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Latest posts by obelixx

Olearia x haastii

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 17:24

I've never heard of this so looked it up.   Various sites suggest it's a good hedging plant in mild and coastal areas so no good to me in this garden then.

It can be hard pruned or lightly pruned in April, according to need.

I like the look of it so it's going on my wishlist for if/when I get a more sheltered garden.    Another gem Berghill.


Posted: 31/10/2014 at 14:59

I spent years on the Beeb boards before migrating here and chats often went off topic.  It's all part of conversations evolving and going into asides and jokes just as they do in the real world.   Similarly, some close friendships are formed and also some dislikes.

I still come here because I find I still learn and sometimes have useful advice to offer based on my experiences of gardening here in very fertile soil but extreme winters and also in my previous garden in Harrow.

New people come and go all the time.   They either stick around to share and learn or disappear when they've got what they wanted.   There are givers and takers in every walk of life and every activity.    

Some people form close bonds and meet up outside the forum and that's fine.  It doen't make a clique.  It just makes you comfortable and maybe leads to in jokes and a sort of posting shorthand that can feel exclusive to some.   Such friendships can be of great value.   I'm still in touch almost daily by email and occasionally meet with people I met on the Beeb years and years ago even tho they no longer post here.  

Equally, there are one or two posters here whom I avoid, just as in real life I don't seek the company of people I find irritating or frustrating or stupid or selfish.   It's also easy enough to spot a  thread that isn't going to be of any interest and leave it to other posters.

You need a sense of perspective on the boards plus a sense of detachment and a sense of humour and shouldn't take any of it personally.   It's virtual after all but good fun and, on the whole, is helpful to new and old gardeners seeking advice and support.  

The best gardeners have always been sharers whether it be time, plants, knowledge or chat.   Let's keep it that way and be grateful for those willing to repeat the same advice time and time again or to go and research solutionsand answers to problems they know something about.. 

Couch Grass

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 12:15

Yes, but you need leaves to transport the compounds and that takes 2 weeks and then you need to wait a month or so to see if any more suddenly pop up.  Couch grass is very persistent and also new bits may come in from surrounding, untreated areas.   It does not respect garden boundaries.

Once you do dig over the soil for replanting make sure you add plenty of organic matter - well rotted manure and/or garden compost - to improve the structure.  This will make hand weeding or hoeing of future weeds much easier.   You will need constant vigilance but it will be defeated eventually.

Couch Grass

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 11:58

Defintely do not rotavate.  It will just make hundreds and thousands of cuttings as the roots are really persistent and grow again form the tiniest bit.   

Do as advised and spray again in spring when any new growth starts but let it get a couple of inches high before spraying or there won't be enough green foliage to transport the active compounds back to the roots.   Be patient, even if it takes a couple of months and several applications.   It will be worth it.

When you do eventually dig, use a fork rather than a spade as this will produce fewer cut pieces and allow you to wrestle more or less whole roots out of the ground.    Leave these aside on a plastic sheet so they can dry out and die over a week or two before putting them anywhere near a compost heap or trying to burn them.

What to plant under a tree?

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 10:48

I agree with the others about planting a more attractive tree as this one will get huge and will require regular attention from a tree surgeon to keep it under control and that will add up financially.  It will also self seed all over the place and need constant vigilance in your borders.

Have a look at liquidambar whiich will grow tall but not wide and has fabulous foliage colours or forms of rowan which and will give foliage interest but also blossom and berries which are good for wildlife

Purple Carrots

Posted: 31/10/2014 at 10:38

It's revolutionary stuff Philippa.   All to do with the Dutch revolting against the Spanish and becoming independent in the late 1500s.   I fond this on the web:

When a man named William the Silent from Nassau inherited the rule in Orange in 1544, he became William of Orange. He led the Dutch in Revolt against the Spanish in the late 1500s, and they eventually won their independence in the form of the Dutch Republic.

Back then the Dutch were known as carrot farmersand you could get their carrots in white or yellow or purple. Then in the 17th century a breed of carrot was developed that had a lot of beta-Carotene and was orange. And the Dutch started growing this in great abundance in tribute to William of Orange to such a degree that almost all other forms of carrot had gone out of mass agricultural production.

Purple Carrots

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 21:35

Carrots have always been purple and yellow and so on.  They became predominantly orange when the Dutch, who grow a n awful lot of them in their  sandy soils, concentrated on that colour in honour of their Prince of Orange.

The purple, and other heritage varieties, do have more flavour than modern orange ones bred for uniformity and colour rather than flavour.




Can I save this tree?

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 16:23

Cedar is a conifer which means it isn't going to sprout new branches from brown wood and so yours is never going to balance itself with new growth and will always look odd.

Cedars can live for centuries and grow really huge and majestic so I would think yours has some sort of problem that allowed such a young specimen to be so badly damaged as recent storms haven't been exceptional in their strength.    

Bite the bullet, get rid and plant something else in its place but make sure you get the ground preparation right to give it the best start possible.

What to plant under a tree?

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 14:05

Do it when thetree is dormant so any time after leaf fall and before the sap starts rising again towards the end of January.  Do it on a day when frost is not forecast so the wound can heal before frost damages the cells. 

Cut off the main weight of heavier branches about a foot/30cms from the trunk and then remove the final piece neatly, close to the trunk.   This technique should avoid tearing the bark and causing damage which can't heal. 

You can buy a pruning saw quite cheaply.   The Wolf tool system is good as you can buy different tool heads and handle lengths as and when you start to need them without breaking the bank all in one go.   Good quaity too.

Ground warming - good idea?

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 10:34

Well rotted manure has lots of nutrients.  Garden compost has lots of fibrous material and micro organisms.  If you haven't got a handy stables nearby you can buy bagged manure in good garden centres and large DIY chains.  Some local councils sell compost from teh municipal heap.  Ordinary potting compost is good too if you"re emptying pots and troughs.  Some places sell their stock off cheap at the end of the season.

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