…if winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 2014 beckons us...

(997 Posts)
echt Fri 27-Dec-13 10:37:07

Okay, so the height of summer is yet to scorch the nethers of those in this wide brown land of Orstrylia, but welcome to the MNettie gardeners of the world. Prop up your sagging fences, evict the rats from your decking, and find a use for that poinsettia.

Castlelough Fri 27-Dec-13 11:03:17

<Pulls up weathered deckchair>
<Puts kettle on>
<Retrieves very amateur and faded garden plans and begins to examine afresh>
<Hopes somebody knows about roses>

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 27-Dec-13 11:40:48

Oh, this is lovely!

::feels optimism about the new year's garden::

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 27-Dec-13 12:36:28

Excellent <gets comfy > smile

My lovely neighbour gave me a garden voucher. I've bought Clematis freckles and a Callicarpa taking advantage of half price sake down the road. DH is in my very good books with my garden related Presents.

Castlelough, Funnyperson does well with rose cuttings I think so am sure she'll be along soon. Personally I'd try digging up now whilst dormant and try a load of hardwood cuttings.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 27-Dec-13 12:38:23

OOH - I'm in. I teach gardening for a living so am happy to be prodded if necessary. Strictly organic though so don't ask me about chemicals.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 27-Dec-13 13:22:20

Welcome, Ribena!

Rhubarbgarden Fri 27-Dec-13 18:01:06


I feel a bit twitchy about starting on here without finishing the other one though. It's like opening the Weetabix when you haven't finished the Raisin Wheats. <OCD tendencies surfacing>

Rhubarbgarden Fri 27-Dec-13 18:01:24

Hello Ribena!

Lexilicious Fri 27-Dec-13 18:30:36

Checking in!

echt Fri 27-Dec-13 19:41:30

Thinking of poinsettias, someone bought one for me this Christmas. I'm not fond of them but will pot it on outside. It should go daft and leggy and revert to the red leaves in our winter, a nice spot of colour. And just in time for Christmas in July, a pretty popular celebration.

<settles in with a blackberry vodka>
<nice title>

Hi Ribena.

Almost got the veg plot planner out today to think about next year's planting. Also, whilst lying awake last night hoping the house wasn't going to get blown away again I have the beginnings of an idea for a bean/pea igloo in the DD's play area.

Previous potting shed thread here

funnyperson Sun 29-Dec-13 00:13:53

<drags in adirondack chair which needs painting>
Hello Castlenough!
Regarding rose cuttings, I cant help but feel they may not take at this time of year: spring and autumn and even summer are good times for cuttings due to light and warmth as at the moment plants are relatively dormant and not in growing mood. So the notion of pruning your grandfather's rose and digging it up to transplant seems a better one at this time of year.
That said, if you are cutting the rose back, you may as well plant up some cuttings. Put in 5-6 cuttings per pot round the edge of the pot and label and date the label. (this is important as rose cuttings don't flower for at least a year or two: I have some Olympic rose cuttings to give to maud but have forgotten which is which). Cut off the hips and any yellow leaves. Each cutting should be 6-8 ins long, with at least 4-5 nodes and I try and make sure 2 nodes are below the soil.
Do use that rhizomatous fungi stuff to encourage the cuttings to root, and this time of year perhaps put the pot in a greenhouse or growhouse.

funnyperson Sun 29-Dec-13 00:20:47

Have just realised ribena isnt a refreshment (very tiring end of week at work, sorry).
What do you think about rose cuttings this time of year, Ribena?
Also, should I prune back my clematis Polish spirit now? Most of the leaves have died back. It didn't flower this year (its 1st spring in the garden)

What are the dates of your open garden going to be humphrey? I do so want to come and visit! How is the baby?

Castlelough Sun 29-Dec-13 00:27:41

funnyperson would the roots be very deep on a such an old rose bush? Would I need to bring DH?!!!

funnyperson Sun 29-Dec-13 04:22:56

Hmm...yes to both I think. A while ago my mum's gardener dug deep to one side of an old rambler in her garden, so that the roots were exposed quite far down on that side, and chopped off a goodly bit of plant with root attached, which I transplanted, and it thrives to this very day. That might work for you.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 29-Dec-13 08:35:47

Also found this on rose cuttings. Looks like my Mum's house is being sold and there are a few roses I'd like to try and get cuttings from.

There's also a low sprawling conifer that my Aunt gave her in her old house and she took cuttings of. I'm not very keen on it but feel I should try , any advice ?

Don't know about your clematis FP but I suspect it's best to wait a bit in case the pruning stimulates new growth that gets hit by the cold when it comes.

Anyone off to any of the RHS shows this year ? Friend and I booked tickets for Chelsea when released as we enjoyed this year's visit so much.

Castlelough Sun 29-Dec-13 18:00:29

Thanks Wynken are you going to try that method?
I wonder about the humidity? We've no humidity to take into consideration, will that make any difference, I wonder...
Might try this with some of the cuttings and try the traditional way with the other cuttings....am nervous of all my cuttings failing! Would be happy with even ONE healthy rose cutting to grow on!

Think I will abandon the digging up of the rose bush. We had a bit of drama when we went to my grandparents house yesterday. Discovered the house had been all boarded up. Apparently drug addicts broke in and had been squatting in the house and dealing drugs. The long and the short of it is that I'm not sure it would be safe to dig in the garden now...high chance of syringes etc

Will have to rely on the cuttings, I think... there are/were fabulous hydrangeas in the front garden. I wonder if it is easy to take cuttings from those?!

funnyperson Mon 30-Dec-13 06:45:11
Castlelough Tue 31-Dec-13 18:51:55

Thanks funnyperson. I've now realised the piece of hydrangea I brought home is completely unsuitable!

BUT.... I've 18 of my Grandad's rose cuttings transplanted into pots. He died on this day 44 years ago!

AND.... 14 laurel bay seedlings transplanted into individual pots.
They all came together in the one pot from the garden centre. I am going to try to grow them on as standard trees.

Have googled how to do it, but I wonder how long it will take/ how tall they will grow each year? They are about a foot high at the moment. Hoping to have some smaller kitchen counter top ones, and some nice tall ones to flank patio doors etc and a few to give as presents...

Feeling pleased with my efforts today!

notsodarlingdaughtersmum Wed 01-Jan-14 11:35:05

Brilliant rose efforts!

Happy New Year everyone! smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Jan-14 19:12:44

Happy New Year!

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 01-Jan-14 20:07:24

I have the beginnings of an idea for a bean/pea igloo in the DD's play area.

Have you thought about a Munty frame?


Roses - you can take cuttings now if you are cutting them back; stick the trimmings which are cut to 3 buds, cut diagonally below a bud and straight across the top of a bud and stick them 2 buds deep into a nursery bed.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 01-Jan-14 20:13:29

That frame looks interesting, Ribena.

mousmous Thu 02-Jan-14 16:57:10

checking in.
we had nice weather for once today, but only thing I did was checking if neighbours fence is still ok (they are away) and pouring all the rainwater out of the flower pots.
the lawn is a proper mud bath!

mousmous Thu 02-Jan-14 17:05:48

interesting reading about roses and hydragenas. thank you.

Ribena - that looks a bit like my idea but with sides. I can't plant directly in the ground there though so will have to look at pot configurations.

funnyperson Thu 02-Jan-14 18:38:37

That frame is beautiifully made.

Ribena - that looks a bit like my idea but with sides. I can't plant directly in the ground there though so will have to look at pot configurations.

Oh, I'm repeating myself!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 02-Jan-14 19:25:14

Lovely frame. I can only build a wigwam as lose patience with anything else.

Well done Castlelough, what a lovely way to commemorate your Grandad. I am sadly lacking in the rose cutting stakes as have turned into a one woman removal company and am knackered. Nightmare about the house, I'm twitchy about Mum's being empty.

funnyperson Thu 02-Jan-14 20:37:46

Oh I've been on the phone chatting, and Wynken got to the end of the other thread! Happy new year to this one!
Empty houses are tricky. Also not earning their keep so to speak. But the work required to let them out can be horrendous even if one lets to students. Nevertheless I recommend letting. The house next door to me was empty for 17 years and twas terrifying the way the local drug dealers knew that their garden was a good trysting place and now the owners have come back they still cant get rid of them and have to keep calling the police out. Whereas on the other side the house got let out and the owners have had a nice little income all these years and I a variety of interesting neighbours. I'll never forget the Japanese deputy ambassador's wife who was an amazing gardener. She would spend hours looking at a tree, then carefully lop off a branch at a certain angle, then plant a single red begonia in a perfect place so as to show off both the tree and the begonia. Quite remarkable. We now have meerkat solar lamps in the same place. Very different. As I quite like meerkats I don't mind.

Bumbez Thu 02-Jan-14 22:47:18

Ooh new thread <gets comfy>

Waves to ribena.

Thanks for the greenhouse recommendations funny, Gabriel Ash look lovely but a bit out of my budget.

The peacock you are planning sounds wonderful funny, you must post some pictures. On the subject of pictures wouldn't it be easier if mumsnet let us post pictures on gardening threads - they've added that feature on 'chat' now and I believe you can on the cooking threads rubbish cook hardly ever go there I've finally put some pictures on the Facebook page of Heligan gardens anyway.

Was lovely here today but no gardening, to be honest it's a bit swampy. Took the dog out instead.

Is it too late to prune apple trees does any one know?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 02-Jan-14 23:04:38

Hi Bumbez. I think it's still ok to prune apple trees as the sap won't be moving for weeks yet. I was thinking earlier that I must get someone round to sort out ours.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 03-Jan-14 00:23:25

Oh hurrah we reached the end of the old thread! I can finally stop hovering in the doorway <pulls up upturned plant pot and gets comfy>. Home made damson gin anyone? Not made by me don't worry a friend left it behind on new year's eve.

Funny your peacock sounds fab. I want to see photos.

Apple pruning can be done any time through the winter whilst the trees are dormant. Will it ever stop raining though?! I have SO much to do out there and it is all just a complete quagmire. It has underlined how much we need paths in the garden. Walking across the lawn to the compost heap constantly is turning it into a mud bath.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 03-Jan-14 00:25:30

Oh, re cost of gardeners - I'm £15 an hour. That's with horticultural qualifications and Kew internship. Bargain, no? smile

funnyperson Fri 03-Jan-14 01:17:28

Oh goodness, just got woken up by one of the returning DC. Luckily I had cooked supper beforehand.

The thing with photos is that having been used to one of those manual canon slr zoom lens thingys where you fiddle with apertures and exposures and come out with serious stuff, I am no good at the point and snap technique and don't know how to upload the fuzzy pictures off my 3 pixel cheapo phone anyway. Both the DC have iphones. The last time I looked there was a smartphone with a canon lens which, if I continue with my new years resolution of spending my money on me, I might get one and then I will take pictures. Rhubarb your garden pictures always look good, what sort of cameraphone do you have?

echt Fri 03-Jan-14 04:36:51

Today I planted hops, for no other reason than to decorate a first floor balcony. It will look pretty and give some cover. A bit late in the season, but then we're not gathering the fruits.

I'm beadily eyeing a crepe myrtle approaching its third year in the ground without flower. It flowered twice in the pot after savage pruning. If it doesn't cooperate it'll be in the shredder and in will go a bottle tree, brachytriton rupestris, which has the virtue of being utterly reliable, if a bit gigantic.

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 03-Jan-14 07:16:01

Yes apple pruning, we do ours here in the midlands at the arse end of January. At the moment we are coppicing hawthorn, cornus and hazel to try and tame a mature hedge for future firewood.

Sowing seeds, you can sow this years onions, and the odd early pepper if you have somewhere warm to keep them.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 03-Jan-14 07:33:54

It's an iPhone, funny

Love those bottle trees, echt

I love the smell of hops.

I am intending to plan the veg plot and planting schedule when I get back from our New Year frolic in the Cotswolds. And make my list of garden projects (big and small) to inspire me to do one or two if them.

I'm happier now the other thread is full, I was feeling a bit 'split' there for a while! <stops popping in and out randomly and settles in with my muddy wellies and waterproofs on>

mousmous Fri 03-Jan-14 08:47:58

how do you drain a plant pot that is water logged?
one of the rose pots is full to the rim with water shock
the pot has got holes.
do I have tu turn it over and poke something through the holes?
is it bad news for the bare root plant?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 03-Jan-14 08:55:12

Waterlogging is never good, but, yes, if you poke a cane or similar through the holes that should help it to drain. Can you stand the pot on bricks?

mousmous Fri 03-Jan-14 09:12:03

did some poking and the pot is on the lawn now to drain.
don't know how long it was like that, hope the rose didn't drown.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 03-Jan-14 10:45:51

Fingers crossed! Roses are pretty tough.

mousmous Fri 03-Jan-14 11:10:03

now I saw another problem, the tipping and poking lifted the rose a little out so that a litle bit of the roots show under the stem.
re-pot? or can I leave it?
photo on my profile.

mousmous Fri 03-Jan-14 11:18:23
ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 03-Jan-14 11:45:06

Excellent news about the photos!

I would be inclined to repot the rose. If the root is showing beneath the stem, that implies that the graft is above soil level and latest advice is that the graft should be an inch (or is it two inches? I can't remember) beneath soil level. Repotting would also give you an opportunity to mix some grit or perlite into the compost to improve drainage and prevent further waterlogging.

funnyperson Fri 03-Jan-14 12:15:38

Photos! Somethig to look forward to!
The ground is seriously waterlogged and my lawn all trampled on. The lady gardener was a bit of a throw-it-in-and-let-them-fight-it-out type, luckily I had stocked up on horticultural grit to put at the bottom of the bulb planting holes and a few went in pots anyway. Never again will I have a gardener though if I can help it, except for seriously difficult jobs like pruning very high shrubs.
At least I did feel I was contributing to the local economy. Sigh. Her husband is going to come and sort out the crumbling front wall for a reasonable price. Sigh. More contributions to the local economy. Churchill and his family built the brick wall at Chartwell themselves one summer when they were hard up and I always feel totally inadequate by comparison. Chartwell is said to have lovely roses but I've never been there when they are in bloom.
I agree with Maud, repot the rose Mousmous.

Bumbez Fri 03-Jan-14 15:28:29

Thanks for the pruning advice, now Christmas is out the way I'm rearing to go - just need it to stop with the wild weather!

Dh at some point this weekend and I are planning to mark out a greenhouse space, I think we're going for an 8 by 10 in toughened glass.

Brilliant re the photos. My iPhone is really old and takes ok pictures. I believe Samsung is meant to be good and a fraction of the price compared to an iPhone 5.

Onefewernow Fri 03-Jan-14 15:33:37

I'm so impressed at you lot still gardening. I'm a bit if a fair weather type myself, albeit annually reliable.

Although I did plant bulbs, an apple and some 'Joan' raspberries in November.

Then came indoors to read instead.

So I'm very impressed.

funnyperson Sat 04-Jan-14 11:14:12

Onefewernow You were organised and timely and I had fractured ribs in November.
What about all your pots and those winter jobs you put in that list on the other thread? Could you not interrupt the good book to do that stuff?
Now the bulbs are planted I'm leaving the back well alone till February.

At the front I have a problem because the house is on a hill, so the rain tends to wash soil down the hill. Do people think an old fashioned rockery or else putting down a top layer of gravel would help drainage? I need to reduce the tendency for the topsoil to wash away and water to accumulate in the lower regions of the front flower bed, which has led in the past to the retaining wall leaning over.

I'm with Onefewernow, a good book is the best option. This is mainly due to the fact that the water is up to my ankles out there and I have to wade across the lawn to get to the chickens! A good book, cup of tea and some planning for Spring gets my vote smile

Funny - have you looked at that stuff you can put down which is like a web which creates 'pockets' that the soil can't wash out of? They use it for creating banks and the like for planting or for grass roofs etc. No idea what it's called or how much it costs mind.

Onefewernow Sat 04-Jan-14 16:04:46

Funny, those comments on the other thread are my suggestions for those lucky enough to have a gardener to get cold for them!

I would like those things done too. But not by me, in this weather!

I'm on a steep hill as well, by the way. The back garden is above the house. When we moved in the retaining wall was very wet, so we had to drain it with pipes, which releases pressure.

When we can afford it we plan to terrace it properly, which won't be cheap (DH disabled and no gardening skills either).

I've also read that some plants help to retain soil- I imagine ones which root near the surface?

Related to hills, I've found this garden hotter in summer and colder and windier in winter than others, presumably the effect of the slope.

Onefewernow Sat 04-Jan-14 16:14:11

Ps Funny I think you have a point about the difficulty of good gardeners.

I would love one for help with heavy work, but gardeners with horticultural skills are quite tricky to find. One I had removed all the topsoil when creating a small lawn on clay once, and after three soggy years we dug it up.

Seriously, I really would keep anyone good over a slow period these days, if I had a choice. I learned it very much the hard way, when I let go a fantastic nanny whilst I was on maternity leave in the past, to save money, and then had to deal with three shitty ones in a row when I went back to work later. There were tears over that bad decision, believe me.

funnyperson Sat 04-Jan-14 16:40:53

one fewer dont worry about the gardener- you sound like a fine gardener yourself. Curling up with a good book in this weather is the sensible thing to do.
Can you please explain a bit more about the draining pipes?

Onefewernow Sat 04-Jan-14 23:24:45


We have a back parking and patio space behind the house. Behind that are some steps up to a garden. The garden is 50-60 ft and slopes about 4 feet up from bottom to top.

The steps leading up to it are in the form of half a dozen steps on the left, a straight path bit and more steps on the right. The straight bit is backed by a retaining wall, I assume of breeze block. Some fool rendered it and painted it cream. It did look very "naice", in a naice ham sort of way.

But then the winter after we moved in, the render fell off.

So our builder drilled two inch holes all along it and put plastic pipes in to drain it. On the other side of it, we dug down and put grit.

We haven't re rendered it as we are waiting to see what happens.

If the water can get out the pressure reduces. John Brooke's us good on this ( look at boring bits at the back of his design books).

funnyperson Sun 05-Jan-14 10:48:15

Thanks for the grit idea- I mentioned it to the chap and he said he would put a layer of gravel behind the rebuilt wall to help with soil drainage- it is a common practice apparently.
I retrieved my John Brookes book from the bottom of the pile on the bedside cabinet - he mentions bituminous felt- do you (or anyone else) know what that is and whether it is useful for walls and where to put it? He also says that a layer of horizontal slates between the topper bricks and the rest of the wall can act as damp proofing. That could be very attractive.

mousmous Sun 05-Jan-14 13:53:36

finally was outside today.
in the sunshine, can you believe it!

rose is repottet, it has lots of little buds so all is well (I think). also had a go at the hydragenas, thanks for the links.
fox damage is quite bad, but have given up for now. we will have to see if we have to lay new turf in spring. but maybe at least the fox ate all of the june bug grubs.

Bearleigh Sun 05-Jan-14 15:02:04

We went to Nymans today; the first time I've been for ages. It was lovely, as there has been a lot of new planting, including a winter walk with lots of plants with interesting stems (the white-stemmed bramble looked great, and had grown so fast it was waving around on the path). I really love Nymans in the spring when the walled garden and magnolias are gorgeous, and in summer for the Jekyll border, but it seems that at last they are looking after the rest of it.

I think there are a number of us on the thread who are within reach of it - I recommend a visit!

Rhubarbgarden Sun 05-Jan-14 15:13:13

Oh I love Nymans! I didn't know they have a winter border. I shall get myself up there at the next opportunity. I was fancying a garden visit today actually - was thinking Wakehurst Place - but I've got a stinking cold and didn't galvanise everyone in time. Now it's raining again. Again. But I did at least get the Christmas tree chopped up for kindling and a bit of soggy weeding done before it started.

Bearleigh Sun 05-Jan-14 15:17:15

They had a Christmas Trail too rhubarb, for children, which lots of little ones seemed to be enjoying; sadly though it ends today. But they do seem to have a lot of children's and other activities planned. The National Trust is so much more family oriented these days.

Onefewernow Sun 05-Jan-14 19:04:40

The slate sounds good. Pretty sure the felt is what you have on top of the average shed. I don't know how effective it is.

I do think there needs to be weep holes of some sort in your wall, if not pipes of some sort. Even if it just means knocking out the odd stone and replacing with a smaller one?

The weight of the water building up is what causes the leaning. The felt can keep the wall drier but the water still has to get out, or it will knock the wall over eventually, won't it?

Actually you might have helped with my problem- I havnt replaced the render with anything else in case it fell off again. I might be able to if I used felt as well- the pipes carrying the water and the felt behind the grit to keep the wall actually dry.

It's a lot work and a pain in the **.

Just had a look at Nymans website, might be worth a visit as within an ok drive from us. Can anyone tell me how big the woodland bit is? We can take the dog in that bit, so, if it's big enough to tire her out we could then pop her back in the car while we roam the gardens and everyone would be happy.

You had sunshine Mousmous? Nothing but rain, rain and more rain here.

Back to work tomorrow, feeling sad

Bearleigh Mon 06-Jan-14 20:57:54

Bertha the woodland bit is big. There's a lovely walk meandering down a hill to a lake, and another bit which is full of bluebells that joins on to it. I used to take our Weimaraner when we had him and he got pretty tired, so it's pretty big.

Thank you Bearleigh. Will give it a go.

funnyperson Wed 08-Jan-14 08:19:04

I saw an unexpected fuschia magellanica in flower yesterday. Very nice.

echt Wed 08-Jan-14 11:30:27

Just googled some pics for Nymans and and am envy.

A sort of summer has arrived at last here in Melbourne, and, as I predicted, the oca and tomatoes are fighting it out in the veggie bed. I told DH this would happen if he put them together, but would he listen? Put lots of sheep manure on the bamboo and rhubarb, so they'll be happy.

Tomorrow I'm re-potting the last of the agave attenuata, a sad rubber plant I've picked up, and the poinsettia, just for laughs.

The crucifix orchids have gone mad, so I need to pick off the aerial rooting shoots and put them in some bark. They are my favourites, each bloom lasts about ten weeks at least, and they can take a dry spell with aplomb. Each bloom is on a stem of about two feet, and they wobble gracefully outside the long window I'm sitting near now.

Bumbez Wed 08-Jan-14 12:25:48

Agree Nymans does look lovely, and it isn't too far from me so must visit.

I'm envy at your summer etch.

I finally googled occa - they aren't what I thought - a green bean favoured in Asian cooking, thick emoticon!

I've just ordered raspberry canes, and a few seeds, and am pondering whether to brave the swampy back garden and go and do some stuff.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 08-Jan-14 17:41:37

We should have an MN meet up at Nymans then! Sorry Echt... But you do have some summer to console yourself with.

I finished weeding the border around the drive today. I was going to plant all the remaining Allium bulbs in there but opened up the box to find they'd all gone mouldy except the neapolitanum. Bugger.

I have decided to keep the remaining Ceanothus and buy a second to replace one of the ones that blew over. Only one though - I think three was too many and I also want to plant some Clematis 'Freckles' in there so that there is something going on in winter. I just need to identify which variety of Ceanothus it is. It's flowering now, so I thought that would help, but looking in my trusty RHS A to Z of plants, Ceanothus either flower in the autumn or in spring/summer. Hmm. I popped down to the garden centre to have a look at the ones there; they had five varieties and three of them were flowering. Something weird going on in Ceanothus world, clearly. I think I'll have to photo the flowers and leaves and email the RHS helpline.

I bought grit and composted manure while I was at the garden centre, so next time I get chance to do something I will mulch the lavender and roses accordingly.

Oh and we have snowdrops flowering!

Bearleigh Wed 08-Jan-14 20:52:22

I would be up for a meet at Nymans. Are you going to take Ceanothus cuttings Rhubarb?

Yep oca and okra are very different things Bumbez. Oca are beautiful and can't recommend them enough for the veg plot. I blame Wynken entirely for sending me those first few tubers. I have converted everyone i have fed them to considering a small oca farm I need to dig the rest of mine up, current weather has confined me to the house and I'm getting behind. Worrying they'll be rotting in the water logged ground.

Rhubarb, I don't think my snowdrops are even peeking up yet. Are yours in grass or in a bed/pot?

funnyperson Thu 09-Jan-14 21:46:25

Snowdrops already!

Am I the only one who wants a greenhouse, pond, veg patch, shrubs, herbs, ferns and of course stumpery with chantarelle mushrooms, after watching the great British Garden Revival?

Nope Funny - me too. I have listed my needs to DH. He may allow some ferns and a mushroom log. smile

Rhubarbgarden Thu 09-Jan-14 22:05:21

I have no greenhouse yet and no suitable windowsill, so cuttings not really an option unfortunately.

Snowdrops are in a south facing border. There aren't many, sadly. They remind me of the last house, where we had swathes of them. The squirrels used to move them around so every year they would pop up in new and unexpected locations.

Funny I want all of those things. I've been after a stumpery for years; started making one at the last house but didn't get very far. I know exactly where I'd like to make one here, we have a perfect dark, damp, north facing bit. It's probably the last part of the garden that I'll do though so we're looking at twenty years at least

Rhubarbgarden Thu 09-Jan-14 22:13:06

Thinking of the squirrels up in London, we had an albino one living in the garden. He first appeared as a small runty juvenile, and I thought 'he won't last long'. But he grew up to become big and feisty and king of the squirrels, beating the crap out of any other who crossed his path. He lived in a huge sycamore at the bottom of the garden and made regular trips to my veg patch, where he'd sit and glare at me with his wild red eyes. I miss him. I hope he's still going strong.

Bumbez Thu 09-Jan-14 22:44:28

Yay to Nymans meet up something to look forward to smile

What channel was the garden revival on I missed it?

Laughing at the albino squirrel grin we have a blackbird with white splodges on him, I first thought he'd been shat on, but 2 months on splodges are still there.

echt Fri 10-Jan-14 02:23:51

When I lived in London, there was an albino squirrel in Ruskin Park. I used to feed them nuts. The idea of feeding a possum now makes me larf.

Well it's 30 outside today, so I've put umbrellas over the rainbow chard and rhubarb, as they wilt something shocking. We've grubbed up and DH has blanched most of it for the freezer. As is often the case, it's quite windy, the heat having been brought in from the big dry brown bit in most the middle of Australia, and the brollies keep bowling over.

My potting-on ambitions will have to wait for the more reasonable mid-20s of the weekend, though DH wants to go to the mussel festival at Portarlington. I'm trying to imagine keeping them cool on the long, hot journey backgrin

At one of my client's sites I regularly see an albino rabbit. Apparently there are quite a few of them around there. Loads of chalk in the soil and I wonder if they survive because they can hide in the white patches and shoot predators down with their red laser eyes

BBC2 Bumbez. Tonight's was lawns and tropical gardens. I now want a gunnera.

Managed some garden time today. The sun was shining too! Dug up remaining oca, knocked back some brambles in the wood, cut back remaining dead stuff in long bed and planted my baby foxgloves out in the woodland flower bit in the front garden. I was amazed at how much is starting to come up already, hints of Spring, it was lovely ready for the cold snap to kill it all.

Have also just planned out the veg plot planting for this year. DH is now on board for the bean igloo.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 11-Jan-14 22:11:01

We visited Wakehurst Place today. The winter garden there was a little underwhelming, so we spent most of the time wandering round the pinetum, which was really lovely. Some amazing specimens, stunningly tall and dead straight trunks. The kids had a brilliant time, collecting pine cones, acorns and so on, and generally rolling in the mud.

I've been offered a hen house by a friend who is downsizing. Have launched new offensive to persuade anti-chicken dh that we need chickens. Not optimistic.

Rhubarb - My DH originally said he'd rather have DC3 than chickens, he was that anti-chicken. We now have seven and although I am prime chicken carer he does accept that they aren't so bad after all. And they are the only 'pet' we have that earns more money than they cost to keep as we sell two dozen eggs a week.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 12-Jan-14 18:25:21

Bertha I read him your post! He just grumpily said "you'd be better off spending your free time doing the garden than on more chicken propaganda" so I took him at his word and spent most of the day gardening while he did the kids.

Lots of pruning (roses and wisteria) and finished off the mulching round the drive. I also identified the ceanothus variety and bought one from the garden centre, planted it and put up some wires on the wall behind to train it up.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 12-Jan-14 18:26:39

My 'not spending any money on the garden' resolution didn't last long hmm

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 12-Jan-14 18:34:43

Work and house clearance is massively hindering any gardening, though I have started watching the garden thingy on Iplayer.

That's not a resolution anyone would hold you to Rhubarb !

Did go into the greenhouse and see how my cuttings are going and seem to having a bit of success. The Aquaponic system is useful for rooting things in.

Found a few packs of bulbs at Mum's and a bulb planter so will need to get out there as feel it's worth a shot if I get a moment.

Bumbez Sun 12-Jan-14 19:51:41

I thought about chickens when we first aquired a garden big enough, and lurked on the hen house. I can't remember why, but a few posters put me off! Possibly the commitment of having to put them to bed every night, or they become fox dinner.

Spent an enjoyable afternoon tramping through Ventnor Botanics, not much going on though. I did pick up a leaflet detailing Monty's next talks. He's coming to The Isle Of Wight in May!

We've marked out our Greenhouse and will be ordering in the next couple of days.

I've started watching the gardening revival on iplayer too. smile

I have excavated the horse radish as best I can from the raised bed where I stupidly planted it. I think I was halfway to visiting Echt and still didn't get to the bottom of the roots. I suspect I will be getting horse radish through the bed for ever. I wish I knew the spread problems before I planted the stuff! Does taste wonderful mind. I have replanted some crowns in a large tub for next year. I have some spare crowns if anyone wants some, PM me if you fancy it and have some big tubs or sacrificial raised beds and I'll post them on.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 13-Jan-14 21:28:52

I enjoyed the cutting and herb garden revival ones. Greenhouse ordering is exciting Bumbez. I'd heard horseradish is a bit of a thug Bertha. People don't tell you these things when you stick them in,just after.

My Callicarpa and winter box finally arrived. I may just have added a Wisley cream clematis to the trolley by accident .

mousmous Mon 13-Jan-14 22:50:20

oh horseradish!
my parents have an enormous beast one in a sunken pot.
they take out a side rood at a time and store it in a bucket of damp sand between using it.

did you wave to echt? maybe you couldn't get it all out because she was pulling on the other side?

thinking about what and where to plant in the veg patch next summer. def tomatoes. the dc really enjoyed the sweet corn but monty told us to never plant it in a line, alway in clusters after I planted them in a line...
I want courgettes, but the dc are not very keen. pumpkin was a bit of a dissapointment. still want rhubarb, maybe I can save it from the snails this time.

echt Tue 14-Jan-14 01:49:03

What a coincidence. I've been eyeing two pots of horseradish DH planted up, wondering when to harvest and can you freeze the roots. As you can guess, we very sensibly have NOT planted it in the ground.grin

This morning I've been haring about, putting small plants into bigger pots, the better to survive our holiday next week, and loving ministrations of DD, who is no gardener. One saver is to line big plastic boxes with thick layers of newspaper and saturate it. The boxes are then put under the carport, which has the most shade. All the more vulnerable potted plants can stay there while we're away.

It's nearly one in the afternoon, and 38 degrees, up to 43 by four o'clock. The next days are 41, 39 and 40. An absolute bugger for the garden, watered or not. sad.

I'm going to stay in and watch the new Sherlock.

Echt - it's cold here, cold and wet. We are all staying in and watching Sherlock too. Were you holding on to the end of my horse radish roots? <looks stern>

I am going to try freezing some horseradish. We grate it and put it in a vinegar/sugar/brine solution which keeps it in the fridge or a month or so. But we have loads so I'm going to try freezing it in the briney stuff in ice cubes. Will probably kill the flavour but otherwise it's going to be wasted. Need to get DH grating it, I'm too much of a wimp.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 14-Jan-14 22:31:34

hello everyone <waves>

have slightly emerged from baby fog and just caught up with the new threat. great title.

For once I am not feeding so have both hands to type!

Am feeling rather daunted as just looked up the NGS page and our garden is there. It is official. We have to open the garden. DH had an anxiety dream about it the other day, this is the only dream he has remembered by morning in the last twenty years grin

am off to catch up with the rest of the old thread now

HumphreyCobbler Tue 14-Jan-14 22:45:59

oh, forgot to say that now our orchard is an official wildlife zone we qualified for a grant to help the drainage along as it is rapidly becoming a quagmire. We are also going to put a track through it, only a minimal layer of skelpings that will grow grass on top of it, so that we can get a vehicle through to the field, but it will mean a digger in the orchard in all this rain. I foresee great mud.

echt Wed 15-Jan-14 00:58:14

Holding on to horseradish roots… sounds like the kind of thing I'd do. grin Thanks for the storage tip, and will give it a try.

Well the 43 absolutely hammered some crucifix orchids. How odd they'll bear 40 with ease, but a bit more and it's goodnight, Vienna. Everything else had a bit of a lie down, but some judicious watering has sorted them out. The sheltering of more tender plants under the carport has worked a treat - no ill effects at all.

I thought I'd bustle about this morning and was up and out at 6.30.a.m. 88F. shock Not to be put off I've been hammering in stakes and draping shade cloth secured with big rubber bands over the veggie beds. Not a handsome affair, but it should work, and we really should have done it earlier, so now I'm back off to Bunnings for stakes and cloth for the second bed. And breathe.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 08:42:18

88 at 6.30 shock Well done for the early start echt

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 14:13:41

Just done my Parkers order. 66 red pelargonium plugs, 3 agastache, 3 hostas for the copper pot, 33 snapdragons for the school flower bed, 6 Bishop of Oxford Dahlias.

Getting into the swing again. smile

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 16:28:17

Will you plant them outside when you get them?

Rhubarbgarden Wed 15-Jan-14 16:48:16

Hello Humph we missed you! That's a big order. I spent a good hour drooling over the Bloms catalogue yesterday. I can feel a Nerine order coming on. I've got the perfect place for them - strip of soil along a south facing wall next to the path to the back door.

I have started the pruning in the orchard. Done the small unidentified apple and the large old russet. It is horribly squelchy underfoot but the big cherry tree is full of blossom.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 15-Jan-14 16:57:49

The cherry tree has a bracket fungus on it. I looked this up and it doesn't sound good. Unclear how long it will take to kill it though, so I don't know whether I should get the tree surgeons in to remove it or just wait and see.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 19:59:55

Hello Rhubarb. It is nice to be back. We have a bracket fungus on one of the old cherry trees in the orchard. I didn't know it was dangerous for the tree and rushed out to check if it was the one we have grown Paul's Himalayan Musk through, thankfully it wasn't. I would have been gutted if we had gone to all that trouble only for the tree to fall down.

I have planned the borders by the playhouse - Ammi Magus with mixed cornflowers on one side, with Old Times Sweet Peas on the other. The pigscot borders have not been that successful the last two years, so am going to uproot the lot and put in some kind of euphorbia that I can't remember the name of, edged with Escholzia californica. This is all stuff I am trying to grow from seed, wish me luck!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 20:00:21

I love Nerines.

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 20:14:38

Those plans sound lovely humphrey I do think you are good at planning beautiful borders.
I went round to mum's today, and now that the chestnut and a conifer have gone she has metres and metres of borders which are south east facing. Previously they grew mahonia and euphorbias under the trees but now they can be proper mixed planting.
Ammi magus sounds lovely. I liked the crambe cordiflora when I saw it growing last summer and I'm going to plant some of that.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 21:17:12

Thanks funnyperson! Crambe Cordefolia is fabulous. We have one in the cottage borders and one in completely the wrong place in the front garden. I must have planted it when we first moved in and forgotten about it. We were nonplussed about it for another two years until it flowered!

Lots of new planting space - how exciting.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 21:20:37

sorry missed your question earlier. I will plant up the geraniums in the greenhouse although they are not coming till march. The snapdragons will be planted up by DS1's class in the school polytunnel to grow on. Not sure about the hostas and agastache, probably will bung those in the greenhouse too. May plant some sweetpeas soon but the greenhouse is unheated so maybe not.

funnyperson Wed 15-Jan-14 21:28:27

Hmmm yes, I have been wondering about whether to sow my sweet peas. The packets are in the kitchen looking tempting but I don't have a greenhouse and think it may be asking for trouble to sow them outside just yet.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 15-Jan-14 21:50:15

Lovely sounding planting plans Humph. Sorry to scare you re the bracket fungus. I wouldn't have thought twice about mine either if a friend hadn't just told me they are having to have their beautiful American red oak removed because of bracket fungus, despite its TPO.

Funny I guess the new planting space makes up a little for the loss of the chestnut. What do you plan to plant there?

I think it was a fungus of some kind that killed off our mirabelle sad

I've been perusing seed catalogues this evening. I am not ordering anything until I have been through my seed box though <proud of self>

HumphreyCobbler Wed 15-Jan-14 22:21:40

Don't apologise Rhubarb, I was glad to know. Now I won't bother planting a rose up it. What a shame about your friend's American oak.

funnyperson Fri 17-Jan-14 21:31:35

Good point about going through the seed box. I have some astrantia seeds given me by Lexi and various other seeds collected in the autumn such as dill, fennel etc
I'm thinking along similar lines, though the pictures of the agastache in Humphrey's border on facebook are tempting me already.
rhubarb you are right: I am beginning to get quite excited about mum's new garden appearance. Though I must say I do mourn the chestnut. I rang the tree surgeon up and asked if I could have the stump (thinking about fashioning a seat or a base for a pergola) but he said it had already been shredded.
Anyway in the first instance we are going to divide up existing perennials from elsewhere in the garden in the spring - lupins, asters, hardy fuschias, shasta daisies, pulmonaria, snowdrops, geraniums, rudbeckias, peonies, lavender etc and also some of the stuff from my garden eg ceratostigma, sanguisorba, japanese anemones, deutzia, gaura, salvias etc to put in the border. Those will start it off.
In theory we ought to be thinking of colours and artistry and so forth. In practice, because I have no imagination, we put the tall plants at the back of the border and the smaller ones at the front and that's about it. I must say I do envy people with any talent at all in grouping plants together which includes you lot.


Aethelfleda Sat 18-Jan-14 19:29:40

Hello... I put my head in on the last thread, hope it's still ok to be here?

Have bought some spring bulbs very late, was shopping and the market stall I passed had snowdrops and alliums going incredibly cheap... Put a few in tody and will do the rest in the next few days. Tell me they have half a chance of coming out?!

And our trellis is now festooned with lots of dormant new plants: evergreen jasmine, winter jasmine, hardenberghia violacea, passiflora, at intervals along it. The maiden whips of the fruit trees are sitting there snoozing. I've not pruned the leader from the pear/plum/cherry tree (so I can fan grow them) yet as I can't quite bring myself to do it, apparently I have til march to pluck up the courage......

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jan-14 21:45:02

Hello Aethelfleda. Everyone is always welcome smile

Trellis sounds lovely.

Tall plants at the back and small ones at the front - exactly my plan too funnyperson. New borders sound fabulous.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 18-Jan-14 21:58:51

Do it, Aethel, do it! Get those secateurs out and snippy snip snip! Tis very satisfying. smile

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jan-14 22:31:47

My roses need some snippy snip snipping too. It is too rainy.

mousmous Sun 19-Jan-14 08:40:30

anyone elses roses going crazy?
lots of new growth going on.
should I wrap them with something if we get a frosty spell?

mousmous Sun 19-Jan-14 11:07:51

a question: my sister has a south facing trellis in her new house that separates the garden from the street. she want's climbers, but different textures/colours.
could I give her cuttings of my neighbours wisteria and honeysuckle? or would they take a long time for good coverage?
she's moving in around easter, it's a total building site, so the ground might need improving before planting anything.

TheBuggerlugs Sun 19-Jan-14 14:57:18

I've just moved to a new house with a proper garden, it has a shed and everything. Can I join?

Of course you can Buggerlugs (my Dad used to call me that smile). If you've just moved does that mean you get the exciting prospect of watching the garden to see what appears during your first year?

The sun was shining today.

Mousmous, there's loads of stuff growing in my garden, I too am worrying about what happens if when we get a cold snap.

TheBuggerlugs Sun 19-Jan-14 18:25:52

There isn't a lot in the ground tbh, it's fairly big and has a big lawn with a totally bare border next to it and a rockery wall next to that with a few bits in. There were a million horrid plastic pots with ever greens in and a metal wheelbarrow full of ivy when we moved in but I've got rid of them all or moved them. We also have lots of small trees, but they seriously needed cutting back so I've done that but have zero idea what they are but they're surrounded by gravel that I intend to lift and replace with ground covering meadow type plants.

I've thrown a load of tulip, crocus and daf bulbs in an attempt to get some colour in spring but I'm not expecting many surprises that I didn't know about.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 19-Jan-14 18:51:32

Ooh it's very exciting hearing about early signs of plants stirring back into life and people's planting/sowing plans. I have some plant porn a catalogue from Hayloft to look at.

Welcome from me to new and newish aficionados too.

Bearleigh Sun 19-Jan-14 21:16:13

And from me!

Mausmaus, I recommend your sister checks and improves the soil if necessary before she does anything. I did that in this house, not having done anything in our old garden and it's made a huge (positive) difference to the results.

I have teeny tiny snow drops almost ready to flower. This is their second year after I moved them from a naturalised clump by the orchard and I was hoping they'd be a little more vigorous this year but not looking that hopeful yet. <impatient>

Aethelfleda Mon 20-Jan-14 20:50:01

Ooh, I really hope my little snowdrop bulbs get cracking and come up! I had snowdrops in our old house and was gutted when we moved....was too polite to leave holes in the old garden beds!!

Hello everyone, I'm just catching up. I'm seriously impressed so many if you are out and doing already. My garden is wet, cold and covered in green algae. I mostly stare at it out of the window and wish for spring.

DH bought me some jazzy RHS /Hunter wellies for Xmas and it treated us to afternoon tickets to Chelsea. I've never been before, v excited.

I'm currently planning a rear extension which will mean redoing our patio and path. So prepare for lots of agonising about path designs and best pots for an east facing terrace!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 22-Jan-14 10:21:09

I want some Hunter wellies. I also want to go to Chelsea!

Managed to spend 45 min clearing one of the herb beds yesterday. Felt a tremendous sense of achievement! Will try to get out again today to cut the catmint back, it is making everything look v manky.

I am very frustrated at my inability to put baby Cobbler in a sling on my back when I am on my own. Managed to put some sweet peas in first thing with him strapped to my front but this is NOT ideal.

Things I urgently want to do
clear out the potting shed and greenhouse.
clear the rest of the herb beds.
sort out potting area so that I just have to dash out and get started.
uproot all the fennel seedlings/alchemilla mollis in the paths and pot on
plant more broad beans
weed the paths

I think if I keep a list handy it will concentrate my mind when I have a spare minute. At the moment I waste valuable time by trying to sort out what to do.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 22-Jan-14 13:36:00

Welcome Buggerlugs.

Humph it is inordinately frustrating trying to garden with a small one. With dd I can remember trying to rake leaves with her in a sling - didn't really work. Then I tried weeding with her in a bouncy chair next to me. Worked for all of five minutes. Then I gave up and just did the gardening when she napped; it seemed to be the only way! Now that she's old enough to amuse herself or even help me, I am hampered by ds.

Not counting down the days till they're at school and nursery. At all.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 22-Jan-14 16:26:15

Is IS, isn't it? I am making sure we have a playpen ready for the summer, just to make the most of the odd few minutes. I get v frustrated with the way in which I am always interruptible (is that a word?) and DH is not! just because I have breasts When DD was little I realised that the only way was to get up, fling on clothes and rush out to the garden before DH was ready, then he had to sort out the DC grin

Rhubarbgarden Wed 22-Jan-14 18:18:33

Yy! Rather like detecting a certain whiff and encouraging child to 'go and give Daddy a cuddle' then doing a runner...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 22-Jan-14 19:11:10

I think 45 mins with baby Cobbler is very good going indeed !

Snowdrops and this garden don't mix however the primroses love it and I think there's one about to flower soon. There was an old garden table at Mum's that her neighbour's friend has had and she's given me Hellebore seedlings in return.

Notanothernappy, I went to Chelsea for the first time last year with a friend and we loved it so are going again this year, can't wait.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 23-Jan-14 18:37:07

My snowdrops are nowhere near flowrirng yet, but the viburnum tinus is looking lovely.

Worse news is that the end panel of the fence - which the neighbours have been stalling about replacing - has finally keeled over. Luckily it didn't take my gorgeous clematis montana with it.

mousmous Sun 26-Jan-14 10:13:53

saw the first crocus on a walk yesterday.

my df is coming for a visit soon. will use his help to get rid of a sickly bush (it's a kind of evergreen tropical thing with leaves similar to the fig leaf) at the back of the garden and put a rhubarb there.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Jan-14 18:49:58

I walked past a garden today where perennial cornflower was in flower. It is very mild here at the moment, although wet!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Jan-14 19:07:12

Same here Maud. Mum's roses look like the ar going to flower again soon. My first primrose is nearly out but the snowdrops aren't. Wonder if it will suddenly get cold ?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Jan-14 19:16:55

I do hope not, as lots of new growth is likely to get nipped. Some of my roses have buds that look as if they could open. Most strange!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Jan-14 19:25:23

It has definitely been one of the mildest winters for years so far. Just been reading my copy of GW (thanks to my Dad who bought me a subscription for Christmas) and now have itchy fingers.

Will try to satisfy them with potting up my box plants for which I have a cat topiary frame inspired by the Great British Garden revival.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Jan-14 19:32:17

I somehow missed nearly all the Great British Garden Revival. Is it worth a watch?

I have just finished my book for Friday's book group ::polishes halo:: so might relax with The Garden tonight.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Jan-14 19:37:13

Well done ! I did enjoy the series but think I missed a couple. Some were better than others I felt but there was something to resonate with everyone as they covered a lot of topics.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 27-Jan-14 19:44:14

And thank you Maud. Thanks to a post you made last year there is now a waft of winter box when I walk in through the front door.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 27-Jan-14 22:47:23

Yes, a waft of winter box is just what one needs on a grey and miserable day.

Bearleigh Tue 28-Jan-14 06:49:20

My winter box is sulking, and having read an instruction label at Nymans, I realise it's because the drainage is too poor where I planted it. So I shall have to move it. One day I will learn to research properly where to plant things!

Bumbez Tue 28-Jan-14 10:05:38

Good morning <waves>

I watched a few of them but got sidetracked by The Bridge.

The one on lawns has convinced me to keep the small scrap of grass in the front even though its a pain to cut. I'm thinking of adding some camomile in it. It did make me sad though that a family favoured astro turf and one of the gardeners admitted he'd got rid of his lawn at home!

Nothing much occurring here a few crocuses have popped up but seem too small. I'm beginning to realise we need to do a lot to improve the soil before we plant much else.

A mimosa round the corner is looking lovely and I am hankering for one, though they get quite big.

The greenhouse is being delivered next week, we still haven't been able to dig the base due to the rain. Hopefully we'lll dh will get it done this weekend.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 28-Jan-14 15:13:14

Bearleigh, is your winter box fairly new? They take a few years to settle in, in my experience, but once established are quite unfussy about soil and aspect.

I missed the programme on lawns, more's the pity, as I am a big advocate of them. When I was doing my garden design course I always put lawns in my designs, no matter how small, but I was in the minority. They appear to be deeply unfashionable at the moment. I'm still hankering after a chamomile lawn but it's well down the list of priorities, sadly, purely due to their cost.

Bumbez a nice alternative to a mimosa is Acacia pravissima, a close cousin. I believe they are smaller. You have to make sure you are buying a single stem one though, if you want a beautiful wafty tree, as they are often sold in shrub form.

This weather is driving me insane.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 28-Jan-14 15:23:57

Pah! Just looked and the Great British Garden Revival is not available on iPlayer. Boo.

I agree, Rhubarb. This weather is really giving me the pip.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 28-Jan-14 17:04:40

Don't forget a chair for the greenhouse Bumbez so you can sit and listen to the rain.

My lawn is rubbish but kind of green if you squint at it. Today was actually quite sunny and lovely to walk round looking at new green shoots. It was quite chilly though.

Can I just warn you all now, if my Mme Alfred Carriere does not bloom this year (year 3), I am gong to have a massive tantrum.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Tue 28-Jan-14 17:06:19

Oh and I have a flower on the pea plant in the Aquaponic system in the greenhouse .

mousmous Tue 28-Jan-14 18:38:00

I lave my lawn.
well, not the bit the fox has dug up, will need some work in the spring.
great for the dc to tumble about and open space for clothes airers and bbq's.

Bearleigh Tue 28-Jan-14 23:05:56

Rhubarb my winter box is a couple of years old. It hasn't grown a bit since I planted it.

I love lawns too, even my scrappy front one which is mostly a mud/dandelion mélange. I feel sad at the sight of modern small gardens which are all hard surfaces. They look very neat and smart, but for me, lack soul. I prefer softness, and Greenness if that is a word.

Stillstarving Wed 29-Jan-14 00:54:12

Hi there! Is it ok if I nip in for a bit of advice? I've just moved to a house with a fairly large (gulp) garden and I'm clueless. There are quite a few largeish shrubs - don't know what most of them are except for a couple of straggly holly bushes. The shrubs are a bit overgrown and kind of shapeless. Should I be pruning them any time soon? And when I say pruning I should explain that I don't know what that means other than chopping bits off. Any advice would be very welcome!

Bearleigh Wed 29-Jan-14 06:47:52

Hi Still there are others on this thread with a lot more horticultural knowledge than I, but having been in your position, I recommend finding a day-long or half day pruning course. If you are close to Wisley, they run excellent courses, including on pruning (and possibly other RHS gardens do, and my local FE college does too).

Bumbez Wed 29-Jan-14 14:17:55

Thanks Rhubarb, having just googled that could work smile

I can't wait to sit out listening to the rain wynken.

Welcome stillstarving, I was in a similar predicament to you a year ago and am afraid we've botched some of the pruning. For example I've been admiring a prickly shrub round the corner from me smothered in yellow flowers and have realised I have actually got one, but due to my hacking, it only has one flower. Good advice from Bearleigh.

I wish I'd taken monthly photos of the garden as things come into bloom so I could remember what shrub did what, we lost a small plum tree because we forgot where it was in the undergrowth, it fell prey to Dh and the loppers.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 29-Jan-14 19:23:17

I'm not very good with pruning but have learned the hard way to put the secatuers down and let them do their thing for a bit. Some if pruned now, won't flower as they flower on the previous year's wood and you want to be pruning after flowering (the unfortunate incident of the Weigela).

I think you need to work out what they are first then look up and see when they should be pruned.

Is that a Mahonia Bumbez with the yellow flowers ? We used to have one in our old house. I miss it but no space here for one really.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:03:42

hasn't anyone done a photo yet?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:05:02

obviously not

i can't make it work

Bumbez Wed 29-Jan-14 20:17:12

Thanks Wynken having googled, yes it is I guess I'd better leave it alone!

Any one know what this shrub is?

Ooh, we have photos!

Here's what I promised myself I'd do tonight but now can't be bothered!

Bumbez - no idea what that is but I think I want one...

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:31:37

try again

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:35:38

no, it won't work
what am I doing wrong?

is that shrub a pheasant berry?

Stillstarving Wed 29-Jan-14 20:47:01

Thanks everybody. You're right of course! Doh! I need to try to identify the triffids and then learn what to do with them. Haven't located any short courses near me yet but I'll keep looking. It is great to see what happens- lots of bulbs coming up that obviously weren't visible when we bought the house. I'm not sure that there's much else but I have found a few buried paths. The back garden's a fair sized lumpy lawn and my son would like to grow veg and fruit. Are raised beds difficult to make? Or am I better just digging over a bit of lawn? I'm quite excited about all this but I'm nervous too about how much time and effort it's going to take. And I know nothing, that's definitely a drawback...

Bumbez Wed 29-Jan-14 20:49:18

It is pheasant berry Thankyou smile

I used my iPad humph and had a picture already on it.

Bertha I still need to do that and send you the coriander seeds blush if the birds haven't eaten all the berries I'll add a pheasant berry - must be easy to grow as I have a few self seeded!

Stillstarving Wed 29-Jan-14 20:55:22

I like the look of that pheasant berry!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:56:30

hello stillstarving - seeing things come up is very exciting. Knowing nothing won't last, it is amazing how you pick stuff up.

I wouldn't rush to do any major changes, it is a good idea to spend time seeing how you will use the garden before making big decisions. It can be hard waiting, but it is worth seeing everything that is there first.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 20:57:50

why won't my photo work?

Bearleigh Wed 29-Jan-14 21:09:22

While we are on matching plants anyone know what this is? It is really special & elegant - sprays of delicate red berries on wiry stems, plus evergreen long pointed leaves. Not too big. It grows in a garden on my way to work, and I want it:

Oh this photo thing is going to backfire isn't it. I'm going to want everything that people post pictures of!

Happy to take any Pheasant Berry berries you can find Bumbez smile

Humph, are the photos showing after you've chosen them and not appearing once posted, or are they just not attaching?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 29-Jan-14 21:56:16

they are not attaching

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 29-Jan-14 22:46:08

Don't know what that is Bearleigh, I like it though <Wynken does not have space for more shrubs, Wynken does not ...>

Raised beds are fairly easy to but I think Humph's idea of waiting is the best plan . You could do some veg in pots to get started pretty easily.

Rhubarbgarden Thu 30-Jan-14 14:49:17

Ooh, pictures! That's a Nandina domestica, Bearleigh.

Bumbez Thu 30-Jan-14 15:30:04

I went to Aldi today - seeds were 39p so I couldn't resist. Soft fruits Rhaspberry, red current and black current 3 plants for £2.50. I've already ordered Rhaspberries online though so didn't bother.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 30-Jan-14 18:12:49

My nandina died while it was tiny, so I never got those lovely berries. Boo hoo.

I wonder whether I can get myself to an Aldi ...

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:35:07

Hello all and welcome to newcomers! Please could someone tell me how to upload photos from a) a phone and b) a computer???

It is very mild weather here and snowdrops, hellebores, winter jasmine and Mahonia are out in the garden. It is lovely seeing the snowdrops out. They are such dainty little flowers. As to Hellebores I cant make up my mind which colours I like best: the deep plums or the showy whites or shy greens. They have the effect of me wanting even more snowdrops and hellebores next year. I never seem to have planted enough snowdrops or crocuses. I have hitherto been a purist and not planted double Hellebores but I now see this is an omission and have given in and ordered some doubles from Hayloft: they are cheap small plants and will flower next year.
Other gardens round here have heather and daffodils in bloom. All other plants in my garden such as roses and perennials are shooting up. I had to very quickly go and prune the clematis Polish Spirit as it sprouted shoots and the pruned tips are sprouting shoots already! All the bare root roses planted in the winter are growing new shoots too and all the perennials in pots are growing. I'm presming this is because the garden has a sheltered microclimate.
The winter flowering clematis Wisley Cream and Jingle Bells which I planted in the Autumn aren't flowering though, so I think they will flower next year. Or perhaps I should mulch them with compost or something.
I also ordered erysimum Jenny Brook, though the tulips arent coming up: perhaps they were planted too late. I planted a rhubarb crown and some raspberry canes

I cant help it: I am going to sow seeds this weekend outside as it seems so mild it just feels like I ought to be sowing them.

I visited Waterperry gardens near Oxford which had a lovely orchard and gardens.

Great Dixter is open on 15th Feb and 22/23rd Feb and if it isnt raining or snowing I will go! Does anyone else want to come?

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:36:57

attempt at photo

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 30-Jan-14 18:37:18

That all sounds lovely, funnyperson!

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:37:40


funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:40:02

Maud you went to Great Dixter in the rain last Feb when I chickened out what did you think?

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:42:33

The garden sounds lovelier than it is mainly due to a lack of volume of flowering plants. Apparently Hillier gardens in Hampshire have a winter garden display with 650 types of winter flowering plants and I am seriously thinking of going this sat as I am at a conference there anyway tomorrow

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:44:55

Will involve yet another 6 am start (sigh)

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 30-Jan-14 18:52:11

It was snowing, funnyperson! It was perishing cold, and the garden was very bare, but it was a good opportunity to see its shape and structure and the hellebores etc were lovely.

Hillier sounds lovely too.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 30-Jan-14 22:05:31

Testing if I can post...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 30-Jan-14 22:10:10

Oh thank goodness , I thought I had been suspended as I couldn't post! I have major hellebore envy now. Mine were Hayloft ones that went in last year so aren't going to flower this year sadly.

I've got one hellebore flowering so far from last year's Hayloft planting. Others look like they will too.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 31-Jan-14 07:29:05

Hmm, mine haven't done much at all. When did you put them in Bertha?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 31-Jan-14 07:35:26

Right I am being unfair to Hayloft, I didn't get them from there - wish I had now. I'll just have to be patient for another year.

I think they went in Nov/Dec time last year. They were really healthy and one even flowered last year which surprised me.

Sorted my seeds last night. Just need to make a list of what I'm missing for this year but don't think there's much.

funnyperson Fri 31-Jan-14 20:24:43

Drove back this evening after the conference, as heavy rain in Hampshire made looking round Hillier gardens tomorrow seem not such a good idea. However I got a pear tree and more hellebores (Hillier double) from their garden centre sale.

I have decided I am going to go for a Piet Oudolph effect in the sloping garden bed out the front now that the wall is rebuilt (allowing for the nerines and raspberries and peacock buddleia and dogwood and Generous Gardener rose and cotoneaster). I've been looking at the gardens on his website and think they are beautiful.

Just need to think up a planting plan.

funnyperson Fri 31-Jan-14 20:28:53

The front is south facing on clay, slopes down the hill and is small: Maybe 4m long by x2m wide. I'm not sure what grasses he plants.

funnyperson Fri 31-Jan-14 21:17:03

I think it takes 2-3 years for hellebores to flower, wynken maybe yours will flower later on in the spring.

Bearleigh Fri 31-Jan-14 23:06:01

None of my Hayloft hellebores are flowering: they have grown a bit, that is all.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 01-Feb-14 07:22:13

I thought they took a couple of years to flower and have decided that Bertha's are on steroids and mine and Bearleigh's aren't.

FP would you mind elaborating on the sale part of your post ? How saley are the hellebores there at the moment ? I do love the idea of a peacock buddleia.

funnyperson Sat 01-Feb-14 09:47:39

Sale over wynken I'm sorry- everything was 20% off till yesterday in store. Crocus still have a sale on though.

I have been looking up grasses and have narrowed it down to 2;
molinia (purple moor grass: transparent in summer goes a honey colour in autumn, makes a sound in the breeze, might go with the buddlea) and eragrostris.

funnyperson Sat 01-Feb-14 09:49:46

Hertfordshire hellebores are good though pricey: thats where I got many of mine from a few years ago

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 01-Feb-14 14:17:43

They look good FP. I haven't much experience with grasses, only have that black one beginning with O tha I rescued from the knackered shelf last year.

I have been looking at that site and was tempted. I've been to a couple of places this morning and resisted got two in flower for a fiver each so not too bad. Was looking at one of the ones that went in last year and it seems to have done absolutely nothing. One is thinking about putting on some new growth.

Someone gave me some seedlings recently so maybe I'll pot them up into little pots and see if that helps, rather than chucking them out. We planted some on m neighbour's bank a couple of years ago and they seem to have vanished. She's great with plants so I am wondering if they don't like the soil here. Bits do have a tendency to be acidic.

mousmous Sat 01-Feb-14 15:02:01

hi there.
if I take cuttings from my neighbours overhanging a wisteria, would they be good to plant out around easter? or what would be the best time?

Lexilicious Sat 01-Feb-14 15:28:16

Dear old friends of the gardening thread, hello hello, it has been far too long...

I have less than four weeks of maternity leave left!! shock It seems only yesterday I was pacing around wondering if I was being ever so slightly hormonally crazy to think about setting up the birthing pool in the garden so mini-Lexi-the-second could arrive under the blackberry crop...

I have been utterly rubbish at getting out into the garden this winter. January aside which has just been wall to wall wet, the only things I (we) have done have been uprooting everything worth keeping from the front garden in advance of making it a parking space, and pruning and tieing back the blackberry (on Boxing Day). DH has been growing herbs in a windowsill propagator quite successfully. I have alliums and something else delivered in October which I haven't planted, and I bought some summer bulbs from Wilko a couple of weeks ago which are waiting patiently by the back door.

Still, the delay in doing the front parking space has meant that a few bulbs have sent up shoots, so I can rescue them now (snowdrops, aconites, at least one iris).

We made a flying visit to the ILs after school finished yesterday, and visited Hyde Hall this morning. It was sunny and bitterly cold in the wind but the dry garden looked wonderful, all swishy grasses and exposed rock. There were approximately eleventy billion hellebores too - self seeded I suppose as none of them appeared to be labelled. <happy sigh at first garden visit of the year.

I'm up for a Nymans visit on a weekday if it suits anyone else?

Bearleigh Sat 01-Feb-14 15:38:54

Hello again Lexi! It actually sounds like you've been impressively busy given you have two young children. I could only make a Nymans trip at the weekend, sadly.

Thanks for identifying Nandina Domestica, Rhubarb. There are a couple of nurseries that stock it near me, so I have an excuse to go on a shopping trip. (I am far more excited now by the thought of a trip to a nursery than to Knightsbridge. How things change).

I have been very busy at work in January and today was the first time I have had a look at some cuttings I took in a hurry last autumn, not taking much care. Excitingly, there are buds on both the rose and the clematis cuttings.

funnyperson Sat 01-Feb-14 19:33:52

Planted up 2 pots with primroses for mum this morning after dropping off the pear tree for her (doyenne du comice) and then went home and watched tv most of the day. Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly tap dancing with jazz piano music, together with warm cups of tea and various home made savoury pancakes were irresistable as it has been wild and windy outside.
Yes, new iris leaves are coming up here too lexi . Monty mentioned in one of his programmes that one is supposed to expose the iris corms so that they get as much sunlight as possible. However this time of year I tend to leave the corms covered a bit for fear they might get frosted over. What do you do?
Do you feel sad to be going back to work. I hated going back after my maternity leave mainly because I didn't want to leave my lovely adored children. I still look back on the time as very very special and the longest period I ever had off with my children. I worked full time always until recently, as it was the done thing according to all the high achieving money conscious people around me. Looking back I wish I had gone back part time and taken advantage of my employment rights to doso. My career wouldn't have suffered much and neither would the family finances really.

Aethelfleda Sat 01-Feb-14 19:53:54

I spent a bit of time on Operation Hedge, an ongoing business where I try to tame my completely crazy inherited border fence without ending up with holes in it. It has small and broadleaved ivy, two types of holly, forsythia, an apple tree, what I think is a strawberry tree, a small-leaved evergreen Actual Hedge plant, something I think might be yew, and a leggy rhodedendron! So i have been trying to gently remove dead bits, weave leggy bits back into the hedge, and curtail enough of the holly and ivy suckers to ge some semblance of shape. It was ifnored for ten years by the previous owners, but I think it's so well established that putting new hedging in would be hard to do as there are'n't any real gaps so much as slightly bald bits. Is it possible to put hedge whips into an established hedge to thicken it up a bit,or does that not work due to the competition?

And have planted lots of spring bulbs that were reduced. Just waiting for all my winter planting things to wake up now!

funnyperson Sat 01-Feb-14 20:05:40

I think you can put young hedge plants in the gaps. Your hedge sounds quite eclectic. Perhaps you could put in some young plants of daphne or winter jasmine, both of which grow to hedge height and can be pruned to hedge shape and would add in colour and scent. But is it a hedge or is it a tangle of plants up against a fence? I think of a hedge as having air on both sides of it. ie no fence.
Here is an interesting range of traditional hedge plants
here is nice video on planting a mixed country hedge

I'm now very proud of my baby hellebores grin. Oddly they are planted at the shady end of the long bed where everything else dies. It's overhung by next doors lime tree and yew so the soil is a bit weird. Still got a big gap behind them up against the corner of the fence that I need to find something for.

Sooooo much rain last night but mostly sunny today. Garden is a swamp though so can't do anything in it and the drive is still one big puddle. It really needs to stop raining.

funnyperson Sun 02-Feb-14 05:57:14

In my garden the japonica (quince) flowers the same time as the hellebores usually and copes with being shadowed by mm Alfred Carriere the rest of the year. I don't know whether it would grow under lime.
I am thinking of planting lime (tilia cordata) between mum and dad and their very very horrid neighbours who want mum to pay for their fence which blew over in the storm over christmas. £380 if you please in advance with other threats to take mum to the council because they don't like her fir trees which have been there since before the neighbours moved in.
Dad rang in a panic as he could see standing water in the rose bed from outside his window and thought flooding was imminent. It isn't, but the water can't be that good for the roses.
Sowing sweet peas today.

Lexilicious Sun 02-Feb-14 08:51:46

There was a wonderful Daphne Bholua at Hyde Hall yesterday. I think it would be lovely in a hedge, as long as it was a higgledy piggledy hedge, not one that needs to be cut to a flat top and sides. My mum went on a ledge laying day to be able to maintain their mixed hedging around the fields on their smallholding in Devon. You get a youngish stem, bend it where you have the gap, hack it to half-break it, which I think also stimulates new growth, and peg it down with pruned branches that have stem junctions strong enough to be a sort of hook. Humphrey probably knows this stuff, or MrCobbler...!

Funny I am feeling sort of quite ok about work really. DH was made redundant last year when his company was taken over. It was quite well paid off, and gave him some breathing space to think about what he actually wanted to do (look for another corporate IT permanent job, do contracting, freelance...) and it turned out what he really wanted was to make me a balanced and nutritious packed lunch every day when I was pregnant and commuting an hour each way into London. smile Particularly as last April I was promoted so really need to show my mettle in the new grade. We decided recently that both of us being in work FT would happily cover the cost of 2 FT childcare places (well, one nursery and another before/after school club) but leave us precious little free time to actually spend together, and we'd be paying to mitigate things like housework and proper cooking. Then the unpredictability of having to take days off due to little bugs, D&V exclusion periods, and so on. It would just mean we were always juggling and never getting quality time. So, he's going to be the SAHP for a while, which does feel a little odd (the cultural propaganda of it being the mother's role runs deep!) but it will work for us, I think, because he's coming at it like a project that he wants to Do Properly.

I popped out with the bins this morning in my pyjamas and found lots of chionodoxa and crocus shoots amongst a thick layer of leaf litter at the edge of the decking, visible from my sofa in the kitchen extension. Oh, spring!

Bearleigh Sun 02-Feb-14 16:50:38

Lexi MrBearleigh is a SAHP, and it works for us, though he has found it is hard being a man in a woman's world, as there are so few other men doing the same thing round here.

Went to Wakehurst Place today (along with half of the SE I think), but oh! The scents of the mahonias and the daphnes... Lots of gorgeous cyclamen and lots of children having a happy time in the mud.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 02-Feb-14 20:17:18

Wakehurst Place sounds delightful. I haven't been there since dd was a toddler.

There were several stay at home dads on the toddler circuit at the same time as us. I don't know how they felt about being men in a woman's world, but it probably helped that the centre where many of the groups took place was run by a man.

I shall be trying tonight to persuade DH that we should go to Great Dixter on 15th. Wish me luck.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Feb-14 20:45:04

Hi Lexi, I'm up for Nymans on a weekday. Weekends are tricky (sorry Bearleigh). I could do a Monday morning some time?

Just got back from a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. It was cold but beautiful up there. Not much growing. The apple trees I'd ordered for my brother and SIL's birthday present had arrived, and they'd earthed them in. In their plastic bag. Oh dear. I dispensed gardening advice there, helped them with the apple trees then went over to my Dad's to prune his shrubs. It turned out he'd already done them - cut everything down to two feet high, regardless of species. Oh dear. So I dug up some of the ancestral rhubarb crowns to bring home before he kills everything.

I stopped off at Hardwick Hall on the way back down the M1 and had a pootle round the gardens. They have a whole avenue of black mulberry trees! Their pruning was underway in the orchard and reminded me that I've barely started it here.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 02-Feb-14 20:51:12

Oh dear, Rhubarb. That sounds a little trying, but a good opportunity to pass on your knowledge.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Feb-14 20:56:54

I tried to put up a nice photo of snowdrops and winter aconites at Hardwick but it won't work.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Feb-14 21:02:24

Actually what was really trying was my Dad asking me to book him three rooms at my friend's pub/restaurant (where I'd stayed this weekend) so he can go there with his mates for his 70th birthday in March. I said "oh that's a nice idea, I'll come up for that" and he said "oh no no no, just me and my mates"

hmm sad

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 02-Feb-14 21:13:32

Oh, Rhubarb. That's sad. Does your dad often go out on the town with the lads?

Rhubarb, you should go anyway without telling him then sit in the corner of the pub tutting and rolling your eyes when they get loud and leary. And mutter things like, 'Goodness gracious, the old people of today...' grin

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Feb-14 21:38:40

They are embarrassing Bertha. There will be leering. I suspect this is why he doesn't want me (and my brother) there. So him and his buddies can be offensive and spout Daily Fail-isms without being challenged.

Oh well I suppose it's his birthday.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 02-Feb-14 21:42:43

Perhaps you could put the local constabulary on standby, Rhubarb, in case things get unruly? hmm

Rhubarbgarden Sun 02-Feb-14 22:16:48

He's now claiming that it's not that he doesn't want us there, he just 'doesn't like large tables' and would rather have dinner with them one evening and dinner with us another.


funnyperson Mon 03-Feb-14 06:09:29

Haha. Last of the summer wine. You could give him some dominoes for them to play with in the pub.
Rules here:
I'm all for independence in the older generations. Book him the rooms, put the constabulary on alert and run, I say.

funnyperson Mon 03-Feb-14 19:49:18

Saw parents on the way home. Mum had a lovely day in the sun 'supervising' the gardeners planting her new apple and pear tree and the magnolia. So happy.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 03-Feb-14 23:50:15

Oh how lovely that sounds, funnyperson.

Bumbez Tue 04-Feb-14 10:54:19

That does sound lovely funny as do the grasses you've chosen.

Gardening news - our greenhouse just got delivered! Dh has dug out some of the base but is undecided how to proceed either, complete concrete base or just soil. We are worried what concrete will do to an already boggy garden. And me saying 'cant we pay someone to put it up?' Has fallen on deaf ears. Dh sees it as a manly project, I just want to crack on with planting.

On the subject of work I've always worked part time, nights at the weekend - it works for us as we never have to worry about childcare. On Friday I got a letter saying all staff have to rotate days, nights and do on call. It's a bit bonkers - night staff don't want to work days and vice versa. Lots of people dont want to work weekends. Anyway the consultation meeting was yesterday at 1600, too short notice for me to even go. I am worried sad

lexi my best friends Dh has been a sahd, in fact I met her through him. We used to chat at toddler groups. The only downside was him returning to work as he'd been out of the job force for so long, I think he lost his confidence.

I might be able to meet at Nymans - half term week? I need to do distance research I've turned into a bit of an Island driver!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 04-Feb-14 11:26:08

I had my first gardening shop of the year yesterday, when I joined the gardening club on the You Garden website and had a little splurge, encouraged by the 10% discount. Membership is currently reduced from £20 to £10 if you have a code and you get allegedly £20 worth of free seeds, so I'm hoping it'll pay for itself. Feel free to pm me if you want the code.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Feb-14 13:49:33

Way hey! A greenhouse. Good luck with putting it up Bumbez.

The tulips are coming up in the front garden. That puts paid to my plan of mulching. We can't get any mulch into the place yet because the ground is too wet for any truck to deliver it to an appropriate place. It doesn't look like it is going to dry out any time soon either.

I can't upload photos either Rhubarb.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 04-Feb-14 13:57:55

The sun is out! Way hey again!

I am hoping that the ground here will finally start to dry. I have tulip foliage coming through in various pots and, bizarrely, a dianthus and verbena bonariensis with buds that look as if they are about to open.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Feb-14 17:09:53

I will join you in hoping Maud.

managed another 40 min weeding the path between the crab apples. Millions of tiny forget me nots seeded into the gravel, it was a very annoying task!

Look what I found on the chard I picked for tea. Definitely a mild winter!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 04-Feb-14 17:20:57

Yes, indeed. I just found a slug trail on the back doormat. Yuk.

Weeds are a pestilence but I find it hard to mind too much about forget me nots. Then again, I don't have acares of gravel to manage.

And a photo of my weedy little snow drop patch. Can you see them smile

I like the forget me nots in my gravel but then we only get the odd one or two rather than a mass takeover. as the rest of the gravel is full of grass and moss

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Feb-14 17:31:06

All the forget me nots in this garden come from two plants I bought four years ago grin

There are still loads and loads, don't worry!

Rhubarbgarden Tue 04-Feb-14 17:44:53

My drive has an invasion of forget me nots too. I'm quite efficient at weeding everything else out (how much do weeds love gravel?!) but I've left the forget me nots. I may regret that.

My Clematis 'Freckles' arrived from Hayloft yesterday. One of the three plants was a bit slimy and mouldy; not very happy about that. But I planted them anyway, behind the Savoy Hotel roses and lavender along the drive. It will be nice to get something growing on those walls.

Today I created a small rhubarb bed in the orchard. One of those tasks that seem easy and straightforward in planning - lift a metre or so of turf, pop in rhubarb, mulch (no point trying to dig over the soggy heavy clay first). Of course in reality it turned out that the soil was full of ivy roots, and I ended up sorting out the path edging too as the grass was colonising the gravel. It's done though.

Exciting news about the greenhouse Bumbez!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 04-Feb-14 17:45:12

I'm surprised you had to buy them, Humphrey, as here they tend to blow in on the breeze!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Feb-14 18:42:51

There are no gardens for seeds to blow in from sad The only plants growing in this garden when we arrived were yucca plants shock, jerusalem artichokes, bindweed and ground elder..I may be exaggerating slightly grin. Oh and a billion leylandii. And some rather straggly peach coloured roses.

Lexilicious Tue 04-Feb-14 19:41:01

Bumbez I can't do half term week (going down to my parents in Devon) but Rhubarb I could do Monday 10th or 24th at Nymans, and I can do quite a lot of Fridays until Easter too. It's a trek round the M25 for me though, so I wouldn't get there until about 11 probably, then would have to leave by 3.

Humph mentioning getting the baby into a back-carry in the sling has inspired me somewhat to stop making excuses! I really must move the crocuses before they disappear, and do some weeding in the back garden too.

Bumbez Wed 05-Feb-14 09:31:56

No worries, I'd have had to bring the dc's any way who would moan a lot. I might be able to do a Friday in March/ April. Dh is planning to start working at home on Fridays. It's a 3 hour round trip for me.

If anyone ever fancies a day trip to the Isle Of Wight, do Pm me I'm happy to collect from Ryde.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 05-Feb-14 13:38:11

Lexi I can do 10th - would have to leave at 1pm ish though so ds can nap. I'd probably aim to get there for 10 so a bit earlier than you but we'd still cross over for a couple of hours. If the weather is anything like it is today though (gales and torrential rain!) I might wimp out though!

Bumbez I think an IoW holiday is still on the cards at some point for us; I'll keep you posted. Any good gardens to visit?

Bumbez Wed 05-Feb-14 16:12:30


My favourite is Ventnor Botanics. I'd like to get to Northcote manor this year open under the NGS scheme.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 05-Feb-14 17:50:20

Wow! I really want to go now. I shall start organising dh and the in-laws and look into holiday cottages. Thanks!

Rhubarbgarden Wed 05-Feb-14 17:59:07

My walled garden book arrived, that Bertha made me buy on another thread. I have been enjoying the garden porn in it all day whenever the kids have let me get away with it. More gardens on my 'must visit' list now, especially, Rousham, Iford Manor and Broughton Grange.

funnyperson Wed 05-Feb-14 18:15:18

What walled garden book?
I want a Piet Oudolph hardback which costs a lot.
I also want to visit Caerhays Castle when the magnolias flower and paddle in the Cornish sea on the same day.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 05-Feb-14 18:32:23

Caerhays Castle - yes yes! Every time I look at the Burncoose website it makes me want to go.

It's The Walled Garden by Leslie Geddes-Brown. I know exactly which Piet Oudolf book you mean. I keep nearly buying it but being put off by the price.

This walled garden book. I still have the page open on my iPad and still want it. Can you review it please Rhubarb and convince me to buy it let me know if it's any good.

Rhubarbgarden Wed 05-Feb-14 21:47:04

Well, I haven't actually read it properly yet, just flicked through and read bits here and there. But it's a lovely collection of descriptions of walled gardens, both in Britain and abroad, modern as well as obvious historical ones such as Generalife and Sissinghurst. Great photos. Very inspiring. There's also a decent section on their history.

Castlelough Thu 06-Feb-14 08:23:58

Ooh I had a look at the link for that book - wow! Would so love a walled garden! I have old stone walls along two sides of my field/future garden. (well, they are the sides of old stone cottages.) I have been wondering about trying to achieve a walled garden effect in that part of the garden....

Looking forward to planting my David Austen roses at the weekend. I ordered three, and they are going into pots for a start: Sceptred Isle, Claire Austen, and Princess Anne. Haven't planted bare root roses before! My rose cuttings are all sprouting away and showing lots of buds and tiny leaves. Looking good!

Bumbez Thu 06-Feb-14 14:28:30

envy at those of you with walled gardens. The only wall I have is my actual house! All my boundaries are hedges, I'm wondering whether to plant a climber in amongst the scraggy Hawthorn in the front garden to hide the bare bits. I've discovered a self seeded passion fruit in a pot from the last house which might work.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Feb-14 15:51:14

I too would love a walled garden. So romantic.

Spent a very happy hour weeding the spring borders along the crab apple walk bit. Snowdrops and hellebores doing well, primroses and primulas looking promising and pulmonarias with buds on looking rather healthy. They were all swamped with forget me nots and shirley poppy seedlings so cleared space around them and it all looks really nice.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 06-Feb-14 17:29:37

That sounds very romantic too, Humphrey.

I don't actually have a walled garden Bumbez, I just want the book so I can dream about having one. If we ever get to buy the land around us I'm going to build one. I am.

Just did my seed order. Somehow managed to slip some flower seeds in their for my cutting bed the DDs new flower border which DH is not aware that we're making at the weekend smile. I'm planning to pop out and come back with the wood so he's surprised into it! Going to put it at the outer corner of the play area along two sides of it. The middle of it is going to grow the pea/bean/squash igloo and the ends of each bit will be planted up with annuals grown from seed which the DDs can be in charge of. I will share my plan with the family at some point...

there not their

HumphreyCobbler Thu 06-Feb-14 20:09:19

first bit of the plant order arrived today <excited>
3 hostas for the big copper tub
3 Bishop of York dahlias
10 free lillies.

I want a cutting bed too. What seeds did you buy Bertha? Was wondering about the bit we failed to grow a wildflower mix on last year, it is a sort of triangle bit in the irregular beds. The problem is the soil is terribly poor as it used to be under a big cattle shed. Do you think if I bung a large amount of manure in it I could have a cutting garden on it this year or will I need to improve the soil a bit more?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 06-Feb-14 20:16:18

My first plants of the year arrived too - three clematis that were free for postage from GW magazine. They look quite promising, but as so often there has been a substitution because one of the varieties sold out, which is a little annoying.

funnyperson Thu 06-Feb-14 21:04:28

I didnt order those clematis.Perhaps I should. An apple tree which I don't need and probably won't fruit for years for £8 had to be rescued at Tesco's today. Got a receipt back which said I could have shopped for £2.48 cheaper at another shop. I might plant it next to the stick from Lidl I bought 2 years ago which said it was a plum tree on the box.
Primroses are selling for 99p round here I think I will get as many as I can.
Pulmonaria are one of my favourite unpretentious but pretty plants. humphrey your spring garden sounds lovely.

Castlelough Thu 06-Feb-14 21:09:38

Ooh everyone is getting ready to plant their new plants! smile
Bertha your igloo bed plan for the DDs sounds great. Nasturtiums would do very well on it too, with quick coverage and colour and they'd self seed.

Would it be hard to build a walled garden? Don't go putting ideas in my head!! I was half thinking of digging down a bit to create a feeling of higher walls in that part of the garden. It is on a gentle slope, but somebody banked the field up against the side of the cottage. There is about 4 ft of the cottage wall buried below our 'garden' level. I had been thinking of having steps down into the garden and lowering the garden level (giving a higher walled garden effect (I've about 40ft of cottage walls).
Would really need to get advice though in case I end up with a bog. Although the hill continues to drain away from our house down into a lake half a mile away...so I think it would be alright....
Am rambling! Our mortgage came through and I am really going to have a garden soon!!!

Castlelough Thu 06-Feb-14 21:15:01

Humph a cutting bed sounds heavenly - Sarah Raven's book has lots of good ideas in it.

Castlelough Thu 06-Feb-14 21:17:11

Enjoy your clematis Maud. I've only managed to kill mine, to date...hoping my Aldi wisteria fares a bit better. Am afraid all my pots are suffering from too much rainfall...

Castlelough Thu 06-Feb-14 21:19:09

It sounds like you have a budding orchard there funnyperson! What height fruit trees are you planting?

Nasturtiums would work yes. I was thinking of flowering things on the teepee but didn't want to mix the edible with non edible. Nasturtiums would solve that problem. Will add to shopping list.

Castle, I'm sure it's possible. But then I'd try anything if it meant getting the walled garden look.

Humphrey, just some tall zinnias and asters. Things that will appeal to DDs and brighten up my kitchen.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 06-Feb-14 21:32:34

I find that clematis either do really, really well here or wither and die. There is no middle ground!

Castlelough Fri 07-Feb-14 08:12:51

It's nearly the weekend! Oh happy day!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 07-Feb-14 08:59:31

Oh happy day indeed! I won't have any gardening time at the weekend but am hoping it'll be dry on Monday and I'll be able to plant the bulbs that are currently sprouting in their paper bags.

Lexilicious Fri 07-Feb-14 16:18:15

When can I first pull rhubarb? I have two very healthy crowns at the lightest (north) end of the garden, which seem to be visibly putting on inches every day! If I just pulled one or two stalks at a time, and made a couple of rhubarb and custard tarts, that wouldn't stress the plant too much would it?

funnyperson Sat 08-Feb-14 12:58:38

<rushes to plant rhubarb crown>

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 08-Feb-14 14:52:09

Don't know, hate the stuff. Suspect the answer will be that it depends on how old the plant is <waits for Rhubarbgarden or others in the know as DH likes it >

First camellia flower has just opened. Saw in the paper that a local garrden will be open in a couple of weeks as have a good collection of hellebores and snowdrops plus there will be hellebores on sale. Guess where I'll be going..

Also occurred to me that GW will be back next monthsmile

My new rhubarb plants are doing nothing yet. Hope they're not dead.

Partially built beds. The middle bit over the sunken seating will be planted up with the edible igloo and I'll build some kind of frame to form it.

Built today in between down pours. Was tempted to use the wood to start building an arc.

Bearleigh Sat 08-Feb-14 21:34:57

Impressive work Bertha. I am a much more "fair weather gardener" than you!

Wynken I only like rhubarb when either it's Yorkshire Forced, or out of my garden where thanks to my BIL I have a crown of particularly delicately and fruitily flavoured rhubarb. I think it is "Champagne". I only cook the stems where they are pink, not green, and it is really lovely baked slowly in the oven so it keeps its shape.

A friend has a bog standard variety in her garden, and I hate to say it, but it is just not nice.

funnyperson Sun 09-Feb-14 06:12:37

That is impressive work bertha and a lot of garden and a lot of fence.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 09-Feb-14 15:09:15

love the idea of an edible igloo

Rhubarbgarden Sun 09-Feb-14 15:28:03

Looks great, Bertha. You must update us in pictures as the igloo takes shape!

Lexi if your rhubarb is newly in I'd leave it for a couple of years to establish properly before picking any. I learnt this the hard way. blush If It's an old mature clump on the other hand then you're probably fine to take stems as long as you leave enough on to give the plant sustenance. You're supposed to stop harvesting halfway through the season (or something) to give the plant plenty of chance to regenerate, but I never knew my mother or grandparents to do that and their plants were like triffids. This was in the rhubarb triangle though, I've never known rhubarb to grow quite so maniacally elsewhere.

I spent this morning helping out clearing the site for a brand new community orchard on the other side of the lane. It was a great atmosphere, loads of people turned up, everyone brought tools, and we chopped, dug, lopped and levelled. Really nice. Still can't quite believe our luck that it's going to be an orchard instead of housing, which was initially threatened by the charity that owns the land before they had a change of heart.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 09-Feb-14 15:32:58

Wynken there is an NGS garden near here opening this week and next to show off their hellebores and snowdrops too. I'm hoping to go on Tuesday, but I've got a poorly sprog at the moment so it will depend on if I can get her back to preschool.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 09-Feb-14 15:34:32

That sort of communal work is so lovely Rhubarb. How nice to have that in your village.

The first time we butchered pigs here lots of our friends came to help and it was a fantastic, sociable and productive day. A very happy memory.

Really excited here as the new potting shed takes shape. The wall between the two stock sheds has been removed, all the rubbish taken to the tip and DH spent all weekend turning an oversized single bed frame into a large potting bench. It is massive <happy>. I am going to have big tubs for mixing compost, sand, grit etc next to it and all the pots stored on the shelf thing underneath.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 09-Feb-14 15:55:15

I dream of a potting shed like that, Humph. Did you find it hard slaughtering your pigs? I love the idea of keeping livestock, but I'd get too attached to them. I'm a terrible sentimental old fool softy when it comes to animals.

funnyperson Sun 09-Feb-14 16:40:39

What does the potting shed look like? Sounds brilliant.
I updated the computer plant list today by walking round the garden and realise I still have a lot of plants in pots which need to be planted out this spring and a lot of thriving cuttings too, so have decided not to buy any more plants this year (except more primroses and perhaps more hellebores) but go all out for propagation.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sun 09-Feb-14 17:08:25

I'm tempted to try some of the champagne variety Bearleigh. I did once have rhubarb tart that someone made and I was dreading trying to eat it but it was very nice.

Very impressed at your work Bertha, especially given the weather ! Will be lovely to see future progress. And would love to see pics of Humph's potting shed, sounds fantastic.

Fingers crossed MiniRhubarb is better soon and live the idea of a community orchard. Funnyperson, I have lots of primroses if you need any.

No gardening today and had my first fish casualty in the aqua phonic system.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 09-Feb-14 19:09:22

I will try to add a photo of the potting shed when I get round to taking one. It faces onto the yard where we park and where the greenhouse is. It used to house animals but the wall between has been taken down and it is open on one side. Eventually we will put some doors on. It is quite a big room and is empty at the moment there is no way it will stay that tidy

I don't mind slaughtering the pigs Rhubarb but I cravenly don't play any part in taking them to the butchers.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 09-Feb-14 19:21:51

yay for propagation funnyperson
it is just SO satisfying

Castlelough Sun 09-Feb-14 21:02:25

Argh my bare root roses have been sitting in a bucket of water since Friday night. If I plant them tomorrow will they be alright?

Had to be very stern with myself this afternoon - Aldi had fruit trees (apple, cherry, plum & pear) for €4.99 each. And they were fine tall trees, about 3m. I just can't plant trees for now. I also have to remind myself that when I DO plant my orchard I'm going to buy some native varieties, not just the popular standards.

Hope you all had good gardening days!

Yes, I will post pictures of the edible igloo when it's up and going later in the year. Quite excited by the idea.

I have loads of fence Funny. Hardly any of it is covered as nothing grows in our ground unless we put a raised bed in. Too many casualties of the plant variety to keep trying. sad

Humphrey, your potting shed sounds fabulous.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 10-Feb-14 08:54:45

Why won't things grow, Bertha? What sort of soil do you have?

Lexilicious Mon 10-Feb-14 09:30:51

Thanks for the rhubarb advice rhubarb - it's not a new clump, I had a great harvest last year until we got bored with it (pie or crumble every week, nearly!) but this year I will try to get more creative with uses for it. I'm eyeing up a an interesting infusion recipe and I did once do a lovely rhubarb sauce for mackerel. DH is in charge of the meal plan these days and once a week is oily fish night (aka Omega-3 night) so I am looking forward to some lovely recipes!

Rhubarbgarden Mon 10-Feb-14 11:10:25

Ooh rhubarb with mackerel! That sounds glorious.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 10-Feb-14 11:17:14

Rhubarb and strawberry crumble is good.

Just had a blissful hour sorting out the greenhouse, potting on penstemon cuttings and salvias, planting the hostas ready for the copper pot and generally tidying up, all with baby Cobbler sleeping happily whilst strapped to my back smile

Bearleigh Mon 10-Feb-14 13:56:22

Very earth mother Humph!

I had a lovely day in the garden yesterday. I dug up an Phormium that had, ahem, got a little too large. I was expecting a right old tussle as it was so huge, but in the end its root ball was small and easy to dislodge. I loved its spikiness though so will look for a dwarf one.

I also dug out a Bowles' Mauve perennial wallflower, which was half bare because of the phormium, and also because I have decided I don't actually like the colour of the flowers. Has anyone any experience of the more recherché varities, such as Erysimum Rysi Moon? (looks lovely - lemon and white - Hayloft have them).

Lexilicious Mon 10-Feb-14 17:09:24

Just been out there this afternoon... our back garden lawn is a total swamp! We are going to have some serious remedial maintenance to do in the spring. I've been out in the evening sun in the front garden (south facing) digging up clumps of snowdrops and aconites. I separated them on the wall and put them into big pots with other rescued bulbs - so we'll see how they do having been moved 'in the green'.

Got mud right under my fingernails grin because the snowdrop clumps had been invaded by mint roots and I had to dig up by hand, i.e. loosen the soil with the fork and then literally get my hands under the clump and pull the snowdrops out backwards from the bulbs so the shoots slipped through their imprisoning minty tendril cage...

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 10-Feb-14 17:53:49

I've only got the Bowles Mauve which was a new addition last year. How lovely to have clumps of snowdrops big enough to split, maybe one day..

Someone on the muddy dog thread recommended a Hozelock Portashower which has just arrived as the mud has been getting a bit much. I've just tested it out on my muddy boots. I think it's going to be really handy for the allotment and cleaning the greenhouse.

Rhubarbgarden Mon 10-Feb-14 19:33:55

Lovely sunny day here but couldn't go outside as had to spend the day tending sick smallrhubarb. The NGS open garden will have to wait till next week as there'll be no farming her out tomorrow. If only it was summer and I could stick her outside in a chair like a Victorian invalid while I did some weeding. As it is it looks like being another day of CBeebies on the sofa. Groan.

Castlelough Mon 10-Feb-14 20:17:35

Humph your greenhouse and potting shed activities sound heavenly! Are they near each other? Talk me through why I need a potting shed as well as a greenhouse in my future garden plan...! Just so I'll have it on the tip of my tongue for DH.grin
Love the image of baby gardening! smile Could you strap yours on Rhubarb?

Lovely to hear about everybody's rhubarb. I had rhubarb tart for the first time a few years ago and it was delicious! smile

I managed to plant my bare root roses today. The pots weren't quite deep enough so I will need to replant them when i get larger pots but at least they are into some soil for now.

Can I ask for advice regarding Christmas trees? I bought two small potted Christmas trees before Christmas. A few people have said I should plant them in the garden, but that's all well and good in December. I wouldn't want them to be too imposing the rest of the year, or stand out oddly in the garden. And yet you'd really need to have them somewhere visible for the festive season or there wouldn't be any point in having them...! What do you think I should do?

Castlelough Mon 10-Feb-14 20:18:46

*Rhubarb tart for the first time a few DAYS ago I meant to say! blushblush

HumphreyCobbler Mon 10-Feb-14 20:28:34

You need a potting shed because your greenhouse will be full of plants! Especially as your DH will have taken up too much space with box cuttings hmm The potting shed is opposite the greenhouse and round the other side from the garden.

I would have the trees in pots myself, but will the pots need to be really big? may be difficult to move <unhelpful>

HumphreyCobbler Mon 10-Feb-14 20:29:16

hope smallrhubarb feels better soon Rhubarb

Castle, could you just pot them into bigger containers so you can move them into prime position in the festive season?

Rhubarb, it's not so much the soil that's the problem as the lack of it. There is a massive flint layer about 6 in down which we think was an original courtyard / drive but it's everywhere. You have to use a pickaxe to dig. clematis get wilt if I plant them out but they're fine in pots, i think thats because i cant dig a big enough hole with good stuff in it. Everything grows perfectly well the other side of the fence confused

My tulips are peeping up.

Castlelough Mon 10-Feb-14 23:29:30

Humph that sounds lovely.envy

I'm pretty sure my DH won't have the greenhouse filled with box cuttings either envy.

Would love if he would!!! There will be much exasperated sighing and rolling of eyes from his quarters, I predict, when I get started on my garden. He has 140 acres of farm and is being a right grinch about the 2/3 acre surrounding our house. I have spelled it out very clearly that I have moved 3 hrs drive away from my family and friends to live with him in one of the most rural (but idyllic) parts of Ireland and he is going to have allow me a few concessions - the garden and a dog! grin

Castlelough Mon 10-Feb-14 23:32:11

Bertha that's a good idea about pots. Hmmm big pots for the Christmas trees....wheel them out and wheel them away again....hmmm I like it! grin

funnyperson Tue 11-Feb-14 09:10:35

Whenever I think of erysimum I picture the Kensington gardens/Regents park spring displays of yore which used to have various mass planted tulips in monochrome with contrasting colours of erysimum in monochrome providing the foil. Whilst impressive and cheering and photo worthy it was always too regimented to be something one could re create in the home garden.
A local dentist has old fashioned wallflowers every spring in rusts and oranges which are always rather lovely.
Tulip colours are more subtle these days of course.
Anyway I liked the look of the yellow wallflower you mentioned rhubarb what would you plant it with?
I'd like a potting shed /greenhouse, I'm not sure which, to potter about in with cuttings etc. At the moment because the back is so small sheltered I can't really justify it and simply have to wrap up warm and brave the rain to potter about.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 11-Feb-14 10:09:02

I love old fashioned brown and orange wallflowers too funnyperson

Castlelough - where you live sounds beautiful. Farmers are often indifferent about gardens, aren't they? You sound v determined though grin

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 11-Feb-14 20:07:06

I'm quite fond of my Bowles' Mauve - it performs well and is about to flower, which is very welcome at the moment as the garden is so drab.

I also like the Persian Carpet mix of wallflowers, as the colours are so rich.

Castlelough Tue 11-Feb-14 20:11:23

I love wallflowers. The ones we had in our garden growing up had a lovely scent. Not sure what variety but yellows and refs and browns.

Bearleigh Tue 11-Feb-14 20:35:31

I love the smell of wallflowers, and I love the colours of the Persian Carpet mix but to me they are too autumnal for spring!

A couple of years ago I saw some bright pink wallflowers combined with purple ones, in Kensington Gardens, and they looked gorgeous, so I grow them now in one bed and lovely pale lemon wallflowers with white tulips (thanks for the idea, Monty) in another one.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 11-Feb-14 20:48:21

That sounds really pretty Bearleigh, I especially love pink and purple.

I tried to grow some scarlet wallflowers from seed but they failed to thrive, I don't know what I did wrong there. SO we bought some for the pots along the drive and the bed by the back door.

Castlelough Tue 11-Feb-14 22:44:18

Humph your garden sounds huge! envy

Castlelough Tue 11-Feb-14 22:46:27

Snow and hail here today. My poor baby roses.... sad. And a little yellow crocus has bravely opened it's face to the elements today.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 11-Feb-14 22:47:03

The actual garden bit is about the same size yours will be I think Castle smile

echt Wed 12-Feb-14 08:55:27

Ah, well. We've had to shut our doors against the bushfire smoke that penetrates avery open window and door.

The worst of the scalding sun is over for damaging plants, but no rain, so in the autumn, a couple tanks to go in, and in winter uproot the plants that can't take a scorcher and plant the right natives and Mediterraneans.

Our flowering gum, only 2 feet high, with vivid orange pompoms came up a treat, then got blasted, but has instantly put on new growth.

Even apart from the heat, late summer in Au has much the same aspect as in the UK, a struggle to find interest in flowers.

We can send you some rain Echt smile

Wynken, have you used the porta shower thing on your dog? I was tempted to get one too after reading that thread.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 12-Feb-14 22:47:55

The gum sounds lovely Echt. I hope the fires don't spread too much.

Bertha yes I have used it twice now. It's made a big difference to the amount of mud in the car and the house , big relief as was getting a bit ridiculous. I do think it will be handy for allotment and garden too.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 14-Feb-14 15:23:12

Gosh it's almost impossible to imagine scalding heat and bush fires whilst surrounded by flooding. It's a startling contrast. Hope you are not badly affected Echt. Your gum tree sounds beautiful.

Bertha that must be so annoying re your flint layer. Could you get it dug out? Or would that be an impossibly major job?

I noticed this morning that two of my new baby clematis had disappeared. So as soon as I'd popped ds into bed for his nap I braved the torrents and went out to investigate. The one that was looking a bit dodgy when it arrived appears to have rotted. The other missing one I found had just been buried, presumably by a cat using the freshly weeded and mulched soil as a convenient loo. Hopefully that one will be ok now. I'm a bit peeved about the dead one though.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 14-Feb-14 18:10:34

we have two kinds of clematis in our garden - those we put in when we just dug a hole and bunged it in, which are all thriving, and those which we planted properly when we found out how to do it, which mostly died! Particularly annoying on the rose walk when we put in about twenty, fully two thirds of which simply disappeared.

Rhubarbgarden Fri 14-Feb-14 19:35:47

Oh blimey that's not good odds. Must admit I've never had huge success with clematis.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 14-Feb-14 20:12:54

Clematis are temperamental things, I think. That said, the Jackmanii that grows through rose New Dawn and up the apple tree is already romping away.

mousmous Sat 15-Feb-14 10:40:55

good morning.
hope the night wasn't too bad for you all.
our garden looks fine, not too much debris, will tidy up a bit later. had first planned to do some digging and planting, but can't be arsed in the wind and rain.

Castlelough Sat 15-Feb-14 10:57:20

Glorious morning here in Ireland. Sunny and calm - after a week of crazy weather: hail storms, snow, frost, flooding, tornado force winds and rain, rain, rain!

Off to inspect the damage!

Rhubarbgarden Sat 15-Feb-14 13:34:34

I know the feeling mous. I was going to do some pruning in the orchard, but I don't fancy going up a ladder in this weather.

Maud I like the sound of your New Dawn/jackmannii combo.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Feb-14 13:49:59

Yes, the Jackmanii/R New Dawn combo works very well indeed, in terms both of colour and matched vigour.

We just had a lovely walk around Great Dixter, admiring the hellebores and millions of snowdrops in the sunshine. Then within an hour we were being soaked and stung in a hail shower. Ah well.

Bearleigh Sat 15-Feb-14 18:42:12

I thought it was just me who had problems with clematis just disappearing! I put it down to buying £1.89 ones from Morrisons and not hardening them off properly - though recently I have had more success with them, as I repot them and grow them in a bit before I plant out. The price has gone up mind:£2.00 now. But they are an amazing bargain when they succeed, as most of the ones I have from there have AGM. Must feed them tomorrow along with the roses and peonies...

Morrisons also have some (very) little fruit bushes at the moment. I got a Tayberry, and was tempted by a red gooseberry. They had a wide selection, & all seemed good varieties. I already have a Tayberry, but like the berries very much and grow them up fences so they don't take up much room.

I was delighted to see that a scrubby elder tree at the bottom of the garden has been partially uprooted by last night's storm, so we will have to have it removed. I had left it as it gave some height where there was no other, but it was a bit pathetic. I shall have fun planning what to plant in its place. Some sort of fruit tree I think -any recommendations?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Feb-14 19:28:57

Yes, I'm trying that approach now, Bearleigh. I think I lost some of my clematis because they just weren't big enough and tough enough to cope with our cold wet clay soil (even with lots of improvement around the planting hole).

echt Sun 16-Feb-14 10:43:22

Here in Melbourne, some rain has arrived, a grateful, mithering persistent rain, though we'd need a week of it to make real difference.

DH was up on a big ladder to clear the gutters. The resulting mulch of dead leaves and possum shit has gone straight into the composter. I've chopped up a humungous rock orchid - dendrobium speciosum - to make six smaller plants.

An experiment with hydrangeas has proved to be disappointing, and, despite their alleged druggy attributes, they're for the chop.

Much plotting with DH for the autumn planting: we intend to put in three new native shrub/trees to screen and attract birds. The cannas and crepe myrtle have disappointed yet again, so out they go.

And breathe. smile

Rhubarbgarden Sun 16-Feb-14 17:18:46

So, much needed rain for Echt, and much needed sun for us today!

I got the orchard pruning finished apart from the gooseberry. The ancestral rhubarb has started showing signs of life, which is great.

Dd has been nagging to plant some flower seeds for the last three days, so I dragged out the heated propagater from the nether reaches of the garage, and we sowed some Aquilegia canadensis and some Digitalis parviflora 'Milk Chocolate'. The Digitalis was for dd and we did that in a mini propagater for the kitchen windowsill. She kept complaining she was cold and the compost was too dirty no child of mine hmm which was annoying.

The Aquilegia is a bit faffy. It needs six weeks of 18 degrees then six weeks of cold, then repeat until germination.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 16-Feb-14 17:45:21

Ooh, that does sound a bit of a faff, Rhubarb, although I can see it will be worth it. I can only be doing with the sort of seed that you sow, water and then come back to check on in a fortnight.

At Great Dixter I bought seeds of bupleurum (I do love my umbellifers) and Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate (persicaria something or other), although as the latter had zero germination last year I'm none too hopeful. Then again, anything this year as to be an improvement.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 16-Feb-14 17:52:28

I love the ancestral rhubarb. We have ancestral primroses, originally from DH's grandmother and have spread through gardens in about six different counties.

Sowed more broad beans, ammi magus, cornflower polka dot and some euphorbia type plant I can't remember the name of. I could do with a heated propagater I think. Have cleared out the windowsill in the kitchen instead, but will have to put in the greenhouse as soon as they germinate. Planted a bishop of oxford dahlia and sorted out the purple salvia cuttings from the pineapple sage cuttings (by scent alone, they look exactly the same, I should have labelled). Had a good look at the cottage borders, they are my next job. Not looking too bad except for a million oriental poppy plants grown up from the bits of root I left in the ground when removing the big plant. There is a rogue lemon verbena that is MASSIVE, have no idea how that got there. The gravel path at the bottom is a mass of forget me nots.

Was pleased to see the tenby daffs I put in the orchard when I first moved here. It was my first planting in this garden smile, they have started to spread and look v naturalised.

Glad you got some rain Echt!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 16-Feb-14 17:59:51

I have some ancestral lamium, which I have to dig up every year because it is far too vigorous. No wonder dear mater had loads of it to give away.

That is very impressive seed-sowing, Humphrey. To me it feels too early to be sowing seeds, which is why I always sow too late and things don't thrive. I must mend my ways.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 16-Feb-14 18:09:04

Tbh Maud that's generally my kind of seed sowing too, but I promised a friend I would grow these for her regret it now.

I love Persicaria. I will definitely be including it in The Grand Plan.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 16-Feb-14 18:11:58

It is panic sowing due to garden opening Maud. I am planning to sow again in a couple of weeks and again etc blush

That aquilegia is stunning.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 16-Feb-14 18:16:50

You must remind us of your opening date, Humphrey. We could hire a OsteospermumsNet charabanc.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 16-Feb-14 19:40:35

Goodness, that would be exciting. I love your use of the word charabanc too!

Rhubarbgarden Sun 16-Feb-14 19:58:30

That's a busy day Humph! Count me in for the charabanc.

Bearleigh Sun 16-Feb-14 20:08:31

Ooh yes to the charabanc!

I love the acquilegia canadensis, and the Kiss me...

My big news is that I am at last the proud possessor of a Daphne Odora Aureomarginata. I got one years ago from my FiL which died (most things I planted in those days died...), and I do love all Daphne's, but especially that one with the faint gold line round the leaves. Today at a local nursery, where I also got some seed potatoes, they had a lovely one, in flower, for sale. Not cheap of course, but neither was the one that pegged it, and at least it's big enough to be in flower, and I will give it lots of love. Hopefully the use of Mycorrhizal fungi will help it settle in, as the books say they don't like to be moved...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 16-Feb-14 20:25:50

My daphne odora aureomarginata has a virus which makes its leaves crinkly, but I can accept that because of its gorgeous scent.

Charabanc is one of my favourite words.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 16-Feb-14 20:40:21

it makes me think of the trip to the seaside in Cider With Rosie

<goes to google daphne odora aureomarginata>
that is lovely

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 16-Feb-14 21:08:21

Oh yes, Cider With Rosie.

And the daphne is lovely, but my garden designer friend, who diagnosed the virus, says that they're very prone to them.

Castlelough Sun 16-Feb-14 22:49:18

Lots of chatting here! And lots of lovely-sounding plants for me to look up! Well done to everyone sowing seeds!

Humph are you opening your garden to the public? Wow! I'm so impressed! Love the sound of your daffodil filled orchard!

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 00:09:43

Love reading about the ancestral plants! smile I would never have thought about bringing primrose into the garden from somewhere else! Was it difficult Humph? We have the most beautiful wild primroses filling our lanes each year. I haven't seen any as nice anywhere else or in a garden centre. I wonder would it be hard to transfer a little into my garden....mind you, it's probably illegal (I live within a national park) but it is so prolific. It isn't a rare plant....hmmm. Must look it up!

Maud 'kiss me over the garden gate' looks lovely. I googled it! It also said that the seeds should be frozen for a week before planting them! Did you try that?!

Aldi have advertised a great selection of garden plants for Thursday. I might chance a few. For €1.49 they have 16 types of perennial bulbs (I never knew lupine could be grown from bulbs!) and 17 kinds of summer flowering perrenial bulbs too...worth a look anyway! smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 17-Feb-14 08:19:25

Thank you for the tip about freezing/stratification. The seeds don't have instructions and I didn't find that last year, so I'll certainly try it.

Bearleigh Mon 17-Feb-14 08:29:08

I note from a Google that Chiltern seeds stock it - but as usual with them, there are no instructions. They do say it self-seeds.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 17-Feb-14 08:48:09

Yes, the stuff I found last year mentioned self-seeding, so I wrongly imagined it was a 'chuck it in and watch it grow' type of seed. So now, for the first time ever, I'll be putting seeds in the freezer.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 09:50:22

Primroses split and transfer really easily Castle.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 10:24:37

Maud I'm glad to have helped! smile

Humph I did a bit of a google search on primroses and read that too! But I also read that it's illegal to dig up or split wild primroses. I cam however collect the seeds in August/Sept from the wildflowers and plant them! Complicated, huh?! I wonder is it easy to spot the seed on the plant?
You'd know I have a week off work (half term) with all this time to ponder about seeds ha! grin

Had a peek at my David Austin bare root roses. They really don't look very good. I think all the rain must have affected them. I hope they don't die on me! As for my grandad's rose cuttings that I took in December - at least 8 of the 17 cuttings have little leaves now and look promising! Some of the others have tiny signs of growth, so they may also do well! I also found a heap of spring bulbs I had forgotten about and plonked them into pots last month - they are all green tips now! grin

Do any of you have a septic tank/percolation area? How have you incorporated it into the garden?

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 11:35:35

Humph has got me thinking about orchards and naturalising bulbs...

I had been thinking of keeping a henhouse in my orchard and letting them free range about in it at times. But would hens peck up the naturalised bulbs I wonder?

Anyone who has an orchard - can I ask what rootstock did you choose? I love the idea of a tall old fashioned orchard, but people keep advising me to go for less vigorous trees....what do you think?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 15:07:23

how much space do you have for your orchard? I would go for large rootstock if you have the space and the time to wait for it to grow

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 15:44:00

Well Humph the grounds around the site are 2/3 acre (not including the driveway/ patio/ ground I eventually want to add an extension onto blush) And we own all the surrounding fields, so I could push the boundaries a little but could end up divorced!blush

So I suppose I can make a relatively large orchard within reason - was hoping for 5-6 apple, a plum, a pear and a 2 cherry trees. I thought of having some less vigorous fruit trees for structural interest in an adjoining vegetable potager/parterre and maybe some almond trees near the driveway entrance...
What would you add to that? smile

funnyperson Mon 17-Feb-14 16:08:24


HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 16:17:25

that all sounds lovely. Yes to Damson. I am not so enamored of cherry trees as I never get any of the fruit but I suppose they are worth it for the blossom. Do plant climbing roses in the trees.

What about a nut walk? Have you the room? I would love a nut walk.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 16:29:05

Thanks funnyperson! I've never eaten a damson, but they could be nice in a jam?

I'm a bit torn between the idea of integrating fruit trees in the garden and having a separate orchard.

I could line paths and boundaries with espaliered fruit trees instead of taking up a chunk of garden with an 'orchard' .... again I like the idea of the orchard as a place to go in the garden, with hammocks or a swing and a picnic table if we ever see the sun again and where children could play when the trees are mature enough or the idea of the hens being based there.

It's nice to have options, I hope I amn't annoying people with my ramblings! Just thinking a lot about the garden and what I want to gain from it and I'm so afraid of making big mistakes with the layout of it! confused

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 16:33:28

espaliered fruit trees are wonderful. Do that! We have an orchard and fruit trees in various other places too, it is not an either/or situation. Don't forget a fig.

I love hearing about your garden plans, it all sounds most exciting.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 16:34:36

Climbing roses in the fruit trees!
A nut walk!

How long before the trees produce nuts? We have a coppice of wild Hazel on our farm. Masses of nuts! What other nuts would you include? Walnut? I would love Macadamia but they'd hardly grow in our climate?

Would the cherries really all be nabbed by birds. I love cherries!sad

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 16:46:52

Thanks for the encouragement! flowers

I have nobody to bounce ideas off in real life. Everybody says things like 'Oh a garden is a lot of work'! And I know it is...but I can't wait!grin

A fig on the patio?
Am thinking some formal planting on the patio, a bit like a terrace - raised beds with box hedging and balls and standard bay trees with whites and yellows and purples like lavender and alliums and herbs...?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 17:01:22

You already have a coppice! Wow, I would like a coppice. Not sure about the nut walk if you already have lots of hazel. Walnut v slow growing, we have one at the bottom of the orchard and it is MILES behind everything else.

Fig on patio sounds good. That is one fruit SO worth growing as v expensive to buy. You could get making your box cuttings this year, do you have a plant at all you could get cuttings from? Or a neighbour may have one.

The birds have all our cherries, they are too big to net effectively. We do have one growing against a wall which I hope we will get to eat one day.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 17:10:55

Humph don't be wowed by our coppice. It is up beside DMiL's and nobody uses it except the cows! Self seeded years and years and years ago. DSiL gathers a few bags of nuts each year and DH tried selling them to a local organic food shop but there was no demand!
Much of DH's land is completely overgrown and full of surprises! Nothing growing on it has been planned! grin
We are in a karst landscape, so acres of rocky landscape and some lake and also quite a few swallow holes. We had to pull a calf out of one a few years ago - sucked in to his neck, the poor thing. So it's careful treading and much maintenance work ahead for us, and we are really at the beginning of it all! grin

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 17:13:05

Maybe I'll buy some buxus and start some cuttings off from that - will need it for potager too.

Wish I had a greenhouse!!!!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 18:49:58

Dh made a rectangular frame and covered it with bubblewrap to do his first box cuttings. He added sand to a bit of the veg plot and it worked brilliantly. Much cheaper than a greenhouse!

Bearleigh Mon 17-Feb-14 19:05:31

You could always plant a hazelnut truffle tree or two:


(This is on my list of possibilities...)

Rhubarbgarden Mon 17-Feb-14 19:09:47

Castle it sounds absolutely beautiful where you are. I'm loving hearing your plans too. My best advice would be to go and visit as many National Trust/NGS gardens as you can, for inspiration and an idea of what can be done with the space that you've got. Time spent researching, thinking things through, drawing and re-drawing plans is never wasted.

I'd add a mulberry to your orchard shopping list.

Bearleigh Mon 17-Feb-14 19:16:36

Ooh yes definitely a mulberry. They take a long time to fruit, so the sooner it is planted the better.

I remember reading somewhere that the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago; the second best is now...

Rhubarbgarden Mon 17-Feb-14 20:02:55

I'm going to have to replant my mulberry. It's gone wonky with all this extreme weather. I clearly didn't stake it properly.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 17-Feb-14 20:09:14

we lost one of the downy birch trees in the last storm, next to the one that died. There is a big gap now, don't think we will get it together to get more before spring.

I think we have a mulberry and a quince coming in the replanting bit at the bottom of the orchard. The amazing tree man says he can plant them bare rooted in a biodegradable pot, which we can then transfer into the orchard when the drainage work has been done. DH has got his way with the pond too hmm but I get to choose the fence. It will be six foot chicken wire panels with a latchable door.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 21:51:03

Ooh thanks for all the positive feedback everyone! smile
I live in an area called the Burren if anyone wants to google. We have a lot of wildflowers (and wild goats!) and gentians in Spring on the mountain. The house we are building is a traditional style 'cottage' bungalow, so I'm trying to bear all of that in mind with the garden plan too - don't want the garden to jar with the natural surroundings too much...

<goes off to google mulberry trees and pictures dancing around them on May day!!!>

Bearleigh Mon 17-Feb-14 22:25:58

What a lovely place to live Castlelough. The flowers in spring sound magical - and gentians too!

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 23:51:06

Thanks Bearleigh - it can be a bit bleak in winter! Our farm isn't all rock like the google image pictures but we have rock on our land like that and also national park walks a mile down the road.

Think I got confused with the mulberry tree and the may pole blush.

Castlelough Mon 17-Feb-14 23:52:26

Humph tell us more about the pond grin.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 18-Feb-14 11:23:37

Castle I've wanted to visit the Burren ever since learning about it in geography lectures. One day. You lucky girl to live there.

I have just booked a week on the Isle of Wight though, so I'll be able to visit Bumbez and all those lovely gardens she linked to.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 18-Feb-14 11:25:39

I'm planning to take the kids to Wisley tomorrow to see the butterflies in the glasshouse.

Castlelough Tue 18-Feb-14 11:40:59

Rhubarb the butterfly glasshouse sounds amazing, as does a week on the Isle of Wight. I read about a fab garden there in a magazine. Must dig it out and post it up (but am away til Thursday).

Maybe we'll have to fly you over here to do the garden plan!!! wink

Rhubarbgarden Tue 18-Feb-14 13:20:31

I'm up for that, Castle! grin

I have farmed out the kids for the day today (can't really afford to but what the hell, it was a rare opportunity) and I have got out my drawing board and am planning my orchard/kitchen garden. What fun!

I need more planting ideas for the border along the east facing wall. So far I've got rhubarb, blueberries, gooseberries, grape vines and Japanese wineberries. The grape vines are already there - east facing wall is not ideal for grapes for I'm going to leave them for now. Any other ideas? I'm not fond of blackcurrants.

Castlelough Tue 18-Feb-14 15:25:18

But Rhubarb blackcurrant jam is so delish!
That sounds like a heavenly way to spend the afternoon! Are you keeping it to all fruits in the orchard or could you put veggies along the east wall too? Espaliered trees? Or is that only for south facing walls?

Castlelough Tue 18-Feb-14 17:18:25

Rhubarb what about raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and redcurrants?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 18-Feb-14 17:20:30

What about raspberries, loganberries, tayberries and the like?

Castlelough Tue 18-Feb-14 17:45:49

Also maybe plant different varieties of fruiting bushes for a prolonged cropping season. My blueberry gives a tiny crop, so plenty of each type of bush for a decent crop!

Bearleigh Tue 18-Feb-14 19:37:36

I always recommend morello cherries: great for cooking yet unobtainable in the shops, make wonderful cherry brandy, or jam, and they grow well in shade.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 18-Feb-14 19:38:30

Raspberries, blueberries and asparagus are going on the west facing side. Some hybrid berries are a good idea though; I've never grown loganberries and tayberries so they could be fun to experiment with. Blackberries I don't need because the lane is full of them, and I prefer the flavour of wild ones.

Strawberries and veggies are going to go in three beds across the middle of the garden - full sun. I'm not going to cut out these beds till next year at least though. Veg are too full on for now; I need to focus on other bits first.

The north facing wall is going to have a row of hazels along it, and in the north west corner, for the hell of it, a Prunus 'The Bride' because I've always wanted one. Ornamental rather than productive but I reckon it will still 'go' as it's still technically a cherry.

I'm now wondering about cut flowers too - might be worth trying some on the east facing side.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 18-Feb-14 19:41:47

I'm not keen on Morello cherries. I don't cook much (DH's department) and I'm not huge on cherry flavoured things generally.

Castlelough Tue 18-Feb-14 23:03:51

What fruit trees will you have Rhubarb? Have you space for many? Your walled orchard is sounding fab! Very envy!

Bumbez Wed 19-Feb-14 08:15:32

I've just caught up with this thread, I'm loving the sound of everyone's plans, especially the walled orchard. I was planning to put my Rhaspberries on the east side, need to shove out Dh's motley palm plants though.

Dh has managed to build a base for the greenhouse in between showers. The lawn has been trashed in the process. We're planning to errect it this weekend when the cement dries.

Which week are you over Rhubarb?

Bumbez Wed 19-Feb-14 08:27:10

castle I've just googled the Burren it looks idealic !

Castlelough Wed 19-Feb-14 16:17:49

Thanks Bumbez, it can be! Ooh you are building a greenhouse, lucky you! envy. Is there an ideal part of the garden for a greenhouse?

Well I have picked up some huge plastic pots (€6 each in the poundshop) for my DA roses, as the roots were too big for anything I had and are just temporarily planted in their current containers.

I also picked up 4 small buxus plants in Woodies DIY (expensive @ €5.99 each, but they were 2 for the price of 1) as advised further up the thread. Now off to google how and when to take cuttings!!