Latest posts by Dinah

Bitter smelling plant invasion

Posted: 14/10/2017 at 13:22

Thank you for that Welshonion. I'm glad it isn't the Deadly Nightshade, I will look through the family online and see if I can find it. I live in a sheep farming area, so I had better identify it and at least alert the shepherds not to let the sheep into my vegetable patch if it is poisonous!

Bitter smelling plant invasion

Posted: 13/10/2017 at 12:58

Sorry I don't have means to send a picture at the moment, but a nasty smelling plant, looking a bit like a solanum, but with a rapidly spreading rhizome that look a bit like a Jerusalem Artichoke is cropping up all over my vegetable garden.

It is getting rather scary since it is appearing in my cut salad and other places. I have traced the patch to an old, abandoned barn yard, where it is spreading amongst the moss and brambles, covering several meters. It has tiny flowers and little clusters of bright green berries, that are very small, and are obviously being spread to my garden by birds. The leaves are lancolate-oval with pointed tips and slight serration - and these are the source of the nasty, bitter smell. The rhizome is forming a complex matt, each node bit being a little smaller than a Jerusalem Artichoke, but looking very similar.

Does any cleaver person know what these are please, and are they poisonous?

Net fruit bags - tomato ties etc.

Posted: 06/10/2017 at 20:18
I like the other ideas put forward. I've always wondered about whether the fat balls in bags could entangle birds as they become empty. Has anyone had experience of this?

Net fruit bags - tomato ties etc.

Posted: 05/10/2017 at 22:09

This summer I experimented with re-using net fruit/onion bags from the supermarket as ties for my tomatoes and beans.

They worked very well indeed. You cut off both ends where there is a staple or a plastic clip, stretch them out, and simply wrap them around the stem and cane and tie twice. They stay in position indoors and outdoors, and the stems are less pinched than with a plastic or string tie, as the pinch is well distributed without loosing exposure to the air.

Please remember, if you ever need to dispose of these net bags, to tie them in lots of knots so that birds and wildlife do not get caught in them, or put them in appropriate recycling.

Packing paper - hanging basket liner.

Posted: 29/05/2017 at 18:51

Gosh, it looks like there are quite a few great ideas out there to try. I will have to write them down and save them - if I can find a scrap of paper to write them on that is...

Packing paper - hanging basket liner.

Posted: 29/05/2017 at 17:46

Hi, anyone who isn't out in the garden working at the moment!

I am using the thick, rough textured, brown paper that comes packed around items ordered by post as hanging basket liners. So far it has been very successful, weathering two rain/hail storms and one very high, mountain wind, but I will keep you posted on it's longevity over the summer.

The method: I rolled up and stored the packing paper in a dry place, smoothing it out as I rolled it. I lined the baskets with about 3-5 layers (more for big baskets) and then wetted it thoroughly. I stacked the baskets tightly together, to mould the paper into shape, moving the top basket to the bottom part way through to press that one firmly too. Then I let them dry for a day or two. I added the plants, and the soil in the usual manner, poking holes for the plants as I progressed.

They are holding soil perfectly well so far, and I have found that the paper, changing to a darker colour when wet, gives me an instant indication of when the baskets need watering, without me having to climb up and poke around. Also, the liner can be composted next winter. Liners can be expensive, and often don't fit, and besides, re-use is even better than recycle.

I will let you know if I have any problems with them later in the year, and maybe send you a photo when they are in flower, because I think they look very smart indeed!

Hundreds of missing bulbs

Posted: 02/02/2017 at 20:11

Thank you Pansyface, I think we will need good luck.

Hundreds of missing bulbs

Posted: 02/02/2017 at 18:17

Many thanks for all the thoughtful responses. We have been investigating the problem online, but also, (inspired by Pansyface - thank you again!) we have looked for anything that might have heightened the possibility of rot in the past few years.

Astonishingly, we found out yesterday that the disappearance of my mother's bulbs could be the result of a new housing estate being built just above my mother's house on the high ridge where she lives. This came to light when she called the water authority to investigate a different problem, a very worrying noise of gushing water, which she had assumed was a broken pipe. An investigative engineer came out, and advised that it sounded more like a gushing stream. The probable source of this new stream seems likely to be inadequate drainage provided for the new estate, the water having found a new course, rushing away on the outside of the existent pipework. This new stream is, according to the engineer, either passing very close by my mother's foundations, or under her house, possibly emerging and gathering on the other side, in her previously well drained garden! We are quite stunned. According to the engineer, the problem(s) caused, which may involve structural repairs, can be solved once the entire road has been closed, taken up, and a new and adequate system installed

My advice to anyone who has something big and unexpected happen in their garden is not to ignore it, but to look out for changes in the nearby landscape in case there is a causal link!!!

I recounted all your suggestions to my mother, and she wants me to pass on her thanks to all for sharing your valuable experience and information

Hundreds of missing bulbs

Posted: 31/01/2017 at 23:48

Hogweed - They disappeared in some cases many years after planting and flowering happily, in some one year after flowering and some in their second year after flowering. They simply haven't appeared again - all except one sad little clump of snowdrops that is situated amidst the roots of a conifer tree.

Pansyface - Thank you for the link, I will check out the eelworm and rot. Yes, there were new daffodils planted three years ago, before the problem started. They came up perfectly well the first spring, but I suppose something could have been brought in with them. I will check.

Hundreds of missing bulbs

Posted: 31/01/2017 at 19:22

I'm writing this on behalf of my mother, so please excuse my crossness and consternation on her part!

Something has caused my Mother's bulbs to disappear over a two year period. They started vanishing last year, all her Rippling Waters daffodils, miniature daffodils, poet's daffodils. and various tulips. This was followed this year by the disappearance of hundreds of snowdrops, winter aconites and more. She rarely sees squirrels in the area, and the dog is half terrier, so would get very excited if there were lots of rats and mice. She does live next to a garden that can reasonably be called a wildlife sanctuary, consisting of a huge bramble patch which is inhabited by foxes (who keep the rats and mice down) and badgers. I suspected the badgers straight away, but she says that there has been no sign of significantly disturbed earth - something she would have noticed while walking the dog. The garden is on a slope, the soil is sandy with some lime deposits, but it is very fertile from decades of cultivation. No bulbs disappeared prior to these happenings.Whatever THING is taking/eating them leaves without a trace of bulb or root or stalk, and must level the soil afterwards in order not to be noticed.

My mother is very upset about the loss of her spring garden, and wonders if anyone has any advice, firstly about what might be happening, and secondly how to stop it happening. We would be particularly interested in reading about methods of stopping bulbs being eaten/stolen in some way, but any advice would be very, very welcome.

Discussions started by Dinah

Good luck for the storm everyone

Especially those in the north and west 
Replies: 41    Views: 1603
Last Post: 17/10/2017 at 15:05

Bitter smelling plant invasion

Something nasty in my vegetable patch 
Replies: 6    Views: 404
Last Post: 14/10/2017 at 14:59

Net fruit bags - tomato ties etc.

Yes, the net fruit bags make great ties! 
Replies: 5    Views: 351
Last Post: 06/10/2017 at 22:36

Packing paper - hanging basket liner.

A re-use idea that works! 
Replies: 5    Views: 325
Last Post: 29/05/2017 at 18:51

Hundreds of missing bulbs

Hundreds of bulbs vanish from garden! 
Replies: 15    Views: 1164
Last Post: 03/02/2017 at 10:48

Beans and Sweetcorn combo?

Remember reading? 
Replies: 13    Views: 711
Last Post: 27/11/2016 at 23:31

Tulip and Hankerchief trees

How to prune 
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Last Post: 20/11/2016 at 18:37

To erradicate - flatworms so far, so good.

I used the following method with success for catching flatworms 
Replies: 15    Views: 746
Last Post: 24/08/2016 at 15:38

A protective growing tray for very tiny seeds

Re-using Frerro Roche trays - it works! 
Replies: 7    Views: 1030
Last Post: 23/05/2016 at 06:36

Gu pots and pringle lids.

Only for those who know a teenager 
Replies: 10    Views: 3698
Last Post: 24/02/2016 at 13:36

Any problems scarifieing hard seeds?

Kit fans - there is a thing that might help. 
Replies: 0    Views: 601
Last Post: 06/02/2016 at 21:58

Mid-winter roses

My rose bush produces strange flowers in winter 
Replies: 8    Views: 1419
Last Post: 15/02/2016 at 16:11

Stratification and species tulips?

Tulip seeds. Do I need to stratify and how long. 
Replies: 4    Views: 813
Last Post: 26/12/2015 at 17:44

What on earth is doing this?

Something sinister in my yard! 
Replies: 11    Views: 1657
Last Post: 21/10/2015 at 21:06

Indelable marker pens for real?

A marker pen that won't be wiped away outdoors. 
Replies: 24    Views: 2906
Last Post: 04/10/2015 at 20:35
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