Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Plants being stripped

Posted: 20/09/2015 at 12:27

As nut says, it will be different things, the most likely being:

  • Gooseberry: gooseberry sawfly
  • Roses: rose sawfly
  • Climbing plants: snails
  • everything else: slugs and woodpigeons

Veggies are also usually attacked by the last two plus they have their own army of specialist invaders such as cabbage white butterfly caterpillars.  Don't worry though - regular inspection is the key and when you see something you don't recognise take a photo and post it here as we have our own 'home guard' of troops to advise you!


Posted: 19/09/2015 at 20:20

Pinks are very easy to take cuttings (aka pipings) from.  Just cut off non-flowering shoots a few inches long, pull off the bottom 2/3rds of the leaves and plant a few around the edge of a pot in 50/50 grit/compost.  After a few weeks they should take root (some may dry up and die - remove those) and when you see roots appearing from the bottom of the pot you can separate and pot them individually, at which point nip the top out to encourage branching.  Do that every year and you will have a constant supply to replace the older plants when they become leggy and untidy.

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Posted: 19/09/2015 at 20:08

Hi all, time to ask advice rather than give it!

I have a privet hedge in the front garden which has become a bit of a pain.  The neighbour on the other side spends 50 weeks of the year overseas so that side never gets cut and, together with the fact that I find it hard to manage cutting it on step ladders these days, it has got a bit out of hand.  It's about 2.5m high, 1m thick and about 10m long.

I've asked for quotes from several local companies for complete removal (roots and all so I could replace with a mixed hedge for wildlife) but not one has got back to me after 2 weeks, so it looks like I'm going to have to tackle it myself.  The least difficult thing to do would be to cut it back hard with my chainsaw and hope for regrowth so I could keep it at a managable 1m high.

I don't have a car so ripping it out with a towbar/ropes is not an option and it will certainly have to be done over a number of weeks as I know from experience that it will take several hours to shred just a metre wide chunk with the awkward branching way privet grows.  What I don't know is:  Can/should I take it back almost to the ground or would it be better to leave longer stumps, say 0.5m?  How likely is it to regrow from such a severe hacking?



Posted: 19/09/2015 at 12:14

Lou, just google "bulk bark chips" and add your location or nearest town/city.

Replace plum?

Posted: 19/09/2015 at 00:17

Consider replacing with a Japanese plum on a semi-dwarfing rootstock.  I have 'Lizzie' on St. Julian A rootstock and it's a wonderful tree which is literally covered in blossom very early in the season, crops heavily and earlier than standard plums and the fruit has a fantastic flavour.  Japanese plums are grown everywhere else in the world but rarely in the UK for some bizarre reason!

Grafting apples

Posted: 18/09/2015 at 20:37

Look up "bud grafting" (aka "chip budding") roxy2.  You need very little material from the donor trees and will not cause much damage to the host tree if grafted buds fail to take.  As young fruit trees are so cheap nowadays it's a risk worth taking and I'm very, very much for people trying these things themselves.  It's by far the best way to learn.

Leaf curl

Posted: 18/09/2015 at 08:43

I agree with pansyface - sounds like lack of water - not in a pot is it?  The leaves could be getting powdery mildew at some stage which causes damage like you mention Anne, and lack of water is usually the cause.  I don't know where you are, but many places (especially the East of England) had very low rainfall earlier this year and I had to regularly water several of my apple trees, something I've never had to do before with those in the ground. 

What are these

Posted: 18/09/2015 at 08:12

The could both be the same plant nut.  Both chenopodium and amaranthus are closely related, are fast evolvers and freely cross with others in their own group, making them difficult to identify.  Amaranthus are commonly known as pigweeds.  Some piccies & info. here:

I think it is most likely A.retroflexus as Jo said.  As a group, they have been largely ignored by british botanists, apparently.  Scholarly article:

What I do know is that they are a pain in the b*m on my veg plot! 

preserving tomatoes

Posted: 17/09/2015 at 22:05

How about making tomato sauce?  When I get an over-abundance, I chop an onion or two, add chopped garlic, fry until soft in olive oil, add and fry-off a bit of balsamic vinegar then finally lots of chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs (mainly oregano) and reduce until nice and thick.  The result can then be frozen without any detectable loss of taste and later used to top pizza, toast, or as a base for an absolute multitude of other dishes.  Wouldn't be without it.


What are these

Posted: 17/09/2015 at 18:51

I agree with Dave that the first one looks like a Chenopodium (Goosefoot) of some kind.  If it is, it will produce thousands of very long lived seeds so I'd get rid.

The second one I don't recognise but it looks 'weedy' is clearly a slug magnet and judging by the 'flowers', it also looks like it will seed like mad so I would get rid of it, personally.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

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1 to 15 of 34 threads