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Latest posts by Topbird


Posted: 27/04/2016 at 14:48

Ashwoods are an excellent nursery Verdun - nobody is disputing that. For me I am lucky enough to live down the road from Harveys Garden Plants - Chelsea multiple gold medal winner specialising in hellebores. I shall be visiting him for some very choice specimens.

However, the woodland border I am trying to carpet with a variety of woodland plants will require around 100 hellebores for the effect I want. The majority don't have to be particularly special - and I could not even contemplate buying 100 plants at £15 - £25 a pop.

I can, however, afford 30 plants at £1 each and wait for them to seed around a bit - I have even split hellebores successfully before now although they are not supposed to like it.

In this case it's horses for courses. If I only had room for 2 or 3 hellebores I would opt for the expensive choice specimens. But for a carpet (or if I didn't have the cash) the Hayloft collection I've talked about has produced some very acceptable plants 


Posted: 27/04/2016 at 14:26

Aym - the collection I bought featured the Double Ellens in various colours and the yellow spotted as well as some single varieties. Nearest collection is currently up at 12 plants for £18 .

If you buy them as plugs now I'm not sure whether they will have time to develop sufficiently to flower next winter / spring. Mine were first potted in January 2015 and had nearly a full year before flowering. But the sooner you start..... Just make sure you allow them to develop into decent sized plants with a healthy rootball (minimum 1 litre pot) before planting in the soil.

Alnwick poison garden

Posted: 27/04/2016 at 13:25


Alnwick poison garden

Posted: 27/04/2016 at 11:21

Oh - have to recommend the crab stotties (baps) at The Ship - lovely old special pub & brewery near the beach at Low Newton



Posted: 27/04/2016 at 11:17

Sanjy - I usually remove all old hellebore leaves as they can be prone to black spot. Usually do mine over the winter to allow the flowers to take centre stage but can be done at almost any time. The fresh new leaves soon show through and look much better than the tired old ones.

If you want your plants to set seed then leave the flower stems in place & seed pods will develop. Otherwise cut the flowering stems off at the base. New flowering stems will start to emerge next autumn / winter.

Re plugs. I bought 30 plugs from Haylofts in Jan 2015. All named varieties - mix of singles, doubles, plain and spotted. Cost worked out to £1 per plug. They were titchy, tiny!. Potted them on and potted them on. They grew strongly & most of them were in 1 litre pots by autumn and ready for planting.

Some started flowering around November and all (bar 2) have flowered since. Some have produced lots of blooms - others just one or two. Really nice mix of colours from ruby red to dark purple and back to cream and white. 

This has proved to be a really cost effective way of starting off the 'carpet' of hellebores I want in my 'woodland border'. I will let them self seed but will also pay extra for some really choice specimens for certain spaces.

Alnwick poison garden

Posted: 27/04/2016 at 10:27

Loved Alnwick gardens when we went 2 or 3 years ago. The water features & gardens are fantastic.

We went in late June though. The delphinium beds were spectacular, the large rose garden was a treat and the poison garden was really interesting.

The poison garden is, however,  relatively small - so you might want to make sure there's enough other stuff out at this time of year to make it worth the entrance fee. We got a discount - can't remember if it was for being NT or Eng Her members - but always worth asking - RHS too maybe if you're a member of that.

I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Eggleston Hall Gardens. Much smaller cottage garden style - but only £2.50 entrance (honesty box). Excellent large nursery and tea room (good lunch) attached and a fairly eccentric head gardener! 

If you don't have time to visit the garden itself do at least look at the website and click on the Garden Journal. A bit out of date but it made me laugh - especially the description of the various pests which attack baby plants!


HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 27/04/2016 at 09:08

Sunny but very chilly today. Old sofas being collected later for reuse by a neighbour so have to hang around. Think I'll do both a plant and food / wine (mainly wine!) order while I'm hanging about then try to sort out the nursery bed a bit. Lots of stuff in there now big enough to plant out.

Wish my seedlings would get a move on though. Had to sow quite late because we were away in March. Germination has been fairly good but further growth has been quite held back by the cold weather we've had last 2 weeks (potting shed is unheated). Down to 1C again last night

Went over to the coast yesterday. Had sun, rain, sleet, hail and snow....

Hope you all have a good day - enjoy whatever you're up to.

Average gardeners spending

Posted: 25/04/2016 at 18:25
Lyn wrote (see)
Well, Topbird, I certainly wouldn't spend 6.00 on pants. Not one pair anyway

Ooops - my post reads really weird with that typo doesn't it? 

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 25/04/2016 at 18:22

Evening all.

Busy day for me today and you've all been very busy chatting away.

Hosta's rock looks as though it needs burly men with big boys' toys to come and shift it. You don't need a hernia as well a dodgy knee! I'd love a few boulders like that in my garden though - we just get huge flints, roofing felt and breeze blocks..

Hope Clari's archivist turned up. Nothing worse than feeling ill prepared for giving a talk.

Really sorry to hear P'Doc has had an upsetting PM. No need for rudeness or unpleasantness anywhere on this forum - civilised debate and discussion is one thing. Personal insults are something else entirely. 

Time to do something about dinner - SYL

Average gardeners spending

Posted: 25/04/2016 at 18:08

Here is the latest mind game I play with my OH  

I buy a pant for (say) £6 and as soon as possible I divide it into (say) 3 and then tell my OH I've made £18 worth of plants so that's a saving of £12...

With this method - the more you spend, the more you save - simples 

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