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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Talkback: Ground elder

Posted: 09/05/2012 at 16:20

I wouldn't compost the roots, just in case they regenerate somehow, but I think the foliage is OK to compost. I have a problem with this too, all the more since we removed a big conifer, allowing more light to a wild part of the garden, which seems to please the ground elder.

Guinea pigs enjoy eating the foliage if you feed it to them (not after spraying, of course!). This probably means it's safe for us to eat too, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's worth doing so. Anyone tried it?


Posted: 08/05/2012 at 18:21

I've ordered the perennials too. Don't know where I'm going to put them all but I can't resist a bargain! Like Jock above, I first tried the T&M website and couldn't find it, but when I put the whole web address with the code into the browser (as in hte link above), the offer appeared.

Tomatos not growing well

Posted: 08/05/2012 at 13:56

I wonder if I dare put mine out in the ground now? I'm in Devon and the tomato bed is quite sheltered and sunny. The plants have been in 3-inch pots in a a mini-greenhouse for a couple of weeks and have had regular daytime excursions to get them used to the sun and wind.  I'd like to get them into the ground as they are quite big and strong - one variety even has flower buds starting. But I normally wait until near the end of May, and don't want to lose them to the cold. Am I just being impatient?

cordiline palm

Posted: 04/05/2012 at 18:42

The greeny ones should be OK now (ours has been outside for several weeks) but the pinky ones are less hardy (ours died last year). They needs to be protected from frost and from cold winds, so maybe leave it a bit later, depending on whereabouts you are in the country.

Garden arches planting - help needed

Posted: 03/05/2012 at 17:31

We have a jasmine that is supposed to be growing up an arch but it's very slow growing, and also suffers from sooty mould due to scale insects.

Clematis is good for combining with other, slower-growing plants. The fast-growing ones like Montana and Armandii don't need much cutting back but might get a bit out of hand as they are very vigorous. Of the others, the Viticella and Jackmanii varieties are very hardy and quite profuse once they get going. They do need cutting back in early spring, so they're not there all year round.

Passion flowers climb well nad stay green all year round (with luck).

Perennial sweet peas are another option but the vanish completely in the winter. You could also grow annual climbers like nasturtiums or thunbergia (Black eyed Susan) to add a bit of summer colour.

Pruning a Broom

Posted: 03/05/2012 at 17:15

They don't regrow if you cut back into old wood, so you're limited in what you can do. We used to have a lovely deep pinkish-red flowered broom but it got leggy and lopsided, and eventually died. What I wish I had done (and you might want to do this) is try to take summer cuttings from new shoots, so that if the old plant is not viable you'll have a young replacement.

Sycamore tree - why are they monsters?

Posted: 02/05/2012 at 12:07

 I think another thing about sycamore is that it's not a very good habitat for wildlife, compared with many other broad-leaved trees.

And I agree the keys and seedling can be a real pest. We once lived near a park and our front lawn was always peppered with seedling sycamores that had to be weeded out regularly.

Yellow/orange maple

Posted: 02/05/2012 at 09:26

Acer Palmatum "Orange Dream" has golden yellow leaves. Our daughter has a splendid specimen of this in her garden, looking wonderful at the moment. We have a tiny one (bought in Morrisons for a couple of quid) that I hope will be as good one day. If you google for that you'll see if it's what you're after,

Bind Weed

Posted: 02/05/2012 at 09:19

I had a problem with bindweed among my raspberries for several seasons and adopted the same approach as Figrat. Eventually I did get rid of it but it took a lot of painstaking hand-forking to get it out. I'm not opposed to using glyphosate but the stuff was so intertwined with the rasps that I was worried about killing them, and I found it quite satisfying to do the job by hand.

Gardening book

Posted: 30/04/2012 at 17:05

I don't think you'll find one book that will do it all in sufficient detail. I have the RHS Encyclopedia as well as their Dictionary of Plants and Flowers, which is my favourite book for ornamental plants, But for the edibles I turn most often to the Hessayon "Vegetables and Herb Expert" and "Fruit Expert", which are cheap, reliable and easy to use. I even have a spare copy of the fruit and veg one, which I keep in the shed.  I also like the Readers' Digest "Food From Your Garden" which includes sections on preparing and preserving fruit and veg. 

Second-hand books are fine but make sure they're relatively modern. Old books won't include the best new plants, varieties and materials, and may recommend the use of chemicals that are now banned and unavailable.

Discussions started by Green Magpie


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