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Latest posts by Bookertoo

swiss cheese plant

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:33

.... indeed, that's how I lost a huge one a few years ago.  There are some things that don't need or enjoy an outside the house time, and for me, this is one of them. 

Talkback: Unpleasant plant smells

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:31

I know what you mean about privet flowers, but the butterflies adore them.  I satisfy them and make me feel a bit better about providing something for the flutterbyes by gr owing one in a pot  (now ther is a surprise huh?) well away from anywhere it might offend anyones nose.  The flutterbyes find it, I don't have to - and it fills a rather dull corner quite well. 

top 5

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:23

I loved the late, great and sadly missed Christopher Lloyds answer to this question - when asked what was his favourite plant - he said  'the one I am looking at at the moment', and I suspect he is right.  I could name five now, then in an hour spot something else and realise that's a favourite too -  like just about everyone else here. 

Lupin problems

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:20

Indeed, pests are kept in check in nature, by birds, and other insects which eat thier neighbours.  We love to intervene, kill  anything that we don't like the look of, and then wonder why we have every bug known, and a few that weren't a few years ago (lily beetle for example).   Since I stopped using sprays and things a few years ago, my plants are healthier, I have lots of garden birds and fewer pests.  I do have to say the first couple of years were awful as a balance was brought about - and I do use copper tape and grit to discourage creeping things.  I also give up on plants that are just obviously not happy here, no good growing something that you watch die for the next three years.  

I am not now totally organic, which makes me sad, but there is nothing local to use for lily beetle, as it is an import and nothing here will eat it.  For the lilies in pots, and nowhere else, I do use a bug killer. Had I known what I know now I may never have started with lilies, but a hundred or so later it is rather too late for that.  Having said that, I have not used bug killer this year yet, not because we don't have lily beetle, we do, but we also have hundreds of ladybirds and I certainly do not want to kill those, or their strange looking young. 

Garden gaffes

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:11

Plants don't read the books, watch the telly, listen to the radio or read their labels!!  Most of them have an overwhelming desire to live, and will do their best to do so no matter what we do to them.  It is probaby true that a plant that evolved in the middle of a rain forest might not do well in a dry sunny garden (what is a dry sunny garden?) but it will jolly well try before sucumbing - giving you a chance to realise what is wrong and move it.   I agree re light leaved, and light flowered, plants - they are often better in some shade, not matter what the labels say.

By the by, what makes you think plant labels are written by experts?  I know someone who worked in a printing place, where labels for a very famous provider of plug plants had their work done  They were told to put 'grow in full sun' onto most things, as people found it more positive and were more likely to buy the plant.  Never mind having to buy it again, and again, and again .................

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:04

cool and greyish now, was sunny earlier on but the clouds have built up steadily since.  Not actually raining tho' for which I am thankful.  Did alot of weeding yesterday as the ground was so wet, they came out much more easily than usual.  

Plant identifying help

Posted: 05/06/2012 at 11:02

Both of your triffids are called verbascum, and are grown by lots of people on purpose!!  However, they do take alot of spae, and probably do not look quite right on your allotment - there is nothing to stop you digging it out is there?  Maybe offer it to someone who has the room for it?   Glos gardener, if this is a verbascum, as I suspect, it will flower next year - they make the huge floury rosette the first year, then flower and often die then, though I see that marshmello has a perennial one.  They grow in the flagstones of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, quite amazing to see this huge plant come up where there does not seem to be any soil - year on year.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 14:03

Glad to hear not everyone is quite as mad as we are!!   Whar started as a convenience as work demanded that we moved house every year for a few years, has become little short of an obsession since we settled here 15 years ago.  You are absolutely right about wind and things in pots, but eventually when you have enough they become a wind baffle in themselves.  Meanwhile things like yur doubtless lovely loquat and some acers really do not like the wind. 

Pouring with rain today so no watering, and the butts will fill up too - sorry for the Jubilee celebrations, but from a purely selfish point of view, it is good stuff. 

Watch out for silver birch, it gets very tall and needs a great deal of weight to stop it falling over (mine is atually planted in the garden, not in a pot), I have some full grown willow trees in pots - but they are less than 1 inch high so perhaps don't quite count.  One is slightly larger as 12 inches, our contorted willow is also a ground dweller. 


Posted: 02/06/2012 at 22:15

Well, some of the pots are so large and have such mature plants in them that in fact it is extremley rare that they get any watering at all.  Some of the trees are now immobile as the roots have almost certainly gone throughthe bottom of the pot and are happily meandering around the world!!   The bulb pots get put out of sight by the shed in summer and can be ignored till they start again in Spring,  and provided you give things like clematis and smaller shrubs a really good soaking when you do water, they don't need watering as often as you might think.  Having said that, the potted summer bedding, the baskets and bowls and so on do of course need alot of watering, but it is a self inflicted problem, so I just get on with it.  It is rare that we have lost anything from not being able to water enough, though it does get tight sometimes and then hard decisions have to be made.  Many of the pots sit in beds between ground planted things, and get some ground water as well as rain or my efforts.   You are right about watering in the rain, some things jsut need it as the leaves are so large that the water runs off them onto the ground not the pot - but as my neighbours are alrady convinced I'm pretty mad, they don't notice any more!

Talkback: Most hated plants

Posted: 02/06/2012 at 17:46

Anything that has been bred to look and behave differenty from it's natural way.  Double flowers that the bees cannot use, pink daffodils, yellow geraniums, poky little pants that should be tall and graceful.  Variegated leaves with bright flowers, never meant in nature.  I suppose anything that has been interfered with so much that it no longer looks like a plant at all. 

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