Gary Hobson

Latest posts by Gary Hobson

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 13:35

This is what the Met Office said, and are still saying...


We had just over 2cm of rain, within about 10 minutes. It has now passed, and is getting brighter.... for the moment.

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 12:57

I spoke too soon about not having any rain. There was a second wave of storms about 10 minutes ago. It was chucking it down, with hail-stones. I managed to take this video from my living room window...

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 10:39
David K wrote (see)

Just experiencing one of the worst thunderstorms I've ever known, it's as black as midnight and the rain is something akin to the tropics.

I'm in Warwickshire and it's been thundering almost continously for about half-an-hour. There's a big storm somewhere to the West, though no rain has fallen where I am.

Gardeners World - not back for 4 weeks!

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 09:19

Look on the bright side, folks.

This Friday, 9pm BBC2, you'll be able to watch an hour of Simon Schama lecturing about Shakespeare and his attitude to kingship.

And the following Friday (July 6) it's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, at 9pm.

encouraging the local woodpecker to come back to the garden

Posted: 28/06/2012 at 06:16

I find that the black-and-white (lesser) woodpeckers find peanuts attractive. I have a peanut feeder with a squirrel cage around it. The woodpeckers can't get inside the cage, but their beaks are still long enough to enable them to reach the nuts.

One of the other forum members posted a photo of two woodpeckers on a feeder, a couple of weeks ago.

Gardeners World - not back for 4 weeks!

Posted: 27/06/2012 at 06:37

I found last nights alternative offering from ITV, Love Your Garden, entertaining.

I agree that the Ground Force instant makeover, creating an entire garden with fully grown plants, at huge expense, is unrealistic, and has little to do with real gardening. But that's also true of Chelsea - Chelsea is Ground Force on a grand scale. Chelsea is even more artificial, because the whole thing is then dismantled.

There were some flaws in the program - that garden needed some drainage; 3 lettuces won't feed a family for very long; and the open-air lounge and dining area were inappropriate in our climate. But the progam covered some useful and innovative ideas that people could use.

I don't think that gardening programs need to be botany lectures. If I want to find out some detail about a plant, I go to a book, or look it up on the web. I'm not a dummy waiting to be spoon-fed by the BBC.

Love Your Garden is funded commercially but there was no hard sell. I have no objection to being sold stuff, if it's useful. That's the only reason I visit my garden centre - to buy stuff.

I also liked the sub-text - that gardens are theraputic. It was an entertaining story, well told, with a few inspirational and educational ideas thrown in.

Please help in identifying these plants

Posted: 26/06/2012 at 17:26

Those mixtures do occasionally work. I've tried them myself and they can sometimes work well. Based on past successes I actually tried a couple of mixes this year, but they have been dismal failures. I've attributed that mainly to the poor weather.

One major problem with a mix is that loads of stuff germinates (if you're lucky) but you really don't know which seedlings come from the seed you've sown, and which come from weed seeds that were in the soil. Some people sow mixtures in marked rows, so they know exactly where the desired seedlings ought to be.

It's heartening that you chose to sow a wildflower mixture. It shows good intent.

A mixture might be ambitious for a beginner. Buying very small plants early in the season (and making sure slugs don't eat them) might be more reliable. Or sowing individual varieties of seeds that are easy to grow, like sweet peas.

It's probably not too late to buy some little sweet pea plants to grow up those canes, and a box of small annuals, to brighten things up.

Please help in identifying these plants

Posted: 26/06/2012 at 11:29

Bear in mind that there will be thousands of weed seeds still dormant in the soil, and these will potentially germinate in coming years. So simply doing some weeding now is just the start. You'll have a fresh crop of weeds to deal with next year.

Weed seeds normally only germinate if they have light and bare soil in which to grow.

quercus_rubur wrote (see)

...My preferred method of gardening is show no soil. I now probably spend an hour a month weeding using this method....

This is really the key to reducing weeding - making sure that the ground is covered by plants that you want. If you want a tidy row of vegatables, surrounded by bare soil, then you'll need to keep weeding the soil around them.


Posted: 26/06/2012 at 08:26

A little bit of nice weather is bringing the critters out, all these snaps were taken yesterday afternoon. First, a bumbly enjoying the essential fox-and-cubs...


Some butterflies, this is a common blue, in grass...


A skipper (I think) on a cranesbill, planted in grass...

Two skippers in grass (not sure if they're actually laying eggs)...


Think this is a Burnet Companion moth...

Bumbly on Birds-foot-trefoil...

Not sure what this one is (maybe some kind of hover fly); it's feasting on a Rosa Mundi rose...


Please help in identifying these plants

Posted: 26/06/2012 at 05:45


Looks vaguely like a strawberry; or perhaps some kind of herb.


Ths is a buttercup - hence the tiny yellow flowers - needs to be removed, together with all its roots.


There are 2 plants in this photo, the bigger top plant, I guess that's the one you mean, looks like a primrose or polyanthus - would have flowered in early Spring, if it is.

#4 & #5

(small plants on the left) - probably some form of willow herb, or somethng similar - I'd remove those.

(larger plant on right) - not sure of these - I'd leave them.

There's a small seedling at the extreme bottom right that has an interesting leaf-shape; it's similar to one at the extreme left-centre (aquilegia? or nasturtian?).

This is the same plant as #4 but grown up - remove it. It should pull up quite easily.


Yes, this is bindweed; it does actually have quite pretty white flowers; but most people would remove it. The roots may go quite deep and would need to be removed too,.


Not sure about this one; but the main plant is surrounded by buttercup, which ought to be removed (unless you like buttercups.)


I think that is a type of thistle; it will probably develop with a thick hollow stem and small yellow flowers.

Mix 1

The main plants look like genuine flowers (possibly nicotiana or marygolds - I'm not sure what they are); the plants on the right look like #5 or possibly small buttercups.

The pale blueish-green plant, lower right, is possibly a small annual poppy.

Mix 2

Correct, they are nasturtians.

Discussions started by Gary Hobson

New BBC Gardening Show looking for Kitchen Gardeners

Replies: 11    Views: 2987
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: 1782
Last Post: 10/02/2013 at 15:01
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