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Latest posts by blairs

dahlia tubers in ground through winter question.

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 10:49
stephen moulder wrote (see)

hello i plant 4 plate sized dalhias from the range back in early april and there is no sign of any growth should i leave it for another month before i check the tuber to see if its rotted or not 


Where did you plant them? I need to start mine off in the greenhouse in pots - most are not a good few feet tall now. I would never start them directly outside in the borders, as they take a long time for the right temperatures to develop for them to grow well then flower.

You can tell when they have rotted as the brown rhizomes will turn to mush or be hollow.

How to improve drainage

Posted: 17/05/2014 at 20:01

I would use grit - sand can hold a lot of water and is actually quite poor at draining.

garden pest attacking my baby plants

Posted: 15/05/2014 at 21:57

My garden has a lot of caterpillars this year, little you can do about that apart from go out and pick em off. You can try systemic garlic sprays (you boil a clove of garlic then let it cool and spray that on all your plants). It does work but is systemic so takes months for the plants to take up the garlic odor, which puts off many herbivores. Your garden will also smell of it...

Oak seedlings to find a home

Posted: 15/05/2014 at 16:21

I quite often get free trees from the birds (just found a small Rowan in the Strawberry patch). I put them in my local park. Just find any space, take a fork and put it in. If it looks like you made an effort to plant it the park people tend to leave well alone. The trees facing my house and in next doors garden all came from me planting/donating them.

Begonia Tubers

Posted: 14/05/2014 at 22:02

Snap Orchid Lady!

Begonia Tubers

Posted: 14/05/2014 at 22:02

I soak them in warm water for 10 mins (use your own intuition - if it looks dry, then soak it). I then place in a pot, cover with compost so that the top is just under the soil, soak with warm water and leave somewhere warm and light place (windowsill, GH etc). Should see growth quite quickly.

My yard has turned into a pond

Posted: 13/05/2014 at 17:19

Have you tried forking the areas where the water accumulates? It may just be compacted. You literally just stab the area with the garden fork and shift it around a bit to loosen the soil under the turf.

Wilting Dahlia

Posted: 13/05/2014 at 17:17

Does sound like under watering...a small pot makes it difficult for roots to hold water. Also the foliage can act as an umbrella keeping the pot dry, even in very heavy rain.

Are you going to plant them out in the soil? If so now is a good time to start.

yet another rude online retailer...

Posted: 13/05/2014 at 12:37

Avoid angry confrontation. Explain your problems and make it out that you want help and advice. Stating that all the seeds germinated (good) but that you want advice on X. Applying angrily just puts others back up and helps no one. Stay on the moral high ground.

black bamboo

Posted: 13/05/2014 at 12:33

Jan - just cut like you would a hedge to the height that you want and the canes will not grow any higher. I actually really like a pruned bamboo. You can also remove a few feet of bottom leaves to open up the canes ans expose them to the sun for darker canes.

Phyllostachys nigra does have a good name but it is a runner, a cunning one, as it sends out long (8ft) runners underground and you do not notice it until it is too late and you have a lawn full of Phyllostachys nigra shoots or you wonder where the canes have come from in a border! It is not a clumping bamboo like most Fargesia. I am amazed at how many people say 'it is well behaved' when it is a thug, not Sasa japonica thug, but a thug none the less.


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