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Latest posts by obelixx

Stratification in warmer climates (Cornwall)

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 22:52

Take them out of the greenhouse and let them get any cold and frosts going.  If none appear by the end of Feb you could try chilling them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

hacking back my hedge

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 14:25

Privet can be cut back quite hard but it's best to do it over 2 years, cutting back one side harda nd leaving the other side lightly trimmed so its leaves act as a food factory for the plants.   You need to do it before March or next autumn or you risk disturbing any nesting birds.    I would also advise giving the hedge a good mulch of garden compost and a scattering of pelleted chicken manure to feed it and encourage thicjk new growth.

The next year, do the same thing on the other side of the hedge and trim the top.  repeat the feeding.   Thereafter, keep the hedge trimmed a couple of times a year being careful to avoid the nesting period for birds.

Here is what the RHS advises for renovating overgrown hedges:

How to renovate hedges

 Before undertaking work on hedges, check that there are no nesting birds in the hedge, as it is an offence under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 to damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built.

Where drastic renovation is necessary (i.e. more than one-third reduction in height or width), it is better to stage this gradually over two or three years.

Year 1
  • Cut back the width on one side of the hedge only
  • Cut to at least 15cm (6in) less than the desired width, or almost to the main stems if necessary
  • Remember to cut the hedge to a 'batter' (sloping sides), so it tapers from the bottom to a thinner top, allowing light to reach the bottom of the hedge
  • Trim the other side of the hedge as usual
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 2
  • Cut back the other side of the hedge, cutting almost to the main stems, if necessary. Cut to a similar batter as the previous side
  • Leave the height unaltered
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation
Year 3
  • Cut back the height of the hedge to at least 15cm (6in) below the desired height
  • Cut back harder where the upper portions of the hedge are open and patchy 
  • Mulch and feed in spring to encourage vigorous re-growth
  • Allow a full growing season for recovery
  • Water well in dry spells in the first growing season following renovation

Climbing Rose

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 13:43

And this - 

I would also suggest making sure it gets a good feed of well rotted garden compost and/or manure and a dollop of bllod, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure every spring and occasional liquid feeds of rose or tomato food from March to June.   Roses are very hungry plants.


Talkback: Looking back

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 12:58

Once again I have to wonder why all the blogs are disappearing.

I haven't bought GW mag for over a decade because it became very samey and the subscription rate for Belgium is expensive and doesn't include the freebies available in the UK.  It's better value for me to subcribe to the RHS which gets me free access to their gardens when I'm there, free access to some good gardens here on the continent, favoured access to shows, free advice,  free seeds from the gardens and a monthly magazine.

Green path plants

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 12:51

It depends on soil and drainage and sun levels.   Thyme is often recommended for paths and gaps between paving stones as it likes good drainage and full sun and doesn't mind being walked on.

Chamomile lawns are another option to replace grass if the soil is richer and you want a solid grass effect.

Otherwise, several alpines, dwarf dianthus, saxifage and probably ophiopogon planescarpus nigrescens aka black lily turf would be happy in there.


Daily Bird Sightings 2015

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 11:09

I get little brown jobs which aren't sparrows and which I always find hard to identify - assorted warblers probably and siskin and dunnock.   Then the usual suspects - sparrows, chaffinches, robins, blackbirds, blue, great and coal tits plus occasional marsh tits, wrens, greater spotted woodpeckers, turtle doves, pheasants, jays, jackdaws ....

No greenfinches anymore, no nuthatches or tree creepers.  No gold or bullfinches despite planting teasels and putting out niger seeds.

Extra thorny roses

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 23:16

Well, all I can say is that my Gertrude Jekyll is a vary prickly customer but while Kiftsgate is pretty spiky, neither is as sharp or prickly as my toothache tree which has whoppers.   Don't know its botanical name as I've lost the label but apparently the natives used it for toothache.   No idea if they're thorns or prickles either.

Bringing a bland wall to life

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 22:52

It was just a display of their wares, not very well done but nothing wrong with the individual pieces or the basic premise of decorating rather tan just painting or clothing a wall.

I have friend who has done this with items found at brocantes which are sort of a Belgian cross between a car boot sale and a flea market


Biodynamic Gardening

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 21:56

Lyn - You don't have one day for sowing seeds, you have days for sowing particular seeds according to whether the plant produces flowers, roots, foliage or fruits and there's nothing to stop you taking your compost and trays and pots outside to sow.  You can also harvest when you like but there are some days which are better if you're planning to store it.

Hostafan, no dig is a proven method of working.  You just need to make sure you bung ample amounts of compost or well rotted manure on your beds in autumn and winter and then sow or plant through it in spring.  I have friends who began a new garden in heavy clay after clearing dead trees and scrub and brambles 6 years ago using this system and they have stunning results.  The only digging they did was an initial turning of each new bed to remove weeds and roots - 

Bringing a bland wall to life

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 17:51

I agree Philippa but the idea of decorating a wall rather than covering it is not at all bad if done with flair.

Discussions started by obelixx


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Plant id for Obxx

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Hello Jro - and any other old friends

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Weekend 22 March

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1 to 15 of 16 threads