Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 20:49

I know what you mean Pat.  I collected some cotoneaster berries a couple of years ago and they nearly all germinated.  I now have a dozen cotoneasters in pots taking up room and absolutely no space available to plant them!  I really enjoy the challenge of germinating perennial and shrub/tree seeds though and don't think I'll be changing any time soon!


Posted: 22/11/2015 at 19:10

Hi Susan, the bright red flowers are the giveaway that it is a non-hardy type (almost certainly Cyclamen persicum.)  Those are best grown indoors, or at least dug-up, potted and kept indoors well before the first frost.  The hardy types for oudoor use are almost all pink/purple or white and have small flowers about 1.5 to 2cm in size.

Garden centres etc sell the large flowered non-hardy types as annuals so unless you dig them up and look after them over the winter they will die.

Sprout harvesting

Posted: 22/11/2015 at 18:34

You can leave sprouts in the ground as long as you want to during Winter as they are completely hardy.  If fact many folk think they taste better once they have been exposed to a hard frost.  They will hardly grow at all at this time of the year so you shouldn't get problems with the sprouts opening-up (aka 'blowing').

Planting Viburnum × bodnantense Dawn, WHEN?

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:34

Just noticed the one I planted in autumn last year is in flower:

Looks a bit sad as it's about to lose it's leaves after last night's cold wind but is flowering like a good 'un for such a young shrub.   The smell is gorgeous!

Bare root agapanthus

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:02

They prefer slightly acid to neutral (pH 5 to 7) but are not fussy although I wouldn't risk planting in pure ericaceous which will be about pH 4 to 4.5.  The issue with acid soil is that it prevents the take up of certain nutrients.

Grease bands

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:45

Probably not, or not much.  Grease bands are primarily to prevent ants climbing trees to 'farm' aphids and to stop Winter moth caterpillars, neither of which are a cause of maggots in fruit.

Maggoty fruit is caused by flying insects, such as the Codling moth and Plum moth.  You can buy hormone traps for those which can help a little but are primarily intended to tell you when to spray with insecticide.  If you don't want to use insecticides then try the hormone traps alone and you might get a little less damage.

Or just close your eyes when you eat the fruit!

frost and soil

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:36

Fully agree.  Unless we have a prolonged period below freezing, frost only penetrates a few milimeters into soil and probably won't affect soil under membrane at all.  When exposed frozen clumps of soil thaw, the thin layer affected by frost will crumble and be washed off by the next rain, exposing a new layer to be broken down by the next frost.

Is this fungus

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 00:29

If it is only affecting that branch then removing it might well save the tree.  Cut the branch off at the collar, close to the trunk in midsummer.  Instructions here:

The second photo down on this page shows the collar:

Don't be tempted to remove the branch until early to mid summer otherwise the bacterial canker could spread or the tree could be infected with silver leaf disease which would definitely finish it off.

Hope it works Tony.

magnolia watershoots

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 00:12

It will only produce 'watershoots' which are vertical, fast growing shoots, if you prune it hard.  In general, magnolias don't need to be pruned so no need to worry.


Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:22

I have some tucked away in a shady corner and it does ok - always covered in bees!  Because it is deep rooted I don't think it will compete with nearby shrubs.  If you give the shrubs a mulch with harvested comfrey leaves, they will probably do even better than at present.

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1 to 15 of 37 threads