Latest posts by Obelixx


Posted: 29/07/2016 at 11:31

We have Belgian Blanc Bleu cattle in the pasture next door - one bull and about 12 wives which arrive every April/May and go away again at the end of October.   They are huge, in every sense.  In 2006, the bull was very unfriendly and showed his disapproval every time we went out in the garden.   Bit disconcerting being given the evil eye, the snorts, the stomping and more unpleasant behaviours.    He only lasted one year so must have been a bovver for the farmers too.

Cool and feeling damp here after a wet night.   I am home alone while himself plays golf and Possum does her next to last day at her student job counting money at Walibi theme park.    Dishwasher man has been to fix a leak and I have cleaned floors and made my sweet and sour red salad and a frittata for lunches.   

Next job is painting kitchen chairs for Possum's student flat whilst working out what furniture will go where when we move and whether or not I can dig up another couple of clems and a rose in September......

First to set off a copy of all the dance club's music to an external disk - 38 days' worth of assorted rhythms according to i-tunes so that'll take a while! 

Glad you have your boiler maintenance sorted Dove.   Must remember to book ours for a service - local chappy who's been doing it for 20 years and is very reliable if I can pin him down with his appointment diary to hand.......

imrpoving soil for the rose bushes.

Posted: 29/07/2016 at 10:47

If you can't dig, wait until the soil has had a good soaking from a decent period of rain, pull out those weeds and put on a very thick layer of well rotted manure which you can but in bags from good DIY's and garden centre if you haven't got a handy stables nearby.   You'll need several inches to make a difference but the worms will work it in for you over winter.

Next spring, give a generous handful or two of slow release rose or tomato fertiliser to each rose and then repeat the mulching process but mixing the manure with some cheap potting compost.   Then you can plant something like hardy geraniums between your roses to add interest and cover the ground to reduce weeds and moisture loss.    

Add more layers of manure and compost every autumn and the soil will gradually improve.   Clay is naturally fertile so you just need to help it to release those nutrients by improving its texture and the manure will bring in other beneficial organisms to help fertility.

The birds are eating all my bird food!

Posted: 29/07/2016 at 10:38

Feeding has slowed down here.   The farmers are harvesting the winter wheat and barley and the birds are scoffing the spillage which leaves me with the ones that like peanuts and fat balls.   Found a load of huge slugs eating leftover ground food this morning so reduced rations till harvesting is done.

Planting in 3s - spacing

Posted: 29/07/2016 at 10:34

Rates of growth depend on where you are - temps, rainfall, wind - and the soil you have - fertile, poor, alkaline, neutral, well-drained etc - which is why good soil preparation is key before planting anything.

Since your wife already has all the plants, you'll need to play with grouping them according to height, leaf texture and form, foliage colour and flowers and also season of performance.   This autumn you can plant spring bulbs between them to extend the season of interest.

Once you've got it all planted make sure you water them in well and keep them watered in dry spells until mid to late September.  One good soak a week is better than a dribble every day.   This will give them a chance to get their roots down and established - assuming she has bought perennials.  If they're annuals, they'll still need watering but will all have to come out at in autumn as they'll have done their thing and won't come back.   If there are foxgloves and other biennials, they'll come back and flower next year and then die but you can scatter the seed to get more for the following years.

Planting in 3s - spacing

Posted: 28/07/2016 at 16:32

You need to check the final spread of each plant so, for example, if you have a plant that says spread 30cms and you plant three together they need to be spaced 30cms apart so they can fill out their space without being crowded.    If your goal is to  fill the beds quickly to keep weeds down you can plant a little closer but you will then, sooner or later, have to referee and remove some to let the others have the space they need to grow well.

Before you plant anything, make sure the new beds have been well prepared with all weeds dug out and the soil improved will well rotted manure or compost to help with moisture retention in dry spells and - strange as it may seem - drainage in wet spells.

Then set out the plants in their pots so you can see whether your planting scheme works - contrasts of leaf shape, texture, size and colour.   Ditto with the flowers.   When you do plant, put things in at the same depth they were in their pot and make sure you first plunge each pot in a bucket of water to ensure the root ball is thoroughly damp before planting.   Water the whole bed thoroughly when done and make sure they get watered in dry spells till the plants have established themselves and can cope on their own. 


Garden Rescue - TV Programme

Posted: 28/07/2016 at 16:12

I'm actually watching this live for the first time and have yet to see any of the others I've recorded.   Enjoying it so far and especially seeing Charlie having fun.     Seems like a good design so far and I love the bog garden, probably cos it's got the same plants as mine.  

We have clumps of bamboo in our new garden which I did want to take out but maybe just taking the leaves off up to head height will be enough.     Worth trying.   Will have to make OH sit and watch it.

We have lots of pots at the mo for things that can't go in the garden as they need protecting over winter.   Some are ceramic and some plastic.  All get heaved about in the wheelbarrow as there isn't a smooth path to wheel them to shelter.   OH hates pot moving time in spring and autumn.   Hard work.

Websites and books on woodland garden design??

Posted: 28/07/2016 at 15:50

Go to the library and look in their gardening section to see what they have.   If nothing, ask if they can get you a copy of Beth Chatto's Woodland Garden - https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Chattos-Woodland-Garden-Shade-Loving/dp/1844033724

I haven't read that book myself but she does write well and is a renowned plantswoman.

Same goes for Keith Wiley and plants so his book should be good too - https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Planting-Woodland-Garden-Combinations/dp/1604693851 

Last edited: 28 July 2016 15:50:30


Posted: 28/07/2016 at 15:42

Liri - the pheasants have had our blueberries this year apart from the few I glean when passing to feed the birds.    I made purple gooseberry and elderflower jam at the weekend.  Hope the new neighbours like it as I have pots to give away.     Love the Pendle hill and Ribble valley area.

Here are some of the stripes.  The other small bedroom has the same stripes but with blue walls and an orangey sort of floor..........   You do see why the stripes and the orange have to go.

Possum's room has a black and white mural sized photo of New York harbour and skyline with a a painted red border on one wall and dark grey on the others.   She might keep the photo but not the grey.  Too very dull and dark.   

The garden is currently a wild meadow formerly trimmed by 2 sheep so OH will strim and chop wood for kindle while I paint cos he can't drive a paintbrush to my satisfaction.

Last edited: 28 July 2016 15:42:50


Posted: 28/07/2016 at 13:51

Back from a 3 day jaunt to the new house to take essential bedding, table, chairs, fridge, crocks and paint so we can go and spend 10 days painting rooms before the furniture arrives.   Two of the bedrooms have painted blue, white and orange stripes!   One day to go down, another to come back and the one in the middle to clean, clean, clean.   Exhausting but satisfying.

Checked the teeny weeny solitary clem I found on our last visit and it has doubled in size thanks to being weeded and watered and pep talked.   Very pleased with that.

Now to get on with the sorting and prepping and packing and getting rid of unwanted goodies and caring for treasures already potted up for the move.    House needs a good clean too.........Didn't hear about the latest attack in France till on the road yesterday.   Dreadful.

Amusing item on Belgian radio news tho.   They're running a poster campaign to discourage people from littering along in lay-by and rest areas.   It shows a pig with a gleeful face leaning out of a recognisable Fiat 500 to dump a bag of rubbish.   The slogan asks people not to treat lay-bys like pig sties.   Apparently Italians in general and Fiat in particular are up in arms at the insult so Belgium has had to apologise and all the posters will be modified to disguise the Fiat by the end of this week.

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