Latest posts by obelixx

Swallows, swifts and martins - have you seen them yet?

Posted: 10/04/2016 at 15:38

Lots in the Vendée last week but none here yet.   We get house martins mostly.

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 10/04/2016 at 15:36

Lots of ground cover here too in theory FG.  It just takes longer to start growing again after winter so the annuals weeds sneak in and nasties like couch grass, nettles, thistles, creeping buttercup and bindweed are ever present though getting less each year.

Coffee break over.  Back to the painting prep for me.

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 10/04/2016 at 15:14

Just back from an interesting week in the Vendée.  Took the dogs for their first beach walk.   Didn't like the noise of the waves the first time and the tide was in and all a bit rough with a strong wind.   Both dogs are rescues and the Lab is still nervous of anything new or strange because he spent his first 3 years cooped up indoors.   He clearly does not know what he was bred for as he kept as far away as possible from the foaming wet stuff coming after his feet.  Very funny really but a bit sad too.  

Now we're home and have to crack on with the spring decorating as well as the spring gardening, doing the latter while paint dries.  Taking advantage of newly retired OH to get everything spruced and ship shape while we still have loads of energy and not too many creaky bits.   That means a raid on the builders' suppliers tomorrow for fence posts and metal mesh to replace trellis panels destroyed by gales.

Haven't seen the Keep Young programme yet or Beechgrove so have those to look forward to when OH isn't hogging the TV with his pesky golf!   I will not be trying the gymnastics to get up off the floor but I can still touch the floor with my hands (not just finger tips) and my legs straight.

Hosta - good luck.

Chicky - weeding here is like painting the Forth bridge except the darn things start growing again in the first beds cleared before I've done the last - the joys of fertile soil in a garden surrounded by countryside.........


Posted: 09/04/2016 at 23:01

We organised our own as we were visiting friends in Manley Heights and Canberra but also wanted to see a bit of Queensland, Barrier Reef, Uluru, Alice Springs and Adelaide.   We did the Ghan train between those last two which was fun but expensive given that its a lot of bare earth and one lone tree full of parakeets and with cattle in its shade looks the same as the next and there's a lot of just that between the two places but not much else.

Depends what you want to see and how long you've got.

No Gardeners World and

Posted: 08/04/2016 at 20:42

I think you need to go and stand in the naughty corner.

No football is proper - IMHO - and is never reason to cut another programme, let alone our 30 precious minutes of gardening, but there is absolutely no justification for your discriminating between one form or t'other of the unlovely game.

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 08/04/2016 at 20:26

Well done on the runaway pram DK.

I can still remember my mum fuming for being done for 33mph in a 30 limit when I was in my teens so many moons ago.

We are in the Vendée at the mo and, as we set off last Saturday, I had a stern lecture from OH about not getting anymore speeding fines.  We got one each at the same spot in the Charente last summer so I have been very careful but he uses cruise control and it doesn't always react fast enough.  We'll see.   Anyway here they are kind enough to deduct 10% from you speed reading in case your own speedometer is faulty and then they fine you on the remaining difference above limit.   No points as we have Belgian plates.

drainage holes at the bottom of the planters

Posted: 08/04/2016 at 20:18

Agree about the cones.  I use fibrous mats to line hanging baskets with a piece of plastic cut from a compost bag inside to come up no more than halfway up teh sides.  The fibrous liner - sold for purpose in good garden centres - holds in the compost and the plastic sheet creates a reservoir effect so they retain water and don't dry out too fast.

Be aware though that hanging baskets still need watering morning and evening in hot spells and once a day throughout the height of summer.

aisian foods

Posted: 08/04/2016 at 13:41

Lots of different kinds of Chinses cabbage and also Japanese and Vietnamese leaves.   For thinks like pak choi the advice is often to sow late in mid-summer as it will be less prone to bolting but if you can grow it out of full sun earlier sowings should be fine.  There are also interesting Chinses broccolis to try - finer stems and heads than the big headed ones.   For later on in the year, purple sprouting broccoli is very good in oriental dishes but has a  longer growing season than the leafy veg so it's down to space, times and experimenting really..

Pinch out Clematis?

Posted: 07/04/2016 at 22:27

It's a question of size.   New clems need to be big enough for you to plant them 4"' deeper than they were in their pots.  If yours are small and in 4" pots clearly they need to be grown on a few pot sizes.   However, if they're in a pot between 9 and 12 inches deep (standard clem pot size sold by nurserymen here) and they have 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90cms) of stems, then you can plant them out.

Even so, I find clems can take a year or two to establish and sometimes disappear before reappearing so I now pot mine on into minimum 40cm wide and 50cm deep pots for at least a year so they can get a good root system established before I plant them out.  They need watering and feeding but the end result is worth it.

Pinch out Clematis?

Posted: 07/04/2016 at 20:59

As long as you've planted your clematis deep enough and pruned it back to a pair of buds it is best to leave it.   The fact of burying it deep will encourage extra shoots to form from below ground and it will do this year on year.

They can take a year or two to get their roots established before they take off so be patient.   Stick to its appropriate pruning régime and it will be fine.   

Remember to feed it generously every spring and make sure it never dries out.  They don't want to drown but they are thirsty, hungry plants and need to be fed and watered till well established and they've got their roots down.

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