Latest posts by yarrow2

Garden centre

Posted: 27/07/2015 at 19:59

Lucky you Dave 2356 - hopefully you will get a nice discount and opportunities for extras which - for whatever reason - cannot be added to displays or whatever.

(Not sure about the smiley I added here....my eyesight can't really see the detail.  Thought it was a halo on top but could be anything.  So apologies if it means something contrary to the sentiment!).

Ideas for shrubs for a dry shady spot please

Posted: 27/07/2015 at 19:43

PoddingtonP - neighbour and I are having her elm felled very shortly as it's canopy causes darkness in both gardens - but worse for me, the roots from the tree are under my garden stretching about 15-20 foot counting the hairy subsidiary roots.  This is why I have a 20ft area where all my shrubs consistently die off - caused by shade, by the tree sucking up the moisture - but mostly because the roots turned out to be fairly shallow under my soil - from a foot deep onwards.  The roots were also working their way upwards over the years coming to almost the surface.  So my shrubs which were thriving 4 years ago gradually got weaker, were never lush, growth was stunted, and they shrivelled up.  For some stupid reason - I had never noticed the roots of the tree gradually working their way up nearer the surface of the soil as the years passed.

Our tree surgeon is felling the tree as it has become host to repetitions of scale, swarms of flies and all kinds of nasty beasties and our gardens are damp and dark due to the tree canopy - as well as the drip on the plants below from the canopy.  However, because we live in town flats with limited entrance to the back gardens, a root remover and grinder cannot be brought in to the area - so we are being left with a stump and the roots in situ.  So this is a problem for me - being stuck with those roots underground.  (Yes, I've thought about digging down and attacking them with my saw - but don't have the energy.).  So I am stuck with the fact that nothing will grow there longer than something very shallowly rooted - so I am currently working out what to do with this area to make it both productive and attractive.  Sorry to go off topic a little.  But I think you should have a dig down in your area...or hammer a pointed pole down in different places - and see if you have root obstruction which may be causing problems for your shrubs at the roots.

I dug out a Pieris Forest Flame Yesterday - took an hour simply because it transpired the elm tree roots had grown larger around the roots of the Pieris and literally crushed the Pieris roots in between its own roots.   It hadn't occurred to me that this might be what was killing off my shrubs slowly over only 4 years.


My situation here may of course be totally irrelevant to yours as you say the sycamores are north of your planted area so they are maybe some distance away whereby roots would not be a problem at all.

Advice on climber and willow screen

Posted: 27/07/2015 at 19:22

Hi cstonenw5 - I had willow screening over a few years in my small garden.  It was really to give some privacy as our garden and neighbouring ones have the original 100 year old iron spike fencing which sits on top of little 1foot high stone walling.  They're a lovely 100 year-old feature still in situ - but the space between the fencing spikes was almost a foot.  Cats and dogs could come through them into everyone's gardens and of course there was an open view.  I used expanding trellis (which looks lovely) for most of the garden but had willow screen for the areas where neighbours tend to sit and I didn't want to be looking at them all the time through the fence.

The willow screen was good in that respect - for privacy - but in it's third year it was covered in coral spot and had to be removed as it was spreading from the screen to everything else.  The wire holding the screen together was quite rusty having been subjected to all weathers for three years and bits began to snap off it very easily.  It ended up looking a real mess.  I didn't have anything climbing up it or attached to it because it seemed there wasn't enough air to circulate - the expending trellis and other trellis was much healthier and for me was better value for money and a more pleasing look.

That's only my own experience with willow screening.  Others may have treated theirs with something and had a better use of it.  I never treated mine with anything.  However, it was the cheap option I needed at the time so it did a service.  I haven't bought it since though. 

Need Inspiration

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 17:27

I think my Geoff Hamilton DVD set has him visit a lady who had a garden exactly like that and she broke it up in a really clever but casual way and it was absolutely stunning.  She wasn't a fussy or expert gardener - just had a flair for breaking up areas and positioning things in the space to make it look a completely different type of garden.

Your plan looks good.  And such fun.  With such a long narrow space I agree with the others about arches or a pergola (which need not make things shady as it can be open) - it can really make a space look like a room just having the structure in place to break up the straight long thin look.  Adds a bit of mystery.  It's amazing how things with a bit of height completely change the look from all being on one level.

Anybody else growing sunflowers?

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 17:20

Blimey Daryl2 - you have monsters!   Monty Don on Gardeners World a programme or two was asking people to tell him about how high their sunflowers reached.  You should send a photo of you beside it.  Can't wait to see what kind of flowers you get.

Pigeon proof bird table........

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 17:17

P.S.  Can't believe I typed the words 'easy peasy' in previous post!  I haven't said that since I was about 4.  It's not only the pigeons who are a bit barmy!

Pigeon proof bird table........

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 17:16


I must get round to something like this.   I get pigeons who I'm thinking have lost all logic.  They keep swinging from the pole feeders even though I specifically put a dish of the same contents on the ground for the pigeons.   Sometimes, a few of them sit on the top of the birdpole and make several attempts to land on the feeders.  It's all flapping wings, things falling and mess mess mess.  I'm not uppity about the mess - I just can't understand why sometimes they sit there so long cricking their necks in all directions trying to figure out how to land on the feeders - when there is already a dish on the ground which would be easy peasy to eat from.



Sad day for British Bees

Posted: 26/07/2015 at 17:05

I think you must be right Pansyface.  If you look at the incidences of ADHD and multiple nervous and depression and anxiety conditions these days which are becoming more prevalent, sadly at young ages -  I'm sure it's a combination of manufactured produce.  We have no idea what is in the air, in our food, in our water, in our medications, cleaning materials, industry.  Chemicals and additives gone mad and the conditions and time/evidence-based trials etc on so many things in our environment have been produced and 'in the system' with not enough long-term study of long-term results and consequences.   General day to day activities, especially for youngsters, are so pressurised these days as well.  Everything is a rush for , often superficial, perfection, instant fix, products which produce instant results....I need to stop before the entire rant takes hold!

Gardening help

Posted: 24/07/2015 at 19:02

These slabs are not so much slabs as 'decorative paving stones'.  They're quite light in weight and easy to move around into shapes.  If you get the area as near as flat as you can - ie rake it all over then walk all over it or thump the flat end of the rake down all over it - you can step back, have a look to check it's even - just rake more when it's not.  Using builders sand underneath is a great wheeze - if any stone is uneven - you just put more sand underneath it to even it up.  It's not a huge time-consuming task, is not heavy work - and any buyers can lift the lot really easily if they wanted to do something else there as nothing would be cemented in.  It's easier than you think to stamp about and get the ground as even as you find acceptable.  I'm a girlie - and it was a piece of cake for me. 

I've seen those moulded patterned things only on tv, never seen any locally so can't comment on either the final result or how time-consuming or price it would be.  However, if you were to do that, you would really need to get the spirit level out and be very precise about an even surface.  (Which is why I won't attempt anything cemented-in myself!)  If you messed up the levelling - you could find yourself with time consuming problems.  But it looks nice.  You should seek out a builder or path laying friend...or friend of a friend to advise on what the pros and cons of using the cement mould would be.  Especially the type of friend who is likely to say 'Oh leave it with me mate, I can get you some at cost price and lay it for you'.  Job done!

Gardening help

Posted: 24/07/2015 at 18:44

If cheapness is the issue - I'd be tempted to go for a quick neat look.  Clear the junk away, rake what's underneath flat.  Buy some cheap ornamental paving slabs which have a hint of a shade in them e.g. Mediterranean warm colour (a certain DIY store has them for £3 each - cheaper if they haven't managed to sell many and have stock left).  That would lighten up the area between the sheds.  Just throw builders sand over the soil and don't cement in the slabs, just arrange them.  Then get a big pot, stick something eye-catching in it and it would look bright, neat and tidy.  You could only paving stone a large square or rectangle from the centre to take up almost from left shed to right- not fuss with the whole area and use cheap bags of light bark or on offer small gravel to fill in the leftover bits (with weed suppressant underneath).  You could get an end of season roll of weed suppressant. 

If cheapness wasn't the issue - I'd be tempted to dig it all over, add some good soil and plant caned up raspberries or some autumn fruiting thing - to make it look homey and productive as if that's what you always do! 

A lick of sale price wood paint like Cuprinol in a nice shade or colour would liven up the sheds and make them more attractive  - not suggesting they're not attractive, but buyers would be impressed that things look so well cared for!

I'd shop around the garden/diy type stores and see if they have on offer labels on some of these things.  The above is the quickest cheapest option I can think of.  But not to everyone's taste of course.  It's a quick fix for neatness.

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