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The start of a new year


By JohnOz


Well, it seems like ages since I last wrote. But lots has happened.
A week before Christmas my mother was admitted to hospital having suffered a second heart attack. Sadly she died on Christmas eve. So a lot of my time has been taken up dashing up and down the M1 to near London to help my sister sort things out. With that and the poor weather I have done very little in the garden since I last wrote.
Weatherwise last year was very difficult. The early spring followed by the wash out of a summer played havoc with all kinds of plants.
My tomatoes were a total flop, both indoor and outdoor. I think the low summer temperatures were the main problem as I treated them just the same as I usually do.
Two jobs I have done is to attack two particularly invasive plants. One is the Houttuynia cordata “Chamaeleon”, I’ll include a photo after I’ve submitted this blog. The other is a salvia that I acquired a couple of years ago at a car boot sale. I don’t know (could be Salvia blepharophylla) it’s name but it stands about 450mm high and has downy leaves and slender racemes of deep magenta flowers. Trouble is it spreads like bindweed, the ‘roots’ are a dense network of white rhizomes, as does the Houttuynia. Just like the bindweed they are a devil to control.
The previous owners of the property had introduced the Houttuynia, and it is all over the garden. The particular bed I cleared was absolutely choked with the stuff. I removed at least 2 wheelbarrows full of the roots. I now wait to see how much comes up next summer. I have dug in a good load of garden compost and leaf mould and replanted the area with a tree paeony (another one!), a Magnolia x soulangeana, Leycestria formosa alongside an existing Quince, underplanted with Epimedium x versicolour, spring bulbs and a mixture of Helleborus. At present there is a lovely patch of snowdrops, with narcisus and anemonies just pushing through.
Time to go, I’ll be back.

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Previous post: November 30 2007

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I am sorry about your mum.

17 Feb, 2008


Sorry to hear your sad news John. Good luck with the garden though - sounds like you have your work cut out for you

17 Feb, 2008


What a sad time for you and very busy and tiring, too. I hope things improve for you. Gardens are a great solace.

We are all strange, we gardeners, aren't we. I inherited four Leycesterias, and have removed them all - I just don't like them - they flopped all over the place and Henry kept eating the berries, while the birds didn't! We had Houttuyana in Kent, it was like yours - a real thug! However, in this garden, it seems to behave itself. My bugbear is Symphytum - it was everywhere and I've been tryng to lose it, but it pops back up again if a tiny bit of root was left, also it seeded itself. UGH!!!!

19 Feb, 2008

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