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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie


Posted: 15/06/2014 at 15:52

I make gooseberry wine and blend it with elderflower wine. The gooseberry on its own is bit acidic, but it blends beautifully with the elderflower and makes a lovely wine.


Posted: 14/06/2014 at 16:55

I agree, that's what courgettes do when they're not pollinated. I see they're in pots - are they in a greenhouse? That would help to explain it. It's early in the season, so there's still time for them to come good. Hang in there but make sure they can be accessed by insects, or pollinate them manually.

Plumless plum tree

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 17:46

We have a plum tree that's about six years old and this is the first year there's been any sort of crop from it. I think you just have to be patient.

Cold Frames

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 17:45

I have a mini-greenhouse which does the same sort of thing. One extra use I have found for it is to dry off my onions, shallots and garlic if the weather is unsettled when they're ready to harvest.

Clematis id

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 18:03

I usually cut back to a pair of buds a few inches from the ground. New shoots will then grow up. If cut do it a bit  higher up, it will still be OK. And watch out for slugs and snails munching the new shoots as they start to grow!

Bees and more bees!

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 17:55

No, they don't get drunk but when they have a tummy full of nectar, they become quite docile. If you see one that looks wobbly it may just be dying or ill - an individual bee may not live very long, and some get diseases. All the male drones get pushed out of the hive to die off at the end of the season. I'm not sure if they actually sleep in the way we do.

Although they can go seven miles, they dont't normally go more than two or three miles from the hive - they'll go for whatever is nearest and most abundant in nectar. If they find any oil-seed rape, they will happily pig out on that and not look any further.

The popular plants with bees in our garden at the moment are various cotoneasters, sage, and the perennial geraniums (cranesbill-type). They bees are practically queuing up to get at the geraniums. The thing I really must get is a flowering shrub called abelia (there's a clue in the name) which bees really love.

Clematis id

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 17:40

It's also similar to one called Bees' Jubilee (which is in flower now in my garden right now). It goes on to develop pretty silvery-gold whorly seed-heads. It's almost certainly one that you cut right back in the early spring, so if you never find out its name, it won't matter much.

What Bee friendly climber for West Facing wall???

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 11:30

Many plants suits some sorts of bee but not others. Bumble bees have longer tongues and can reach further into flowers than honey bees. On Gardeners' World last week they had a feature about aquilegias, and showed how some bumble bees bite into the back end of the flower to get straight to the nectar, so you never know, except by watching, what will appeal to bees or why.

I agree, cotoneasters are very much liked by bees, who seem attracted even by flowers that are almost invisibly small to us, but some are a bit rampant and ungainly. Or pyrocanthus can make a stately climber if you train it well.

garden help for someone on a budget and a novice to boot

Posted: 05/06/2014 at 17:24

I think you may have som good plants there, so don't rush to cut them back. Wait and see how they perform. Evergreen shrubs (which some of them must be) are usually quite low-maintenance and give interest all year round.

Looking at your photo, it looks as if you've got a whopping great honeysuckle on the left-hand fence. You may want to prune that drastically, they can rather take over (and they can block drains). On the bottom right, it looks like lily of the valley, which either won't grow or won't stop growing (the latter in your case! Mine all died). You might want to get that under control too. Close to the path you have some pretty dianthus (pinks) and some sort of herbaceaous thing (a geranium?) that may soon flower. Those look worth keeping. At the back there'a nice yellow bush - possibly euonymus, which is attractive all year round. Between the solar lights is possibly a herb (oregano?), I'm not sure, and behind it is what looks like a hydrangea - leave that alone and see if it flowers later in the summer. They're usually quite well behaved. The heather looks a bit big and dominant, but they're not eay things to tame once they spread.

All this is just opinions and guesses, but do give your garden time to show you what it can do, and then you can decide what you want to keep or change. You'll get lots of support here.

Underachiever Award

Posted: 05/06/2014 at 17:09

My parsnips have scarcely germinated (grand total of 9 so far, in three whole rows). My mange-tout have not all appeared, and many of those that did have been ravaged by weevils. Autumn raspberries look a bit slow but may come good. Dahlias have vanished without trace.

Hope this makes someone feel better!

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Onion Smut!

Replies: 11    Views: 233
Last Post: 21/07/2015 at 17:08

Weird mutant bluebell?

Replies: 10    Views: 448
Last Post: 23/05/2015 at 20:02

Leaking squash, help!

Replies: 12    Views: 479
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 08:57

Moths and lavender

Replies: 0    Views: 266
Last Post: 08/08/2014 at 12:14

Drama in the compost heap

Replies: 5    Views: 402
Last Post: 04/08/2014 at 21:18

Tomato thriving on neglect!

Replies: 5    Views: 458
Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 10:54

Secateurs open?

Replies: 5    Views: 738
Last Post: 06/05/2014 at 21:27

Lobelia for wedding at end of May

Replies: 6    Views: 532
Last Post: 04/06/2014 at 22:39


Replies: 8    Views: 929
Last Post: 03/02/2014 at 07:50

Runners on new strawberry plants

Replies: 6    Views: 757
Last Post: 29/09/2013 at 08:39

Nettles for butterflies

Replies: 10    Views: 1831
Last Post: 22/07/2013 at 14:25

What not to grow

Replies: 25    Views: 1710
Last Post: 31/07/2014 at 18:08

Photinia Red Robin pruning?

Replies: 29    Views: 20340
Last Post: 06/04/2015 at 10:01

Searching the site?

Replies: 17    Views: 2136
Last Post: 04/02/2014 at 15:30
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