Gary Hobson

Latest posts by Gary Hobson

Fork Handles

Posted: 04/03/2013 at 07:23

Morning forkers,

A bright day forecast, and considerably warmer tomorrow. On the Sky News weather forecast this morning, they actually said 'tomorrow will be a good day for you all to get out in your gardens'.

More slab moving, more bamboo moving, more planting out planned.

But my garden is not a prison camp, with hard labour. I'll be knocking off around lunch time, and spending the afternoon in the deckchair.

TPO and mature Sycamore - to buy or not to buy

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 16:35

In the road where I live there are (were) a lot of large trees. None of them have TPOs. When new people move in, they often cut down the tree in front of their house. I think it's a shame, but I can understand why people want to do that. A big tree limits what they can grow, and the amount of light in their house.

TPO and mature Sycamore - to buy or not to buy

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 16:26

Opinions about sycamores vary, but are generally negative. Sycamores are not ancient native trees, but were introduced into the UK a few hundred years ago. Their seedlings can become a pest. They also cast dense shade. See, for example:


It sounds as though the property in question has a big tree, whose appearance may be appreciated by neighbours (which is why there is a preservation order on it).

I wonder why you want to prune it. It sounds as though you're not keen on the tree.

Thoughts on Nesting Boxes

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 15:53

I have no personal experience, such as you describe.

However, birds are normally careful about where they nest. If a bird thinks a site might be unsafe and open to predators, then a sensible bird would not nest there.

Perhaps your box would have been more successful if it had been placed deeper into the honeysuckle.

Robins like an open nest but they usually like it concealed, out of the way somewhere.

Fork Handles

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 14:00

I'm well impressed with all of those garden photos, especially Chris's (from last Summer), with climbing roses in bloom etc, and what a veg patch.

Nettles for Butterflies

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 10:05

Most wildlife experts do recommend cutting the nettles...

"Butterfly caterpillars are very fussy about what plants they will eat. So you will need to provide the right host plants. The stinging nettle will attract five colourful species of butterfly. Stinging nettles need nutrient-rich soil and should be cut back in June or July, to stimulate new shoots to grow, providing more food for caterpillars. Check there are no caterpillars on the stems you remove. Growing flowers in an existing nettle bed is a simple way to create a butterfly border."


Nettles for Butterflies

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 09:29
nutcutlet wrote (see)

Don't buy a nettle. Any stalk, (this year's or last year's dead one) can be pulled and a piece of root will come with it.

Nettles are easy to propagate IF you already have some. Unfortunately many people don't, hence the reason for asking how they can get some seeds or plants. Trying to buy nettles isn't easy. I don't know anywhere that will send out bits of root - perhaps a job for the seed sharing thread.

Nettles for Butterflies

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 08:53

On another thread...

Gary Hobson wrote (see)
vivian allman wrote (see)
can you buy nettle plants?

I'm not aware that you can buy plants, but you can certainly buy seeds, from many stockists of wildflowers.

It may be sold as Stinging Nettle, or under the botanical name, Urtica dioica. Some examples:
(listed under Nettle)

Nettles for Butterflies

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 08:42

The main page of Paul's website ( contains a link to a 6-minute BBC video, titled 'Gardening For Butterflies', which shows his garden at Hampton Court.

That video is really worth seeing. Some highlights -

  • Clover (which so many people try to eliminate from lawns, or cut it preventing it from flowering)
  • Buddleia Buzz (a small but effective buddleia)
  • Stinging nettles in pots, illustrated at 5mins 40secs into the video.

Fork Handles

Posted: 03/03/2013 at 07:48

Morning forkers,

It's bright and sunny here, with some frost. I want to get some more bamboo moving done today, also have some wallflowers that need to be planted out. Rain forecast for mid-week, so that should water everything in nicely.

TV series LOST - I loved the first series of that; but the subsequent series were less original and seemed increasingly contrived - I eventually gave up watching, and never saw the end.

Tonight on TV it's meteorite night - 8pm Russian meteorite documentary on C4; followed at 9pm by Meteorite documentary on BBC2. The BBC program is presented by Iain Stewart; I like his programs.

Discussions started by Gary Hobson

New BBC Gardening Show looking for Kitchen Gardeners

Replies: 11    Views: 3057
Last Post: 31/03/2014 at 19:57

Hampton Court Family Garden Competition

You are invited to design a family garden which will be built this year at Hampton Court 
Replies: 8    Views: 1832
Last Post: 10/02/2013 at 15:01
2 threads returned