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Latest posts by Birdy13

Remember to wash your bird feeders

Posted: 24/10/2014 at 11:21

Probably better to leave them soaking for a few days in a bucket of water to loosen everything, maybe with the addition of a suitable anti-mould or disinfectant. Then hose off preferably with a pressure washer.


Posted: 22/10/2014 at 22:21

Thank you so much for that advice, artjak - I should have thought about the heat aspect although I know I must have heard the point made often enough on the gardening shows. Also I'd  not realised that the heat build up could vary that much according to the type of composter.

Just seen the Compost Stirrer on Amazon. Seems so simple and logical. Hopefully the designers will take on board the reviews which state the handle needs to be about a foot longer to facilitate the action of the tool - I think I'll still get one, though.

Hmm!  I wonder if I could modify it?

How Would You Over-Winter These?

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 22:45

I let mine die back naturally last year and lifted the corms quite late I seem to remember. There had just been a frost (not ideal I know) and most of the top growth had rotted back so I  tidied them up with scissors.

I then left the corms spaced out in trays in the greenhouse (unheated) to allow the great clods of earth they came up with to dry. Over the ensuing weeks I removed the surplus earth to let the corms dry off properly (not dry out!).

Then, around Feb/March, as spring approached, I covered them all shallowly with a good layer of compost which was kept only just damp (sprayed now and then).

After a few weeks new shoots began to appear. Once these were an inch or so high they were planted out again in troughs and pots and I was thrilled to find they all produced even better blooms than the previous year, (which had been only my first year's attempt at growing begonias, so I'm no expert!)

Note: some of the above are not trailing begonias. 


Posted: 21/10/2014 at 22:03

Thanks Hostafan - seems the operative word is 'if' - my compost never seems to rot down enough.

Now, it was a different matter when we had our wormery, years ago: the compost they produced was amazing!


Posted: 21/10/2014 at 19:27

Regarding using grass clippings in the compost bin:

1. Is there any risk of lawn weeds multiplying in next year's compost?

2. Do all weeds get killed off by the composting process?

(My bin is Dalek style so I can't turn the heap to help things along...)

Empty Space??

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 19:15

DD said "Nice & easy Birdy, might have another spot to try that in, what is it called? I have a bit of a soggy bottom bit it might like."

Sorry, DD, the fern was planted years ago and I have no idea which one it is. I would choose one you like the look of from a supplier - I think most ferns like similar conditions : darkish, but not all the time; dampish, but not waterlogged... I expect there are plenty of other forum members who can advise further and better than me.

Empty Space??

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 13:14

My ferns (above) die down after the summer and I leave the dead material attached until early spring to act as a mulch. Then I cut it all back with scissors and it renews itself over the next spring and summer.

Empty Space??

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 13:05

How about a fern? 

I'm not sure about the soil being 'rich, crumbly and well drained', however.

This is one of mine - it is still tied back to allow me to clean up the brick border built recently.


It is shaded by the North facing side of the house for most of the day but gets some sun from the eastern side from late afternoon. 


raised beds

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 09:53

I've used very stout railway sleepers which, whilst lower than scaffolding boards, enables me to build higher levels on top if I want to. 

I think your best bet is to dig soil away from the bowing sides (heap it in the middle or away from the bed) and then drive a number of very strong stakes deep in around the outer edges to buttress the sides to restore their alignment and prevent future bowing, before returning the soil to the beds.

Unfortunately, you can't beat the physics of the situation: earth is heavy stuff and I would have thought even scaffold boards are not really up to the job once you start increasing the weight behind them like that, not unless supported from the other side.

I hope you can resolve the problem - I'm sure a lot of us know how difficult it is to bend over a bed that is just too low for comfort.

Conference pears

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 09:38

You will see from my last post that I picked my conference pears back on the 23 September.

i duly wrapped them individually in newspaper and left them in the dark in an empty drawer. 

Their condition was perfect when they came off the tree: 30 - 40 good sized, firm, unripe but unblemished pears - a great harvest for the second year of fruiting. (the tree was planted in about 2010)


 Unfortunately they ripened off the tree much quicker than anticipated. I guess the drawer was not in a cool enough place to slow the process down so I lost several within the first week. Some had actually turned to mush within a week...



It seems that pears ripen from the inside out - which is therefore how they rot too! That is why they still feel hard outside when they are in fact ready to eat: with those I caught  just before they started to rot - as the inside is only just turning pink - the flavour was astounding, far better than any shop-bought I've tasted. 

What I think I should have done - not having a proper 'cold room' for storage - is to have taken them off the tree about 3-6 at a time and enjoyed them as they ripened, replacing with new ones off the tree as those already picked got used up. 

As an experiment, I left one pear only on the tree to see how long it remained without rotting. It was still there, still unripe, when I went on holiday on 14 Sept. So I guess, whilst they don't seem to ripen on the tree, remaining in their growing environment on the tree actually keeps them from rotting.

Discussions started by Birdy13

Planting out hydrangeas

Why is my Hydrangea Hortensia not thriving? 
Replies: 12    Views: 420
Last Post: 18/06/2015 at 13:51

What is this plant please?

ID needed for plant I saved... 
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Last Post: 16/05/2015 at 21:56

Plant Identification please

Proliferating bulbs  
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Last Post: 23/03/2015 at 07:57

Exotic plant or weed or triffid?

Just another plant ID request please. 
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Do Bramleys get bitter pit?

What is this condition that has affected my Bramley apples this year? 
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Last Post: 20/11/2014 at 14:45

Weed or flower?

Plant identification please and advice on planting under an apple tree. 
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Last Post: 14/11/2014 at 11:07

Cotoneaster, ferns and Cotswold stone

Effect on plants of the limestone 'mulch 
Replies: 7    Views: 402
Last Post: 31/10/2014 at 20:47

Is it too late to cut back lavender?

Pruning lavender 
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Last Post: 08/10/2014 at 20:03

Service 503 Unavailable

Can't post photos 
Replies: 4    Views: 424
Last Post: 25/09/2014 at 01:43

Propagating Stephanotis

Can I take cuttings from my Stephanotis house plant? 
Replies: 6    Views: 498
Last Post: 27/09/2014 at 21:39

Advice needed on Strawberry leaf disease

Appearance of what looks like rust on newly planted strawberries 
Replies: 1    Views: 349
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 22:08

Dianthus reborn?

ID needed for unexpected trough contents 
Replies: 3    Views: 401
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:29

Fern flourished through mild winter.

What should I do about fern whose foliage has not died down as normal? 
Replies: 13    Views: 627
Last Post: 02/03/2014 at 22:35

The Bully and the Policeman

Garden pests (human - but only just!) 
Replies: 33    Views: 1850
Last Post: 14/10/2013 at 20:54

Can't find toolbars, icons or post photo?

Absence of necessary Toolbars 
Replies: 2    Views: 653
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 20:47
1 to 15 of 16 threads