London (change)
Today 10°C / 6°C
Tomorrow 13°C / 6°C

somerset steve

Latest posts by somerset steve

1 to 10 of 13

sanity in need of restoring

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 10:50
I have a fairly small garden and have a similar situation. Although not a new build the garden has never had much more than 12 inches of soil on top of fairly solid bedrock in places, builders rubble in others.

My advice would be to plan out the garden where you want a lawn for example and where you want to build up some planting areas maybe take advantage of the poor depth/quality of soil by planting Mediterranean herbs that expect poor soil in an area just to get you off the blocks so to speak.

I can relate to the feelings of things possibly overwhelming you but try to take one part of the garden at a time and enjoy completing small areas e.g. front gate to front door or outside kitchen window with containers.

Might be worth some professional advice for improving soil and depth if laying a new lawn for example but don't expect it all to happen overnight like me its your work in progress and you will get there!

euphorbia characias black pearl

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 10:22
Morning everyone! I love my euphorbias but the black pearl has some stems where the leaves are turning yellow and falling off and other stems which are not affected. Is this just part of its natural growth process or is there something wrong? All the gorgeous flower heads are in a good state its just the leaves starting to drop from the lowest foliage of some stems upwards. I'm wondering if some of the stems should have been cut off to give the plant a refresh? I know it can get to several feet in some cases and am eager to keep it under control.

Talkback: Growing camellias

Posted: 06/10/2012 at 18:30
Daintiness wrote (see)

Somerset steve, the rust you speak of on your flowers is not rust. It is damage caused to the petals by either wind/frost or both. What situation is your camellia sited in - facing east? windy site? frost pocket - what part of the country are you in? 


Oh thats disappointing if it is frost damage... i live on the side of the mendip hills in somerset. Camellia is 6 feet from the house in a north facing garden.

I tried my best to wrap it in fleece last winter but as it is intermingled with a similar sized viburnum that task wasn't entirely successful. The frost pocket could be the answer, the garden is fairly sheltered but in the winter even indirect strong sunlight doesn't reach the camellia between november and march i would say so the frost lingers.

When to plant spring bulbs

Posted: 06/10/2012 at 12:17

 you were right - looks like in my haste to find advice on the net about planting various bulbs i clicked on article about forcing alliums without realising!

My problem is last year i completely missed the window for planting bulbs and now this year in effort to be proactive i keep having ideas on what to do around the garden preparing for next spring and not knowing what to try first!

When to plant spring bulbs

Posted: 06/10/2012 at 11:44

I have tulip and allium bulbs to go in a container in my front south facing garden.

Do the allium bulbs need some time in a container in a cool shady/dark area before going in with the tulips? Or just plant straight out out with the tulips like i planned this weekend?

I read on another website that alliums need extra cold/dark time????

Dicentra Spectibilis with no new growth at base

Posted: 05/10/2012 at 19:50

I am grateful for your positive reply as i was loosing faith! It was a present from a friend and i am feeling guilty that i may have killed it off still being a novice!

Talkback: Growing camellias

Posted: 05/10/2012 at 19:46

I have a camellia (which is fighting for space with a viburnum shrub which is slightly out of control and which i really should attack and cut back!) and last autumn i did try to wrap it in fleece but to no avail as i either knocked off buds or the fleece came loose and voided the purpose of covering it in the first place.

My main problem last year was the rust that spoiled all my amazing flowers. I read somewhere that it is an infection that drops to the soil and re-infects next years buds if you dont pick up all the rusted flowers straight away.

I have put down weed matting and blue slate layer now so hopefully that will reduce my rust issues this coming spring.

shady plants

Posted: 05/10/2012 at 19:24

I have a north facing garden and so have a similar problem.

Having been to the local library i randomly found an expert on the subject of shady gardens - Beth Chatto.

So my suggestions are either get her book ... "The Shade Garden: Shade loving plants for year round interest"


take a look at her garden if you live near colchester essex!

She has a website you can google but the book is much better representation of her efforts

Dicentra Spectibilis with no new growth at base

Posted: 05/10/2012 at 19:15

I have read on the internet that whilst its ok to cut back this dicentra because it looks ragged and brown/dead in places - only cut back to the new growth at the base.

I haven't got any new shoots at all. Does this mean this plant is lost to me because i didn't feed or water it properly when i originally planted it a few months ago or will it come back in the spring?


What have you achieved in the garden after a bad day at work?

Posted: 30/09/2012 at 14:07

After what has felt like a whole summer of no sun, too much rain and no motivation for gardening what with work commitments as well, one day last week i finally tackled a section of the garden which has been bugging me for weeks.

The oregano has had too much of a stranglehold in this one section, i decided, and so even though the autumn/winter period would have downsized it for me the time had come, after frustration from work colleagues, to attack this fragrant, sprawling mass of gold leafed, hover bee covered herb.

With the oregano cut by half but still looking natural and attracting the bees, this spurred me on to finish the rest of this section, in terms of preparation for planting by digging over, weeding, putting down ground cover matting and trying out a blue slate top layer (which contrasts nicely with the oregano, heuchera and camillia amongst others in this area).

So after stagnating for ages due to lack of inspiration, it was a bad day at work that finally got me out doors again and back to stage where i am going back through old gardeners world magazines looking for planting ideas, checking this website and overall feeling much more positive about my own bit of green heaven.

Whilst i am not confident enough to post any pictures of my work in progress , i am interested in any similar stories anyone might have with or without pictures!

somerset steve


1 to 10 of 13

Discussions started by somerset steve

euphorbia characias black pearl

yellowing leaves with black splotches help req'd pls 
Replies: 1    Views: 1153
Last Post: 21/04/2013 at 11:59

Dicentra Spectibilis with no new growth at base

Is my bleeding heart a lost cause? so to speak!  
Replies: 5    Views: 2321
Last Post: 07/10/2012 at 22:27

What have you achieved in the garden after a bad day at work?

Frustration and Oregano: A restorative short story! 
Replies: 8    Views: 733
Last Post: 22/10/2012 at 21:12

Ideas required for climbers over metal archway

Which 2 climbers best suited to give year round fragrance and flowers? 
Replies: 4    Views: 1025
Last Post: 15/09/2012 at 12:29

Seeking help identifying my soil type

Am i sandy/clay or a bit of both? Novice in need! 
Replies: 4    Views: 711
Last Post: 25/04/2012 at 13:06
5 threads returned