London (change)


Latest posts by obelixx

One of a kind... or not?

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 09:08

If it is a stable change it is unlikely to come true from seed.  Better to keep the little offset bulbs and grow them on till big enough to flower.   

Iris Pseudacorus

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 18:20

Be careful what you wish for.  I was given a few of these plants when we dug out our new drainage pond which is about 7m by 4m.   It made a orld takeover bid so OH went in in his waders and puled it all up along with the bullrushes and the cows in teh pasture next door had a fine autumn feast.

I've had a couple of difficult years unable to garden cos of various surgeries and in that time they have come back and almost terraformed our pond.  It is on our list of jobs to get the lot out.   

Midwinter Fire.

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 17:22

I have found it fussier than other dogwoods but then again, when happy, it suckers like mad.  Doesn't usually take kindly to pruning, especially when getting established, but I got cross with one this summer and hacked it back hard and it has responded with lots of colourful new stems.   So has another in a small bed by our parking area. I half expected it to give up after a serious haircut this spring and it's come back very well.

Mine are in full sun in deep, neutral to alkaline loam - depending on the bed - over a layer of clay subsoil.   They get plenty of weather too as we're exposed to strong winds and can have very cold winters.



Hardiness of Shrubs

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 17:17

Parts of the Charente and Dordogne get -15C in January/Feb so can't assume an oleander will be OK outside.

Hardiness of Shrubs

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 11:35

That depends on how frosty your bit of the Dordogne gets in winter as it will only withstand very light frosts.    You could plant it in a sheltered spot and cover it with a couple of layers of garden fleece in winter to give an extra 2 or 3 degrees of protection.

Have a look here for info on the group of plants -  and here for more on named plants - 


Clay soil under membrane

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 10:17

How big an area is it?   Can you fork it over?   If so, try and source a large pile of well rotted compost - local council recycling? - or well rotted horse manure and lay it on thickly as soon as possible.  Fork it in lightly then leave it over winter for worms to work into the soil.

Autumn is the best time for planting shrubs while they are dormant above ground and can then concentrate their energy on putting out new roots over the winter.   You can plant through the mulched layer it adding extra soil conditioner to planting holes and some coarse grit to improve drainage and a handful of bonemeal or microrhizal fungi to help with root development.  Both available form good garden centres.

Water in and mulch with more soil conditioner.   Wait till spring to plant perennials but you can get some daffodils in now too.  Not tulips.  They don't like heavy clay.


Posted: 14/09/2015 at 09:34

They can be late in a cool summer and do require full sun. 

I grow mine in pots and move them to shelter over the winter so they don't get frosted.

Non flowering hydrangeas

Posted: 14/09/2015 at 09:32

Ideally you should scatter BF&B or chicken pellets every spring all over your flower borders - except wildflower beds - in order to maintain fertility.  Using some slow release rose or clematis fertiliser or liquid tomato feed on high energy plants like roses and clematis will promote flowering.  

Try some of that on your hydrangeas and make sure they never dry out over summer.  You could also mulch them with some well rotted garden compost in autumn so the worms can work it in over winter and improve your clay soil's ability to sustain your plants.   Clay is naturally fertile but needs organic matter to aerate it and improve its texture for roots to seek out what they need.

Veg plot in field

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 20:18

Can you borrow some pigs for a week or two?  They'll work over the ground and eat all the plants and uproot weeds looking for grubs and goodies.   Then let the chickens loose to get rid of the inevitable weed seeds and then there's nothing for it but you have to at least fork over the ground to uproot any persistent weed roots and stones.

If you can get all that done by mid November you ca then fork over a good layer of well  rotted manure and then cover it with cardboard.  Over the winter the worms will work in the manure and the cardboard will rot down and and to the mix whilst excluding light to deter weed seeds from germinating and growing.

Come the spring it should be ready for a good raking level and then sowing and/or planting.

Seed ID, if possible

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 20:00

Can you take a photo with penny and a pound coin so we can see the scale?

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1 to 15 of 17 threads