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...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 16-Jul-12 18:42:29

Sorry Lexi, you've ended up having to start the new thread. Sorry Grockle and Phacelia to hear you've been Ill. There's the whole sitting and planning aspect of gardening thatI find very therapeutic too.

Have you all seen the about a rose for Aillidh ?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 16-Jul-12 18:49:43
Lexilicious Mon 16-Jul-12 18:50:44

S'ok, nobody forced me to! I came home from work early because I wasn't feeling well (sore tum, nothing important/long term) and so I am somewhat at a loose end.

linky to the rose thing - is there a thread?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 16-Jul-12 18:53:25

Oh dear, hope you feel better. I feel a bit rough too. Cross posted link below.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 16-Jul-12 18:53:43

hello everyone <waves>

lovely idea about the rose.

Grockle Mon 16-Jul-12 19:23:26

Oh dear, sorry you are not feeling well. I'm in bed with the electric blanket on. In july! I have temperature regulation problems but this is ridiculous.

No gardening for me today although I was hoping to do some at work. It seems that the incessant rain has meant that none of our veg have flowered or fruited yet so we have nothing to make into soup for a competition on Wednesday sad

HaitchJay Mon 16-Jul-12 20:37:53

I lost you all before when I couldn't keep up.

Had our own potatoes and peas for tea tonight!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 16-Jul-12 20:56:45

Hello HaitchJay - mmm peas. Ours are way behind. I have hopes though.

DH has cut back all the catmint so we can walk down the rosewalk. They are already sprouting underneath so may even get another flowering. I have cut back all the geraniums so we can now walk along all the other paths. My resolution next year is to stop letting things obstruct the paths. The whole garden feels better groomed.

The cottage borders are looking rather bare, but we expected it to fall a bit at this time. We are having a good think about what to put in. Definitely more penstemens, I am planning to take lots of cuttings. The opium poppies I saved from last year are coming out wonderful colours. Have a lot of black ones too, which I like, but not as much as the other colours. I am also really pleased with the shirley poppies in the crab apple walk, even though there are loads on one side and hardly any on the other. hmm The purple sage clumps I grew from cuttings are all in flower but the sweet peas are in stasis.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 16-Jul-12 21:11:49

Evening all!

::passes round the gin::

funnyperson Mon 16-Jul-12 22:10:05

Interesting piece about gardens in the Olympic Park:

Thank you for starting a new thread. Yes please I would love some camomile tea even though it is so late and I brought some lemon drizzle cake if anyone is allowed (especially if they have been dancing for 5 hours).......

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 16-Jul-12 22:31:07

That's really interesting, funnyperson. There was a small piece in the RHS magazine a month or two ago.

Even my opium poppies failed this year, but my friend at the school gate has some fab ones in the front garden, so I may steal conserve a seed head or two.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 17-Jul-12 07:34:28

I've just discovered penstemons, not sure why I hadn't before - are they poisonous or something ? I have it in my head they are so didn't put them in whilst DS was little.

Would love to have seen the Olympic park but we're visiting my brother abroad whilst they are own. Very difficult year with the weather for them to be doing it. My allotment came second at the show apparently. My friend's was first, well deserved as it looks pretty full whereas I have a load of brown earth in places with sweetcorn and courgette plants an inch high. She's been away for two weeks and I've been weeding hers so will take some of the credit !

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 09:11:06

Penstemons are lovely - I am growing some on from the teeny weeny T&M plugs - but they never survive the winter here. I must master the art of taking cuttings.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Jul-12 09:54:37

they make taking cuttings looks so easy on tv. Carol is so encouraging, but I have not always had such luck.

I really like Carol Klein, don't you? Apart from the plant knowledge she has nice clothes and fab hair.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 10:03:47

Exactly, Humph. Carol makes it look a fiddle but I just end up with a pot full of dead twigs. I adore Carol and everything about her, especially her -- fabulous jackets and earrings-- horticultural skills.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 10:05:16

Aah. Auto correct. Makes it look a doddle.

Lexilicious Tue 17-Jul-12 10:18:05

Offer of 24 free penstemons from, well for £4.30 p&p, in an email I got yesterday (I don't actually subscribe, only registered on the website/forum).

I need a supplier of paper bags for seed collection like Carol does. And probably a second seed tin to keep them all in.

I quenched some of my Monty-thirst yesterday by watching an episode of 'love your garden' with Alan Titchmarsh on itv-player. He has mellowed, I used to find him really annoyingly perky. It was more of a makeover show than GW is, but it did have some nice design ideas and planting advice, as well as just spending spending spending on hard landscaping .

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 10:21:36

I am resisting buying those penstemon as (I haven't checked) I assume they're mixed and I can't bear not knowing what colour they will be.


ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 10:24:08

Oh and Love Your Garden is ok (the more gardening programmes on telly the better) but it does still have echoes of the Ground Force go and buy yourself a new garden and have it installed in an afternoon approach.

MoreBeta Tue 17-Jul-12 10:36:52

Hi all.

Anyone else had pretty much all their plans destroyed by the rain this year?

It has literally rained every single day for 2 months and just can't even dare stand on our clay/silt soil let alone plant anything.

Ran out and cut the top off the lawn the other day so that looks very lush and green but a bit shaggy as the mower chomped through it rather then cut it clean. The borders look lush and well covered too but lots of tall weeds poking through now so hope to get to those if we have a dry day and dead head/prune the roses.

On the positive side my rhubarb has really established with the rain now it is in its in its second year and the wild strawberries are doing well - lovely perfumed little pink fruits about the size of a finger nail. They spread naturally as a cartpet under the rose bushes. Sweet peas also doing well with their feet in wel fertilised wet clay and growing tall up the hedge and just about to flower. With some sun the garden could still look a treat.

Whats the prospect for tree fruits this year? Heavy crop with all the rain or poor crop because of bad weather round pollination time?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 17-Jul-12 10:40:46

I keep reading that apple crops will be poor but, so far, my trees are fruiting well. So many things, though, simply aren't growing. My sweet peas haven't grown at all.

GobblersKnob Tue 17-Jul-12 10:43:15

Sorry, wasn't on the other thread, but surely the first rule of garden club is all the bastard bastard bastard slugs must die?

<looks at hostas and weeps>

Lexilicious Tue 17-Jul-12 11:03:13

MoreBeta, I am with you on the rained-off plans and the clay soil. Grass cutting is an opportunistic activity here too.

Yes gobblers, I could have called this thread slug-fight-club, and perhaps if I had, the weather would have done that contrary thing and turn into dry, baked crust soil conditions and they would all die off anyway...

I am working at home today, trying to regenerate my energy that this bug/exhaustion took out of me... Glorious day... Will definitely find myself pottering at some point!! I can see from where I'm sitting that a clump of garlic/shallots have fallen over and need to be lifted else they will rot. I also need to stake/tie my butternut squash because I do not have enough space for it to roam around in its recumbent form. And I will slightly pointlessly fill up the latest-planted potato sacks, just in case they decide to grow and tuber-up.

echt Tue 17-Jul-12 11:42:24

Gobblersknob I was taken by your nickname.

Until a couple of years ago there was, in the Melbourne 'phone directory, a P. Knobgobbler. Don't ask how I found this out.

I SAID don't ask.grin

Getting back to gardening things, the chap putting in new sleepers for our raised beds will be finished soon, as it's sunny with a few showers for the rest of the week; astonishing for winter in Melbourne (probably for this summer too, in the UK)grin I'm advertising at work for those who want to donate carpet so I can hold off the weeds while the beds and their sand gravel paths are laid.

HaitchJay Tue 17-Jul-12 12:22:09

Maud- our poppies failed too sad

Very random and unpredictable year for gardening I think.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Jul-12 13:02:54

random and unpredictable it certainly is.

The rain has been bad for us, but the slugs have been worse. They have wiped out all my salad crops. I have no salad at all and have now given up trying.

MooncupGoddess Tue 17-Jul-12 13:27:45

I have a container with a few weedy rocket plants on my patio. Last night I noticed a large fungus growing in it. That rather summed up the summer's gardening for me.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Jul-12 15:16:48

Now it is bloody windy as hell, and forecast to be so for the next two days sad

Garden is getting ripped to shreds, all that new sappy growth from too much rain is now being torn apart.

funnyperson Tue 17-Jul-12 15:18:26

It has been a brilliant year for roses though. Munstead Wood has flowered and the scent is to die for! Just before the petals drop I bring the flowers in to dry in the boiler/utility room and it is just wonderful! I think I might go for an indoor herbarium approach with upside down clumps of herbs drying on string, interspersed with bowls of rose petals.

Also...ahem... I have had success with cuttings this year: 2 types of rosemary, the cistus,and sage cuttings have all taken so far and I am thinking of doing some more - perhaps of roses as there is more rain forecast and so I think they will root well in time before the winter sets in. I am also going to layer some of the clematis today.

No salad though. No sweet peas, 2/6 dahlias, etc etc.

One butterfly today. Brown with large wings.

The tree lily is coming into bud- very intrigued! It is only its first year so it isnt 5 foot tall as advertised but it is 4 foot tall!

I cant stand 'Love your Garden' on one of the programmes they had fake grass- awful. I do so like the Gardener's World team and also the content of their programmes.

doublemocha Tue 17-Jul-12 15:53:44

Checking back in after missing the entire last thread!

DC's at the optician but will be back to post and read later. What an interesting year it seems I have chosen to begin my gardening career weather-wise... surely it can only get better!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 17-Jul-12 16:06:18

mmm, my herb cuttings have mostly taken. But the heuchera don't look like they are doing anything, and I will not mention the clematis....

Lexilicious Tue 17-Jul-12 16:21:15

My basal cuttings of the bought dahlia look ok, and the blackberry cuttings are still transpiring lustily underneath their poly bags. Won't uncover them for a while. I divided heucheras last weekend, have some earmarked for Maud in fact <hello!> and they seem to be staying upright so I'm hoping they are taking root.

Today I found a damselfly which had sat down on a sweet pea leaf (perhaps only just hatched so was sitting there to fluff up its wings from its nymph stage) but it had sat long enough that it had been "captured" by a curling tendril!! I thought it was dead but when I cut away the tendril to keep it as a specimen take a photo, it wriggled feebly so then I cut the coils of the tendril as carefully as I could (with big fat kitchen scissors) and did successfully free it! It was fairly woozy/wobbly so I tried to put it on a flower to get some food, but then it suddenly took flight, and was off, straight away over the house!

doublemocha Tue 17-Jul-12 20:17:38

Oh, I am filled with reassurance after reading your comments about salad crops this year. Every book or website I read advises that this is an easy starting point, but really only the Little Gem lettuce have worked for me, rocket, radish, other varieties of lettuce have been dismal.

So here, in no particular order, is the list of things that I have discovered so far in my limited experience of gardening......

- I love gardening.
- I LOVE my greenhouse!!
- Eating something that you have grown from seed is so amazingly satisfying and tasty.
- I thought I would just love GYO but I find that I want to do it all!
- That DH loves all the jobs that I hate (grass, pruning, tidying, edging etc). Perfect combination.
- That I care so much more about things that I have grown from seed than I have bought or even been given.
- That trying to grow a little bit of lots of things to 'see what works' might cause more work than I envisaged....
- Plan more, be organised, write it all down.
- Soil can be too rich (compost added to raised beds).
- Rabbits love carefully 'nurtured from seed' cauliflower plants....
- A packet of asparagus seeds bought for 99p from Amazon goes a long long way...
- Mint does indeed grow very quickly.
- I can grow lavender from seed, I have tons.
- I have herbs now that I am not really sure what to do with in the kitchen!.
- That putting something in a pot until I know exactly where I want it in the garden long term will only work for so long.
- Things that are 'easy to grow' have not worked so well sometimes as things which are supposed to be tricky.
- That I would look forward to Gardeners World on a Friday evening!

I have lots of questions too that I think I will save for another post given how long this one has turned out to be!

Grockle Tue 17-Jul-12 20:21:22

I am going to learn how to take cuttings this year. I've spent a lot of time and money stocking the garden with perennials & shrubs so it would be lovely if they could help fill the rest of the spaces in coming years. I also need to create a small wildlife pond - in a washing up bowl or something. I need to google.

<wanders off to look for local knobgobblers in the yellow pages>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 18-Jul-12 00:00:10

Right. As the resident duffer I clearly need to enrol for Cuttings for Beginners.

funnyperson Wed 18-Jul-12 04:27:39
WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 18-Jul-12 06:53:31

I have mixed success with cuttings. Some roses have successfully rooted whereas others failed. Rosemary has been worked rooting in water. Have tried clematis this year but that's not looking very hopeful.

Last week I've stuck some passion flower, cornus and weigela into water to see if I can get them to root. DS helped me take some from a 4 year old climbing petunia which has survived minus 10 and they mostly worked. I'd like to have a go at root and leaf cuttings but haven't got round to it yet.

I've just woken up to sunshine, second day in a row. Must try to get out to allotment or garden today. Having a difficult couple of days, Mum possibly has cellulitis and might not be able to fly at end of month to visit my brother. We haven't seen him for over three years and he very kindly is paying for us all to go out and it's now looking very dodgy. I warned her this would happen if she didn't make an effort and it's affecting my DC as I can't take DD to some of her leaving stuff as have to take her to docs and specialist. I really really feel I need to fit some gardening in today, it's the only thing that chills me out when stressed.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 18-Jul-12 08:16:55

Oh Wynken, that sounds very tough. I had cellulitis last year and it was grim. I also have elderly parents and now how relentless it can be, dealing with all the health and hospital issues. I hope you manage some relaxing gardening time today.

That's helpful, funnyperson, but what I was really hoping for was hanging out with lovely Carol at Glebe Cottage, propagating plants and being best friends forever. ::wink::

Lexilicious Wed 18-Jul-12 09:28:26

Did a search, Maud, but the last masterclass/course she seems to have run was in 2007. Perhaps we should start a campaign... I did not realise she was as old as Wikipedia says she is though! I would easily have accepted 10 years less. <suck-up, suck-up>

No sunshine here today. Drizzle again. I even foolishly left the not-quite-dry third load of washing out on the line overnight when I took the rest in at 10.30.

Yesterday's lunch was a yummy potato omelette (Cara from my disappointing weekend harvest), and last night's dinner involved the last of the broad beans, a load of finger-sized carrots (Autumn King and Cosmic Purple), done in a leftover-roast-pork risotto with some Cavolo Nero sort of steamed on top at the end. I have another portion with me for lunch today - yum!)

Get well soon Wynken's mum. smile

Phacelia Wed 18-Jul-12 11:36:19

Oh my goodness, Lexi, I'm absolutely drooling the sound of those meals. I should have a home grown courgette, some peas and broad beans for my supper tonight, yum. I'm eating the few broad beans I have when they're quite small and I can't believe how delicious they are. Much sweeter than the tough big ones you get in the shops.

I have tons of strawberries at the moment; some of them are huge, so I'm just waiting for more sunshine to ripen them as they're all green right now. Really looking forward to scoffing the lot. Quite tempted to make this incredible recipe

I have some dahlia cuttings and some lavender cuttings which are doing really well. It's really nice when you try something new in gardening and it works. Will definitely take lots of cuttings next year.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 18-Jul-12 14:04:26

hello doublemocha - glad to meet you smile

I ask a lot of questions too, this lot are very helpful although they tempt you with plant sales

doublemocha Wed 18-Jul-12 17:46:37

Hi Humphrey, nice to meet you too!

I am easily tempted by sales (of any variety if truth be known) so that's good to know!

Are you new to gardening too?

Best wishes to your mother Wynken.

Lots of yummy sounding home grown items described above. My fennel seems to maturing nicely, tomatoes have been a success (so far!), courgette and cucumber, peas and beans all good. Squash and broccolli growing well at the moment. As I mentioned previously, salads not a great success and neither the beetroot, spring onions taking an age. I have also sown further salads and some spinach just at the weekend.

Does anyone have any experience of green manure? I have sown some in a bed (approx 3m x 3.5m) that I wasn't intending to plant in this year as an experiment. I bought it from GW live for £5 and it has germinated well so far. Does it benefit the soil significantly?

Grockle Wed 18-Jul-12 20:44:38

Oh wynken, that sounds very sad. Thinking of you.

No gardening news from me but today was my last day at work for six weeks, hurrah. Well, except for the 2 weeks I'll go in & work but somehow that doesn't count as I can do it when it rains & play in the garden when it's sunny!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 18-Jul-12 20:46:39

Oh Wynken, sorry I missed this first time around. Do hope your mother is better, my mother had cellulitis last year.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 18-Jul-12 21:21:16

Thank you all. Good news, it's looking more hopeful for her to fly according to doctor today, though not out of the woods yet. We're seeing a specialist tomorrow.

I've done zero gardening today but came home to a big hole in the hedge between us and the neighbours. They did kindly email to say one of the shrubs had died and they will replace it.

Green manure, my friend did a section on her allotment last year. This year she's planted her fruit bushes in that bit, they look like they are doing pretty well if that helps.

I don't think we're really much of a bad influence with plant sales, well maybe a tiny bit .....!

NorkyButNice Wed 18-Jul-12 23:18:37

Did somebody say plant sale? Ears prick up...

Sorry to hear you mum is unwell Wynken, I hope she is able to travel in time for the trip.

I love hearing about all the veg and fruit that's appearing in your gardens ! That will be a project down the line for me.

I went plant shopping today and bought some Gaura (?), more Salvia, another Phlox, some Bergamot and something else I can't remember!

I need ideas for low Creeping plants to fill in gaps in borders along the front too if you have ideas?

chixinthestix Wed 18-Jul-12 23:36:21

Hello everyone, just found the new thread. Can I offer round elderflower cordial and slightly soggy jam buns?

It sounds like you are all doing far more gardening than I have, but the rain finally stopped and I did manage a quck stroll and flower pick this evening to make posies for teachers' presents and...hooray, I picked the first three flowers off my sweet peas! smile And also harvested our first decent crop of peas for tea. No ripe tomatoes yet though but the promise of a bit of sun might help.

Norky, low creeping thing I have are London Pride and bugle which are great for May/June but I've got some gaps at the front of borders now too. I've got a bit of creeping Jenny some gave me which is pretty and hoping my dianthus will flower soon. I've got 3 or 4 fairly low growing ones that are very pretty and smell lovely.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 18-Jul-12 23:38:36

Norky - My favourite low ground cover plant of the moment is alpine strawberry. I never get any fruit on mine bloody wildlife but the leaves are lovely. Ajuga is another good one, especially one of the varieties with bronze leaves.

doublemocha Thu 19-Jul-12 09:40:40

Wynken - I hope your visit to the specialist is good news and that your mother is able to travel. Thanks for the information re green manure.

Norky - I struggle to remember the names of plants sometimes too, plus the varieties of the veg/fruit that I have planted. I must get more organised at this!

Elderflower cordial - yum! My peas are still flowering and so are the tomatoes, you are further on than me Chix! I find gardening hard earlier in the week when I am working but more opportunities later on.

Plans for my gardening over the next few days (in addition to general tidying etc) Order raspberry canes for planting in the autumn, order seeds for autumn sowing (a few ideas but need to make decisions), plan the winter veg. Figure out (and possibly start) how to make an asparagus bed (Monty says preparation is key for asparagus). Consider (and possibly order) climbers appropriate for semi shade that will grow along a fence and under establised trees. Water plants in greenhouse and check my tomato plants do not need more support, they are getting heavy. Plan autumn/winter plants for tubs.

Bring on this nice weather we are promised, it rained again here during the night!

Lexilicious Thu 19-Jul-12 11:28:25

Yes please I'll have some elderflower cordial! But was it a good year for elderflowers? I don't recall seeing blossom on the tree near me. I must go and check my local wild plum trees in the woods too - there is a great yellow one (might be mirabelle) nearby. The brambles look unbelievably well laden. We could have some serious jamming going on in a couple of months! Glad I have been saving all my jam jars, I have a huge quantity now!

I'm going to pickle some of the smaller onions and shallots this weekend. They are too small and fiddly to use, but had to be dug up. I need to plait the garlic too (might do two or three plaits, keep one and give the others as gifts).

Is it time for another one of Lexi's Nature Notes? I read article on the Guardian about hedgehog corridors, followed some links in the comments about whether they really eat slugs, and now I'm all worried that I might have hedgehogs eating diseased slugs and themselves dying, and my pond isn't well enough get-out-able, and hoping the rat bait station I'm about to put down won't let hedgehogs and voles in too, and oh my goodness but it's a minefield. I even think I might have Turned My Compost Heap With A Fork later than April, and now I'm fretting I'vestabbed a baby.

I think I need to sniff a sweet pea to calm down. Meant to cut some and bring into work this morning but I forgot. They are going too fast for me! But they are all one colour (really bold cerise-y pink) which is a bit boring in a vase.

Lexilicious Thu 19-Jul-12 11:29:15

I knew I would do at least one link fail... the Guardian article

chixinthestix Thu 19-Jul-12 22:37:00

Lexi its been a rubbish year for elderflowers here. For a start the hedge cutter flailed our regular harvesting bush to within an inch of its life so no blooms there, but also because they should really be picked on a sunny day. Needless to say we haven't made much this year. But it really is the essence of summer, I also love elderflowers stewed with gooseberries and we've had loads of those this year. Think it seems to be a good fruit year all round.

If only my tomatoes would go red!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 19-Jul-12 22:41:56

Next year I will attempt to make my own elderflower cordial!

HaitchJay Fri 20-Jul-12 06:41:41

Am not keeping up with this thread sad or the garden sad

Toms mainly lost to mould, greenhouse too damp sad
Fennel & peas doing well.
Potatoes not so good.
Strawberries keep splitting with so much water. Raspberries ok but not making it to the house. Apples looking ok at the moment.

Dh seems to have grown enough lupins for the whole town and we are monitoring colours and I'm vetoing boring ones

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 09:19:24

My two lovely lupins turned out simply to be an expensive form of slug food. Sob.

Lexilicious Fri 20-Jul-12 09:54:52

Those salvias I bought last week at tesco are currently a slug snack too. Lupins seem to be doing okay on top of the rockery (beside pond) last time I checked. Do frogs eat slugs?

I am only keeping up with this thread because I can't get into the garden!! Although it is a quite nice day today and I am working at home so will no doubt potter out there a bit. I am thinking of getting my winter veg sown (carrots, parsnips, and poss salsify and scorzonera) and turning part of the veg side of my garden into a more permanent patch - the rhubarb has really taken off and I can see it needs more space, so I will put a gooseberry beside it I think, and make a low fruit cage around it, then a cardoon, then strawberries in the ground rather than the stacking thing.

Hoping to cut some of the beautiful bergamot for a flower display indoors. The flowers are out in great numbers now and look like bright red jesters hats!

I planted tansy last year as a companion plant (it has button flowers in a big umbelliferous handful which attract ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, which eat aphids) but it hasn't been in flower yet and so aphids have done their thing so far without getting caught. However it has put on a massive amount of growth and (it is in two places) it is nearly 6 feet tall! I can just see the flower heads coming now though, and I love the smell of its leaves, which I can't describe.

Has just reminded me of this board game which I got as a birthday present about 20 years ago and now regret having got rid of! Hilarious game, would have been excellent for a MN gardeners meet up on a rainy day. Anyone else heard of it?

Phacelia Fri 20-Jul-12 11:37:14

Umbeliferous. grin Great word!

Goes off to google tansy, bergamot and the board game.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 14:23:19

That board game looks a hoot!

Umbellifer is a very fine word indeed.

mollythewitch Fri 20-Jul-12 20:05:54

I've not been keeping up with this thread either due to a poorly laptop. I'm sharing the woes of trying to do any gardening on clay without turning the place into a quagmire. To summarise:
Minature rose - mildewed.
Lettuce -slugged to stumps faster than I could possibly believe.
Dahlias - chomped by snails.
Sunflowers and cosmos - beheaded by mystery pest. I suspect those v tiny slugs.
Elderflower cordial - went mouldy.

On the plus side my astrantia and meadow rue look lovely. I'm very envious of all your roses. As soon as we are out of rented accommodation and manage to buy our own place I am sitting down with the DA catalogue. Munstead wood looks particularly lovely, and whichever that lovely deep red one is that is OK for a north wall -Cardinal Richelu?

I had a margerite daisy in a pot that was looking particularly shredded - it was quite pot bound and when I eased the soil/rootball away from the side of the pot there were dozens of slugs all making their home down the gap! I've had a look at my other pots and it seems to be a favourite hiding place, eurgh! I had to ease them out with a teaspoon and flick them into the road.

Fingers crossed for sunnier weather this weekend, tbh Id be happy with anythign that wasnt torrential rain!

Lexilicious Fri 20-Jul-12 20:20:07

Gw's on!!!

chixinthestix Fri 20-Jul-12 22:53:46

Lexi I have a tansy too, and its a monster. I'm not keen on the smell but have put it down the side of the veg patch to draw in pollinators.

Very pleased that my roses have done better than Monty's and my Lidl carrots too!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 22:56:31

An hour with Monty. Bliss!

Phacelia Sat 21-Jul-12 11:41:41

Loved GW tonight. It's great that even MD has failures, his poor carrots.

Great shots of Nigel; that dog is gorgeous. I would love a golden retriever. Loved the potato taste testing too and very interesting about how different they all were. My early potatoes look like they're pretty much ready to dig up.

I've been out in the wonderful sunshine we've been having and nibbling the first ripe strawberries off the plants. They taste so much better than anything you can buy in the shops. I'm loving my broad beans too, I can't believe how much sweeter they are than what you can buy. Am converted and will grow 3 times as many next year (plus I heard that you can eat them the same way as pea shoots so will have a seperate crop just for that purpose)

MooncupGoddess Sat 21-Jul-12 13:09:48

Beautiful sunny morning here. My strawberries are sending out shoots in every direction and lots of little clumps of grapes are forming on my vine. The tomatoes are doing well too; if we get some good sun over the next few weeks then perhaps I'll be able to harvest them before the dreaded blight sets in. One of my onions is about to flower, which I believe is a Bad Thing, but I'm curious to see what the flower looks like!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 21-Jul-12 17:40:22

Lovely day here too and I have spotted the first tiny fruit on my Tumbler Tom tomatoes.

I have also planted or at least laid out all the plants from 3 T&M orders that came at once. But AIBU to be peeved that, because they had run out of certain plants, only one third of my black plant collection is actually black? I understand that they have to make substitutions if their stock has failed, but surely those substitutions ought to be black? hmm

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 19:41:51

I went out and cheerily chopped my geraniums back today al la Monty!

Was any one else really impressed by the size of his hostas? However I was surprised to see that my roses have definitely done better than his - perhaps I go for a different type of rose flower: more of an open flower so less susceptible to the rain. I have been deadheading the roses and now there is a second flowering on Albert Carriere already! I have decided not to deadhead American Pillar as I read that it has oval hips, so this year as an experiment I am leaving the flowers on, as it is so vigorous anyway I dont think it will suffer and may provide Autumn colour and encourage the birds in the winter.

I loved the Margery Fish garden and especially the delicate Astrantias in among the geraniums!

Round here we have gorgeous flowering hedges in the front gardens: lavender and hebe and potentiella hedging, and in addition all the large flowering clematis are out and blooming beautifully.

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 19:49:00

One of the nice things is that people's front gardens round our way no longer seem to be rows of lobelia alternating with alyssum. There are lots of herbs, alpines, poppies, roses, lilies, clematis and now there are hollyhocks and calla and hydrangeas, and every kind of topiary, which is amusing to go past: bobbles and faces and pyramids and those helterskelter shapes.

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 20:02:16

Sorry it is alberic barbiere my ivory climber and I am going to be doing this with it tomorrow!

Lexilicious Sun 22-Jul-12 09:19:29

CITGM, cant you send them back as unqanted? And don't they have a substitutions preference thing like the online supermarkets do? E.g. "if not available don't substitute" "if not available sub with same colour/height/leaf form/flower shape" ...sounds like the sort of retail database analysis that my DH used to do! I was talking with a couple of friends yesterday who do IT architecture that the house-finding and clothes-finding websites that are emerging could be so much more powerful with a different starting point to the search functions. If you limited the T&M catalogue by colour palette, pollination-friendliness, soil type, and then had it group the results by season of interest, height, perennial ness, or some other grouping AND then remember your garden style to limit what might be subbed, now that would be a good shopping experience.

I was out on town all day yesterday so today is going to be garden day. I have wasted an hour of it already...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 22-Jul-12 12:05:03

I think the small print, Lexi, is that they reserve the right to make substitutions. It's the way they make substitutions that seems bizarre - as if they don't realise that people who order a black plant collection actually want their plants to be black - like a supermarket being unable to supply organic carrots so sending a pound of lard instead! I don't have time to send them back and so have planted them in another bed and accepted their £5 bribe voucher.

I think this could be another NGS afternoon.

Lexilicious Sun 22-Jul-12 12:57:25

Ah, I see. In that cases would write to say "thanks for the voucher. The substitute plants are nice but don't go with my black and white colour scheme, which was why I ordered your black plant collection. Not just a basket of plants which happened to be black. I hope you can improve your substitution algorithm in future. I am still a happy customer, mostly" You know, subtly warning-shot sort of constructive criticism.

I have harvested the last of my garlic and laid it out to dry. A couple of them had a sort of bulbous flower in the middle of the stem which I've pulled out and it has sort of bulbils - reckon they will grow like sets? Wonder whether to put them in the ground straight away or wait till late autumn.

Going to weed the front garden. I have a whole patch of gladioli just about to burst out there - it is going to be a riot of colour just as the Olympics starts! We'll see if my R/W/B colour scheme comes true - the middle buddleia of three is purple, not white as expected, so a bit of an early fail there.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 22-Jul-12 13:15:49

That is uncannily similar to the email to customer services that I have written in my head, Lexi!

HaitchJay Sun 22-Jul-12 13:21:58

Feeling more successful today . All our veg at lunch was home grown, even my first ever parsnip! Dd3 was v defensive of 'her' peas though, she likes to eat them in the garden not share them in the house!

Haven't watched gardeners world yet, will catch up later.

funnyperson Sun 22-Jul-12 14:51:53

When DA didnt have an old French rose I had ordered for a friend they emailed to say so and asked me to choose an alternative, so as her birthday deadline was looming I asked her what she wanted.
Maud I think you should have been given a choice of a refund or an alternative of your choosing.
Gorgeous day.
I am not doing red white and blue flowers but will be doing an Olympic theme picnic for the road cycle race if its sunny.
I am sitting in my colonial chair admiring the garden and sucking the end of my pencil, while trying to put a realistic timetable together to watch as many free events as possible in the open air without undue hassle. Very pleasant pastime.

funnyperson Sun 22-Jul-12 14:56:23

Regarding tomatoes: as a complete novice, how many flowers should I expect per plant and should I pinch out the growing tips to get more fruit?
Regarding strawberries: ditto.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 22-Jul-12 19:32:10

My goodness, the sun has been out all day ! Been digging up potatoes that were struck by blight, they're ok but need lifting soon so need to do the rest. The first courgette has appeared and my beans have started flowering.

After a difficult few days of running back and forth between my Mum and the various doctors she needed to see and my teenage DD and her various leaving middle school events, we had to cancel outrying awaited trip to see my brother. Have been struggling to find anything as our budget is pathetic in comparison to most of the things around. But my faith in human nature has been restored, a fantastic friend has offered us two weeks in their place in Cornwall. Have been busy googling to see where the Lost Gardens of Heligan are and will definitely be going back to Eden Project which we'd visited the day of 9/11.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 22-Jul-12 19:36:19

With tomatoes I'd pinch them out if they are outside with a few sets of flowers on as you want to get fruit before blight strikes (i am a pessimist where blight is concerned) .The number of fruit per truss depends on type - Ildi have the biggest trusses I've ever seen whilst St Pierre are the other end of the scale and much more modest.

Lexilicious Sun 22-Jul-12 20:44:57

Hmmm, lost a long post I was writing. The small person got hold of the iPad...

I spent five hours weeding my 4x4m front garden today, and I'm really feeling it in my back and legs. Also got a weird slash of sunburn where my t-shirt parted company from my shorts!

I have seen more plantain, dead nettle, creeping buttercup, horsetail, couch grass, forget-me-not and native geum/geranium than I ever need to see. My fingers are still tingling from the occasional stinging nettle too. I pulled up enough to fill nearly two thirds of a large brown wheely bin - plus a serious haircut on the mint and a shaping cut on the lavender which borders the path to the front door. I am going to give up on my tesco salvias, and instead plant the two nice lavenders that I got at HCPFS. The sedum spurium was awash with all sorts of bees today, and they also enjoyed the borage and comfrey flowers. No butterflies on my buddleias though, none at all.

I got absolutely nothing done in the back garden today, grrr. I will have to put in an hour or so after work each day this week, depending on how compliant the boy is, to divide irises, tie in sweet peas, plant late summer and early winter veg, and take up alliums and tulips for storing. I have just won a couple of nice old tins on eBay to store things in as well as buying one of those indexed seed tins (burgon and ball) for my seed packets.

funny I've cut off quite a few of the lower leaves from my tomatoes, and must start feeding them now I can see a truss or two forming. I'm dreadful at remembering to feed things. Haven't done any pinching of strawberries - if I saw runners forming I would cut them off, but mine are keeping themselves to themselves at the moment.

Hello everyone - back from the sunshine and seem to have missed all the grotty weather of last week. Hurrah.

Not much happened in the garden whilst away though; successes - sweet peas still growing nicely and picked a nice bunch again today, four small courgettes & four small carrots picked, bag of potatoes had enough tubers in for two meals, peas doing well-ish, verbena bonariensis looking great in the long bed as is the cosmos and other small-headed red alium things I can't remember the name of. Not so successful - slugs, slugs, slugs, slugs eating everything! Tomatoes still not flowering although immensely tall.

Also lost another chicken whilst away (prolapse for the chicken keepers amongst you), which I think traumatised the neighbour chicken sitting.

And finally, puppy arrived today! She's extremely cute and keeps chewing my toes while I'm typing as she prefers not be ignored. grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 22-Jul-12 22:44:36

I've had a good time, clearing some of the grot out of an overcrowded flowerbed and making space for the fabulous heucheras which I've just swapped with Lexi. We also went to an NGS garden that was truly lovely.

There's so sign of several verbena bonariensis I planted in the spring - perhaps they'll emerge in the autumn when I cut down the other stuff.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 23-Jul-12 21:20:55

Ooh, a puppy. I love a puppy.

A lovely day today, a properly sunny, hot and relaxing day in the garden. Paddling pool and sandpit in operation.

Maud, my thalictrum is looking amazing. So glad as I thought it was never going to appear. The roses are having a slight resurgence and the veg in the round patch are finally getting going.

Ate our first broad beans today. Can't believe it was so late in the year.

My idea of a week off work at home with small children and puppy entertaining each other while I potter about the garden is not going to work out quite as I planned. Puppies and small children are very demanding. Still, lovely day today, most of which spent in the garden if not actually gardening.

Puppy has eaten one of my garden shoes; I think I may use this as an excuse to get a pair of those great 'backdoor shoes' that someone once linked to (Maud I think).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 23-Jul-12 21:40:34

It wasn't me who linked to back door shoes - mine are from Lidl - but I agree they're very covetable.

The thalictrum is indeed gorgeous and does very well as a cut flower.

HaitchJay Mon 23-Jul-12 21:56:06

I have back door flip flops. Do they count?
Not a lot of fruit is making it to the house this year.dd3 has just about figured the right colour for each fruit to pick and is eating everything.

Lexilicious Mon 23-Jul-12 22:15:27

I have back door plimsolls and ancient clog-shaped Merrells.

Did some planting this evening - Chillis and Peppers into a trough. They have been badly treated in the growhouse with sporadic watering, so are fairly stressed as well as slug-nibbled. Protected my purple sprouting broccoli youngsters with netting because the pigeons have been feasting on the leaves, and tied in my squash onto a bird feeder stake and pair of canes. Admired some sweet peas and swept the deck to look vaguely presentable. Happy again.

Took delivery today of two seed tins! The index-card B&Ball one is for new seed packets, the other is for lifted bulbs. One more to come, which is for collected seed.

Anyone watching AT's 'garden design in a day that no normal person could achieve' or whatever it's called? I just fell in love with the Potager veg garden. If only I could get mine to look like that! I'd be happy with lots of neat rows and blocks of colour; would obviously appeal to my obsession with straight lines sense of order. If anyone knows what the really red things were (looked like some kind of lettuce or cabbage) then please let me know...

Today's gardening moment was 10 minutes weeding the drive. The puppy is like an unruly toddler with teeth! Have watered too though which is the first time I've said that in a while. The water butts actually got used!

Think I'm quite fancying the strawberry ones...

chixinthestix Tue 24-Jul-12 22:56:00

I did watch AT but got quite cross at the ridiculousness of it all. DS (9) said 'thats not a garden because its got no plants to do any gardening with'. That's my boy!
Agree though, the potager garden was lovely.

DCs gave me garden clogs for my birthday. They are black with sparkly bits in grin although I did eye up those fruit and veg ones too Bertha.

funnyperson Wed 25-Jul-12 14:32:21

I have well worn black sparkly flipflops.

Sowed some spinach today.

Also planted a very restful and pretty pot for the front verandah: white flame begonia and white trailing verbena: ceramic pot : Very simple. Looks stunning.

Out the back, the deep purple pot planted with maroon and purple petunias and dark pinks and lilies is looking great because the sun has made the flowers bloom.

Butterflies today: 1x white 1x brown 1x red: they love the lavender and salvia.

cantspel Wed 25-Jul-12 17:40:20

my new and very beautiful calla lily has gone all droppy and the stems seem to be coming away.

I only bought it and planted it into a new pot on the patio last week and now it seems to be dieing on mesad

The other calla lily i bought and potted up at the same time is fine so i dont know why this one is so poorly.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 25-Jul-12 17:50:29

You have a verandah, funnyperson? How enviable. There are some houses near me with wrought iron verandahs which I swoon over.

I like the red and cream rose backdoor shoes.

::credit card begins to twitch::

funnyperson Wed 25-Jul-12 18:51:51

I dont think I make as much of the verandah as I could, partly because it looks out the front.

I am seriously considering those 'living wall' thingys. I saw an amazing living wall growing up a hotel in Green Park the other day when I ...ahem...went to tea at Fortnum and Masons....blush.

The wall had fuschias and all sorts, and seemed much more organic somehow than a hanging basket. I have never been any good at hanging baskets. I'm not really sure how living walls are irrigated and how one replenishes the soil or how one protects the wall behind the living wall from damp.

I too love living walls but would worry that I would kill it as I'm very bad at hanging baskets too. Was it one of the GWs that did a piece on them and you can get really sophisticated (and no doubt very expensive) systems that protect the wall and irrigate etc.

Deadheading is on my list to do tomorrow plus I really must pop over the fence and check up on the white currants as I'm sure they'll be ripe and ready for picking, if not too ripe already. Still have a couple of kilos in the freezer from last year though so not sure what I'll do with this year's.

Peas and two small courgettes for tea tonight. Wynken can I dig up the oca yet? Mine are flowering now and the foliage is starting to fade, so if like potatoes I'm assuming they're ready.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 25-Jul-12 21:42:25

Anyone else been caught out by forgetting to water stuff? We nearly lost the tomatoes because of this. I am not in a watering routine yet due to all the rain.

Have been sitting out for the last three days. Just absolute bliss. Swing seat is heaven. I think I need a deck chair too.

Cottage borders looking very thin but I think will be better next year (all gardeners think that grin). The herb beds under the pear tree, where we sit, are looking very nice. All the feverfew is in flower, the lavender is going strong, the sole four surviving purple orache are adding a splash of slug eaten colour. There is a lovely polish spirit clematis growing on a tripod on one side, the one of the other side died.

From a distance the non-existent wildflower meadow looks a lot better as a fair few large daisy plants have come up and are mixing with the calendula. If you look from an oblique angle you can't see the bare patches.

We will have very few apples this year. Anyone else got a poor crop, or is it just us?

My apple trees have a load of little fruits but I know other people have very few too. No mirabelles this year though sad and the mulberries are just not ripening.

funnyperson Wed 25-Jul-12 21:55:59

Practically non existent apples here. Worst crop for ages. The trees didn't blossom before the rain started. Apparently those whose trees blossomed before the rain started have really good crops.

Is your Polish spirit flowering already then?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 25-Jul-12 21:59:16

well yes, but then it might not be a polish spirit grin We planted so many clematis this year, all the labels fell off so it could be anything.

Such a shame about the apples, we normally send off a couple of trees worth to turn into juice. We are still drinking the juice from last year.

doublemocha Wed 25-Jul-12 22:14:50

Funnyperson - My tomatoes are doing well this year. Whilst I would love to think this was due to my amazing and new found talents as a gardener, in reality, this is because one of the builders left on site (we live in a new house) used to grow them for a living and sorts them out for me every couple of days!! He has taken off lots (I do mean lots) of side foliage in addition to pinching out (to let light get to the fruit and to divert energy into the fruit) I have also been told never to let them dry out, water regularly and feed every week now that the first fruits have formed. There are many many flowers. He also shakes them gently every few days..

Sorry about the chicken Bertha.

Gardening has been limited to watering, sorting out the plants in the greenhouse (whoever knew cucumber plants got so huge!) and a bit of general tidying as I have been working extra hours this week while the DC's are doing a sports camp so I have to work just one day next week. DH also away on business so I am a touch frazzled.

DH would draw the line at gardening clogs!

Taken delivery of my seeds for sowing in the autumn in the greenhouse (mainly, some may creep inside..)...Marigold, Pansy, Nasturtium, Calendula, California Poppy, Sweet Pea, Dahlia and Phlox.

Maud - similar issues with Thomson and Morgan and a £20 voucher (double the original spend) as compensation for not even having in stock the mint collection I ordered. In addition, three blueberry plants that arrived earlier in May were so badly packaged they had tipped all over the box, stems broken and in generally terrible condition that I demanded replacements. In fairness, said replacements were georgeous specimens (about 5 times larger than the originals) and are positively thriving, the originals marginally recovering I think.

Also mildly concerned all my GYO will be ready to pick/eat just as we go away in August!

doublemocha Wed 25-Jul-12 22:17:35

Also - found where the bloody slugs had hidden themselves in one of my raised beds, under some lettuce, butternut squash now making a recovery.

Lexilicious Thu 26-Jul-12 08:33:37

I am going to fret about my tomatoes today. I read this last night and thought no I watered them Tuesday, I'll wait till Thursday evening... but now I think I watered+fed them Monday evening (my last post on here) and they're not in the biggest ever pot... but I did take off some more of the lower leaves yesterday and they are quite big plants now (waist height). So hopefully they will be ok. One of the stems had withered at the point where my twine holding it to the canes had rubbed - it was trying to keep growing above but I've cut that one off. Lots of trusses have formed right at the top. Hoping they don't all ripen while I'm on holiday!

Everything is flowering! My herb beds are ridiculously keen on bushing out, they love it where they are - I should harvest more, to take advantage. I have arranged all my seeds in my new tins, and have a series of packets that need to be planted this weekend, as well as the overdue job of lifting bulbs and dividing/moving.

Will ask DH to do a couple of Man Jobs on Saturday - putting up plant support wires/trellis and sieving compost! I am fairly fed up of buying bags of it when I have got two full compost bins round the back of the shed. I might also use last year's leaf mould at last - is it a good slug barrier?

Lexilicious Thu 26-Jul-12 08:43:35

I read some really good tips in GW magazine the other day too (think it's the July edition, I am a bit behind on my reading - two The Garden and one GYO are still in their cellophane!) The first interesting thing was that it takes plants 4-6 hours to take up the water from the soil so if you go by the advice to water your containers in the morning or evening, "morning" has got to mean 6am at the latest otherwise they will not have fully hydrated when the heat of the day is at its peak. OTOH, and this is my thoughts not in the article, evening watering should probably mean after the sun has gone down because the heat of the day is still going to evaporate water from the top inch or so of the soil - this might be good to humidify around the leaves, but the watering will also have a good chance of all being taken up through the roots overnight and they will be happier the following day.

The other really interesting bit was a properly scientific article by <3 Monty <3 grin about pruning. It was about the different growth hormones which act in the plant, and how if you prune in winter then all the plant's energy goes into the root system, so it will go bananas (in a good way) in the spring, but summer pruning is the right time to put a check on its growth and keep a shrub (e.g.) nicely shaped.

CuttedUpPear Thu 26-Jul-12 09:46:02

Really glad to see all the articles in the papers this week and also evidence here that everyone has had awful trouble with slugs and snails.

My peas and lettuce have completely failed, my beetroot had to be replanted three times and are consequently tiny, and my courgette plant is also tiny cos of all the chomping it has had to endure.
Most of my sweet peas have failed at a small size and my bedding convulvulas are spindly, as are my bedding petunias. I also have had my cosmos beheaded as someone else upthread has too.

I'm a professional gardener, this is what I do for a living. It's embarrassing!

On the bright side the new deep burgundy day lily is doing great and the lavenders are huge as usual.

HaitchJay Thu 26-Jul-12 10:05:25

Am feeling v depressed about my garden this year. Out of 22 tomato plants I now have 8 left and have had one tomato.
No salad crops (slugs)
Cats keep pooing on my strawberries and today all over the lawn. Poor dd3 couldn't get to the pond as we had to wait for dh to clean up (am pg).
Loads of things not growing & potatoes have blight sad

ethelb Thu 26-Jul-12 10:16:50

Oh dear. Sounds crap.

I planted up my brand new first ever garden on Sunday and my radishes, raddichio, rocket and red salad bowl had all sprouted this morning.

Fingers crossed for the beetroot and bright lights chard.

My tomatoes are doing well, though I am scared I have over watered them (in this weather, I know) and my purple sprouting broccoli is doing well. The toms were planted in March and the PSB in June and grown on window sill.

Glad to hear its not just my lettuce that has been miserable. Every other year I have been provided with more lettuce than I can cope with on my window sill but despite three sowings this year I have had one salad. ONE SALAD.

NorkyButNice Thu 26-Jul-12 11:00:14

Everyone's been really busy! How nice has it been to have sun at last?

I've been working my way along the garden trying to clear away the overgrown shrubs so I can at last see the beds beneath them. Not that there is any visible earth - it's all ivy, grass, weeds, and more baby shrubs trying to take over!

I think I've got a cammelia which has got brown blotches on a few leaves - what to do?

Have uncovered some 5ft long brambles with huge bunches of blackberries ripening, not sure how to support then off the ground!

My flowers are all blooming wonderfully, it's just lovely. I've seen quite a few butterflies too here.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 11:28:49

Good morning everyone, it's very calm and pleasant in here, I'd like to pop in sometimes if that's OK.
I have a tiny, L shaped back yard, typical Victorian terrace, so only about 6m of raised beds which we built and planted last year. One of my extravagant treats was a chocolate silk tree. It was very late starting and isn't chocolate yet but that's fine. For the last 2 days there has been a little puddle of its fronds on the floor beneath it, some quite large bits down to crumbs. I can't find any damage to any other plants in that bed. Surely it can't be slugs, can it?
It's just over 6ft tall and still quite spindly. Any ideas please?

Lexilicious Thu 26-Jul-12 14:32:30

Chocolate silk tree is a new one on me... am looking up RHS website to see if I can find something out about it... is it this? but different colour? the only problem shown there is verticillium wilt, which seems pretty terminal unfortunately. Could just be generic sudden stress from the heat though? Re the spindlyness, have you done any pruning? follow link on that page to see when it should be done. :-)

ps, welcome, come and have some gin in our virtual potting shed - makes it even more pleasant!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 26-Jul-12 14:43:58

Welcome, Bewitched!

I think you're right, Lexi, that optimum watering time is dusk or later, but I always console myself with something that lovely Geoff Hamilton said when he was presenting GW, which was that - ultimately - the best time for any gardening job is when you have time to do it.

I have hundreds of baby apples on the trees here, my one consolation for the failure of just about every other crop.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 15:33:45

Thank you Lexi. I did a bit of pruning last autumn but there wasn't much of it to start with!
Off to read link now, thanks again.

Hi ComeInto.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 26-Jul-12 15:45:15

Call me Maud, everyone does!

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 15:47:49

Hm, I hope it isn't that. It doesn't look wilted. It really looks like something is attacking it. I'm going to do some reading this afternoon, and some spying tonight. It was all new soil last year so shouldn't be contaminated.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 15:52:05

Oh by the way, yes it is the tree you thought but it should have dark browny purple fronds. Found the label Albizia Julibrisin "Chocolate".

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 16:13:14

Sorry, Hi Maud grin.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Thu 26-Jul-12 23:22:50

There's no sign of anything crawling, squirming, swooping or slithering, but its looking worse every hour sad.
It must be what Lexi said - reaction to the sudden heat, or that horrid wilty thing.
I might try and dig it up and wash all the soil off and replant it in a pot with fresh soil. Last ditch/nothing to lose.

funnyperson Fri 27-Jul-12 04:00:40

Is it this amazing tree?

This and other sites seem to think that a cooler conservatory might suit it better. Or perhaps it has simply finished flowering.

V Interesting. What other plants did you plant it with?

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Fri 27-Jul-12 07:59:47

Yes that's it. It was like that when it arrived but this year it's come out green.
And I've never had a flower. In the same bed I've got star jasmine, a violet clematis, garnet penstemon, white lilies, purple alliums, purple sage, blue geranium, chives, bleeding heart, marjoram, white and deep pink cosmos, gardenia, bamboo, Japanese hardy banana, tulbaghia, a couple of ferns in the shady corner and a few blue traily lobelia.

Lexilicious Fri 27-Jul-12 10:41:15

Seems like a very full and colourful bed! I guess you could dig it up and look after it in a pot for a while, and see if it recovers, but sometimes things just fail for no reason. Can you take a cutting from a healthy looking part?

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Fri 27-Jul-12 14:19:36

Yes I may have over stuffed it a bit! It does look good tho'. The banana is about 4ft above the bed in a pot on a stand.
The other bed is less full and not as good so I can do some juggling around.
I might try a cutting, good idea, thank you.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 27-Jul-12 16:43:16

Over stuffing is good, in my view. As you say, you can always shift things around if it gets too crowded but that's still better than sparcity and bare earth.

Lexilicious Sat 28-Jul-12 11:31:47

it's too hot. But in my back room off the kitchen with the French doors wide open, it is beautifully cool and I can see almost all my hard work.

I sorted out my potting shed yesterday ... added a set of drawers from a cheap wardrobe unit we took out recently, and put my seeds into their new tins and boxes. I lifted all my bulbs from big pots and hanging baskets, and put them in paper bags to dry out a bit before they go in the tin. I have a phenomenal amount of tulips but lots are small side-bulbs so I don't expect them to flower. I really need a nursery bed to bring them on for a couple of years. Today I have divided iris on the rockery but doing that has released an excess so I need to decide whether to put the rest out in the front garden (fits the colour scheme!!) or sell them at work.

My red and white gladioli out the front have burst open like Olympic fireworks just in time for the festivities! There is not enough blue out there for the theme but I have one or two things up my sleeve. More lavender, for a start. Blue glass bottles on the end of stout canes would be fun.

Better get my veg seeds planted while there is still some shade on that side of the garden.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Sat 28-Jul-12 14:39:12

Absolutely Maud, I'm impatient and want it to look lush and luxuriant ASAP.
Next week we're replacing a wooden fence to our east with sand blasted glass.
I'm so excited to see what difference it makes, it should reflect evening sun as well as let more light through in the morning. Glads sound fab Lexi, and I really like the blue glass bottles idea. Is that just for decoration or will it serve a purpose?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 28-Jul-12 16:39:53

Tell me more about the sand-blasted glass, Bewitched. I need to replace the steps down from our French doors. I had been thinking of a small iron balcony and steps, but just the other week thought that a glass balcony would be even better.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 28-Jul-12 19:02:27

yes, it sounds intriguing Bewitched.

just bought a 2ft box ball on ebay for thirty quid smile

doublemocha Sat 28-Jul-12 19:25:10

Evening all.

Hi Bewitched!

Sand-blasted glass, I am curious.

Only general tidying and maintenence to report here. DH still away on business, school hols, various children that do not belong to me round the house etc etc. Plus, I agreed to water our next door neighbours 'few' pots while they are on holiday for 3 weeks. Turns out, there's WAY more than I would call 'a few' and I am a touch miffed, but probably being a bit mean feeling that way. Took me ages to water everything for him today!

Going to weed and sort a 20m bed tomorrow, dig up two clematis that clearly didn't like the semi-shade and clay soil at the bottom of the garden, weed the front beds, turn the comost heaps and bins. general sorting rather than anything very exciting. Also need a trip to the garden centre to purchase something to go over the brassicas, which the rabbits appear to like rather too much!

What veg seeds are you planting Lexi?

Lexilicious Sat 28-Jul-12 19:54:57

Phew, what a day! Blue bottles just a design idea, BBB, think I saw it at Hampton Court but I probably won't get round to it. By the winter when I am more likely to have the time, I won't be as bothered about my red white blue colour scheme.

well, today I planted four types of carrots, rocket, pak choi, mustard, a heritage salads mix, heritage runner beans and kohl rabi. Only a bit less than a metre each row, but I think enough to give us the odd garden meal, not self sufficiency. On the ornamental side I planted some cosmos seeds (bit of a punt this late, we'll see) moved a huge and rather elderly sage to make way for the clary sage which is too tall for the front of the border, and brought two Iberis 'Snowball' out from under an astilbe to enjoy more open positions.

Best bits of the day were (a) my nearly 3yo's excellent technique raking the veg bed to a fine tilth with me, and (b) DH sieving out most of the contents of Compost Dalek 1 for me - a job I was not relishing. Right now DS is rather roughly harvesting red chillies from the indoor pots.

Tomorrow is for planting in the front garden and maybe moving a fern from full sun to a damp spot beside the water butt.

Also want to know more about the glass instead of fence... I have irritating little boys next door, one of whom now likes to stand at the top of his five-foot slide, hands on the top of our six foot fence, and chatter incessantly at us. Six year olds are evidently immune to my Hard Stare. This afternoon I said 'as you're mostly over the fence already why don't you just come round and play?' but he said he was 'grounded'. Grrr.

Welcome Bewitched!

I've been fitting in the odd 10 minutes active gardening when I can this week. I finally managed to plant the ornamental grasses in the long bed then stood back and admired it knowing that the rabbits would probably move in as soon as I was gone. Yesterday 50% of them were reduced to stubble; can't bear the thought of checking today.

Picked one small bit of the white currant bush - 2kg of currants and I'm estimating there will be about 10kg on the bush this year. I still have a couple of kilos in the freezer from last year so I'll be giving this harvest away. I am officially the white currant fairy. They're quite sour this year though; not enough sun to sweeten them up.

The mulberry is starting to show some signs of ripening. Need to keep the sun coming.

My tub of black eyed suzy has its first flower. They are supposed to be a prolific pyramid about 1.5m high. They have reached the dizzy heights of 30cm. I'm hopeful that they'll keep going though.

chixinthestix Sat 28-Jul-12 23:55:33

No gardening for me today as away on hols but spent the last couple of days moving things around the garden and planting out things that won't survive until we get back. I have a v kind neighbour who chicken sits and waters but I don't want to impose on her too much.

To that end DS and I dug an entirely new bed, right at the bottom of the garden in a weedy jungly area. Its now my 'cutting garden'. Ok so only 1m x 3m but sounds good! Filled it with left over echinacea, eryngiums, cosmos and one or 2 other odd bits and bobs. Not too worried about what it looks like as hidden behind the veg patch but would like to grow stuff just for cutting as I always have a vase or 2 of home grown flowers in the summer.

Also finally my sweet peas are flowering beautifully so picked every flower and bud from them and brought them with us, so they keep going. Not a single morning glory though.

Hate leaving my garden at this time of year....

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Sun 29-Jul-12 00:32:13

Gosh, thanks for all the welcomes.
The fence that we 're changing measures about 10ft long by about 5 ft high, but that is on sort of higher ground floor level, our neighbour on that side has a deck on that level, and we've removed the deck that we inherited with the house to make a larger area on the lower ground floor. Although the yard faces south we have quite tall houses to the south of us so it's not very sunny, a bit hard to explain, but basically we sacrificed a tiny, higher, sunnier area for a larger, slightly more private lower level which gets less direct sun so we're trying to increase light levels.
DH business is building very modern modular houses which feature a lot of glass and steel so we can make this glass fence quite cheaply through his suppliers.
Our neighbours are very happy because they will get a lot more evening light.
I did look at sun tubes but decided that would be a bit extravagant and maybe look a bit weird and we would have to customise them as they have only ever been used indoors.
Reading this back, I realise sounds rambling and hard to visualise, sorry!

funnyperson Sun 29-Jul-12 00:38:16

I loved the packed border with the chocolate silk tree. I think Lexi's suggestion of a cutting is a v good one. If the tree leaves are growing green instead of purple that could mean not enough light. Also I read somewhere once that if a normally purple leaved plant grows green leaves its a good idea to prune out the green growth as its too vigorous and can take away from purple growth.

My garden isn't really big enough to have a 'cutting' section.

I'm still getting my head around the potager concept, which I love. Sowed more lettuce and watered the tomatoes (which are 4 ft high!) liberally and regularly. Have been harvesting/cutting herbs to dry them and store them.

Just a few days of hot weather and the lawn is beginning to crack already. Because I try and dig organic compost and leaf mould and stuff into the flower beds, they aren't so liable to set into solid rock when it is dry, but the poor old lawn is suffering.

Does anyone know offhand if there is still a hosepipe ban?

Loved Monty's clematis.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 00:38:54

I think I can visualise what you mean, but it just sounds ... well ... foreign. Are you in the UK?

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Sun 29-Jul-12 00:59:03

Well I didn't expect anyone to be around at this time, funnyperson, I think you and Lexi are right, a combination of too much rain, followed by too much heat, and too little light all the time.
Hahaha Maud, yes, I'm in Brighton, but I am very exotic!
Well, I'd like to begrin.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 09:35:27

Ooh I love Brighton! There was something about the description of the house that made me visualise places I've seen on the French coast!

My purple sedum is growing green at the moment - I'm hoping it'll change colour as it natures.

echt Sun 29-Jul-12 09:52:46

I have black-leaved aeonium in the back garden which flowered last year, vast yellow cones, which should be out about now - I have NO idea why most succulents seem to flower in the winter in Victoria - it defies logic. However no flowers so far, even though it's in sand and full light 365 days of the year.

A consolation is the bowl of hyacinths flowering by the front door, with their heavenly scent. The freesias have all come up, and should bloom by September. After that they're going in the borders - they do very well in sand.

The nonstop welcome winter rains mean everything is as lush as hell. A bit unhappy that the clivia I had to dig up and re-plant in order to have a tree stump ground out have had a gigantic hissy fit and are refusing to bloom.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 10:01:17

How old does a baby clovis have to be before it flowers, echt?

::looks despondently at indoor clivia which has never, ever flowered::

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 10:02:04

Bloody autocorrect. Clivia, obviously.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 10:24:21

Bloody autocorrect. Clivia, obviously.

echt Sun 29-Jul-12 10:34:20

Ooh, can't help on this as clivia are outdoor plants in au. They're pretty tough, but not terribly keen on full sun, i.e 40 degrees. I'm betting this means plenty of filtered sun as an indoor plant. Just looked it up. Doesn't like being disturbed- the roots are gigantic, which is how they manage the dry in Australia, where they're used as underplanting as I have done).

Appears to like a crowded pot, as does its relation, the agapanthus. Actually, I don't get this asa gapanthus grows like a bugger here, in open ground, though now I come to think of it, it's always in clumps, hence the crowding. Hmm.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 11:07:35

Hmm. I hoped I had had it long enough for it to recover from being disturbed (it was an offshoot of my dad's plant). Perhaps it needs a summer holiday outdoors.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 12:00:48

Hmm. I hoped I had had it long enough for it to recover from being disturbed (it was an offshoot of my dad's plant). Perhaps it needs a summer holiday outdoors.

ethelb Sun 29-Jul-12 13:05:34

I think I have killed my tomatoes! I think I overwatered them earlier this week tried to let them dry out then forgot to tell do not to water them on Friday. Now the leaves are all curled up and floppy and the stems are breaking under the weight if the fruit. Is this the end for them sad

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 29-Jul-12 21:18:23

Eek, Ethel. Have you staked the plants and removed lower side shoots? That might help counter the sagging.

ethelb Mon 30-Jul-12 09:28:13


Yep, it is a bush/determinate and i think we have actually killed it. the leaves look like they do when the plant dies back at the end of September.

I've never actually killed a plant before sad

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Mon 30-Jul-12 09:55:28

I think I'm jinxed at the moment! BIL gave us a geranium that's apparently special and unusual, he brought it back from some Mediterranean island. It arrived on Friday and I haven't got round to planting it, it's been in my kitchen, and something is eating it at night!

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Mon 30-Jul-12 14:19:52

Oh. my. god! I can't believe it, I just spotted something moving on that geranium and it was a tiny, tiny caterpillar thing exactly the same colour as the leaf! And then I found 5, yes 5 more! I've peered at it loads since I got it and saw nothing, I can't believe I missed them.

Lexilicious Mon 30-Jul-12 14:48:27

I would be worried that the caterpillars had come in on the plant from forrin climes, and the gardens of Sussex were about to see a takeover by this new invasive geranium-decimating species... so squish 'em, then put them out for the birds to have.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Mon 30-Jul-12 15:09:05

Yes, I thought it was illegal to import plants, I don't know how they did it and they are very prim and proper.
Worry not, I have squished the blighters and put them in the bin, they were too small for a bird to find. Have also thrown the soil in the bin and run roots under the tap, I think there were eggs! Replanted in virgin soil from a fresh bag.
It will not be planted out until I'm certain contamination has gone.
Question is, should I tell very stressy, hyper BIL?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 31-Jul-12 10:28:42

I was about to suggest checking the compost for imported bugs if whatever sort. It's not illegal to import plants from within the EU if they have a plant passport (usually just a number on the label). Diggibg it up from the wild is another matter. shock I would mention it lightly to your BIL, just in case he too has inadvertently imported some if these caterpillars . Is this geranium maderense?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 31-Jul-12 10:30:22

Please forgive all typos. Fat fingers and small keyboard are not a good combo.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Tue 31-Jul-12 13:08:36

Ahem, what appears to have happened is, I thought DH said the geranium came from Sicily, promptly forgot the name of the island but remembered Mediterranean when reporting here.
All rubbish, it came from the Scilly Isles!
He would definitely not have dug it up, it was either a cutting or he will have bought it. I will give him a ring.
No label so don't know what it's called.

Very excited as I've just spotted my first slow worm in very very many years. It appears to have taken up residence in my pumpkin patch living under the black weed fabric I have down. I know we have some toads and frogs in there too so it's a bit of a reptile party.

I think the last time I saw slow worms was when I was about 11. Made my day smile

Jacksmania Tue 31-Jul-12 21:25:55

May I join? smile

I am shortly going to have a garden. My own garden. Small, but a garden. Not merely a flowerbed the size of two yoga mats end to end. No, a garden. With a fence. That I can put trellises on.

My own garden.

No, no, I don't need the paramedics, it's only my heart rate going up at the thought of my own garden.

<fans self>
<slows down breathing>

Erm. blush. As you were.

PS - I don't post consistently because I'm 8 hours behind most of you and life is a tad busy but I've lurked on a few of the gardening threads. ComeIntoTheGardenMaud is my online gardening buddy. <credentials>

Lexilicious Tue 31-Jul-12 21:30:09

Jacks! We've missed you since Humph's happy horti cult!

Jacksmania Tue 31-Jul-12 21:31:05

Oh blush - thank you! I'm baaaaaack...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 31-Jul-12 22:42:51

::embraces Jacksmania::

::worries that anyone citing her as credentials is in very deep trouble indeed::

Jacksmania Tue 31-Jul-12 22:47:27


funnyperson Wed 01-Aug-12 06:42:56

Hello there!

I just want to say that rosa Munstead Wood is gorgeous and scented and deepest maroon but droopy. I am glad it is in a very big and tall pot as I think it would drop into the soil otherwise.

Does anyone else have really rampant rose foliage due to all the rain? I'm not sure whether to cut it back even though it isn't quite the right time of year for pruning.

Sowed more salad, chives and spinach.

I think my garden will lack flowers in October- what do you all have which flowers then?

What have you all got flowering now?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Aug-12 07:59:43

All my new roses have been a bit droopy - I think you're right, funnyperson, about the rain and also lack of light - but Winchester Carhedral has now perked up and I'm hoping the others will follow suit. My main late summer thing is Japanese anemones. I luffs them. The other late summer standbys like dahlias never work for me. I'd like to try heleniums. I was just reading about them in the RHS mag.

Lexilicious Wed 01-Aug-12 08:50:49

I don't really know what I expect to flower in a couple of months, having somewhat lost the thread of my planned planting scheme (it's there somewhere...). Spring last year I planted perennials that.would flower Feb through Nov, so there must be something.

This morning I had to cut most of my gladioli out the front because the rain had bent them over. I should have staked them in the first place, but I haven't grown them before and didn't realise how heavy the flower spikes are! They are all good blooms though and are now in my cut flower vase being enjoyed.

Busy day tomorrow before hols. Must tie things in, set up watering systems, deadhead, and put out slug pellets. I saw a tip about hiding the pellets underneath a tile or piece of cardboard, where slugs go to hide anyway, which keeps other animals (like my bloody magpies) off the pellets too. I also have a new-mummy cake to bake (Genoa cake, went down really well with the last post-partum people i did it for!), packing for an 18-day 3-stop holiday, a 4 mile training run and a haircut to fit in. Oh and briefing a builder.

I may need to make myself a herb bouquet to calm myself down!!!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 01-Aug-12 08:55:07

have a lovely holiday Lexi - hope you are not too tired when you set off! That is an impressive list of stuff to do.

I am off next week for ten days but am leaving people here at the house so have written down a comprehensive watering rota.

Congratulations on your new garden Jacksmania. It is a GREAT feeling.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Aug-12 09:11:22

Does anyone here get the RHS magazine? There's a lovely little article about the Olympic medallists' flower posies.

Happy holidays everyone who's about to embark!

Lexilicious Wed 01-Aug-12 09:22:30

Yes! I saw that Maud. Is flower-arranging making a bit of a comeback? (or am I just moving into the sort of demographic where it starts to appeal to me... argh!) - there were lots of lovely segments on the Chelsea and HC Show tv programmes about using fragrant leaves in arragements.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 01-Aug-12 10:13:36

I do that. It makes lemon verbena serve a useful purpose other than swamping my herb beds.

Am going to plant out my echinops later today. After the rat man has paid his visit confused Several baby mice popped out from the skirting board in the living room two days ago. DH continued to do his back exercises on the floor, completely unphased grin

I moved myself out of there fairly smartly.

funnyperson Wed 01-Aug-12 14:02:10

No rats since we were invaded by an army 2 years ago. I have never forgotton it. They were all killed. Every last one. Now every possible way into the house is blocked and I can breathe as the house is ours again. No more creaks or squeaks or pitterpatter or crumbs or poo. It was scary how quickly they multiplied when treated with mercy. Self defence justified the carnage. I scrubbed and decorated for weeks afterwards.

Those bouquets are lovely. There are more than 4,000 of them apparently, some being made up at Kingston Maurward. Does that mean they are growing the roses/mint/lavender etc near there?

CuttedUpPear Wed 01-Aug-12 17:50:48

Heleniums are looking amazing now, mixed in with a lavender border that failed so we have a few flowering lavender interspersed with the orangey heleniums. They look stunning in the light at this time of year and the colour combination is really good.

I cut back a huge delphinium today to find a slightly disencouraged hemerocallis underneath. I hope it can perk up now and give some flowers - they sould be a dark maroon.

CuttedUpPear Wed 01-Aug-12 19:26:57

funnyperson good flowers for October are Verbena bonariensis and Nerine bowdenii.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Aug-12 19:45:12

We went to a truly lovely garden today. Much of the colour was provided by dahlias, salvias and lobelias.

SeratoninIsMyFriend Thu 02-Aug-12 16:29:53

Well I have been inspired by this thread to get out in the garden, and say hello here too rather than lurking. I have been off sick after surgery for a few weeks but now pretty mobile so made a small start on the list of things I've compiled in my head over the days of sofa & tv!

Back garden has a boring narrow border with some gaps and then clumps where stuff was planted too close: I moved the day lily that has flowered for a fortnight and finished, and the non-flowering-this-year red hot poker, and also a sorry looking hellebore rescued from my mum's garden when we had to sell her house after she died... Turned out it had been chucked in upside down and had desperately sent shoots down and round and up one side, after we had to replace the fencing. I've turned it round as much as poss whilst leaving the foliage above ground so hopefully next spring it will be ok!

Front garden: had to chop some of my giant mallow away to let light onto a hebe I planted too close, later I will move the hebe but not sure where yet. Pulled up lots of the rampant wild strawberries as they have choked the smaller things; I will plant them somewhere I can control them as we all like eating them and they smelt amazing in the sun. My front garden is my joy as it's essentially a huge bed in front of our terraced house: I was lucky that it hadn't been concreted so pulled up the gravel and sheet that was there and stuck a load of stuff in. I am fairly new to gardening and have forgotten half of the names but lavender, pink oriental poppy, pink mallow in one corner, olive tree in a pot, dianthus and a few other shrubs. I need some more low level things next year. By fluke things all flower in succession so it looks brilliant once the bulbs come up all thru to the end. It's just totally overgrown at the mo!

Looking forward to more tips and ideas from everyone, thank you for getting me out in the sun today (between showers!).

SeratoninIsMyFriend Thu 02-Aug-12 16:31:27

Oops that was long blush am all excited though!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 02-Aug-12 18:50:52

Lovely to see you, serotoninismyfriend. That sounds like a lovely garden.

::proffers gin, renowned for its curative properties::

HumphreyCobbler Thu 02-Aug-12 19:20:06

hello Seratonin <waves> lovely sounding garden

ethelb Thu 02-Aug-12 21:36:57

My fennel has appeared.

But a bastarding bastard cat came and did a massive crap and destroyed a whole two foot of seedlings covering it up. Twat. That's my 4th batch of lettuce seedlings gone to shit (literally)

DP has just sprayed his wee around the perimeter of the garden blush

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 02-Aug-12 21:38:52

I was just thinking yesterday that none of my bronze fennel had appeared this year. I hate cats almost as much as I hate foxes.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 02-Aug-12 22:24:22

no bronze fennel seedlings germinated for me either.

The squirrels are the problem in our garden. I hate squirrels. Rats with fluffy tails.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 02-Aug-12 22:39:48

These were established plants, Humph. All gorn.


funnyperson Thu 02-Aug-12 23:11:32

Hello serotonin I really like the sound of your front garden.

I have serious front garden angst.

I am convinced that next door's dog wees in it.

But mainly I just don't know what to plant which is silly as it is south facing.

Perhaps its because I can't pop out in my pyjamas to do a bit of pottering around in it.

So I am going to seriously prune the dogwood and buddleia and give some light and air to the Generous Gardener rose and dig out some of the valerian and move some of the clematis and lavender and sage and perhaps the little olive tree I got at the jubilee fete into it. But I need something interesting in my front garden. It has tulips and aubretia in spring. At the moment it is boring and samey. I want to add a bit of welcoming zing and style to it. Like those Olympic bouquets. But I don't know how.

funnyperson Thu 02-Aug-12 23:18:04

PS Nerine Bowdenii looks gorgeous.

oh, I did not know about the gardening club!
Would you mind having a look at the pics in my profile and give me some advice how to brighten up my south facing front?

Phacelia Fri 03-Aug-12 09:40:16

It is Absolutely Pouring here. sad

Where is our summer?

ethelb Fri 03-Aug-12 09:43:35

its my florence fennel. they did take 2 weeks from sowing to appearing though.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 03-Aug-12 10:02:34

Hello, Quint. Is the area totally paved or do you have some ground for planting into? And how wide is the path? If you put big planters there, would you still gave enough room for access? And, lastly for now, what do you like - subtle and pretty, bold and architectural, pastel or bright?

ethelb Fri 03-Aug-12 10:15:27

if it is paved could you put in some raised beds? Even shallow ones could be used for lettuces and small bedding plants.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 03-Aug-12 10:20:19

Which prompts the next question ... Are you able/willing to lift some of the slabs, to create a flower bed/raised bed?

Hi, The path is 90 cm wide. Next to the path is gravel. Under the gravel is a weed suppressing membrane and topsoil underneath. I can scrape aside gravel, cut a cross and fold aside, to dig a hole for plants.

I am thinking hues of pinks, whites and blues. Like Lavender, Agapanthus. Striking flowers. I have a pink hydrangea I can plant in one triangle, but there is still space for something smaller.

I am tired of grasses and "palms" and spiky leaves, so not so keen on that. I want a softer, lush feel to break the rigidness of the path, and the Y shape in the path (motorbike parking space). As a result, I have two triangles to fill!

I can also add large pots.

I dont want anything big, like birch trees or cherries...

Ah, I forgot, the slabs are concreted in. But no need to lift, as there is the gravel for planting.

Grockle Fri 03-Aug-12 11:15:32

Hello - been absent for a while but I'm back now. Haven't caught up on the thread yet but will do later. I have an urgent question first:

I planted my rhubarb earlier this year and it came with instructions not to pick any in the first year. But it has gone crazy and has taken over my garden and I need to make jam. What would happen if I did harvest it? Will I kill it?

Grockle Fri 03-Aug-12 12:03:29

Right, sorry - have caught up now!

Hello Seratonin & Quint. Lovely photos smile

DS does a good job of spraying wee all around the garden. Why he thinks it's ok to wee in my flowerbeds, I don't know!

I seem to have loads of nasturtiums in the garden - I've been here nearly 3 years and never seen them before. I've no idea where they came from but have vague memories of chucking out of date/ damp seeds on the flowerbeds so they possibly came from that?

I have a few things to do - I need to plant my Erygnium but I'm not sure where to put it. I love it's blue, prickly bits. Also, I seem to have lots of pots of unknown plants that should go in the ground but since I don't know what they are, I don't know where to put them!

How do I prune my buddleia? I want it tall-ish and bushy but not too wide - a bit of a screen over the 5ft fence it grows next to.

CuttedUpPear Fri 03-Aug-12 12:15:42

Buddleia is pretty hard to control size wise. To keep it as small as you can it should be pruned twice a year - once after flowering about half its size and again in early spring to reduce size again.

Eryngium needs a sunny spot, preferably well drained.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 03-Aug-12 12:30:44

CuttedUpPear - our willow igloo is sprouting. Last time we wove them in but am not sure if you can keep doing this. Should we weave again, or cut them off?

Grockle Fri 03-Aug-12 19:15:26

Right, I'm going to hack my buddleia tomorrow! Thank you

funnyperson Fri 03-Aug-12 20:01:28


I think Lavender and agapanthus sounds lovely. Lilies maybe? Astrantia perhaps? Alliums? Purple sage?

echt Fri 03-Aug-12 20:11:02

About the rhubarb,grockle. We had the same here in our Melbourne garden, it survived ferocious heat and came up with tons of lovely red sticks. So we ate them, lifted th whole crown and put it in a less sunny place, and it's growing like mad.

CuttedUpPear Fri 03-Aug-12 20:35:56

HumphreyCobbler do not cut the new growth off.
Best case scenario is that you leave all the new growth until the autumn when all the leaves have fallen. Then you take the best bits and carefully weave them in, replicating the pattern already existing in the frame of the igloo.

This way you can keep replacing old growth as it dies.

Basically you do the same every year ad infinitum - weave the excess in between November and March. And any really huge anomalies or dead stuff, cut it off as close to point of origin as possible.

I'm really glas you asked me this and hope you have enough room to allow this years growth to stay for now - I see too many ruined structures through summer chopping and thoughtless weaving in.

Quint - I would look at lining the path with something that smells nice if you brush past it. Lavender would be good but other herbs would work too. Also like funny's idea of alliums.

I passed a garden yesterday where the front drive was lined with loads of agapanthus and it looked amazing. Not sure what it looks like the rest of the year though just a teeny bit jealous as my agapanthus that were beautiful last year died over winter

Still getting very little done in the garden; between the puppy and the Olympics there is just not enough time in the day. Need some ideas to fill the gaps in the veg plot. At this rate I may end up buying plug plants which I hate doing but I'm getting desperate with the failure rate of seedlings this year.

Small accomplishment of the day - have collected and sown foxglove seeds. Job for the weekend (keeping it small) is to dig up and pot the lavender seedlings which have self-seeded in my fig tree pot.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 03-Aug-12 20:37:43

thank you so much CuttedUpPear, we will do exactly as you suggest. Can easily leave it till the appropriate time.

echt Sat 04-Aug-12 06:17:08

While you're all snoozing, it's a beautiful mid-winter day in Melbourne: 15 degrees and sunny, so out into the garden and killing off weeds. Most plants bar veggies grow all year round so the garden is always some shade of green.

My sulky clivia have decided they WILL bloom this year. Yay.

A monster dendrobium speciosum, a native orchid about 2 by 2 feet, left by the last tenants, has put out flowers this year. All they need is light and a bit of limestone to hug. If only children were as cheap. grin Now I have to drag its 30 pounds weight into the sunniest part of the front garden so we can see it. We keep it portable as it's of no interest once flowered. I'm going to hack it into more manageable chunks after flowering, though this may mean loss of blooms for a year.

The first of the season's kangaroo paws is about to flower, some miniature ones planted to stage the garden when the house was for sale - not my favourites - I prefer the very tall ones - but good to see colour.

Another of the oddities of Australia is that many daisy plants, including osteospermum, flower in winter, so I have two big pots of blue marguerite-felicia amelloides - which I associate with UK summer, but are at their best in the winter here. As is crocosmia and strelizia.

echt Sat 04-Aug-12 06:18:53

Not very good with the subject/verb agreement there. Teachers, eh? blush

funnyperson Sat 04-Aug-12 14:43:54

echt do you have gardenias?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 04-Aug-12 19:27:04

Ooh , strelitzia.

::horticultural drool::

echt Sat 04-Aug-12 21:45:41

Yes, I do have gardenias, gardenia Florida which did very badly in full sun last year so I've moved them, 4 plants, to where they'll get morning and some shade after 1.00. in the summer. I love the pong, and they should do well in sand with some gardenia potting mix.

They're planted next the retaining wall of the deck, which is about 2 feet high, so it'll be a smell rather than a view.

I know what you mean by strelizia drool, maud, a neighbour has a huge clump in her front garden, flowering now, and they look fab on a cold morning, covered in dew, every one as perfect as you'd see in a flower shop

cantspel Sun 05-Aug-12 18:06:59

my poor garden has suffered this past week as i have been glued to the tv watching team GB so i decided to put in a full day tidying today. All grass has been cut, edges trimmed, the beds weeded, roses deadheaded, compost turned, all pots feed and watered and patio hovered.

Now need to give the shed a lick of paint and move a water butt but those jobs can wait until after later in the week.

chixinthestix Sun 05-Aug-12 22:19:55

Evening! Well back from a week away and got an hour or two when it wasn't torrentially raining to see what's come up, grown over and fallen down.

My sweet peas have finally come into their own and are probably the best blooms I've ever had - huge and really long stalks. Dd and I picked two huge vasefuls and there are still more. We also finally have 4 ripe tomatoes and the onions and red cabbage are ready. Harvested the first head of calabrese for dinner too. Otherwise everything is looking a bit shaggy and several 4ft long brambles have shot out of the hedge so it really needs a full day of chopping and tidying. Very pleased that all the stuff I quickly bunged in the ground before we went away is looking good and not totally slugged, although my dahlias have been reduced to skeletons.

DH mowed the lawn and I planted up a red white and blue container to celebrate the olympics. Did not manage anything like cantspel's efforts though and back to work tomorrow so it will have to wait for a few more days.

Grockle Tue 07-Aug-12 17:28:39

Hello! I've been off this thread for a while and have nothing exciting to report. I have 2 squash plants growing like triffids... I think they are courgettes but could be cucumber or something else. I don't remember planting them!

I made DP dig up a small tree (I can't remember what it is!) and I thought he'd killed it but it is just beginning to sprout new leaves so I'm very happy. I must remind myself what it is!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 08-Aug-12 15:08:03

I'm not supposed to be here, am in Holland and DH will kill me when he sees my phone bill ! Just had a quick read through - Bertha don't touch the Oca, have a look on the Realseeds site, from memory they get dug up later in the Autumn. I think the tubers grow very late on.

Gorgeous shrubs all over the place here with big round White balls of flowers, some kind of hydrangea I think. Will catch up properly next week.

Lexilicious Wed 08-Aug-12 16:34:25

I'm on hols too. In cornwall the agapanthus were growing like weeds along verges, hydrangeas everywhere too, including some with small flower/bract clusters in sort of layers up the plants.

Devon now, and everything is just lush and thick. DH is at home making tea for builders (and being talked into things, by the sound of it!) so I have to rely on him following my instructions advice on keeping courgettes regularly harvested and stringing up onions in the shed. No need to fret about watering though.

funnyperson Wed 08-Aug-12 22:24:49

My garden has gone all shady and ferny like it always does (sigh)

Mums garden is looking great though with daylilies and fuschia and shasta daisies and roses and golden rod and heather and blackberries and redcurrants and roses and thyme and .... well an endless list of stuff really

Grockle Wed 08-Aug-12 22:35:44

Agapanthus all over the place here too. Much better than mine at home (am in Hampshire for the night).

Still getting nothing done in the garden at all, the Olympics has added to the demands on my time and there are simply not enough hours in the day!. Did manage to pull up all the spent peas today, string up the parsnip foliage, and pick some courgettes, beans and the rest of the white currants (5kg!). Cucumbers also doing nicely in the conservatory - look like shop cucumbers but taste amazing. Tomatoes now reaching conservatory ceiling but still very few flowers and none yet set. Will nip out tops now and hope for the best.

Wynken - had a little peek in the oca pot last week and saw nothing much tuber-like so left them alone; glad you said autumn though as I was suspecting another failure!

House full of sweet peas; smells wonderful smile

funnyperson Fri 10-Aug-12 20:35:38

The 'fields of gold' at the olympic park are lovely. DS thinks we should get rid of the lawn and sow cornflowers and eryngium and echinacea and whatever other flowers there were.

funnyperson Fri 10-Aug-12 20:37:11
ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 10-Aug-12 23:21:27

Yes, I'm desperate to see the plantings in the park. But if you grub up the lawn, funnyperson (and I'm tempted to do the same) where will you sit with your Pimms or other cold treat in the summer?

echt Sat 11-Aug-12 04:49:46

Those photies are lovely.Thanks for putting them up, funnyperson.

Spring is slowly uncoiling here in Melbourne. I went a farmers' market in the country near Hanging Rock, and resisted buying hellebores in bloom, instead bought 5 hellebore plugs at a tenth of the price of 1, to get settled this year. Also 10 seaside daisies to fill in the beds. The only plants I buy in bloom are kangaroo paws, because that's the only way they're ever sold, everything else I wait until the season is over, then buy cheap. It's worth the wait.

Chuffed to see that all my sulking clivia have cheered up and decided to flower after all.

A less welcome sign of spring is flies. So out comes the fly trap, an organic device which you put a blue powder in, then some water, and the flies love it, crawl in and die in their hundreds. Unfortunately it smells of rotting meat, so must be positioned away from a door, and only outside the house. It works a treat. I'm not fond of sprays, etc. Disturbingly, the instructions make it clear that the foodstuffs are up to human consumption standards.grin

funnyperson Sat 11-Aug-12 08:33:45

Maud later on there will be lots of seeds to be gathered there methinks.

Yes, you see I like my lawn a lot. DS always likes the daisies and also likes long grass gone to seed and wildflower meadows. He is 20 btw. I was quite proud because along with all his uni stuff came back some very healthy plants from cuttings in pots (literally stuffed in the pots the day before he left, at his request) and a rampantly healthy chilli plant (his own purchase: he is a fresh chilli lover)
Anyway I see his point about having wildflowers instead of lawn but they are only in flower for a short time and then what? As for Pimms I think he sees himself lounging in long grass/on wildflowers with current romantic interest (he gets far too serious actually) drinking the stuff.

funnyperson Sat 11-Aug-12 09:19:49

PS Anyone rich and desperate can still get tickets for the closing ceremony at a mere £1500 apiece. The £995 tickets have all gone I notice.

Can I ask for some help from all you wonderful garden-loving people? If you had around £300 to spend for something in your garden what would you get? I have one of those important birthdays coming up and my darling mother, SIL and a friend want to club together for something but I'm at a bit of a loss. I am considering a half circle bench to go around one of the trees in the wood but I'm not convinced. Would love some ideas to ponder...

funnyperson Sat 11-Aug-12 23:21:22

Agree, half circle, (lyra and all that)
Lutyens bench? Painted white or chartwell green.

Adirondack chairs?

Colonial chairs?

Veg trough or two?

Plants and trees?

Geodisic dome (could be too expensive)

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 12-Aug-12 00:30:00

I would go for a bench or a piece of sculpture.

echt Sun 12-Aug-12 06:52:47

Second the sculptures. We have 10 in our garden; all made from industrial salvage by a chap who, while not an artist, is very artistic indeed, real natural talent in making abstract compositions. If you ask him about piece he has nothing to say about meaning, only what it was made from, e.g. harrows, meat grinding plates. I should say I never ask about it's meaning, it's plain it doesn't have any, just beautiful arrangements of metal and stone. His stuff is way better than any of the expensive work I've seen in gardens.

I've called halt to any more purchases for the moment, as you need distance to see most of them, and it's getting a bit crowded. DH is sad about this.

This is not very helpful as we're in Australia. Sorry. Had to enthuse.

echt Sun 12-Aug-12 06:53:42

Benches are good, too. <slightly more helpful emoticon>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 12-Aug-12 09:46:17

I think your general idea of affordable sculpture is still helpful, echt!

teta Sun 12-Aug-12 13:22:02

Definitely sculpture or a lovely antique urn [if you have an accessible and affordable antique shop nearby].Hi all,hope you are all having a good holiday.I was thinking of you all, as am on hols in a really green part of Malaysia full of strawberry farms and garden centres.There are wild tree ferns and orchids by the side of the road and we have visited a tea plantation where the road was lined with trees with lily-type flowers[called sleeping bells].Lots of Hibiscus trees with massive flowers on [i don't know whether my blue flowered Hibiscus will ever be as abundant as these].Dc's were thrilled to see Nepenthe [monkey pitchers] attached to the trees in the jungle and real life monkeys with babies in the lowland jungle.There is so much ugly development here though that i'm not sure the jungle is going to be arround for much longer.Its makes you realise that the uk is pretty good at maintaining its green and pleasant land[lots of rapidly expanding holiday areas here are beginning to resemble shanty towns].

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 12-Aug-12 13:49:03

That sounds fascinating, teta. I've never really thought of Malaysia as a holiday destination. Would you recommend it (and isn't it terribly hot)?

cantspel Sun 12-Aug-12 14:07:56

Loving your suggestions. I particularly like the rocking chair! I found this sculpture last night when I was googling. Somehow I don't think it's going to be inside budget though...

DH is getting me a swing. One of these. It's being put on a 15m high branch so some big swinging is being planned.

Finally managed to dig the self-seeded lavender out of the fig tree pot today. I now have 12 pots of lavender lined up in front of the house. Not sure what I'm going to do with them all once they're established. May have to put a lavender hedge in somewhere.

Trouvere Sun 12-Aug-12 22:04:36

Regarding oca: it does only start to produce tubers once the days shorten, but it obligingly makes a few on the stems above ground so you know when it has started.
Most oca plants have probably just done the disconcerting midsummer flop, when the stems suddenly collapse and bend over to ground level before starting to grow upright again. That's normal behaviour, and if you have the space you can earth over the 'elbows' and they'll root from them and eventually produce even more tubers (apparently. I grow in bags on concrete, so I don't know from personal experience).
Don't be in any hurry to harvest in autumn. Try to keep the plants protected from frost to give the tubers as much time to form as possible. Eventually when they get hit by a hard frost, the foliage will die off into a slimy mass, but the tubers double in size over the following two weeks. Last year, I harvested on Christmas Eve.

Lexilicious Fri 17-Aug-12 13:12:10

I am still on holiday but was at home early this week to keep a handle on the building work. Ate my first tomato (a yellow variety) and harvested about 150g of 'amethyst' dwarf French beans. On e breakfast I had an omelette with three little courgettes and the last red 'furio' spring onions. The grass is really going
to be long when I get back but everything seems to be growing nicely.

My Hampton Court dahlia is out too and looked fabulous - I poured some coffee grounds around it go continue dissuading the s.l.u.g.s. I would say that I can't wait to be back to see it all, but it would be insincere as I am on a sunlounger beside the river swimming place in Zurich. Such hardship... smile

HumphreyCobbler Fri 17-Aug-12 22:54:04

hello everyone

back from France. The veg garden is rather flattened due to heavy rain. Something has knocked over lots of the sweetcorn, it looks as if a badger has blundered their way round. Some of the courgettes have been snapped off too.

Otherwise it doesn't look too bad, the grass is like a hayfield but the herb beds are looking great for the first time this year. Have cut lots of sweet peas finally! Ate peas and courgettes for supper.

One thing my holiday made me appreciate was greenness. It was so baked in southern france. Wales looked so lush and green when I got back, it made me really happy.

chixinthestix Fri 17-Aug-12 23:47:45

Hi Humphrey, I too am back from a few days away, but too wet here to venture out and check anything over. DH says he has had one ripe tomato all week. Lush and green is the word for it, its been well watered!

Badgers always go for our sweetcorn so we haven't grown any this year. They occasionally have a bit of a stomp round the veg plot and in the winter they pulled up and chewed several leeks, then left them strewn on the path. Not seen any sign since then luckily.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Aug-12 14:23:12

I bet it was a badger then chix.

Been tidying things up today, am now heading outside to do a bit of staking and weeding. Also done a lot more penstemon cuttings as the last lot have taken. Hurrah. I think I will try to grow a few more rosemary cuttings. If I pot them up in pretty pots they will be nice to give people at Christmas.

DH has pruned the crab apples in the walk, and also the pear and willow tree so we can walk underneath without being showered with raindrops.

cantspel Sat 18-Aug-12 21:10:32

My new lilies are in flower grin and look amazing, several have grown taller than me and there not even tree lilies so god only knows what i have done to them to get them so tall but then i am only 5ft2 so maybe they are not that impressive.

On a sadder not my old cat had died and i have laid her to rest under my flowering cherry tree. She used to love sleeping under that tree so i think she will be happy for it to be her final resting place.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Aug-12 21:18:31

Sorry you lost your cat cantspel. It sounds like a good place for her - all three of my beloved cats lie in the orchard here.

Tree swing was put up today (by two very nice men with ropes and chainsaws). Much, much fun grin. DH got me the double one so there's room for two...

chixinthestix Sat 18-Aug-12 22:51:59

Bertha that sounds wonderful envy No trees big enough to hold DH and me on a swing here!

Sorry to hear about your cat cantspel, I think that under the cherry tree sounds perfect.

It finally stopped raining here at lunchtime so I spent the afternoon ridding the veg garden of slugs and weeds, there were masses of both and consigned most of them to a compost dalek. I did give a small bucketful of slugs to the hens who gamely tried to eat them, but even my intrepid birds got overslugged and gave up in the end.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 18:48:43

I am deeply envious of that swing too, Bertha!

Well, I took the Aged Ps to a garden centre today to cheer them up ::noble:: and seem to have come away with a whole heap of bargain perneiials. I do love the August sales. In other news, my supposedly black hemerocallis turns out to be an unremarkable orange. Thank you J Parkers. My monochrome planting plan is clearly doomed. Sigh.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 20-Aug-12 20:16:52

hello there <waves>

swing sounds divine, I want one too.

Lexilicious Mon 20-Aug-12 20:22:07

I have J Parkers fails too - my red white and blue front garden is red white and pinky purple. I should have realised that r/w/b buddleias were too good to be true - they are cerise, violet and cerise. Healthy and covered in honeybees, bumblebees and a few types of butterfly, but not what they said on the label. The acidanthera are starting to come into bloom though, and are pretty. No flowers on the crocs yet.

I failed to prevent butterflies from laying on my brassicas, so have been caterpillar hunting all afternoon since arriving back from hols. Big fat greens ones and yellow/black ones. I squished them (like monty does) and put them on the bird feeder. No interest yet. I fear the curly kale will not recover and the Romanesco broccoli will need to be de-caterpillared repeatedly if it is to survive. Enviromesh and hoop system purchase in the sales I think.

My builder watered my tomatoes smile and the boy came running to find me once he had explored to ask if he could have the courgette on the plant. Domestic bliss (aside from more than half of the house being plaster and brick dust).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 21:02:11

Oh Lawks. I think those are the buddleias I bought from T&M. ::worries:: It is getting tiresome and I just remembered I owe T&M an email about their black plant collection that mostly wasn't.

We should all aspire to have a swing in the garden.

Lexilicious Mon 20-Aug-12 21:11:47

<flings shoe with careless abandon> !!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 21:23:43

::wonders exactly what the young gentleman is gazing at::

Ah yes, a perfect representation of me at the weekend! Although I was trying to swing with a glass of wine in hand. Must dash out and get a dress like that...

Was working today in a chain of garden centres. Absolute torture and heaven all rolled into one. A whole day in garden centres and not a penny spent. They had runner beans growing over an arch and they looked fabulous. My sweet pea arch in the veg plot looks ok but not as lush as their beany one. May steal that idea next year.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 21:47:27

So that would be your husband ogling your thighs admiring the scenery, then, Bertha?

My sweet peas are another of this year's disasters. We have had a notice to improve on the lotty. What, realistically, can we plant now to impress the self-important busybodies committee?

Things you can sow if you get in quick <note to self to do same> could be cabbages, kale, spring onion etc. I'm going to try sowing some late carrots and mooli too as I've got so many gaps.

I think in my version of the picture DH was too busy pushing to do any ogling. If there was a lovely young man hiding in the trees then I missed him! Interestingly in the process of getting the tree men in we discovered that the wood (some of which is in our garden) is designated ancient woodland. I'm not sure what this means other than they wouldn't take any healthy branches but I like the sound of having a bit of an ancient wood.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 22:32:28

That's the buggeration thing. Carrots are the only thing there that we would actually eat. I know rules is rules but I would have thought that the bloody buggery committee would recognise that this has been an awful year for crop failures and insisting on new planting in late August is a bit mad demanding.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 20-Aug-12 22:36:03

goodness, have they really?

Even MONTY has had veg disasters this year. It has been a nightmare. I have grown no salad at all.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 22:41:59

Well, the plot looks rather bare as we have dragged out the pitiful corpses of failed crops. We have been told to get more of the plot into cultivation within the next week, which means immediate planting of yukky stuff things we would not normally grow.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 22:42:30

::genuflects at mention of Monty::

HumphreyCobbler Mon 20-Aug-12 22:47:59

I didn't realise they were so strict shock

what would they say about my veg patch?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 20-Aug-12 22:59:12

Our allotment committee is unusually self important arsey strict, Humph. They are apparently famous across the wider allotment community for it.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 21-Aug-12 08:47:38

Hi all, hope you are enjoying the summer. I will get a monent to catch up properly (soon I hope).

Maud, Fothergills have reduced winter veg , I had to resort to buying some as have had a lot of seed failures. What about sticking in some soft fruit bushes through membrane , my friend did that and it really is keeping the weeds away in that section.

Rainbow chard is very easy to grow, looks good and useful in the winter. I'm about to stitck in some leeks. Came home to marrows again and lots of weeds at mine but on the plus side I do now have beans to pick finally.

I've got 50 Dorset Naga drying in the greenhouse, haven't been brave enough to try any yet. Have also had 4 Thai long green aubergines and three large punnets of tomatoes. DS and I made yoghurt yesterday flavoured with some strawberries from the greenhouse, was lovely.

MooncupGoddess Tue 21-Aug-12 14:42:01

Ah, thanks for the tip Wynken. I have ordered some kale and cabbage for my vegetable patch (currently overrun with madly over-enthusiastic strawberries and lemon balm). At least my tomatoes are turning red at last.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 21-Aug-12 15:15:25

Ah. Tomatoes.

::weeps copiously::

Mine are. Just. Beginning. To. Flower.

So are mine sad

<Joins Maud in the weeping>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 21-Aug-12 22:29:56

Really, Bertha? That's almost a comfort, in that I know the Fates of Gardening have not singled me out.

MooncupGoddess Tue 21-Aug-12 22:33:45

Bad luck. I can't be too smug, I have lost almost all my French bean plants to the horrid slugs, and at the moment it looks like my entire harvest will consist of one solitary bean.

Fortunately my lemon plant has cheered up with the sunny weather recently and sprouted lots of new leaves. I nearly killed it a couple of months ago by accidental over-feeding - every single leaf curled up and fell off - so this is a massive relief.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 21-Aug-12 22:35:06

well mine never really recovered from the fact that I forgot to water them when the hot weather (you remember the week of summer we had?) came. And the slugs have eaten a lot of the tomatoes that have grown.

Last year I planted them in massive tubs with half compost and half well rotten cow manure. It worked really well. I will do that again next year.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 21-Aug-12 22:39:06

The slugs have really taken advantage of my absence on holiday. Some, I swear, have been taking steroids and pumping iron, as they are absolutely huge.

What do you do with your lemon tree in winter, MooncupGoddess? I don't have a conservatory and have been tempted by those which can allegedly withstand winter outside, but am a bit nervous.

Lexilicious Wed 22-Aug-12 07:31:54

I have one more yellow tomato nearly ripe and a few healthy trusses on 'moneymaker'. just flowers (a huge mass of them) on 'gardeners delight'.

Do caterpillars eat carrot seedlings? I am bemused that nothing in the rows I sowed in late July has emerged.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 22-Aug-12 08:00:40

Lexi! May I ask you a question in your capacity of Thyme Lord? The thyme that I put in a wall pot it didn't get too wet on my clay soil got do dry while I was away that it looks shrivelled and pretty much dead. Does thyme ever come back from the brink or should I accept that it's had it?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 22-Aug-12 08:02:08

Oh and any recommendation for which carrot to sow now? I usually do Parmex to avoid forking but will that be happy?

Lexilicious Wed 22-Aug-12 10:03:26

No idea re carrots! I sowed autumn king 2, chantenay red cored, cosmic purple and a heritage rainbow mix. only the chantenay have sprouted.

The regenerative capacity of your dried out thyme is going to depend on its age I think. If a young plant, no chance, if old and you planted it deep so not too much of its woody stems are above soil level, and cut back the stems so it isn't trying to support too much growth, maybe could be ok. But I'm more of a greedy indiscriminate collector than an expert really, so ultimately I would say just give it some leaf mould and a bit of water (not a great shocking drench) and leave it to see. Good luck!

I noticed this morning that some cosmos seeds I put on the rockery are coming up. Along with many many weeds...

Anyone have recommendations of veggie mesh and hoop arrangements (allotmenteers!) either in the sales or DIY?

Lexilicious Wed 22-Aug-12 10:08:37

Ps 'Thyme Lord' - love it!!

MooncupGoddess Wed 22-Aug-12 16:13:13

I have a conservatory, Maud, where my lemon plant lives all year round - but I think a sunny windowsill or even a very sheltered south-facing corner of the garden/porch would do.

Thyme is pretty resilient in my experience, I hope it comes back to life.

funnyperson Wed 22-Aug-12 17:57:02

Am in exotic country. Frangipani and bougainvilla trees in flower and canna lilies and lots of others I have no idea about.
Waterer of plants left conveniently in front verandah has spotted chilli and olive plants but not the tomatoes. This does not bode well.

Lexilicious Wed 22-Aug-12 19:15:32

I smell of comfrey liquid feed - not pleasant! I diluted it this afternoon from the festering mass in the bottom of a bucket to four watering cans. It hums to high heaven, and now so do I. I couldn't leave it sitting around so have watered lots of things with it. Everything but the tomatoes actually.

Itwillendinsmiles Wed 22-Aug-12 19:44:48

I've just eaten fresh from the plant my first ripe yellow cherry tomato... There are many more on the cusp of ripening and the other bush varieties won't be long.... and the runner beans/courgettes/marrows are doing so well... sods law that I go on holiday tomorrow sad

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 22-Aug-12 22:39:18

I know it should really be Thyme Lady, Lexi, but then it wouldn't be such a good joke. To the extent that it is. I'll try to revive my dead plant.

That sounds lovely, Funnyperson. I love bougainvillea.

::Wills her tomatoes to (a) form and (b) ripen::

Grockle Sat 25-Aug-12 19:57:44

Hello everyone! I've been away & my garden has gone wild. I hacked at my squash plants which were taking over & they seem to be surviving despite having lost about 1/3 of each plant. I'm not sure what they are though - Acorn squash or possibly Pumpkins? They're very dark green. It's odd because I was sure we only had cucumber seeds.

Butterflies had laid on my brassicas too. How do you prevent that? I collected millions of caterpillars and thre them in the chook house - the girls had a feast!

I had radishes that looked ready to harvest but were too woody to eat sad but the first crop of blueberries were wonderful. I thought they weren't meant to produce in the first year but they've done really well. My tomatoes are only just beginning to flower. My sister has RED tomatoes on her plants - she lives just round the corner so I'm not sure what she's done to get that when mine are weeks behind.

If I had a spare £300, I'd go for a beautiful sculpture and/or a bench.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 25-Aug-12 23:17:27

Hello Grockle. Welcome back!

There's a free blueberry offer with GW magazine this month. I think I will succumb.

I've done some pottering today. I planted up the microscopic wallflower plugs I bought from T&M. Yesterday, I decided to get rid of an unsatisfactory clump of hemerocallis and today I spotted a gorgeous one - a much better fit with the colour scheme - in the Crocus sale. Such temptation.

I also redid two window boxes and had a boak-worthy discovery, when I found a hen's egg at the bottom of one. It must have been buried by a squirrel. I know my neighbours leave out some gross stuff - nappies, food waste -t hat the foxes drag in, but who leaves out an egg?

teta Sun 26-Aug-12 11:08:54

Hi,i am also back from holiday.Meanwhile the garden has turned into a rampant jungle and everything needs chopping back.But i have my first beautiful Dahlias and sweet peas!.I was meandering round the garden at 6 am this morning enjoying the flowers[amongst the weed proliferation].But sadly i have no Lupin flowers as i have a major Aphid infestation again.The pots all look exhausted and need feeding [bit like me,apart from the feeding bit!]
Maud,Malaysia is a lovely destination for a holiday.Yes,it is very hot but is ideal swimming pool weather.There is a real of cultures and food in Malaysia and a really laid back feel to the country.We followed it up with a week in Hk where the pace of life is hectic and terribly efficient but at times a bit rude.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 26-Aug-12 13:36:09

I've just been doing a bit of cutting-back - some gone-over astrantia and tatty hellebore foliage (which should have been done last year).

I may soon have my one and only sweet pea flower. confused

Grockle Sun 26-Aug-12 16:55:56

Thank you smile

I meant to buy some dahlias this morning at the Farmer's Market but I got distracted and forgot sad I almost got a hydrangea & had an interesting discussion with the growers who said that you can't have blue flowers on chalky soil - they're only blue if you have acidic soil (which I have)... this was news to me. I must read up on them. Do any of you have any gardening/ plant books you recommend?

We've tidied the garden today and tried to pull the old fronds off the palm tree - I hate it but everyone who visits loves it because it seems exotic but tbh, it's just a pain - not pretty and lots of mess to clear up. And of no use to the birds.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 27-Aug-12 09:17:43

We had a fantastic trip to Sudley Castle Garden yesterday. It was beautiful. They had a white border. I am now sorely tempted, it looked really good. We could do in the front garden.

I am not that keep on palm trees either Grockle.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Aug-12 13:22:30

I'm laughing at Grockle's cucumber squashes ! I might have a couple of pumpkins, then again they might be another type of squash, I really can't remember ! Think Brassicas need netting really or you have to check thm dily o remove eggs. Planted my kale , cauli, etc and have not followed my own netting advice, bet the pigeons get them again.

Sweat pea flowers = 3 so far this year. My perennial ones have a few flowers on though. Blueberry harvest from 3 x4 year old plants is 0. We had to PYO at the blueberry farm instead. Flipping huge and juicy their berries are and it was from there I got my plants .

There's been aphid issues with my chillis so I ordered a ladybird family. 50 adults have arrived , waiting for the larvae. Still haven't been brave and actually eaten any of the Dorset Nagas. DH claims he is going to don a pair of Marigolds and make some sauce.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Aug-12 13:23:31

As my black and white border is solely while from about June onwards, I'd say go for it!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 27-Aug-12 16:52:51

Ooh, maybe I will.

I have had a resurgence of interest in my garden in the last few days. I always seem to go off the boil in August. I don't know who said it first, but gardening jobs in late summer are like tidying up your house AFTER a party, but in spring and early summer it is like getting ready for a party. Much more inspiring. Still, it has come back with lots of discussions about greenhouses grin

Our winter golden squash, planted in a large cast iron boiler at the bottom of the crab apple walk has grown right up into the holly tree. It must be at least 12'.

Grockle Mon 27-Aug-12 18:01:22

Wynken, thats where I got my blueberry plants (after the plant sale) and mine have been good so far. Maybe it's just beginners luck.

My cucmber squash things seem to be getting rounder & turning orange so I have decided they are indeed pumpkins grin I don't think I realised how far the plants could grown. Maybe I'll plant next year's ones under the palm tree.

We made a mini water garden today. I've no idea if it will come to anything but it was fun to make & DS loves having a 'pond'. He's hoping our visiting frog might move in.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Aug-12 18:19:53

When I get my new patio, I want to make a mini water garden in a barrel. Having been to Giverney, I'm determined to have a water lily.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Aug-12 19:05:38

Great Grockle, if mine turn out not to be pumpkins I know where to find some then ! My Blueberries have produced some fruit in previous years but not very many and definitely not the gorgeous big juicy ones at the Blueberry Farm.

Humphrey, I now want a patio and a waterlilly and Maud to come and plant a white colour scheme for me. So true about clearing up after a party. I'm winding down the allotment now, i know there's a fair bit I could sow but it's pissing down yet again and I'm fed up of planting seeds that fail to germinate this year.

Teta, that sounds like a lovely holiday. Must be horrible to be back and cold in rainy Slugland after being a lot sun and heat.

House is supposed to be painted this week. I've got two trellises with climbing roses and clematis on each. Trellis is knackered so think we might take thm down and replace. I want something which will last with no maintenance if possible. Going onto painted cream rendered walls with black strip at the bottom, any suggestions please ?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Aug-12 19:06:58

Sorry Maud, that's your patio and waterlilly I want. Humph's veg patch and rose walk would do me nicely too !

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Aug-12 23:06:58

I want Humphrey's estate in its entirety!

Perhaps we should all do a water lily in a barrel, as a sort of Happy Horticultural Cult equivalent of a Masonic handshake?!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 27-Aug-12 23:10:27

<offers Maud a bed in exchange for gardening expertise>

I would like to do a water lily in a barrel.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Aug-12 23:15:54

I think you'd be disappointed, Humph!

Lexilicious Tue 28-Aug-12 09:15:37

I have no room for a barrel but would like a water lily in my small pond, which is not looking healthy at all - very murky green water. Need to muck it out I think.

I returned from a last gasp of holiday in trepidation at how much more destruction caterpillars would have wreaked on my brassicas. In fact not bad - lt week I picked them and eggs off every day, and removed the netting as it was clearly not preventing butterflies from getting to it. This morning I saw a robin going crackers around the plants, so I think biological balance may be being restored.

I have not been at home any weekend of the whole of August! So my gardening has been really just the odd evening tidy up here and there. I did plant lots of seeds a few weeks ago and they are mostly coming up (the un-netted carrot seed rows haven't at all) and my late beans and peas look pretty good (am completely at the mercy of no early cold snaps!). I think I have to give up on my potatoes (all six remaining bags of them) some of them have completely gone over and others are flowering for the second time. PILs spud plants have been let go so long that they have developed tomato-like 'fruits' but they think the spuds will be fine.

I am trying to propagate herbs again - have some good looking cuttings of a watermelon sage, and might do lemon verbena. My dahlia root cuttings are probably failing because I haven't been able to keep them aired and watered in the potting shed. Will soon be time to dig up my layered thornless blackberry and cut it down so it's a dormant plant. When the Monarda dies back properly I'll move it to the top of the rockery behind a dwarf acer. Agree - its all tidying up after a party, but I'm not much good at actual parties anyway so I don't mind!

The most bizarre thing which has gone on in the garden this year is that random tomato seedlings have been popping up in strange places. I wonder if it is possibly a bit of potting compost that I had tried to start toms in (too deep?) but given up and recycled on the flower beds.

It's time to think about next year's planting. I am tending towards giving up on potatoes, onions etc., but then I wonder if I'm just reacting to this bad year and should give things another chance...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 28-Aug-12 10:12:33

It's very hard giving up on things, I find. I resolved a few days ago to give up on hostas - I just can't defeat the slugs - but I know I will weaken next spring, when the time comes to dig them up, divide them and take them to the plant sale.

teta Tue 28-Aug-12 16:08:12

Wynken i'm happy to be home.Though i can't believe the number of slugs and snails everywhere.I'd also forgotten about the grey,windy,rainy,cold weather - all of which we had yesterday.
I also would really love some water lilies.In Malaysia they have huge glazed pots filled with fish and water lilies outside the hotels.I don't know who stocks them in the uk though.
Maud,my Hostas look like lacework now.Funnily enough they've never hardly ever been nibbled on in previous years.I have spent 2 whole days weeding and cutting back.I have what looks like millions of Aquilegia seedlings everywhere.But am reluctant to pull them out as i really love them.but they do look really untidy.Only another months worth of weeding left sadly.
Regarding Sweet Peas-I planted about 40 sweet peas this year.So far i have had about 10 flowers.So the return on investment is pretty low .However they smell absolutely gorgeous and will hopefully carry on flowering for a long time.The Sarah Raven Dahlias are absolutely stunning.Huge deep pink flowers and yellow anemone ones are out so far but i have several ones that are about to flower.Its all very exciting.

Grockle Tue 28-Aug-12 17:45:55

I have a tomato plant growing between 2 paving slabs! They are very determined things!

My hostas are also like lacework. sad

My neighbours children are throwing caterpillars and snails over the fence into my garden. I can only assume that the mother has told them to - she's gone bonkers & won't let her children speak to my DS. I think this may be another ploy to get at me. Since I already have about 10 million snails and have given up on brassicas, the extra few nibblers won't make any difference!

Can anyone tell me what to do with a pile of runner beans. I want to make chutney but can't find a recipe I like the look of.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 28-Aug-12 18:31:07

of COURSE I would not be disappointed Maud! You are too modest smile

Runner bean soup was a success in our house last year. Sorry about nightmare neighbour.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 28-Aug-12 18:40:29

Oh, Grockle, that sounds awful. I would loudly shout oi! every time a mollusc sails over the fence.

::passive aggressive, moi?:;

Grockle Tue 28-Aug-12 19:33:09

Ooo, soup? Good idea. Maybe Hugh FW has something in the veg book?

Loud 'OI's tomorrow, Maud grin

Lexilicious Tue 28-Aug-12 21:28:01

What can you throw back, Grockle? Seeds of something invasive? (but just not invasive enough to reach back to you?!). 'Accidentally' poorly aimed waterpistol fights are quite good perhaps? I suppose one should rise above...

DS went loudly and happily bananas when he noticed three small cucumbers growing on his plant this afternoon. Then did some very diligent watering as well as helping me de-caterpillar the brassicas. I think we shall win out. Not at all sure the tomatoes will win the race to autumn but I might move them back so they get the sun for as long as possible.

Blackberries ripening well in the woods - could be a foraging Sunday coming up!

Grockle Tue 28-Aug-12 21:33:08

I sit and plot my revenge and then remind myself that I should rise above it. It's disappointing to not play along but quite satsifying knowing that I am not retalliating.

I think we'll go foraging on SUnday, I love the children's amazement when they first see something growing, that they can pick and eat!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 28-Aug-12 22:04:12

I have one tomato, about the size of a pea!

::whoops of joy::

Any tips for successful loganberry growing? I planted mine at the other end of the grapevine support and it is far too vigorous and needs to move. But where? Would it be best trained along the fence?

I have four teeny weeny tomatoes! <Gloats>

Winter veg plug plants arrived today. Have potted on for now in a vain attempt to keep slugs at bay until they are slightly more robust. Can't believe I've ordered plugs but all seed attempts have faired poorly...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 30-Aug-12 21:04:31

That's four times as many as I have. <envy>

Oh yes, compared to your tomato harvest Maud I have a glut! grin

Shall we now see if we manage to get a red one?

chixinthestix Thu 30-Aug-12 22:42:42

Evening! Haven't posted for ages and not done much gardening really - its been so wet and grim here I've lost heart a bit.

However after today I'm feeling quite smug as I have both tomatoes and loads of sweet peas. Far less tomatoes than we should have considering the number of plants but plenty really although they have been so slow to ripen.

Its not all good though - no courgettes or squash at all, and a pathetic crop of onions because the slugs ate all their leaves.

I've decided to start a radical clear out of some of the garden and made a start by chopping back a massive clematis montana that's outgrown its space. Its trunk must be about 4" across at the base so its a bit of a beast. Only managed about 1/2 today and I'm not sure dc's will have the patience to help me with the second half tomorrow. Still its a start!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 31-Aug-12 10:43:04

<<snort>> at Bertha's four tomato glut!

You've reminded me, Chix, that my seemingly indestructible Polish Spirit clenatis seems to have died.

Lexilicious Fri 31-Aug-12 19:34:09

I have tomatoes. They are almost all green, but there are a goodly number of them. The three or four yellow cherry tomatoes that I have so far eaten have oddly been from the plant I put in latest. The other two (moneymaker, gardeners delight) have lots of green trusses so now I need the magic combination of warm sun and soil moisture.

I harvested my remaining six sacks of potatoes this afternoon. So disappointing. One of them had not a single spud (cara, planted in May). The others had enough for maybe 3-4 portions from each sack, but that's from 3 seed potatoes each sack! When I look at the amount of compost which came out of the sacks too (at least 3x60 litre b&q peat free for £10) I reckon I could have bought a lot more potatoes (even nice varieties) from the supermarket for the cost of growing them. A massive GYO-economics fail. I've also "avoided the courgette glut" by picking them small (thumb-thick) when they are sweet enough to eat there and then.

Lots of blackberries on the thornless cultivated variety near the house, the late planted peas and beans are going brilliantly, and I have an overenthusiastic climbing squash (grown from seed from a waitrose butternut squash!) which is now almost over the neighbours hedge. No idea if it will set fruit though.

It is all a bit of an anarchic mess now. We might be here long enough this weekend (on Sunday pm, basically) to make some headway, but the front has gone very weedy and I have a serious lot of post-potato compost to spread around as mulch. I put quite a lot on the rockery where there are some nice things going on with colchicums and sedum. But then the following two weekends we will hardly be here at all again. Argh.

Two of my tomato triffids keeled over and leapt off the table in the conservatory today! Luckily this did not involve the one plant with the four tomatoes on but they had flowers dammit - they were at least showing promise. Now in a heap outside the conservatory door looking sorry for themselves. sad

I have overenthusiastic squashes too Lex; lots of them climbing all over my veg plot netting. Not much in the way of actual pumpkins or squashes though but several baby ones may yet show promise. <hopeful>

On a positive note though I decided to pay some attention to my beetroot patch today and have pulled up a few biggies. Despite all the germination and bolting issues these are definitely the best 'looking' beetroots I've grown to date. I'm hoping they'll be edible...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 31-Aug-12 20:36:35

I think my Charlotte potatoes were a GYO economic loss too, Lexi.

It's our show tomorrow and I have almost no flowers to exhibit. Sigh.

Lexilicious Fri 31-Aug-12 20:58:50

90 mins of monty and cumberrbatch... Heaven.

But oh my life that's a painfully colourful lot of dahlias!!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 31-Aug-12 21:07:39

Agh! I forgot Monty!

::Hangs head in shame::

Haven't watched Monty for weeks <joins Maud in hanging head>. Too much going on of late and tonight watching paralympics. Need to do some serious catching up.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 31-Aug-12 21:25:29

I'll be catching up soon on iplayer. I do like a Friday night fix of Monty gardening advice.

echt Fri 31-Aug-12 21:57:31

Well it's the first day of spring here in Australia and the Diggers' Club catalogue having just arrived, I'm about to break my resolution of no more pots (than we already have) by buying an avocado that can be grown in a pot. As a tree they grow quite big, and we don't have room for one. Hang on <eyes useless garden shed> maybe we can knock that down and grow an avo tree.

echt Fri 31-Aug-12 22:04:47

Well it's the first day of spring here in Australia and the Diggers' Club catalogue having just arrived, I'm about to break my resolution of no more pots (than we already have) by buying an avocado that can be grown in a pot. As a tree they grow quite big, and we don't have room for one. Hang on <eyes useless garden shed> maybe we can knock that down and grow an avo tree.

Nope, just checked and possums will scoff avocadoes, so a potted one it will be, so we can net it (the plant, not the possum).

echt Fri 31-Aug-12 22:05:25

Oh dear. What happened there?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 01-Sep-12 09:48:54

Just natural enthusiasm, echt.

Well, I capitulated and have ordered a green Olympic rose and some other bargains I found on the website. Now I'm wondering whether I should have got the orange one too.

chixinthestix Sat 01-Sep-12 18:20:37

I once grew an avocado in a pot echt, indoors most of the time but outside in the winter. It seemed to survive quite heavy pruning to limit its size but of course no chance of any fruit here! Eventually it just got too big and I needed the space in the house so it had to go.

Today I've been given a bag of dwarf dahlia tubers by a friend. The slugs had eaten the tops off completely and I put them out in the sun to dry the compost thats clinging to them and noticed they are all sprouting again. So what to do? Shall I pot them up again now and let them grow or dry them off and put in the shed?

echt Sat 01-Sep-12 22:04:07

Well boo hoo. I couldn't get a Wurtz avocado tree for a pot, will have to buy online. It was going to be DH's Fathers' Day present, so he'll have to wait.

Instead he'll have to be getting the soil and compost into the raised veggie beds. We've been stalled with very cold wet and windy weekends so today's sunny 19 degrees is just the right time to have him working like a dog.grin

I'll crack on with mulching the beds against the hotter, drier weather.

teta Wed 05-Sep-12 11:44:27

I am sitting on my sunny patio sans dc's[hurray] surrounded by a gorgeous smell of almonds from a Clematis Flammula and C. Triternata mixed in with a white Solanum.The flowers look like masses of tiny stars and have covered the wall in just one year.I was going to move the Solanum as it is such a thug but it looks so pretty growing through the white Wisteria that i think i will leave it.I'm not sure the Handel climbing rose has enough room to grow now.
Is anyone else like a kid in a sweety shop with the new bulb catalogues especially the Tulips?.I can't decide whether to go with the Crocus selactions [loved the bulbs for pots last year] or the Sarah Raven ones.I am definately going to try perennial tulips in beds this year but don't especially like the mixed colors that are available in most of the catalogues.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 05-Sep-12 21:36:34

Oh yes to the sweetie shop effect of tulips, teta. I bought so many bulbs last year that I had to buy a job lot of pots on Ebay to accommodate them. I would never buy mixed collections though.

I must do some planting at the weekend. I have four clematis - one of them a C flammula - waiting to be found homes. I do get a bit carried away, and might get further carried away still as Crocus have Rose Souvenir du Docteur Jamain in their sale. Oooh err.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Sep-12 20:43:59

Argh. I have forgotten to do my tulip order! Thanks for reminding me.

I think we are going to copy the Arne Maynard garden we saw in Derbyshire, and put in pink and purple tulips in the cottage garden, quite sparsely planted so the dying foliage does not become a problem. The masses of white tulips we put in the front garden looked awful due to cramming so many in, although hopefully this will be mitigated this year by the geranium and alchemilla mollis being much more established.

It is a beautiful, beautiful evening. I am also really pleased as DH has worked out where I can plant my silver birches. They are going at the top of what should be the wildflower meadow bit, in a kind of triangle and will replace the willow stakes that we really shouldn't have planted there. I have always wanted a birch grove and am planning to plant cyclamen underneath.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Sep-12 20:44:38

I should say the white tulips looked awful when they went over, they looked rather splendid when they were in bloom grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 06-Sep-12 21:30:56

Do you ever go to Cambridge, Humphrey? There are lovely birches (if my addled memory serves me rightly) in the winter walk at Anglesey Abbey.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Sep-12 21:59:59

I never have been there, but it sounds absolutely lovely.

DH pleased because on the Wartime Farm programme they had an Allen scythe, just like us. Although theirs seems to be actually working in the title sequence, which ours never is grin

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Sep-12 22:02:49

Just googled it. Goodness me, that is amazing.

Grockle Thu 06-Sep-12 22:05:20

Hello - I'm rudely barging in without having caught up on the thread but I have an urgent gardening problem that needs solving...

I have 4ft fence between my garden & next door - it belongs to next door & the woman has turned into a complete psychobitch, screaming at my poor 6 yr old & being horrible & rude all the time. DS won't go and play in the garden any more. I need some way either of increasing the height of the boundary (Can you get trellis on big posts that I could put on my side of the fence?) or planting some pretty things that grow tall quickly. I don't want anything like Leylandii but need to do something fast. Will go back and read thread blush. Hope everyone is ok.

chixinthestix Thu 06-Sep-12 22:49:33

Oh Grockle, how awful for you. I'd be tempted to put up tall trellis on your side of the fence and grow some fast growing climbers up it. Having spent a lot of last weekend hacking back the massive growth of clematis montana and a grapevine from my own garden I'd recommend both of those!

echt Fri 07-Sep-12 07:22:21

Sorry to hear about your nasty neighbour, grockle. I've seen this kind of fencing done by a friend here in Oz; very stout supports with trellis between. The fence, not the friend.grin

As for plants, I don't know where you live in the UK, but if it's in the south, try trachelspermum jasmines for slow growth but will cover in a few years, with something fast-growing which you can rip out later.

Clematis armandii will also do the job on its own, possibly better in that it's fast (so will screen the ghastly caaah asap) evergreen, lovely, scented early spring flowers, and thick enough for the birdies to nest in. Stout trellis, though!

echt Fri 07-Sep-12 07:23:08

That should read trachelospermum jasminoides.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 07-Sep-12 09:12:17

Grockle - the friend who designed and made my trellis (ooh, get me) says it's never as solid if it's on posts rather than fixed to the fence, but as there's no chance of the old boot agreeing to that, I'd say go for it. Clematis Jackmanii is also rampant. Hydrangea petiolaris, honeysuckle and Chinese Virginia creeper (less rampant than the ordinary sort, which is probably too rampant) will also give quick, dense coverage.

How about bamboo or eucalyptus in pots?

Lexilicious Fri 07-Sep-12 09:35:07

I quite liked the fence that (whispers) Alan T's landscaper did in the recent Love Your Garden... posts were put in in front of existing fences, then slats of cedar horizontally which climbers would grow through. It was stylish (and an effective screen) straight away and then naturalised later.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 07-Sep-12 09:42:31

Oh yes. I do like those horizontal slat fences. And I quite like Alan.

Something like this one?

Jacksmania Fri 07-Sep-12 20:48:27

I need help/ suggestions.

A dear friend has put me in charge of figuring out flowers for her wedding. I'm on the West Coast of Canada, so climate similar to parts of the US.

She doesn't care (much) about what kind of flowers, just that they be pretty, and her colours are white and purple, with silver accents like ribbons.

I need suggestions. In season preferably, although roses are pretty much obtainable any time, but seasonal would make it less expensive.

Lexilicious Fri 07-Sep-12 20:59:32

Exactamundo, Bertha. But not necessarily painted.

Jacks, when? Imminently or next spring/summer?

Jacksmania Fri 07-Sep-12 21:01:07

Oh sorry - blush - rather crucial detail - the wedding is this year, last weekend in October. Bit of a rushed affair but there are circumstances (all good).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 07-Sep-12 21:49:32

Eek, Jacksmania. That late in the season I would look at dahlias (there are lots of non-naff ones these days), perhaps white Michaelmas daisies. You could also use chrysanthemums, but some might think they are too funereal.

Grockle Fri 07-Sep-12 22:02:34

Thanks for the suggestions. I live almost as far south as you can be in England so trachelospermum jasminoides is a great suggestion. I also love the fence Lexi & Bertha mentioned. I might ask my friendly carpenter if he fancies having go at it.

I'm no help with flowers, I'm afraid.

Will go and read rest of thread now!

Jacksmania Fri 07-Sep-12 22:11:05

Yeah, tell me about it - no stress here!!

harbingerofdoom Fri 07-Sep-12 22:15:35

Ooh,can I ask a stupid question?

harbingerofdoom Fri 07-Sep-12 22:23:02

I think the strawberry runners have rooted. Will they survive any frosts?
Where to keep them in the winter?

Lexilicious Fri 07-Sep-12 22:36:24

How about foliage and berries, Jacks? Rich autumnal colours, bit of white stuff in between like bishops weed or cineraria, maybe some berries sprayed silver (I had gold sprayed hypericums with deep red roses in my bridal bouquet at almost midwinter).

Strawbs. Hm. Maybe cloche them? Or take up any really small rooted runners and bring them on indoors/ potting shed?

Jacksmania Sat 08-Sep-12 02:10:29

We decided on dahlias and some green stuff and silver ribbons. Details will be handled by the florist smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 08-Sep-12 08:58:30

There's a florist? I thought you were actually making the decorations, Jacksmania!

Jacksmania Sat 08-Sep-12 16:46:12

When she showed me what she wanted in terns of bouquets, untold her firmly that she would need a florist. No way am I taking responsibility for creating several perfectly found puffball bouquets. That lies completely outside my capability.

When we got together yesterday and got caught up on all the wedding details, it transpired that the plans have been somewhat hijacked by my friend's parents. hmm. Friend and fiancé are "minimum fuss" kind of people. They were planning to have an afternoon wedding and then a short-ish reception with cake and champagne. Apparently her DMV and DF had kittens at the idea and insisted on a sit-down dinner. For around 180 people. Then the fiancé somewhat sheepishly admitted that the idea appealed to him too (which I suppose is fine but it's his second wedding and therefore I think my friend's wishes trump his given it's her first) sooo... big dinner it is. My friend, however, said, that that being the case, fiancé and future MIL could be in charge of dinner and the menu. She (friend) has several dietary restrictions which mean she'll need a special meal anyway, so she said she didn't care much what anyone else was eating grin
I hope I'm not making her sound like a bridezilla. She isn't in the least. She was so deflated and sort of steam-rollered when I saw her yesterday, I felt quite cross with her parents.

Jacksmania Sat 08-Sep-12 16:47:23

Awww oops blush - sorry - I thought I was posting in the tea room! Apologies for rambling about weddings.

Jacksmania Sat 08-Sep-12 16:49:08

Untold = I told

Found = formed

Stupid autocorrect.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 08-Sep-12 16:51:41

That's fine. Good to know the context!

My friend did the flowers for her own wedding - huge ham hard of Englush hedgerow flowers. They were lovely!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 08-Sep-12 16:53:10

Jam jars of English flowers, even. Why is autocorrect so hit and miss?.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 08-Sep-12 17:01:15

Jam jars of flowers sounds lovely. My sister used cow parsely from the hedgerows at her wedding. It looked amazing.

I just ate a strawberry. Just the one, mind. When I THINK of the bowls and bowls we had last year.....

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 08-Sep-12 17:07:03

:: offers Humphrey a shoulder to cry on::

I have six tomato plants at home. Between they have produced one tomato.


HumphreyCobbler Sat 08-Sep-12 17:49:21

did you eat the tomato? With sea salt and the best olive oil?

My four tomatoes are still very very green. I secretly hope suspect that Maud's tomato is also not yet ready for sea salt and olive oil.

I jumped over the fence to go to the orchard for the first time in around a month this evening - picked a handful of mulberries which got devoured by the DDs and myself in seconds. Two months later than usual and they're still struggling to ripen. However, I don't think I've ever seen the apple trees quite a laden as they are and my jerusalem artichokes are huge this year. Well over three metres and only just starting with flower heads now so probably still going upwards.

I had an October wedding and MIL did the flowers, loads of ivy everywhere which was free and looked amazing.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 08-Sep-12 20:11:15

envy of your apple crop. Ours is lamentable. We have an entire orchard and only about one and a half trees with any fruit at all. We are still drinking the juice from last year, there will be none at all this year.

Oh well, we did eat some sweetcorn today. DS came running in with the one from his garden and gave it to me, saying "This is for you because I love you" grin

harbingerofdoom Sat 08-Sep-12 20:34:05

Got about four tomatoes (plum) the rest might ripen (ever the optimist).
No Bramleys at all sad
No pears

Strawberry runners?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 08-Sep-12 22:43:43

Indeed. My tomato is the size of a ping pong ball and bright green.

We do, though, have hundreds of apples, including our first decent crop of Egremont Russets.

chixinthestix Sun 09-Sep-12 00:14:12

Interesting variation in everyone's apple crops....does it depend whereabouts you are? Here out west we had bumper crops of apples and plums last year, and far less this year, although we have plenty of pears. Last year we also had millions of wasps which ate everything in sight including the runner beans. This year I've seen about 5 all summer - the bad weather has had some good effects!

Today I started clearing out a massively congested bed and dug up 2 bucketfuls of crocosmia lucifer corms. Will have to try and give them away as I can't bear to chuck them.
As for tomatoes; DF turned up today with 3 trayloads, we'll be roasting toms tomorrow! I don't know how he does it. He's the only person I know who has successfully raised a courgette this year too. Our 9 plants have produced a total of 0. DF brought 7 to 'keep us going'! I think he must go out to check them at night like Gromit grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 09-Sep-12 09:15:58

I too have got loads of crocosmia Lucifer to give away. I keep meaning to ask on here whether anybody wants them.

Lexilicious Sun 09-Sep-12 20:29:29

I could fit in some croc Lucifer (about the only things I can reasonably expect to find space for are tall thin things!). In return or for anyone who wants some, I am probably going to have some divisions of Monarda 'squaw' which needs full sun but is stunning. I am also going to lift/split/move some Astilbe 'mighty pip' (haven't yet looked up how/when to do it, but it dies back to nothing so I reckon I can split the roots when it goes dormant). So if anyone wants either of those, let me know.

I have done nothing in the garden again this weekend. I did a bit of watering and have been on top of the caterpillar hunting on the broccoli/kale plants, but that's about it. Am starting to see a lot that needs to be tidied, but it is going to have to wait until the weekend after next because I am off up to my birthplace to do the Great North Run.

Will crocosmia grow in poor soil? I'm looking for something that will grow out the front along our fence where currently all we get is the odd nettle and thistle. I could dump a load of compost down but the ground underneath is pretty solid so it would be very shallow. If so, I'll have some off you Maud.

Feeling pretty pleased with myself today as I actually managed something constructive and top dressed / mulched half the long bed with a home compost and leaf mulch mix. Just the other half to go....

My compost is beautiful this year; something to be said for keeping chickens as the chicken poo & mucky bedding has made a huge difference. The down side is the red mite we've got at the moment. Spent some time today dusting the chickens down and wearing most of the stuff myself. Grrrr, as if there aren't enough pests to deal with in the veg plot this year without adding chicken pests in to the mix!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 09-Sep-12 20:33:17

Great, Lexi. Me your address and I'll send you a jiffy bag of corms.

Wynken - I haven't forgotten your plants, but they looked very bedraggled after our holiday so I've been trying to get them looking perkier. I'll post them soon.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 09-Sep-12 20:34:32

Bertha - it grows like a weed in my not very good soil. PM me your address if you'd like some.

Excellent, thank you Maud - will PM you.

Lexi - I'll very happily take some divisions of both the Monarda and the Astilbe when you dig them up.


echt Mon 10-Sep-12 18:13:40

Crocosmia appears to grow in sand quite well. I've never seen the Lucifer variety here in Australia, at least not for the colour; a more orangey version is common enough. Oddly it's a winter-flowering plant here.

A lovely herald of spring is here in the form of boronia, a plant with tiny round brown flowers and the most intense violet perfume. I've one From last year I'd forgotten about until digging around , wondering what on earth the smell of violets was, only a tiny plant but what a pong.

funnyperson Mon 10-Sep-12 22:07:29

Hello everyone- has there been a heat wave?
I got back from the land of frangipani trees and marigold garlands to find all the plants in the front porch scorched to a crisp. Including the dahlias that had survived the earlier slug onslaught but excepting the lavender. I am not going to cry till tomorrow. I am hoping the watering today will help.

Lexi is your water barrel arrangement coming into its own?

Oddly enough there appear to be 2.5 tomatoes on the tomato plant. Judging by other posts this is not too bad. This is quite interesting. Perhaps I can be a vegetable gardener after all. I am rather surprised. Should I eat them now or wait till fully reddened? I have set aside the extra virgin olive oil and sea salt in preparation.

The Cyclamen is in flower: it has spread widely under the oak tree. Autumn is on its way.

I think flowers in jam jars would be really lovely at a wedding.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 10-Sep-12 23:01:07

Not so much a heatwave as a lack of rain, I think, Funnyperson. You too have a glut of tomatoes,by my standards.

I would like to add that my two tomato sticks plants growing outside also appear to have actual tomatoes. One on each plant. So I have a whole six tomatoes now. That's practically a salad.

I picked my best cucumber yet today. So proud of it I actually took a photo grin to remember it by and bore people with.

teta Tue 11-Sep-12 22:35:22

I now have 12 sweet pea flowers.Am i being ridiculously optimistic to still be tieing them in to the supports[i have lots of buds still].its been cold and sunny here today and the Dahlias are looking wonderful,particularly Black Mambo.Spent hours on sunday clearing creeping buttercup from the anemone bed with dh watching me [not doing anything,annoyingly].

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 11-Sep-12 23:05:02

I picked my one sweet pea flower and the plant refuses to produce another one.

My latest garden recommendation is RHS Hyde Hall. 'Tis lovely, and smaller and therefore easier on the feet ::elderly and arthritic:: than Wisley.

I need gardens we can visit with the dog. Our Wisley membership is very unused now sad. Not something we'd considered prior to getting the bonkers puppy.

funnyperson Thu 13-Sep-12 05:02:39

Yesterday I spent an hour watering the parched and browning lawn. Sixty minutes later, inevitably, it rained.

I think I am going to tidy up the greenery for winter- introduce more shapes into the rampant foliage. There has always been some topiary but I am thinking of neatening up the whole look. I have no hedges, but the winter jasmine, cotoneaster, japonica, chaenomeles, climbing roses etc could all do with shaping. Do you think I will stop the winter jasmine from flowering if I prune it now? Maybe I will leave the climbing roses alone as I do love a bit of free flow.

I am also going to move the ferns from under the apple tree where they emerged this year.

Flowering in the garden: Japanese anemones, hydrangea (lacy), cyclamen (carpet), hibiscus, roses, shasta daisies, potentiella, alchemilia mollis, acanthus.

What is flowering in your gardens?

echt Thu 13-Sep-12 08:34:17

Oooh here goes: crucifix orchids which bloom all year round; Dendrobium speciosum, a massive native orchid; boronia; hebe; kangaroo paws (we plant different kinds so something's in flower from August to May; native hibiscus; four kinds of bromeliad; clivia; three or four kinds of grevillea - prostrate and shrub; phlomis is about to arrive; jade plant; freesias; nasturtium and limonium, which flowers all year round.

Oh, and a shrub/tree I've never been able to identify which has yellow flowers for nine months of the year.

And breathe.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Sep-12 09:17:03

I have very little flowering now. ::sniff:: The Japanese anemones are sulking, the cyclamen might I guess be flowering but are being swamped by other things. There are a few flowers on the white jasmine and a couple of the clematis are still going strong, although others gave done nothing and Polish Spirit seems to have died. A few snapdragons and calendula. Some zantedeschia in pots. 'Tis pitiful.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Sep-12 09:20:17

In better news, my Olympic rose is on its way.

Lexilicious Thu 13-Sep-12 10:06:26

Flowering: my current crocosmia are still going but on the turn, arum lilies, oxalis, cyclamen seems to have put its effort into spreading this year but there are one or two flowers, sedum spectabile absolutely covered in honeybees, verbena bonariensis (came up from seed this year so only a single tall spike with a small flower head), nepeta and some of the culinary herbs like dill/oregano/thyme/feverfew are very heavily flowering, then of course there are the climbing veggies which need pollination - squash, courgette, cucumber, beans. In the front garden I have another heavily flowering honeybee-feeding sedum which grows as a mat on the ground, comfrey is abundant, borage, acidanthera, buddleia, lavender.

Lots of clover flowering in the lawn too!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 13-Sep-12 18:09:22

Flowering - cosmos, verbena bonariensis, sweet peas (finally) penstemons, borage, marjoram, pheasant berry (whatever that is actually called), rudbekia, salvia, verbena, a few different roses are still putting some flowers out, scabious, verbascum having a second flowering, gladioli, sunflowers, marigold, daisy, geraniums, mint, honeysuckle, russian sage, catmint, hyssop, masses of feverfew which I love so don't object to at all and one solitary dahlia grin

cantspel Thu 13-Sep-12 18:28:19

I have just ordered 3 callicarpa which i have never grown before. Not sure quite where i am going to plant them as the only space i have available at the moment is in shade and i think they prefer sun.

Yet another impulse buy that i am going to have to re jig the garden to find a spot for.

Flowering - japanese anemone, sedum (with nectar-drunk bees everywhere), lavender, verbena bonariensis, sweet peas, borage, salvia, first of the asters peeking out, red valerian (just a few hanging on), scabious, solanum glasnevin, cosmos, catmint, oregano. Plus some veggies; beans, courgettes, pumpkins & squashes.

Flowering that shouldn't be - broccoli, rocket, basil, lettuce smile.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Sep-12 22:05:34

Pheasant berry is leycesteria formosa. I have two self-seeded babies if anyone wants them.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Sep-12 22:06:53

Callicarpa is gorgeous - mine looks as if it's going to have its gutsy decent crop of berries this year.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 13-Sep-12 22:08:26

thanks Maud. I have just informed DH. He has always wondered and always forgotten to look it up!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Sep-12 22:10:05

You're welcome! Horticultural Latin will be my specialist topic on Mastermind!

chixinthestix Thu 13-Sep-12 22:50:04

My garden seems to be having a bit of a late flush with most of the roses in flower but also rudbeckias, phlox, shasta daisies, marjoram, scabious, verbena bon. sedums, cerinthe, a little white allium, schizostylis, marigolds, nasturtiums, cosmos and some lovely frilly polyanthus I was given in the spring which are spreading and flowering like mad. I too have a solitary dahlia and my sweet peas are still going strong.

I was wondering if anyone might be interested in a seed swap later in the autumn? I will have lots of seeds on my cerinthe this year (which I grew from seeds I was given), and have quite a few seeds saved from my sweet cicely and foxgloves, there might be other bits and bobs that I come across too.

Lexilicious Fri 14-Sep-12 12:13:27

Seed swap yes! Also, anyone going to RHS autumn show in London? I think I will try to go on the Tuesday evening. (9th oct)

Phacelia Fri 14-Sep-12 12:14:02

Hello everyone. Hope you're all doing well.

I'm all moved into my new house now and have a fantastic new garden to play with. It is a bit daunting but massively exciting too. I'm going through all my old gardening catalogues to pick things out; can't wait to buy stuff. I'm particularly excited about growing lots of sweetpeas, roses, different varieties of lavenders, and lots of veggies and fruit. I have a lovely long south facing fence so want to put in lots of espaliered fruit trees, but they seem to be about £50 each if you go with trees that are a couple of years old. Ouch! I might put in one a year and spread the cost a bit. I'm hoping to get maybe a peach (fan) tree in, apples, pears, and cherries in, plus raspberries somewhere. It would be great to be self-sufficient in fruit, which I'm a bit addicted to.

Lexilicious Fri 14-Sep-12 13:00:48

I was wondering how you were getting on Phacelia, so glad you've come back! (did any of the seeds work out or was that too much to deal with as well as moving?!).

Fruit trees shouldn't be that expensive... Don't know your region but two places I've used before are Chew Valley trees (south of Bristol) and Walcot Nursery. I got a maiden fruit tree voucher as a new baby gift for friends from CV for £20 I think, so they can go and choose it for bare root planting this autumn.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Sep-12 19:54:36

Evening all.

Well, my Olympic rose has arrived and I'm just about ready to revamp the red, purple and lime bed where it was going to be a centrepiece except the blurb says it won't withstand frost and needs to be in a pot. They didn't mention that on their website. Gah.

I'm waiting for the end of Doctor Who so I can watch Monty. I was thinking today if gardening is the new rock and roll, is Monty the new Elvis?

funnyperson Sat 15-Sep-12 20:26:29

Maud this is brilliant about the Olympic rose. A piece of history. Is it a healthy plant? Is it flowering? did you get the green one only or also the orange?
It does have something on the website about overwintering them 'indoors' whatever that means. Whoever brings a rose indoors? They must mean a green house. Which I dont have. I could put them in the verandah I suppose but if I bought one or more they would go outside probably.
I noticed they have brought the price down ever so slightly and I think I will order one. Or possibly even 4. The four are now £50, which doesnt seem too bad depending on if the plants are in reasonable condition. I just thought they were so retty in those bouquets. I wonder what the plants are like.
So do you think the plants are worth it Maud? Was the packaging OK? Are they quite big?

funnyperson Sat 15-Sep-12 20:26:53


funnyperson Sat 15-Sep-12 20:31:01

Anyway I am also thinking of putting some bamboo in pots on the first floor balcony so that I have a screen from the opposite neighbours who at the moment have full view of every corner of my living room which has huge picture windows/doors leading onto said balcony.

Bamboo is evergreen and the foliage is dainty and the stems come in different colours I am told. Yellow through to black. Whether or not bamboo will thrive in pots on the balcony I do not know. Has anyone else any experience of bamboo in pots?

funnyperson Sat 15-Sep-12 20:34:09

Also my other problem is that the poor rhodedendron which was thriving and budding in a pot when I left for tropical regions is all shrivelled and has not recovered even though I have watered it for three consecutive days.

Should I leave the poor shrivelled leaves and continue watering in good faith or should I cut all the withered stems off the ailing plant?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Sep-12 20:42:59

What? You can now get all of them for fifty quid? Oh that's infuriating, as I;m still pondering getting the orange one - I've only got the green - so that would cost me fifty quid (once postage is paid) just for the two.

The plant is a decent size, in quite good condition (considering it's been much pruned as the flowers were cut) and the packaging was excellent. It has one promising-looking bud. I'm kicking myself for not spotting the bit about overwintering indoors as I don't 'do' fragile plants. (I've mentioned before that in the spring I;m going to get rid of all my hostas because I have Had Enough).

I also (as you do) succumbed to the temptation to buy 6 more aquilegia Black Barlow and am very impressed with them, as they are much bigger and better than plug plants I've had from other companies. I also bought three dodecatheon (although pink) but am a little concerned that they are completely dormant at the moment, the pots are covered in weeds and that primordial plankton thingy and if I pull the weeds off I may be damaging or even pulling out the plant itself.

All in all, I'd recommend the company, even though their postage is quite steep (something that always makes me cross).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Sep-12 20:47:29

Have no idea about rhododendron but I grow bamboo in a pot.

The black bamboo died last year (sob, I loved it) but the golden bamboo is very happy in its pot now. It did, though, go into a decline while I was on holiday and it got too dry and shed a lot of its leaves, but perked up very quickly when I gave it a drenching. I hear that this is the biggest problem with bamboo in pots - it likes water, so is at risk if it dries out.

chixinthestix Sun 16-Sep-12 23:45:28

funnyperson could your rhododendron be suffering from a fungal infection rather than drought? Is there any damage to the twigs that could have caused the leaves to suddenly wilt? (Have just been reading info leaflet on phytopthora ramorum which can affect rhodis).

I've had enough of my too full garden and after reading about all your lovely sounding plant acquisitions have been waging war against the ground elder to make myself a bit more space. Two sackfuls of roots later I have cleared 2/3 of one bed. eek.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 17-Sep-12 09:45:18

I've just been pacing around, deciding what's going to go where. I need some more tough, ideally prickly things to go where the foxes walk, I think. The Rubus cockburnianus isn't big enough yet to deter them.

Phacelia Mon 17-Sep-12 14:03:56

Thank you Lexi, smile great to have some other websites for trees. I had heard B&Q do fruit trees cheaply sometimes but the nearest one to me is a bit of a trek so not sure if I can get there. It's such a great feeling that I can now go to garden centres and buy things for my garden. So exciting. Hope all is well in your garden.

From the seeds you sent I had some lovely peas and salad leaves, but nothing else germinated, despite repeated attempts to grow them. Bloody weather! The peas in particular were delicious, so v grateful to you to sending them. Will definitely grow more next year. My biggest success this year were my strawberries (planted last year) - the best I've ever eaten, which was a surprise as on GW they were saying most peoples' this year have been very watery and insipid.

funnyperson Mon 17-Sep-12 18:32:12

I have no idea about tough prickly things, maud. One of the children has a small cactus in a pot but I doubt it would be of the size to deter foxes.
Thanks for the insight on the packing of the olympic roses.
Also very useful to know someone who grows bamboo in pots- how tall does your bamboo grow? I am in need of seven foot or so of foliage.
The shrivelled rhodedendron could have something wrong with it other than prolonged drought I suppose. Do you think I should spray it with some chemical thing?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 18-Sep-12 22:39:54

Hello ! Hope you are all well and enjoying your gardens.

Funnyperson I bought a pot of bamboo once that was about 6 ft I think . Gave it to my neighbour to fill a gap so not sure how much bigger it would get but think if you have a big pot and the right variety you'd be ok.

Tough prickly things sound like the pyracantha bushes each house I live in seems to come with !

I haven't had much time for gardening with more sick parents, DD starting upper school and new braces. Thought I could get to allotment tomorrow but one of her brackets has fallen off so back to the Orthodontist.

Next year I'm not growing courgettes at allotment as I have enough marrows to feed half the neighbourhood !

Had an hour in the veg plot this afternoon. Have cleared out some dying stuff and planted out the winter veg; and the baby spring veg has been potted on. Picked beetroot, courgette, turnips, spring onion and heaps of beans. Sweetcorn looks ready (although small) so they'll be eaten over the weekend too. Can't believe how dry it all is, need some rain.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 19-Sep-12 20:14:43

something has been eating the sweetcorn, I think it must be a badger.

It is incredibly dry isn't it? I planted out some sweet william seedlings today and the ground was like concrete.

On a brighter note my sweet peas have taken off and I have loads, ditto the courgettes and runner beans.

Squirrels are also quite partial to sweetcorn.

We had four of ours for tea tonight and although a bit on the stumpy side they were otherwise fully formed and absolutely delicious. They were my four most promising looking ones though so the rest may be a little lacking.

It's finally raining. I shall be complaining about it in no time though as we have apple picking planned for tomorrow.

echt Fri 21-Sep-12 21:04:55

Being spring break from school here in Melbourne, and as the veggie beds ready at last, the planting will begin. Two kinds of tomatoes; marmande and Black Russian; about 3 different lettuces, spring onions and mini aubergines. These are all seedlings to get something going while our seeds germinate in the propagator. Also going to try asparagus.

I also tracked down the Wurtz avocado for DH's birthday, so will get it into a bigger pot, and should have fruit in 3 years.

In the rest of the garden I'll cover the fences with various climbers, though not decided which yet. Then bringing in the garden clearance chaps to rip out the manky lawn and lay turf.

I also have to decide where to put two red cannas, left on our doorstep yesterday by I don't know who. These grow to about 5 feet and flower for 6-7 months, just the thing for our terraced garden.

funnyperson Sun 23-Sep-12 19:30:52

We had glorious clear blue September skies yesterday followed by rain today.

I have been happily pruning sage and mint etc and salvaging the plants which shrivelled when I was away.

The squirrels eat the roses here. They live in the oak tree and scamper down when the roses bud and nibble off the buds when young. It takes a sharp eye and a rapid response to cut said buds to bring in before they are nibbled.

I was hoping for a fruitful Autumn, but the apples plums and strawberries have not fruited at all this year so my sum total (herbs apart) is spinach and 2 tomatoes. Ah well. Friends with allotments appear to have courgettes and potatoes and are looking forward to leeks and brassicas. I might try artichokes and ornamental cabbage next year. I do so want an Autumn which isnt just about turning leaves (lovely though they are). My mothers garden has the most lovely riot of species fuschia , Michaelmas daisies and roses. She has no squirrels and is South facing.

echt Sun 23-Sep-12 21:01:31

Went to the local Sunday junk market and came away a bromeliad in flower which I can split into three and add to the collection. The other was a plant I've never seen before and turns out to be commonly called the pregnant onion plant, though it is not an onion. Turns out it has irritating foliage so I'll have to wear gloves to plant it. It's bit hideous to tell the truth but was dirt cheap and has a certain Ripley's Believe it or Not quality.

Just re-read my last post and realised that it sounded like we ate four squirrels for tea! Which has occurred to us before as a good use of squirrels but we haven't quite got around to it yet...

Started the apple harvest yesterday. Filled a large washing basket and two massive carrier bags just with the ones (leaving the smaller ones) we could easily reach off one tree. I shall probably get as much again from the top half of the tree with the apple picker. The other trees don't produce such nice apples so I may just ignore them as I think we may have enough!

Lexilicious Sun 23-Sep-12 22:21:25

I broke my gardening drought this morning before the rain really got started (well, the rain actually did drive me indoors).

I spread out a load of spent compost on the lawn that had been left over from at least a couple of potato sacks, dug up two of the clumps of perennial sweet pea (as best I could, that stuff has seriously deep leguminous and fibrous roots), cut down one completely flopped tansy clump and tied the other properly to the hedge, dug up the monarda (which is going to have to wait out the week sitting in the wheelbarrow, as long as it doesn't collect too much water). Put last year's leafmould on the blueberries and will look up what else could benefit from it. Gave up on the pak choi and some of the carrot seed rows, going to put strawberries there instead. Basically I am moving my edible side of the garden into the perennial end of the GYO spectrum.

DH surprised me by looking interested in the Clean Decking Project. I have moved half of my pots off the deck so it can be scrubbed, raked out between the boards and hosed with light detergent (or however he plans to do it.

Next weekend I am aiming to get my shed guttering done and second waterbutt in place (finally! - I think I bought the larger butt at the start of March!!)

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 24-Sep-12 00:15:59

It's rained so much here today I may spend tomorrow building a boat!

Ah yes, the boat building is well under way here. Even the chickens have spent most of the day constructing a raft...

Forgot to say that I found further evidence of slugs taking over the world. Slugs on the apples. Yep, now they are climbing trees. They'll have figured out how to fly by next year.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 24-Sep-12 20:35:52

It hasn't rained as much here. Still really cold though.

Dh planted the enormous box ball he bought for £30 on Ebay in huge copper he bought from the farmer next door. It looks fabulous.

He also planted out the 200 odd box cuttings he took last year. The thing is, I am afraid of dedicating so much time and energy to creating box hedges that may succumb to box blight in the future. I would fill the garden with topiary if I could afford it and I wasn't worried it would all die, as it looks so wonderful. I thought Monty looked v worried about the blight in last week's GW.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 24-Sep-12 20:38:50

That reminds me that I still haven't watched last week's GW.

I seem to have acquired a few plants today - an astrantia, an aquilegia, a pink and an erysimum. They just jumped into my basket. As they do.

I must pick the windfalls off the lawn, as they are crawling (literally) with slugs.

funnyperson Tue 25-Sep-12 04:18:34

I love topiary. It is one of the things that does look well in my garden. The neat shapes offset the rambling roses and clematis. I find clipping the topiary very restful too. I always think of Sam Gamgee in the Lord of The Rings- you know, the bit where he is outside the window and Gandalf is telling Frodo about the ring and the sound of the shears stops and Gandalf hauls Sam in and he begs to go to see elves. (It is in the book not the film).

I dont know how you all have so much vegetables and fruit. Perhaps it is too much to ask that veg and fruit grow under a north facing oak tree. Not one of the three apple trees have fruited this year. What shall I do to make it more likely that they fruit next year. It could be a lack of bee but this year it was definitely a lack of blossom. Anyway I am mulching more compost round the beds. Just in case it helps. And the birds from the tree are eating the slugs for sure as I don't have any.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 25-Sep-12 10:15:46

funnyperson - we have hardly any fruit in our orchard. I think it was the crap weather. All you need is a storm at the wrong moment for the blossom and you have had it sad. We have bees in the orchard, so it wasn't pollination.

Mulching will help. We have been putting that stuff on to prevent caterpillar damage too (like a glue gun around the tree, we do it in autumn and spring).

We should keep our fingers crossed, other people on this thread have great crops <looks menacingly at Maud>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 25-Sep-12 12:22:03

I only have a great crop of apples, going to waste because they are dropping before I can pick them. All other crops are risible -- that includes both tomatoes--.

MooncupGoddess Tue 25-Sep-12 14:06:11

I have just returned from holiday to find the 30 kale and cabbage plants I ordered in August waiting patiently on my doorstep. I opened the package with my heart in my mouth, but astonishingly they still seem to be alive, if rather yellowed. I've given them a good soaking and planted them into pots - does anyone know when I should plant them out into the garden?

I harvested a tasty 12 tomatoes before going abroad and have another batch coming on nicely, but unless they get some sun they will never finish ripening.

On the plus side the hardy geraniums I bought from Maud a few weeks ago are thriving.

funnyperson Tue 25-Sep-12 18:16:21

Well at least someone has apples. On the radio this morning there was a mention that the apple crop is down by 25% this year.

Maud could you not place a basket strategically under the apple tree then your crop would not go to waste. You could then put the spare apples out by the gate for passing children.

I am in Kent this week, and I am going to take the opportunity to have a look at Sissinghurst, which will be interesting, as I have only seen it before in summer.

Mooncup - I too have a batch of yellowed spring cabbages & broccoli in pots. My winter ones arrived a few weeks earlier (and a lot less yellow) and I planted them out at the weekend when around 6-8in tall. If my yellow ones grow then I'll plant them out at about the same size.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 25-Sep-12 22:22:58

I think dropping into a basket would cause as much damage to the apples as dropping into the garden. I need to get out there with my apple picker, so that they're picked rather than just dropping all over the border and lawn. It doesn't help that dh refuses to eat windfalls, although I have tried to convince him that as long as you check for bruises they're perfectly usable.

I still haven't potted up my miniature plugs of violas and pansies that were free-for-postage with GW magazine.

Lexilicious Fri 28-Sep-12 21:14:30

ok, final reckoning on the tomatoes ... three plants in a trough planter (probably one and a half grow bags equivalent) and I have 350g of ripe / will ripen indoors, plus have already eaten 100-150g, and I have 600g that are resolutely green and will become chutney.

That vegan chap on GW ... wow!!!

My tomato harvest - 2 pale green with tiny pink hints from outside plants & four starting to turn (think they may have been black tom plants) from indoor plants.

Dog ate the two from outside as I didn't put them high enough out of reach.

Four, part ripened tomatoes remaining.

Now...what shall I make? grin

Managed to watch GW for the first time in weeks this evening. Did not help with my tomato envy

funnyperson Fri 28-Sep-12 21:42:55

lexi could I come and make a (purely scientific) inspection of your trough?

Lexilicious Fri 28-Sep-12 21:54:10

yeah sure funny! it is a zinc one from gardentrading I think. Interestingly, these plants were not immune from blight, but I took off any leaves that it appeared on, and also when it started to make a truss go brown, but it was always there on the stems, and yet I still got a reasonable (green) tomato harvest.

Lexilicious Fri 28-Sep-12 21:59:01
ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 28-Sep-12 23:12:51

I must go and check tomorrow on my pitiful abundant crop of tomatoes.

I bought another rose this week. ::shame-faced grin::

I found another tomato! It was hiding behind a leaf. tally...five.

Beat that Maud.

Think I may have harvested the last good crop of beans tonight. Still have courgettes coming though. If the frost holds off anyhow.

funnyperson Sat 29-Sep-12 20:03:47

Your trough is very interesting lexi because smaller and more modern than I had pictured; can I ask, are there drainage holes?

I had the most wonderful Kent apple juice from a farm shop near an orchard yesterday: freshly pressed and chilled. Three varieties: cox: sharp and acid; Ross, medium sweet, and another, I forget the name, which was sweetest of all, and so apple-y it was like Narnia when Reepicheep and the children go East and everything is more real than the real world. I'm not sure I can ever buy Tesco value apple juice at 99 p a carton again.

Phacelia Sat 29-Sep-12 20:26:47

Glad you had so many tomatoes Lexi. In my new house the last owners left some plants so I've been munching them; they have great flavour. I've also been enjoying my first ever cucumber from my last house; I was really blown away by the taste so I'll definitely grow more next year. I think the skin was just so crunchy too which I loved.

I am having a LOT of fun looking at plant catalogues picking things out. I can't yet believe I have my own garden to plant anything I want. I'm going to spend a fortune, but I've been saving all year so I could do this, and actually given how long the plants will last me and how much pleasure I'll get from them I think it's' pretty reasonable.

Moon, I had lots of kale and cabbages which I forgot to put out with my house move and they all went yellow and died. I'm so sad! But I have lots of pigeons round about and no netting so I think they would have been chomped anyway.

Lexilicious Sun 30-Sep-12 08:43:54

Definitely got drainage funny, I am fairly sure it came like that - intended as a planting trough not a trough-coverer IYSWIM? There should be a pic of it somewhere on my fb, will draw your attention there if there is.

I am cowering in bed with a snivelly cold today but intending to wrap up warm and do important jobs in the garden... Water butt maintenance, bulb planting, Monarda/astilbe dividing, brassica tending. DH might continue the decking-cleaning job he took over from me. He wants to do it 'properly' <sigh>.

Front garden is out of control again. Bloody creeping buttercup. I need to get a strategy for that patch (and a weeding schedule) otherwise it is just going to look permanently shit, worse than when it was tufty grass that the neighbourhood cats crapped in. The back garden is miraculously weed free (well, it gets the usual wind-blown annual weeds) until I saw yesterday high in the hedge a strand of bindweed, argh.

Bought a tray of 8 cyclamen yesterday at Costco for £10. Will put some underneath the acer on the rockery, and some along my 'pink border' to the front door.

funnyperson Mon 01-Oct-12 19:55:34

Weeded the front garden (tore up weeds and long yellow grass) hackedpruned the buddlea. Have saved long woody buddleia stems for supports for raspberries. Will plant magnolia stellata, camellia, rhodedendron, clematis, wallflowers, olympic roses, lavender, applemint.
Have had all the above in pots in the porch since the spring, but am aiming for a perennially pretty front garden.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Oct-12 20:50:09

Ugh. Bindweed. I spotted some growing up the apple tree, intertwined with the clematis jackmanii. I hope the paint-on glysophate had time to work before the rain started.

I have replanted one window box and must say it looks gawjus.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 01-Oct-12 21:54:03

Bindweed is a terrible blight on our garden. It was rampant when we moved in, that is why we sprayed over the course of one summer and autumn until it looked clear. It was not ACTUALLY clear of course! We have to be vigilant all the time. Only realised the other day it has grown right up to the top of the holly in the front garden.

Just done bulb order for the 12 large terracotta pots we have on the driveway. We are going to plant aliums and tulips in the hope of getting some colour from the windows (hardly any of the windows look out on the garden, probably due to the house being v old and the prevailing wind coming from that direction. They must have been less concerned with view and more concerned with keeping warm..). Spring Green and Christoffii (sp?). I am rather looking forward to planting them. We have got lovely soil from stacking turf a year or so ago. This feels like proper gardening grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 01-Oct-12 22:03:39

Yes, it's the constant vigilance that's hard to maintain. The moment one's back is turned, it sneaks back in.

Spring Green is a very lovely tulip and I love the effect of the same tulip repeated in rows of terracotta pots. Wonderful Carol did it at her garden on GW. I remember the envy.

funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 07:08:57

Yes, soil seems to be what proper gardeners manage to improve. Monty and his vegan friend were getting all technical about it. I must admit to not having a compost heap. All the cuttings and leaves go on the beds in the Autumn (which seems to make a difference) and then what is left over (a lot) goes to the council. This is because I am reluctant to have a smelly heap to view from my windows. Its not entirely satisfactory as every autumn I have enough oak leaves to make bags and bags full of leaf mould.

Spring green tulips look beautiful. I am inspired to plant some among the hellebores in the back garden. The colours will be subtle and fresh I think. I am also going to plant loads more anemone appenina in one section under the quince. The banks of Magdalen college Oxford are so beautiful with them in the spring. Though they also have fritillaria which are a very pretty delicate plant which doesn't seem to thrive in my garden.

PigletJohn Tue 02-Oct-12 07:19:14

smelly heap?

MooncupGoddess Tue 02-Oct-12 13:42:12

Compost heaps shouldn't be smelly! If they are smelly or slimey they probably haven't had enough air get to them, like the compost bin I inherited on moving house last year. After a year of patient stirring and feeding it is finally producing some lovely crumbly compost. I am very proud.

I am very grateful to the garden waste recycling scheme though as prunings take years to break down. My garden is pretty small and I have still generated enough garden waste to fill the green bag almost every week for the last few months.

Lexilicious Tue 02-Oct-12 13:57:15

I have two compost daleks and a leafmould basket in a 1m wide 'alley' between the back fence and shed. They are not visible from the house and do not smell. They may harbour nice rodents (bank voles) because of being warm but we are religious about only raw veg food waste going in there. Anything cooked or non-veg goes in the council composting bin with the cardboard and heavy prunings.

When I have a big garden (one day...!) I will have big square compost bays that you can get the lawnmower in to chew up big bits like Monty does or freestanding compost tumblers all in a row like a bizarre horticultural fruit machine, and I will have a multi-grading shredder to make wood chips and cut up the prunings.


funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 20:41:50

Shudder at the thought of creating a warm place for rodents. Want to avoid that. Totally.

My ideal compost heap is leaf mould plus grass clippings plus used potting compost plus worms turning into crumbly compost within 3 months. Does anyone know how to achieve this?

I'm interested in the 'feeding'- is that with some special compost maker mixture eg vitax compost maker? Do the worms simply arrive or does one add them in?

I am considering this

funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 20:43:46
Lexilicious Tue 02-Oct-12 21:00:21

Leaves and grass and spent compost won't work. You need stuff that is actively decomposing, a mix of green (leaves) and brown (twigs) material. Leaf mould isn't the same as compost, it's leaves broken down by bacteria. Compost is raw vegetable matter chewed and excreted by worms. They won't be much interested in spent compost but a bit of it can keep a heap well structured.

And you know, there are rodents and rodents... I have reached an equilibrium (as has my ecosystem).

Lexilicious Tue 02-Oct-12 21:06:02
funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 22:11:33

So do you have to add the worms in?

funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 22:18:59
funnyperson Tue 02-Oct-12 22:20:34
echt Wed 03-Oct-12 07:57:42

When in the UK, we had a composting dalek, and the worms turned up, rather in the spirit of "Field of Dreams" - if you build it, they will come.

Here in Oz, and working with the sandiest soil imaginable, we did purchase worms and they do very well, though have to be positioned so as not to catch the sun or they cook. The worms have trouble keeping up with the amount of stuff we give them, because our meals are made from scratch for the most part. I'm campaigning for a second wormery, but DH is hmm

The same sandy soil in the back garden has now been de-couchgrassed (ha ha) and awaits the turf tomorrow. Then we'll wait for the desire lines to establish themselves in the lawn, and put in stepping stones as per. I'm a bit excited as, while no lawn nut, can see it'll make the garden look more finished.

By next year I'm sure all the bits that don't take will be transformed into beds.

Lexilicious Wed 03-Oct-12 07:59:24

no, for compost you just let worms find it on their own, as they are the type which are processing decomposing matter in the wild anyway. For a wormery you are making a different sort of product, they can chow down on stuff you wouldn't put in a cool compost heap, so you buy in special worms. Wormery might be a better solution for you actually if you want a neat and discrete thing to produce a concentrated fertiliser. Rather than a big slow heap!

funnyperson Wed 03-Oct-12 23:58:11

Yes I might buy some worms. I want a neat discrete compost. Do you know if bought worms upset the ecological well being and balance of the indigenous worm in any way? I did some digging today (divided all the day lilies) and saw a few worms so I do have them. Though some were probably eaten by the robin who was watching.
echt what are desire lines? I love lawns. Just not the watering/feeding/mowing/scarifying/aerating etc which seems to be a constant for mine.

echt Thu 04-Oct-12 06:16:03

Desire lines are the paths people end up making as they travel the most convenient way to wherever, as opposed to to paths laid down for them.
Our dog has them round certain bits of the raised beds, when he goes on dog patrol, so I plant round his paths, and he's less likely to trample things. You see them in parks and landscaped areas, much to the annoyance of the planners.

One desire line which will end up on the lawn is the one to the washing line, which like every Aussie line I've seen, is hidden from view, but in a sunny part of the yard. I don't actually desire to hang out clothes, but needs must.grin

Anyway the turf is laid, which must have been a killer for the chap because it hit 29 today. I'll be out again as soon as the sun goes down to water again. There's not much rain on the horizon, and though showers are possible, they can't be relied on.

PigletJohn Thu 04-Oct-12 18:48:01

where are you, echt?

I left fox desire lines. I'm not sure it's entirely 'desirable' but it did stop him digging up my flowers in an effort to get under the fence.

My garden is looking decidedly abandoned. I so need to find some time to get out there but it's not going to happen any time soon...

echt Thu 04-Oct-12 21:19:44

I'm in Melbourne, piglet, and waking up to a more manageable 18 degrees today when I'll get my bucket of topsoil and sort out some of the hollows in the new lawn. smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Oct-12 19:11:34

The gaps in my borders are the bloody foxes' desire lines. I have stopped up some more gaps under the fence today and will be planting some spiky things to deter them - I have just acquired a bargain Maid Marian rose and will be moving the loganberries (which I hope can withstand shade as raspberries can).

I have been ill on and off for weeks now and have been feeling quite low. I spent a couple of hours in the garden today and feel so much better. I split some geums that I bought when we went to Hyde Hall (made six plants out of two) and potted on the viola and pansy plugs that unfortunately I had forgotten about and are rather dessicated. Oops. As I felt the sun on the back of my neck, it really lifted my heart.

Oh, and T&M are doing 72 mixed perennial plugs for £4.90 postage. I succumbed.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Oct-12 19:12:25

Oh again. I harvested my tomato crop. One in each hand.

funnyperson Sat 06-Oct-12 20:34:46

Oh maud I am sorry you have been ill . Here is a mug of camomile tea for you brew. I am glad you are feeling better.

I have ordered 3 different types of bamboo for my balcony living foliage screen. I went for the types with yellow canes, green canes and reddish canes in the end because a friend said the black cane bamboo isn't very vigorous. I ordered them from crocus who turned out to have a good selection at reasonable prices!

funnyperson Sat 06-Oct-12 20:38:31

Regarding fox desire lines- this could explain the path lack of turf at the end of the garden, running from one fence where the winter jasmine has clearly been jumped on, to the other side, where the clematis viticella abundance I planted in the spring has grown but (surprise) not flowered.

Bought more japanese anemones, asters, and two types of sedum. Working is not good for me because I spend the money I earn.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 06-Oct-12 20:47:56

glad you are feeling better Maud, although sorry to hear you have been unwell for such a long time.

The garden is looking lovely at the moment. All of the cottage borders are full of colour, albeit mostly verbena bonariensis and rudbekia. The view through the hazel arch is rather nice, lots of dark purple salvia and ferns, with heuchera bordering the path. I was pleased to find that all my salvia and rosemary cuttings have taken and I potted them up today. Bloody finger is not healing (I chopped it last sunday whilst cutting a swede) and it is stopping any work outside. Or any washing up, so not completely annoying grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 06-Oct-12 20:57:22

Funnyperson - I sometimes think that the sole point of my employment is to provide funds for my hobbies, not least of which is gardening!

Thank you, Humphrey, for your kindness.

I also took some cuttings this morning. I seldom bother - I've never yet had cuttings that didn't degenerate into a mouldy mess - but, inspired by Monty, I took cuttings from a rose 'Spring Bride' that was over-topping the fence and trellis and so needed to be chopped back anyway. We'll see how it goes.

My garden's looking better than it did, say, a fortnight ago. Salvia Hot Lips is still going strong, the Japanese anemones are at last in flower and the callicarpa is fabulous -this is its best year yet for its gorgeous magenta berries. The replanted windowboxes are also romping away - especially good combinations are an acid green heuchera with yellow violas and tiny hebes from the 99p Store and heuchera Licorice (a really good purple*) with ivy-leaved cyclamen.

*Thank you, Lexi. grin

MooncupGoddess Sun 07-Oct-12 20:40:43

Sorry to hear you've been ill, Maud.

I have just harvested a whole four tomatoes, and have several more that are very dark green and on the verge of going orange. Unfortunately the slugs seem to be particularly partial to them.

The fuchsias I bought on a whim at Columbia Road flower market a few weeks ago, which spent a couple of weeks hovering between life and death, have now bedded in and are sending up lots of new flower buds. The nemesias I bought at the same time are still flowering enthusiastically, and the kales and cabbages I mentioned above are thriving and I've just cleared a space in the vegetable bed for them.

Three of the Thompson and Morgan foxgloves I planted out have fallen victim to the local cats' desire lines (as I shall now call them), but the other three seem happy and the lavenders are settling in well too. I have had my garden a year now and finally feel I am getting somewhere with it!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 07-Oct-12 20:47:38

That sounds good, Goddess. I love nemesias and always mean to use more of them, but usually then decide not to 'do' bedding. Lantanas likewise.

I would love to go to Colombia Road. Perhaps we should have a meet-up there some time for everyone who's within striking distance of London?

I have done some replanting today. The very vigorous and thorny berry (a loganberry, I think) is now blocking one of the foxes' desire lines and I'll be planting my T&M foxgloves there tomorrow. I have hoicked out a useless hemerocallis and planted my Darcey Bussell rose (she's a very voluptuous deep purply pink) and some heucheras. Some geums and dianthus to plant tomorrow.

chixinthestix Sun 07-Oct-12 22:48:09

Your gardens are all sounding wonderful. I've got a bit fed up with mine lately - it really needs a lot of clearing out, plants dividing etc. to renew it (and me) but have had a nasty cold and painful sinuses which have stopped me doing anything for the last couple of weeks. I think horticultural therapy is what's needed as it seems to have helped you today Maud - hope it continues to work. The wineberry we were given earlier in the year is also vigorous and thorny if you need to add to your thorny thicket - can't vouch for its berry producing properties yet though.

Instead of gardening have been raiding the hedgerows and have now got lots of rosehip jelly and a big vat of blackberry and apple jam to finish off tomorrow. Also a mixing bowl full of green tomatoes to turn into chutney as have given up hope of any ripeness. We have had a little nip of frost here for the last couple of mornings so have to start putting stuff to bed...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 08-Oct-12 13:36:10

Yup. Horticultural therapy works for me, which is why I always feel glum when it's too wet for gardening.

It's pouring down now, so I haven't been able to finish off the planting. At least there's no worry about watering-in!

I already have a Japanese wineberry in the thicket - I was very encouraged by an article in (?) GW magazine saying how delicious the berries are, but no sign of any yet. I also have Rubus Cockburnianus, which is supposed to be like living barbed wire.

funnyperson Mon 08-Oct-12 19:09:19

I saw an amazing hedge of dahlias today -orange ones, very tall and blowsy interspersed with yellow pom pom ones. They have flowered outside a local church for some years and this year they have spread to form a long tall hedge and have quite out-done themselves.

I must say that Monty's Bishop of Landaff dahlias are doing well too and make a superb colour display with his canna lilies.

I had to rescue mine from the slugs and squirrels and they are currently recuperating in the front porch (which is squirrel free) and at least one looks like it might flower later on in the year. But 4/6 designed to cheer up October went to the wretched squirrels.

The rain is good for the rose cuttings.

I am curling up and reading a nice book today.

Jacksmania Mon 08-Oct-12 23:31:16

Help!!!!!! Just been out to water my hydrangea pots and they are infested with whiteflies!!!!!!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 09-Oct-12 09:48:05

Good to see you back here, Jacksmania!

I thought whitefly was mainly an indoor/greenhouse thing, but as ever the dear old RHS has advice here. Could this be hydrangea scale (which I'd never heard of before)?

I'm off to the RHS harvest show later this morning. ::grin::

funnyperson Tue 09-Oct-12 13:15:53

Looks perfectly innocuous to me

I'm with the couple who grew the thing, how is one to know? In any case what does one do to ...ahem....get any effect from this plant? Its a bit like growing aconite is like growing poison. Well yes.. but...

funnyperson Tue 09-Oct-12 13:18:47

In Dorset they have upmarket flower pots.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 09-Oct-12 13:45:33

Ha! That reminds me of when I bought a tiny plant of hellebore foetidus at a fete without really knowing what it was and then spent weeks worrying that the leaves looked like cannabis.

The sarcophagus would make a lovely garden feature, though.

chixinthestix Wed 10-Oct-12 15:41:53

Just got home to find my £5 worth of strawberry and blueberry plants from a GW offer have arrived. They look really nice, shame its too wet to go out and plant them right now! But have got a lovely ground elder free bed to plant them in (hopefully). Just have to keep the chickens off them now.

How was the harvest show Maud? Did you come back laden with bounty?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Oct-12 18:01:48

Oooh. I ordered those. Perhaps mine will arrive soon, too.

The show was lovely but much smaller than I expected. I'm sure in the past it has filled both halls, but this was just in the smaller one. The displays of fruit and veg were awesome - some people clearly have not suffered catastrophic crop failures, or plant so much that even a fraction of their potential crop is more than I produced this year - but I was sorry there weren't more (or in fact any) autumn-flowering plants to see, let alone buy. There was, though, some very tasty food on offer.

I came away with some designer cheese, some chutney for DH's birthday, some broad bean seeds, some chillis and some tomato plants.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 10-Oct-12 19:45:19

Sounds like a fab day Maud. I am rather envy

Went to the county record office today to do some research about the house. Found out some interesting stuff, we are on the map done in 1843 and it shows that the orchard was there then. So is pretty old and very possibly even older than that.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Oct-12 20:34:36

Wow, Humph, that's impressive.

I know I am very lucky to be able to go to the London shows (and even more so in the days when they were monthly events). It's compensation for living in a densely-populated area, comparatively far from any of the gardens.

chixinthestix Wed 10-Oct-12 21:27:25

The show sounds lovely, but I'm intrigued as to what you will do with tomato plants at this time of year. Can you keep them over winter?

My green toms have just been turned into chutney. They were so unripe that they didn't mush down very much so everyone will get lumpy chutney for xmas this year.

Humphrey are the apple trees in your orchard old ones? DH is somewhat obsessed with apple varieties and has been growing various cuttings from old trees he has come across with some success, although not knowing how to graft, they will probably grow up to be giants.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Oct-12 21:29:58

Argh. I was thinking about tomatoes while typing. I bought some strawberry plants with which to replant a hanging basket!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 10-Oct-12 21:39:57

They are some old varieties. Will ask DH where he put the list when he stops watching Grand Designs. Sadly the trees were not in good nick when we took it on and we are losing quite a few. We have been replacing the stock from the moment we came.

chixinthestix Wed 10-Oct-12 21:40:33

Ah and there was me thinking you had some special RHS knowledge about starting next years toms early like sweet peas.... grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 10-Oct-12 21:45:10

Oh I wish!

Lexilicious Thu 11-Oct-12 07:59:39

Wynken did that - started tomatoes really early. An experiment, I think. Might have been in heated soil and greenhouse conditions ... <<WYNKEN KLAXON>> !!

I wanted to go to the show but it seems I had a lucky escape, if there were seed retail opportunities... instead I waited in for three plumbers and two handymen, of which I actually got two plumbers and a cowboy.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 11-Oct-12 09:31:35

A propos tomatoes .... There's a tip in GW magazine, if you have plants with lots of unripe fruit. Lay the plant along the soil and cover it with a cloche and then the fruit should ripen.

<<Arf>> but also commiserations at Lexi's two plumbers and a cowboy.

funnyperson Thu 11-Oct-12 20:08:29

My olympic rose bushes arrived today! I am really pleased. I feel I will have a little bit of gardening history, if they survive the winter in the garden

funnyperson Thu 11-Oct-12 20:15:14

The apple orchard sounds nice. It would be very interesting to read the list of varieties. I am impressed your dh knows what all the varieties are, Humphrey Can you tell which are the oldest trees? Are they pruned/trained in any particular way? I have been training my fruit trees into a) stepover and b) fan
Which is probably why they haven't fruited because otherwise they would just grow towards the light and flower and fruit. So I'm not sure whether to give up on the fan and just let it be.
Some amazing apple orchards in Kent btw.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Oct-12 20:37:30

We took the apples to an identification day - that is the only reason we know. We pitched up with a carrier bag full and a grid reference. The bloke was amazing and could do the majority. The rest we picked better specimens and kept in a fridge next year.

Worcester Pearmain, Autumn Pearmain, Blenheim Orange, Keswick Codlin, Tom Putt, Crimson Bramley, Newton Wonder, Edward VII, Golden Delicious (prob the remains of the original root stock), and we have planted Ashmead's Kernel, Monmouth Green and another local variety DH can't remember. Also a cox's orange pippin.

There are old cherry trees, a few pear and lots of damson too. We have also put in a Doyenne de Comice Pear, a Walnut and a Victoria Plum.

The trees were mostly on large root stock and we have tried to prune and fertilise them. We have a bee hive that we are a bit shit at looking after and we are hoping to pass them on to someone else who knows what they are doing, we are happy just to have the bees in order to pollinate. The previous owner used to keep a thousand chickens in the orchard shock and the manure they generated must have been very good for the trees.

One of the nicest things about the orchard is the fact that there is wild mint growing there, it is everywhere this year. Unfortunately so are the nettles this year as we have not had it grazed.

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Thu 11-Oct-12 22:20:47

Ooh. Tell me about the stepovers, Funnyperson. Did you start with an ordinary tree and train it yourself? I fancy having a stepover or two on the allotment, because I fear the time is coming when we may have to take one of the trees out of the garden, as if it gets much bigger it will endanger the fence. Which isn't ours.

We had our other tree identified at an apple day at Brogdale. It turned out to be Jonagold - offspring of Golden Delicious - which explains why we don't much like the fruit.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 11-Oct-12 22:25:21

We have got a couple of cherries we are attempting to fan train against the wall. The bloody slugs got them big time angry

funnyperson Thu 11-Oct-12 22:39:30

Pearmain. Yum. Had some ice cold delicious Pearmain juice in Kent. Keswick Codlin sounds amazing. I have an old National trust book of Elizabethan desserts with a codlin recipe in. That person knowing the apples by the look and the grid reference is astonishing. I hope he/she passes the skill on. Here is an interesting list of apples

It is possible your Orchard goes back even further than the 19th century. The smell of apples and mint growing together must be enchanting on a late summer day.

Maud I ordered the trees for the stepover from a specialist nursery which I found by searching on the internet. I would have to dig to let you know which one. They are of a dwarf rootstock and came about 18 ins high. So far they haven't branched. One of the books I read said you could bend over the top but as the trees I have are so little I'm not going to do that but will train the side branches and prune the top accordingly.

funnyperson Thu 11-Oct-12 22:48:35

I'm not sure walls are good for trees to fan out on. OK if its a south facing really sunny wall but otherwise the wall just increases the potential for damp/slugs/shade/ no?

I went to an apple day at Hughenden Manor once: had a wonderful time. They have fans in that walled garden.

funnyperson Thu 11-Oct-12 22:50:16
chixinthestix Thu 11-Oct-12 22:55:51

Humphrey the orchard sounds amazing. DH's verdict was that someone must have planned it well because of the mixture of varieties and ripening times (he's learnt what he knows from hobnobbing with appley types like your expert). We have Tom Putt too and I really like the apples to cook with. When the tree bigger DH is hoping to use them for cider but its only 6ft high atm.

Lexilicious Fri 12-Oct-12 09:33:56

what a coincidence funny - I was at Hughenden just yesterday! Didn't have time to walk around the grounds, or indeed the walled garden, but it looks lovely. excellent restaurant too.

funnyperson Fri 12-Oct-12 10:43:17

Family adventure day there this Saturday- your little fellow might enjoy it, if its not raining.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 12-Oct-12 22:45:23

I knew I wanted to buy it the minute I walked through the orchard. I hadn't even seen inside the house at that point, I just didn't care what the house was like inside when there were all these lovely trees about grin It was a large apple/pear producing area historically, so it is quite possible the orchard has been here for a lot longer.

The wall is south facing, and to be honest we really need something to grow on it as it is where most of our windows look out on. The wisteria died, so we planted a new one, but I am not holding my breath! Still the bulb order for the pots should arrive soon so that may be some green to enliven the view.

That list of apples is enchanting funnyperson. The names are so evocative. Makes me want to rush out and plant the lot, just so I could say the names. And eat the apples.

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Fri 12-Oct-12 23:03:08

The fun day at Hughenden sounds lovely - I've long wanted to go there - but too far for us, alas.

Chix - Are you also a member of the orchard-owning classes or is your dh's interest in apples his version of train-spotting?

We have one of those 3-in-1 grafted trees and I should have taken some of the apples to the RHS show, because I have forgotten what the third variety is.

chixinthestix Fri 12-Oct-12 23:05:26

DCs picked 2 bunches of sweet peas for me this morning! I thought they had gone over but its been so wet I've barely been down the garden to see that they have had another flush of flowers.
Also went to pick up some windfall apples to find that they were just empty skins, completely eaten out by slugs. Yuk.

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Fri 12-Oct-12 23:09:55

I've had that same experience, Chix, when picking up windfalls. Many of them are just half an apple, as they have been eaten by slugs. Gross.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 13-Oct-12 16:54:00

some of the windfalls here have rat teeth marks in them shock

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Sat 13-Oct-12 19:36:39

Oh lawks. I hadn't really thought about rats. Perhaps it's wishful thinking when I say they've been eaten by slugs. ::horror::

HumphreyCobbler Sat 13-Oct-12 19:53:29

I expect yours are slugs - sadly we know we have a rat problem because we have seen them <faints>

we are in the process of dealing with them atm. <faints too>

HumphreyCobbler Sat 13-Oct-12 19:53:56

<faints AGAIN> I mean

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Sat 13-Oct-12 19:57:37

Ugh. Poor you.

::Proffers the potting shed gin, to brace your spirits::

HumphreyCobbler Sat 13-Oct-12 19:59:37

it could be worse, last year we had mice in the house and they climbed up my christmas tree and ATE MY DECORATIONS. Including my lovely aga dried orange and lemon slices.

ComeIntoTheSpookyGardenMaud Sat 13-Oct-12 20:07:20

Good grief!


funnyperson Sun 14-Oct-12 10:22:44

Could the teeth marks be squirrels?
The squirrels here dig up my newly planted bulbs. I see them do it. They are really stupid because bulbs aren't good to eat. They go for any newly dug hole in case its last years acorns (they wish: they ate last years acorns ages ago)

funnyperson Sun 14-Oct-12 10:30:53

There is a green woodpecker in the garden at the moment. Here is a nice website which has birds likely to be found in an English garden. It is useful for ignorant folk like me: I thought all the little birds in my garden were blue tits but now discover they are chaffinches.

That's how we found out we had mice Humphrey - I blamed the children for eating the chocolate decorations off their little tree in the playroom. I didn't believe their cries of, 'It wasn't me...' until I found one part eaten under the sofa. Complete with teeny tiny teeth marks. The mice are coming in again at the moment now it's getting colder; catching about 2 a week in the traps again.

I am determined to spend a few hours in the garden next weekend. The list of jobs to do is immense and it's starting to get to me. Waking in the middle of the night thinking about chopping back the asparagus. I did consider going out with a torch last night to do some night time gardening as I really wasn't sleeping!

Popped a present around to a house yesterday which has a standard wisteria out the front supported on it's own brick frame. It's so huge we were speculating about how old it must be. The trunk is about a foot in diameter. Anyone hazard a guess at how long a wisteria would take to get that big? The brick frame itself I'd say is at least a hundred years old.

I'm actually extremely thankful that our in-car discussion about this wisteria, and whether the strange weedy thing growing in front of our house is actually a wisteria, took place because the girls got out of the car and went to inspect said weedy thing rather than stand by the front door waiting to get in. At that moment a tile fell off the roof and landed in two pieces about 1m away from me right in front of the door. If not for the wisteria I dread to think what would have happened as I have no doubt that at least one of the children would have been hit. Made me shudder a bit. Been looking at roofing companies this evening...

its not it's

I'm tired

HumphreyCobbler Mon 15-Oct-12 12:34:08

shock Bertha. Those near misses are grim.

I gave in today and decided that my pumpkins and squashes are not going to grow any more. So picked any that were bigger than a golf ball. Had quite a collection. It was like harvest festival in miniature grin. Had some of the mini squashes tonight for tea and they were very lovely.

PigletJohn Mon 15-Oct-12 22:46:47

I kniow a wisteria that is at least 58 years old but less than 107 years, and the trunk is between four and six inches thick (though there are several trunks of that size intertwined). It has been trained round the house and the furthest point was about 18 metres from the origin before part of it fell down and was cut back.

It put on an enormous growth spurt one year we had a water main leaking underground.