Gary Hobson

Latest posts by Gary Hobson

Acer Palmatum - what size container

Posted: 14/05/2012 at 09:31
Wintersong wrote (see)

... ericaceous soil....

Well that's what I thought, namely that ericaceous soil or compost is essential.

However, the link quoted ( actually says that Acers can grow in Chalky/Alkaline soil.

Is that correct?

I have an acer in a pot. Acers have lot of foilage so they use plenty of water. If an acer is in a pot, then it will need watering regularly. Because tap water is alkaline, I've always believed that tap water should not be used. I have a rain water tub, and keep that precisely for plants that don't like tap water. Maybe I'm going to a lot of trouble unnecessarily.

weed, plant or veggie?

Posted: 13/05/2012 at 16:32

Looks like Aquilegia.

A pretty cottage garden flower.

searching for a name

Posted: 13/05/2012 at 13:07

The RHS Plant finder is very useful, here: RHS Plant Finder

For example, entering 'Doris' in the search box finds 40-odd plants (including numerous Dianthus): Chetwyn Doris, Doris, Doris Allwood, Doris Elite, Doris Galbally, Doris Majestic, Doris Supreme, Doris Wyatt, Mos Doris, Pendle Doris Delight, Pink Doris.

And a rose: Doris Tysterman.

Plus many others.


Posted: 13/05/2012 at 10:02

A few snaps from the wild part of my garden, all taken yesterday.

I often get a bag of Basics range dog biscuits. It's only £1 a bag, and a bag last for a couple of weeks...

These only come for the drink (the upturned dustbin lid, at the left)...

This one was sniffing around plants in a herbaceous border, helping to keep my garden free from slugs...


Posted: 13/05/2012 at 05:57

Lupins are favourites of slugs.

I have some lupins in my graden which are in almost pristine condition. I do not use any form of artificial slug control:

There is a hedgehog in my garden which spends much of his time ferreting around these, and other, plants.

Just below are two still images, taken from a video I made yesterday morning, showing the hedgehog shiffing around the same lupins:

Just below is a 40-second clip of the video from which those 2 still images were taken. I took the video yesterday, at around 10am (you need to click on the link)....

My Hedgehog Video


Posted: 12/05/2012 at 13:26

I don't know the answer to this question.

But an interesting way of looking at this is to ask: 'if these pellets are completely harmless, why do slugs die if they eat them?'

Here's a long piece about this question, written by a hosta grower:
Iron Phosphate Slug Bait - How Dangerous is it in the Garden?

gardeners world live

Posted: 12/05/2012 at 05:30

You can 'see the show' in a couple of hours.

By that, I mean walk round all the show gardens (there are not that many), and have a stroll round the stalls selling plants, and other products.

If you want to spend a long time browsing through all the plants at a lot of stands, or watching demonstrations in the lecture theatre, then maybe a day.

First thing in the morning you can walk round the show a lot easier than later in the day, when the show usuually becomes more crowded.

You won't find much that is new to look at on a second day, in my opinion.

Talkback: Wildlife-friendly plants

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 06:12

I'm a big fan of hawthorn. It's unusual to find a hawthorn bush that does not have a bird's nest in it. The plant will be covered with blossom very soon, and covered with fruits by Autumn. You can also stack a few logs round the base to make the complete home.

Pyracantha is quite similar, and just as good.

In response to Jarrah's question - cutting grass to encourage flowers and insects can become a complicated subject. Basically, if the meadow has Spring-flowering flowers, then it should be cut after they have flowered and set seed. If it has Summer-flowering flowers, then it should be cut in Autumn. .

Whenever the meadow is cut, it's essential to remove the cuttings. If the cuttings are allowed to rot down then they will fertilise the soil, and make it more diffcult for wildflowers to survive.

shape your hedge

Posted: 11/05/2012 at 05:26

That looks like privet.

Privet is a very common hedge.

You don't need to do anything. As those little plants grow up, they will each branch out, and will naturally merge together.

You just need to keep the sides trimmed.

Is my hedge alive or not?

Posted: 10/05/2012 at 13:59

Bare-rooted trees do appear dead until the buds swell, and they sprout leaves. You wouldn't expect to see anything at all happening throughout the Winter.

Different species of tree will come into leaf at different times.

If other hazel and beech trees in your vicinity are in leaf, and yours are not, then that might be ominous. Otherwise its worth waiting a bit.

I'm in Warwickshire and a number of trees have still not yet come into leaf, although the buds are swelling.

If you scratch one of the branches (with your thumbnail) and the tree is alive then the branch should appear green just beneath the bark.

Discussions started by Gary Hobson

New BBC Gardening Show looking for Kitchen Gardeners

Replies: 11    Views: 3061
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: 1833
Last Post: 10/02/2013 at 15:01
2 threads returned