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Latest posts by ChapelGirl2


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!


Dividing Geraniums

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 21:57

Hardy geraniums are very easy to propagate and root quite readily, I have found.  We have a clump in our garden which has self-seeded into the gravel drive.  They are a very good ground-cover and weed-suppressant plant and provide weeks and weeks of flowering, so in my opinion they are well worth their 'rent'.  Mine in my recently-acquired garden are all pink, but I'd like to get some of the blue ones next year.

What has eaten my Lupin - I need to protect the other 3

Posted: 29/07/2012 at 21:51

I agree. Almost certainly slugs or snails.  I lost all my delphiniums one year to the little beggars.  I try to be organic, but there isn't really a good solution.  The so-called organic slug repellants are starting to get a few negative comments in the organic press.  I've tried and still try dried coffee grounds and ash from the wood burning stove but they seem to clamber over it regardless.  I've picked them up by hand at dusk, but their siblings are always waiting in the wings.  I've resorted to the 'organic' slug pellets out of desperation, because I can't bear to see my lovingly-cultivated plants disappear overnight due to molluscs.  You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Discussions started by ChapelGirl2

To landscape fabric, or not to landscape fabric?

weapons in the war on weeds 
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Last Post: 18/09/2013 at 22:16


suggestions for next year's bean sowing 
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Last Post: 12/08/2013 at 06:28

Identifying beneficial insect larvae

How do we know what the 'good guys' look like? 
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preserving heritage tomatoes

keepin' it real 
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Last Post: 15/06/2013 at 11:21

drunken Blue Atlas Cedar

can it be salvaged or should we start again? 
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Last Post: 17/08/2012 at 12:56

I-Spy Carol Klein

Potting up French runners 
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Last Post: 09/08/2012 at 22:27

Roses on my driveway

Thoughts for a low-maintenance sloping drive 
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Last Post: 09/08/2012 at 22:05

Something is eating my lavender

pests of lavender 
Replies: 9    Views: 1948
Last Post: 30/07/2012 at 15:35
8 threads returned