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Blight destruction

Hi, I have turned to this forum for advice after having several years of blight in my garden. It goes through everything and seems to be airborn.

The honeysuckle gets powdery leaves and drop after a few months. The roses get blackspot and shed their leaves after a couple of months. All the veg leaves, tomotoes go brown and die and go in the bin.

Ive seen more greenery on the plains of Africa than my garden. I am at a loss as it seems to be on a more industrial scale than small sprays will deal with.

Any advice appreciated.


  • Hello - sorry you are finding things so discouraging. Here are some thoughts from me:
    • Honeysuckle is prone to powdery mildew. Generally either poor ventilation (eg if it is crowded by other plants) and/or water stress. The key thing is to keep it really well watered. Also they are woodland plants, so like their feet in the shade. So you might be able to improve things by looking at its position and watering.
    • Blackspot on roses is caused by a different fungus. You are not doing anything wrong - many roses are prone to it, and there is not a lot you can do. There are specific sprays you can use in the spring, but I have no experience of them.

    I don't grow veg/tomatoes, but many people on here do. You could provide some photos and more details of how you grow them? They would then be able to help, I'm sure.
  • Pianoplayer, thank you for you advice, it is much appreciated.

    I have had to let things go as it became quite stressful and that is not what gardening should be about.

    One thing I did was to chop down my Clematis to the roots and let it regrow. Considering this was very late summer it managed to fully grow but alas even with pesticides spray;

    (Sorry cannot rotate)
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    edited 23 January
    Most clematis (there are exceptions - google 'patio clematis') and all honeysuckles will struggle to grow in pots or containers unless they are very large (200 Litres+), which is probably the root cause (see what I did there) of your issues.  If any of them are in the ground, then they probably need a lot more watering than they have been getting.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,593
    edited 23 January
    Your clematis is in a pot which is far too small to keep its thick, fleshy roots cool and moist so treat it to a pot double the size and some good quality John Innes no 3 type compost mixed with up to 25% multi purpose.  Even so, it will need an annual feed of slow release clematis, rose or tomato feed every spring and regular watering throughout the growing season.

    Fruit and veg get mildew or other fungal infections if they are stressed from being hungry, thirsty or poorly ventilated.

    I saw an old chap on Rick Stein's Cornwall recently who grows perfect potatoes in a walled garden with no potato blight.  He sprays them with milk and that stops the blight.  I looked that up and it seems it works on tomatoes, courgettes and squash too.  Dilute 1 part semi-skimmed milk to 7 parts water and spray weekly.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,424
    edited 23 January
    Do you know which type your clematis is?  The majority of clems are very difficult to keep happy in a small container like the one I can see there.  The same goes for honeysuckle ... in the wild they're both plants of damp hedgerows and woodland margins and need deep damp root-runs.   If their roots aren't happy the plant gets stressed and then frequently uccumbs to Powdery Mildew  :'(

    If you have no option other than using pots, there are a few newer varieties which are recommended for container growing.  

    Last year was a particularly bad year for tomato blight ... I lost almost my entire crop ... it had promised to be the best crop ever ... I had intended not to grow any tomatoes this year to give the garden a break, but I've succumbed and bought some blight resistant varieties ... 🤞
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,300
    It'll be very dry against that wall too, as well as the trough being tiny. In some locations, they can be grown in small troughs, if the variety and the climate is suitable. 
    As @BobTheGardener  says, some clems can be grown in small spaces, but you'd need to know what you have for the appropriate advice.

    There's a house near me which has some large flowered varieties in troughs against the garage wall. They flower well. I don't know if they have the bottoms cut out of the troughs though but I think that's a possibility   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • This is great advice, thanks to all.

    I will leave as is for now and treat her to a larger pot in the spring. The wall itself is west facing and does get very hot in the summer. I have some forget-me-nots also in the base for shade but have to keep it very moist.

    The clematis is called 'Clematis Mercury'. It is supposed to be very hardy, growable it pots and can take the heat (hence the name). Maybe it is all down to the size of the pot.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,300
    Yes - far too small for a Group 2. Ideally, you'd also plant it lower than the level it was at in the pot you got it in. That helps encourage more new shoots. It would be better in a much bigger pot, which has good depth for the root system. Shallow containers aren't good.
    I'd take the other plants out too. It's just competition for moisture and nutrients in a pot. A layer of gravel is better if you want it to look smart, or just leave it bare.  Each year, replace a layer of old soil with new. Just remove a couple of inches from the top. It needs to be planted in a soil based medium too - not just compost, although you can use that for topping up. Compost alone won't sustain anything in a pot long term.
    You can then feed as you want - slow release stuff, or occasional liquid feeding - whatever suits your lifestyle the best   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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