Latest posts by Bookertoo

Runner/Dwarf Beans

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 16:27

Yes, they will soon run awaay and grow well - it's the wind I find can scorch them at this time so the little GH is a good idea for now.  

Toms in the cold GH

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 16:26

Yes, am turning out some overwintered things from the GH to the cold frame to make room for peppers, tomatoes and so on - always a difficult time of year for protection this - you can get the odd very clear beautiful night with a plunge in temperature to match.  A few bits of horticultural fleece to hand is useful if things look dangerous.

One of our near neighbours grow the most incredible white calla lilies, they have been in their container for years - once she takes the covers off those I reckon we are pretty safe - she did it this week!

Oak Tree Planting

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 16:23

Yes, any newly planted young trees around here at present would need an anchor to keep them in place!!  If each has a well placed, low stake, and a cleared of grass area to grow in they should do fine - do deer eat oaks?  I know there are some trees they don't, but as that is a problem we don't have here I know little about it.  Tree guards are a good idea, or if the deer don't get them the rabbits might - all protection you can give - though nature does her job prettyd well anyway, she probably appreciates a helping hand now and again.  Good luck. 


Posted: 10/05/2013 at 13:16

If anyone could answer that one positively they could spend the rest of their life sitting on a money mountain - the long and the short of it is that you can't, you can reduce them and learn to use things they don't like, and then learn to live with the remainder.

I have found that grit, egg shells etc. do not help at all here, nor do most of the barrier methods, and believe me I have tried them all.  I gow around 65 hostas in pots, so you can imagine the battles we have.  The only 2 things I have found useful are copper collars on the pots, they will not cross those, and the iron based  slug pellets which do no harm to other wild life - I would not use the other ones.   I hear that beer traps work well, btu cold notbring mysef to empty them!!  

Nematodes do work very well indeed, but are expensive, very hard work to apply, last a short time only and once your slugs have gone, as nature abhores a vaccuum all the neighbours slugs move in later on!!  Encourage lots of things that eat slugs, especially the huge horrible ones, as they do your plants no harm at all, although they look revolting, but they live on the small slugs which do damage your plants to death.  Lots of birds of course, and if you are lucky, a hedgehog or two. 

Size of roots removed

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 13:10

It is ideal to remove as many roots as possible, but some of the tree roots we should have removed when the trees were felled, could not be removed uness we destroyed most of that side of the garden - and I was not prepared to do that.  One shrub that was in situ when we came 16 years ago we tried to remove roots and all, and having dug down to almost hit magma, decided enough was enough.  it tries to grow each year, and around the beginning of june I cut it as far to ground level as I can.  There are many other things growing around it, and it is slowly weakening.  A cherry tree that got fire blight we cut off at around 5 foot, and use the clear stump to show a piece of sculpture my OH's ister made for us.  So far no problem with that, been about 5 years now I think. 

We have been fighting rose of sharon since we came here, and until the very wet weather last year thoguht we were getting on top of it, but it loved the wet and has made a come back in many places it did not show before.  I do try and follow the roots as far as I can, but inevitably they break off and I don't get to the end.  Ever onward I suppose. 

It's made my day......

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 13:05

I'd love to grow several things that are just too tender for our midland garden, but the one I would like most is Echium.  I saw these towering blue spikes when on holiday in Cornwall/Devon a few years ago and fell into instant covet!!  No way they would be happy here though, added to which it is very windy - looking out at the tulips ricking steadily out there.  

Oak Tree Planting

Posted: 10/05/2013 at 13:03

All the luck in the world with the move of the oak trees - please do let us know how you get on - and how they look in situ, if the client doesn't mind that.

Too many raspberries

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 16:17

Yes, there is one thing very few if any fruit books tell you, and that is that raspberries can become a pest!!  Delicious though they are, they do need controlling don't they. I'd be inclined to keep the well fruiting ones in situ rather than damaging their rather shallow roots - and this is something you need to consider while removing the surplus.  It is easier to do this later in the season, but quite realise that now is when you need to reduce them.  It may be as well to cut them down to ground level now and remove the unwanted roots later when fruiting is over, but that will depend upon what you need to do.  

Drooping Camassia

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 16:13

Hmm, interersting that you are having trouble with the blue one, with more desscription of the problems I wonder one of two things.  Is there any way it could have been damaged at some point in the last little while, maybe by a pigeon, someone walking past or something, allowing the damage to be obvious later.  Also I wonder if you had a late frost which might have damaged the forming bloom. 

to bark or not

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 10:13

Bark can be a good ground cover, and a good mulch.  We use it in our fruit cage, though not on the beds because I am not particularly keen on its appearance.  I do mulch the beds with compost each year.  Your bark chippings will be best just laid on top of the ground, nature will do the rest.  Get the first plantings in and then lay it if you choose to do so. 

The plants will certainy grow through it, even the smallest of bulbs - in fact I have a snowdrop and a crocus that appear to have grown through concrete!!  I do not dig my garden, ever, having done it once and for all 15 - 17 years ago, I rely on close planting and as vigorous a weeding as I can give, if I feel like it.  The only time we dig anything is to plant a new tree, fruit or whatever. There are books about the 'no dig' garden you might like to borrow from the library and see what you think about.  Our soil is quite good, and getting better  with the compost we put on top each year, the worms and beetles etc. pull it down and enrich the soil that way.  If you do go ahead, all you need to do is scrape way an area to plant you new plants and they will be quite happy, pull the bark back over the area, with it not touching the stems to begin with.  Some bark can change the Ph of your soil, something to keep in mind depending upon what you want to grow in it. 

I think that, if you do go ahead, that finer bark looks better than the coarser chop, though that is a matter of personal taste.  There is nothing to be afraid of, and it does reduce the depth to which weeds can grow their roots, making it easier to get them out - but it will not stop them trying!

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