London (change)
Today 13°C / 10°C
Tomorrow 12°C / 11°C


Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 21/12/2014 at 15:44

Daffs not even poking through yet here, but I'm in a bit of a frost pocket and it did hit -3.5C recently which would have put the mockers on any ideas they had of coming up early!  Plenty of crocus showing although none in flower so far.  On the plus side one of my young vibernum bodnantense 'Dawn' is covered in buds, some now opening and the red Witch Hazel (Rubin) is already in flower.

Pruning an apple tree

Posted: 20/12/2014 at 13:04

Yes MJ, that's exactly where I would cut it.  Leave a small part of the old branch proud of the trunk as cutting completely flush will damage the branch collar and inhibit healing;  You want to cut just flush with the end of the branch collar.  Don't try and cut the whole thing off in one go as that could be dangerous and also lead to tearing a strip of bark from the trunk.  Make an undercut a few inches away from the bottom of the branch first, to avoid any possibility of tearing the bark.  These links should help:




Posted: 20/12/2014 at 11:34

The reason comfrey is so full of nutrients is that its tap roots go well down into the sub-soil (a metre or more) and extract minerals from that, something most herbaceous plants cant do as the majority only send roots into the topsoil.  I have several 'stands' of comfrey so I can crop them at different times - it's fantastic stuff and the bees love it.

Shed treatment query

Posted: 20/12/2014 at 11:25

Modern water-based wood treatments are very good and will prevent water penetrating, especially if you use several coats.  However, storing paper based products in an unheated outbuilding can lead to issues due to the large variations in humidity and temperature which can lead to condensation.  Anyone who leaves steel tools out in an unheated garage or shed knows that they will rust, even if it is perfectly dry as humidity in the air causes water to condense on them when they become cooler than the air in there.  A layer of insulation on the inside walls and roof should help, such as rockwool or insulated sheeting such as Celotex.  Both of those would need a layer of something covering them, such as thin plywood.  You would ideally run a dehumidifer in there which would require a mains supply. An alternative would be to keep everything in air-tight plastic boxes.

Some links which may help:



Pruning an apple tree

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 21:13

I completely agree with nut and would remove the whole branch on the right, right back to the trunk.  Because it is growing from very low on the trunk, it may even be from below the graft and that would explain why it is so vigorous compared to the rest of the tree (which seems fairly well shaped.)

Christmas has come early

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Well done Verdun, your tactic of mentioning that plants are "on their last legs" always seems to pay off!

Finding a plant

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 16:44

There's also a white form of the anenome BL found, called Annabella White.

BTW, congrats mate!


Posted: 19/12/2014 at 15:31

It's a bit early - best to wait until the worst of the winter is over or early spring.  However, if they are blowing about and risk wind damage, you could take some off now and trim back further in late winter.  RHS pruning advice here as things differ for some types:


Christmas has come early

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 15:22

Amazing how we always manage to fit more stuff in, isn't it Gemma!   Now all of need is a 'Tardis' greenhouse!

PS, also mulched the raspberries with well rotted FYM and planted a Tayberry and a Loganberry;  Can't waste good weather like this at this time of the year!

Christmas has come early

Posted: 19/12/2014 at 14:36

Thanks all - they're now in (with a bit of rootgrow.)  Good job I was careful when I first put the fork in at each position as all three spots had a whole lot of bulbs which I managed to lift without too much damage.  Then I had to find spots for those without disturbing any more, of course - it could have gone on forever! 

Now to force myself not to let them fruit for a year or two.  They were:

Pear duo: Conference and Bonne Louise.

Apple duo: Elstar & Golden del.

Plum duo: Victoria & Reine-Claude.

Together with my other fruit trees, I'll either have the fattest squirrels in the country or there'll be too many fruit for them and they'll have to leave some for me!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
Replies: 19    Views: 650
Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
Replies: 11    Views: 328
Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
Replies: 1    Views: 368
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
Replies: 9    Views: 964
Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
Replies: 12    Views: 747
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 707
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 665
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 533
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: 457
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 789
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 699
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: 1179
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 838
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: 1301
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 511
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39
1 to 15 of 29 threads