London (change)
Today 22°C / 16°C
Tomorrow 22°C / 16°C


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Creating New Cultivars...

Posted: 15/12/2013 at 00:05

Hi Ryan, I'll try and explain it by using an example.  Say one of your echinaceas produced blue flowers but all of the rest were purple.  You would sow all of the seeds from the blue one and grow them far away from any other echinaceas, preferably in a greenhouse with anti-insect netting to stop random pollination by bees etc and hand-pollinating them.  When the new plants eventually flower, you would keep any offspring which also flowered in blue and discard all of the rest.  Collect the seed and sow again, repeating the selection/discard process.  After several years (it could take many years) virtually all of the plants will produce blue flowers and at that point you have a stable cultivar.  One problem in doing this is that your original blue Echinacea may have happen to have some sort of genetic weakness (say prone to mildew) and you would be breeding this weakness into the new cultivar.  There are ways around that by crossing back with a non-blue Echinacea and then going through the selection process again.  All in all it can be a lot of work to get to a stage where you could sell the seed commercially (if that is your goal.)

However, there is an alternative as echinaceas are perennial:  If you have a special plant, keep dividing it - all of the divisions are effectively clones so you can multiply numbers that way.


Posted: 14/12/2013 at 11:48

Definitely do as chicky says, Red Dahlia.  Don't re-pot them until they are almost climbing out on their own!   Keeping them in pots/tubs also means you won't get them bullying other things in your borders!

Christmas tree shaping

Posted: 14/12/2013 at 11:20

Hi Vicky,  There's not really much you can do as that's how fir trees grow.  They don't put out new branches from the main trunk except at the growing point (ie the top.)


Posted: 14/12/2013 at 11:15

I echo Verdun's advice about not over-potting.  They flower quicker when restricted. 

Mine were grown from seed (Headbourne hybrids), were potted-on to slightly larger pots each year and flowered in year 3.  They lose all of their leaves in winter as do most other varieties.  Even 'evergreen' varieties will lose them in an extended spell of hard frost.  I must say I'm going to remove most of mine from the borders as the roots of Headbourne types become very thuggish (thick as a pencil and spread about 3 times are far underground as the visible parts on top.  There's a 'dead zone' around them all now which only the (even more thuggish) Montbretia will grow in.  I'll get some of the daintier varieties instead I think.


Posted: 13/12/2013 at 23:43

Clarington, water with a few drops of detergent or soap coats the insects with a layer of water and starves them of air long enough to kill them.  It drowns them in other words.  Simple and effective.  Heavy rain does the same thing which is why aphids tend to prefer feeding on the underneath of leaves, so I always try and spray from below.

Talkback: How to protect plants in winter

Posted: 13/12/2013 at 23:26

Val, just checking that you are fixing it to the inside, yes?   If an aluminium greenhouse, use these clips to hold the bubble-warp to the slots in the frame:

you just push them through the bubble-wrap and twist to lock into the slots in the aluminium frame.


Posted: 11/12/2013 at 20:01

Hi all, had a nice result while re-insulating my loft over the last couple of days.  What's this got to do with gardening you may ask?  Well, when I lifted the tired old insulation, underneath was a one inch layer of vermiculite granules.  So, out with the leaf blower set to suck and now have two very large black sacks full of free vermiculite.

However, got home today to see a letter from EON.  Thanks to this governments ineptitude in 'simplifying' electricity tariffs, my "economy" 10 rate has gone up nearly 18%!  Thanks for much, much less than nothing..


Posted: 09/12/2013 at 18:15

Nice one, punkdoc.  Where I've been today would probably have driven you round the bend - stuck up in a dark loft improving the insulation!   I also found out where all of the houseflies live over the winter..

Quickest growing fruit tree?

Posted: 09/12/2013 at 17:59

What are the maximum and minimum heights and at what height do you want the foliage to begin, Matt?

composting packaging- green wotsits?

Posted: 09/12/2013 at 17:49

In that case I would compost them.  The plants I bought from Woottens earlier in the year were packed with those and I added them to one of my compost bins, watered it and they disappeared very quickly - that compost has since been used and was lovely stuff.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 280
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 141
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: 131
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 442
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 253
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: 490
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 332
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: 404
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 195
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 493
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 504
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3569
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1465
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 460
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Redsigning weedy crazy paving 
Replies: 24    Views: 1637
Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 20:16
1 to 15 of 23 threads