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Allymc


Latest posts by Allymc

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Thugs

Posted: 12/07/2012 at 15:54

I sowed some eryngium gigantum 'miss willmott's ghost' which was lovely and architectural , however i think that Miss willmott may be haunting me for sometime to come.

her offspring appear in cracks in paving, at the foot of walls and a rockery far from the original postion. As it biennial i can spot the ones growing where they shouldn't and pull them out when they in the leafy stage.

A bronze fennel plant that I rescued from the discount area of a garden centre has made me have some regrets. It was touch and go whether it would survive at one point but its offspring are very much full of vigor and hard to see against the soil.

Pond Plants

Posted: 06/07/2012 at 09:58

I like mark have used "normal" flower pots with holes cut in the side with a saw for some of the more ... adventurous plants like Equisetum , as it can be just as spreading as its terrestrial relative and have found the normal pots keep it more confined than the pond basket. It just breaks out through the many holes !

I repotted a number of the more lush plants this spring and am giving the new advice of just pure grit / gravel a go. Though as i recall from GW water lillies are still planted in the aquatic compost as they need a bit more substence to get their roots into.

Bad service, bad plants beware!

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 16:44

Have used Parkers and T&M a few times now for both bulbs and plants and never really had any problems maybe they took longer to arrive than i anticpated but i try and be patient. 

I do get any perennials, trees or shrubs bare rooted in the autumn / late winter and grow annuals from seeds so maybe I am not ordering what other people are ordering.

I have ordered from Crocus before but found their prices and delivery costs to be quote high, i ordered a verbena (among other things) like the poster above from them and when it arrived the plant had been "Chelsea chopped" for me. When i enquired i was told it would have been too big for the box otherwise.

So i think some common sense is needed when ordering on line or mail order, if you want a tall herbaceous perennial  a shrub or tree for immediate planting / effect then buying mail order or online isnt going to deliver the same size or quality of plant you could get from the GC, as it IS going to get a bit bashed in the post , and it ISN'T going to give an immediate effect.

But if you want to get bare root plants/ bulbs that won't have an effect this year but will need growing on in pots and planted in the autumn or even the spring and are usually cheaper than the potted up plants then mail order is the way to go.

As i say I have never brought bedding plants or annuals mail order so can't comment about that.

Tree sparrows & house sparrows.

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 13:17

Tree Sparrows are smaller than a house sparrow  and both males and females look the same with a chestnut brown head and chest as opposed to a grey one, white cheeks and collar with a black cheek spot. They are shyer than house sparrows and don't like coming near to man or feeding from bird feeders. So if it has a grey head then definitely a house sparrow.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/t/treesparrow/index.aspx

 

realy big empty garden

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 12:08

I think it sounds like my ideal situation , I love a challenge and at the moment am a gardener with big ideas but only a small(ish) garden.

I like the prarie garden or new perennial garden style which as Gary above says needs lots of space ( which you have ) to work effectively and may not be to your taste.

You say you site is windswept, why not take advantage of that with swaying perennials and grasses rather than fighting against the wind.

If you don't have many established plants at the moment ( you don't say what is in the garden at the moment ) the perennial garden would be ideal as it can be quick to establish using perennial seed mixes ( like have been used at the Olympic park) or by cuttings or division of exisiting plants.

If the soon to be garden is just down to grass before laying paths etc cut paths into the grass to determine where the paths are to go , if you decide you don't want a path in that place just let the grass grow taller again and cut a new path.

Two books i would reccomend are Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf and The New Perennial Garden by Noel Kingsbury. 

Once the perennials are established they will reduce the weeding by forming a weed suppressing layer over the soil, and as for pruning what pruning just cut the whole thing down to the ground in late winter, you can even go as far as Kingsbury suggests and use a flame gun to kill off any weeds that have survived !

You could implement this idea while waiting for other plants and trees to establish or ff you decide that after a few years you don't like the garden you can rip out the perennials ( or sell or give them away) and start again.

Great Diving Beetle

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 11:16

The great diving beetle larvae isnt called the " water tiger" for nothing. Great Diving Beetle larvae will eat anything they can catch and are said to be even more vicious than the adults. Their favourite prey includes tadpoles and any other insects such as water boatman ( another active predator) within reach. They are also cannibalistic and will eat other Great Diving Beetle larvae. Large larvae in the final stage before pupation, are of sufficient size to even catch and eat small fish.

The larvae are larger than the adult the larvae are around 50mm in length the adults being around 30mm.

As with all things in nature it is a balancing act , the larvea may eat tadpoles etc but being large birds esp thrushes and blackbirds seem to be keen on them ( in my garden anyway) along with frogs, toads and newts , maybe revenge for eating their babies ? . With kingfishers, water and wading birds as well as fish taking them in the wider countryside. The  beetles pupate in areas of grass or soil near the pond so i imagine animals use the pupae as a nice little snack as well !

I should imagine that a natural balance will be achieved in the pond as even a large pond can only support so many diving beetles and dragon flies !

Mahonia

Posted: 04/07/2012 at 10:56

I have a mahonia "charity" ( i think) it is in a north east facing position and it is lovely to look at blooming away from october to february in some years. It puts on a nice amount of growth each year and it is looking likely I am going to need to prune out the older shoots soon. It did take a few years to get "in to it's stride", so i would give it a year or so.

Invasion of the slippery slugs

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 09:29

I have found that the best thing for collecting up slugs is the half grapefruit method but you say you have tried that already.

As slugs like places to hide i was told by a wisened gardener ( my mum) that try to clear away places for them to hide ( round pots under fallen leaves and mulch) and that seems to do the trick for exposing them to predators. To try and attract predators in maybe leave a little pile of sticks in a shady corner for ground beetles to hide in who love nothing better than muching on a slug.

I have also found coffee grounds also work I ask in my local Costa coffee ( other coffee shops are available) for some and they give me a big bag of them , as they would normally just throw them away. Got some funny looks at 1st , but the coffee grounds keep the slugs away from the plants, work in the rain and are high in nitrogen so give the plants a feed at the same time !

If this fails then the ferric sulphate pellets , the ones safe for birds and wildlife is a last resort.

Hope this helps.

Aruncus

Posted: 27/06/2012 at 16:51

Maybe it is too dry, weird i know with all this rain ! A friend has a massive clump of it growing on the side of  her pond and into the water even, so it definetly likes its feet wet ! You say your soil is a heavy clay and that you mulch so you would expect it to have enough moisture.

Maybe it just needs some time to settle in and will romp away in the near future.

Talkback: Slug-proof plants

Posted: 27/06/2012 at 16:37

I think given half a chance slugs will have a go at anything ! I springle coffee grounds round my dahlias and that seems to do the trick.

As for slug proof plants I have found verbena bonariensis , achilleas and irises to be pretty slug resistant. The most slug resistant if not slug repelling plant I have is Aconitum carmichaelii not only do the slugs do not touch it , i expect this is due to the fact that monkshoods are really quite poisionous ( a proper gloves job when cutting back) . The weird thing is that i grow hostas near by and the slugs dont seem to come near them due to the presence of the monkshood !

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