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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Has any one made a gardening cake before

Posted: 04/10/2014 at 12:26

If you don't like them too sweet, you could try leaving out some of the sugar. Adding ginger powder or black pepper also provides some balance for sweetness. Would decorating a slab of flapjack count as a cop-out?

I've only done one decorated cake in my life. I didn't use icing at all. I put three bowls of chocolate in the (electric) oven at 70C to melt, and bought a new, clean paintbrush with which to apply them. You can turn the heat up a little for thinner "paint" and pop the cake in the freezer for five minutes to set rather than waiting an hour like you have to with acrylic paints. It only comes in white, brown and dark brown, but chocolate's a wonderful medium. I'm sure you could add colouring to the white stuff. Not really up to that happymarion cake, of course.

loved gardening quotes

Posted: 04/10/2014 at 12:20

"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." - Arabic proverb. They do revere gardens over there. Imagine walking through this all day and then entering this.

Camera Corner

Posted: 03/10/2014 at 20:18

Good grief.

I'm pretty sure your garden isn't big enough for this many akebias or this many gladioli.

 How many would you like? Would anybody else like some? Are we still sending freebies to Somerset? It's not as if I have a use for them or it would cost more to send them all, but ... that's a lot of seeds.


Having given it some thought, that's only a few square metres of gladioli. That would probably look wonderful. It's still a lot of akebia seed, but I don't know what sort of germination rate they'll get. It looks like a tomato-style fruit to me, meaning it probably evolved to take advantage of hungry gibbons not bothering to chew, and may have a lower germination rate if it hasn't been subjected to certain biological processes.

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 03/10/2014 at 20:13

It is, indeed. Quite how a sunflower got planted under the gutter remains unanswered, but I have my suspicions involving birdfood and birds.

Feed the birds a lot. Get sunflowers in weird places.


Camera Corner

Posted: 02/10/2014 at 17:15

I'm agreeable!

I've got the dried stems of the Gladiolus byzantinus sitting on a windowsill, too, with a fair number of seeds in them. Not sure how long it takes them to flower.

Very specific hedge plant requirements

Posted: 02/10/2014 at 17:07

The site I checked said "3 to 5 per metre" and that's the basis I used for those prices. I assumed that was 33cm between them in a single row or 20 along and 20 back or forth each time (28.3, acc. Pythagoras) in a double row. As you said it was the top of the hedge you really wanted and there's a fence behind it, you don't really need a dense bottom ... of the hedge ... and you said you wanted it thin, too, so I'd go with the single row. You can always hide it behind a line of something knee-high, perennial and pretty.

What's the star in your garden right now

Posted: 01/10/2014 at 18:11

I'd call this one a "late bloomer" but it's actually a return to the thread after its 22 June debut:

 ... and this one deserves a mention for sheer nerve, combining "say it with flowers" with "shout it from the rooftops" maybe:

 Maybe one of the birds is taking an interest in gardening.

Very specific hedge plant requirements

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 23:04

Pete8: 300ft beech hedge? Tall or long? This is a 300ft rock face. Those would be impressive trees!


My father has a lonicera hedge ... about 1.5m long, in the middle of the garden, as a feature ... ... and it's very dense, meaning it can be shaped very precisely, so it's good for "formal" looks.

Here, I'm losing a Japanese privet hedge to honey fungus and the GC say they can't get armillatox any more. It's being replaced with self-seeding elder, which doesn't really do hedges that well.

One big thing you have to do if you want a dense hedge is prune the **** out of it. The privet here was planted in a line and ignored for 20 years. Result: 8m high, 2m thick, hedge with long, thin trunks and long-thin branches in the middle rubbing the bark off each other in the wind. I took it down (with a hand-saw) to knee-height and have been pruning it ever since to get density for the small birds. If it wasn't for the armillaria killing it off from both ends, it'd be a beautiful strip of cover and habitat for them in another year or two.

"Sweet bay" comes to mind ... and a quick search reveals it's sold as a hedging plant and also known as "bay laurel" so I guess that's one you've already seen. They say Portuguese laurel is a good and hardier alternative for wintry locations. The reason I had it in mind was that it's more resistant to that fungus than most things.

The smallest ones on this website I found are 20-30cm, and based on experience planting woodland they'll get over being moved so much more quickly that they actually overtake the larger ones within a few years. They're also a lot cheaper, less than half the price of the 120-150cm ones. 3 to 5 per metre for 15m is 45 to 75 plants, £270 to £450. Free delivery, and 7.5% off for buying in bulk so £250 to £416.

Camera Corner

Posted: 30/09/2014 at 22:43

Well, I like bees, although I wouldn't go so far as to say that "I like my women like I like my coffee: covered in bees!"

Not enough of them around, really.

While I've been distracted by the new kitchen being (mostly) fitted, my first Akebia has gone from little green sausages to ripe, open and drying fruit:

 Anybody want the seeds?


Posted: 26/09/2014 at 19:24

For £160 you could have a couple of young goats ...

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: 381
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: 1573
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: 892
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: 2147
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned