London (change)


Latest posts by obelixx

Strictly is back!

Posted: 11/10/2015 at 09:37

Anita is amazing and so is Jay and it's great to see Anton with a partner who can dance but he needs to give her something to do.  Not just him being stupid with choreography either.  The salsas are very poor with no armography and in salsa there's a lot.

I think Peter is over-rated so far and I can't stand Johnny Depp and the Pirates so he's on a loser there as far as I'm concerned.  Jamelia just doesn't get it so she can go soon please.


Planting Now or Later

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 14:32

It depends how exposed your garden is.  For my garden, I'd keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse and plant out in spring when the worst frosts are over.   In a sheltered garden that doesn't get heavy frosts or too much winter wet, they're probably OK to be planted out.  

Either way, they're a slug magnet in my garden so be ready with the wildlife friendly pellets from about St Valentine's Day when they start to emerge form hibernation or hatch from eggs and start munching on your treasures..


Posted: 09/10/2015 at 14:29

I like the flowers as mine range from a perfumed white, through lilac to a deep purple and the bees and other pollinators love them too but I cut them off once spent.


Posted: 09/10/2015 at 13:17

It varies for me according to variety.  Some have gone yellow and soggy looking already and others still have strong foliage and even flowers.

What I do find makes a difference is cutting off the spent flower stalks immediately the flowers have finished so they send their energy to the foliage rather than making seeds.   This works for me whether they're in pots or in the ground.

Soil fertility

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 12:12

Have fun and enjoy your plants.

Soil fertility

Posted: 09/10/2015 at 11:54

As I understand it, fertile soil is full of minerals which feed the plants so nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, iron, magnesium and so on.   The soil structure needs to be good to release these goodies to the plants so heavy clay soils need opening up with houmous and grit to help roots grow and penetrate.   Lighter soils need houmous to retain the minerals and moisture and stop it all draining away so fast the plants can't absorb what they need.

Humous rich means there's plenty of organic matter which opens up the soil and keeps it aerated as well as retaining moisture but allowing drainage.   Adding well rotted manure will do this for you and increase fertility.  

Garden compost is less nutrient rich but is a good soil conditioner and adds micro organisms which help release nutrients to plant roots.  If you have lots of nettles in the compost, they will add nitrogen which is good for leafy plants and comfrey will add nutrients good for flowering and fruiting plants.   You can also make liquid "teas" with these two plants for feeding specific plant groups according to their needs.

Spent compost and leaf mould are also good soil conditioners and mulches which don't add many nutrients but do help improve soil structure and retain moisture in the soil when used as a mulch.

An annual autumn mulch just spread over the soil and around the plants will be worked in over winter by the worms so is the easiest option once your beds are planted and the choice of material used - manure, garden compost or spent compost and leaf mould will determine how many nutrients are added.

Lavenders come from hot, dry places with alkaline soil so they need to have good drainage to stop their roots rotting and full sun to flower well.   The British varieties such as Hidcote and Munstead Dwarf are the hardiest in UK winters but still need good drainage to do well.    I grow mine at the top edge of a bank next to the retaining wall which gives them dry feet in cold, wet winters.  The soil is neutral to alkaline clay improved with plenty of garden compost and they are in full sun.

From 24 degrees on Sunday to the first snow today!

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 14:29

What I miss when I go to England now is decent coffee whether staying with rellies or friends or going out.   Can't bear the cr*p in the ubiquitous Starbucks, Costas and motorway stations.   Thank heavens for Pain Quotidien in Covent Garden and Café Nero when I find one.

From 24 degrees on Sunday to the first snow today!

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 12:59

Hard to say as we don't know what you can and can't get there.

When we first moved to Belgium 20 odd years ago I missed being able to go and get a good curry so I started making my own pastes and sauces and mango chutney and lime pickle but now I can buy good pastes and mango chutney from a supermarket 20kms away - or pay almost double in the English shop 55kms away.   No brainer.

Haven't found a source of NZ Lindauer fizz since the Tesco and Sainsbury drinks shops at Calais closed following the single market.   Can get Oz stuff though and Cava and Prosecco and some of the French stuff isn't too bad either.

Falling leaves-loads of em.

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 11:49

If they're falling on grass, use the lawn mower to shred and collect them and then bag them as they make excellent compost.

If not, and you can cope with the look of it, leave them be.  The worms will take them down into the soil over winter and that'll improve the soil in your beds effortlessly.  That's what happens in woods.

Today's observations?

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 11:29

I had just one flying visit from a group of long tailed tits a couple of years ago.  Never seen them here before or since and I have feeders up all year.   No other gardens or feeders nearby but we are surrounded by arable and pastureland and have woods nearby so maybe they don't need my feeders.

We have local buzzards who use the thermals over the field behind to teach their youngsters about flying.   Lots of mewing and whirling.

Very quiet in the garden this morning but the riding school over the way has put its ponies and most of the horses in the paddocks opposite so they can air the boxes  and they're great fun to watch as they skit about.

Discussions started by obelixx

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Lawn care after moles

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Plant id for Obxx

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GW 2015

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Chelsea photos

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Hello Jro - and any other old friends

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Encouraging bats in our gardens

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Beechgrove this weekend

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Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
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Good Morning - 21 March

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Choosing chillies

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1 to 15 of 17 threads