- Passionate gardener restyling and rejuvenating a cottage garden in Birmingham
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2 days ago at 08:55
You could win a few funny veg contests with those : )
I've used some fibre pots this year - flower seeds not veg- and feel I have had mixed success with some plants much smaller than those grown in 'normal' seed trays. They looked fine and grew well initially but don't seem to have grown much more since planting out. Will be interesting to see it is all the fibre pot ones that are all runts when I pull them up at the end of the season - we have lots of empty border so grew lots of annuals this year so can't quite remember for sure which are the fibre pots ones now they are all out.
Have already decided I will use up the few I have left but probably won't buy again in future.
2 days ago at 08:44
I can't help re the beetle but we had Autumn Bliss on our allotment and they always started fruiting about now and then continued until the first frosts.
I guess cutting them back later would delay them - maybe you could experiment next year and do half later than the other half.
3 days ago at 13:09
3 days ago at 09:16
We found an old bench when clearing brambles in our garden. Going off the old makers plate we guess it's about 30 years old. Definitely looked past its best but hubby scraped off the moss and then scrubbed it down with water and a touch of bleach (cap full in a washing up bowl of water) and it came up as good as new and all the algae and mould gone. We let it dry and then painted straight onto the wood, still looks fab 12 months on.
We used a Cuprinol paint - is it just me or do none of the shades look anything like the brochure or in several cases for us the tins weren't even the same as the tester pots?
3 days ago at 08:59
Ours all go on the heap and seem to break down ok - most common item I often find still intact is egg shells. And like Clarington, we are light-touch composters.
Like Hosta we drink a LOT of tea, so would hate them to go into landfill. The only difference is that any potential contaminant is in a different place. I would prefer not to contaminate my soil but for me a small level at home is preferable to adding further to the level for dreadful contamination in a landfill.
We often add cardboard and paper to our bin as well so accept that various contaminants may enter our compost one way or another.
It's one of those issues you have to reach your own decision on and do what makes you comfortable and sits well with your conscience.
PS I don't think I have enough window sills to dry ours out. My mum used to have a friend who dried hers out - but that was because she used each teabag three times........
3 days ago at 08:42
Word of (practical) caution - if buying a load to be delivered do check where they are willing to offload it. We live about 60ft up a small unadopted lane and have had some suppliers refuse to drop-off loads on our drive, even though the lane is perfectly usable. Some are very literal about 'kerb-side' deliveries only - and our lane has no kerbs......
Its no fun barrowing a large delivery of manure, sand or anything 60ft up an unmade lane - add in timing co-inciding with pick-up time for the primary school opposite and the fun just increases.....
Safe to say, that unless we are confident where it will be left we go for bags every time now : )
3 days ago at 08:30
We never turn our leaf mould and all the advice I have read is not too.
Having said that we never turn our compost either - never had time when working full time with young kids, nor the space to easily do it - and we always got good compost so still rarely bother now. Does take a bit longer to be garden ready than if we did (I assume) but no harm otherwise.
3 days ago at 08:26
As KT53 said it's very strange and worrying that you get no weeds growing. I think I would get the soil professionally tested before spending any more money, The RHS offer a soil testing service - and I think it is open to members and non-members. I know the cost is £25 for members, it may sound a lot but you will get a full analysis and you indicate when sending it in what your want to use of for e.g. Lawn, veg etc and they will also advise what you need to do to make it suitable for your purpose.
even if more than £25 now, I suspect you will save more than that in the long term going off the expense you have gone to to date.
3 days ago at 08:18
Begonias as said will do well. I always found violas did quite well in shade (ours was north west facing wall so no sun at all). Petunias also did ok - didnt grow as madly as in the sun but still gave good colour for the season
Heucheras and carex work well and give lots of foliage colour and can be reused each year. Parsley makes a good foliage plant in shade.
if you get some direct sun you may find quite a few things work - they may not flower quite as much but still give a good display - in fact they may do just as well as they also won't get too hot or dry. So do try any sun loving favourites.
19 Jul 2017 15:19
If you are offered a choice, also look at what the neighbouring plots are like. If they are very weedy and poorly kept then you will be battling weed seeds from their plots.
Even a well cared plot will look completely overgrown if it's been untended for just a few months - so worth asking how long a plot has been been untennanted.
Also think about what the aspect is - sunny etc, any shelter from wind etc...if on a slope is that going to make it less sunny/more sheltered but also walk up and down it a couple of time as if it's an effort then it's going to be more so when you're working on it and moving compost etc from one end to another.
Also look what's on the plot as it's great if you inherit a shed, compost bins, poly tunnels, fruit bushes etc but do check if it's being left for the new tennant - we were thrilled at the shed we thought we would have only to find out that it had been promised to someone else and was gone by the time we'd got the site keys.
Finally, as already said - being near the water taps (if they have them) is very useful.
I don't know if you are on the list for more than one site or if it's a site you're familiar with - so might be worth asking if they have toilets, storage lockers, communal shop and onsite tool hire (e.g. Strimmers, rotavators etc), are sheds allowed etc..It might be worth waiting longer to get on a site with more facilities.
Last edited: 19 July 2017 15:23:31
17 Jul 2017 09:18
Will try that one, Joyce - thanks
17 Jul 2017 08:48
My nemesis is string - it always gets into a tangle no matter how careful I think I've have being. Plus I can't bear to throw any potentially useful piece away so have lots of loose bits but of course you can never find a piece the length you need.
I do have one of those bobbins for storing string (is that the right word) with a lovely pair of scissors which hangs on a hook but it's made of metal and extremely heavy, which means I have a tidy store of string in the shed where I don't really need it and numerous tangles of string in every pocket and elsewhere, which I've cut and taken into the garden to use....
16 Jul 2017 09:13
We had a shallow, wide garden and your right it's much easier finding suggestions for long and narrow. I suppose we effectively took those ideas and turned them on their side : )
I didn't like been able to see all the garden at once so we divided it into separate areas using planting so that it encouraged you to walk into the garden and you couldnt see across the whole width from every window. The patio ran across the back of the house and then we extended and shaped the borders so that they seperated the patio from the lawn except for an entrance at each end opposite our French doors and split the lawn into two separate areas using planting and an arch. We positioned the arch so that the two main windows looked onto different garden areas - this meant the areas were different sizes but I felt this gave it more interest. We used similar planting in the border between the two areas but the main planting within each area was different.
You can create more depth in a garden by using shapea on the diagonal and placing a focal point in the far corners - this draws the eye along a longer line and tricks the brain into thinking the space isn't deeper than it really is. We put a second small seating area in one corner.
if you want a naturalistic style you could use trees to create the divide and screen areas from the house Instead or an arch or trellis.
John Brookes design books are very good - maybe you could get one from your local library or cheap on Amazon. He has two I have used a lot "Garden Design" and one on designs for small gardens - very easy to read and understand, but expert tips and advice.
Last edited: 16 July 2017 09:15:05
16 Jul 2017 08:55
Keep them well watered and they may well be ok. Although it is the wrong time of year for pruning that shouldn't matter if they were reasonably healthy to start with. But it may take a while before anything regrows.
We completely cut down a rose we moved recently to try and reduce the stress and shock from being moved. It was reduced to just a few cut stems and no leaves at all. It's taken ages and I thought we had lost it but it has sent out some lovely strong new growth just in the last few days - must be 6 weeks or more since it was moved so I think it's just a matter of being patient.
PS - Am not suggesting you move yours - there's no need to, that will just give them another shock - but ours has recovered from a similarly severe pruning.
15 Jul 2017 07:54
If using as a green manure you don't let it flower but dig it in long before.
The flowers are lovely and the bees absolutely love it, flowers all summer and very pretty. It does re-seed but very easy to recognise and whip out if it's in the wrong place.
13 Jul 2017 09:30
Try this site - some plants are offered free or as swaps but some are for sale
12 Jul 2017 08:39
I don't think the free gifts are worth more than the discount you get for paying up front through a subscription. Often you have to pay more than the usual price for any larger gifts so they are not strictly free and the seeds are usually the same each year - they seem to always give away lettuce and tomato seeds - and these are only of value to you if they are the plant and variety you want or can use.
You don't need to be a subscriber to use the discount codes, you just need to find out what they are. My sister and I each subscribe to a different gardening mag which we then swap - so we get to use all or any code and we both use the same sign-on for the secret club. I also have a group of freinds who always check with each other before ordering plants to see if anyone has a code through their mag/club etc...
Its worth looking at all the garden mag websites as many all list lots of their discount codes on their site so you can pick and choose which gives you the best offer/discount Or use that to decide if a subscription is worth having.
i must admit I also always let my magazine subscription lapse and then wait for an offer I like to sign up again - they come round very regularly so only ever miss a month maybe - so for example often sign up with the first 3 issues for £5.
12 Jul 2017 08:19
I went for the first time last year and was really disappointed. There were no real nursery sellers - all the plant stalls were selling the same things and nothing that you couldn't buy at any local garden centre. It wasn't very busy which was nice re seeing things but there was no buzz or atmosphere. There seemed to be more food stalls than anything else. Some of the show Gardens were quite good but there were'nt very many - I think we stayed about 90 minutes, less time than it took us to get there.
i wasn't feeling brilliant that day as had been ill just before so that might have affected my enthusiasm but don't think it coloured my impression. Maybe I went with too high expectations....
11 Jul 2017 07:36
Ballerina is usually reasonably spreading although it can vary, RHS says 4-8m spread - it may be because its quite young but is the growth at the top upright in habit? If so I wonder if you were actually sold Obelisk as that is columnar in habit and only has a spread of around 1-1.5m - in fact I would describe it as never 'spreading" as all the branches point upwards
If the branches of yours are beginning to shape themselves outwards toward the tops than it may well start to spread as it matures.
11 Jul 2017 07:25
That's great news josusa as I want to put some raspberries in and was wondering if I would need to net them - hopefully my birds will be similarly picky and ignore them.
our birds haven't disappeared and we can hardly keep up with the feeders. We have loads of fledging tits and goldfinches eating their way through everything we put out. I do remember that it suddenly went quiet for a few weeks in the summer last year but hasn't happened yet.
I do find the comments on magpies interesting - we have magpies who frequently visit the garden and are nesting nearby in a huge sycamore, along with at least two pairs of blackbirds. The magpies are often in our garden and yet we have loads of little birds as well. Maybe it's something about numbers - our run of gardens has a flock of resident goldfinches - at least twenty - so maybe they feel safer in numbers. Think we must have quite a few great tits but they don't fly around together to be sure but we have had four or five nests in the eaves between us and our immediate neighbour as well as in a nest box, the second batches have just fledged.
I quite enjoy watching the antics of our magpies - one has quite a bath time ritual in our pond. They are such talkative birds and real characters. We also have quite a few jackdaws locally and they also visit our garden to hoover up the seed that's fallen from the feeders - love their chattering.
Last edited: 11 July 2017 07:26:26