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Latest posts by obelixx

rhododendrum bother

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 15:24

It's been a long hot summer and plants in pots are entirely dependant on you to keep them adequately watered and fed.  It sounds to me like it's going anaemic either from lack of food in exhausted compost or because it has had too much hard tap water and can't take up iron and magnesium.

I would suggest re-potting if you can, in the same pot if you haven't a bigger one.  Remove it from the pot and scrape off some of the soil at the base, sides and top of the rootball and then place fresh ericaceous compost in the bottom of the pot, down the sides and on the top.   Give it a good drink of sequestered iron diluted according to the instructions and keep it fed and watered in the future with food for ericaceous plants.

Must have natives?

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 15:01

Aquilegias are natives and come in many forms and colours.  Hardy geraniums are European natives, some British and some mainland, but a wide variety of leaf form and colour is available from limey green to glaucous blue and flowers ranging from white through pinks and purples to blues.    There are varieties for shade and for full sun and they provide nectar for bees andother beneficial insects.   Single or open centred roses are good too and phlomis, rodgersias, hellebores, hostas......

I wouldn't get hung up too much on native versus imported.   Foraging wildlife doesn't care as long as the plants have nectar or pollen or seedheads or fruits to offer.   For example, buddleias are imports but look well in natural plantings and attract masses of butterflies.   The main thing is to stick to simple flower forms as doubles are often sterile so of no use to insects and birds and to try have something flowering or fruiting all year so include bulbs like snowdrops and shrubs like viburnum Eve Price for winter interest.

No dig gardening

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 10:24

I don't believe in digging either except to plant a new shrub or tree.  The veggie plot only ever gets hoed and mulched between plantings and hoed to keep it clear during the growing season.

My newest gardening friend who's been helping me out since I developed back and foot problems advises covering newly cleared or mulched beds with cardboard for the winter as it keeps in warmth and stops weed seeds germinating so the soil is ready for swoing and planting earlier the following spring.

October rose pruning

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 10:07

Assuming you've removed, or tied in, any long whippy stems there's nothing to do except wait for spring and the new growth.  Give it a good feed of rose or tomato fertiliser once new growth starts and it will be fine.

Lavender - Hidcote

Posted: 20/10/2013 at 11:27

As long as they're planted in a sunny, well drained position, lavender Hidcote is tough as old boots.   I have some planted as a low hedge in soil held up by a sleeper retaining wall so excellent drainage and they all cope regularly with winters down to -20C and worse.   I do leave the old flowers stems on till spring as this protects the crown from the worst winters but they and lavender Edelweiss are doing fine and making babies that germinate and grow in the gravel at the base of the wall and also survive our winters.

looking for seed

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 15:51

You could check if this company supplies them - - as they are in lancashire and known for their onions.

You could also try this site -




beginner's advice please

Posted: 19/10/2013 at 12:25

Plants need water in order to keep their cells turgid and allow them to function.  You should water the bulbs at the time of planting and then make sure any excess water drains off so the compost is just moist.  Then you leave them in a frost free dark place until shoots appear.

Check weekly and as soon as you see shoots about an inch high, they need to be moved to the light so that photosynthesis can occur to feed the plant.


Posted: 18/10/2013 at 17:16

I usually split hostas in spring just as the very first new shoots show their points because, if done in areas with cold winters, they can sulk and even die.

I have several in pots too and they'll all need dividing next spring and many will go in the ground to reduce my watering jbo in high summer.  Getting a Sum and Substance out its pot will be fun as it's a huge pot that narrows at the neck.  Oops.  Howevr it needs doing as the two out in eth eborders are now producing much larger leaves than it despite being the same age.

With the very large leaved hostas, dividing them can lead to smaller leaves for the new  season but then they go back to normal.   Most hostas respond well to being divided and show renewed vigour.


Posted: 18/10/2013 at 16:38

Yes, after the worst frosts and when you see new growth starting.


Posted: 17/10/2013 at 20:40

I used to be given ordinary mophead and lace cap hydrangeas which flwoer on wood produced the previous season.  trouble is, that wood in my garden gets frozen solid and dies so I only ever had new stelms and foliage and never any flowers.  If you are pruning the old wood and buds back each year you won't get flowers either.  Mopheads and lace caps also like some shade from strong sun and moisture at the roots.

I have now discovered that hydrangea paniculata forms do well in my garden and it doesn't matter if the old wood gets frozen to bits as they can be pruned back hard each year and flower later in summer on new wood.  Paniculatas can cope with full sun and drier soils.

Both types need good fertile soil so make sure yo're feeding and mulching too.

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10 threads returned