BobTheGardener


Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Can I re-vitalise an old lilac tree ?

Posted: 01/06/2014 at 08:23

Yes, you can rejuvenate lilac by cutting back hard and it will grow back.  If it is multi-stemmed, the best way is to remove 1/3rd of the stems (oldest first) right back to the ground each year for 3 years.  As new growth won't flower for 2-3 years, doing that means you will still get some flowers each year.  If it has a single main trunk, you can cut that back to about 6-8 inches from the ground.  New stems will appear, but you won't see any flowers for 2-3 years.  The best time to do it is in early spring, so a bit late to do it this year but you could risk it, especially as you are considering removing it anyway.  When the new stems appear, prune out the weak spindly ones next Spring.  One word of warning though - hard pruning can make lilac throw up lots of suckers in the general area and these can be difficult to deal with.

Sweet Potatoes

Posted: 01/06/2014 at 00:10

Hi Teenrbee, I'm also trying them for the first time this year in a polytunnel.  I have the t&m duo offer - 6 of each type.  Impressive size plugs!  Mine came a couple of weeks ago and have been planted in the polytunnel border - I improved the soil (clay based) by adding lots of MP compost (about 50/50 soil/compost now, down to about 10 inches deep) and also some sharp sand as I read they like sandy soil.  It'll be interesting to compare notes as the season progresses so I'll keep an eye on this thread and may post some photos tomorrow - the plants look as though they are beginning to really take off now.

courgette woes

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 21:34
David K wrote (see)
Steve 309 wrote (see)

Don't slugs live in the soil some of the time?  In which case...

 

Keel slugs live underground all of the time.....feeding mostly on potatoes.

Feeding on my potatoes most of the time I reckon!

hibiscus or rose of sharon

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 21:09

On one of my holidays in Cornwall I saw that particular Hypericum had taken over the whole garden of a hotel I stayed at, Verdun.

courgette woes

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 20:56

Copper isn't perfect when it comes to deterring slugs.  It helps but determined large ones will still cross it if there's a favourite meal on the other side.  And as Steve alludes to, they can always burrow under the soil to get in..

ID Please

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 20:48

The tall ones in the first pic are delphiniums, Alan.  Just about to flower by the looks of it.

I'm not sure about the 2nd one - possibly daylilies (Hemerocallis) as the leaves of those are around for months before the flowers start appearing and they are quite rampant growers.

5mm worms in potted plants.

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 18:01

They do sound like fungus gnat larvae to me.  Those are pretty harmless except to very small seedlings.  To keep them down, use fine grit to cover the compost and water only from the bottom as the gnats (small flies) can't then lay their eggs on the surface of wet compost which is how they proliferate. 

How to stop blue caterpiller eating my purple/brown leaf plant

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 17:57

I don't know what the plant is but the caterpillar-like thing in the 2nd image is a sawfly larva.  Those cause much more damage and strip plants vey quickly.  A truly organic control is to inspect the plant every day and pick them off by hand but if that's not practical, look for a spray containing Pyrethrum which is considered organic as it is extracted from plants of the chrysanthemum family.

new decked raised bed

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 14:43

Best to rough-dig it Joe, which will help with the drainage then fill the raised part with a mixture of topsoil and compost, adding some well-rotted manure (unless you're growing carrots/parsnips in which case skip adding the manure.)  An ideal mix for a raised bed is about 60% topsoil, 30% compost, 10% manure.)

A week of rain = jungle garden!

Posted: 31/05/2014 at 14:32

No problem nut, so we just call them wildlife gardens and be done with it!

I must admit it looks very healthy and is a treat for the eyes.  Maybe I'll just throw all the GH plants on the compost heap instead - a lot less work!

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 326
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

Tip to help to stop water running straight through 
Replies: 13    Views: 305
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 12:28

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
Replies: 2    Views: 169
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: 157
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 473
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 282
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: 544
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 364
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: 446
Last Post: 22/04/2014 at 10:58

Seed grown Wisteria finally in flower - Hooray!

Planted many years ago 
Replies: 3    Views: 213
Last Post: 15/04/2014 at 12:39

Oops!

Polytunnel growing 
Replies: 16    Views: 519
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 19:05

First day of (meteorological) Spring

How id your garden looking 
Replies: 13    Views: 527
Last Post: 03/03/2014 at 20:31

DIY heated propagator

Making one from scratch 
Replies: 48    Views: 3858
Last Post: 30/06/2014 at 19:57

Cost of bird food

bulk vs supermarket 
Replies: 31    Views: 1616
Last Post: 10/02/2014 at 12:33

Wild Garden (Community Channel)

On Freeview/Sky 
Replies: 5    Views: 485
Last Post: 10/12/2013 at 12:21
1 to 15 of 24 threads