somerset steve

Latest posts by somerset steve

11 to 17 of 17

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


Ideas required for climbers over metal archway

Posted: 14/09/2012 at 15:27

I have recently constructed a gothic style metal archway. I'm looking for 2 climbers to plant now and get them settled before winter so they get a head start for growth and flowers/fragrance next year.

Recently went to National Garden Show at Royal Bath & West showground in somerset where a clematis trader suggested that giving clematis a headstart is a good idea but i am now disappointed by the selection and quality at local garden centres of plants such as clematis, honeysuckle and jasmin.

I understand that this year the weather has been weird and as we are now in autumn the deciduous climbers will be starting their winter "hibernation" but most garden centres only seem to have dead or dying plants of the 3 varieties mentioned above.


1) does this matter greatly or should i just get some well suited plants to give a good spread of colour across the year and trust the root stock will refresh itself nxt spring?


2) wait til spring to re visit the local places to see their new stock?


any design ideas e.g. honey suckle graham thomas with a certain clematis would be greatly appreciated


somerset steve

Seeking help identifying my soil type

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 12:03

I think you may have a point with compact soil/subsoil...i have to admit to being a perfectionist generally speaking and so i have to keep telling myself that i'm not gonna get everything right first time plus i tend to go for immediate gratification in my gardening so i couldn't resist digging over the soil, adding peat free compost and planting alpines fairly quickly when i got going march time without thinking if adding compost which would help enrich the soil but also increase  water retention was the right thing to do.

Only time will tell i suppose but it is trial and error at the end of the day.

What confused me as well was whilst my soil felt gritty and crumbly ... i could roll it into a ball or sausage it more important to know the pH and drainage properties of a soil than its definite sandy/clay/chalky etc?

Seeking help identifying my soil type

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 11:14

I hope i have the right section of the forum but this is my first post!

I live on the mendips and therefore have learnt that (through reading and experimentation) that i have limestone bedrock and VERY alkaline sandy ish soil.

 But with the recent heavy persistant rain recently, my novice ability in identitfying my soil type as limestone sandy was brought into question when i was out gardening on my alpine rockery area and found that due to me tramping all over it the soil was more clay like when compacted. Also, whilst the first 6-8 inches deep was relatively free draining, beyond that it was "mud pie central" and like some one had buried a bucket of water just there!

A couple of additional clarifying points about my small garden - 1. i have covered 95% of the garden with ground cover matting and blue slate (due to an appalling lawn and weeds nightmare when we moved in so this might be affecting water levels due to less evaporation??. 2. Property was built in 1997 so whilst it isnt a new build it seemed to have that type of soil (builders leftovers) ....maybe?!

Thanks for reading!

11 to 17 of 17

Discussions started by somerset steve

Is February an ok month for planting bargains from local nursery?

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Any advice for first ever visit to RHS Chelsea & GW Live?

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euphorbia characias black pearl

yellowing leaves with black splotches help req'd pls 
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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: 5047
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: 1404
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: 1936
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: 1438
Last Post: 25/04/2012 at 13:06
7 threads returned