Latest posts by BobTheGardener

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.

New Allotmemt- help with designing needed

Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:16

Good advice there Steve & Ceres.  The fact that rotovating kills worms is something I think a lot of folk forget!  Can't beat hand digging and, although it is hard work, it's an excellent way to keep fit.  Pick out every bit of root you see while digging Charlotte and that will help get rid of the nasty perennial ones.  My advice is to do one section at a time, and do it well.  That way you will see genuine progress and can feel proud of what you have done, otherwise it can be a bit daunting if you try (and fail) to do the whole plot in one go.


Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:04

If you know anyone with an allotment, they may be happy to take it Gertie.

New allotment- what's this tree?

Posted: 15/11/2015 at 16:57

I agree with Steve - have a rustle through the undergrowth around the tree to see if you can find any rotten fruit or stones.  If it's a plum or cherry there will be a few stones in which case don't prune it until summer.  If it's an apple or pear you can prune it in mid winter.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener


Hope it finds it's way home 
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Vine weevils

..ate all of my winter carrots! 
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Huge pest problem

Don't think netting will work 
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Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
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No real rain here for weeks 
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Little Red Devils (Lily beetles)

They're about now! 
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Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 17:03

Christmas has come early

New trees 
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Last Post: 19/12/2014 at 16:52

Anyone for squirrel crumble?

Thieving rodents 
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Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 21:12

Plant ID quizzes

Have fun identifying plants! 
Replies: 16    Views: 963
Last Post: 14/09/2014 at 13:17

Watering dried-out pots

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

Blackfly - ladybirds to the rescue!

Broad bean tip blackfly infestation 
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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: 655
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 1070
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
Replies: 6    Views: 943
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: 1431
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42
1 to 15 of 32 threads