Latest posts by Gold1locks

Gardening as part of the National Curriculum

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 08:58

There are so many competing subject areas, and not enough time in the curriculum to reach a level of knowledge and skill that would merit a GCSE qualification. I am a teacher, and I see children leaving school after GCSE's with zero understanding of politics and society, yet if the Scottish idea catches on in the rest of the UK, they will be eligible to vote within a few months of leaving school. Those same children may have a vague recollaction of trudging through 'Of Mice and Men' and analysed the backside of Curly, or wrestled with Ye Olde English of Romeo and Juliet, but can't write a letter of application for a job that isn't full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Same goes for maths (one of my subjects). I teach 6th formers in General Studies and most of them have forgotten how to calculate percentage change! 

 Having aspects of gardening in the curriculum is a nice concept, and the way to do it is through embedding it into KS3 Science topics.  For example, photosynthesis, or reproduction ( flower structure seed germination). A few months ago my year 8 class studied the structure of fuchsia flowers using material from my garden. They loved it! 

Vine Weevil

Posted: 29/04/2013 at 08:22

Verdun, I agree with your comment on 'bullying'. On a couple of the responses I could sense an undercurrent of  hostility that can drive those who are not as passionate about the use of garden chemicals into keeping shtum for fear of getting into an argument. I was a bit upset that my attempt at offering help got a reaction that I didn't expect from boarders whose gardening contributions I have great respect for, 

 In response to my giving advice to use Vine Weevil Killer, Berghill's response was:"If you are not into killing bees by using Neonicotinoids.." which has the clear implication that I AM 'into' killing bees, and I did find that rather offensive.

And Dovefromabove started his/her response with " I'm sorry but...." which is just a tad less  patronising than "with all due respect...".

I would have thought that a prime purpose of this forum is to giving advice on dealing with gardening problems. Many gardeners are organic, but many more are not, and not all of those who do use garden chemicals should be regarded as just ignorant and in need of a lecture, or irresponsible.

I once had an allotment and on one side of me was an 85 year old woman fighting a losing battle with masses of bindweed because the guy next to her kept banging on that she mustn't use glyphosate. Half of his allotment was covered with sheets of black plastic and old rubber backed carpet. A neighbour had a lovely acer in her garden being killed by scale insects, and the only solution was Provado Ultimate Bug Killer. And what do you do if you have Ground Elder or japanese Knotweed. 

Organic boarders who read a  suggested solution involving chemicals can surely offer a comment such as:

"If you want an organic solution then you could....."


"I am worried about the effect that neonicotoids (may) have on bees so I.....), but to go beyond that and directly challenge another boarder's gardening principles is verging on bullying, and the expression 'high horse' comes to mind. 

Vine Weevil

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 22:27

Vine weevils lay eggs at various times during the year, including over the six months when nematodes don't work. there is no other treatment  I am not risking my camellias or other overwintering shrubs in pots, but won't use Ultimate Bug Killer. So that makes me a pragmatist, or an non-absolutist., or a sinner. Still, I reckon that overall my garden makes a positive contribution to the environment, as it used to be a ploughed field with lots of chemicals applied every year.   Might not get to heaven right away, but maybe I will escape  eternal damnation!   


Moving honeysuckle

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 20:13

I would have moved it a month or two earlier. And I would have cut it back hard so that the much reduced root system would not be overworked when the top growth kicked in (as it will have by now). And I would not put it under a sycamore! It will be starved of nourishment and moisture, and of sunlight. 

In answer to your question - not nuts, but in need of Plan B! 


Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:58

We need a photo, Brendan.

Problem plant identification and irradiation!!

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:56

Same approach, Maud. Spray from late winter until just before flowering. Take care not to get any on foliage of other plants. 

Vine Weevil

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:48

I use it on valuable camellias in pots, watered into the compost, in autumn, to protect against vine weevil that can kill the shrubs before I know they are under attack. Nematodes won't work at that time of year, so there is no alternative, and there is little or no possibility of any impact on bee health when applied at that time, at least as far as I can see.  I no longer use Provado Ultimate Bug Killer on flowering plants. 

having said that, I don't want to pick an argument with absolutists who won't use any non-organic pesticides or insecticides under any circumstances. I admire their doggedness and principles, and feel just a tad guilty every time I reach for my glyphosate or fungicide. 


Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:38

Only if you know which way is up!!!! If planted upside down they will fail. If in doubt lay them sideways in deeper compost. Nect time, when taking rooted cuttings, cut the top end horizontally and the bottom end on a slope so you don't get it wrong. 


Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:23

Root cuttings work with dicentra, though I would have inserted them in a deeper pot, upright. Keep it moist.

Vine Weevil

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 19:16

There is a concern that neonicotinoids cause bees to get disorientated and lose their way back to the hive. However, treating pots with Vine Weevil Killer is highly unlikely to impact on bees. The main impact is when chemicals such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer are sprayed directly onto plants, especially onto flowers when bees are active. also   Vine Weevil Killer contains a neonicotinoid, and if applied to the soil in a pot holding a flowering plant, a small amount could be carried up the pollen. However, in the  situation I suggested here, what are the chances of it finding its way into pollen after being strewn onto an empty bed and dug in...... well, I think Berghill is being rather dramatic. 

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