London (change)


Latest posts by Birdy13

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.

Is it too late to cut back lavender?

Posted: 08/10/2014 at 20:03

Thanks guys. I just needed to know one way or another. 

Is it too late to cut back lavender?

Posted: 08/10/2014 at 18:58

I cut  back my lavenders on 23rd August. Is it too late to cut back again? If not, how deep back should I cut?

I left the shoots too long apparently because they haven't flowered a second time like hoped for. Instead they've gone woody and remain bare.



The blooms were fantastic earlier in the year. Can I still expect a second flowering this year or not until next year?


Lavender bush

Posted: 02/10/2014 at 18:15

To my non-gardener's eye I thought my lavenders were looking pretty good earlier this year...

Believing that lavender can flower a second time if pruned after flowering I thought I was doing so well when I cut them back on 23rd August....

I've been wondering now why there has been no sign of a second flowering.

Today I checked a few UTube videos and it seems my method and (I think) my timing were both correct but that I have not cut back deep enough.

These are my plants today - the couple of flowers visible are ones I didn't cut back in August because I wanted to see how long they lasted without pruning!!

Closer view showing bare stems...

The shoots I left too long apparently and they've gone woody and remain bare.

My question is "Is it too late to cut back again? If so, would a hedgetrimmer do any harm as there is not enough bulk left to get a good handful like when I first pruned?

if I can cut back again should I expect a new flowering this year or not until next year?



Photo test thread only...

Posted: 28/09/2014 at 22:25



Propagating Stephanotis

Posted: 27/09/2014 at 21:39

Just seen your post SwissSue. Thanks so much for the link - there's a lot there. Very informative. Great! 

Discussions started by Birdy13

Possible weeds ... And lilies!

Some weed identifications and advice on lilies needed 
Replies: 14    Views: 277
Last Post: 15/05/2016 at 20:03

Planting out hydrangeas

Why is my Hydrangea Hortensia not thriving? 
Replies: 12    Views: 739
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  
Replies: 29    Views: 1464
Last Post: 23/03/2015 at 07:57

Exotic plant or weed or triffid?

Just another plant ID request please. 
Replies: 11    Views: 871
Last Post: 17/12/2014 at 22:00

Do Bramleys get bitter pit?

What is this condition that has affected my Bramley apples this year? 
Replies: 5    Views: 536
Last Post: 20/11/2014 at 14:45

Weed or flower?

Plant identification please and advice on planting under an apple tree. 
Replies: 20    Views: 1160
Last Post: 14/11/2014 at 11:07

Cotoneaster, ferns and Cotswold stone

Effect on plants of the limestone 'mulch 
Replies: 7    Views: 588
Last Post: 31/10/2014 at 20:47

Is it too late to cut back lavender?

Pruning lavender 
Replies: 3    Views: 738
Last Post: 08/10/2014 at 20:03

Service 503 Unavailable

Can't post photos 
Replies: 4    Views: 590
Last Post: 25/09/2014 at 01:43

Propagating Stephanotis

Can I take cuttings from my Stephanotis house plant? 
Replies: 6    Views: 808
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: 447
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 22:08

Dianthus reborn?

ID needed for unexpected trough contents 
Replies: 3    Views: 519
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: 784
Last Post: 02/03/2014 at 22:35

The Bully and the Policeman

Garden pests (human - but only just!) 
Replies: 33    Views: 2179
Last Post: 14/10/2013 at 20:54
1 to 15 of 17 threads