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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Go ji berry

Posted: 16/03/2013 at 11:54

It probably needs another goji plant nearby, to aid pollination.  They also need feeding regularly whilst in growth.  See RHS advice on goji berries, here:


Strong Tub Trugs

Posted: 16/03/2013 at 11:47

Wickes have some 40 litre ones in yellow (not sure if that's preferable to black though!)

Silver birch removal

Posted: 16/03/2013 at 11:42

Hi Debster, the bracket fungus may have been a secondary thing, so check if it was honey fungus which actually killed the tree.  To do that, strip the bark off of the trunk at ground level.  If you find a mass of bootlace-like threads running from the ground up the trunk, beneath the bark, that would indicate honey fungus and it would be inadvisable to plant another tree there or nearby.  If you don't see anything like that and as long as you have the roots ground out, it would be relatively safe to plant another tree.  Bracket fungi grow within the tree and don't spread through the ground, unlike the devastating honey fungus which will often go on to infect the whole garden (a single honey fungus can cover an area the size of several football pitches!)

Paper for Organic Compost?

Posted: 16/03/2013 at 00:06

After doing some research, it appears that the heavy metals which used to be used in coloured inks (particularly glossy things) haven't been used for a couple of decades, and current inks are vegetable oil based.  This had to be done to protect workers in printing factories.  So, it does appear that it's safe to compost even coloured paper these days.  Several sites specialising in composting still advise avoiding glossy paper as it contains up to 50% clay (which is what makes it shiney), but that is only because it takes a lot longer to break down.

Primulas gone to seed

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 23:43

Hi hollie hock,  Primulas have some of the most complex and interesting ways of pollinating.  They can be wind pollinated, but are primarily insect pollinated (usually by bumble bees.)  Not everything is known about them.  Some species can self-pollinate and some are what is termed "heterostylous" meaning they can have different shapes of flowers with pollen being produced at different parts (thought to have evolved so that several different insects can pollinate them), but each individual plant will have the same morphism regarding its' own flowers.  This polymorphism is probably why breeders have been able to produce the huge number of radically different cultivars we see today.  There are literally thousands of scientific papers concerned with primula pollination!

Fear of messing with old roses

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 20:58

Many of the roses from supermarkets & large GCs have 'unofficial' names and will be normally known by other names when sold elsewhere (they may be contracted to do this to avoid undercutting prices which their suppliers normally recommend for their named varieties.)  There is no easy way to find out the 'real' name, but in my experience the supermarkets use names loosely based on the 'official' names, so you have to do a bit of guessing when doing searches.  Once they flower, it becomes a little easier.

Paper for Organic Compost?

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 20:33

I don't know where you have read those things, but the only paper products that are normally recommended to put on the compost heap are brown cardboard and non-coloured paper.  The reason is, as you say, coloured inks may contain chemicals which are detrimental to the growth of plants or bacteria.

onion sets

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 19:38

Hi Brycey, I'm another one who always now starts onion sets in modules and find it gives a more consistent crop.  Small pots will be fine.  Plant out as soon as the roots reach the bottom.  Growing this way also prevent birds from pulling-up the sets before they have rooted.

Where is everybody from...

Posted: 15/03/2013 at 19:07

I'd love a walled garden, figrat.  They enable you to grow a much wider range of stuff due to the microclimate they generate.  I'm in the midlands with a North-facing, hedged, back garden although I find I can grow most veg ok as it's quite long (about 100' I'd guess), so lots of it isn't shaded by the house. The main problem with being so far inland is that the winters tend to get that bit colder than nearer the coast, although I'd guess the height of Dartmoor gives you a similar climate. 

Primulas gone to seed

Posted: 14/03/2013 at 01:37

Hi Laurie, if seeds from any primula are sown, they usually revert to a form more akin to the wild species (vulgaris), as they cross-pollinate very easily and the wild form has strongly dominant genes.  There is a chance that this is what has happened and the plant has self-sown right next to itself with the original dieing without you noticing.  If you are certain it is the same plant, it could just be adverse weather conditions and the next set of flowers will be 'normal'.  There was a recent thread where a tall type (perhaps a candelabra) produced short instead of long stems and this was probably also related to unusual growing conditions.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 271
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 131
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: 120
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 433
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 229
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: 478
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 319
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: 387
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 191
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 486
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 495
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3443
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1412
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 451
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21

Front garden revamp - before and after photos

Redsigning weedy crazy paving 
Replies: 24    Views: 1614
Last Post: 21/10/2013 at 20:16
1 to 15 of 23 threads