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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Talkback: Ivy in the garden

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 13:20

In a three-year project, Oxford researchers analysed the effects of ivy growing on buildings in five different parts of England and discovered that the plant plays a protective role. They found that an ivy canopy was like a thermal shield, combating the extremes of temperature which often cause walls to crack.

English Heritage commissioned Professor Heather Viles of Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment to analyse the effect of common ivy (Hedera helix) to guide them in their important role as the steward of hundreds of historical sites. Professor Viles's research team monitored the effect of ivy on walls situated in different parts of the country with varying climates and challenges.They found that ivy acted as a thermal blanket, warming up walls by an average of 15 per cent in cold weather and cooling the surface temperature of the wall in hot weather by an average of 36 per cent. The ivy was also found to absorb some of the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere. Walls where ivy was growing were less prone to the damaging effects of freezing temperatures, temperature fluctuations, pollution and salts than exposed walls without ivy

Professor Viles said: 'Ivy has been accused of destroying everything in its path and threatening some of our best loved heritage sites. Yet these findings suggest that there are many benefits to having ivy growing on the wall. It not only provides colourful foliage but also provides walls with weather-proofing and protection from the effects of pollution.'

Slugs and Roofing Felt

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 12:47

Never heard of it, but we get shiny trails almost everywhere here, 5m up a sycamore tree, up the house wall, around the stinkpipes, on the paths, in the lawn, everywhere ... except on the shed roof and cars, so I guess they don't like it.

An alternative is coffee grounds. Just be sure you're drinking organic coffee, and build a little bailey of coffee grounds around each plant. Hmm. Maybe talk to the supermarket cafe and get them to save their organic coffee grounds for you? Go in, have a coffee from their machnie, take the bag of ground home, build up the defences ...

The other approach is not to keep the slugs out but to keep them in. Sink a jam jar with a quarter inch of beer in the bottom rim-deep in the soil, and they fall in and can't get out. Mice can jump out, but slugs can't climb when they're beered.

Fuchsias! to prune or not to prune?

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 23:04

Really don't know about the rust. Waddington seems to have had a dry Feb, Mar, Apr and a very wet May last year, but that may be irrelevant. Maybe it was lurking in the unpruned stems, and cutting them away removed a lot of it and left only vigorous growth that was too healthy for it to fight? RHS reckon it's cyclic between hosts or lurks or both. Very helpful.

An octopus's garden in the shade

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 22:49

I was thinking of sticking to the "35cm max height" ones for that area and nothing over 50cm south of it, so stuff couldn't whip across it. I'll have to see how near the ground my own bedding gets before I can decide that one, I suppose.

If I pave the whole area, that's something like 16 sq m of paving, with 16 sq m of sand under it. That's a lot of weight to haul around and a big job to get properly level.

I reckon most plants will cope with a flower being pulled off or with being pulled up and trodden back into place, and if they don't I can replant.

So ... variations on a theme:

 A reduced central group of flowers, where there isn't actually any line, or a central gravel patch and access a little nearer the approach, with more gravel between the access and BT's cover.

Thing is: I've got to hide the messy concrete block and the stump of the old line in the middle and don't fancy filling in enough to pave over them or smashing it up and hauling it all out then redoing the base on the new line. Some pretty gravel might be the better option, though.

The circles are where the ends of the four arms go, so laundry will be hanging well within those circles not around the edges of them. I think it's probably far enough from low-growing plants.

Ooh, new find: 60x30 and 40x40 slabs and matching circle-in-a-square sets. That might work better. 1.85m, 2.17m and 3.05m diameter, though? That doesn't fit with any of their slab sizes. That's not rational!

Oh, well, if I hide the corners with plants overhanging them I can make it look rational enough, eh?

 Solid patio under the line. Gravel in the centre space. Access from path beside house is all of 45cm wide but there won't be anything even knee-high next to it. More gravel between there and the telecoms hatch thing. Solid edging to protect the patio structure, then plants around the outside overhanging to hide the corners.

Now it seems a LOT of work for a washing line. I'd think if I was going to do all that I'd want ... a fountain or a statue or a statue holding a fountain or a little table with four chairs or ... something other than a washing line.

Cat Poo on my raised veg beds

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 17:45

A wooden frame the same size as the veg bed, braced at the corners, with wire pulled across it back and forth at narrow intervals, standing tall enough to be a nuisance for a car to walk across, ought to work. They won't like to stand on a 2mm wire and they won't like having to lift their feet over the wires, and if the wires are far enough apart for their legs to go through but too close together for their bums to go through, they won't be able to sit down through them. You may have to weave the wires at right-angles to stop them pushing the things apart and making wider gaps.

If wire doesn't put them off, try barbed wire. No way will they slide that stuff around once it's woven together.


Posted: 20/03/2015 at 17:39

Stephen King book was The Stand. That's from X-Men: Last Stand.

Runnybeak: can't you put the collar on the pitbull's neck? That might work better.

They don't scare Texans called Matt, though, apparently.

An octopus's garden in the shade

Posted: 20/03/2015 at 17:24

Oh, should mention: improving the lawn is an expensive on-going job, soaking the ground with broad-leaf weedkiller and fertiliser and sprinkling grass seed on it again and again, and has a large carbon footprint. Replacing it with low-maintenance perennials and then neglecting them makes it a cheap carbon sink. We've got a bigger lawn that does get sun for several hours in summer, so we don't really need that one for picnics. First picture in this thread is taken across one end of the larger lawn.

On paving around the laundry line, I have two ideas:

 The one on the left uses five 90x60 slabs like the ones we already have and one 60x60 and provides a dry area under some of the line and a dry place to stand to load it from one side. The one on the right uses twelve 60x60 and nine 45x45, which I found for sale on a website that didn't put a pop-up in my way and therefore didn't get into my bad books (I hate that s___), and provides dry ground and dry standing under the actual strings of the line, with pretty plants in the centre. 30600 v 61425 sq cm of hard surface, so the second idea's twice the work and has fewer plants overall. We don't really need to be able to walk around the thing, of course. It rotates in its stand, so I could just do the western (top in diagram) part of design 2. Alternatively, I could extend it a little where those slabs are and put a little seat on the extension and people could winch the line down, walk around it on the path and sit among the flowers with tea ... or more likely beer.

Thoughts, please?


Posted: 20/03/2015 at 16:15

KEF, you mean as referenced in Last Stand?

Callisto: If you're so proud of being a mutant, where's your mark?

Magneto: I have been marked once, my dear, and let me assure you, [pulls back his sleeve to reveal the Nazi concentration camp serial number tattooed on his arm] no needle shall ever touch my skin again.


Posted: 20/03/2015 at 15:54

Blue Onion, there's got to be a story behind getting a tattoo on the inside of a bone. Did they let the tattoo artist into the operating theatre or cut you open in the shop or what?

Do not click this link.


Posted: 20/03/2015 at 15:41

Lucky numbers?

Discussions started by Charlie November

Uh-oh ...

This one doesn't look good. 
Replies: 9    Views: 428
Last Post: 05/07/2015 at 23:08

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 377
Last Post: 04/04/2015 at 22:42

Most embarassing failure of the weekend

Replies: 10    Views: 761
Last Post: 09/04/2015 at 19:59

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 8    Views: 603
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: 788
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 8    Views: 701
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: 2168
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: 491
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 672
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1622
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: 3762
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
11 threads returned