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Mary - sow your tree paeony seeds fresh (still hard) into good loam and overwinter in a cold frame. They will grow roots in 6weeks and shoot next spring when you can plant them out. Varieties do not come true but you will still get a great shrub.
To protect myself from biting insects I use Eau de Cologne mint. I wear a sprig behind my ears when I'm in the garden. Smells lovely but deters the insects. Available from nursery herb sections.
Hi Mary, If your beans have a virus then it won't be in thre soil, the problems associated with bean after bean and year after year is that soil borne fungi build up that can cause dieback and death. Generally changing the soil in the area occuopied by the root system of the bean and of course its neighbours, plus a little more will do the trick....but that is still a lot of soil, and it really is a lot easier and better to plant beans on a new site after a year or two, retuning again in three or four years. Glad you are enjoying the pests and diseases book, not sure which edition you have but just to let you know that it has just been fully updated (new pests and diseases added, changes made to pesticides etc etc) and has just become available. YOu can get it in most good bookshops or get a signed copy at a special price from my website
Richard, I thought you might leap to the defence of the horsefly, but can't say I wait to gaze in to their wonderfully coloured eyes !!
My garden has a terrible weed problem so last year I dug out one of the beds, put down weed memebrane and covered it with bark chippings and thought I'd solved the problem. To my dismay weeds are now seeding in the chippings and grass is penetrating the membrane. Any suggestions as to where I'm going wrong?


Thanks Pippa and HappyMarion. I'll give the peonies another go, and try not to despair over the beans.
I recently lost my 'Gardens to visit guide' which arrived with my May edition of gardeners World. I still have the '2-for-1' entry card but now I don't know which gardens I can visit on the offer. Can anyone tell me how I go about getting another copy, or if the gardens are detailed somewhere on the site. I have searched and cannot find any information. Thanks. Roma
I have just googled horse flies and you came up............I have a theory that there are more of these evil little things about this year. At this moment I am nursing 4 bites and a few weeks ago my hand was bitten so badley It came up like a rubber glove that had been blown into. I know so many people who have been bitten this year but never before.
I so agree with judyp! I've been bitten almost every time I go to the allotment - which means most evenings! I've tried loads of repellents but am allergic to most, so it is a toss up whether I suffer the reaction to a horsefly bite or the repellent! Whichever,my legs and arms seem to be permanently swollen and itchy at the moment!
Whoops posted before asking the question! There was an article in the Evening Standard Friday magazine about five weeks ago about an insect repellent which was not only effective, but smelt really nice and lemony. Stupidly I chucked the paper in the recycling before cutting it out and haven't been able to find out any details since. Does anyone know anything about this?? I would be eternally grateful as seriouly fed up with swollen lumps all over body!
Never mind horse flies I'm infested with huge HORNETS. They scare me to death. I want to know what use they are? Havent been bothered by horse flies even though we are only a hundred yards from stables. Had millions of ladybirds this year, it was even on Anglia News, so thankfully not many aphids this year.
You seem to think that plants and animals were 'put here for a purpose' - they weren't; they just evolved within ecosystems to exploit available resources and reproduce.
On Friday afternoon (6/11/09) I was bitten by two horseflies whilst I was clearing up leaves in the garden. All summer I had been putting insect repellent on, but did not bother before going outside this time, as I thought they would be hibernating or dead, or whatever horseflies do in the winter. The result of not using the the insect repellent was the two bites which unfortunately were quite close to my right eye. During the course of Saturday the swelling came up and I ended up going to the A&E depatment of our nearest hospital. I saw a nurse, doctor and consultant very quickly (within an hour of arrival) and the end result is that I have to take 14, yes 14, tablets a day for the next week. I also look as if I have been in the ring with Henry Cooper, Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali all at once - I am not a pretty sight. So, please be warned, if you are allegic to horsefly bites, like I am, keep using the insect repellent or whatever, when you go outside at this time of year, as the little devils are not dead yet. Does anybody know what happens to horseflies during the winter?
Moving House in July from one FULL Self made over 8yrs Cottage Garden to a beautiful landscaped (But fairly stark) Quarter Acre Plot. Desperate to move everything!!! But husband forbids and indeed is quirte right. My passion is Spring - How do I move my precious bulbs/primevera/irises that I have nurtured for years. Do I just pot them up (in small quantities!) and if so when plus when do I pop them in their new garden? All suggestions welcome.
Cathy, the lemon-scented oil you want is called Citronella. Half-a-dozen drops in almond oil are enough to repel an army of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, it was not enough to protect me from a furious horsefly!


I have gone through a lot of articles and this offers just what i needed. good points, it actually helped in my reearch. thank for sharing
Maybe Bill Gates can do something for all of us on these no good pest to rid the earth of them.