Latest posts by Birdy13

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 22:48

I've hardly been out for weeks but I think I broke the pattern at last.

  I at last managed to get out since hurting my back a couple of weeks ago and decided to start gently by raking up all the leaves from under our cherry tree. They'll make leaf mould for next year.   Then decided to do some weeding and had a shock. I had been moving rocks and stones from one end of a raised bed to the other as I worked on clearing the weeds under them - when suddenly... THE ROCK IN MY HAND MOVED!!!

 It was a great, fat, white toad. Very disrespectful appearing without warning like that - and covered in dirt too! Clearly no sense of presentation! 

After my initial seismic shock I instinctively decided that for his own safety he needed to be back under a rock - preferably one that wouldn't get moved again accidentally.   I rolled him gently into the first gap I could see - the one you see here: by pure chance, in tossing the rocks to one side while weeding, I had built a perfect cave; quite stable too. You can just see him (or her?) peeking out to the right of the green stick...


Just before turning in I checked three gutters where they run into the downpipes just to make sure the heavy rain hadn't blocked them with moss again. It had! But unlike the previous time when I had to cut into a blocked downpipe to clear it, due the little chickenwire filters I had made for the top of each downpipe, the job of clearing was a doddle. 

Yep, I guess I did get some gardening done today.

Conference pears

Posted: 06/10/2015 at 12:18

Sounds great Marion! Do you poach them whole, or skinned, cored and quartered?

I wonder if I have time to grow a Japanese Quince by Christmas?

Conference pears

Posted: 06/10/2015 at 11:17

Meant to say, Pansyface, that your living much further north (Peak District) than I do (Norfolk) I would imagine your environment would be a degree or two colder than ours, so your pears probably will take longer to ripen. 

I must say that Happymarion's criteria for picking is more or less my strategy. I suspect, however, that I won't be able to keep up with using them all before they ripen too far and rot. Ho hum! Very fortunate to have them in the first place. Might have to share a few around the neighbours.

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.

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