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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

The demise of our native songthrush.

Posted: 25/09/2013 at 18:17

Thoughts on bird populations: too many people, too much concrete, not enough woodland, not enough moorland, too many poisons.

I only use slug pellets indoors.

I'm serious. The slimy little gits got in under the bath before I redid the wall and were eating my seedlings and crawling onto the kitchen worksurfaces in the night.

I only use fungicide where it's clearly needed, too and insecticide only on things that aren't going to flower soon.

I've been trying to leave dense cover for birds while turning a useless, overgrown, straggly hedge into a proper, low, dense hedge that'll be good cover for them in the future.

I've spent £1067.11 on the RSPD and livefoods websites in 27 months.

As a result, I have some birds ... but not as many as I used to have. We're just not leaving them anywhere to live. Still, I get snail shells by the corner of the house and there's one female blackbird that comes to be fed. Maybe in spring they'll get more numerous again when they have babies to feed and all trek from miles around to come to my garden.

A side-effect is, of course, cats, pigeons, rats and squirrels. Unfortunately, I can't just shoot the cats. Maybe I should plant citronella. Would that work? Maybe I should just plant cyclamen bulbs everywhere the cats like to poo. Grrrrrr ...

House martins we do have in town, and bank swallows / sand martins by the river a little way downstream, and I've seen a red kite around here recently, but we don't get the huge mixed flocks of small birds that used to be around. I think you can still meet them up the Dales sometimes.

hedges should be trimmer in October, when they've finished breeding but haven't yet started digging in for winter.

Large Canvas

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:55

Narrower beds in front of the decking and their E end and the SE raised bed curved around each other to make that corner smoother, plus a big curve in the raised bed in the SE to make the lawn less pointy and give you space for something spectacular like a sunken water feature with cascading water on all sides (except where the hedgehog ramp is, of course) or a group of choisya that'll smell fantasic when they're in flower.

 Any plans for the fence at the south? Are you going to spread the climbers from the pagoda all the way along it or hide it behind shrubs, for example? If that's a 6' fence and those are 3' beds, it'll only be 3' of visible fence anyway, a bit short for climbers.

Large Canvas

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:41

3' retaining wall? Got one of those to rebuild at my father's place.

I'd make a small change in the NE corner by pulling the fire pit and benches a little away from the perimeter fence and having some plants in there so you'll be more "tucked into the garden" than "tucked into the corner of the property."

It also looks a little like "over here or over there" between the fire pit and pagoda. It may be nicer to have them more separated so they're separate groups rather than two groups that don't mingle.

  I've added two beds to the decking, or a bed all the way round it except three access points, if you want. It's less likely to give people stage fright that way. I've also moved the fire pit forwards and added a bed in front of that to make it a more intimate space.

I'm not really happy with that though. The lawn looks a bit fragmented.

What does everyone think

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 22:13

Well, I think the water feature being a different colour and standing proud of everything else isn't good, actually. First impression was that you'd left some crumpled tarpaulin or something on the near side when you took the picture.

That'd be fixed by filling it with plants enough to stop it standing proud and hide the other rocks, but then you'd be hiding the other rocks, and you'd probably lose the three feature items there too in the process.

I think it'd be better with the water feature one pond edge further back, draining across rocks that match the rest of it, with the rockery built up around it so it's more like a natural gorge, and a lot more green on the rest of it. The plants you've got kind of look like they grew from bird- or wind-borne seed after you built it, rather than like they're part of the design, because the main impression is of an expanse of sterile, white gravel.

Sorry, but, well, you asked!


Get it off your chest

Posted: 15/09/2013 at 12:18

Maybe I should go round and flirt with her husband. That ought to scare him.

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 11:15

Last of the lilies is still bravely showing its fading petals. Not much of a star any more but credit where it's due. Glory of the snow or anemone are already coming up for next spring. Like the enthusiasm, not sure about the sense of timing. Brambles are producing some lovely fruit. They're beautiful plants as long as you don't grab one.

I'd say the star was the nutter who dug out 2 tonnes of rocks and soil and builders' rubble, laid 500 bulbs and put another 2 tonnes of compost 'n' stuff into the trench over them. Lunatic.

Whats the difference,Fresh or green.

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 10:23

The only problem I have with tea bags on the compost heap is that I drink Morrisons green tea with mint (tried Twinings and another company's and decided Morrisons got the blend right). The used tea bags smell of mint. This brings cats to the compost heap and they play with the tea bags, scattering them around the lilies and the lawn.

Yes, lilies. Stupid cats.


So ... green manure here, brown manure there, chicken manure for these plants, horse manure for those plants, rotted coffee grounds here, rotted seaweed there ... All this s**t and rot being so useful in the garden and we still haven't found a use for the stuff that dribbles out of parliament?

Whats the difference,Fresh or green.

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 12:31
Diddydoit4u wrote (see)

  • Urine (diluted with water 20:1)


So it's okay to pee on the compost heap rather than coming inside to use the toilet, then, as long as I live somewhere that gets rain?

Talkback: How to take lavender cuttings

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 12:20

It's not made clear in the article, but was pointed out in another article about taking cuttings of another plant elsewhere, that the plastic bag shouldn't touch the leaves. This would trap water between leaf and bag and that leaf would rot, and the rot would spread. With the slender leaves of lavender this may not be as much of an issue, and with them being tiny cuttings a sandwich bag may well stand over them without touching anyway, but I was taking cuttings of "Late Dutch" honeysuckle and they were a bit bigger than that, so I added five half-length canes around the pot to tent the bag and keep it off the leaves.

There's a balancing act with cuttings and water: they need to stay moist, and they're losing water through their leaves, but if they're in wet soil their bases rot. The plastic bag is there to trap moisture in the air around them, increasing humidity and reducing evaporation, so they don't dry out despite being in dry enough soil to inhibit rotting. I added a little plastic dish (the lid off a Nutella jar, actually) of water on top of the soil to raise humidity without wetting the soil.

You could, if you're not the organic gardening type, treat the cuttings with fungicide before inserting them in the soil. One of those ones that claims to protect for a few weeks ought to buy them time to set roots or die trying before they have to fight.

Which fast growing plant would you recommend? Help!

Posted: 11/09/2013 at 10:40

There's a fairly good "narrow it down" facility on the crocus website.

That should be "fairly quick-growing" hedging plants on 2 pages, and this should be "yes they are quick-growing" hedging plants, of which there are 2:

Then again, they could have some session-specific thing going on with the URLs.

Anyway, the 2 are field maple and oval leaf privet. I don't know the maple but we've got Japanese privet here and it grows like a weed. Fast, yes. Low-maintenance, no. That's the balance you're going to have to strike. The faster it grows the more work you have to do to keep it down once it's as big as you want it. Incidental tip: prune it back every year even before it's up to height so it bushes out and grows dense. Otherwise you get a line of bare trunks.

There was a thread about something similar to this earlier. Someone wanted a front wall to be livelier and provide some privacy. It was a rather longer wall than the one shown, in front of a larger garden, so the ideas may not translate well from there to here, but I think I suggested either one or two wisteria (on a really sturdy trellis) for a neat semi-formal style or a mixture of all the climbing honeysuckles and akebias he could find for a more casual style. This ... may be a bit overwhelming if grown that close to the front window.

If you want something prettier and less daunting, you could try mixing "climbing" roses, which don't actually climb in my experience but will provide a lovely feature. I got two dozen blooms from one stem this year, but I'd suggest planting several. I never went for the Alice in Wonderland gardens myself (every single one of them the same shade of red) but it's an option. I'd go for ...

 Feel free to crowd them together a little, as long as you're going t

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 585
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 380
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: 1572
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: 336
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 499
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 891
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: 2146
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned