Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet


Posted: 25/11/2015 at 15:52

Thanks Edd.  Since a garden is only "borrowed" for a time, it is now the new occupants of my garden who are benefiting from the demise of the beech hedge!  It was a large garden, that took quite a bit of maintenance, and, with an eye to future years, we decided to downsize,

So - my new garden is much smaller.  It brings its own problems, of course - not least the huuuuge pampas grass against a fence (gardening chap coming next week to get rid of it), a couple of conifers - one of which looks suspiciously like leylandii  and some odd stumps of long-gone trees.  Same gardening chap will attend to these, too, so then I shall take stock and make a new garden (sans beech). 

Oh and I have brought cuttings, potted split plants and the like from my "old" garden, so I won't feel too bereft.


Posted: 24/11/2015 at 20:03

When I moved to Somerset I inherited a beech hedge, planted in a staggered double row.  It took years to get rid of it.  The dense planting encouraged aphid infestation, as well as fungal problems, since there was a lack of air circulation.

It grows fast, and if you like that sort of thing it will certainly reward you with a stock-proof hedge.  But it will suck the ground dry for about 3ft, either side and will cause many problems when you try to plant "in front" of it - by the time you expect your plants to be in full bloom with a hedge backdrop, you may very well find your choice specimens growing inside the new, rapid beech growth.

The retained copper leaves are not to everyone's taste throughout the winter, and the shedding of leaves in the spring, together with the sticky coverings for the new leaves can cause problems.

If you are aware of the implications of the planting and look forward to it - enjoy!  I found it a sore trial, to be honest.

Pampas Grass

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 19:34

Thank you for your wise advice - I think it's the muscle-bound heavyweight that will do the job!

Re the bags of manure etc Verdun - we are on the edge of Tiverton, next to a farm.  I reckon a few kind words in the right direction will help us enormously! 


I have a friend who will be bring over all my potted/split/saved plants from my own garden on Wednesday (lovely neighbour has been looking after them for a couple of weeks).  I have asked for (and received) about £200 worth of garden vouchers for new plants.  I am as excited as a kid at Christmas about the myriad possibilities - once the dreaded pampas/conifers are consigned to history,

Watch this space









Pampas Grass

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 17:01

We have finally moved (after about three years!)

The garden is very small - which will be fine in years to come, as my large, Somerset garden was becoming too much for my fast-ageing bones.

We have here  a large pampas grass.  It is next to the fence.  It is far too large for a small garden (and I don't like it anyway).  But how on earth do I get rid of it?  Is there an easy way?  I am currently inclined to find a local gardening heavyweight who can do the deed for me.  And at the same time dig out a couple of long-past-their-best conifers of unknown provenance.

All advice gratefully received!  Thanks in advance . . .



Posted: 20/10/2015 at 19:21

Well. I'll go to the foot of our stairs!  I was convinced (in what passes for my mind) that all quarter days were on the 25th:  March, June, September and December!

Humble pie now being consumed - 29th it is!  Of September!  And I won't forget that in a hurry.

Mind you, I doubt that the  gives a fig about the exact date LOL 


Posted: 18/10/2015 at 20:19

I always thought that Michaelmas was a quarter day - therefore 25th rather than 29th.  No matter - folklore certainly has it that the devil does unspeakable things to blackberries by the end of September!  Mind you, the weather has been so upside down this year that the berries are still superb, so make of that what you will. 

By the by I also saw that field poppies are currently in full bloom - unusual for the time of year (they are usually over by the end of August).  Some people are hoping they will still be in bloom by Armistice Day - although that is highly unlikely.  But it would be lovely if they were.

Giant Hebe

Posted: 16/10/2015 at 19:26

Father-in-law had a white hebe that made your pic look dwarf in comparison.  Trouble was, he didn't prune it at all, and wouldn't let anyone touch it.  It then became a monster, totally out of control, and overhung the steep path to the top of the garden.  But cuttings taken and regular pruning has kept it in check in my own garden.  So I think the advice about regular pruning is wise.  Here in Somerset I can prune at (almost) any time, since the climate is pretty benign.  Colder areas would need a more circumspect approach!

The last of the Bordeaux mixture

Posted: 13/10/2015 at 19:43

I shall put the disposal date in my diary  and dispose of the mixture as if I were in France!

The last of the Bordeaux mixture

Posted: 12/10/2015 at 19:41

I didn't realise that Bordeaux mixture would soon become "obsolete" for domestic use!  It is classified as "organic" and its alarming blue colour was, so I was led to believe, because the vine-growing region of Bordeaux needed a deterrent from casual grape "scrumping". 

It is extremely good in combating, amongst other things, blight on tomatoes.  I have used it  few times (probably no more than two or three times in a couple of decades) when my tomatoes were struck with the dreaded blight.  I still have some (Bordeaux not blight) in a container, and will retain it for future use if necessary!

Sounds to me a bit like Armillatox, which was promoted for dealing with vine weevils.  Since the company couldn't afford the excessive testing fees, it is now sold as a general-purpose garden disinfectant  But it is still very effective for the dreaded weevils.  (But I have never used it on edibles).


Overview of the summer season- How has your's been?

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 20:01

How odd!  I think you're only a few miles away from me, Philippa (I'm in Porlock) and I have had a rubbish season for parsley - the plants have barely managed a new leaf or two.  The tomatoes were fabulous (and I'm still ripening the last ones indoors).  French and runner beans were embarrassingly prolific, as were the redcurrants, blackcurrants and raspberries.  Still picking chillies, and sweet peppers were pretty good - except they got nobbled by a burrowing caterpillar! (Not wanting anything to go to waste, I cut our the nibbled bits and used the rest).


Discussions started by Shrinking Violet

Too close for comfort

Replies: 4    Views: 183
Last Post: Yesterday at 22:28

If I had a brain I'd be dangerous!

Oh, the silly things that I should have thought about first . . . .  
Replies: 26    Views: 976
Last Post: 10/04/2017 at 19:39

One of the good guys

Hayloft Plants come up trumps! 
Replies: 3    Views: 339
Last Post: 22/03/2017 at 20:34

Why didn't I think of it before?

How to shade a greenhouse 
Replies: 31    Views: 2477
Last Post: 22/06/2016 at 01:08

They're edible: who knew?

Replies: 7    Views: 579
Last Post: 25/04/2016 at 10:08

Redcurrants grown as cordons

Has anyone done it? 
Replies: 4    Views: 800
Last Post: 05/01/2016 at 19:12

Pampas Grass

How to dispose of an inherited plant 
Replies: 6    Views: 926
Last Post: 16/11/2015 at 21:07


Replies: 8    Views: 926
Last Post: 03/06/2014 at 22:38

All Things Bright and Beautiful

A new version 
Replies: 6    Views: 4421
Last Post: 13/05/2014 at 21:25

Lawn disaster

Neighbour's "lawn" infested with wild garlic! 
Replies: 18    Views: 2540
Last Post: 05/04/2014 at 19:53


Paper White bulbs 
Replies: 8    Views: 1138
Last Post: 07/11/2013 at 09:50

Fungus on peas

Peas are late this year - but are becoming covered in mould 
Replies: 8    Views: 1123
Last Post: 27/08/2012 at 23:05

Weather Lore - and more

Seasonal sayings and country weather predictions 
Replies: 12    Views: 1525
Last Post: 11/05/2012 at 09:30

The wrong kind of birds

Our bird feeder attracts lots of birds but . . . . .  
Replies: 45    Views: 20052
Last Post: 03/06/2014 at 08:58

Community Orchard

Ideas and funding for a small community project 
Replies: 2    Views: 1241
Last Post: 17/04/2012 at 17:49
15 threads returned