Latest posts by Gold1locks

Can I tame a monster rhododendron?

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 22:13

Cut them back as hard as you like. Now is the best time to do it.  They will regenerate. It will take two years for them to flower again. 

They may have spread laterally via rooted layers. If possible dig / pull these out. 

solar power

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 22:08

Anyway, back to the question of those solar lights..........

solar power

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:23

I don't think windfarms are rubbish. I think they have their place, like those further down the coast that are not so visible from the shore - miles out to sea. I only chose Skegness because I was there yesterday and when I arrived at the beach I was stunned that an army of them that greeted me. I used to look out to sea to the horizon and imagine what lay beyond and what it was like for sailors centuries ago that wondered about possible new worlds. I won't get that from Skeggie any more! I am not a Nimby. There are windfarms a few miles from where I live, in the Lincolnshire Fens. I can see them way  in the distance.  Some more are being built and I have no problem with that. But I wouldn't want to look out of my lounge window at one looming as close as those as Skegness. 

Although we need to reduce energy consumption by insulation etc., the elephant in the room is that the world's population is forecast by the UN to grow from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2050, a 50% increase. And the populations of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are getting a lot wealthier and are going to want more cars, central heating etc. Oil will last maybe 50 - 60 years, and what is going to power our cars then? Wind turbines, wave power and solar power aren't going to scratch the surface in addressing that. Right now politicians are sitting on their hands not wanting to upset voters that could make the difference at the next election. Maybe a few weeks of power cuts will bring a dose of realism. 

solar power

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 11:44

Exactly, Chicky! What we need is pragmatism rather than blind ideology. Right now the only positive movement to address the looming power crisis with lights going out is thousands of wind turbines being erected, many  in areas that cannot be good for the environment, such as Skegness. No nuclear power stations for years, coal powered stations about to shut down with no gas power stations to replace them. We will have to import electricity from France and even more gas from our reliable friend, Russia by 2015, electricity prices will rocket, many will be driven into fuel poverty, and then everyone will blame the Government, and it will take 15 - 20 years of rushed investment to put it right. 

Some leading politician said that Politics is about choosing the lesser of two or more evils. For core energy supply we are going to need nuclear sooner or later - we are going to need gas (from fracking- hopefully we can crack carbon capture but we need fracking in any event) and we will use renewables as much as possible as a backup. But unless we get strong government and unpopular decisions forced through, we are in for energy / economic misery over the next decade. 

solar power

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 11:03

The ones at Skegness are VERY visible from the beach. This photo shows only a few. There are 160 - I counted them - and all as close as these practically as far as the eye can see from left to right!

And it's not free. the cost of manufacturing and maintaining them. 

And when the wind is too strong you can get this:

And when it's too cold they have to shut them down and heat them using electricity to stop them freezing up.




solar power

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 20:08

Just come back from walking along the beach at Skegness (don't ask!). Saw over 200 windmills about 2 miles out to sea. Only 60 or so were turning!

Trees for privacy

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 07:07

Depends how tall you need them. Cotoneaster x wateriii, photinia are two that grow pretty quickly but don't grow higher than around 12 feet. both are evergreen, and can be bought relatively inexpensively as shrubs. I have just planted some cotoneasters for MIL, cost £7 each and will grow at around 2 feet a year. Wonderful red berries in winter - birds love them. 

solar power

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 07:03

I have just been teaching renewable energy to Years 7 and 8. This week they have made group presentations on home insulation, renewables, fossil fuels, how to reduce electricity bills etc., etc.. We finish it next week and the winning group gets Cadbury Cream Eggs!! I know, not very healthy, is it. 

I do agree wholeheartedly about solar energy, and if we have thought seriously about installing it at home. But the small solar devices you can get for charging laptops, phones and solar lighting are only effective if left on for hours in broad daylight. I get around 4 hours of light in the evening from my garden lights. So I just can't see how they can be practical indoors when the light is so much less, and not the same light (sunlight) that the panels are designed to absorb. If someone buys a solar charger with the intention of using it indoors that's BAD for the environment, because  the energy used in manufacturing the device will far outweigh any hoped-for saving. 

solar power

Posted: 19/04/2013 at 21:58

The amount of light you will get in through your windows will be much less than you would get outdoors, not only because you only get light from one side, but also because the light intensity will be far less than your eyes suggest, as they adjust to less light by opening your pupils a lot wider.  I have used a light meter to measure the dropoff in light intensity as you move away from a window, and it fell by half for every three inches moved. 

Apologies if this is a bit 'nerdy, but light intensity is measured in units called 'lux'. For example, average indoor lighting ranges from 100 to 1,000 lux, and average outdoor sunlight is about 50,000 lux, i.e. 50 to 500 times stronger. 

Munstead, Hidcote or ................?

Posted: 19/04/2013 at 18:43

This should be helpful in explaining the RHS H1 to h4 ratings.

For a better guide to hardiness in different areas of the UK, this alternative site might answer your question.

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