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A Strong Drink and a Peer Group


Ferdinand

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Douglas Adams, in "Life, the Universe and Everything", that Arthur Dent expressed a need for "a strong drink and a peer group".

 

That is what this Gardening Blog is for - my need for the same thing because my knowledge about gardening is patchy, just like my garden. Buildhub cannot supply a strong drink, but I am hoping that the peer group can help me get to grips with the garden I inherited last year. The idea has been around for a couple of months, and is now in a position start.

 

We talk a lot about building here, but not so much about all the aspects of the settings of our houses - planning, clearance, climate, fencing, groundworks, trees, plants, soil, hedges and all the rest.

 

That is what I hope can get a bit more coverage and conversation here, in all its aspects.

 

This is a group blog, with potentially as many authors as wish to contribute, so if you have a question, or a project, or a garden you have liked or a plant you have spotted or grown, we can sign you up as an author or do a one-off contribution. If you would like to involved as a one-off or regular, do send me a Private Message.

 

For my first question - what is the purple plant in the middle of the piccie below, and is it a weed or a specimen? Do I take it out or leave it in? Comments are most welcome. Plant identification is one of my weak points.

 

AACB7A0B-E7B4-4C65-839B-A0C507EEA47F.thumb.jpeg.ec9c219d8815f8afdcfafccd3fddab0e.jpeg

 

* The header picture is of the Dill and Watercress in my microveg "Green Wall" - which has been one my new projects during the lockdown period, which I will post about more as things go on.

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Possibly it's a Viper's Bugloss which we have in our wild flower patch. If it is, then it could be called a weed but we call them wild flowers. If it's covered in bees then I'm probably right as they are a bee magnet.

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I am actually wondering whether it is a traditional wallflower.

 

They are noticeably shallow rooted.

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Purple Toadflax?  If it is  I can't take any credit; just testing a friends plant ID app before I download one myself ?

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7 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

I am actually wondering whether it is a traditional wallflower.

 

They are noticeably shallow rooted.

 

Has it got a spotty stem a bit like a snakes skin?

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16 hours ago, Christine Walker said:

Not sure what it is, at first I thought it was nepeta but on closer inspection the leaves are wrong 4101BC9A-146B-4010-8F05-BFE63B0B8D15.thumb.jpeg.aa50b6ee8569e21dcd628140e2c669c4.jpeg

 

I have a small amount of that - and a plague of cats - but I know catmint.

 

I would describe the leaves as "straplike".

 

Thanks.

Edited by Ferdinand
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15 hours ago, Roundtuit said:

Purple Toadflax?  If it is  I can't take any credit; just testing a friends plant ID app before I download one myself ?

 

I think that's it.


As the RHS say:


"Linaria purpurea is a vigorous perennial with erect stems clad in narrow, grey-green leaves, with purple flowers 1.5cm long in slender terminal racemes in summer and early autumn; often seeds freely."

 

They are right it seeds freely; it's bloody everywhere.

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On 21/07/2020 at 09:03, PeterStarck said:

Possibly it's a Viper's Bugloss which we have in our wild flower patch. If it is, then it could be called a weed but we call them wild flowers. If it's covered in bees then I'm probably right as they are a bee magnet.

I was just about to say that........

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Speedwell - 'wild' Veronica - weeds are only plants in the wrong place, so if you like it leave it alone as a wild flower.

There are many varieties of Veronica, wild (including this & a small creeping one in lawns & grasses) & cultivated (tend to have bigger bushier flower spikes).

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@Ferdinand

Google do an App which is fantastic for auto identification:

 

 

8F76A317-1259-4656-83EF-C3700D8EB706.png
and this is a screen grab from the app after uploading the photo you posted:

 

 

0BCC49A0-F513-478E-A38B-924CEFBF4150.png

Edited by Ian
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Gardening is a full-time, ballache of a job. For 7 months a year it’s trying to strangle you and you have to spend your time stopping it from taking over before you get to improvements. And some people do it every year!  
 

Through a combination of lockdown, great weather and a lack of occupational work I’ve spent more time in my garden this year than in my entire adult life. (That isn’t surprising when you’ve spent 3/4 of that time in back to back terraces and flats). It’s given us some thoughts on some ‘features’ we would like but one thing neither my wife or I can do is visualise a garden we want. Which is in stark contrast to the house where we’ve always been able to see what we wanted. We need to spend the money on someone who knows what they’re doing but finding one of those is not easy. 

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Purple Toadflax? My new app “Seek” says so. Is it right?5FC87018-A882-44D1-BC83-53C686661F4D.thumb.png.337c457fa969f12d33d42a876890b545.pngHowever it doesn’t say whether it’s a weed or not - one person’s weed is another’s wild flower meadow?

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On 27/07/2020 at 21:44, daiking said:

Through a combination of lockdown, great weather and a lack of occupational work I’ve spent more time in my garden this year than in my entire adult life.

 

It’s given us some thoughts on some ‘features’ we would like but one thing neither my wife or I can do is visualise a garden we want. Which is in stark contrast to the house where we’ve always been able to see what we wanted. We need to spend the money on someone who knows what they’re doing but finding one of those is not easy. 

I think most people have been in the same boat as you and its probably done us all the world of good.  I am so grateful that while in lockdown we have a garden and it has been wonderful to do so many off the jobs that i rarely get rouond to doing.  and the Other Half didnt seem to mind helping either.  Horticulture/gardening is an excellent form of therapy; so much so that some Dr's are even prescribing it. 

 

Re designing a garden, thats something i help people with.  but Manchester is a bit of a long way from Bicester, Oxfordshire.  Maybe i could start a simple guide to designing a garden.  I used to teach it so will have a look at my notes and pull something together.  it may be some use to others too.

 

In the meantime, if you see a picture of a garden that you either like/hate, try to keep a note of what you liked/disliked.  and try to decide what you'd like the garden to provide - is it just for entertaining?  for relaxing?  for children/pets? 

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On 27/07/2020 at 21:44, daiking said:

Gardening is a full-time, ballache of a job. For 7 months a year it’s trying to strangle you and you have to spend your time stopping it from taking over before you get to improvements. And some people do it every year!  
 

Through a combination of lockdown, great weather and a lack of occupational work I’ve spent more time in my garden this year than in my entire adult life. (That isn’t surprising when you’ve spent 3/4 of that time in back to back terraces and flats). It’s given us some thoughts on some ‘features’ we would like but one thing neither my wife or I can do is visualise a garden we want. Which is in stark contrast to the house where we’ve always been able to see what we wanted. We need to spend the money on someone who knows what they’re doing but finding one of those is not easy. 

 

I think that's a really interesting question @daiking'I've been reflecting having inherited my garden this year, and one of my notes has been that the South Side of mine is actually on the main entrance side where I park my car, away from the kitchen at the back which faces North.

 

So I have decided I want a sitting terrace and a pergola that side with fruit growing on it (at which point I remembered that in the garden where I grew up mum used to have things called "vertical cordon" plums and a greengage, which is the most pleasant plum of all.  So I want one of  those by the posts of my pergola. It will have the solar panels on top and help shelter my office from running up to 35C by mid morning in summer.

 

But that means I will probably want a gate for more security (or at least deterrence), and perhaps something slightly higher than my 5'6" front wall for privacy. I will do that by building a frame about 2" back which will have the already established Pyracantha climbing on it.

 

I've always loved thinking about garden / house integration as part of the design process - inpspired by the likes of Lutyens and my-dad-the-architect.

 

I would suggest try approaching this the way you did the house - start with a one page List of Requirements, perhaps thinking about scenarios - drinking gin on a summer evening, bar-b-cue with neighbours, private space for behaving like your avatar and so on, and perhaps visit some other gardens.

 

Vertical Cordons:

 

vertical-cordon-fruit.jpg.6e4da832f705405fe4ff27ec7ed48e35.jpg

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My mother bought me a garden design for my 40th Birthday (at my request) It was, probably, the best present I have ever had! It is the gift that keeps on giving. My designer asked me what I wanted. I remember saying I loved trees. Well, a year or so ago we had to take some of them out! Far too much shade and sunset blocking :) Other than that it has been great and I still have not finished it. I do have a large garden. I am going to do the same with the new project as I have a big birthday coming up. Mother is not around now but husband will just have to cough up whatever they charge now. I would never have thought of the plants the designer put together in borders. Our needs are different now. We will need much more hard landscaping and some raised beds.

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22 hours ago, TheMitchells said:

I think most people have been in the same boat as you and its probably done us all the world of good.  I am so grateful that while in lockdown we have a garden and it has been wonderful to do so many off the jobs that i rarely get rouond to doing.  and the Other Half didnt seem to mind helping either.  Horticulture/gardening is an excellent form of therapy; so much so that some Dr's are even prescribing it. 

 

Re designing a garden, thats something i help people with.  but Manchester is a bit of a long way from Bicester, Oxfordshire.  Maybe i could start a simple guide to designing a garden.  I used to teach it so will have a look at my notes and pull something together.  it may be some use to others too.

 

In the meantime, if you see a picture of a garden that you either like/hate, try to keep a note of what you liked/disliked.  and try to decide what you'd like the garden to provide - is it just for entertaining?  for relaxing?  for children/pets? 


Thanks, I’ll come back to you in summer 2022 ?

 

20 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

 

I think that's a really interesting question @daiking'I've been reflecting having inherited my garden this year, and one of my notes has been that the South Side of mine is actually on the main entrance side where I park my car, away from the kitchen at the back which faces North.

 

So I have decided I want a sitting terrace and a pergola that side with fruit growing on it (at which point I remembered that in the garden where I grew up mum used to have things called "vertical cordon" plums and a greengage, which is the most pleasant plum of all.  So I want one of  those by the posts of my pergola. It will have the solar panels on top and help shelter my office from running up to 35C by mid morning in summer.

 

But that means I will probably want a gate for more security (or at least deterrence), and perhaps something slightly higher than my 5'6" front wall for privacy. I will do that by building a frame about 2" back which will have the already established Pyracantha climbing on it.

 

I've always loved thinking about garden / house integration as part of the design process - inpspired by the likes of Lutyens and my-dad-the-architect.

 

I would suggest try approaching this the way you did the house - start with a one page List of Requirements, perhaps thinking about scenarios - drinking gin on a summer evening, bar-b-cue with neighbours, private space for behaving like your avatar and so on, and perhaps visit some other gardens.

 

Vertical Cordons:

 

vertical-cordon-fruit.jpg.6e4da832f705405fe4ff27ec7ed48e35.jpg


I’m not sure it was a question, more a desperate cry for help. We’ve certainly come a long way from the picture in my profile (not the avatar ?) but it’s basic utility not planned.

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I have Adam Frost's "How to Create your Garden" on back order. I understand this book is more about the physical garden than the plants. 

 

So I'm also looking for a book recommendation about actual plants thats very practical on the choosing plants front. Say I have a spot X big that is sunny, want colour/foilage etc, want this height, low maintenance etc and get a planting guide - put X, Y, Z in, these sort of positions. Things for patio troughs, borders, in shade etc. 

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12 hours ago, patp said:

Yes it is pricey! You could try ebay or similar sites?


No such luck. Will have to be charity shop or library.

 

(narrator: he doesn’t frequent charity shops)


Must be loads of gardening books in the library. Old folks love that stuff.

Edited by daiking
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