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Latest posts by Dinah

1 to 10 of 46

azalea wind damage

Posted: 29/06/2014 at 01:23

Just to thank everyone who helped with this - Two of the cuttings have rooted! I am delighted, delighted and triply delighted as I now have 3 lovely plants to treasure, and a whole lot more faith in things turning out for the best after a storm.

Hierochloe odorata v/s leather jackets

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 16:03

Strange. I am wondering if Hierochloe odorata (buffalo, vanilla, holy) grass is resistant to cutworms/leather jackets? Practically everything else left in trays in the yard was affected this spring, but not a shallow tray of this grass/herb, despite it being moved around to get the best of the weather. I would have thought (being a grass) it would have been one of the first to go. I know the taste of vanilla comes from a chemical called Coumarin that is also present in Cinnamon, but I can't find any references to insecticidal properties online. Does anyone happen to know this? I ask because I was thinking of using it as a companion plant if it is resistant or repellant.

Keeping wind off a windy allotment

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 02:30

For a low hedge try Sea buck-thorn. It is the plant with orange berries that you sometimes see growing on dunes. The Prunus Spinosa (sloe) is another tough little tree to make a wind shelter belt, and you get the fruits which can be used in wine. It is most useful for areas with poor anchorage due to a lot of sand in the soil (it's often used to support crumbling cliff-side pathways and roads).

A space saving alternative would be a willow hedge. You can weave in the willow branches to keep them back in place, they are very supple so make good wind protection, and you can cut them right back. You will get far better results if you do keep pruning them to size, since you will also get straight, supple stems that will look attractive too, and they come in several bright colors. You will need to choose one of the more compact varieties - of course, since some would grow too big too quickly.  If you use the cut stems among the vegetables as supports (they are excellent for this purpose) they may well take root; but you can then pull them out and hand the rooted whips on to other allotment users for wind breaks.

Human irrigation system

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 02:08

Never good news that Mike, but yes, I know people who have gotten better quite quickly after the treatment. Make sure they do everything they can, it's a world where the assertive get what they need, so don't be afraid to make a fuss if you think any aspect of your treatment is substandard. Also, live for the moment. Worrying never helped anyone recover, so get stuck in there and enjoy all the sights of spring! Good luck and a speedy recovery.

morrisions and a kwiw

Posted: 01/05/2014 at 23:58

I know about Kiwi because I grew about 10 of them from seed. They are cut back almost completely by frost, but each spring they sprout up and grow very quickly into very attractive vines. Mine have wonderful red stems and the leaves and stems are covered with soft, red spines. They have yellow flowers. Mine are growing outdoors, but I do live on the coast and have a moderated climate due to the gulf-stream. They don't seem to mind the searing north wind, or the salt that the winds bring now that they are well established, but I provide a bit of shelter each spring when they sprout up by putting a large potted grass plant on the northerly, seaward side.

You will think this is a bit daft, but seriously, you will need to watch that any local cats don't get at them while they are young and supple. Cats love Kiwi plants even more than they love cat-mint, and will roll all over the plant ecstatically pulling off leaves and biting through stems. I've made a wire-netting frame for the lower part of the plants so they are protected where they can easily be reached. Once established there seem to be few problems with the plants and they are very easy to grow - you can sprout the seed easily in a tray covered with a plastic bag. You can use the seed of a fruit from the supermarket if you are looking for a few extra plants for fertilization. It doesn't seem to matter which specific variety you use. Great plants! I've had lots of fun growing them.

Whats eating my seeds

Posted: 01/05/2014 at 23:43

Oh! I just thought, if you do put the cat/cats in the poly-tunnel, don't forget that cats seem to be very interested in eating slug pellets. I have to dig out little pits in the soil and cover them with half coconut shells pinned down firmly with tent pegs if I ever put the pellets down. Most of the time it isn't worth my using slug pellets because it is such a big operation making them cat proof - better using saucers of beer or citrous fruit skins to collect them.

Also, you'll probably find this obvious but others may not know, don't use mouse or rat poison anywhere if you do have cats. Cats have even be poisoned by eating a mouse that was dying of poison, and they sometimes eat rat poison despite it's blue and cereal based nature - horrible thought, but worth keeping in mind. Sorry to go on and on when your question was so straightforward - one thing always seems to lead to another in my garden!

Whats eating my seeds

Posted: 01/05/2014 at 18:45

This one I may know. Mice or rats I think. Maybe squirrels if the poly-tunnel is well secured all but a high vent. I notice that you have some affiliation with cats. If you cover the plants/seed trays with chicken wire (against possible mistakes re: litter tray look alike) and put the cat/cats in there for a few hours each week on a shady day, the smell of the proximity of them is often enough to deter a rodent.

I have read lots of complaints about cats in gardens, but out in the countryside we know exactly what cats are for (beside being some of our best furry friends). They prevent rodents from getting into places where we are storing food, seeds, grain, bulbs etc. Keeping the cats off growing plants (and bird feeding areas for that matter) is no problem, you just put wire over the treys, tables and beds. I suppose they could be more of a problem to some people than the rodents in towns and suburbs were keeping things looking tidy and containing children in small areas is important, but I think that out in the countryside they are the most humane and effective solution (short of a ferret perhaps).

For those concerned, since fortifying my bird table I have had one bird death this spring, which related to some accidentally split bird food - rather sad but not too bad a record considering there are 11 cats cohabiting here. No mice or rats in the house or sheds - not a whisker.

Truly evil weevil

Posted: 01/05/2014 at 17:48

Thanks dove. We have quite a few bats too, so maybe when the grubs hatch the balance will be restored. I love the idea of farming a big crop of grubs for the bats, it seems so much more worthwhile.

Truly evil weevil

Posted: 30/04/2014 at 01:10

No, it is definitely the leaves that are eaten last of all. It is like something small is hauling them down; stems getting shorter and shorter, and finally the leaves disappearing. It is really quite sinister! No roots left what-so-ever either. I think, from reading the responses that my best bet is to try a Nematode treatment. I will have a go at the vine weevil and the leather-jacket treatments - definitely worth a go for both! I was raking the lawn area ready for re-planting today, and I found both vine weevil look-a-likes and leather-jackets! There was at least a grub per square foot of lawn, in some places even more. What the veg and flower beds are like - I can only shudder at the thought. I don't think voles are responsible because I haven't seen any other signs of them. If they were there, perhaps they would eat the grubs for me?? Anyway, nematodes definitely on the to do list.

Thank you all again for your (as usual) most excellent advice.

Just out of interest, does anyone know if this problem is partly the result of us not having any freezing weather up here this past winter?

Truly evil weevil

Posted: 29/04/2014 at 01:01

What is doing this! Not only is it eating my plants but it is doing it in the most infuriating way! Something is eating small plants and seedlings by dragging them down into the soil, stem first, then the leaves too. I keep finding strange little tufts of green pocking out of the soil where seedlings used to be. Eventually those disappear too, and there is no root on the plants left whatsoever. I live in a daddy-long-legs infested area and have suspected the lava (leather-jackets) but I've not been able to catch one in the act. Is this what they do? If so, how can I punish them enough?


1 to 10 of 46

Discussions started by Dinah

Hierochloe odorata v/s leather jackets

Does Vanilla Grass resist cutworms and leather jackets? 
Replies: 0    Views: 128
Last Post: 07/06/2014 at 16:03

Truly evil weevil

Something terrible eating my plants 
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Last Post: 01/05/2014 at 17:48

Lawn re-sowing dilema

Do I do it bit by bit or all at once? 
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deodarus - how much can go

Arboracultural advise needed? 
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azalea wind damage

Can I use any of the broken branches for cuttings 
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Is anyone familiar with keeping Jackaranda for bonsi? 
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Static-electrical winowing

How to use static-electricity for winowing. 
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Rooting cuttings with potatoes

rooting medium discovered by chance  
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Last Post: 02/09/2012 at 13:20

Planting out pot grown roses

I'm about to plant out rose "kiftsgate" and need advice. 
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Last Post: 25/06/2012 at 19:54

Neighbours dogs - my plant pots!

Dogs cocking legs into my plant pots etc. 
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Last Post: 25/05/2012 at 21:39

Newbie to Morning Glory

Advise needed on planting out. 
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Last Post: 27/03/2012 at 17:58

Tropaeoleum Azureum

small plant 
Replies: 0    Views: 654
Last Post: 30/01/2012 at 02:22

flower buckets, mushroom cartons and noodle pots.

A dedicated scavenger reveals all! 
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Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 13:54
13 threads returned