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Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin' Gardeners' insight

Posted on July 24, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ has to be a personal favourite of mine for a hedge. Whether used as a dramatic feature as topiary or to make a great hedge, this evergreen shrub  creates a visual feast all year round, and can screen the unpleasant features in the garden very well.

 

2 litre pot - the plant is about 50 cm tall.

The most obvious thing you would associate with Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, is the amazing scarlet foliage. This vivid red is only on the new shoots of the Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ and provides a burst of colour when the growing season begins. Eventually after the foliage has matured,  if the Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ hasn’t been cut back the new shoots will eventually change to a dark green colour. Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ also produces handsome white flowers in the spring which also add contrast to the differing colours of the foliage.

 

10 litre pot - the plant is about 70cm tall, but it is much fuller and is well established compared to the 2 litre potted plant.

Another major positive about having Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ as a hedge is how easily it can be managed. There are various different ways you can control the growth regarding your specific plant. For instance if you are using Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ as a hedging plant, you can cut the tips of the young shoots to encourage even more scarlet red shoots to form. On top of this you can also trim your Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ up to three times in a year, in order to keep its shape uniform. It is vital if you want to maintain the shape of you Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ that you prune it as it can grow up to as much as a meter each year.

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Mature Hedge Plants, the best value are Root Ball plants.

Posted on February 28, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

By far the best value plants for your new hedge to purchase are what are known as Root Ball plants. This is compared to potted plants and also bare root plants. There is a large difference in the product and price of also. Simply potted plants are more expensive as they are grown in a pot in nurseries and because of the pot itself have restricted growth. Root Ball or Bare Root plants are grown in fields so grow more quickly and larger than the same age plants grown in pots. Put in another way, a two meter tall laurel grown in a pot will be not nearly as large and thick growth compared to a Bare and Root Ball laurel. Large potted plants also can have a badly congested root system hat can struggle to grow outwards to establish a sturdy mature plant.

Our advice towards mature Bare Root plants is that there is risk in the new plants taking or establishing quickly. For small specimens below one meter tall but they are perfect and brilliant value. They can be purchased all year around.

The draw back to Root Ball plants is that they have to be lifted out of the fields between October and March. This is the dormant season and safe to transplant mature plants. Once they are dug out of the field, some root is lost and the main root system is put in degradable bag with the soil still around the root system of the plant in a ball shape, this the Root Ball name.

Once the plants have been delivered to you they will need be planted very firmly back in the ground so they stay stable. If they are above two meters tall we recommend that they are secured to wooden steaks, to avoid root rock. In the process the root loss when cutting the plant out of the field means it is essential that you feed them with a lot of fertiliser. We suggest dried chicken manure, which is very nutritious for plants, easy to just apply to the surface and very cheap too! The ground must be watered shortly after planting and kept moist all through the Spring and Summer. An irrigation system using Soaker Hose is cheap to install and very efficient to keep your mature plants watered. Root Ball plants are more susceptible to drying out than potted plants.

We hope this has been useful, we have planted a great amount of bare Root plants over the years. Happy to supply them to you and consult on good planting practices, or will quote to plant your hedge if required.

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DFG Top ten evergreen hedge plants

Posted on February 28, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

Here is a list of our top ten hedging plants at DFG. The list in no particular order is as follows:

 

1. Buxus sempervirens (Common Box)

2. Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin'

3. Prunus laurocerasus 'Rotundifolia' (English Cherry Laurel)

4. Thuja 'Green Giant' (Western Red Cedar)

5. Prunus lusitanica (Portugese laurel)

6. Ligustrum ovifolium (Privet)

7. Griselinia littoralis

8. Taxus baccata (Yew)

9. Aucuba japonica (Spotted Laurel)

10. Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'

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Mulching with manure

Posted on February 18, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

In some of the gardens we maintain that have very clay based top soil we struggle to keep the garden imaculate. We know this and don't like it and takes away the lovely joy and satisfaction you shoud get looking after flower beds. Also a customer can be disapointmented, so a differnet direction is needed, the problem is the top soil in the flower beds. We need to make managing the flower beds more efficent, speeding up the the time it takes to weed them, to create the additional time that we normally have at our other large gardens we maintain. With the result of keeping the essential maintenance imaculate and then gives us the time for some extra planting, mowing, stimming, and keeping the gravel drive neat too.

 

The is a good reason at our other contracts the soil is good, and easy to work. When soil is very 'clay based', so it becomes hard and dry like rock, and ehen it is wet it is so heavy to work. This means that we have to dig the weeds out of the  flower beds with forks or spades every time a weed needs to be extracted, and this takes a lot of time, also it is not enjoyable for us. When you have a lot of flower bedsto manage, a situation of every time we have weeded every flower bed, the bed we began three weeks ago then needs doing again, a never ending process. This then leaves very little time for the pruning, hedges and spraying, and no chance to improve the gardens. In most of our gardens the soil is loam based, this just means over time the clay is worked down into a lighter top soil that is easy to dig even when compacted, we then only dig it over properly once a year in Winter to de-compact the soil. The key bit here is we then use hoes to weed the flower beds, this is a very efficent and quick process to keep the flower bed clear of weeds.It may take 5 times longer to dig weeds out than using a hoe, and in your garden you can not use a hoe at all.

 

All is not lost! The only way to improve your soil is work lots of your own compost and farm manure into the clay soil, this makes the soil gradually softer, lighter, into loamy soil. This however takes years of doing it to have a significant effect, and you may need a quicker solution. This is still farm manure, but not compost as it is too light. This is to stop the digging which takes up so much time from April to December, this will free significant time away from the flower beds. To do this we need to mulch thickly the flower beds with 'well rotted' manure, similar to mulching with wood chip, which you often see in new housing estates / supermarkets (we can use wood chip but this is expensive compared to manure, and still needs regular topping up, like with the manure). Wood chip normally is not very pretty as it ages. The manure also feeds the plants! This manure will then get dug into the soil in the Winter time. Then we need to re-mulch the flower beds once a year in Winter.

 

The manure needs to be well rotted, with any straw well rotted into the dung. This means it is pleasent to look at when it is just sitting on top of the beds, important as it will be next to your lawns/patios. All mulches do not stop the weeds, but make it more difficult for the weed to germinate, so less weeds. The weeds that do germinate in the mulch, are then much easier to get out than the comparison of digging a weed out of the rock hard clay. Once the mulch is down we will still have to do weeding, but using much less time than we have been on weeding in the growing season.

 

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Buying Box is rewarding, but safe guard against the risks.

Posted on February 17, 2017 by David Fairley | 0 comments

 

Common Box or Buxus is a slow growing, compact evergreen shrub, it of course can be sheared in to almost any shape. Buxus sempervirens makes for a great miniature hedge and into topiary for every shape you ever dreamed of.

 

 

The leaves are small and glossy. Box should be sheared in the weeks after the Chelsea Flower Show, London. If you can we suggest that you do not shear your Box plants in full sunlight as the leaves are very prone to leaf scorch.

 

 

 We also suggest that you should avoid shearing your Box while it is raining or if it is damp, fungus finds it easier to spread in these conditions and Box is at risk to Blight. When beginning and finishing shearing it is also wise to spray the blades with disinfectant to kill off any possible fungus, avoiding the spread of Box Blight. 

 

http://dfgplantshop.com/collections/hedges

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