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Latest posts by BobTheGardener


Posted: 04/07/2013 at 23:24

I usually cut them off before winter sets in and get a great display so don't think protection is needed.  I do it then so they have more time to compost as they do take a while to break down in the heap.

Strawberry Growing Experiment

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 23:08

Hi little-ann, I have tried them in growbags but found it difficult to provide enough water - I'd water them before work and often found them wilting by the time I got home (must have been one of those rare summers when we actually had some sun!)  I always grow them outside - no room in the greenhouse.  If you have to use containers, I'd recommend at least 30cm pots, or using large (60 or 70l) bags of multi-purpose compost rather than growbags as they will allow the roots to grow fully and they hold more water.  You can cut a bag in half to make two 30 litre half bags as 'pots'.  Use good compost eg JI No.2 or even No.3 as they will be in there for 3 years.  Weekly feeding (I use comfrey feed, but tomato feed is fine) is essential once the flowers appear.

Help please - rust hollyhocks

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:54

I agree with Paula - nothing to lose in trying the fungicide.  They look close to flowering which will take the eye away from the leaves.  If you try and grow them again next year, best to try a different spot in the garden - you might be lucky!

Field maple

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:51

I agree, likely gall mites.  No need to do anything (not that there is any treatment.)

Google "maple gall mites" for more info.

Help please - rust hollyhocks

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:12

The good news is that this proves you have excellent air quality - the problem doesn't occur in heavily polluted areas!  It won't spread to anything else but other hollyhocks.  The bad news is that there's nothing you can really do.  I love hollyhocks but cannot grow them any longer as they get devasted by hollyhock rust every time now.  It might be worth looking for resistant varieties but I've just had to give up.


Posted: 04/07/2013 at 19:05

Hi Alan, yes, good to eat straight from the plant when fully ripe and great for pies, jam etc and do have very large fruit.  I also grow Loch Ness, which is similar in all respects - pictures of those two and lots of other varieties on this page:


Pear tree problem

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 18:55

Hi donside, that is actually very good news as you shouldn't let a fruit tree produce any fruit in its first year so that the roots can develop properly.  If all those pears were left to grow, it would probably kill the tree, or at least exhaust it and prevent it establishing properly.  Personally, I would either remove the rest of the fruit, or just let 2 or 3 of them mature.  It is quite likely they will drop off anyway. 

Growth from graft

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 18:51

Magnolia rootstocks are usually randomly chosen seedlings of known hardy varieties and Japanese magnolia rootstocks are often used for dwarf trees.  Magnolia champaka and M. acuminata are commonly used but don't have very showy flowers - the former is usually grown for timber.



Posted: 03/07/2013 at 19:49

Waterbutts is right - some varieties grow huge!  This is my 3 year old 'Apache' thornless one, on an 8ft x 6ft frame:

 Close-up of developing fruit:

 When they say plant 2m apart, they mean it!



Posted: 03/07/2013 at 19:22

Yes, they are Gooseberry sawfly larvae without a doubt.  Good job you spotted them early.  The windy conditions may also be helping to keep their numbers down for you.  Keep an eye on them!

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: 143
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: 443
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: 491
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: 3570
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1467
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