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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

The Great British Garden Revival

Posted: 21/01/2015 at 23:51

Same here BL, thought he was quite good on it, but was half expecting to see a stainless steel frog slide etc appear at some point!   Who did irritate me was the chap who did the lily bit though.  Kept going on and on about how easy they are while at the same time saying that he wasn't really a gardener.  That much was obvious when he put some half-mashed garlic straight in a hand sprayer with about a cup of water (despite saying a litre) and spraying it as a jet rather than a spray.  In reality an unstrained mix like that would block it solid in a few seconds and take half an hour to clean out!  Not convinced on the effectiveness against lily beetle either.  Constant vigilance and hand-picking is the only 'organic' solution in my experience, and that isn't exactly 'plant, forget and enjoy for years'!

Early Tomato Blight

Posted: 20/01/2015 at 19:17

Ian, try and improve ventilation if you can (not easy with a polytunnel, I know) as all fungal diseases, including blight, are much more of a problem in humid conditions.  Try and keep water from dripping from the roof onto the leaves and avoid spraying tomatoes with water at all costs.  Last year I had late blight in my polytunnel but not a sign in my normal greenhouse and plants were packed much closer together in there.

name of shrub

Posted: 18/01/2015 at 16:51

Sounds like Euonymus fortunei Mark, if they are small bushes.  They come with white splashes too.  Larger ones may be the hedging types, Euonymus japonicus.

Catkin identity please

Posted: 13/01/2015 at 23:14

I think nut is right - those look like magnolia flowerbuds rather than catkins.  And a lot of them, too - you could be in for quite a treat come spring!

Laburnum Trees

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 15:35

Have a look at this thread Ms P, which came up last summer:


Talkback: How to grow strawberries

Posted: 11/01/2015 at 15:28

No need to protect them Pindy as they are completely hardy.  You can move them into a cold greenhouse or coldframe if you want an earlier crop but then you need to keep them watered - one thing strawberries don't appreciate is their roots drying out.  A drawback to doing that though is you may have problems with aphids as those will be kiiled by frost but will love greenhouse conditions.


Posted: 11/01/2015 at 14:36

Spending winter as a caterpillar is a very common method of surviving for many moths and butterflies. They usually hide in the leaf litter or under plants such as foxgloves and verbascums which offer good protection.  Examples include: Dingy Skipper, Chequered Skipper, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Common Blue, Northern Brown Argus, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Wall, Mountain Ringlet, Scotch Argus, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath and Large Heath.  Those are from the SW Scotland butterfly site:

Species will differ in south Wales which is a lot warmer!


Windy - get your pots secure...

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:46

How annoying Tootles - expensive too as large pots don't come cheap.

I've just wired my automatic vent in the greenhouse closed as they tend to flap in very strong winds which can smash the glass, shortly after which the entering wind tends to blow the fixed panes out..

Can anyone recommend a good quality cold frame...

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:39

I agree, if you or family/friends have any basic DIY skills, they are very easy to make.Mine is made from decking planks with a sheet of twinwall polycarbonate used as a sloped hinged lid and was cheaper and is stronger than anything commercially available that I have seen.  Here's a previous thread on this topic:



Tree identificagtion

Posted: 09/01/2015 at 19:30

Possibly a typo or misspelling?  Have a look through the Acer name wiki and see if anything comes close:



Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 642
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 326
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 367
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 961
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 746
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 702
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 662
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 530
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: 455
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 786
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 695
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: 1176
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 833
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30

Check your delphiniums for caterpillars

Look for distorted and damaged leaves near the tips 
Replies: 10    Views: 1294
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 507
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39
1 to 15 of 29 threads