Ours have done well this year, and some of them are still going strong. It would be nice to see a few more insects on them, though.


Climbing Hydrangea could be a good choice - either Schizophragma or Hydrangea. Choose carefully and be prepared to cut it back when mature, as some can be very large.
Although they cling with suckers, a bit like ivy, they are less aggressive in forcing their way through small cracks.
They should do well in full sun as long as the roots don’t dry out, and they will flower better.

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Two hedgehogs last night when I opened the back door, it was shut quickly as I did not wish to disturb them


How about a grape vine or fig tree?

Does the ground stay shaded? That would be great for Clematis, which like their roots to be in shade and foliage in sun. Lots to choose from, Montana is large and establishes quickly. Other varieties are more compact and you could have a variety of them flowering at different times.
Honeysuckle might be a good option too.


Agree with the Clematis suggestion.

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That’s a very good suggestion. The soil does remain in shadow most of the day indeed.

Depends if want deciduous (which could give great changing seasonal colour), flowers or even fruit. Loads of options.

Gagarin blue produced nice bunches.


I was at Worcester College, Oxford yesterday. The gardens are stunning – the manicured lawns contrasting superbly against informal borders – all against the most sublime architecture.

The banana plants (musa red Abyssinian?) have had an amazing year. They are stored away each winter (by forklift according to one of the staff).



I need some advice. I have two French lavender plants outside in pots. Correction, I have the skeletons of two French lavender plants because I overwatered them. I wish to know what to replace them with. The pots are square, 7 inch sides and about 18 inches deep. Bomb proof lavender, or similar long term plant would be good.

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I think I put something like this up last year.

This year when emptying my potato pots , lots of pupae , so I collected them all and they are in one large (ex West Berkshire Council) recycling basket filled with spent compost .


Mix of honeysuckle and jasmine?

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I planted 1,500 tulip bulbs in the Green this afternoon – I care barely move now.

I wasn’t planning to get them in the ground his early but yesterday I noticed one of the carboard boxes in the shed, containing 2,000 of them, looked damp. Opened it up to find mould. The hot September weather is the likely cause. Needed to act fast or the lot would have succumbed to rot. As it happens I’ve only lost about 5% but the rest in that box were damp. We’ll see how this turns out next spring. I’ll be planting the rest over the next fortnight or so.


Planted some Narcissus nobilis var. nobilis bulbs in a pot (kept 4 aside).

I bought some of these about 15 years ago from an online specialist. I’d been slowly multiplying my bulb number for many years, under a tree. I dug them up in summer 2020 and planted in 2 pots. I did this because the tree had grown big, casting too much shade, dried the soil and the nobilis quality started deteriorating. 2021 pot grown in full sun gave me a total of 22 massive equal size bulbs. 2022 spring, I thought it was very unusual that only 4 had poked their noses up at that time of year. I dug around in the pots and found remnants of some bulbs which had been hollowed out. 18 out of 22 had been destroyed by narcissus fly. The 4 remaining were potted in fresh compost and cherished. However, last winter was too much and all died. Daffs don’t like to be frozen in pots.

It took me over 10 years of going to shows, incl Chelsea, to realise that I’d never seen anything as beautiful and special as these daffodils. They have a distinctive yellow glow. This is easy to directly compare to others, as next to our house is a large area of daffs, and they don’t compare. They also have this special bleeding white-yellow claw appearance. All subjective of course, but either way, they are beautiful.

I have managed to source some more and they have gone in a much more scientific growing medium. I will protect them from hard frost and once they’ve flowered, I’ll net them to stop the dreaded narcissus fly.


Our garden has been quite a disaster given that we are in the process renovating it. 2 years done, 3 more to come.

It’s lovely that the Ivy still attracts so many bees , butterflies and other animals.


Had 3 very large Italian terracotta pots delivered. They always come with only one big drainage hole, so drilled an extra 2-3 18mm ones. This OX diamond drill bit is excellent, if anyone needs to do a similar job. A lot of diamond bits are rubbish, being sourced from China and available on Amazon. They tend to last just a few holes, if that.


The aster popped up nearly everywhere in the bare garden. Lucky to have so many flowers for all the bees and butterflies.