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Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 04/05/2015 at 17:24

Fed the birds. Decapitated a dozen dandelions and daisies. There are hundreds and hundreds of dandelions up the road. The ones between path and road are fully fluffed-out seed-heads already. The ones on the other side of the path are still in flower. I should take a scythe up there and stop them invading everybody's gardens here.

The tree surgeons took down two trees they weren't actually supposed to take down. Leylandii, so I don't mind, but it wasn't in the plan, and in the process they did some damage to the winter honeysuckle. I hastily took off and planted the broken bits, hoping to convert "smashed by careless man" into "cuttings," but some slug or snail has turned one of them into "lunch." The other might make it, if the official gardener can avoid stepping on it for a while.

One Akebia layering attempt has turned all brown and dead from pot to tip. I think they need quite a bit of length exposed after the part that's in the soil. Maybe it'll make it, but I am not filled with hope.

Talkback: Which plants are poisonous to dogs?

Posted: 01/05/2015 at 18:17

Sheep are weird like that. The field with the sheep in it is the one place along the riverbank here where giant hogweed can't grow. It tries. They eat it. No ill effects. No idea why not.

Anything that grows from a bulb is poisonous to dogs and cats. Day lilies don't seem to have bulbs, just messes of roots, and they aren't known to poison dogs and there are even recipes for human food that use them ... but they're poisonous to cats.

In fact, if I remember correctly, everything in my flower bed is poisonous to cats ... except cat poo. They don't seem at all put off by the narcissus, hyacinth, grape hyacinth, Asiatic lily, cyclamen, crocus, anemone, lily-of-the-valley, wild garlic, chionodoxa, buttercup, clover, day lily, delphinium, elder, gladiolus, holly, jasmine, cuckoo pint, marsh marigold, allium, periwinkle, snowdrop, spurge and Virginia creeper all growing hereabouts and I doubt they'll stay out of the hellebores if I plant a load of them.

The two I know that get dogs most are onions and grapes, because they're human food that may land on the floor or even be dumped in the dog's food bowl if someone made more bolognaise sauce than they could eat.

Three lists for dogs:

Guide Dogs' list

Dogs Trust's list

Kennel Club's list

Bound to be a surprise on there somewhere, even if you already knew not to feed them deadly nightshade, lambkill, wolfsbane, henbane, destroying angel, deathcap or anything else with "This s___ will f_____g KILL you if you even lick your fingers after taking off your boots after walking past it" somewhere in its name ...
... like dairy products and raw liver.

An octopus's garden in the shade

Posted: 01/05/2015 at 17:05

Apparently, the garden has decided that bog primulas and speedwell would be good choices:



Posted: 27/04/2015 at 18:30

Frost here this morning, not a cloud in the sky. Clouding up this afternoon, but still dry.

What are all these little mites and yellow eggs?

Posted: 26/04/2015 at 14:57

My approach to green aphids on the roses was to wait for flower buds to form and the aphids to congregate on them, then "gently brush" them off with finger and thumb. No damage to roses from my intervention visible but the aphids didn't do so well. "Green-fingered," me? Well, yes. Between that, the hoverflies (they love my honeysuckles and the larvae eat aphids), the ladybirds (plenty of places to overwinter and the larvae and adults eat aphids) and the blue tits (I put up boxes and put out food and they eat aphids), the roses are doing fine.

How to Train Honeysuckle

Posted: 26/04/2015 at 14:52

japonica are scarily good at getting hold of support. I found one of those long "self-layering" stems across the lawn (like it had put on 6 feet overnight) and tied it to a cane extending down from my trellis. It was straight when I tied it on. By the next day, it had wrapped three times round the cane.

periclymenum is a bit less twiny and more shrubby here. It'll wrap around its own stems, but not around the trellis. I think it has a maximum diameter that it'll climb. It's pretty well-behaved, and flexible enough to let you just wait until it's tall enough then tuck it behind the supports.

I'd be inclined to put a trellis on spacers and manually tuck stems behind the trellis bars or put 2mm wires hook-to-hook up and down the wall rather than counting on canes to take the weight.

Good choice, by the way. Those flowers are fabulous.


Posted: 26/04/2015 at 14:45

Had a little rain here yesterday but it's sunny and dry now and it was blazing hot (by local standards) and dry (by any standards this side of the Bosphorus) last week. Still got water in the water butt but I think I ought to think about using some of it to mix concrete for some steps down to the stream so I can haul up bucketfuls from there.

I wonder whether the local school would build me an Archimedes screw. I'm not sure it'd be easier than using buckets for the small amounts I use.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 25/04/2015 at 18:17

Fed the birds, did some pest control and mostly stayed in out of the rain.

Plant ID help please.

Posted: 25/04/2015 at 10:14

Second one does look like a climbing lonicera of some sort, planted at the base of a trellis. You'll know more once you see the flowers. Looks like you won't have long to wait. You may want to get really brutal with it next spring and cut it back to near the fence, then train new growth out along the trellis rather than letting it bush out like that. Some of them can get heavy enough to pull a fence down. I had to cut mine back to just the trunk and a few leaves to get space to work then take the top off my extra-tall fence to use the uprights as props for the fence posts. They're only standing in one-foot cubes of concrete two feet down in the ground, so they didn't stand a chance against halliana once it really got going.

growing plants over a shed

Posted: 25/04/2015 at 10:08

Chocolate vine's a twiner, not a clinger. It'll happily enough climb the shed if you mount trellis on spacers or provide wires. Simple enough job to put a trellis up 2" off the shed wall, but putting trellis over the roof without piercing the roof could be a bit trickier. You'd have to mount short legs on the gable ends, rails between them and the trellis on the rails, and I think the trellis would sag in the middle if you didn't give it enough rail support. Could be done, but isn't trivial.

Virginia Creeper and Hydrangea are both clinging climbers, so they'll cover a shed. You just need to occasionally get them away from the windows and door.

One of my hydrangeas has found itself in direct competition with a sycamore ... and its response has been along the lines of: "Nice structure. I'll take it."

 Final height of that plant is reckoned at 15m, so that tree is not too tall to eat.

Alternatively, there's the "heap of rose bush" approach to covering a shed:

 See the shed? There's a shed. It's about 10 x 7 x 4 metres, accessed down a ramp on the far side of that gate. That rose grew up left of the gate and has made it onto the shed roof. I'm pretty sure another specimen of it could cover a 10 x 8 x 7 foot shed quite convincingly ...

... and that'd give the chocolate vine something to climb.

Discussions started by Charlie November

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 334
Last Post: 04/04/2015 at 22:42

Most embarassing failure of the weekend

Replies: 10    Views: 708
Last Post: 09/04/2015 at 19:59

An octopus's garden in the shade

No octopodes, but lots of shade 
Replies: 8    Views: 539
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: 741
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 8    Views: 648
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: 2012
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: 466
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 646
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1547
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: 3374
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
10 threads returned