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Latest posts by Bookertoo

Whats the secret to beautiful hanging baskets ?

Posted: 21/05/2012 at 16:28

There are really only a very few rules for great hanging bakets, but you do need to follow them for the best results. I have found:

1) Use as many plants as you can stuff in them, and then a few more.  Ensure you do get good trailing plants with a good central unpright one.  I use around 20 plants for a 16 inch basket.   Buy 'em small and let them fight over root space, they will manage, they're only going to be there for a season.

2) Plant them up and keep them indoors until they are growing well - I have a small cool greenhouse and hang the baskets from the roof for about 6 weeks before they go out.  I have a friend who hangs them in her bathroom ......... old house, wooden beams.

3) Feed and water far more than you imagine needful.  Use some loam compost and vermicuite in the mixture to give the basket weight and ability to hold on to the water.

4) Deadhead, daily, twice a day in high summer (if we get one). 

5) If it rains, take them down and put them out in the rain, they will do better for that than any watering you can do.  If it is very windy, take them down anyway or they will end up ratty looking, it rarely lasts so long here.

6) Enjoy them, they can be stunning if well done. 

Talkback: Dealing with lily beetle

Posted: 21/05/2012 at 16:21
One of the most useful items when trying to catch lit beetles, is an old tea strainer. Preferably not the one you use for your Earl Grey - but one that is no longer used in the kitchen. You can knock the red terrors into it, put your hand over the top and carry the beastie to a hard surface where you can jump on him howling with glee - the last part is optional, but my neighbours are used to this, and know I am rather odd anyway so ignore my howls in lily beetle season. (come to that, at any other time as well ..... .) Seriously, a strainer really does help catch the beetles, and is easily popped into your pocket or tool bag as you go about the garden.

Lat year we were away for most of May so I did that which I don't normally do, and doused the potted lilies with Provado ultimate bug killer. This was sad as I have been non-chemical in the garden for years, but was not happy to come back to around a hundred or more dirty black sticks. I must say it worked very well indeed, nothing else got touched, and I can see it happening again. The trouble is there is nothing that will recognise these beetles as prey, as they are not native to the UK, but another aggravating import. Red means means danger to most insectivores so they are not likely to try it and see if it is delicious or not.

Talkback: Ground elder

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 17:14

What a good idea inverglen, may well try that on my troublesome patch, thank you

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 14:41

I reckon you are right there lucky3, I'll stick to vermiculite as I have been using it for years and am used to it - seems the best way to go about anything really!

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 14:07

Interesting, seems I need to check more, thank you - I thought vermiculite was, is, the natural one and is volcanic - better information need methinks. 

Rasberry Canes

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:20

Raspberries are remarkably tough, leave them where they are, given some light and warmth they will develop nice strong root systems, then new shoots.  Next year you should get flowers and fruit.  Patience is a virtue in gardening but raspberries are well worth waiting for.  

Just a warning, they can be very invasive - some of ours have come up several meters away from where they were planted - not something that many suppliers tell you about either.

Lack of Apple Blossom

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:14

Interesting these posts, as we have had more apple blossom this year than at any time in the last 10 years or so.  What we have not had is very many pollinators, the bees sensiby stayed in their hives when it was cold and wet, so whether we will have any apples is more likely to depend upon them, than any amount of blossom. 

Is Vermiculite dangerous

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:12

Vermiculite acts as an assistance to good drainage in compost, and can be used to cover small seeds in trays, the kind that need some light to help with germination.   I always mix some in the compost I am using for pots, as not only does it help with keeping the soil open and draining well, it holds some moisture within in, so if something gets really dry there is a little moisture for the plant to get at.  I have found it better than water retaining gel in baskets, as it does not go into the sticky clumps the gel tends to.

It is in no way dangerous, but as you would not breath in loose compost by waving it around in the air, neither should you do so with anything else - as ever, a little common sense applied works wonders.

Perlite is basically epanded polystyrene, and does much the same job as vermiculite, but I prefer the latter as it is not an oil based product as perlite is.  Which one you use is a personal choice. 

Clematis Montana killed during winter

Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:06

It is remarkably hard to kill clematis montana - I'd be inclined to wait a while and see what happens.  My huge pink one was accidentally cut into several bits by my neighbour, who thought each loop over the fence was a separate plant and I would be grateful for the cut back (!!!),  and it ended up with no growth at all, just an 18 inch high 6 inch across stump.   I left it in (not that I could remove it anyway), and this year it has come back with a good helping of new growth.   My neighbour and I are still on speaking terms, he just will ask me if there is anything on our common fence that he wants to cut befiore he does it!


Posted: 20/05/2012 at 13:01

I have dared to put out some climibg french beans, broad beans and courgettes, not because I thought the conditions good enough, but because the greenhouse and cold frame are just filled to overflowing with things I feel I just cannot put out in this bitter cold.  I thought these three were the most likely to survive, and so far they are doing so, but not much in the way of growth.  It is not just the cold, but the dark I think that is holding everything back, deep grey skies all the time, rain or not - no wonder the poor plants are fed up, so am I!!!!

Discussions started by Bookertoo

squirrels and their cleverness

the unending bane of my life 
Replies: 34    Views: 915
Last Post: 11/11/2014 at 20:49

Solomon's seal

Where and how? 
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Last Post: 29/06/2013 at 13:46

For whom do we garden .............

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Last Post: 22/04/2013 at 15:08

frosted lilies

any advice? 
Replies: 0    Views: 385
Last Post: 07/04/2013 at 17:13

out of season plants

why are these wanted? 
Replies: 6    Views: 663
Last Post: 04/03/2013 at 22:43

bird feeders

caged fat ball feeder 
Replies: 19    Views: 1436
Last Post: 01/11/2012 at 08:55

Hazel nut queries

Replies: 2    Views: 1048
Last Post: 09/07/2012 at 11:20

Flippin' pigeons

Replies: 32    Views: 5788
Last Post: 15/08/2014 at 12:57
8 threads returned