London (change)
Today 18°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 18°C / 9°C

Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

An octopus's garden in the shade

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:46

The back lawn:

 It's a bit crap, isn't it?

The first view is from the south. River to the right, people's bedroom and living room windows to the left, car parking spaces in the foreground and neighbours in the background. Between the building and the riverbank trees, it's a dull sort of place, so shade-loving plants only, I think.

Yes, that's a washing line. We have three of those for twelve flats. That one's not used much partly because it's in a chilly, dull place relative to the other two, but it is used.

The trees are overcrowded, forked, leaning towards the house, rubbing together and so on, I know. Professionals with access equipment, power tools and insurance are coming to sort them out. That'll let in a little more light.

So, once that's done, what do I do with that space? I'm thinking a wide paved area from house wall to washing line, as the house already has paving next to it and that's shorter than from drive to washing line, low-growing plants south of the line to the drive and all around the line, medium-height ones along the top of the riverbank and beyond laundry-contact range to the north and something dense and pretty covering that wall. They all have to like it shady and slow-draining, and they mustn't annoy the people living around them or reduce the sale or rent value of the flats.

So ...

Any ideas?

Camera Corner

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:27

I was going to quote fidgetbones there and ask what they were and where I could get them ... but apparently everybody else recognises them.

So, hellebores, eh? Might have a look, see whether I've got space for them, order a few and so on.

 Akebia: twisted!


Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:12

The spade and secateurs. I don't really need the shovel, rake and trowel as long as I have the spade. I could use the saw instead of secateurs, I suppose, but I use them a lot and it relatively rarely, so I'd choose to keep them and borrow a chainsaw occasionally.

Ideas for metal trough

Posted: 15/03/2015 at 13:07

Looking at the rust, I'd say it's going to go to pieces, so not a good pond unless you want to pay a fortune to get it copper-plated inside or something. Might last a fair while as a planter, depending how thick it is, but it'll give up eventually. Poke holes in the bottom for drainage and in the sides and fill it with soil and strawberry plants.

Slug..... Or is it ?

Posted: 12/03/2015 at 18:18

Looks like a cross between a Muppet, a tapeworm and Dracula.

Memory Lane Rose

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 22:30

Found it for sale in New Zealand:

I'm not sure how you'd get them home from there.

Are the ones in bouquets treated with preservatives? If they're just snipped off and stood in water, you could snip the flowers off the tops too, dip them in rooting hormone and stand them in compost. I put a dish of water on the compost too, a ring of short bamboo stakes around the pot and a big, clear, plastic bag over those then tape it to the pot to create a humid little individual greenhouse for my cuttings. I'm not sure how much difference it makes but It's not that much expense (compared to punching holes in the bottom of a bucket when my available plant pots turned out to have perished, the GC was shut and I needed to pot the cutting up right now) or effort. If they're soaked in nasty chemicals, you'll get nowhere, but if they're just freshly cut stems you should stand a chance.

Guilty of overmanicuring gardens at the expense of wildlife?

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 22:15

Attended a funeral myself a couple of weeks back. No. 17's little girl burying her goldfish. Grave was two feet long and a full foot wide, four deep. Must have taken a lot of digging. I mentioned that it seemed a bit large for a goldfish. Turns out it was still inside No. 12's cat.

Guilty of overmanicuring gardens at the expense of wildlife?

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 17:54

Rabbits, for the record, aren't native either, and they're a threat to the native hare (and to horses' legs).

Guilty of overmanicuring gardens at the expense of wildlife?

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 17:53

I think I shall acquire a pair of greyhounds, train them to attack cats and let them roam freely. If anyone complains, I can just quote Lunaraia at them.

Maybe an eagle owl? I'm sure those are big enough to take a cat, and they really are natural species. I suspect the cat would die rather faster than any of its victims, either way, but it's near enough the same thing, isn't it?

It's weird, isn't it, Hostafan? Dog mauls child to death, we destroy the dog. Dog mauls cat to death, we destroy the dog. Crocodile takes child, crocodile gets hunted down and killed. Crocodile takes dog, crocodile gets hunted down and killed. Shark takes child, shark gets hunted down and killed. Shark takes dog, shark gets hunted down and killed. Shark takes man, shark gets hunted down and killed. Dog kills sheep, dog gets shot. Man shoots neighbour's sheep, man goes to jail. Man kills neighbours' dogs, man goes to jail. Dog mauls guide dog, dog gets destroyed. Man kills songbird, man gets charged with a crime. Cat tortures a thousand songbirds, mice, voles, newts, shrews, frogs and so on to death ... people say that's okay. Farmer shoots dog that's attacking his sheep, that's fine. It's legal. I shoot a dog that's attacking a child in my garden, that's fine (although I'd probably have to be close enough to use the pitchfork instead). GemmaJF uses that .22 to shoot a cat that's attacking songbirds, though? That'll be a lifetime ban from owning any gun and a huge fine and six- or seven-figures damages claims, won't it?

I found a dead bluetit near my feeders a few years ago. Then I found the corpses of three baby bluetits that had starved to death. The dead parent hadn't been eaten, just killed ... for the fun of it. If I'd caught a child doing that there'd have been legal repercussions for the child's family. Catch the neighbour's cat doing that, though, and I can legally ... umm ... shout at it?

There was mention recently of a group trying to get a cat protection manifesto into the general election, signing people up to only vote for a party that promises to restrict air rifle ownership, ban the sale of anti-freeze in summer, outlaw the use of snares altogether, give cats more legal protection et cetera. Well, I promise not to shoot, snare, poison, crush, skewer, bisect, strangle or asphyxiate any cat in its owner's home. Now can they please keep the disease-riddled, sociopathic, bastard things out of my garden? At the very least, can they each reimburse me for £1,000 of bird food? I've got receipts for a lot more than that, and I didn't spend it all just to entertain some furball.

Guilty of overmanicuring gardens at the expense of wildlife?

Posted: 10/03/2015 at 20:14

Keep the cats indoors. Really. They're sociopaths. They torture the wildlife to death for their own pleasure. Hostafan, pass me a 5.56 and call me God. Rats? They're not a native species either, cats don't touch them and I don't tolerate them. Fortunately, a .177 will actually get rid of a rat (and nobody minds). Mice aren't so bad. They're destructive when they get indoors, but I don't mind them in the compost heap, especially the forest dormice. Those guys are adorable! Rabbits ... well, I haven't shot any in a long time because nobody's asked me to help with a rabbit problem around here, but shoot them I do, and if I spot a myxy one I'll go and get the rifle and come back for it. Nasty damn way to go.

Yes, the birds fight over the food. They don't fight to the death over it, though, and when they are killing something they kill it as quickly as they can then eat it, not stop when it loses consciousness, wait for it to wake up and then start again over and over until it dies then leave the corpse and go looking for another victim.


Lawns? Waste of space, money and fossil fuels, lawns. Five picnics in three years, and the rest of the time it's just something that needs mowing. I'm going to take another strip off the lawn here and put in some "perfect for pollinators" flowers to replace it. The scrappy little back lawn can go completely, and I'll have one big flowerbed with just a little bit of path into the middle.

Discussions started by Charlie November

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 330
Last Post: 04/04/2015 at 22:42

Most embarassing failure of the weekend

Replies: 10    Views: 705
Last Post: 09/04/2015 at 19:59

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 8    Views: 532
Last Post: 01/05/2015 at 17:05

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 738
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 8    Views: 644
Last Post: 22/03/2015 at 14:30

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 1995
Last Post: 26/10/2013 at 16:46

Apple tree with white leaves

It seems to be healthy enough, if slow-growing 
Replies: 2    Views: 464
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 643
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1540
Last Post: 01/04/2015 at 19:53

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 3283
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
10 threads returned