Latest posts by Birdy13

Conference pears

Posted: 06/10/2015 at 11:03

Yes, thank you pansyface, much better (so far!) I have take about 60 pears off my little tree to date ...

with a few more left to come. 

Here's a couple more photos showing more clearly that 'joint' I referred to in yesterday's post. The clearly formed 'joint' is right in the centre of the photo...

 ...and the clean break can be seen on the end of the pear's stalk, and where it came from is the small lighter coloured patch next to the leaf and other pear stalk...

 This pear does not seem ready to separate yet, but there are a couple of indentations  just visible that may be where it will eventually separate naturally - if I don't get to it first!



Conference pears

Posted: 05/10/2015 at 22:07

When to pick pears

And here's something else I didn't notice until this year. As I started to harvest my conference pears this year I realised some came off the tree with a clean break and some didn't want to come away.  On inspection I found that the contour of the stalk of some of the pears was totally continuous with the side shoot it had grown on coming out of from the main stem. These pears resisted picking. With others, the end of the pear's stalk had developed a swelling, creating in more advanced cases an actual 'joint' with a line of eventual separation running through it. These fruit, with a careful bend in the right direction (often upwards) broke off cleanly leaving the other half of the 'joint' still on the side stem it had grown from. See pictures...




Tomatoes have a similar swollen 'joint', resembling a knee or elbow, that makes them easy to pick.   I presume the swelling contains a mechanism for cutting off food supply to the fruit when the tree is ready to shed it - a bit like the cork layer that grows across the stalk of leaves in Autumn. 

Grow lighting

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 22:21

LEDs will always be cheaper and cooler to run than the 'energy saving' bulbs - and it is what certain serious growers are experimenting with now: I heard a program about a strawberry grower who was getting very good results Using LEDs. Sorry I can't remember any more details.

Grow lighting

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 20:32 may be worth a try. They're always bringing out new stuff. You could try phoning directly to ask if they can advise on what they might have in the future.

How can I get my wisteria to flower on an east facing wall?

Posted: 02/07/2015 at 12:51

This is an east facing wall, blue rose.


It was planted oabout 15 years ago and has received very little attention in terms of feeding or watering seeming to be deep rooted enough to find moisture beneath the slabs and brickwork surrounding it.

I'm no expert, but I have been pruning more carefully for the last 3 years - since when it has rewarded me like this each year.


So you can see, an East facing aspect is not necessarily the main issue. I would consider mugging up on pruning. Do separate searches for winter pruning wisteria and summer pruning wisteria on this website as well as RHS.


Upload pics

Posted: 24/06/2015 at 18:43

I have no problem on my iPad and have answered this problem on another thread. This is my reply copied and pasted across to here. I wonder whether you did as I did when first trying to upload - I didn't realise that after tapping the 'select' box I then actually had to choose where to select from. Anyway, the instructions: I hope I've not missed anything out:

Take a photo in the normal way on your iPad then go back onto this forum.

Tap the tree icon at the top of your posting window and then choose 'Select'.

Then choose ' Photo Library' and scroll through the 'mini pictures' of your photos for the one you want to post.

Tap on 'Upload' and then 'Save' . The photo should appear in your posting window at wherever you left the blinking cursor. then just complete writing your post as normal. You may get an off putting window of computer code come up after 'Save'. If so, just tap the message/ instruction at the bottom of the new window and wait until your photo appears (it's some sort of glitch that appeared a few weeks ago).

if the photo displays upside down you may have to go back into your Photo library to 'edit' the photo by cropping it to a bit smaller size. For some reason that seems to sort out the upside down issue.

Planting out hydrangeas

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 13:44

Just mentioning what's in the greenhouse while getting advice - all of it bought for the garden generally, not specially for my little hydrangea.  I've left it with just one bloom out of about seven so it will now have to take its chances with everything else. 

I was wondering, in passing though, how and when the nettle tea is used. Is it like 'worm tea' from the wormery, which I know is extremely strong and has to be diluted 10:1 for watering.

Planting out hydrangeas

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 11:27

KatherineW said:You can feed a plant for leaf growth, or feed it for flowers and fruit.

That's a thought: which should I be feeding it for now then - leaf growth, or flowers - and what with? I have the proprietary blue crystal feed that you dissolve in the watering can, and I also have potash. Also, last night, I steeped a load of nettles in a bucket of boiling water because I've heard 'nettle tea' is full of nutrients - not sure which ones though. I seem to remember that brew has to be kept a couple of weeks though until it smells a bit?

Planting out hydrangeas

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 11:08

This is fascinating - all three of the above answers have given me a greater understanding some of the guiding principles behind how plants grow generally as well as hydrangeas in particular, and this is so reassuring.

I will cut out some of the blooms to take the strain out off for the plant and wait patiently for better growth - and hopefully colour - next year. 

Planting out hydrangeas

Posted: 18/06/2015 at 10:18

Thank you Dave; both you and Ceres have taught me something new:

I knew you could 'force' rhubarb - did it myself by chance when I left an upturned bucket over mine longer than I intended - and I know that show gardeners - aiming for Chelsea, for example - I knew that they manipulate growing times with all sorts of tricks involving artificial light, dark, feeding etc, but didn't realise it was the norm with 'ordinary' growers too.

Just to get this new info clear and in perspective, does 'forcing' usually just mean making the plant develop early and nothing else? And cynically speaking, presumably this is done to get it into the shops before one's competitors?

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