Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Newbie - Privet Hedge Stumps

Posted: 11/04/2016 at 23:13

We had the same problem with a lonicera hedge. We found a company called Stump Out who specialised in stump grinding. Their machine chewed up and spat out all the roots, leaving loose soil that was almost ready to plant in. I did have to go over it with a fork and remove a few bucketfuls of rooty bits, and then we could plant a new hedge. It did cost us, but it was money well spent.

Clematis Pruning - When should I do it?

Posted: 11/04/2016 at 17:30

If it's big and leggy, could it be a montana? These are very vigorous and in a few years they have quite thick woody stems. They generally have clusters of smallish flowersin about late April to May (have a google for pics).

If that's what it is, it doesn't want to be cut right back, just trimmed a bit after flowering, to keep it manageable.

Buying trees online versus in the local garden centre

Posted: 11/04/2016 at 17:20

You might find what you want in a GC, but a specialist tree  nursery will be able to advise you on your choice and on how to care for the trees.


Posted: 10/04/2016 at 09:35

What you can do with parsnips is start the seeds off between two layers of damp kitchen paper on a plate,  covered in cling film. When they germinate, they put out a little root. You can then sow the resulting tadpole-like parsnipettes directly into their final stations in the bed, as you know they've germinated. 

I am not sure whether this actually gets them off any faster, but I think I may do it this year as the soil and the air are still so cold.

Mouldy compost

Posted: 10/04/2016 at 09:29

Sorry, no idea about that. I'm not very good with flowers, much as I love them, I'm more of a vegetable grower.

Mouldy compost

Posted: 10/04/2016 at 07:27

Oooh no, I'd never pinch the towels! But the toiletrries are meant to be used or taken.  We hardly ever used the tea and coffee in the room, so we're quite moderate in our usage.

Here's another tip for potting on plants (no theft involved): before filling  a flower pot, I place a scrap of old horticultral fleece at the bottom, or a piece of J-cloth., covering the holes. This prevents the compost being washed out of the holes and making a mess. It also keeps out woodlice and other creep crawlies.

Mouldy compost

Posted: 09/04/2016 at 17:46

I cover mine but only until the seeds are through. I save up those disposable plastic shower caps you get in hotels etc, which will usually cover a seed tray or a large pot.

Best seed compost?

Posted: 09/04/2016 at 17:40

Which? also recommended the Verve multi-purpose compost as being just as good as a seed compost, and much cheaper. I have used it for my tomato and some flower seeds, with good results so far.

Potting on help with so many seedlings!

Posted: 09/04/2016 at 17:37

You can also use thoseclearplastic punnets that the supermarkets use to pack grapes, strawberries, etc, as temporary homes for plants. They won't last long, but they won't need to.

If you really have more plants than you can ever use, you can probably find a home for them elsewhere; give them to other gardeners, or swop for something you want. There may be a local group offering gardening to the disabled, or some sort of community gardening project, or Spring Fairs, coffee mornings etc in your local church hall; any of these may welcome donations of spare plants.

Just make sure you keep plenty of good specimens, and a few spares in case of failure.

Growing tomatoes from seed

Posted: 07/04/2016 at 20:32

I have been known to take my baby plants on holiday with me, e.g a tray of tomato seedlings in little pots. This is feasible if you are, say, staying in self-catering accomodation in the UK,  or even a camper van, but not likely to go down well at the airport when you check in for your Ryanair flight to Malaga. 

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