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I have now learned from this July experience


to make a plan of my garden space, marking in the
area that is ‘shade space’ or ‘semi-shade space’ and think more carefully when buying plants at the garden centre.
Planting instructions on plant labels are not always correct and may refer to a different country or garden
soil conditions. Everyone should know the geology of their garden, and how to improve clay subsoil by putting new plants in a hole lined with nutrient rich compost.
Its much better to know how much shade space is
available and concentrate more carefully when buying plants. (I am just as impulsive as every else.)
Thousands of plants have been lost due to the intense
heat of one week in July.
Thousands of gallons of water have been used trying to keep them alive. All costing more money and frustration.
Originally they were planted where they were attractive,
or the height/width was right.
But they were in the wrong place. Most of my Alpines were cooked in their pots. I should have put them behind the greenhouse in the shade early July.
I usually think ‘woodland plants’ for my limited shade space. Primulas, strawberries, Camellia, Fuchsias, Cyclamen, etc. Even this thinking is not enough.
Soil conditions and correct feeds are important.
Monty said that 1/20 Comfrey feed once a week suits all plants. Must make some rather than using Nitrogen rich commercial products at this time of year.
Collecting Beech leaves this autumn to make mulch to keep roots damp is important.
Making a plan now whilst these things are in mind is
a good idea.

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That's good thinking Diane :) I usually buy a plant and then wonder where to plant it, and often put it in a place it doesn't like ... but a little thought would be beneficial.

I think aquatic plants would suit my garden better this summer - we've had so much rain ! :(

1 Aug, 2015


Diane ... your blog is full of wise words ... very strange weather this summer ...

Hywel ... send your valuable Welsh rain to England ;o)... my garden had weeks of drought ... it was so exhausting, trying to attend to thirsty plants and eke out my rainwater supplies. I didn't want to run up huge bills on tapwater, but I had to balance that thought against losing small plants and larger shrubs.
My neighbours plant more and more large trees which spread roots very widely and suck up water which should go to my shrubs and borders ! Diane is right about needing to notice which parts of gardens have shade, and at which times of day.

Added to GoYpedia...

1 Aug, 2015


Hello TT. We'll do a swap. You send us some dry weather, and we'll send you some rain ;o)

1 Aug, 2015


Lol, Hywel ...
you could send valuable rainwater by hosepipe .. and I'll send you some dry air ;o) x

1 Aug, 2015


Good idea. Use a big fan ! ... lol :D x

1 Aug, 2015


:o) x

1 Aug, 2015


To continue this theme.
1) Today I went to the Garden Centre to buy another
Agaranthemum, the pink one I bought last year flowered all winter in my unheated greenhouse, and on well into the spring. I have potted it on into new compost and watered well, hope it survives another winter. Couldnt find the Agaranthemums, but a similar plant was on the stall called 'Chrysanthemum Poppins.' Is this a new marketing technique -easier to remember ? Label says 'Keep well watered to prolong flowering.' A clue ! Bought an orange one.
2) Sempervivums (ala Houseleeks) have flourished in UK gardens for years, any weather, hot or cold. Alpine
Sempervivum Rubin is identical but very tiny. Usual generalised advice. I treated it the same, nearly lost it.
Must google to find where these amazing little plants come from, have put it in the shade behind the greenhouse with many apologies.
3) Bought a half price red Cordyline. Label states 'Frost
Hardy' - from my own experience i know this is total rubbish. Will keep it in heavy pot to stop the wind blowing it over, put a note on my calendar for November
- ' Bring Cordyline indoors until April.'
End of rant.
Thanks for adding more information about other plants if you have it.

1 Aug, 2015


Have looked up Sempervivum Rubins -alpine. Seems it has another name jovibarba.
Difficult to tell from enlarged photographs which ones are the mini version.
Generalised advice seems to be 'water well' - will try that.
Cant find any information about original source country.
Perhaps Hywel will have better luck.
The label just states ' 10 - 15 cm rosettes of tipped deep pink to maroon leaves. Clusters of pink flowers.
Nothing about watering.
Am sure now it doesnt like July heatwaves.

1 Aug, 2015


A plan is a good idea Diane, you have put a lot of thought into it, I remember a number of years back a bright spark belonging to the scouts destroyed half the hedge that grows along the bottom of my garden, consequently allowing more sunshine in and reducing my shady area, good for some and disaster for others, I am still replacing and filling in that end of my raised bed, many a time over the years I have had to move plants or buy them again because I picked the wrong place the first time around, I suppose I used to think that it would look nice in a certain spot and not do the research as to the conditions, time was also an aspect before I retired, in those days I kept it tidy and wanted it to look good but never had the time to browse the gardening books for each and every plant or tree, also no laptop or goy to get ideas and advice from.
Its a shame you lost your alpines Diane, pleased to say the past week my garden has revived, thanks to our much needed rain, no matter how you try to keep them going by watering yourself you cannot beat the real thing..

1 Aug, 2015


Hi Diane
I bought a Rubin last year, and, not having time to do anything specific with it, I put it on an upstairs window ledge which gets afternoon sunshine, having split it into 3 pots. I water them very rarely and they have been baked through the window with hot sun. Doing very well.... flowering now .. when I do water, I water from underneath, into the plant saucers. I hope this helps.

1 Aug, 2015


There is a good page on the web Diane, The Sempervivum Page, and Sandra at Corseside has a wealth of info. on them as she grows them by the hundreds..

1 Aug, 2015


Yes lots of info on the web Diane. They seem to agree that hot and dry is what they like. Come from mountains in SE Europe.

1 Aug, 2015


I have a diary of each year of my purchases failures and successes. I write reminders of things to do and when. Dry is not a problem for me.....too much rain is. It all means working with the weather and soil conditions. I sometimes have problems with thugs cutting out the sun for other plants tho'. I am always thinking out.

1 Aug, 2015


Lots of good ideas here. The diary is very good Linda,
I used to keep one, need to return to this discipline. Must get one started with plants in alphabetical order, and best growing conditions, and food needs.
Like Lincs Lass I bought a Liriope, put it on the gravel bed, watered occasionally couldnt read the minute print on the label. No flowers. Brought the label upstairs today. It should have been put in semi-shade.
Really, each plant is like an animal or bird. It has to have certain conditions otherwise it struggles to survive.

1 Aug, 2015

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