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Latest posts by Topbird


Posted: 04/07/2015 at 07:26
Now know what it's like to spend the night in a metal bin with someone thumping a stick on the side and somebody else switching a light on / off / on / off... Absolutely cracking storm here in the wee hours - amazing lightning show, very noisy - went on a long time.
Garden looks a bit bashed this morning but nothing an hour or so with the secateurs won't sort out and I won't need to water this weekend - double hurrahs!
Best of luck today WW - you have made such a difference in your garden & many congrats to Lily - seem to be grand children popping up all over the place at the moment

Good screening tree?

Posted: 04/07/2015 at 06:50
I vote for trellis & climbers and some strategically placed large shrubs. Buddleia, and the golden and black elders all grow nice and quickly (mine make it to about 3m each year) but they are easily controlled with spring pruning. I also like amelanchier & have a few different ones - some grown as shrubs & others as trees. Only drawback is all of the above are deciduous so limited winter screening.
If you want a tree - the crab apples are good small trees for small gardens and for nearly year round interest. I like Red Sentinel but I think there is one called 'Gorgeous' which may be even better.
I would definitely not use bamboo - it is not a plant for beginners IMO. We inherited a clump about 4 years ago. Took 2 years to dig out a rootball which had spread to 3m long and nearly a metre deep. It had spread under the fence and lifted neighbour's paving. It was a nightmare to eradicate & was not even an attractive plant - just looked like messy super-long grass. I would only grow highly ornamental bamboo which can be kept in a pot.

ID Please & Advice

Posted: 03/07/2015 at 17:52

I planted one of these once - in my very first garden. It was to 'soften' & cover a long, 3m high,  rather lovely, old red brick wall. It certainly did that & very quickly too...

So (much) older & (not necessarily so much!) wiser now -  and there were so many better choices that could have been made - beautiful roses, jasmine, honeysuckles, wisteria, ivies etc etc ... 

Still, at least I didn't plant rampant bamboos like the previous owners of this garden 

RHS Hampton court

Posted: 28/06/2015 at 13:23

I love Hampton Court too - it's the only 'Big' show I make the effort to visit. The only slight drawback is that it is on a large site and so it can be tiring and tough on the feet if you try to do absolutely everything - especially if it's hot (Monday is forecast to be lovely - don't think I'd fancy Tuesday or Wednesday much). 

If you have tickets for Monty (and you like him, obviously...) I would make time for his talk. You might welcome the chance to just sit down - perhaps Pimms in hand - and be entertained. I went to the same talk as Chicky (different location) - he was charming, informative, humorous and self-deprecating - the audience loved him.

Other than that, I would cherry-pick a few show gardens that appeal to you (more if you are going for design inspiration) and make sure there's lots of time for the floral marquee(s) if you are more into individual plants.

Whatever you do - enjoy!! 

Jardins Ouvert/Open Garden

Posted: 28/06/2015 at 12:57

They're gonna LOVE it DD. Hope you get loads of visitors and enjoy the day 

Just watched Monty Tonight

Posted: 28/06/2015 at 08:54
I really like your garden too BL - it's a little (actually quite big!) bit of England cottage garden in deepest France.
Please give my best wishes to DD for her Open Garden today - I get the impression her garden is our style too

Just watched Monty Tonight

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 21:07

Just watched GW - mmm - not for me I'm afraid. My father-in-law, however, would definitely give that lawn10 out of 10 (he's from Yorkshire too - so perhaps it's a generational / geographical thing...). Still, each to his own and I have to applaud the guy for his dedication.

The bees have been all over our lawn this afternoon as well - busy, busy busy. Lovely 

Perki somethings gone wrong

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 16:21

I was having problems with answering a PM yesterday Granma (from an iMac - not a tablet type device). Maybe the Gremlins are at work .... 

Just watched Monty Tonight

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 16:16

Haven't seen GW yet but getting the gist of these comments..

My garden is very much a cottage garden. It's all a bit jammed in and we have just reached that point in the year where it feels ever-so-slightly out of control & requires the 'Hampton Hack' to restore some sort of order. Have just picked strawberries, mange tout, herbs and lettuce - so it is quite productive. The lawn is green (until it gets very dry) kept well trimmed and edged but it is rather - ermmm - undulating... and has more than it's fair share of weeds and moss. I think it all looks quite pretty in a countryfied sort of way.

My father in law, however, doesn't 'get it' at all. He judges a garden by the pristineness of it's lawn & does not understand why I do not grow regimented rows of pelargoniums and salvias all edged with blue lobelia. He is very unimpressed that I have no hanging baskets and just 2 'summer' pots. He doesn't think it's a 'proper' garden. Guess what? I don't like his either..

C'est la vie 

Coriander. Is it cut and come again?

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 09:46

I have done cut and come again with coriander - but find that it starts to bolt after the second or third cut. It bolts quite quickly if it gets very hot. I find that successional sowing aiming to get 2 - 3 harvests from each plant usually ensures a decent supply till first frosts. Coriander also has a slowish germination rate (about 2 weeks here) and germinates better when the weather is warmer.

Success also depends a lot on the variety.

I have used 'Calypso' for several years and find this is much slower to bolt and produces nice bushy plants. This year, I couldn't get those seeds and settled for a generic 'culinary coriander'. The plants have been spindly and gone to seed really quickly (they look like yours Edd - no offence) and I'm having to cut individual leaves rather than shearing huge bunches as I normally do. I'm off to the GC again to see if Calypso is back in stock.... 


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