London (change)
Today 10°C / 2°C
Tomorrow 4°C / 2°C

Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Can anyone recommend a good quality cold frame...

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 14:49

Pretty simple construction job, actually quite loose specs. Shouldn't be hard to DIY. Considering the sheds you can get at the garden centre (every ******* door is shorter than I am!) and the bird boxes you can get from that online bird food company (2mm wall thickness, panel pins, torn apart by the first fresh breeze to hit them), you'd probably get a better result by going to the local high school and getting the 15-yr-olds to make one for a woodwork project than you ever would buying one.

The only "precision engineering" part is putting two door hinges onto the lid with colinear axes *ahem* is putting two door hinges onto the lid in a straight enough line. Simple answer to this: get a piano lid hinge instead and use that. Homebase sell 'em.

Two approaches to dimensions:

1) Decide exactly how big you want it, and make it that size.

2) Decide how big it has to be and how big it mustn't be, look at what's available and make something between those two sizes.

You should be able to get bundles of something like 3"x1" / 75mmx25mm or 4"x1" / 100mmx25mm pressure-treated wood. Get the "planed, square edge" stuff. The "sawn" is cheaper but you end up planing it yourself to make it fit. That or you could go for marine plywood. If it can handle the sea, it should be able to handle rain. You can also get 3"x2" or 3"x3" / 75mm square wood in 8ft / 240cm lengths that's been treated to last for years even in contact with wet mud. They call them "fenceposts." Marvellous things for a job like this. There's also 1" / 25mm square. It won't be exactly that once it's been planed. More like 22mm. You'll need that too. Homebase sell "indoor only" 2mm acrylic and thicker "outdoor" acrylic sheets in huge sizes, or you can order acrylic or polycarbonate sheets in just about any thickness and size online from somewhere like if you don't have a way to fetch the big sheets home yourself.

Side note: buy some acrylic sheets, some polycarbonate sheets and some glue and stick them together in alternating layers and you've got yourself a projectile-resistant window (sometimes inaccurately called "bullet-proof glass") but the glue may make the view a bit milky and distorted.

If you're using 75mm-wide wood, some obvious heights are 300mm, 375mm, 450mm, 525mm, 600mm and 675mm. With 100mm, obvious heights are obvious. If you're using plywood, some obvious heights are half its width and a quarter of its width. If it's in 240cm lengths, you could go for a really small 40cm x 80cm frame, an 80cm x 120cm frame (European standard pallet size), a 100cm x 120cm frame (same size as a standard GKN blue pallet), a 100cm x 140cm frame or even a stonking great 120cm x 240cm frame without having lots of little end-bits left over. Using the 240cm fenceposts for corners, 525mm at the front and 675mm at the back are obvious choices because then you exactly use up 1 fencepost.

If you want to be really fancy, you can make your cuts at 45-degree angles so the wood nicely meets at all the corners rather than having a vertical notch down it. I call this overdoing it. It's easy to get this wrong and leave an unsightly hole ... also known as a ladybird hibernation home! Go for it! Wildlife gardening for the win!

The front and back walls are pretty simple. For a 525mm front wall 120cm long, you need 7 120cm lengths of 75mm-wide wood. For a 675mm back wall 120cm long, you need 9 120cm lengths of 75mm-wide wood. That's 8 240cm lengths cut across the middle. Simple.

The side walls introduce a problem: the sloping top. Gardengirl encountered this. Saws just don't like going at shallow angles to the grain. You can make that cut. An electric jigsaw will do it as long as you're very patient and go slowly, or you can use a table saw. Homebase or a specialist timber merchant may be wi


Posted: 10/01/2015 at 13:01

Just imagine it with a female presenter!   It would be all annuals and "that's pretty", flowers on boots and flower arranging. 

I would love to see a series of progs presented by Adrian Bloom on perennials and other expert growers and breeders of hellebores, heleniums, etc etc.

Nah, mate. You want a real man to persent it! Get that Bear Grylls fellow in. He knows his stuff! We could have a little crocodile farm over there and a snake pit in this corner so you'd always have protein to eat and somewhere to store your pee until you needed a drink, a few pine trees so you could build a shelter under one for winter, a nice big fallen log to use as a chopping block for your firewood, a bit of swamp where you could catch catfish using your own fingers as bait ...

You wouldn't need a house any more, so you could have a bigger garden, too.

Of course, you'd need to have a suite at a 4-star hotel just down the road and only garden while the TV crew's around.

plum tree or pear tree?!

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:54

I was told not to bother planting pear trees as I don't have children, so there won't be any of my grandchildren around to enjoy the fruit when the thing finally produces some. I think that was old-fashioned advice from before everything was a graft from an older tree, but it stuck.

Last Victoria plum tree I saw lost branches to the weight of all the fruit ripening simultaneously. Owner was giving away carrier bags full of ripe plums to try to get them into humans faster than they'd go off.

Pear orchard in Austria a couple of years ago produced more fruit than anyone could harvest. I walked down a country lane beside it, walking in the wheel-tracks through ankle-deep pear, with bees, wasps, hoverflies, udder flies and everything else on lacy wings swarming around me. I took this as an invitation to help myself from the trees.

Wasps? Only been stung once, and that was by one that got caught between scarf and neck while I was riding a motorbike. Itched for a while. Had one on my lips once, chasing food I'd already eaten. I just waited until she'd had her fill from what was still on my lips or given up, whichever it was, and flew off, then I carried on eating. She didn't come back for more. They're fine, really ... unless they get drunk eating fermenting plums, of course ...

Windy - get your pots secure...

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:47

Violent storm, Beaufort Scale force 11, was forecast for Portsmouth. Yesterday morning I got an invitation to a party there today. I'm glad I wasn't driving last night. Heard chainsaws around midnight, so I guess a big tree went into the road somewhere near here. Another one has blocked a road a few miles away, and I've just been cutting up the huge branches that blew off the big, old pines across the road. Only direct damage here I've noticed is that two plant pots blew over. I hope my rose cuttings can survive that. It would be annoying to lose them.

Need to replace what I think is box

Posted: 10/01/2015 at 12:43

I guess the plant did hear you after all, nutcutlet:

 It's still got 2 years' leaves, but it's flowered.

Brugmansia cuttings.

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 22:31

Can't wait to start mine off. But I will have to wait for,wRmer temperatures  as I don't have a garage or GH.  I bought some seed late last year (still seems funny saying last year) of a white variety.   I had a peachy coloured one a few years ago, huge blooms and an absolutley heavenly perfume, especially of a warm evening. (Is that right ....of a warm evening ?  I'm getting paranoid now after someone posted about being grammatically correct  )


I can't wait to start mine off, but I will have to wait for, warmer temperatures as I don't have a garage or GH.  I bought some seed of a white variety late last year. It still seems funny saying it was last year.  I had a peachy-coloured one a few years ago, with huge blooms and an absolutley heavenly perfume, especially of a warm evening.


I have fixed that for you.

If you think it's funny saying you got some seeds last year, hold onto your seat for this line: "I had a girlfriend last millennium ... "

Bringing a bland wall to life

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 22:26

 A serious idea? No, it's just a ... wait.

 That's symmetrical! That's an actual thing! I thought it was just a display of wall-hooked pots.


That was their actual display of a decorated wall, not just a shop front?

 Bad! Wrong! Also wrong and bad.

They'd have done better to paint it olive green, stencil M*A*S*H 4077th on it and drape a cam net over it. Seriously.



Hawkeye agrees with me. Oh, wow. Hawkeye!


Room 101

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 22:11

Well, you're not missing anything. They're on TV. That's enough information for you to know you're not missing anything. I don't watch any of them, and I'm not missing anything either!

Actually, Horizon and London's Burning should both have tags on them for "since they stopped being good." Thinking about it, Garfield and Fred Bassett can go on there, too, with the same tag on Garfield.

If I get really, really bored, I may yet acquire the Horizon thing about mega-tsunamis and edit out the good stuff. I'd put all of one kind of crap together, then all of another kind of crap, then all of a third kind of crap. In the end, it'd be about 40 minutes long rather than an hour, and it'd be PURE CRAP.

Room 101

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 18:05

Oh, go on then. If you're going to keep reminding me it exists, I'll add it.

Jeremy Kyle, Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Fox News, London News, Flog It!, Pointless, Gogglebox, A Question Of Sport, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, The Fast Show, Top Of The Pops, Crossroads, The Antiques Roadshow, Top Gear, Fifth Gear, Dallas, Dynasty, The O'Reilly Factor, Darts: BDO World Championships, Bring Back Borstal, Auntie's Bloomers, Auntie's New Bloomers, It'll Be Alright On The Night, You've Been Framed, Britain's Fattest People, Sex Party Secrets, Benefits Street, Brookside, Grand Designs, Jeopardy, Downton Abbey, Cash In The Attic, The One Show, Daybreak, Good Morning, This Morning, Darts Extra, Jackpot247, Mom, Teleshopping, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice, Bullseye, The Price Is Right, London's Burning, Poirot, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Horizon, Badults, Deal Or No Deal, House Doctor, The Hotel Inspector, Good Morning Britain, Homes Under The Hammer, Sesame Street, Made In Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, Geordie Shore, UK Border Force, Life's Funniest Moments, Oxford Street Revealed, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Hollyoaks, Neighbours, Home And Away, Wanted Down Under, Could I Get Ebola?, Undercover Boss, The Wright Stuff, Judge Judy, Bargain Hunt, Loose Women, Judge Rinder, NCIS: LA, Fat Pets: Slimmer Of The Year, Benidorm, The Martin Lewis Money Show, The Graham Norton Show, SuperCasino, SuperScrimpers, .....

... and a few particular people in France.

Bringing a bland wall to life

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 17:23

I hadn't thought of that. You could put shelves on it and put line after line of plants on them, including some of the hanging basket plants that overhang so nicely to disguise the shelves, or put rings or miniature shelves it to make the plants more "scattered" and less "on parade." Two holes, two wall plugs, two screw-in hooks and a length of wire per pot and you've got it, as long as your plants like being "well-drained."

Beats waiting for the climbers to fill it.

Discussions started by Charlie November

Holy glyphosate, Batman! What's that?

Huge thing with tiny white flowers and heart-shaped leaves 
Replies: 16    Views: 650
Last Post: 24/06/2014 at 16:52

Rose cuttings: timing

Replies: 7    Views: 451
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: 1754
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: 397
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 563
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 17    Views: 961
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: 2468
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
7 threads returned