Latest posts by Samuel.

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ornamental grasses

Posted: 10/02/2012 at 23:23

Hi Will,

A few suggestions - you could do some research on species Hemerocallis, for example lilioasphodelus, or dumortieri which has a lovely scent to it. Or have a look at the leopard lily, Lilium pardalinum - from America not Asia - like the daylily but still a striking flower and a good perrenial lily. Iris is always useful depending on the position, foetidissima is the native - tough but with great flowers and seedheads. There are the siberian irises too and a whole host of others - unguicularis is great, early flowers and thrives in tough positions, but needs a good bit of sun. Hope they look alright to you? Alot depends on the aspect and the ground, then from there it's just plant browsing and choosing the best man (or woman) for the job.

fruit bushes

Posted: 05/02/2012 at 09:43

Autunm Bliss is a nice one, quite easy to look after just give it a good bit of space plently of sun and good living and it fruits on this years wood so just cut back to ground level each spring.

Talkback: Growing veg in shade

Posted: 03/02/2012 at 22:15

Sorrel also has fantastic light and airy flowers, great in any border or veg patch.

Traditional plants along side more modern ones??

Posted: 01/02/2012 at 18:43

Hi Julie,

To be blunt you can pretty much do what you like in terms of planting and style, some of the most interesting plant combitions are a complete juxtaposition. For example what you may quite often see is box forms and hard lines with loose perrenial planting within or around them, I have seen 18th century roses in the midst of only very newly released cultivars of certain perrenials.

I believe the best way of approaching a garden in terms of plants is to have beneficial relations between each plant and its situation - where the information is accessible and the overall design allows it try and place a plant as close to its natural and native situation as possible. So for example with an echinacea give it great big baking space and give its feet lose dry ground. If you liked the look of a Helebore give it a nice cool spot then add another shrub layer with a Daphne and then another layer with an arching Hazel ( I only passed some today on the motorway bursting with dusty yellow catkins) to provide the final dappling of shade.

There are endless things to do and you are only governed by the light, the ground and what is already in situ. There will be plants that need help in terms of soil imporvment and some that will be perfectly evolved to suit the exact conditions wihin your garden. When it comes to appearance you will probably be the best judge but what I would usually lean towards is less is more, green is the most usable colour there is and there is never to much of it. While garden rooms and juxtapositions are interesting, an overlying story will allow more room for change in the future and tweaking as you spend more and more time there. A separation or divide in the garden can eventually cause stress in keeping boxes ticked and growth in check.  Also buy herbacious perrenials young - don't spend money on larger root or pot sizes. Try to get 1L pots sizes, they will grow quick and move fast, some 2m in a year, but if you want a certain flower or a tree to do a certain thing you may have to buy older and more expensive specimens... Also try out seed mixes, annuals and native flowers, packets are cheap enough and they are great to watch and smooth gaps out. When planting plant in blocks (not a block shape...unless you want that) for example in threes or fives to have a more lasting affect like those drawings that are just dots up close but form a picture the further you step back planting is the exact opposite you will lose a flower very quickly in among its neighbours so plant more of the same to unite the affect you're after.

Hope that helps.

moving established rose

Posted: 31/01/2012 at 23:12

The best time is just now really. Prepare their new hole and add a bit of bone meal or some hearty organic matter roses thrive in hearty full soil. Dig around the rose forming a nice solid root ball about the width of the network of branches. Give them a nice open space and try and avoid planting them where roses have been before  to reduce the chance of disease. Be careful not to plant too deep, try and re-home as it was before so the flare of the plant is sitting at the same level. When the weather warms up a bit or if there is no chance of frost between now and say march give them a good prune for example reduce the growth by a third, you need to be careful of frost when pruning to avoid damage to new delicate growth. Hope that helps, good luck.

Moving a Hydrangea

Posted: 31/01/2012 at 20:35

You should be able to move it by the end of this month or during as long as the soil isn't frozen. To be safe cut a circle of about a foot or so around the plant starting vertical and then slope gently until you reach directly under the plant, a spades depth should do it so around half a foot to a foot. Once you have done this start again in your already formed circle although this time lift a bit as in lean back on your spade just a bit at a time until the rootball is lose. Im pretty sure you can do it bare root as in without a root ball of soil around it, but just to be safe and in case any fiborus roots might be damaged. Then gently lift the whole root ball out and depending on variety place in its new home. If it is a mophead I believe they need a good bit of sun but arborescens and paniculata dont mind a bit of shade in fact I believe arborescens prefers it....but I'm not a hundred percent.

Talkback: Colourful winter stems

Posted: 31/01/2012 at 19:44

I am currently working on and idea of combining darker Salix and Cornus varieties with Juncus effusus. The rush is quite prolific in the garden I am working on so rather than fight the brave sturdy things I'm hoping to make the best of their inky green and add plants with a similar winter form hence coppiced Salix and various Cornus probably siberica or elegantissima not that there's a huge difference between the two. The soil which is ideal for the rush (a heavy heavy brick orange clay) should work with the others and I am hoping that the rush should cover the ground enough to hold moisture during the summer as the it is prone to baking.


Posted: 30/01/2012 at 23:17

With regard to books there are endless mountains of practical advise from the general to the specific but in terms of inspiration there are a select few (in my opinion) holy grails of insight. These four names should get you started if you havent already come across them. Dan Pearson - Piet Oudolf - Noel Kingsbury - Beth Chatto. In my opinion you are best to come to a strong framework of essentially hard landscaping, this could only be a single simple path working through the space or a more in depth journey perhaps a change of levels or a hide and reveal process. From that point you can in affect create another layer of foliage over this intial structure. I suppose have a think about places you have been where you or your family have felt relaxed, places you felt comfortable in, for example I went on a holiday to the Burren in Ireland and was quite taken aback by the simplicity of the limestone and native vegitation. From the point of view of the little ones a sense of open and hidden spaces regardless of the intricacies of planting and plant selection...although it may run amuck Gunnera was endlessly facintaing for me as a kid. What you will always hear is start from the soil up, decide what you may want to incorporate into the space plant-wise, and then decide if your soil can cater to the plants or if changes in fertilty, drainage or acidity need to be made.. I think you will be surprised how many of your own ideas you will have once you start spending time in the garden, you will probably naturally sit in certain places or wander down to others, they do have that affect on us.


Posted: 29/01/2012 at 20:09

I would imagine because it's an evergreen you should be able to prune hard in spring, after the frosts have passed - this should allow time for the new growth to harden before next winter. You will be cutting off this years flowers but I'd imagine from the sounds of it that that is the least of your worries. You may already know this but prune to a new axil, branch or bud where you can and keep a good frame work and shape, encouraging the next shoots to go where you will be happy with them. On a side note have a think about the plant itself, whether you actually like it or not and could there be anything else you could change it for - maybe something a little lighter on its feet.

planting under laurels

Posted: 29/01/2012 at 19:42

The dead nettles are usefull in dry shade, they have quite long roots and send them deep down for a bit of moisture. Try Lamium Orvala or I have a feeling Tellima otherwise known as Fringecup does okay but it may require a little bit more organic matter or leaf mould of anything you have to beef the soil up a bit. Asarum European is a wonderfull little ground cover plant aswell though again it may need a little help in the way of soil. I think someone wrote a whole book on dry shade recently Graham Rice .... I think.... so there's bound to be lots of things you could try.

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Discussions started by Samuel.

Plants for 2012

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