Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Coffee Grindings

Posted: 30/12/2014 at 21:57

I think coffee grounds are on the acidic side, so would be good for mulching acid-loving/ ericaceous plants.

Waterproof Garden Shoes

Posted: 22/12/2014 at 13:17

Good idea! My favourite garden shoes are just like wellies that have been cut down, so cutting down old wellies should work well. 

Family traits

Posted: 14/12/2014 at 22:13

The flip side of this is when you see your adult children turning into you....

Kindle e readers

Posted: 10/12/2014 at 20:48

I have a Kindle Fire HDX and love it. It's great for browsing the web as well as for reading books. I like the backlit screen and adjustable font size, which make it easy to read in poor light (but not great  in bright sunlight). I use it a lot and need to charge it every day or two. OH is quite envious, as our desktop computer is so slow, so he's getting a Kindle Fire for Christmas! The desktop PC will still be used for writing and storing documents etc.

Bluebells as a table centrepiece

Posted: 08/11/2014 at 23:26

In most years, bluebells will be over by late May. Forget-me-nots, too, are getting a bit leggy and messy by this date. Also,  I find the Spanish bluebells make me wheeze - I can't stay in a room with them, and I think it likely that others would be similarly affected.

Our daughter got married at the end of May this year and wanted blue flowers or plants. Blue is a difficult colour to find, but we managed it: early in the spring I bought trays  of lobelia plug plants (blue and white), which I potted on and cossetted, three plants to a pot. They made very pretty table decorations.

If cut flowers would do, cornflowers are a wonderful colour.

Fleece a fan palm?

Posted: 02/11/2014 at 20:33

We have one like that in our garden in Devon and it's been fine for about 6 winters now without any protection. You didn't say where you live, but it should be OK in mild areas.

Favourite garden task?

Posted: 01/11/2014 at 21:49

I thought I was odd, but I see now that others enjoy weeding too. It's very satisfying. Deadheading is almost as good. I also like making compost and using it. Oh, and anything that involves trundling the wheelbarrow around. We never had a garden big enough to need one until we retired, and now we have a garden big enough to LOSE the wheelbarrow. I am just like a small boy with my wheelbarrow, I love it!

Looking ahead to next year and getting organized

Posted: 01/11/2014 at 08:13

I wouldn't waste broad beans by growing them for green manure. By the spring they will only be a few inches tall, and would make an insignificant contribution - and once they're any bigger, they'll have quite chunky stems that won't break down quickly. 

Beware of using a tiller if you have much couch grass (the stringy grass-weed with the trailing white roots) or bindweed.  Every broken piece is capable of re-growing and multiplying your problems.

Climbing beans (French or runners) could go against the fence if you give them some extra support to climb on. Parsnips, like carrots, need smooth, loose soil free from big stones or recent compost. Onions or shallot from sets are easy, almost foolproof, and need little attention. 

I don't know why you had a problem with your courgettes, most people found them unstoppable this summer. F1 plants should be just as vigorous as any other. Maybe they were short of water, or sun? They like rich soil, space and warmth.

Potatoes are easy but do take up space. Charlotte (second earlies) are a great variety.

Good luck!

Nerine sarniensis

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 21:52

We have a row of the ordinary  pink Nerines and have left them undisturbed since we moved to this house ten years ago. The leaves appear and die back, and then in September the flowers appear and give a lovely display for weeks. We don't move them or feed them, we just let them do their stuff. They are in a sheltered, sunny place which seems to suit them. I have just cut my flower stems down today, after  several weeks of flowering.

Purple Carrots

Posted: 30/10/2014 at 21:45

Moreveg (cheap and reliable, but small quantities) sell two purple varieties, Cosmic Purple and Purple Haze. But I agree with the others that almost any home-grown carrot will taste better than supermarket carrots.

I have tried their rainbow mixed carrots and not been impressed with the yellow or white ones, which seem to remain skinny and stringy. 





Discussions started by Green Magpie

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Tomato thriving on neglect!

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Secateurs open?

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Runners on new strawberry plants

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Nettles for butterflies

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