London (change)
Today 16°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 15°C / 8°C

Charlie November

Latest posts by Charlie November

Rabbit friendly plants?

Posted: 02/04/2015 at 14:57

I've seen rabbits taking on willow saplings and the new growth on cut willow, and also going at feverfew like little drug addicts. Willow bark and feverfew both contain aspirin. Rabbits apparently like it. I doubt they'd be all that interested in a 30-year-old willow tree with gnarly bark, though, so if you plant willow for the bunny you may want to keep cutting it down to a height the bunny can reach. This way there'll be lost of fresh growth with soft, juicy bark to nibble.

Of course, with willow, the year you forget to prune it *boom* instant circular hedge.

Weather warnings issued

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 17:13

gina: Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay, Weymouth or Bristol?

Dry, some cloud, lows of 2 to 4 (1 in Bristol), highs of 11 or 12, with Sunday being clear (except in Bristol).

Weymouth, it turns out, was a very popular town name among colonists. They've got them all over the place, including one in Barbados and one in Jamaica. "Showers early becoming less numerous later in the day. High 29C. Winds E at 25 to 40 km/h. Chance of rain 40%. Partly cloudy skies early giving way to a few showers after midnight. Low 24C. Winds E at 15 to 30 km/h. Chance of rain 30%. Rain showers, with winds diminishing later in the day. High 29C. Winds ESE at 25 to 40 km/h. Chance of rain 40%. Partly cloudy. Low 24C. Winds E at 15 to 30 km/h." Sounds hellish.

Hey, could be worse. Hanoi at this time of year? "A mainly sunny sky. High 36C. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 km/h. Clear. Low 24C. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 km/h. Sunny. High 34C. Winds SSE at 15 to 30 km/h. A mostly clear sky. Low 24C. Winds SE at 15 to 25 km/h." Yeeeuuugh. Too hot. Humidity in the 30%-50% range in the afternoons this week but over 90% next Friday. Know where else has a temperature of 36C and humidity over 90%? My armpit!



what's this creature

Posted: 01/04/2015 at 16:55

Awww, beaten to it. Looked like a parasitoid wasp to me, straight off, but the only one of them I know is the emerald cockroach wasp. Awesome little lady, the emerald cockroach wasp, especially if you hate cockroaches.


I suppose if you sympathise with cockroaches she's a horror movie that Hollywood wouldn't dare to make ...


Anyway, yes, went looking for images and found one on this page.

 Page says: "This one is definitely a different species, with different, yellow-barred antennae, a mainly yellow abdomen with black end (with yellow spot) and different leg markings.
It looks suspiciously like Ichneumon suspiciosus! But is probably Ichneumon stramentor."


Posted: 01/04/2015 at 16:47

Just took two lousy pictures of the front rows as they look this afternoon. Best I can offer on that is one detail:

 Behind them, though, some more flowers opened this week:

 Desktop-sized detail:

 ... and just one white one:


Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 19:49

Dug a trench, put the cuttings in it where they can't blow over (without getting blown up), found a long enough Akebia stem and stuck it into a clear plastic jar of compost to layer. It's got enough rooting hormone on it to plant the dining table, thanks to some slightly careless tipping of powder, plus some of those mycorhizzhaloidicnostic fungi ... you know the ones. Clay powder. Probably got a few spores mixed in with the clay. Roots without fungi don't work all that well, so having the spores there ready to colonise the roots as they appear and as they grow helps ... allegedly. Also, I put a rock on it to keep it in place.

a good turn needs to be considered......

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 19:02

In my childhood, I came into so much contact with stinging nettles that I stopped noticing them. I could pull up a handful bare-handed and wave it at a bully's face to buy some peace and quiet. Should probably have run him down and ground the things to mulch against his face to buy a month's peace and quiet, really. Too nice for my own good.

Had a few stings lately. They prickle at the time then itch a bit for a while. No big deal. The inside of a Himalayan balsam stem sometimes works fairly well, if you want a handy "wet wipe" for it.

Worst I've had? Was on my way to bed. Heard the birds kicking up a fuss. Looked outside, saw a cat with something in its mouth. Opened door, ran outside, chased cat out of the garden, across the field and up the woods. It dropped whatever it had caught, so a partial success. The track up the woods, though? Ankle-deep in juicy young nettles for a few metres. As I said, I was on my way to bed ... barefoot. That did itch.

Weather warnings issued

Posted: 31/03/2015 at 17:49

Wind picked up in the Vale of York around 3am. It was howling in the bathroom fan vent or the stink pipe or something near my head. My cuttings are in a hastily-dug trench by the shed, so they shouldn't fall over. We had wind blowing again around 4:15pm today, followed by snow/hail, but it's all settled down again now. I've moved a long piece of chocolate vine from next door back through the fence to my side and tucked it into a clear pot of compost in the hope of layering it. For a plant considered invasive in some climates, it's strangely reluctant to get layered here. In the process, I found a pigeon. Bottom of the fence, head down, very floppy neck, blood on the beak. Possibly a casualty of the 3am gale?

Had to go round and pick up a lot of plastic and card, too, as the council men did not collect the recycling today. I was passed on the way home by someone's 2l milk bottle with no respect for the speed limit at all.

Current warning here:

Northwesterly gales will continue for parts of southern and western Scotland, and for much of Northern Ireland, northern and eastern England and north Wales during Tuesday. Gusts of 50-60 mph will occur in places, particularly in association with squally showers, and with isolated gusts to around 70 mph in exposed locations in southwest Scotland and along some coastal stretches of Northern Ireland. This warning is an update, removing much of southern England and Wales, where winds peaked overnight, and will be a little less strong today. The public should be aware of the risk of localised damage, for example to trees, and for minor disruption to travel.

Further north:

Icy patches are expected to form on untreated surfaces later on Tuesday evening and overnight, following wintry showers which leave surfaces wet. These showers may also leave temporary slight accumulations of snow at lower levels in the north of the warning area, but snow is more likely to affect higher level routes, with 2 cm above 200 metres and 5 cm or so above 400 metres, although primarily on grassy surfaces. Strong winds will lead to drifting and temporary blizzard conditions on the more exposed routes.

Weather warnings issued

Posted: 30/03/2015 at 18:08

There's the page to check them out.

I'm just over 20m above sea level here, according to so not so windblown. Currently seeing a 0 (Calm) gusting 4 (Moderate breeze) here. There's one Leylandii that's trying to pretend it's a 7. Maybe that one ought to be taken down before it falls down.

The warnings for my area:

Rain will become heavy and persistent over the high ground of North Wales and parts of northern England during Monday evening, before clearing eastwards overnight. The public should be aware of the risk of localised surface water and river flooding.

Westerly winds will become strong across many parts of Northern Ireland, southern Scotland, England and Wales during Monday evening and night, with gusts of 50-60 mph and isolated gusts of 65-70 mph in exposed locations. The wind will become northwesterly by Tuesday morning, and although easing for a time, it will become very gusty through the day, particularly near showers.

65-70, Force 11 (Violent storm). Glad I'm not in an exposed location! Maybe I'll take the cuttings inside. Thanks for the tip-off.

wooded handle grass shears

Posted: 29/03/2015 at 14:09

I know the ones you mean. I've seen a pair ... years ago. If they're still around, they're antiques by now.

You mean these, don't you?

Well, those are steel, not plastic, but that's still not wood.

I've found a Chinese-made pair with little wheels like a child's bike to make it even easier, but they've telescopic hollow handles again.

Why wooden, anyway?

The only thing I can suggest if you *must* have wood is to get a pair with modular construction, try them and, if you still insist on wooden handles, take off their handles, set them aside and fit two broom handles. I know you can still get wooden broom handles and wooden curtain rails. Shave or lathe the ends to fit, slot 'em in, drill and screw 'em and there you go, wooden handles.

Discussions started by Charlie November

3-part hedge

This is what you get for neglecting it for 20 years! 
Replies: 8    Views: 336
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: 543
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: 743
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: 2014
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: 469
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 18:34


Not a lily. Not an apple tree. 
Replies: 6    Views: 647
Last Post: 10/09/2013 at 22:29


Planning? Measuring? Me? 
Replies: 26    Views: 1549
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: 3395
Last Post: 13/05/2013 at 08:09
10 threads returned