Latest posts by Robot

Is it wild phlox?

Posted: 18/06/2012 at 10:07

Right then.  I am convinced it is sweet rocket having found it on Google and this photo is almost exactly the same as mine ...

 But, as Gardengirl says, I don't have a conclusion as I still don't know if the seeds are where I think they are and if they will be viable only having the one plant.  I'm not that up on the biology of plants but always assumed you needed two to get fertile seeds. 

Also, as I said in the beginning, I cannot let them self seed as where it is will be concreted over very shortly and any seeds will be gone.  I need to get the seeds out and need to know the best way of doing that.

Here is a picture of a leaf and what I think is a tiny seed pod.  I took this pod from the lower end of the plant and the tip is starting to go brown so I'm thinking it is ripening.  If it is a pod and the seeds are inside, will they be fertile and, lastly, when is the best time to start them off?

Here's the leaf...

 Thank you all for your comments and identification.

Wild Phlox indeed - what am I like

Is it wild phlox?

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 11:39

We are in the middle of creating an arched area and while doing it noticed something growing in a corner.  I left it alone and eventually it started to flower - and it grew and grew.  It's now been flowering for almost 2 months and the scent is wonderful.  I'm pretty sure it's a wild phlox but I can't be certain as I haven't a clue where it came from and I've never had anything the like before.  Here's the flower ..

 It is now looking a bit straggly and where the flowers were are tiny pea-like pods which I assume contain even tinier seeds, but I'm loathe to cut it down or anything as I would love to collect the seeds and spread it around the garden to more appropriate places.  Here's how it is now - and I've used my poor dog as a sizeometre thingy...

So my questions are -

Because there is just the one plant will the seeds be fertile?  And - what is the best way to treat the seeds?  I would rather not let it do it's thing as where it is will be concrete and stones shortly and it would be a waste of seeds.

I always love plants for free and this one must be my best ever.

fast growing climbers

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 11:08

Hmm.. a difficult one as there are not many fast growing evergreens that I can think of which would give you a quick response.  Avoid Russian Vine like the plague or else you'll be lost within a couple of years within it's tendrils.

Clematis armandii is evergreen and you'll get lovely scented flowers in spring but it won't tolerate windy sites.  Clematis montana is very fast growing and smothered in pale pink flowers in spring but it's not evergreen. Unfortunately I lost mine this year to a very severe frost early spring.    You could mix one of these with a rambling rose or a jasmine officinale or even an ivy.  Ivy comes in all sorts and doesn't have to be just plain old green. 

Photo of an Ivy living with an Elaeagnus (don't know which one) which has decided it might like to climb with the Ivy so I've left it, topped with a Campsis (not evergreen but late flowering).  See my blank bit of arch where the Clematis was - boo hoo...

Photo of the other side of the two together.  They get a fair amount of shade from an oak tree during the day but they seem to like it. I think just greens works well.

 Then perhaps a Kiwi.  Not evergreen but is very fast growing and if you had a male and female you could get the fruit too (although I only have one and get little fruits so I don't know how that works)

I used to have a Solanum crispum on a trellis years ago.  It went mad but I had the space to let it roam.  Some winters it kept most of its leaves and the blue flowers were lovely all summer long.

Lastly, good old honeysuckle.  Again not evergreen - although I do believe there is an evergreen now (?) and when in flower - as mine is now - the scent in the evening is devine.

Sorry this is a long reply but I hope it has given you a few ideas and you'll get even more help and advice I'm sure. 

Enjoy your new home - and garden.

What do I do with Rhodendriums

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 10:20

No problem.  You are lucky to have it in flower so late.  Mine have finished now for the year and I've dead-headed.  We (S W France) tend to be almost a month ahead of UK in some things. 

When we lived in Scotland many years ago we had wild Rhodies for free all around us and they were magnificent.  I have promised myself a "Yellow Petticoats" for next year if I can find one here.

Cabbage 'Greyhound'

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 07:37

I grow Greyhounds every year and if I didn't know better I would say they look as if they are ready to bolt but Greyhound are really good at not bolting.  As every one is affected it's probably not the odd insect in the soil either (I'm assuming you have a good row of them).  Another reason may be a deficiency in the soil.  Do you lime your soil? Apart from that I've never seen my cabbages like yours - perhaps it's the weather.  I've had rain and cold but not as much as UK and it is warm in between.  Mind you, my veggie plot is way behind this year.

It is a bit too late to sow again but you may find some plants in a nursery or someone may have a few left you could have.  You could sow some seed and with fine weather be able to have some "greens" later on but that's probably about it.

If they were my cabbages I would dig them up and harvest what I could from them, slice, blanch and freeze and not grow cabbage in that soil for the next couple of years.  By the look of the heart they are not going to get any better and you may end up with nothing.

It's such a shame when things go wrong.  All that hard work for zilch.

What do I do with Rhodendriums

Posted: 16/06/2012 at 21:30

You probably already know that Rhodies like their soil on the acid side.  If you don't want to get peat and you don't have an acid soil then mulch up some pine needles and mix that with the soil.  I mulch with pine every year to keep the soil slightly acid.  You could buy some acid loving plant feed too if your soil is on the alkaline side. 

Immediately after flowering take the flower head between finger and thumb and twist off.  Do it carefully as you'll just see the new leaves developing immediately below the dead flower.  I know in the wild no-one comes along to twist off the dead flowers and the shrubs get along very well, but it does help conserve energy for the new growth and it looks better too.

They are pretty tough, even through the harsh winters, and a welcome sight in early spring.  Enjoy.

What to plant around vegetablble patch?

Posted: 13/06/2012 at 14:43

I always grow marigolds in the garden and on my veggie plot - lovely to look at and they help to keep pests away. 

Butterflies love shrubs like buddleia but they have to be kept well pruned each year. For late summer - and benefitting from the Chelsea chop - plant Sedum Spectabile which bees and butterflies love.  An easy plant and a good self-seeder is Verbena bonariensis.  Butterflies will flock to the flowers and be so happy you can photograph them easily. We get these beautiful swallow tails each year.


Some experts say that single flowers are preferable to doubles as the bees can get at the nectar easier. 

There are so many choices of plants that it has to be a personal preference.  When I had my first garden, over 40 years ago, I went down to the local library and spent many happy hours looking at gardening books and choosing plants which looked nice.  Had lots of disasters and lots of successess and 40 years later still don't know half of what's to know about gardening.  By just looking through all the threads on the forum you will get masses of ideas for your border.

Happy digging.


hellebore niger seeds

Posted: 12/06/2012 at 11:02

Hi Pash,

You may have been better to leave the seed pods to do their own thing.  At this time of year, if you look under the leaves of your Helleobre, you will see lots of little seedlings which you can then pot up and bring on.  I collected these little fellas day before yesterday all huddled together under one of my plants.  Sometimes nature does it better.

 I'll be out there collecting more as soon as it stops raining - if ever.


Posted: 12/06/2012 at 10:39

I have all the things obelixx suggests too - I should have said a wildflower bit and not a wildlife bit - but I don't put so much food out for the birds this time of year as I like them to earn their keep by munching on the undesireables around the garden. But, I don't use slug pellets of any sort.  I collect what I find (which isn't many I'm happy to say) and cut them in half and put them on the bird table.  Yes, I'm a sadist when it comes to slugs.  I do catch moles humanely though and take them to a new home in a nearby forest. 

Personally I would keep the nettles but at the end of the day it is your decision.  I think if you try eating them and using them to make liquid manure you will see how beneficial they are - and the butterflies will love you....

P.S.  Thanks for the dock leaf cure which I knew about but unfortunately I don't seem to have any dock in my garden. 


Posted: 11/06/2012 at 12:01

Gary is perfectly right about having a garden which is wildlife friendly.  The more you encourage birds, insects, small mammals etc. the more you will benefit from healthy plants and a healthy environment for wildlife.  Although your garden is small, can you designate a small area as a wild area?  I'm lucky to have a large garden and the bottom of it is kept as a wildlife area.  The grass is only cut twice a year and I leave the flowers (weeds) to do their own thing.  I have put bluebells, honesty, vinca, daffs, snowdrops and other stuff there but I never destroy the nettles. 

I love nettles,  such a versatile plant.  The young leaves are used to replace spinach in cooking and the older leaves - after the butterflies have done their thing - are used to make nettle manure.  I have an old dustbin into which I put the nettles and rainwater and after a couple of weeks sieve and decant the smelly liquid into old plastic bottles which I leave by the water butt and chuck a glug into the watering can to feed the toms, peppers etc on the veggie plot (about 1 to 10 ratio).  When my children were approaching puberty I used to give them nettle tea twice a day and none of them suffered with acne. 

They say nettles cure rheumatism.  Well, I get stung regularly out in the garden and I've never had rheumatism so maybe it's a deterrent too - mind you, the itching drives me mad at night.  Perhaps someone knows how to stop the itching after the sting.

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