London (change)
Today 26°C / 16°C
Tomorrow 24°C / 16°C


Latest posts by Daintiness

Which? Compost reviews

Posted: 08/02/2013 at 23:23

 OOps meant to add - they only gave the results for 22 composts as the other 5 have been reformulated for this year, the ones listed have not.

Bottom on the peat list was Westland multipurpose, 70% peat and a test score of 59% and Verve John Innes seed compost, 50% peat and a test score of 48%

The botton 2 peat free were both grow bags - New Horizon organic & peat free and Verve grow your own peat free - both with a test score of 34%

Which? Compost reviews

Posted: 08/02/2013 at 23:13

A little more detail to answer the questions above - The survey appears in the current Jan/Feb 2013 Which? garden magazine. The survey was conducted from spring 2012 to find the best buy composts for growing seeds and young plants.

They tested 27 widely available composts - 18 peat based, 9 peat free and asked  mystery shoppers to buy them from 4 different regions in the country.

First they tested the handling and texture of the compost for its suitability for small seeds.

They then tried to raise 12 pots of marigolds and basil seeds from each compost ( 3 from each bag bought  from the 4 different areas in the country) Apparently basil does not germinate well if there is a high level of dissolved nutrients in the compost and marigolds will not thrive if the nutrient levels are too low! They counted germinated seeds and the size and quality of the seedlings.

Then they tested for growing on young plants and seedlings - 20 snapdragon and 20 tomato seedlings were potted up in each compost. Again snapdragons struggle if nutrient levels are too high and tomato don't thrive if they are too low. They were grown on without feeding until the largest were ready to be planted out. All plants were rated on size, quality and leaf colour.

They state that although grow bags are not intended for using to raise seeds  they tested them as some people do use them for this purpose as they are so cheap.

Brands tested included Westland, Bulrush, Verve(B&Q) New Horizon, Levington, Miracle gro, Homebase, Vital Earth, Arthur Bower's 

The best peat free compost was Miracle - Gro concentrated enriched compost with  a test score of 73% with Vital Earth  multipurpose compost 2nd with a test score of 65%

Hope this helps


Which? Compost reviews

Posted: 07/02/2013 at 22:17

Just been reading Which? magazine's reviews of the performance of different composts for growing seeds and young plants.

Top is Arthur Bower's seed and cutting compost following by 3 different Verve(B&Q) composts -  grow bag then sowing and cutting then multipurpose. Interestingly and as they say 'disappointingly' all the worthy Best Buy  composts for raising plants in are peat based - though the percentage for each varies!

                                                                                         test score

Arthur Bower's seed and cutting compost is 95% peat                91%

Verve Grow your Own Growing Bag 55% peat                             91%

Verve Sowing and Cutting Compost 75% peat                             89%

Verve Multipurpose Compost  58% peat                                      88%

Any comments, experiences, recommendations?

Talkback: Goldcrest encounter

Posted: 10/01/2013 at 22:22

While attending a wedding reception in August at the Ulster Folk Museum, N. Ireland something fluttered by. Several guests stopped to stare. I intially thought it was a butterfly but as it landed on the deep windowsill of the building, I could clearly see it was a young Goldcrest - delightful!

I have them in my own garden in Essex - suburban. I can usually hear them in the summer but not see any but at this time of year I can see them in the hawthorn hedge or holly tree looking for food. I have yet to get a photo as they move so fast!


Posted: 10/01/2013 at 21:30

I run a gardening club at my local primary school, am part of the RHS School Campaign - we are on level 3 and have received seeds, info packs, have entered competitions and got garden vouchers etc through the scheme. I  have also got the school involved with the local park and we have planted bulbs, plants, collected leaves etc and bird watched in the park. We take part in the Big Bird Watch at school  and have entered the local council's in bloom competition - anything is possible with someone with time, interest and enthusiasm. Grandparents are usually more able to help out than parents but the more varied the input the better informed we all are...there are lots of schemes out there if you have time to look - we have just received a free apple tree through the capitalgrowth, a London based scheme. Why don't you volunteer have know idea where it will take you - I had no idea I would be in the local paper, meet the mayor, exhibit a scarecrow at the Hampton Court flower show and who knows where our club will go next but our seeds are ready and our daffs are up!!

shrub suggestions

Posted: 10/01/2013 at 19:45

A great job...can I suggest a little light reading while you rest your bones. I am just finishing a book by Mike Dilger (apparently the One show naturalist, I'd never heard of him) called My Garden and Other Animals. He gives a month to month account over a year of what he does and what animals he sees and attracts to his new (overgrown) garden as he does it. Thrown in are some tidbits of info, gardening and wildlife, not too much but enough to keep you interested and teach you as he learns as he goes along. He mentions different plants he selects and why and the ones he also dispenses with and how he creates new habitats etc. I enjoyed it and thought it might appeal to you as you take on your plot.  

Can anyone help identity this plant?

Posted: 08/01/2013 at 14:54

Looks like a Crinum to me. It is a summer flowering bulb, can be evergreen (mine is) Could be that it hasn't reached flowering size. Last owner may have removed clump to take with them to new home and small bits left behind are coming up...

shrub suggestions

Posted: 06/01/2013 at 21:20

If you want to attract wildlife it is good to have something in flower throughout the  year. Shrubs which flower, produce berries and cover for wildlife tick more boxes and therefore should, imo be given priority. However plant for yourself too....something that is lovely to look at, smell etc. Some I wouldn't be without for me and wildlife - Lonicera fragrantissima has just started flowering, I saw a bee on it today and it smells wonderful, gives cover in summer and I grow a clematis through it in the summer; Berberis. lots of different types but i love  Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea 'Atropurpurea Nana' AGM - flowers and berries; Pyracantha - flowers, berries and cover - great grown up against a wall.

Just for me (not specifically for wildlife) Camellia, Nandina domestica, Callicarpa bodinieri var.giraldii ‘Profusion’ .... I could go on but at this time of year I am so glad of my winter jasmine, mahonia, clematis 'freckles' and honeysuckle to lift my spirits and am watching for snowdrops, daffs, primroses to follow on.... and the days are getting longer.

Enjoy your planning and I hope you will soon be enjoying the fruits of your labours.    

climbing plants

Posted: 16/12/2012 at 19:27

I wouldn't recommend armandii as it gets very large  - and you will be continually cutting it back if you only want 6-7ft. Any large flowered  summer flowering clematis  would be good as you would cut it down to the base each spring. eg The President

Maybe you could underplant with some bulbs for interest at other times of the year or if you have a large pot - put in an evergreen shrub and then grow a small climber up through it. Can't think of a combination off hand but I'll have a think...

List of plants reproduced / reproduction by runners

Posted: 02/12/2012 at 09:11

I agree. If you could post a good picture of a leaf or leaves and a section of runner and root you will be more likely to get an answer.

Discussions started by Daintiness

Clematis id needed

Replies: 9    Views: 245
Last Post: 26/07/2014 at 23:22

Dianthus Cuttings

Replies: 1    Views: 168
Last Post: 12/04/2014 at 10:43

Followed threads

Replies: 9    Views: 369
Last Post: Yesterday at 12:24

Butterfly sightings 2014

Replies: 23    Views: 630
Last Post: 14/04/2014 at 17:26

For those with cat, fox or other animal problems....

Replies: 7    Views: 553
Last Post: 05/03/2014 at 15:35

Spawn 2014

Frogspawn and toadspawn arrival 
Replies: 41    Views: 1061
Last Post: 23/03/2014 at 14:13

Dessert apples - glut!

Replies: 12    Views: 488
Last Post: 29/10/2013 at 10:13

ID needed

Replies: 2    Views: 347
Last Post: 21/09/2013 at 13:09


Replies: 11    Views: 410
Last Post: 20/08/2013 at 06:11

Hibiscus Handling

Replies: 6    Views: 375
Last Post: 04/08/2013 at 23:23

Cucumber or courgette?

Replies: 3    Views: 428
Last Post: 17/06/2013 at 21:51

Tree Tomato - any tips?

Replies: 3    Views: 547
Last Post: 12/06/2013 at 10:45

Is this spring worse than last year's?

Replies: 12    Views: 584
Last Post: 14/04/2013 at 22:49

Frogspawn 2013

Spread of frogspawn across the country... 
Replies: 42    Views: 4760
Last Post: 22/03/2014 at 09:25

Which? Compost reviews

which composts perform best 
Replies: 44    Views: 15426
Last Post: 17/04/2014 at 18:41
1 to 15 of 21 threads