Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Lupins and woolly aphids

Posted: 07/06/2016 at 22:04

Like lily beetles, the problem with (american) lupin aphid is that it's an introduced species so there are few if any natural predators.  The ladybirds and blue tits around here gobble-up greenfly and other native aphids but they completely shun lupin aphid.  I've even transferred ladybird lavae onto infected plants but they crawled off of the plants within minutes.

What plant is this

Posted: 07/06/2016 at 21:01

The star-shaped growth on the soil surface is liverwort which indicates poor drainage and is probably essential for your orchids to thrive.  The lilies will probably die in those conditions but I'd sooner keep the orchids!

The poor drainage would also make the Marsh orchid the most likely suspect as has already been suggested.

Last edited: 07 June 2016 21:03:49

Earth / Soil Advice

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 21:39

Hamish, the best way to improve the soil is to put down 2-3 inches of well-rotted farmyard manure.  The bagged stuff (eg Grosure) available from garden centres is very good stuff.  You can dig it in or just lay it on the soil and let the worms do the work but that obviously takes longer.  One thing to be wary of when raising the soil level near a fence is that the bottom of the fence will rot so you need to put something there to retain the soil such as decking boards laid on edge and screwed to 2x2" wooden stakes hammered into the ground.  A wooden retaining edge like that would last for maybe 10 years.

Help with something eating my Limelight Hedges!

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 21:30

Agreed, the ladybird larva will devour hundreds of aphids so is a real goody!  I suspect the damage seen is caused by slugs and/or snails.

Unidentified cucumber plant - what to do

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 21:21

It's difficult to tell with cucumbers but I'd put my money on it being a greenhouse type.  As long as we don't get another cold and wet spell it may well be ok in the sheltered situation you describe.  One tip is to make a slight mound and plant on top which will prevent the stem rotting at ground level which is often a problem with 'cumbers.

Last edited: 06 June 2016 21:22:26

What is this?

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 21:15

It's bindweed Richard.  If you try and dig it out, even tiny bits of root will grow into new plants so it's difficult to eradicate when growing in a border.  One effective way is to unwind it as much as you can, stuff it into a plastic bag and then spray inside the bag with a glyphosate-based weedkiller such as Roundup.  Using the bag will prevent spray getting onto your shrubs.  Wait until it dies back completely before removing it so the glyphosate is absorbed down into the roots.  There will be some regrowth but train that up canes then slide the cane out and treat as before.  Eventually you will be rid of it. 


Posted: 06/06/2016 at 19:18

But take cuttings anyway as they root fairly easily.  Choose non-flowering stems, cut into about 12-15cm lengths and place several around the edge of a pot of gritty compost.  Put them somewhere out of direct sunlight, water once and wait.  If you can't find any stems without flowers, nip the flowers off the end of the cutting and they may still work.

Anyone done any gardening today - Version 2

Posted: 06/06/2016 at 00:11

Got lots done including planting out a dozen delphinium and 30 annual types (larkspur) which I love.  Dotted lots of night scented stocks around the garden. Also repotted a couple of azaleas which have just finished flowering.  Couldn't believe how many willowherbs I kept finding while weeding!

What is your weather like?

Posted: 05/06/2016 at 23:45

Lovely day here but had to have several breaks as was getting too hot while working in the garden.  More please!

Aquilegia flowers 2016

Posted: 05/06/2016 at 23:41

You have some real beauties there FB!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener


Hope it finds it's way home 
Replies: 3    Views: 301
Last Post: 26/04/2016 at 18:22

Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
Replies: 8    Views: 1108
Last Post: 01/01/2016 at 22:01

Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
Replies: 10    Views: 741
Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 1384
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 555
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 579
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 1179
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 976
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 963
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 905
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 794
Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 18:04

Bob's guide to picking soft fruit

Only fto be read by your household's main gardener! 
Replies: 3    Views: 655
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 1071
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 944
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 21:44

A week of rain = jungle garden!

It's been too wet to really do anything outside.. 
Replies: 16    Views: 1432
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42
1 to 15 of 32 threads