and a fresh peanut feeder which is good till the others thaw again.   I don't bother with water for baths and drinks as we have an unlined pond in the garden and a stream in the paddocks next door and across the road.

Unwelcome garden visitors

Posted: 23/02/2016 at 23:44

We used to get loads of magpies but they seem to have disappeared in the last few years.   Recently we've started getting crows, jackdaws and occasional jays.

I have carried on regardless providing fat balls, peanuts, fat and insect blocks and loose seed but I use hanging bird feeders that swing in the wind and this deters the big birds.  I don't put out the loose seed for ground feeders till about 10am now as I find the big birds have moved to the woods and fields to forage by then - except in freezing weather or snow.

We get the usual tits and sparrows, chaffinches, siskins, warblers, dunnocks, robins, blackbirds etc and greater spotted woodpeckers.   There are gulls around at ploughing time but they haven't invaded the garden - yet.

interior advice

Posted: 23/02/2016 at 22:55

You need to clean it thoroughly with paint stripper if needed to remove old paint then wire wool or a wire brush to remove any bits.   Wipe clean with a cloth soaked in white spirit then prime it with red oxide paint available from good DIY shops.  

Paint with a specialist metal paint.

To use chalk based paint on wood you need to make sure all old paint and varnish is removed and the surface sanded smooth.    I would suggest you get a few books out form the library on restoring old furniture and doing paint effects as, whether you want a neat finish or an aged look, chalk paint will need to be sealed with either wax or acrylic varnish to seal and protect it.

rambler

Posted: 23/02/2016 at 22:31

I think wooden posts would look best.  You  can get them at builders' merchants, DIY stores and garden centres so compare prices first.   I would suggest 4" by 4" fence posts buried in concrete boots.   For this you just need to dig deep holes about 12" wide, pour in some dry concrete mix, put the posts in so that between 12 to 18 inches are buried and then fill the rest of the hole with concrete.   Pour on some water and use 2 spirit levels on 2 adjacent post sides to make sure it is vertical.  If you use quick drying concrete you can let go after just a few minutes and do the next one.

I would suggest leaving 2m of post above ground and you'll first need to drill a hole through that's wide enough to take the rope.   Measure the distance between posts and add extra to allow for the swag to droop a bit and also to allow a decorative knot at each end.   Apparently, natural rope is best and swags best if soaked in a bucket of water for an hour or two then left to drain excess moisture.  You can fix it with screws drilled through it and into the wood at each side of the posts.

Plant your rose near the centre post and then you can train it along both swags.   You may need a loop of wire mesh to help it climb up the post - assuming you can get it to grow.   Talk to your conservation officer about the posts first and DA about your rose..

Soda crystals to control moss

Posted: 23/02/2016 at 17:45

Grass grown as a lawn hardly needs a windbreak.   ornamental grasses may appreciate a bit but, as they usually come from prairie situations, they are designed to be wind blown and, indeed, rely on wind to spread their seeds.

Any chemical solution to moss will be toxic to something - soil, plants, micro and bigger organisms so the best solution is to fix the problem and not the symptom.

 

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