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Everything posted by ukhostland

  1. At the risk of sounding pedantic, annuals are plants which grow, flower, set seed and die in a season. None of the plants you list are annuals so if you can keep them alive over winter you can replant them the following year. A light trim to tidy them up should be sufficient but as others have suggested, watch out for a treat beasties which may also have overwintered. Add some nice organic general fertilizer to help them perform at their best this year. Colin the Gardener
  2. Amazing as it may seem, this beautiful tree - Acacia dealbata - is considered invasive in southern Europe. Il semble que dans certaines régions (région méditerranéenne), le mimosa soit considéré comme une espèce invasive (graines et rejets) dont il faut maitriser la reproduction. This french conservation site gives more details which you may find helpful: http://www.conservation-nature.fr/especes-invasives.php?id=7 Being controlled by law is another thing; better ask the Mairie.
  3. Hi Chrissie, it's a little alpine Phlox, perhaps P. bifida, and yes you can trim it back after flowering to keep it tidy. Colin
  4. Normally well water is far nicer than tap water for the garden.....and cheaper! We use ours all the time but if you are worried have it tested at the pharmacy. The only issue could be the temperature: it comes out of the ground at around 12 degrees and this can be a bit of a shock for heat-stressed plants. Locals often fill up a bath they keep in the garden to allow the water to warm up a bit before use. Colin - 36210
  5. Yep, everyone has it right as Viburnum opulus Sterile. Easy to grow, even in the rubbish clay soil of our front garden in the Centre.
  6. My Gardener in France blog: http://gardendesigncompany.wordpress.com/ and Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/ukhostland/ have plenty of garden and plant photos from the centre of France. Enjoy :)
  7. We don't know anyone in your area but you might like to try our method to find one: visit a couple of the most impressive chateaux in your region and ask who they use to care for their trees. We found a very professional craftsman that way. Colin
  8. The first of the plant fairs are on soon and in the Centre we have one of my favourites at the Ch. de Cherverny March 23/24 and at Ch. Bourdaisiere 30th /1st April. We are the couple we will see at both shows, buying much more than is wise! Colin
  9. I have the French catalogue of David Austin here. Retail prices are 16.95 Euros with delivery an extra 12.95, so your SuperU roses are very good value. I imagine they will be some of their older varieties, but that's not necessarily and bad thing. My experience with SuperU is that you must buy plants within a day or two of them arriving, before they have had a chance to ruin them. Happy hunting gardeners!
  10. Excuse my pedantry, but Moroccan Mint is Mentha spicata var. crispa - a mint rather than a thyme. Given that we had -26C the winter before last here in the Centre, but my parents on the Mediterranean have never seen a frost in the last 35 years, all speculation on what will grow in this garden is just that. All questions really need to add the geographical and soil details if a serious answer is to be provided.
  11. Excuse me pedantry, but Moroccan Mint is Mentha spicata var. crispa - a mint rather than a thyme. Given that we had -26C the winter before last here in the Centre, but my parents on the Mediterranean have never seen a frost in the last 35 years, all speculation on what will grow in this garden is just that. All questions really need to add the geographical and soil details if a serious answer is to be provided.
  12. Hi Matty, France is a very big country with a wide range of climates and soils. The first thing you need to tell us is where you are doing your gardening: the department, the orientation and the soil type. I'm sure you'll receieve lots of helpful advice once we know a little more. Colin
  13. If you do leave a small amount of trunk they will regrow, but perhaps with ten stems replacing the single trunk. The roots will be very extensive, perhaps going under the house. We would always advise clients to remove trees just a few at a time to give the soil and chance to recover its structure (i.e.: not damage your home). Holding the stream together is a good thing so you could cut down one in two, or one in three, and leave the stumps in place. The grow-back could be pruned every couple of years. There is a market for poplar wood for fruit boxes and matches, amongst other things and if you could locate a local company it would be a good way of getting your trees removed cost free.
  14. You could fence the individual trees. Years ago I worked at the Royal Gardens in Windsor and with a huge deer population this was the only option. Pretty solutions will not be cheap, but they did it. There is a product you can buy in the UK called Ronodene, which is intended to detire deer.: might work, but physical barriers are the answer. Colin
  15. Researchers at the University of Reading have discovered that three compounds found in deadly marroncourge can help to reduce and control seizures in epilepsy.   Dr Ben Whalley, who is leading the research at the department of pharmacy at the University of Reading, said tests in animals had shown the compounds effective at preventing seizures and convulsions while also having less side effects than existing epilepsy drugs. He said: “There was a stigma associated with deadly marroncourge that came out from the 60s and 70s associated with recreational use, so people have tended not to look at it medicinally as a result. “Deadly marroncourge is thought of being a treasure trove of compounds that could be used for pharmacological development. We have a list of around a dozen potential candidates for epilepsy and have tested three that show promise. “These compounds are very well tolerated and you are not seeing the same kind of side effects that you get with the existing treatments.”
  16. Hi Lou, Sounds a bit tricky if it drys out completely in the summer but has water in it in the winter. But if there is always some water / moisture there are many "marginal" plants you could try - like water Iris, to name just one. If you are going to use green geotextile (I hate the stuff personally) you might be best planting large groups of ground covering shrubs towards the top, where they will not get their feet too wet in the winter. You could try cheap and chereful plants like Senecio Sunshine, planted in groups of from three to a dozen. Herbacious perrenials will not spread well through the membrane, otherwise I could suggest dozens of varieties which would grow fast, cover the ground and provide lots of colour. We have an Aster here which is going crazy and covered with flowers -  a magnet for bees. You are bound to get a few losses as you experiment with species but by planting in large numbers the gaps will soon fill in. Add plenty of organic matter to that clay, by the way. Colin the Gardener
  17. Kerria jaonica has single flowers.....this one appears to be Kerria japonica Plena, with yellow "buttons"
  18. I still buy lots of plants in the UK, and from Holland and Belgium) in addition to those I find in France. There is no problem (in most cases) bringing plants from the UK to France; there are just a few that they are touchy about because of diseases. Try bringing in Citrus and (if anyone notices) you'll see what I mean! Apart from the prices, as a professional garden designer used to the huge range of plants we have available in the UK, I find it hard to supply all those I want to use unless I buy from outside France. Generally, when I have completed a planting plan of, say, 300 varieties, I email it to my old suppliers in Britain to put together for me;  I then drive over and collect them, planting them a few days later in my clients gardens. Happy gardening Colin
  19. Hang on before you make any drastic decisions; plants that look completely dead can sprout again from buds currently not visible, both above and below ground. We have a garden planted in stages over the last the years and as a garden designer you can imagine there are some rather nice things here (dept 36); many are looking very rough at the moment but its far too early to panic: time will tell. Interestingly, some species that I thought would never survive look very healthy (Choisya Aztec Pearl, a Helichysum grown from a cutting last year) while others I would imagine would be fine are knocking on Death's door ( Azalea japonica, Camellia). I am always pushing my luck growing plants that are on the limits of hardiness;o every-so-often Nature likes to remind me who's boss! Colin Elliott
  20. Winter flowering heathers are always a good bet, together with other small foliage plants like some varieties of Euonymus. As has been said, winter Pansies are good and you could use Bellis. In protected positions you might get away with hardy Cyclamen, even the large varieties.
  21. Most garden centres offer a guarantee and replace it even if it was not their fault! Not all nurseries will, however, arguing that they sold you a good plant and you have neglected it or killed it in some other way. Ask the person who gave it to you where it was bought and take the plant, label and pot back to them; the receipt would be good too. It would be interesting to hear how you get on. Best of luck, Colin
  22. Hi, I have just reviewed the Briant catalogue on my Gardener in France blog which may be helpful. I agree though, that in spite of the retail price of things in Frence, you need somewhere to take them back if it all goes wrong. Both garden centres and many of the on-line shops guarantee their plants while some nurseries do not: soemthing to watch out for. Colin
  23. Hi Nectarine, It's just the weird weather confusing everything. We picked Ceps in the summer and have spring-flowering shrubs in blooming now. Isn'y Nature wonderful! Colin
  24. Hi Tuppence, Wood ash contains Potasium, which is good for flowering and fruiting but is alkaline, so best avoided on limey soils and around plants which prefer acis conditions. Dont put piles of it either directly on the soil or in the compost bin, but small amounts can be very useful, mixed with other material. Colin
  25. Hi from the sunny centre of France. We grow Redhaven; I bought a bare root bush a couple of years ago from our local garden centre and initially planted it in a very large pot where it did well againgst a sunny wall, giving us 20+ large fruits each year. With a place in the garden finally available we planted it last winter and had a dozen very early fruits - we were eating them in June and boy, were they good! Redhaven is not fond of alckline soils apparently (grafting on St. Julian rootstock would help) but does well for us in our acid sand / alkaline clay mix. The only shame is that the flower is very un-interesting. I may buy another this autumn and find one with large pink flowers - there's nothing wrong with pretty and productive. For a great list of peach varieties try here: http://www.pommiers.com/peche/pecher.htm As for your bush: cut it back to the damaged area, seal it up with pruning compound and say nice things to it each day. I expect it will grow back. Have fun in the garden Colin the Gardener
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