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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 18:52

While cutting the hedge, I found a lonely looking Sarcococca hookeriana I had completely forgotten about lost behind a Dicentra (which is now huge) so moved it to a shady spot near the conservatory so I can enjoy it in the winter.

Garden Pictures 2015

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 18:42

Mrs BtG loves red flowers, so this is what I planted in the bed outside the back door:


Cherry Tree

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 16:14

You can't effectively preventively spray against blackfly (which are aphids), only deal with them after they appear (if they do.)  However, you can use a grease-band around the trunk to prevent ants climbing the tree as ants 'farm' aphids and carry them around, placing them on the youngest leaves.

Need advice about a new Plum

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 16:05

All you can do is wait Justine.  Assuming you planted bare-root trees, sometimes they sulk and decide to just grow roots for a while before leafing-up, but sometimes they do not take and die.  If you use your thumbnail to scrape off a thin layer of bark near the top of the tree and see green, the tree is still alive.  If it is brown underneath the bark, try again lower down and if that is also brown it's dead and you should ask for your money back.


Posted: 24/04/2015 at 11:54

As long as it doesn't rain in the next few hours while I'm cutting the hedge (took a day's leave to do that!), I don't mind a deluge later!  I *hate* cutting this privet hedge which I inherited when I moved here.  Must get rid and plant something more wildlife friendly like Hawthorn although I've been saying that for 30 years! 

Unlucky with Thyme

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 11:49

Anything really but terracotta is probably best as it dries out quicker so less chance of getting waterlogged in winter.

Cherry Tree

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 11:46

Do they have blackfly on at the moment Chris?  Seems a bit early for them.  If so try spraying with soapy water - a few drops of an 'eco' type washing-up liquid in a sprayer will do.  If that doesn't shift them, see the RHS advice on which organic insecticides is safe for use on edible fruit trees:

"Pesticides based on natural compounds and/or with a physical mode of action:

These pesticides are contact in action and have short persistence, so thorough spray coverage, especially to the underside of leaves, is necessary. They can be used on ornamentals and edibles up to one day before harvest. Whilst good control can usually be gained of aphids feeding exposed on stems and leaves those protected by curled leaves are unlikely to be controlled. Products include: Pyrethrum (e.g. Py Garden Insect Killer, Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Py Bug Killer Spray, Growing success Frit & veg Bug Killer, Growing Success Shrub & Flower Bug Killer and Pyrol Bug & Larvae Killer); Fatty acids (e.g. Bayer Organic Bug Free, Bayer Natria Bug Control, Doff Greenfly and Blackfly Killer, Doff Universal Bug Killer); Plant/fish oils (e.g. Vitax Organic Pest and Disease Control, Bug Clear for Fruit & Veg), Plant oil winter wash can be used to treat overwintering eggs on dormant deciduous fruit trees and bushes (e.g. Growing Success Winter Tree Wash or Vitax Winter Tree Wash); blend of surfactants and nutrients (e.g. SB Plant Invigorator)."


Unlucky with Thyme

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 10:18

Hi SimplyKj, you'll need to make up your own.  Have a look for 'horticultural grit' in a garden centre - that's the ideal stuff.  If you can't find any, you should be able to find Perlite which can be used instead, although that's usually only used in pots and containers.

Unlucky with Thyme

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 09:58

Drainage is the key with thyme (and most other herbs.)  They are mediterranean plants which naturally grow on steep slopes, cliffs etc and hate wet and cold.  Some of the thymes sold in supermarkets (particularly those with variageted leaves) often don't survive a normal british winter.  Plant in 50/50 mix of grit and soil/compost and avoid planting in dips or hollows in the ground.  They do better in pots and containers where you can ensure good drainage.  English thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is more tolerant.

Help Id flowering tree.

Posted: 24/04/2015 at 09:47

If you have limited space in the new place, there's another Cercis which has similar flowers but purple leaves and doesn't grow as large, Cercis canadensis (aka Eastern redbud.)

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

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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Last Post: 19/12/2015 at 21:00

Renovate or remove privet hedge?

Replace or cut back hard? 
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Last Post: 20/09/2015 at 13:33


No real rain here for weeks 
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Last Post: 07/06/2015 at 18:41

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They're about now! 
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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! 
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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: 511
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 18:52

Lovely surprise

I went down the garden in the gloom.. 
Replies: 15    Views: 861
Last Post: 18/06/2014 at 14:32

Dragonfly/Darter/Mayfly ID?

Flew into the polytunnel for a while 
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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: 1251
Last Post: 01/06/2014 at 17:42

Deep Down & Dirty: The Science of soil

Replies: 4    Views: 925
Last Post: 24/04/2014 at 11:30
1 to 15 of 31 threads