Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Should I prune this tree

Posted: 23/01/2017 at 00:55

I have to say it doesn't look to be in brilliant health, Yensid.  The gray coloured main stem has died back and needs to be pruned off, just above the point where the red side branch appears, or the die back may continue down and kill off that good (red coloured) branch.

The other problem is that the root stock (many acers are grafted) has sprouted from the base and those different coloured (green) stems are from the type of tree used as the rootstock and will take over completely if left.

The problem now is to decide whether to remove the growth from the rootstock so that all the energy goes into the main tree or not.  It's a tricky one as the main tree may be too far gone and die anyway, then you'll be left with nothing.  If you keep the basal growth, it will dominate and the remaining (red-coloured) branch will eventually die off but may last a few more years.

The good news is that japanese acers are usually grafted onto acer palmatum rootstock, so if you leave the green branches to grow, you will still have an acer!

Cherry Laurel Privacy Hedge - Thoughts

Posted: 22/01/2017 at 20:14

How far away are the trees from the fence?  If within 2m I would create a border all along that back fence and add some shrubs between the trees.  There are many which will grow large and give some sreening between the trees.  The trees will also grow better if in a border rather than with grass at their base.  Some flowering shubs to consider would be viburnum, photinia, philadelphus, pyracantha, mahonia and eleagnus.  Some of those are evergreen.

Seed Audit -open packets and out of date

Posted: 22/01/2017 at 15:32

And me.  I still have 2 trays of leeks that never made it into the ground.  I think I usually have to compost more than half of my seedlings and it's probably far more than that! 

Seed Audit -open packets and out of date

Posted: 22/01/2017 at 13:20
Singing Gardener says:

I think it depends a lot on what seeds they are. I have lots that I continue to use for years (lettuce, french beans, beetroot, in particular because there are loads in a packet). Others don't seem to last so well. I seem to remember that somebody posted a list of the expected lifetime of different seeds here but it was a long time ago.

See original post

 I think that was me:

Help pruning daphne odora shrub

Posted: 20/01/2017 at 18:59

I have one which has naturally bushed out but the other still has only a single stem after 3 years so I nipped out the soft growing tip last autumn to try and encourage side shoots to form.  I know it doesn't help much but, given their reputation, it was as much as I dared risk and I doubt that sort of 'pruning' would cause any harm and might well do the trick. 


Posted: 19/01/2017 at 20:46

I love them to bits which is why I keep buying them and take the losses!  Not tried blanda very often nut, so might give those a go this year.


Posted: 19/01/2017 at 19:28

I find they either come up and then last for a few years or rot and fail to appear at all.  I've tried lots of varieties, pre-soaking for various lengths of time, planting in pots in a cold GH and planting direct.  I've come to the conclusion that a good proportion of dried anemone bulbs sold are simply not viable but those which decide to grow are hardy.  On average, I would say that out of every 50 bulbs I have bought only rougly 10 have grown.  I guess that's why you get lots of them in the bargain bulb mixtures.

Shall I take my spider mites with me?

Posted: 16/01/2017 at 18:53

If you have somewhere enclosed (eg shed, greenhouse) where you could put the box balls and HPs temporarily, then an insecticidal smoke bomb might work.  "Midi Fortefog 'P' Fumer" is reported to kill them, but the bu&&ers may need to be active, so wrong time of the year really.

Basil Problems - Dying Leaves and Little Black Insects

Posted: 16/01/2017 at 18:43

When I zoom in on the dead sections I see some webbing which leads me to believe you have an infestation of spider mite which also matches with the damage visible on the sickly-looking leaves.  You'll need a magnifying glass to see them.  Only cure (on edible crops) is predator mites but they are very expensive and probably hard to get at this time of the year.  Personally I would dump the plant and start again - basil is only short lived and I've never managed to keep one going for more than a year.

Last edited: 16 January 2017 18:44:00

Broad Beans Aquadulce

Posted: 15/01/2017 at 19:17

Broad beans need to be pollinated by bees to form pods.  I read somewhere that it's possible to simulate this by gently flicking each flower as they don't need cross-pollinating with another plant but the visit by a bee activates a sort of physical 'trigger' in the flower which allows pollen to get from the stamen onto the anther.

Edit: found a link:

Last edited: 15 January 2017 19:20:04

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