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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Hedging help please!!

Posted: 13/09/2015 at 23:09

We are planning to replace a very straggly hedge of lonicera nitida, and are considering griselina littoralis "variegata".  We want the hedge to be about 1.5 metres high. I'm not giving a firm recommendation, as we have yet to begin this operation. It's more of a piggyback question, to see if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Oh, and how difficult will it be to get the roots of the lonicera out of the soil?


Posted: 13/09/2015 at 17:57

I would pick any that are starting to ripen, as they'll colour up indoors. Really green ones may not.  The blight may have reached them already, in which case they'll start showing symptoms soon, but it's worth a try.


Posted: 13/09/2015 at 11:27

I did get a lot of splitting with the Sungold, which seem a bit prone to that. I think the occasional deluges of heavy rain are responsible for this. The Losetto suffered more from caterpillar damage, but honestly I have so many now that the caterpillars are welcome to some.


Posted: 12/09/2015 at 22:34

I am growing Losetto, a bush cherry tomato that is blight resistant. The other one I grow, the delicious Sungold (cordon type), isn't marketed as blight resistant but doesn't seem to suffer much. I have had huge crops, especially from Losetto, to the point where I am making loads of tomato soups and sauces to freeze, and giving away pounds of them. I really recommend Losetto - they are expensive seeds, with only about six to the packet, but six plants have us knee-deep in tomatoes.

Lupin Aphid

Posted: 12/09/2015 at 22:25

Yes, I've had what I'm sure were Lupin Aphids, great fat brutes they were. I had a go at them with a soap/oil spray, but had to use it quite often to have any effect.

Any blackberry jam makers out there at the mo?

Posted: 23/08/2015 at 22:32

I think with icecream it's a matter of stirring or beating it frequently during the freezing process, to break up the ice crystals. That's how ice cream makers work, by agitating the mixture constantly. I have been told that if it does set hard, you may be able to improve it by blitzing the whole lot in a food processor and re-freezing, but I haven't tried this myself. 

Some recipes have whisked egg white added to make them lighter, but I'm not sure how safe raw eggs are now.

How do I find a gardener?!

Posted: 23/08/2015 at 10:02

Yes, visiting other local people's gardens and talking to them is extremely useful. They will be dealing with the same soil and climate conditions as you, and most gardeners are pleased and flattered to be asked for advice, such as:

What's that shrub? Is it evergreen? When does it flower?  Does your pond have a pump? How often do you cut the lawn? When do you harvest your carrots? as well as things like:

Where did you get those stepping stones? What's the best nursery for bedding plants?  Can you recommend anyone to cut back overgrown trees? 

Gardeners are a friendly lot (look at this forum - it's one of the kindest, most easy-going places on the web) and are usually happy to help and advise each other.


How do I find a gardener?!

Posted: 22/08/2015 at 22:55

Our experience was that there are good people out there who will help with garden design, landscaping, building walls and paths, etc, but we never really found anyone who understood plants and how to treat them. We have a great guy who comes  in regularly now to help with lawns and cutting back overgrown stuff, but again, he's not a plantsman.

However, it's possible to find out most of what you need to know about garden management from books, forums like this, and simply trial and error. In time you will get to know your plants and get a feel for what matters to you in the garden, and how to get it as you want it.  Soon, you will know it better than anyone else could.

Cutting a hole in the patio to plant an apple tree

Posted: 13/08/2015 at 20:24

I would think the main issue would be getting enough water to the roots. Maybe you could fix up some sort of feed-in from the guttering?   Or try to ensure that the ground around it slopes and directs the rain water to the soil around the tree.

When to pick tomatoes?

Posted: 13/08/2015 at 20:20

Yes, it's probably sudden heavy rain that has caused your tomatoes to split. We have had heavy rain today, and I expect to find some split tomatoes tomorrow.

You can pick tomatoes any time after they start to colour up, and they will continue to ripen indoors. If you pick when they're still green, they will stay green.

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