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obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

Advice required

Posted: 16/09/2015 at 22:46

I have a gardening friend who tells me there is a sickness going round that kills acers.  They start with die back, then lose leaves and struggle on for a season or two and then die.

It's happened to one of mine that was looking stunning till July but now is very very sad so will come out this autumn.

Where to buy native plants/seeds?

Posted: 16/09/2015 at 15:10

In evolutionary terms, gardening purely for pleasure and decoration is very recent.  Before then it was about growing herbs for medicines and food to eat.  Gardening for pleasure took off when the growing middle classes wanted pleasure gardens which had, hitherto, been solely for the nobility with space and money to indulge.  

Plants have been brought here for centuries and even millennia by invaders and migrants and traders and then by plant hunters and importers serving a market. 

I spend hours weeding out creeping buttercup, fat hen, nettles, bindweed, thistles, bittercress, couch grass, groundsel, iris pseudocorus and boggy sedges because they are invasive and ugly and I want colour and form from plants with more visual interest throughout the year to provide food and habitat for wildlife.   

Hanging baskets

Posted: 16/09/2015 at 10:43

I like hanging baskets in theory and window boxes and troughs and pots and other sorts of container planting - as long as they're not garish combos of colours or full of plants I loathe such as begonias and busies and painted heathers and so on.

However; I think I may well abandon summer hanging baskets on the sunny side of our house as they just get to hot and dry and windblown.   I already use the two brackets by the garage doors for hanging bird feeders but I may decide to have one last go at a winter basket with variegated ivies and so on for the front door.

On the north side I've had success with baskets of trailing fuchsias which I love but fuchsia chappy wasn't at the plant fair in May so I've just had the old plants growing in a trough up on a shelf under the back kitchen window this year and peanut feeders where the baskets usually go either side of the French windows.  

On the whole, rather more entertaining and a lot less bovver.

Where to buy native plants/seeds?

Posted: 16/09/2015 at 09:39

English lavender arrived with the Romans as did English apples and all sorts of other English fruit, veg and herbs.

In those days England and Wales were largely forested and I assume much of Scotland too but changing weather and human intervention has led to forest clearing, moorland creation for hunting partridge and grouse and deer, lowland draining for growing non native cereals and so on.

How far back do you want to go to get native and just have trees, bracken and brambles in  your garden?

Grass free lawn?

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 17:26

I think you should also consider a chamomile lawn.   Less clumpy than thrift.

Identify a plant

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 17:22

This arrived by bird or wind and self seeds with gay abandon in my moist beds over by the pond.  It's a pain in the bum to keep digging out.   Not a  welcome visitor here and definitely hardy..

Rhubarb in winter

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 17:05

Never been a problem for me but then Mine appreciate the extra blanket when we have our usual cold winters of -15C to -25C for a spell.  The last 3 have been unusually mild so they'll get a good blanket this year, just in case.

Ha-ha Tetley.  No book but I do a newsletter for my garden group with jobs to do now as several are from tropical or southern hemisphere gardens that know no frost so get confounded by our seasons.

Where to buy native plants/seeds?

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 17:03

There are loads of well behaved plants European, American, South African and Asian plants that do well for wildlife.  I would never knowingly plant or advocate Himalayan balsam or the like.

Rhubarb in winter

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 14:11

Leave all the stems and leaves to die down naturally then remove them to a compost heap so they don't provide shelter for slugs over winter.   Pile on a mound of well rotted horse manure and/or well rotted garden compost to act as a winter mulch.  The worms will work it in over winter and the rhubarb roots will benefit from the extra nutrients.

Come spring, just as the first shoots start to nose their way out of the ground, scatter generously with blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure and a few wildlife friendly slug pellets.   Crop the stems till mid July then leave the plants alone to rebuild their vigour for the following year.  Repeat as above in autumn and spring.

Once the plants are big enough to cope, you can cover one each spring to force the stems to make those lovely, juicy, tender pink stems.   Once harvested you then have to leave the plant to recover and then harvest the other in the usual way.  Alternate the one that gets forced each year so they have time to recover.

If your Victoria is really large, you could consider splitting it in autumn and replanting as 2 or 3 clumps.  They would need at least one whole season to recover and establish before you could force them.

Where to buy native plants/seeds?

Posted: 15/09/2015 at 14:06

Hardy geraniums, foxgloves, primroses, dog rose, short stemmed daffs, bluebells (not the Spanish ones), English lavender, heathers, cornflowers, corn cockles etc etc but you don't have to restrict yourself to natives for a good wildlife garden.

The RHS has recently reported on a 4 yr study of the relative benefits to wildlife of natives and imports and except for certain insects being very fussy about their feeding plants for their larvae, many imports are just as attractive for providing nectar, pollen and seeds for adult wildlife.

Have a look here - https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/plants-for-bugs as it may widen the scope of your garden choices.

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