Latest posts by ChapelGirl2

ID Request

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 00:20

It could be a solanum of some kind, though the leaves suggest a heliotrope.  BUT the flowers (although blue) are not at all heliotrope-like. The flower shape definitely looks more salvia-like, so my money would be with Leggi.

Mysterious plant

Posted: 30/07/2012 at 00:03

I sowed borage in my garden in Essex once.  I also fell for the 'good with Pimms' story.  Well it probably is, but how many times a year do you drink Pimms? Be honest, now?  I found it to be what gardeners call "an invasive plant", as in, it keeps growing even when you don't want it to.  It does have quite pretty blue flowers, but the 'cucumber-flavoured' leaves are only edible if you boil them so they don't cut your tongue with the nettle-like spikes.  I'd rather buy a cucumber.  I agree that the bees like it, but if you're short on garden space I'd look for a plant which YOU like as well as the bees.


Posted: 29/07/2012 at 23:54

I agree with Dovefromabove.  It sounds like you have fed and watered too much and they have caught a fungal disease.  It's now a week since your last post.  Did you stop watering?  Give it a week or two more and let us know how things are progressing.  Good luck!

tea bags

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 23:46

I mostly use loose tea in tea-balls, which works out much much cheaper than tea bags and the tea leaves go straight in the compost bin.  We also grind our own coffee beans for the Bodum coffeee jug, which is much more economical than any of those dosette thingys, tastes batter, and gives is grains we can put on the garden to deter slugs (not that we have found that 100% effective, I have to say!).

I'm not that bothered about the odd teabag ending up as "little papery skeletons".  I recycle ALL my brown cardboard boxes as garden mulch (dig out weeds, apply 2 or 3 x layer of cardboard boxes, then apply 10cm minimum layer of stuff from garden shredder) and when I have to weed that section again there is frankly not a lot left of the cardboard, so a few teabags isn't likely to worry me much.

pruning holly

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 23:32

How tall is to start with?

I have a garden I have recently bought which has 3 hollies on the boundary, all in the shade of a mature tree, and all looking pretty sickly.  It's a bit like the "daddy bear, mummy bear, baby bear" scenario, with all in various poor states of growth and health.

I'm guessing your holly is on a boundary, which is why you want to shorten it.  My personal vote is 'go for it'.  If it sickens or dies you can always replace it with something else.  If it doesn't, then 'job done'.  If you leave it, it will become an irritaton to you, and possibly also to your neighbour.  There is much truth in the old saying "good fences make good neighbours".



Posted: 29/07/2012 at 23:19

We recently bought a house with a garden which had a couple of true blackcurrant bushes and an ornamental ribes.  i severely pruned the fruiting blackcurrants and this year I got enough fruit to make a respectable pie, but I had to abandon picking at one point as the plant was covered in angry black ants.  Today I took the loppers to the ornamental currant bush and decided it is coming out.  It is in the wrong place and has been allowed to get too leggy anyway, so unfortunately it is not pulling its weight and has to go.  We had ornamental ribes mixed in with the privet hedge when I was a kid, and although they have quite nice pink flowers the main impression was the awful smell of cats' pee.

Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 23:06

My husband is a very keen cook, so I like (or rather NEED) to grow lots of thyme for him to use in his cooking.  I kid you not, he uses a large sprig of fresh thyme if not every night, then every other night.  As 'head gardener', that is quite some pressure!

It is very easy to grow from seed. Thymus vulgaris is what you would normally look for.)  I've got some coming up right now in a half tray.  The best thymes for cooking tend to be those that produce little or no flower.  If you're not fussed about using it in cooking you can get varieties with purple, pink or white flowers.  If it's purely for decoration it would pay you to seek out a specialist grower. If it's for a path you need the 'creeping thyme' varieties that grow low.  Have you looked at the specialist seed growers such as Nicky's seeds ?

I don't know where you live, but if you're anywhere near Laurel Farm Herbs they are very good with herbs for culinary use.  We bought a rosemary from them once which had fantastic flavour and had the most amazing blue flowers, but we left it behind when we moved house, more's the pity.

Talkback: Snails

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 22:40

Indeed, even here in the Savoie we have had a bumper year for snails and slugs.  Unfortunately Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is not possible to render even the largest slugs edible.

Egg shells, coffee grounds, wood ash. They fart in their general direction, in my experience.

I have used the so-called "bio" pellets.  I'm not 100% happy, but if you take into account the cost of bags of compost, plant trays, seed, water, and the man-hours in nuturing the seedlings, then it (almost) compensates for the not completely boi-neutral nature of the product, in my view.  Ok, so I sold out.  It's my garden and i'll cry if I want to.


Talkback: Lawns and wildlife

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 22:22

The blackbirds will be after the worms, so as long as you don't kill THEM off I don't think cutting the grass is going to harm the blackbirds.  

We also have dogs, and perform the "pick up" ritual before each mowing, which involves me going round with a load of plantpots, marking the dropping zones, and my OH or his son following behind with the dustpan and paint scraper.  The contents are disposed of down the loo. 

Our grass is a mixture of many 'weeds' including daisies, ajuga reptans etc. We try to maintain a balance so that the large-leaved weeds do not take over.  Other than that, Nature does pretty much what she wants, and we just give her the occasional haircut.


Posted: 29/07/2012 at 22:08

In my (admittedly limited) experience, bees seem to go for smaller flowers such as lavender and heather.  I believe that if you are looking for roses which bees prefrer you should go for the simple, single flowers such as rosa rugosa rather than the very dense petals of a modern rose, as the easier it is for them to get to the pollen-bearing stamens in the middle, the more they like it.

Oh, and it goes without saying that you should avoid chemical pesticides etc. as much as possible, because even those that claim to be harmless to beneficial wildlife may have effects which are as yet unrecognised.  I choose my words carefully!


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