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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

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.

Scented flowers

Posted: 20/04/2012 at 17:41

Wallflowers. Some scented flowers make me wheeze (e.g. the hyacinth family, and viburnum) but I love the scent of wallflowers. Mine have been in bloom since January, and the bees love them too.  Oh, and I'm looking forward to the clove-scented pinks (dianthus) later in the spring.

Leaning Tree

Posted: 20/04/2012 at 17:33

I'm glad this has come up, as we have a Kilmarnock (weeping) Willow with the same problem. It's been fine for several years but this year it's leaning right over and seems a bit unstable. I'll save the tips given here (thanks guys!) and tackle it in the autumn if it survives that long.

Bird feeders causing weeds?

Posted: 20/04/2012 at 17:28

Has anyone else had this problem with a niger (nyjer) feeder? I've got one of these which attracts the occasional goldfinch, and is also popular with greenfinches. But somehow a lot of the seed ends up on the ground beneath the feeder - I've just cleared up a thick layer of the stuff.  They don't eat it once it's landed, and it doesn't seem to grow either, but I hate the waste as this seed is not cheap. I really don't know how they manage to drop so much. I have seen feeders that incorporate a tray underneath - presumably this would have to have drainage holes to avoid a soggy mess. But it seems a shame to abandon the feeder I've got which is quite a well-made and solid one. Any ideas as to why this happens and what I can do about it?

is it safe to put seedlings into window boxes yet?

Posted: 20/04/2012 at 10:02

Things like marigolds, nasturtiums and sweet peas are quite tough and should be OK out of doors if they're hardened off over a few days. Other things like fuchsias are more tender. I think you could put quite a bit out in window boxes now - if you have plenty of seedlings, you can keep some spares indoors as a back-up. If there's a frost on the way, have some fleece or bubble wrap ready to throw over them at nights until this cold weather is over.


Posted: 20/04/2012 at 09:57

I'll tell you want not to do, at least with a shallow pot or trough. I once planted crocuses and something other bulbs in a trough, the base of which was lined with broken polystyrene instead of stones for drainage. When the pot flooded in heavy rain, the polystyrene floated to the top, and the bulbs were left swimming in a sort of compost-and-polystyrene soup. It was quite a job to sieve it and sort it all out, and some of the bulbs never recovered after re-planting.

Discussions started by Green Magpie

Tomato thriving on neglect!

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Secateurs open?

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Lobelia for wedding at end of May

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Runners on new strawberry plants

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What not to grow

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Photinia Red Robin pruning?

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Searching the site?

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9 threads returned