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Latest posts by obelixx

Frost damaged clematis

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 13:31

This is a group 3 for pruning so gets cut back to about 9" high in spring and then regrows and flowers on new stems.  It should have a delicious almond perfume when in flower.

You can leave it till then or cut it down now if it's looking too unattractive but give its feet a good uch of compost to protect and feed the roots over winter.  Give the roots a generous dollop of clematis food in late Feb or early March and an occasional liquid feed of rose or tomato food to encourage strong growth and lots of flowers every year.

Winter Pots

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 13:24

Cyclamen won't bloom all winter but they do have attractive foliage.  I've planted some rich red ones in the pots by the front door along with aviegated tariling ivey and upright variegated euonymous.  It should still look good even when the flower have died down.

 I have no luck with spring bulbs in outdoor tubs here as they tend to get frozen to a mush.  The cyclamen will be planted in the front bed with the others next spring?  They are gradually forming a very attractive mat under the roses.


To deck or not to deck.....!

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 13:09

The weedproof membrane is essential under gravel as it stops it from sinking in over time.  That will also keep the clay off your boots.

If your whole garden is so badly draine I suggest digging a soak away anyway and filling it with loose rubble to act as a drain and maybe even making a deliberate bog garden area which would add colour and form and encourage wildlife. 

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 11:57

I am hoping phlomis bracteosa will prove as sturdy, but not as invasive, as the russelliana.   Aquilegas are lovely and I let them self seed more or less where they like.

To deck or not to deck.....!

Posted: 28/11/2014 at 11:48

Unless there were some horrible chemicals in your shed one fire won't produce enough contaminants to spoil the soil and you could improve both the soil fertility and structure by forking in lots and lots of well rotted manure and garden compost.    However, if you don't want ornamenta beds or lanw there's no point.

Decking can be expensive to install correctly and requires constant maintenance to keep the wood in good nick.  It gets slippery when wet and also is an open invitation to rodents who nest under it.   Pesonally, I think it's a bad idea in damp climates.

Large expanses of hard landscaping are also expensive to get right and, unless you use a porous material, can lead to drainage problems for the rest of the garden.

I think your best option would be gravel laid over a weed suppressant fabric.   This would give you a clean area with good drainage and you can vary the texture with some paving slabs to support a table and some stepping stones and/or shapely larger rocks and stones laid through it.  You can cut planting slits for specimen plants and use standing pots and troughs to vary seasonal interest and forms.

Select the gravel colour to tone with your hosue walls or provide a good contrast.  Don't use too fine a gravel as this will just tread into the house.   Slate chippings can look good, especially when wet.   You'll need a border to hold the gravel in place at the edges and shoud aim for it to be an inch or two deep.    .

Plant support

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 13:00

Krissy - you'll do better at abuilders' merchants than a DIY store.  You need th emetal wires they use for reinforcing concrete.  It comes in several thicknesses.  I find 5mm works well as it's flexible enough for me to bend round an old railway sleeper.

You'll also need some wire cutters to get the lengths you need.  Here it's sold in 5 metre lengths which give me two plant supports each by the time I've bent them to a shape and height which supports big plants like echinops and giant scabious and the taller heleniums.

Which Witch Hazel!

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 12:22

Hi Edd.  Yes, it was shsattering but we did have a -32C that January.  Lost some roses and clematis too and nearly every stem of a huge Kiftsgate but it has now recovered and regrown.    I haven't planted new large trees as, somehow, a self sown oak has arrived where the nothofagus was and I'm letting that be for now.  

Deciduous forms of viburnum are just about OK but I've mostly been planting colourful stemmed cornus and hydrangea paniculata forms which stand up - so far - to anything we get here although even those were clobbered and defoliated by a freak hailstone tornado last May. 

I think maybe when OH retires at the end of next year we'll be looking for a more sheltered garden to nurture.

Which tree for my garden?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:55

Eucalyptus gets huge very quickly and gingko will grow very slowly at just a few inches a year but end up being enormous.

Have a look at Liquidambar which has attractive foliage with stnning colours in autumn and a neat, conical habit that won't cast too much shade.  You can gradually lift its canopy by removing lower branches till you get your head height clearance.

Have a look also at sorbus kahmiriana which dosn't get too big and has attractive flowers and berries.    Prunus serrula is another good small tree with fabulous mahogany coloured bark for winter interest as well as attractive foliage and blossom in other seasons.

Which Witch Hazel!

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:42

I planted a Diane about 10 years ago but she was clobbered by a very hard winter which also killed off a northofagus antartica, some golden conifers, a choisya ternata Sundance, an eleagnus and all 5 of my viburnum tinus.

I have since planted an Orange Peel which was also clobbered by a hard winter which began with a heavy snow fall at the beginning of December and went on till late March.  However this one has regrown and is now a lovely shrub with great autumn colour.  Lots of new stems this year after a mild winter so I'm expecting good lfowering and perfume next February if the winter is kind.   Fingers crossed.

What are you getting rid of...?

Posted: 27/11/2014 at 10:33

I run a  garden group here - several nationalities, all sizes and styles of garden and levels of ability and many new to gardening in northern Europe with its seasons and hardiness issues.

We meet once or twice a month in each other's gardens from late March to early November and advise each other on what, where and how to do various gardening tasks and we swap spare plants raised from seed, cuttings and division.   We also offer spare plants to an annual sale for charity.

Even so, I find I get left with surplus plants and the only place left for them to go is the compost heap so they're not entirely wasted.


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