Latest posts by CurlyCarly

1 to 10 of 80

Harlequin Ladybird

Posted: 15/10/2016 at 22:42

Hi AuntyRach

That definitely looks like a Harlequin. They come in a number of different colours and can be seen in huge clusters at this time of year around the sash window recesses in our house. They're a real pest as they tend to swarm around the house as soon as the central heating comes on (around Halloween)..

I was advised by an entomologist to hoover them up . He said that beetles are tough and can survive that treatment. I hoovered them up one evening a few years ago when my seven year old grandson was freaked out after they came swarming round his nightlight. I stopped counting when I reached a hundred! More often I have scooped them into a container and put them somewhere sheltered outside.

When these first came into the country in the early 2000's they were thought to pose a danger to our native ladybirds by eating more than their fair share of aphids and even eating our natives. I think the jury may still be out on this but they are so widespread now that nothing will stop them.

There is a really good website (see below) with good pics to help id.

Good luck and, whatever you do, don't let these 'little lovelies' in your house!

Manure contamination update

Posted: 15/10/2016 at 22:18

Sorry Pansyface for my delay in getting back to this. Thanks for the links. I've scoured all the info I could find and, apart from possibly in Scotland, the problem seems to be old news.

Mac12, the problem seems to have started when a new type of herbicide was used on hay crops that remained in the hay and straw and was passed through the animals in their faeces thereby contaminating manure. The herbicide didn't disintegrate remaining active and caused distortion in garden crops, some plants being more susceptible than others. Some commercially produced compost has also been contaminated.

There don't seem to be any big scares recently so we've taken a chance and bought some very well rotted stuff from a local supplier, fingers crossed it'll be ok.


Last edited: 15 October 2016 22:19:21

Manure contamination update

Posted: 01/10/2016 at 15:51

Hi Everyone, It's a long time since I've been on the forum and it's reassuring to see there are so many familiar names still on here!

My hubbie and I have recently taken on a new allotment - a real adventure for us and a challenge to our mutual patience, negotiation and diplomatic skills - but that's another story!

The previous owner advised us against using manure as he said it has sometimes been contaminated with herbicides resulting in a number of allotments that have had to close because of it.

We have a fantastic source of well rotted manure from a local nursery but are concerned about using it and unable to confirm the provenance of the straw used to make it. When I've researched the problem on the net this seems to suggest that this has been a historical problem and it looks as though the herbicide in question has now been banned.

Can anyone enlighten me as to the current situation. Is manure now safe(r) to use?

Many thanks,

Curly Carly

Last edited: 01 October 2016 15:52:59

Tree fungus

Posted: 03/08/2015 at 07:05
Thanks for the suggestions folks but this tree is ginormous. It is higher than the house and would cost a fortune to fell. My daughter is concerned it may become unstable but as yet there are no dead branches.
Has anyone had a similar problem? Was it treatable?
CC xx

Tree fungus

Posted: 29/07/2015 at 14:18

Hi all,

My daughter has a huge Eucalyptus tree in her garden that has developed a white fungus-like discolouration and has bark falling off. This is happening mainly on the north facing side of the trunk. The tree usually drops bark in small narrow strips but this is going right down to the trunk under the bark.

Any ideas suggestions what it might be/ how to treat it/ prognosis?




Ants in the lawn

Posted: 15/05/2015 at 21:39

I've just received a refund for some nematodes I ordered from T&M to kill off the RED ants in my large garden. The website said it killed the ants but on receiving the package it informed me they only irritate the ants and move them elsewhere. This is of absolutely no use to me as I have a bad reaction to red ant stings (I'm happy to share my garden with ants of any colour apart from the red ones).

I searched elsewhere online and it seems that a solution of Borax is the only sure answer. I had been told this was now illegal but find it has simply been reclassified and is still available on Ebay. Apparently you mix it with sugar ie 1 teaspoon of Borax to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and mix it to a gluey consistency with warm water and leave it by the ant runs, I plan to put it in an unturned jar to protect it from rain.. The ants take it to their nest and it should do the trick.

low maintance plants

Posted: 16/03/2015 at 21:04

Hi Graham, You say your uncle gets geraniums every year. Are you thinking of the pelargoniums - the ones that are tender and often used in hanging baskets? The perennial variety come in lovely blues, whites and pinks and various heights and go really well with roses.  Also Alchemilla Mollis goes really well  and makes brilliant low maintenance ground cover. I've just bought a few Vinca Minor 'Gertrude jekyll' (perriwinkle) to use as ground cover for an area that is a pain to get into as it's on a steep slope. This plant has evergreen foliage and dainty white star shaped flowers that should keep flowering for much of the year.

I would be tempted to go for low maintenance ground cover. These would all work well with summer bulbs, eg Alliums.

Dove's idea of daylilies is a good one too. They give good ground cover and the leaf colour right now is very fresh and bright. 

Our local club is having a special event with Bob Flowerdew talking about 'No Work gardening' that I'm looking forward to on 18th April. I'll let you know if I pick up any tips


Decking and rats

Posted: 16/03/2015 at 20:36

Do you have any bird feeders nearby? I saw a rat last winter climb into the 'squirrel proof' peanut feeder outside our kitchen window in full daylight. I've had to stop feeding the birds.

What does your pest control officer advise?

Plant Identification please

Posted: 16/03/2015 at 20:30

I agree with daydaisy. I have quite a bit of it in the borders and it looks just like yours. It looks very pretty growing though other things, isn't a thug and is easy to pull up if you don't like it.

Newbie with a big garden

Posted: 15/02/2015 at 19:08

Hi there, the best advice I was given when tackling a newly acquired garden was to leave well alone for twelve months and take note of what you like an what you don't like. This gives you chance to get to know your garden and reduces the temptation to act too impulsively.

Bind weed - and I have all the pesky things you mention! - I find is easier to control by unwinding the plant and sticking it in a polythene bag then spraying it in the bag. It reduces the risk of spray going elsewhere. The bags can be tucked behind another plant out of sight until it's done its job.

Brambles, eight years on we're still doing battle, seem to do best if you are able to dig them up. Failing that wait until the growing season, cut them down to the new growth and spray with a strong solution of Round up. My bottle has a pull down label - not obvious at first glance - that gives different concentrations. Brambles need the strongest solution. Be prepared to wage a long war though.

Ivy is a fabulous plant for the wildlife so I'd think hard before eliminating it.

Most of all, enjoy your garden. Joan Bakewell said, when she tried to put gardening into 'Room 10' that it is 'housework out of doors'. I think it's important that it doesn't become a chore.

1 to 10 of 80

Discussions started by CurlyCarly

Manure contamination update

herbicide in manure 
Replies: 3    Views: 420
Last Post: 15/10/2016 at 22:18

Tree fungus

Fungus and bark loss on Eucalyptus 
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Ground Ivy in the Asparagus bed

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Tree suggestions

Advice and ideas 
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Tree Peony Transplant

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Plant ID please

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honeysuckle won't flower

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Where's my tidy gene?

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Speakers for the club

Any ideas 
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Last Post: 10/06/2014 at 22:00

Tackling erosion

holding back a steep bank 
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Last Post: 27/01/2013 at 21:01
10 threads returned