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Latest posts by Wintersong

Instructions from start to finish on foxglove flowers

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 10:06

@Sam1024, Foxglove seed can actually be sown fresh so you could try extracting seed into a tray. Don't overcrowd them though, its important to give them air and leave somewhere in dappled shade, out of strong sunlight.

Garden gaffes

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 09:56

@auntie betty, you are now my favourite auntie!! (besides the fact, I don't have any other aunties)

I bought a Lime Rickey 2litre pot last year and stuck it in the sun where it promptly died, just as you describe. Believing the label was correct, I couldn't work out why, but I did manage to take two tiny tiny divisions before it completely croaked which I have grown on for a year.

They are still puny but not tiny and my intention was to add them to my full sun border, still believing the experts!   Thank You for your invaluable first hand experiences.

Lupin problems

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 09:46

Firstly, Woodlice don't eat the growing parts of plants. They are nature's dustmen and are actually surviving on the dead and rotting material such as fallen leaves that quite naturally occur on even the healthiest plants.

Secondly, seedlings should be allowed to grow on in pots or a nursery bed somewhere sheltered out of full sun, watered well and left undisturbed until next spring, when they will be big enough to join the garden. Perhaps the GH is too hot?

Thirdly, and most importantly, slugs and snails are the cause of your nibbled flower buds, if my personal experience serves me well. Lupins are a favourite dinner and as much as you think you are dealing with the problem, evidently some slugs are managing to avoid your methods of control.

I would heap grit onto the crown of the plant in a diameter that equals the outer most leaf touching ground, in the case of Lupins which are mostly upright, this shouldn't be too tricky. But slugs and snails hide inside the rosettes where the flower buds are forming, the same as with Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) and Kniphofia (Redhot Poker) and you must be vigilant at this time or you will have no flowers to speak of, let alone much plant left.

A small sprinkling of blue pellets will help matters if that idea doesn't offend you and you might also try some late night slug runs with a torch and/or garlic spray on the leaves and buds until the problem is within normal bounds.

Good luck!

Instructions from start to finish on foxglove flowers

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 01:08

Foxgloves should self sow  around your garden if you leave the flower stems on, you will see new plants come up with oval shaped leaves that are furry or slightly rough and green. They will grow to about palm size by winter time. Leave them bee (haha) and they will do all the work for you next year getting much bigger in the spring and flowering next year to begin the cycle all over again.

Flower stems that are broken will only produce seed if the seed has had good time to ripen which I doubt is the case. The shops will sell packets of seeds or some folks here generously offer spare seed as and when they have some.



Posted: 04/06/2012 at 21:16

Hehe. Perfectly understandable sir!

I have two on-purpose Laurel in my garden because I love them for their glossy evergreen leaves, their support of wildlife big and small and the fact they make fast growing privacy and structure in a garden. I prune them to be standards or tree-shaped personally by cutting off the bottom foliage as I prefer that look, and have to hack the tops back about every two years, which I do in late summer, just so long as their are no birds nesting,  


Posted: 04/06/2012 at 19:37

Ouch! Who didn't warn you about Laurels?

You can trim any hedge as and when required so long as you don't want flowers and its not too early/late in the year because the new growth will get damaged. Mostly it works out at about once or twice a year, depending on plant and standards.

Hedge trimmers are mighty fine weaponry if you are looking for shabby-chic, unfortunately Laurel is one of those evergreens with big leaves that will tear and go brown and ugly if you cut indiscriminately. Most Laurel hedge owners prune by hand...but of course, this is a matter of taste/time!

June in Your Garden!

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 19:28

@Inkadog, yes, Acanthus Mollis although I think they should rename Acanthus Herculean. I have two and am presently propagating a third.

Some good things about this plant are: they are tough as old boots that will grow in shade or sun, with more architectural worth than a Gothic graveyard, but in my small knowledge a word of warning to avoid the hottest part of the day as they flop or wilt in intense heat regardless of soil moisture. Both mine unfortunately suffer this syndrome due to ignorance on my part, although it does the plant no actual harm. They recover just as soon as the sun moves on. If you can get early or late sun with midday shade, I think the plant will take over the world.

They are extremely invasive both by seeds and roots, popping up babies a plenty that grow extremely fast with long tap roots, so location should be wisely chosen. (dead heading will help)

They will live for decades and are difficult to get rid of if you know what I mean , my original plant is certainly @ten years and recovering nicely from its weak spring growth, I suspect it was a tad hungry. 

They are semi evergreen in that they can take a bit of a bash from bad weather and light frosts, but the snow will flatten them, although there is something cathartic about watching the beast rise again.

June in Your Garden!

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 18:30

Well I never...plants never fail to surprise me!

After picking up 4 X 50p boxed bargains from the GC back in...March, I have nurtured the Rudbeckia and Astrantia into leaf and both are doing well and whilst the Anemone pushed up some tiny shoots in the early days, it has yet to sustain life, and neither did my single-bud baby hosta show even the remotest interest in life outside the box.

I relegated both drab specimens to the no more watering section of my windowsill except, shockingly, after all this time, the hosta is breaking bud! How amazing plants are? And how impatient I am?

So, 3 out of 4 @50p bargains are alive! How remarkable.

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 14:19

 Windy and wet in Kent, garden is taking a bashing, poppies are flopping, roses are shedding petals, foxgloves are drunk and disorderly and my mature Eryngium is sagging over the gravel when I've already staked its backside


Garden gaffes

Posted: 04/06/2012 at 14:12

I am prone to garden gaffes although thankfully plants always try their best to cover up my mistakes.

One example I'm not exactly proud to admit is as recent as last year, when I pruned out some rather offensive growth on a newly planted Spirea Snow-mound as I didn't read the label correctly and actually cut back all its long flower stems.

On the whole I live (or rather my plants live) dangerously in the garden. Because I have sandy soil and a flippant attitude, I'll move shrubs out of season, I'll hack at things and I'll divide plants still in their infancy. Luckily, 99% of plants will do their damndest to survive my errors and hopefully I learn something along the way.

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