Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Heating the greenhouse

Posted: 08/04/2013 at 23:56

My low-tech approach is to have lots of 2l plastic pop bottles filled with dark liquid - comfrey feed (I make *lots* of that!) filling all gaps between pots etc around the borders of my GH.  They absorb the sun's heat really well and slowly release it at night.  It's far from perfect but does help keep the frost out at this time of the year.  The bonus is I always have liquid feed very close at hand.

All you experts I need help - germination techniques

Posted: 08/04/2013 at 23:47

What works for me with echinacea is growing them quite large in 5" pots before planting out.  If they're not big enough, I overwinter in a coldframe rather than plant out, pinching out any flower shoots that may develop.  All of the larger ones I planted out last spring went on to flower (mostly just one flower) and are now showing several shoots.  There are about a dozen overwintered ones in the CF which will go out as soon as I can find the time.

Got any 'ose?

Posted: 08/04/2013 at 23:33

Bit late posting today as I had to plant a bare-root Maraval sweet chestnut tree in a large 60x60x60cm container as soon as I got home from work, before it went dark.  Took ages to fill with a mix of my clay soil, MP compost and JI No3, then had my dinner and fell asleep!  Tomorrow's job when I get home is planting a Japanese Wineberry, a Jostaberry, a Lingonberry and a Worcesterberry! 

Spring sweethearts

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 22:58

Some beautiful photos everyone!  Here's my humble effort.  Only mini daffs, about the same size as the snowdrops, but they really made me smile this morning.


What has happened???

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 22:27

I know what you mean, chicky!  My 'Lizzie' early plum has had flower buds on for nearly 2 months and I don't think she can hold it in much longer, poor thing!

Our own A to Z of our Gardening

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 15:12

I'll have a go at Aquilegia:

Aquilegia are an unfussy, hardy and long-lived perennial that thrives in most soils and aspects.  They come in a wide variety of flower shapes and colours and are easy to grow from seed, which can be sown as soon as it is collected or in the spring.  Growing your own can be rewarding, but be aware that they very readily cross-pollinate and don't come true from collected seed, but worthwhile new variants often arise so you can have a plant that is completely unique to you!

Excellent varieties are available commercially and some of my favourite large flowered varieties from seed are aquilegia caerulea (blue/white) and McKana Giant hybrids (mixed colours.)



Bee spotting

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 14:45

Thanks for the great photo's Cheery!

If anyone is interested in identifying the bees they see, here are a few web links:

General Bee ID:


Solitary bees:

Honey bees:


mulching advice please

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 13:40

If in doubt, compost it first for at least 6 months.  This will break down any growth-retarding natural chemicals that the leaves may contain.  If you don't have a compost heap, you could put  the shreddings into a black bin liner, wet them, tie the bag closed and poke a few holes in it, then hide behind a shrub etc. for a year. That's how I make my leaf-mould, too.

using ash from wood and brickettes in the garden

Posted: 07/04/2013 at 13:32

Wood ash is good for use around the garden but avoid using it on any plants which prefer acid conditions as it is alkaline.  I would advise against using the briquette ash though as it may contain traces of heavy metals which are not good for plants or animals, including us.

Plants to avoid using the wood ash on include (but are not limited to): Acer, Azalea, Camelia, Heather, Rhododendron, Blueberry, Cranberry, Raspberry, Apple, Grape, Strawberry, Potato.  If you aren't sure about a particular plant, use google and search for the plant name and add "growing conditions" to see if it prefers acid soil (pH lower than 6.5) - if so, avoid using the wood ash on it.

Rhubarb in pots

Posted: 06/04/2013 at 20:19

Hi lavenderlass, check that you haven't accidentaly clicked 'Ignore' on your own avatar.

To fix it, go to Settings and unignore yourself.

Good news about the rhubarb!


PS, the site 'my posts' thing is currently broken for everyone - they are working on a fix.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 295
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 296
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 159
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: 146
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 462
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 270
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: 523
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 350
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: 425
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 206
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39


Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 510
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 516
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3731
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1552
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 474
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads