Latest posts by Topbird

Views on Plant Combination - Black Elder & Clematis

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 20:28

Carmencita and Hanna are particularly beautiful Richard  

Rebecca is VERY red isn't she Bee Witched? Definitely one to consider for another spot I can think of

Interesting about Princess Di Obx. She just never really seemed to get going and didn't make an appearance at all last year. Still in the ground though - I read somebody's comment on the forum sometime ago when they had a clematis suddenly start growing again after a 3 year no-show!

Views on Plant Combination - Black Elder & Clematis

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 18:29

Thanks for all the suggestions people!

Sieboldii looks good Verdun but I suspect it wouldn't do very well in my garden if it's a bit tender (cold, wet clay & surprisingly exposed).

Little Nell looks good too obx but - thinking about it some more - yes maybe a bolder colour would be better...

I was only thinking about paler colours because the pink elder flowers look lovely against the foliage in spring. But the light changes as the seasons progress and the elder leaves get darker and bigger so a stronger pink into red might be just the ticket. I like the look of Rouge Cardinal Fairy - a lot!

Unfortunately I've lost a "Princess Diana" Obx - don't know if the texensis are a little tender or whether they don't like my heavy clay soil. The viticella planted in the same border is incredibly healthy and happy.

Keep the suggestions coming please. 

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 18:09
Obelixx says:

...Have a google for Monty and Top Bar and see what they come up with but I reckon the best advice will come from experienced beekeepers.

See original post

 I just did...  Not a happy experience.

Same arguments be(e)tween 'bee friendly' and 'bee responsible' parties on a couple of different forums - all getting increasingly acrimonious as the discussions went on.

I would like a hive but I don't want to manage it beyond what is required for responsible ownership. But I also definitely don't want to do anything which might further endanger the local bee population.

I think it will be quite hard to get some genuinely unbiased advice. A friendly discussion with one of my neighbours who does bee keeping mentoring might be the way to go. If he can convince me there is a real threat using natural, unmanaged bee hives I might have to think again.

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 17:35
Obelixx says:

.....Rasta ate the windfall birdy fat balls and has now been sick on the kitchen floor.  Nice.

TB - ask a bee specialist about having a natural hive where you don't harvest the honey.  Wild bees need homes and seem to manage without anyone harvesting their honey...

See original post

 I will probably do that Obx. This year (at some stage...) I intend to plant another tree in the back garden with bulbs and wild flowers planted in the grass underneath. That area of grass would be left unmown for much of the year and I thought that might be a good location for a hive.

Unfortunately there seems to be a 'degree' of animosity between those who want to have natural hives (where the bees essentially look after themselves) and those who think bee hives should only be run as honey production factories complete with marked and wing-clipped queen bees and regular smokings and hive inspections. It was this 'discussion' which got things stirred up last time. I'll do the relevant research when I'm ready to do something about it.

Fortunately we have some bee keepers in the village who might be prepared to see an alternative point of view.

Nice one Rasta 

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 16:56

Bloomin' 'eck it's freezing out there today.

Had a quick hour trying to retrain a rose which I bought thinking it was a shrub and turned out to be a climber. Lots of long, whippy growth last summer. Decided to try pegging it into a dome shape like they do at Sissinghurst - only problem is mine is all laterals 'cos I've cut the leaders during shrub rose style pruning in previous years. 

Looks more like a wonky crab now rather than a carefully trained mound  Still, it wasn't working as it was before so nothing lost. If this doesn't work I'll cut it down to the ground and start again.

I'd love to have a bee hive in the garden. Have thought about having one of those top bar ones and just leaving it for the bees to do their own thing. ie just providing them with shelter and not really bothering with harvesting honey (don't like it that much). 

I discussed doing that once on the Forum and was positively rounded on as being irresponsible. I was told I would be responsible for causing bee swarms and the spread of various viruses which kill the bee population. But bees have been making hives and sorting themselves out naturally for centuries...

Glad you enjoyed the exhibition Dove. Might have to join you for a nap...

Views on Plant Combination - Black Elder & Clematis

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 16:30

I have a Sambucus Nigra (Black Elder) - "Black Lace" - planted 3 or 4 years ago, which has grown well and is doing a good job as part of a tall shrub screen.

I cut it back to about 1m high every spring to maintain the shape and keep it under control but it still gets to 4m high and 3m wide by the end of summer. So far, so good. 

The only problem I have with it is I find the black leaves (which I planted it for!) can start to look a little dull and funereal from about mid summer onwards - mainly because of the sheer size of the plant.

I'm considering planting one (maybe even two) of the later flowering (perhaps viticella) clematis to grow through it. These could be cut back in spring when I cut the elder down and then grow up through the elder through the summer. My thoughts are that a pretty pale colour would just liven the whole thing up.

I'd be interested to hear if anybody has any thoughts as to whether or not this will work. In particular any real cons to doing it.

Anybody else done it?

Any thoughts as to the best clematis to use?


Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 23:21

Really enjoyed the Mary Berry programme - some really nice recipes and even better views of Scotland.

Not sure I could have picked what to have from the menu at the Ullapool seafood shack - think it would just have been easier to start at the top and work on down. (Greedy guts )

Have very happy memories of enjoying a huge plate of spinies or squat lobsters at the hotel in Applecross when we rented a cottage there some years ago.

Time for bed now - night all 

Last edited: 27 February 2017 23:22:37

Lovely shrub, but what is it?

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 17:04

It's a lovely plant Phill. One I have always found space for in my gardens. 

Lovely shrub, but what is it?

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 15:37

Another possibility is Rosa Glauca. 

Suggets you Google Dove's and my suggestions and see if either plant resembles yours when it's in full foliage.

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 15:29

Ooops - meant to say thanks to Obx for tip about bathing thumb.

It's really quite sore at the moment - but that's probably as much because I keep squeezing and digging at it.

Pretty sure there's not 13mm of thorn in there  Ouch! I bet that was painful!

Discussions started by Topbird

Views on Plant Combination - Black Elder & Clematis

Replies: 17    Views: 456
Last Post: 01/03/2017 at 14:12

Ideas of Nurseries and Garden Centres to Visit on my hols in the South East

Replies: 8    Views: 881
Last Post: 06/03/2015 at 13:52

Which Currant Bushes Would You Recommend

Replies: 10    Views: 935
Last Post: 28/02/2015 at 13:20

Papaver somniferum seed

Replies: 0    Views: 662
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 10:35

Papaver somniferum seed

Replies: 5    Views: 1775
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 22:28

Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

Replies: 4    Views: 3233
Last Post: 16/03/2014 at 21:15

Growing strawberries

Replies: 4    Views: 1325
Last Post: 14/07/2013 at 23:02

Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

Replies: 3    Views: 1671
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 20:19

Dividing Perennials

Replies: 5    Views: 1312
Last Post: 12/06/2013 at 10:34

Moving delphiniums at the wrong time

Replies: 9    Views: 5482
Last Post: 20/05/2013 at 16:08

Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
Replies: 1    Views: 1119
Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 10:49

Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
Replies: 6    Views: 4315
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
12 threads returned