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Latest posts by BrendaScott53

Talkback: How to lift and store dahlias

Posted: 17/10/2012 at 13:46

Dahlias are lovely and so worth the effort, but up here in the north east of Scotland they can be really tricky to lift ( once frosted ) and dry out and store.  More often than not even storing them upside down in a greenhouse will result in rot. Here's what I do:

1. Once frost turns foliage black, cut back, lift tubers, shake off as much soil as possible

2. Get them indoors, in a garden sieve and put them on top of the boiler or somewhere with an even gentle heat to dry out ( airing cupboard for instance )

3. Once COMPLETELY dry and looking wizened, I wrap them in newspaper and store them in cat litter!  This is, of course, highly absorbent and your tubers should come through the winter and be ready to plant out into pots the following spring.  The slightest trace of moisture and they will rot.

We used to have cats and when they'd 'gone' to the Great Litter Tray In The Sky we had a big brewing-bin in the boiler room full of unused kitty litter - and the dahlias have never looked back!  I do have to leave myself notes hither and yon, to remind me of their existence, but good old fuller's earth does seem to do the trick.


Berry-eating birds will need more help this year

Posted: 17/10/2012 at 13:29

It's cold and wetly frosty up here in Aberdeenshire ( does that make sense? ) and I've been out in the garden this morning for a couple of hours, accompanied by 'my' robin, who regularly stops my work so he can fossick through the wheelbarrow and I can just stand back and admire him.  It's been a dreadful year for crops - we've had NO apples from our four trees ( and that's a 'first' in 24 years of living here ), no gooseberries, no blackcurrants, no white currants ( all of which we grow for the blackbirds consumption and not ours ) and pathetic crops of berries on our four rowans.  It's been grim. Even the viburnum opulus has provided not one single berry.  There are some goodly hips forming on my Rosa complicata but the blackbirds will soon make short work of those.

The birds are my main priority through winter and I will do everything I can to make sure that everyone gets a fair and suitable share.  Own-Brand oats are dead cheap and I usually make them into a porridge with warm water and scraps, bacon rind, raisins or currants ( also the cheaper 'own brand' type ) left over bits of cheese gratings, chopped up apples from the fruit bowl that have passed their best for we humans...I also put out fat balls, seed, peanuts, coconut halves crammed with melted and re-set lard ( cheap ) with added seeds and nuts and scraps.And, of course, bread, which may not be nutritious but it fills little feathered bellies when there's not much else on offer.

Our gardens - indeed our lives - without birds - wouldn't be worth the living, at least that's what I think.  Their toughest time of year is coming up.  Let's all do what we can.  It doesn't have to break the bank.

Talkback: Cleavers

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 11:56

Here in Scotland it's known as 'Sticky Willy' ( I have no idea why! ) and this year there's more than ever.  I don't think it CAN be eradicated, except by constantly pulling yards and yards of it up, screwing it into a loose ball and burning it.  Trouble is the little 'burrs' drop off or stick to clothes and you end up spreading it further afield.  We're bounded by a river and ag. land and word has it that the ban on certain nitrates on farmland has led to the spread of cleavers, but I don't know if that's actually true.

T&M offer July Lavender

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 11:47

I also received these recently and yes, they arrived exactly as in the photo, with a little dibber to poke them out of the plugs and then use to make a wee planting hole for them in a bigger pot.  They're all thriving and were fabulous value for hardly any money at all.  Best bargain I've had for a very long time, so a Big 'Thank You' to Thompson and Morgan!

Recommend a rambling rose

Posted: 02/07/2012 at 19:20

Ghislaine de Felegonde is a Musk Rambler but not a massive one - it's more peach than a vivid orange, though; Gloire de Dijon is a big old climber, buff to peach and has a lovely scent; Schoolgirl is a modern climber but not very good on the scent aspect; Warm Welcome really IS orange, and is a climber, not noted for powerful perfume, alas; Dixieland Linda might do, but is a climber, so better as a pillar rose.

I've not come across any orange ramblers, sorry!  Good luck with the search.

Weather Lore - and more

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 09:06

LOL!  Excellent.  Just about sums it up, doesn't it?

As we say up here in Aberdeenshire: 'If you don't like our weather, wait half an hour'.

Talkback: Monty Don returns to Gardeners' World

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 09:00

I tend to agree with a reply submitted by 'Anonymous' at the beginning of this thread....continuity is everything.  I've never got over Geoff Hamilton dying ( although I'm sure he didn't do it to spite us, bless him ) and Gardener's World has never been the same since.  I didn't much appreciate Alan Titchmarsh, although he's an excellent presenter with a sound background in horticulture and knows his stuff; but there was always a bit too much 'titillation' for the ladies and that Yorkshire charm doesn't do anything for me.  Rachel de Thame is a pretty lass, Sarah Raven lives at Sissinghurst and bosses plants into growing, Alys was a passing fancy and Toby likewise.  It seems that we, the viewers, must be constantly stimulated by 'new' or 'fresh' presenters wearing weirder and more eccentric 'costumes' in order to keep the viewing figures up - maybe it's a case of touting for new viewers rather than giving the loyal gardening public a reliable and familiar programme they can continue to appreciate?

Monty Don drives me mad with his manic digging and every time I see him wielding a trowel I cringe; but he's back, so can we keep him, please, and not have to put up with this constant stream of unfamiliar faces? Keep Joe, keep Carol, ditch the rest and maybe introduce one newcomer with whom we can familiarise ourselves and who will, perhaps, one day, provide the programme with it's 'new' front man or woman.

Big blobs of clear jelly!

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 08:39

It might be aliens...but as it's been so dreadfully wet everywhere of late, it probably just is expanded water-retaining crystals.  If they start turning green and grow legs, it's definitely aliens...


Posted: 10/05/2012 at 08:36

I'm pretty certain this is Clematis Montana'll grow to about 16 feet and it's lovely! Pretty tough so you shouldn't have any problems with it.  Hope the propagating goes well!


Posted: 10/05/2012 at 08:32

Is this the one with the prickly leaves and rather pretty small mid blue flowers?  It's a tough wild flower but it does tend to take over and the big black taproots go down to Australia and are a bugger to dig out.  Good for making a bright red dye, though, apparently!

I'd think composting the leaves would be okay, although I'd get rid of the roots unless you want it everywhere!  Comfrey makes, as you know, great green manure, but I'm not 100% certain about this 'cousin'.

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4 threads returned