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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Positive thoughts and silly things for the tough times

Posted: 31/12/2014 at 16:50

Lesley, I've actually done that for someone ... so that she could eat at night.

Jewish. Friday night. Opening fridge door illuminates light. Lighting a light is symbolically lighting a fire. Lighting a fire is work. Work is forbidden from just before sunset Friday to just after sunset Saturday. She left it too late to remove the bulb herself, so had to get me to do it.



Need to replace what I think is box

Posted: 31/12/2014 at 16:45

nutcutlet, it's not me you need to tell. It's the plant.

Susan, I think I see the issue here. They're supposed to flower after the leaves drop off at the onset of winter? Mine's evergreen.

It's between the compost heap and the fence, where rotting compost gently heats the ground and the air and the wind can't get at it. I had two in the wrong place and no good place for them (silly me mistook them for climbers) so I cut them down to transportable size, dug them up and gave them away. To get them disentangled, I had to take a straight 2' stem off one, so I stripped the bottom inch of all bark, the next inch of outer bark and the next several inches of leaves and stabbed it 15" deep into the ground behind the compost heap, just to see whether it would grow. It grew. It's been pruned in spring a few times to bush it out a bit. I don't think any of its leaves have lasted more than 30 months, but it's never without them.

Plum Codling Moth battle

Posted: 30/12/2014 at 10:37

They pretty much already said it: biological warfare. Nematodes.


  1. The number of annual generations varies from one to four according to the climate (varying with latitude and altitude), the year, and sometimes the host plant.

... so they'll show up at all sorts of times, depending where you live.

More quoted material:

The natural enemies of the codling moth include birds, spiders, insects, nematodes, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses (Falcon & Huber, 1991). Natural enemies are most effective in reducing codling moth population at three times during its life cycle: egg stage, newly hatched larvae, and the wintering larvae (MacLellan, 1969).

The great tit, Parus major Linnaeus, was considered by Massee (1954) the most important species of bird attacking codling moth larvae in Britain. This species, along with the blue tits, Parus caeruleus Linnaeus, was also found to be the most important by Solomon et al.(1976) in different unsprayed apple orchards in Europe.

In Britain and Nova Scotia (Canada), heteropterans seem to be the most important codling moth predators (MacLellan, 1962, 1963; Glen, 1975).

... plus earwigs, but they wreck the fruit too.

Then you get to the parasitoids, little tiny wasps whose babies go all H.R.Giger Alien on the moth larvae. There's a beauty of an example called the emerald wasp who's the best friend of anyone with a cockroach phobia.

A few good bird boxes (the kind made from a 240x30x2cm plank, not the "2mm plywood and panel pins" things some bird food companies sell) and a load of well-stocked feeders could encourage some dedicated predators to come visiting every day, as long as you're not spraying poisons all over the place.

Failing all that, you could always try burning cigars around the trees ...

Need to replace what I think is box

Posted: 30/12/2014 at 10:20

"Bare in patches" sounds an awful lot like my privet hedge here. It's been getting shorter year by year as the end tree keeps dying off. Lost maybe a metre in 10 years, so not "disappearing before my eyes" but still an issue. Turns out to be honey fungus working its way through them. Most irritating. Dig a very big hole, and get rid of all the roots, before you plant anything else there. Hard to do in my case as the hedge was planted down the side of a tarmac parking area and the lawn was laid on top.

Susan: winter honeysuckle actually flowers? I hadn't noticed. Mine are just shrubs.


Posted: 30/12/2014 at 10:02

Another clear night last night here, another clear morning today. Bird bath a solid piece of ice at 09:50. Emptied the kettle over it, so a nice 37'C for them at the moment. The little apple tree next to the bird bath has finally decided it feels like autumn and some of its leaves are starting to turn yellow and red.


rich, if you don't want the snow, send it to Esfahan. They'd appreciate it there.

Positive thoughts and silly things for the tough times

Posted: 29/12/2014 at 17:31


Worries & troubles that affect Forum friends.

Posted: 29/12/2014 at 17:22

We don't have a "bad dog" problem here. "Irresponsible dog-owner" problem, yes. I'm tempted to get a pressure washer and some really long extension leads and hoses and take to lurking in the shadows in the early mornings. Pretty sure a direct hit on a fresh steamer, sending it right up the idiot's legs, would get the point across. It's weird that my gardening wellies are cleaner than my street shoes. Pretty easy to avoid the occasional cat turd in the flowerbed. Hard to avoid an entire pavement.

Philippa, that sounds horrible! Luckily for me, I only have to worry about the opposite: ash trees on my side of the fence, cars parked along the other side. TPOs can be ignored if work needs to be done urgently to make a tree safe. If there are rotten branches overhanging places people go, you can take 'em down or get 'em taken down and then let the council know afterwards.


Posted: 28/12/2014 at 20:02

Frosty? I've been getting frostier and frostier on top since I was 17. Started in front of the ears and spread upwards.

Here, it's been crystal-clear overhead all day. The cars had beautiful frost patterns all over them this morning. By mid-afternoon, the fence was steaming where direct sun and sun reflected from windows heated it from both sides and the lawn was clear where it had had direct sun but still frosty in the shadow of the fence.

KEF, You can get little parasites and predators to eat your whitefly for you. They're also prey for lacewings, ladybirds and hoverfly larvae, so encouraging them might help. Hoverflies here seem to love the honeysuckle and allium flowers, and my "cream cascade" has no respect for seasons and calendars, flowering for 10 months at a time, so the local whitefly population is very small, very scared and moving away as soon as it can afford the van rental.

New hedge advise

Posted: 27/12/2014 at 14:36

Yeah. When I moved in here, the hedge was about 7 metres high and 3 wide. That took some work.


Advice to people planting new privet hedges: plant in March, and trim the thing at 6" high in Feb, then trim the new branches at 6" long the next Feb. Do not just let the things grow straight up to roof-ridge height.

New hedge advise

Posted: 25/12/2014 at 12:47

A row of "climbing" roses against the wall and a structural hedge in front, perhaps? I'm not sure how well the roses would show through, but if you time the hedge-trimming right, you should probably get roses growing out of the cut face each year.

I can tell you from personal experience that it's easier to plant the roses first than to try to plant them under an established hedge ... and also that Homebase "climbing" roses at £5 each have about a 30% 1-year survival rate.

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 684
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 475
Last Post: 31/03/2014 at 17:26

When is honey fungus not honey fungus?

At least I didn't spend anything. 
Replies: 18    Views: 1836
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: 424
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 595
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 994
Last Post: 07/05/2014 at 16:57

Leaving tulips in the ground

Can they be left in if the drainage is good? 
Replies: 14    Views: 2595
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned