London (change)
Today 33°C / 19°C
Tomorrow 24°C / 18°C


Latest posts by Dinah

Block paving - How do I weed it?

Posted: 17/04/2015 at 02:19

The Problem: I rent a lovely house with a lovely garden and a fantastic view. I tend the garden, and love every minute of it, but the block paved yard and driveway tortures me to distraction  

Things That Don't Work: Pressure washing it just seems to blast the sand out, so that more debris gets washed down under the blocks, and with it more seed. The roots never, ever come up easily from between the blocks. Removing moss and small weeds with a manual scraper, or wire brush, supposedly designed for the purpose, takes about 5 weeks, and the weeds are coming back at the other end by the time I've finished, so it's back breaking and heartbreaking both at once. Weedkiller dosn't seem to work very well, perhaps it is all going between the bricks but not spreading out in the roots underneath, and the one that goes in through the leaves and then down into the root only works on the seeds that have sprouted enough to take it in, while the others come shooting up within weeks of the gap becoming vacant, so ends up very, very expensive. Special coatings are way above my budget if they will have to be done every few years. Lightweight "weed-wand" burners are just too small and light for our huge expance of block paving.

A Possible Solution?  I've heard rumour of people hiring big, push along, tarmac burners to scorch the weeds between the bricks to death. I assume they must mean the smaller ones that are normally used for re-surfacing pavements and park pathways, rather than the huge ones you see driving along the road. Problem is I don't know where to hire one, and can't find any on an internet search. This is largely because I don't know the proper name of these elusive devises - Please, dose anyone know 1) what they are called, 2) if they work, and 3) are they incredibly expensive to hire??? Any information would be welcome.

Is this idea safe?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 21:45

Great! That's two feet square more space - they can go back into the stratifying spot on the porch doorstep, thanks fidgetbones!

Is this idea safe?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 20:10

Yes the lack of light and the to early start are issues, but I don't think I can do much about them. My hellebore seedlings sprouted early while stratifying, I have some of the Acer (palmate and dissectum) have started up after a two year wait and I don't want to loose them, there also seems to be a wee Magnolia Soulangiana, which I'd given up on but left in the pot for luck. There are perennial snapdragon seedlings that started up in the parent's pot, they are of my own cross, so I want those to do well, but they have come up to early. My little Paulonnia first year saplings have also come into bud to early because they were fooled by the mild weather, and I'm thinking they could do with extra warmth. I had plans to start early Easter lilies, but just don't have the space. There are lot's more - it's ridiculous, everything has started up for the spring out in the garden, and now the snow and freeze is here. I'm really stuck for places outside and in. I want to use the propagators for sowing seed, and they are full, so the big dome would be very useful right now! We've a very uppity climate here because we are coastal, and close to the gulf stream, but we are also on a north facing slope, with full exposure from sudden attacks of Arctic weather, and that means high winds and driving the snow - still, at least it's not the Vikings!

Is this idea safe?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 04:52

Sounds good advise. If I put a residual circuit device in, yes, thank goodness I have a spare one, and put something absorbent under the floor of the thing to soak up any drips, I open all the vents, don't over water, and how about I put my extra seedling trays in plastic bags to minimise the condensation...? And do it in the morning so I can keep an eye on it all day... At least I might get a bit of extra heat in there while I'm snowed in. Thanks folks, I'll report in soon if all goes well!

Is this idea safe?

Posted: 28/01/2015 at 19:10

I have a big indoor plastic dome on a frame, about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide and the same hight at it's apex. It's floor is comprised of a wire frame, about two inches from the table it stands on. It is unheated. I am thinking of putting my three electric propagators inside it, opening the vents, and using the rest of the space to put other seed trays. Am I risking electrocution or fire, or are these apparently, well sealed connections on the outside of my propagators as good as they look? Anybody know about propagator safety??


Posted: 23/01/2015 at 23:27

Yes, yes! I've seen that... two or three will hop across a discarded patch of ground covered in weeds, to a single, treasured sapling in the middle, rummage through the barricades, eat it, and then hop off together, like they're congratulating one another on having just done a public service. It's so sinister!


Posted: 23/01/2015 at 15:57

Arr, thanks folks, I'll be polishin me halo for a bit after that endorsement.. No, not everything is poisonous to us on the list, nor to the rabbits, but I just found the introduction to the list which should have gone first, so here goes:

While the term “Rabbit-proof” with regard to plants is used (and is popular with garden centres and online suppliers etc.) what they actually means is “rabbit-resistant.” All plants, when they are young and tender are worth a nibble to a hungry bunny. Even “lords and ladies” plants are not rabbit-proof when they put out young, lush shoots – and they contain a burning acid in their sap! Tree bark is a fairly good deterrent, as are very dense thorns, and since rabbits obviously don't climb trees, tall shrubs and bushes are naturally resistant – but even so, slender young, green stems need protection. This is why climbing plants and vines are popular in rabbit areas, and species (wild) roses, some of which are far more woody and thorny e.g. Rosa Spinnosisima tend to be more popular than the glamorous hybrids grown in towns. Again, however, it only takes a nibble to snip through the base of a narrow stem and the whole plant is gone – so a bit of netting around a young, soft plant may be worth the effort. I'm not entirely sure about tree and plant roots. Some gardeners report rabbits digging out the roots of saplings and other new plantings (especially tuberous rooted perennials) when other green stuff is scarce. Perhaps they are just digging burrows – but I'd be on my guard. I have read that sinking a ring of chicken wire into the ground (to a depth of 6-8 inches) around a newly planted specimen will stop them digging out roots.

If I think a plant may be toxic I've put a note by it, but I have limited knowledge of toxicology, and you'll probably recognise other plants that are toxic on the list. This is only significant to mention here because some plants avoided by rabbits are avoided precisely because they contain something toxic or indigestible!



Posted: 22/01/2015 at 21:48

Thanks for the moral support there Busy-Lizzy. I was flagging toward the end!


Posted: 22/01/2015 at 21:36
  • (violet) - I find this hard to believe, since violets and pansies are very tasty and sweet!

  • (everlasting flower)

  • Zinnia elegans

It was hard to stop the formatting going askew, apologies, but I hope this helps anyway. Maybe if you cut and paste it will go back to something sensible.



Posted: 22/01/2015 at 21:17
  • (Solomon's seal)

  • Polygonum

  • (primrose)

  • (lungwort)

  • (London pride)

  • Schizostylis coccinea

  • (ice plant)

  • (sea ragwort)

  • (lamb's ears)

  • (African marigold)

  • (French marigold)

  • Tradescantia virginiana

  • (wake robin)

  • Tritonia crocata

  • Trollius europaeus (globe flower) - Toxic to humans

  • (tulips)

  • (mullein)

Discussions started by Dinah

My mum's Sweet Peas didn't happen.

WANTED! Annual Sweet Pea Plants 
Replies: 10    Views: 321
Last Post: 23/06/2015 at 01:07

Poppy disease

Replies: 3    Views: 247
Last Post: 09/06/2015 at 02:07

Block paving - How do I weed it?

In dispare over perennial weeds between paving blocks. 
Replies: 18    Views: 911
Last Post: 30/04/2015 at 00:00

Is this idea safe?

three elexctric propagators inside a big plastic dome. 
Replies: 9    Views: 364
Last Post: 29/01/2015 at 21:45

How to make a free hedge - for real!

Replies: 2    Views: 278
Last Post: 16/01/2015 at 20:09

Hierochloe odorata v/s leather jackets

Does Vanilla Grass resist cutworms and leather jackets? 
Replies: 0    Views: 233
Last Post: 07/06/2014 at 16:03

Truly evil weevil

Something terrible eating my plants 
Replies: 10    Views: 832
Last Post: 01/05/2014 at 17:48

Lawn re-sowing dilema

Do I do it bit by bit or all at once? 
Replies: 6    Views: 394
Last Post: 28/03/2014 at 23:29

deodarus - how much can go

Arboracultural advise needed? 
Replies: 2    Views: 365
Last Post: 14/02/2014 at 20:27

azalea wind damage

Can I use any of the broken branches for cuttings 
Replies: 10    Views: 794
Last Post: 29/06/2014 at 09:29


Is anyone familiar with keeping Jackaranda for bonsi? 
Replies: 0    Views: 542
Last Post: 17/12/2012 at 22:38

Static-electrical winowing

How to use static-electricity for winowing. 
Replies: 7    Views: 758
Last Post: 16/12/2012 at 15:40

Rooting cuttings with potatoes

rooting medium discovered by chance  
Replies: 2    Views: 954
Last Post: 02/09/2012 at 13:20

Planting out pot grown roses

I'm about to plant out rose "kiftsgate" and need advice. 
Replies: 9    Views: 1195
Last Post: 25/06/2012 at 19:54

Neighbours dogs - my plant pots!

Dogs cocking legs into my plant pots etc. 
Replies: 7    Views: 1181
Last Post: 25/05/2012 at 21:39
1 to 15 of 18 threads