Latest posts by Wintersong

Seeking help identifying my soil type

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 12:40

It's very useful to know the ph of your soil but personally I don't think its absolutely essential unless you are thinking of growing specific plants/veg. What is essential is your environmental observations.

Remember that alpines like a lot of grit because they hate to have their necks in the wet (which is why gravel is used) and very free draining soil so they don't have soaking wet feet. I'm no expert on Alpines or any other gardening subject, just a keen reader and gardener and as much as I can sympathise with your impatience to see results, those results won't be long term unless you take care of your soil.

In my experience, gardening is not so much about making plants grow but stopping plants from dying by providing their natural habitats as much as possible, keeping on top of pests and diseases and being good to the soil. 

P.S two soil tests I saw recently from Monty and Jo on GW programs. Firstly Monty squeezed a handful of soil to test its texture, but then he threw the lump on the floor and if it break up easily, its not too heavy. Secondly, Jo put some soil in a jam jar, adding water and the lid, then gave it a good shake and left it a few days. the clay sinks to the bottom, the middle section is the sand/grit, them the water and the floaty bits are the organic matter. You can get some clue as to the condition of your soil this way


Posted: 25/04/2012 at 12:07

What cultivar is it? Although sometimes that hardly matters...

I have two Ceanothus. The first, Treewithin is planted against a south-facing wall and is 15yrs old (thereabouts). It was a cutting in a tiny pot and got planted in builder's rubble. Apparently they like it mean and hot so I was lucky, but make sure you have the space, this was last year, after its flowered this year, is getting hacked back width wise if not height.

 The second was bought for the back garden as ground cover but its hardly turned out to be so. It's topping my five foot fencing and is just as wide. The labels must have been confused because I had to remove a Rosemary and sage bush last year and this year it will also get hacked back after flowering. (I would post a picture but its telling me my file is too large)

Suffice to say, Ceanothus are not supposed to bounce back from hard pruning, but both mine are sprouting from very low wood so I don't think there is a problem.

I would recommend that you check your cultivar for proper care/placement

 This was 2010


 And very early this year. It's going to get a trim after flowering!

Seeking help identifying my soil type

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 11:34

There's always a top soil layer over subsoil, with added pockets of rubble if its  a new build. Your's sound like it might be compacted which isn't unusual if a garden is used by everyone other than a gardener who would probably define borders with edging and start digging.

Monty discovered a border that had a hard pan of soil eighteen inches down that was stopping plants thriving on GW a few years back. His advice was to take out all the plants, double dig to break up the pan, adding grit and compost for better drainage and then replant. You might want to start small

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 11:12

I love water but not with my wellies on! I've had to put the plastic covers back on my seedlings or they will drown before they harden off.

Autumn building project will definitely be a coldframe with lid!

can you have too much night

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 10:14

It wont harm plants. They don't need to rest like we do, they do because they have to.

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 10:12

David Cameron?

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 10:11

Wettest April on records  because some numpty mentioned a drought.

South-East Inland: wet, windy, windy and wet.

April in Your Garden

Posted: 25/04/2012 at 10:07

Thanks for the support guys  

I will think about redesigning that area this summer (or between rain)

cost of entrance to gardening shows

Posted: 24/04/2012 at 21:11

This is really sad for you Roger and you're not the only one who cannot afford the rising costs although I don't think Gardening shows are the only victim. Think of the upside, at least you will be cosy and snug at home with a cuppa and no crowds when watching the BBC's brilliant coverage of Chelsea etc (with Alan's witty banter thrown in for good company) and treat yourself to a few featured plants at your local garden centre whilst staying well within your budget  And there are always the NGS gardens to visit for a fraction of the price and just as good in display. There's a website devoted to it

I'd love to see some of these this year but sadly I have no transport and the nearest one is more than five miles away.

Anyway, hope that helps you feel better 

April in Your Garden

Posted: 24/04/2012 at 21:01

me too figrat! I am a dire fan of mulching!

Got out into my garden after dinner this evening as blue skies abound. First time this year that I've managed an evening's gardening with some good and bad news.

Finished off my second compost bin as mulch for the Fatsia and discovered some incredibly nice dry material to begin layering anew. It came out of one and a half compost bags left over from last years prunings. I have an enormous Pampas grass in the middle garden that got left to grow for 15yrs in my ignorance of how to stop it growing story of my garden really...anyhow, last year yielded so much material once I was brave enough that I stored it in bags randomly dumped in a corner and are now very tender and ripe for compost.

On the bad news side, I did some research on Raspberries and how to control them, reading many very scary forum stories about their invasive nature. I'm too control freak to let them be, one stray runner is already popping up in the lawn and after suffering a mountain of next door brambles and bindweed before they moved, I'm in the process of ripping them out I love Raspberries and have baked muffins every summer, but I'd rather buy them than pollute my beautiful flower beds with raspberry shoots.

Luckily the soil is very easy to dig but now I have a design headache of what to do with my south facing fence and a little area beside the arch. I'm a bit sad tonight.

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