Latest posts by Fairygirl

Sweet Pea Know How

Posted: 11/11/2016 at 14:50

Hi BL - yes, they'll take more cold than heat in my experience.  Our summer average in Scotland is less than 20 degrees. Extreme heat doesn't suit them and I think they're better in a bit of shade rather than the sunniest site, with plenty of nutrition and moisture. In the last couple of weeks we've had half a dozen frosts, daytime temps mainly in low single figures, and even when it gets above 5 or 6 degrees, it's only for a few hours. We had a good fall of snow on Tuesday night and it carried on snowing on Wednesday. It was minus 4 or 5 this morning when I fed the birds. It has been drier than normal though - a lot less wind and rain, but that's coming tonight. 

Having said that, variety makes a difference. It's only my Cupanis that are still going - all the rest turned their toes up ages ago!  

Hardy geraniums

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 19:27

Berkley - there are plenty of people here who will be able to give you a few geranium pieces too.

There are so many varieties that it's definitely worth doing a bit of research and getting ones that you really like. They're easy plants to propagate from by division and will grow quickly to fill gaps. 

Well, he won but.....

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 19:21

Great post pansyface.

Debra- before I had my children, I worked for twenty years, often 60 or 70 hours (or more) a week with one day off. I paid tax, council tax and NI, but I rarely used a lot of the 'facilities' it paid for.  I had debates with a couple of people who didn't see why they should pay for schools when they didn't have children. I said  'well, why should I pay for libraries if I don't use them? Or social services when I don't use them?' They didn't have an answer. My parents paid for education that we didn't use because we went to a private school - so my Dad paid twice.

I've rarely had to use a hospital - apart from having my children, and rarely visit a doctor, but that may change in years to come. That's the point. That's how it works here. The workshy and downright lazy will always be there, and so will the hardworking. Nothing is perfect, but we have a system which is there to help us all, as pansyface has so eloquently described. 

We all pay into the pot to help everyone, regardless of their situation. Because at some point - we all use at least one of those services   

Leaf mould

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 15:56

If you don't have a shredder, just go over them with a lawnmower to break them up a bit. Bag them - make sure they're not dry- make a few holes in the bags, then stick them somewhere out the way. They'll break down quite well within a year. If you want really fine stuff, you'll have to wait longer. Some leaves will break down quicker than others too.

A wire cage is ideal, but they will take quite along time to break down. Turn them frequently too to keep them aerated, and water if they get dry.

Accelerators are only for compost bins (although I don't think many people use them) - it's a different process for leaves breaking down. 

Sweet Pea Know How

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 15:16

Experiment a bit too Lisa. You get to know your own conditions that way. 

I expect you'll get a fair bit of cold wind there, so try and keep them sheltered from that. If there's a very long, cold frosty period due, just group them together which will help prevent any root freezing. It's sometimes just a bit of trial and error.   Any small plant is vulnerable during the worst of the winter weather, but it's surprising how well most of them cope. Waterlogged soil is always more of an issue than cold dry conditions, so it's easier when you have things in a pot because the moistness of the soil can be regulated. A little seedling or small plant exposed to cold rain and cold wet soil will struggle more than a little seedling kept on the drier side in a pot in a more sheltered position.I often stick small plants (shrubs or tough perennials) in amongst evergreens in a border to give them a bit of protection. That works well for me. Young seedlings are best in a frame, somewhere that you can easily keep an eye on them though.

I grow my sweet peas mainly in containers because the soil takes a long time to warm up in spring here, and I rarely sow in autumn. Direct sown seed in April catches up with anything overwintered because the plants often just 'sit' till it's warm enough for them to get going anyway. The ones in those pix are in large timber boxes with shrubs, so they were quite well fed and watered, but I also do them in decent sized pots with canes.  I sometimes grow them just running through the border, letting them scramble among shrubs.  Using good quality seed also helps, and the variety makes a difference too, and lots of deadheading through the main season  

Care of a new Privet hedge?

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 12:59

They aren't technically evergreen, so some foliage loss is normal. Young plants are more susceptible than a mature hedge too. 

If you're in a drier area, they benefit from plenty of moisture, so a mulch, as Dove suggests, is a really good idea at this time of year for retaining that, as well as for aesthetic purposes. I've just done my blackthorn hedge as it's not in the best area of ground, although we don't have to worry about not getting enough water here.

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus0

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 12:32

They like conifers so they're quite common up here in the 'land of conifer'  

I have one which visits quite often but they can be hard to spot. Easier in the coldest weather when they're short of food, but they do flit about very quickly and hide in the hedges and trees. Same with wrens - I saw one yesterday when it briefly hopped along the fence before disappearing into the neighbour's hedge.

The nest is absolutely beautiful pansyface. Aren't birds so clever ? 

Sweet Pea Know How

Posted: 10/11/2016 at 11:54

Just to add to the above advice - sweet peas are hardy and can withstand quite a lot of low temperatures.  We've had sub zero temps regularly in the last two weeks, with daytime temps in low single figures or barely staying above zero, and snow in the last couple of days. My sweet peas sown in spring are still flowering and producing buds - they've only suffered this week because of the snow weighing them down on Tuesday/Wednesday. I actually cut some for the house on Monday  

Sweet peas sown now  will only make a little growth, which is what you want in order to produce nice sturdy little plants for next year. It's important not to coddle them in too warm an environment, as it only produces weak, leggy growth. A cold frame, or similar, is all that's needed for keeping the worst of the wet, windy winter weather from flooring them. 

HELLO FORKERS! November Edition

Posted: 09/11/2016 at 13:30

He said he'd accept them if he won T'bird.....says it all really...

Nice fresh, blank canvas for you to get start adorning  

Night pat - sleep well 

Last edited: 09 November 2016 13:31:18

HELLO FORKERS! November Edition

Posted: 09/11/2016 at 13:19

They're probably building it as we speak ....

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