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obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 12:40

The drop in viewing figures is easy enough to understand.  GW now is often boring and irrelevant.    For those of us who remember GW with Geoff H at the helm the programme has changed beyond all recognition and no longer delivers useful, practical garden advice for the majority.  GH had divided his property into different plots especially in order to do GW his way so there were small gardens and grander ones, cheap and cheerful ones with lots of DIY and more expensive ones for those who could afford to buy rather than make obelisks and arches and pergolas and coldframes and ponds.   

Planting plans and démos were also varied and suited to many kinds of garden and he used them in different situtations.  He had regular guest slots with experts on house plants, pests and diseases and design and he turned to promoting organic gardening without chemicals and without stripping nature of its resources such as limestone pavements but all in a down to earth, non preaching style.

Like AT, he had the common touch and could talk to anyone at any level and make them think gardening was the best thing ever for people and wildlife.

Monty has some interesting plants but with all his hedges and paths and huge pots and greenhouses his garden does not reflect average UK gardens and gardeners and is all too personal.  He has yet to acknowledge the help he receives to maintain and develop his garden and I always feel he is out of touch with ordinary folk who have to fit in gardening bewteen work and family commitments.

The best bits of GW for me now are the visits to see how other people garden and what plants are good in a particular season and situation.    Even current filming of basic stuff like sowing seeds or taking cuttings is often badly focussed or from the wrong angle to see what's happening.

I love the Beechgrove garden.  It's practical and the presenters each have their own specialities and preferences so there is variety and something for all.    Bringing in Chris Beardshaw was an inspired move.    It can be a bit old fashioned with its bedding plants but does good tests and comparisons and lots for the fruit and veg grower too as well as a wide variety of ornamentals.   Being as cold and wet as it is, Monty's garden is also behind most of the UK.

GH's garden has been taken over by his son and family and is open to visitors and has a nursery - http://www.barnsdalegardens.co.uk/   It's on my list of places to visit.   They also have a stand at shows such as Chelsea with some luscious plants.

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 11:28

In actual fact, GW is a lot less popular now than it was with Geoff Hamilton at the helm or Alan Titchmarsh.    Monty may well be a very nice chap and have a lovely garden but GW has become just a quiet half hour of TV to relax with a glass of wine.   Audiences have more than halved in recent years and are now down to just over 2 million.

Monty's garden is too idiosyncratic to serve as an essential guide to what to do in your garden that weekend or to show what most people in smaller gardens and with restricted time and budgets can achieve, copy, or interpret for their own garden and planting in the future.   I still enjoy it but very little that he does is relevant to my garden which is large and very fertile but also very alkaline and exposed.

We definitely need a new programme aimed at beginners, smaller plots, time constraints and budgets for modern living.

As for people being unkind to new posters I think that's a pity.  If a post seems suspicious, best to wait and see or ignore rather than go into public attack mode - unless it's the usual Grid troll who is easily recognisable or yet another weekend kitchen ad.   

 

MONTY DON...disparu encore une fois?

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 17:36

I don't think Twitter is exactly Monty's cup of tea and he has had some fierce criticism for things he's posted.   As spring is very much on its way and his garden has been flooded again this winter I rather suspect he has better things to do with his time.  I know I do and I don't have deadlines to meet to prepare for broadcasts or write revenue earning articles and books for a living.

Container drainage

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 20:32

In Belgium, Oz and Kiwi bottles are not returnable for a deposit and, until about 10 years ago, there weren't ubiquitous bottle banks so we built up quite a collection of empties.    When English speaking friends learned I intended to build a bottle wall the men all scoffed (closet engineers of the failed variety) but brought me their empties too. 

OH wasn't convinced either but my bottle wall was quick to build and has been in place 10 years and withstood temps ranging from -32C to +38C.   What is not to like?

If you should fancy making one yourselves, the straight sided bottles with high shoulders work best.  No cement needed, just a firm base and an end wall made, in our case, from granite pavers fixed with cement.  The top is made from marble slabs recycled from dismantled fireplaces when we renovated this ex farmhouse. 

Container drainage

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 18:56

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/38177.jpg?width=450&height=350&mode=max

 

These days we mostly drink Oz or Kiwi wine with screw caps so it's just as well corks can be re-used.  The bottles can come in handy too.........

Container drainage

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 11:09

I save wine corks for using in pots that need good drainage.   They are natural and  lightweight and they also absorb excess mositure which then makes a reserve supply if the compost dries out  too much.   They can be recycled quite a few times too and don't harm the compost heap if they end up in there - unlike polystyrrene chips and so on.

Rotavator to tame paddock? Will it work?

Posted: 22/02/2014 at 17:57

Hire or buy a strimmer with a metal blade and a petrol motor.  It'll cope with all sorts and should come with a sort of harness to help spread the weight across shoulders and back so there's no strain.

In my experience, ride on mowers don't cope with rough terrain.  They are designed to look like mini tractors but do not have tractor power and like smooth surfaces to mow or they clog and break down.    A man with a mini digger shoud be able to level your terrain if and when you decide you're ready to make it into a more formal/level lawn area.

Talkback: Moles

Posted: 22/02/2014 at 15:46

Mole plants don't work.   Nothing does other than trapping and relocating or trapping and killing.

It is so mild here I've been out and cut the grass for the first time this year - something which normaly happens in April.  It is now looking a bit muddy in places where I have flattened mole hills but now I can see where the new ones appear in the morning and blast the perishers into compost before I break an ankle or knacker my back tripping in one of their galleries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epsom Salts

Posted: 22/02/2014 at 14:19

The ratio is 15ml of Epsom salts to 5 litres of water.    Pour over the plant with the spray nozzle on the can so it is absorbed by the leaves as well as the roots.

 

Gardening by the Moon

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 11:30

Did a lot of weeding and pruning and transplanting of several shrubs on Tuesday.   Took lots of clematis cuttings from those prunings and had a word with some of the roses.

It's been too soggy and/or windy since but I'm hoping to get OH in the garden tomorrow to clear away my piles of clematis prunings and turn the compost heaps.

Not sowing seeds of anything just yet.

 

 

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