The first rule of garden club is...!?!

(1000 Posts)
Lexilicious Mon 16-Jul-12 18:25:19

<echoing silence>

hoping Humph's Happy Osteospermumsnet chums will find this... la la la... I'm uite used to being betty no mates though...

Come on in and have a seat/kneeler/foam pad and a virtual [gin], anyone who wants to idly chat about what they've been dreaming of planting, actually planting, buying without a care for having a place for it, propagating, harvesting, hacking and chopping...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 12-Mar-13 20:25:34

Yes, I find that growbags work best that way - otherwise they are so shallow (unless you invest in those bottomless pots from the catalogues) that they require vast amounts of watering. Old compost sacks work well, too. I have grown spuds in them before.

That pallet idea is what I've done with my strawberries. I've planted 12 baby plants through the front slots, I'm still deciding what I'm going to put along the top of mine. The herb one looks lovely though.

I will be putting the raspberries in tomorrow, hopefully they won't have suffered too much.

echt Sat 16-Mar-13 06:11:36

envy at the pallet idea. I can't do this as our house is a shed made of wood.

On the plus side the spell of hot weather has broken, with some much-needed rain. A scented bougainvillea I planted last year has decided to go for it; pale mauve flowers and a faint perfume. It's fighting for trellis space with a pandorea Aloha - deep red trumpet-shaped blooms - which has also gone bananas. The winner will provide cover for our rather overlooked back garden, and shade the deck from the north.

Last weekend I divided and re-potted 4 aspidistras, so now have 8 which are sulking a bit, but will soon settle down. The irony of this is that when we got our own garden, I was looking forward to putting our 12 overflowing pots to use as ground cover, but much of the yard is very sunny, which they don't like, so some had to stay potted and got ridiculously big. Each pot is 30 litres, and a full pot will have a plant with 50-60 leaves. All were grown from rescued $1-2 slips over the 7 years we've been here. They used to be a popular under tree cover in Victoria, but have lost favour, yet are still stupidly expensive in garden centres. They very low maintenance: the cheapest compost, a handful of pelleted chook shit and some water granules, so I'll keep them, and move them around as the year changes.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 16-Mar-13 09:46:35

Keep the aspidistra flying, echt!

funnyperson Sat 16-Mar-13 21:32:05

Its no good. I am having a serious existentialist garden crisis. My garden is always becoming. Never being. It is wet, dull and dark and trying to get flowers to grow in it is hopeless. Autumn flowering Cyclamen have burgeoned in the far bed and swamped the spring flowers. The squirrels eat the tulips. The apple tree has only ever had 3 apples. Only the Hellebores are flowering thus far. What if it is another damp summer? So far this year it has been either frosty or raining. I'm trying desperately to keep my gardening cool but failing miserably sad

mollythewitch Sat 16-Mar-13 22:00:35

Oh, poor Funnyperson, multitudes of Autumn flowering crocuses sound lovely to me. Can you be Zen like and embrace your damp shade with astilbe, ferns and Welsh poppies? I suspect we all just need a little sunshine, its just been too long. The sun came out, with some warmth in the sunshine, for quarter of an an hour today, and for those blissful 15 minutes I could feel myself uncurl and be happier, and imagine the little shoots crowding through the earth, and the garden seemed amazing and full of promise. Then the sun went back into the cloud and it reverted back to a neglected veg patch of last years leeks. I tackled the pond today - scooped out dead leaves and blanket weed and mended the child proofing grid. 2 weeks ago there were frogs in the pond, then it froze back over so don't know where they have gone.
Etch - my auntie used to say that aspidestras were a pound a leaf, so sounds like you have a fortune there!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 16-Mar-13 23:20:59

funnyperson - My garden is exactly the same, and with the damage done by the landscaping work, it seems to have slipped backwards since last year. I am striving for optimism.

echt Sun 17-Mar-13 02:26:48

While it's too late for this year, funnyperson, when living in the UK, I always grew tulips in pots because of the squirrels, and put old wire shelves from dead fridges on top.

Melbourne's too warm for tulips; the bulbs have to spend a few weeks in the fridge before being planted out after the Queen's birthday. Also nowhere near the range you can get in the UK, because of quarantine restrictions, as well as being stupidly expensive. I used to love "Ballerina", a perfumed, light orange tulip, not available here.

On the other hand freesias grow very well indeed and are lovely in the spring. I may give in and plant a pot for DH this autumn as tulips are his favourite flower.

Mollythewitch, I know what you mean about the price and occasionally consider a plant sale. I have 15 pots of black aeonium sitting down the side of the house, just single heads. My real hope is the big ones in the hot border will flower this year, they've only done it once, spectacular yellow cones.

funnyperson Sun 17-Mar-13 06:53:52

Thanks echt and molly
Echt your aspidastra sounds phenomenal.
Maud did your path and patio get laid evenly in the end?
My garden has slipped back too. There are more shoots, because I planted stuff last year, but there are fewer flowers.
The primroses in the garden havent flowered yet. The Japonica and Camellia and Magnolia are in bud. Last year I planted lots of anemone appenina, chinodoxa and crocuses and snowdrops to go with the hellebores, but none seem to have come up. Oh well- thats life. The good news is that the squirrels didnt get all the tulips and some bulbs which I planted in late Jan are coming up, together with the forget-me-nots which will cover the garden with a mass of blue later on!

Monty and Carol cheered me up a lot. Monty's garden has lots of things coming up but not many flowers as yet. Carol has wonderful snowdrops. I like Monty's jacket. I also liked the simplicity of the contemporary garden planting suggested.

I might just go and visit a spring garden today. Maybe I'll go to Wisley or summat. smile Today is also lawn edging day and the day to give the outdoor table its annual coat of preservative. Its a job I really like doing and which I always do in mid March because however early I think it is, almost always the sun ends up coming out soon after, and its lovely to think about sitting outside!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 09:03:45

Ah, the path. No it remains several inches above the lawn at one end. The landscaper was very defensive when I told him how unhappy I was with it - he blustered away about it needing to be level, entirely missing the point that it needed to be level with the lawn - but didn't offer to put it right and I was feeling too demoralised to push the issues. My garden designer friend is going to advise, but I will end up raising the level of the lawn to close the gap, somehow. I am fuming.

More positively, some more of T&M's tiny plugs have arrived so I will be potting them up later.

My chionodoxa bulbs aren't up yet but they're usually very reliable. The pushkinia look very pretty.

funnyperson Sun 17-Mar-13 09:25:07

Maud I would be fuming too. Of course a path should be level with the lawn. What if a garden were on a hill- would the builder have raised the path then?
Now that a bit of time has passed and the path remains unsatisfactory, and you maybe have more energy could you go back to the landscaper? Ask him to put it right? Say you have looked at it all winter and it still doesn't look right?

Pushkinia are very pretty. This autumn I am really going to plant loads and loads of the early spring flowering bulbs.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 09:33:07

I know I ought to insist on him putting it right, but I just can't face it. What makes me so cross is that he isn't a jobbing builder, but a landscaper with a successful business that does a lot of work in the swankier end of town. So as all his work is in gardens, he really ought to know that paths should not sit above the lawn. I accepted it would a little as we were putting the new surface on top of the old, but to build up the bottom of the path by several inches to keep it "level" was just insanity. I am blaming myself for going to work and leaving them to it - for trusting them, in other words / but really you can't eyeball people for the duration of the job, just to make sure they don't mess it up, can you?

Handsfullandlovingit Sun 17-Mar-13 14:00:29

Hello! You lot sound just lovely, may I join in your chat if I bring brew? I have a whole garden to transform, and an allotment to keep on top of. I have so many dreams, little time, less money but bags of enthusiasm and optimism. Currently enjoying watching my 12 types of tomatoes germinating on a windowsill. Nothing like the excitement of seeds coming up, every year!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 14:07:06

Oh yes, Handsfull, please join us.

::Accepts brew and offers biscuit to go with it::

How do you plan to transform your garden?

Handsfullandlovingit Sun 17-Mar-13 22:04:50

Thank you Maud! The great transformation commenced with the removal of 10 leylandii to give sunshine, the installation of a huge (free) greenhouse, wendy house and trampoline. Now the kids are suitably occupied, I can implement my plans for a pergola heaving with roses, clematis and honeysuckle, many different flower beds, a woodland garden, an evening scented gin and tonic lawn, and all manner of loveliness. I have so many ideas, I already need a bigger garden!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 17-Mar-13 22:14:44

Wow! That sounds pretty extensive as it is - how big is your estate garden?

funnyperson Sun 17-Mar-13 22:52:26

Maud dear perhaps a firmly worded email would do the job- something on the lines of now the winter is over and spring is here and the way the path rises unevenly above the lawn is upsetting you, and would the firm please come and put it right as soon as possible. The swankier firms are usually keen to promote good customer relations.
handsfull I lurked on this thread for ages before I actually said anything and now I've gone very wordy! I hope you enjoy your fabulous sounding garden. smile

funnyperson Mon 18-Mar-13 06:35:42

You could ask them to turf the lawn when they make it muddy - I think they have insurance which covers that sort of thing.
I wonder what consumer rights are for things like landscaping. When gardeners round our way mess up, there is a sort of general moan but no one asks the gardeners to compensate largely because they are an untrained but willing self employed two man white van type of set up.
But if it is a proper landscaping firm there might be consumer rights.
Sorry to just wake up about this- I know you mentioned it before but it didn't sink in.

funnyperson Mon 18-Mar-13 06:47:12

This is the nearest relevant thing I could find
www.country-landscapes.com/faq2.htm

funnyperson Mon 18-Mar-13 06:53:30

Then there's this BALI code of conduct for landscapers
www.bali.org.uk/about/code_of_conduct

I'm not posting to nag you if you don't want to do anything, Maud but your path raises an important issue - what to do if the garden makeover (however small) goes wrong.

Handsfullandlovingit Mon 18-Mar-13 09:24:57

Good morning gardeners. Maud, you are covered under law for supply for goods and services I.e work done must be done to a reasonable standard. But unless you take the guy to court, that is no help. If you haven't paid yet, you might get some money off. I recently got a squiffy greenhouse base put in and complained and got a discount. He was a lovely bloke though. And as a solicitor I can do scary lady very well!

Our garden is seriously not huge, and now largely occupied with trampoline! But I have great plans for the bits around the trampoline. My woodland garden consists of 3 trees and a puddle so far. I have lovely ideas for trollius and those candelabra primula things.

echt Mon 18-Mar-13 09:44:44

Welcome, Handsfull. Pull up a wheelbarrow. I'm very interested in your gin and tonic lawn. Hic.grin

Rhubarbgarden Mon 18-Mar-13 10:02:55

Hello. Can I join in too? Proffers packet of biscuit. I've been lurking a bit too. I'm stuck in the house with small children most of the time making plans for what I'm going to do in the garden when I get rare days off; it would be nice to discuss those plans with like-minded souls. Friends in real life are happy to chat about poo and chicken pox etc but their eyes glaze over when I stray into bemoaning rampant snow-berry issues. And the rest.

LexyMa Mon 18-Mar-13 11:09:28

hello! been away on holiday for a week, missed GW completely, must catch up on iplayer.

Wynken I hadn't heard there was a mini-Humph announcement but my little bulb should burst into flower (I'll try to remember that image when in labour!!!) at the end of Aug/early Sept. Crocus for a middle name?? Or say colchi-colchi-cuuum instead of coochie-coo?!

now to catch up with the thread...

funnyperson Tue 19-Mar-13 12:16:57

I have a question which is going to sound silly but I would really like advice on. It is this: how do you dig compost or organic matter into your flower beds when there are already plants in them?
Do you just shovel a load of compost/leafmould all over the bed including over the shoots coming up? Or do you put some in gentle trowel fulls in the spaces and sort of scratch the surface so as to get some integration going without disturbing the plants?
I put in compost whenever I dig a hole for a new plant but I am asking about where there are existing plants and one needs to enrich the soil a bit.
Monty's soil is very dark and crumbly and mine is nothing like, and I think my garden soil needs quite a bit of organic matter (ie leaf mould) and compost but how to do it - or should I just take out all the plants, dig the beds over to a depth of 2 feet, add compost and replant (massive job, not keen on this option).
I once dug in some bone meal but it didn't seem to do anything,so I am thinking horse manure/compost/leafmould.

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