Latest posts by greenjude

Tree Fern Survival

Posted: 02/01/2014 at 20:25

The crown needs to be fairly dry inside or it will rot. And if water gets in then freezes, it will probably kill it! The working roots of tree ferns are near the top of the trunk so that's where you need the moisture. (The roots in the ground are anchors.) Having said that, it isn't critical in winter when the air tends to be damper anyway. That's the part that needs protecting from the cold. If you wrap the trunk it will hold in enough moisture to keep it going. The crown needs an almost waterproof hat, but don't use plastic because it won't let in air, which is essential.

If they're Dicksonia antarctica, wait until the weather is properly cold because that's the hardiest species. The others, especially Cyathea species, are iffy-hardy and need more protection.

Good luck!

Talkback: Cooking elderberries

Posted: 02/11/2013 at 02:05
Hi mikemove
At this time of year you could start taking hardwood cuttings - just stick the pieces in the ground and leave them to root. They should be ready next autumn. Sambucus roots very easily like this.

Talkback: Cooking elderberries

Posted: 02/11/2013 at 02:02
I cook elderberries with a chopped, slightly overripe banana for 2 minutes in the microwave. The banana is very sweet so no extra sugar necessary. Great fresh and warm or cooled and mixed into yoghurt, with maybe a bit of cinnamon.
I also freeze the berries for winter use.

What new veg varieties have you tried?

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 20:22

I grew cucamelon. It produced lots of grape-sized cucumbers with attractive stripey skins. They taste like cucumber with a slightly sharp undertaste. It was very easy to grow and wasn't bothered by slugs and snails, which surprised me. I needed the space so I cleared the plants last week. I now have a box full of cucamelons which seem to keep well. I'll definitely grow them next year.

I've bought several veg recommended in James Wong's book, some of which were disappointing. With hindsight, I realise that a lot of them are flavouring rather than veg, and a lot seem to be used for various alcoholic drinks!

Monarda and Agastache grew beautifully but not good value for space in the veg plot.

Asparagus peas are pretty buy not worth growing to eat - too fiddly and low productivity for the space.

Electric daisies are pretty but unpleasant to eat.

I'm still waiting to harvest oca, dahlias and cannas (for their roots), but the dahlias produced some beautiful and unusual flowers. I'll keep these to flower next year but I don't yet know if they're worth eating!

I also trialled lettuce 'Interred' for Which?Garden. It's a dark red, small cos and I loved it. Tastes like a good cos, looks good and will produce new leaves when you cut the head. I had some seedlings left over which hung around in the greenhouse in modules, dried out several times to the point of wilting, yet stiil produced good heads without bolting when I finally planted them out after about 6 weeks. I could hardly have treated them worse and they grew like champions.


Posted: 05/09/2013 at 21:26

I've got this on one of mine, an old hardy one, been in the ground for years. It looks like herbicide damage, with areas scorched, but nothing around it has the problem so it can't be herbicide.


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 11:50

I think this refers to adding grit/sand to a multipurpose compost to be sure it's well drained, and cut down on fertility. The mix is 50% grit, 50% compost. It's especially important for your lavender cuttings, which will rot quickly if the compost is too wet.

You may like to know that I've had success using cubes cut from Oasis for lavenders. Just keep them slightly damp and repot the whole thing when they show roots. It works the same way as rockwool but it's a lot cheaper.

Good luck with your cuttings.


Posted: 16/08/2013 at 11:44

Looks like evening primrose to me too. Try sniffing them in the evening - there should be a fairly delicate, sweet scent that isn't there in the daytime.


Posted: 25/04/2013 at 23:55

apeers, I think you may have overfed. Try removing as much compost as possible without damaging the roots, then potting them in JI1 + grit, or even JI seed compost + grit. You can feed more once they're larger. While you're there, check the roots are still good. If not, contact the seller - they may have been damaged before they got to you. Did they come in those horrible net pots, or those pots that looks rather like fleece? I find plants grow much better if I remove them, even if you lose some root with them.


Posted: 25/04/2013 at 23:47

If you do mean Pelargoniums, you can pinch out tips in the same way as fuchsias and other plants, which will make them bushier. The more branches they have, the more flowers. In fact, if they've got tall and leggy over winter, you can cut them back quite hard to get lots of new growth, which produces more flowers than old growth. You can also use the bits you cut off as cuttings. Let the cut gry for a day or so then pot into gritty compost, keep warm and slightly shaded, and don't cover with plastic bags because that will make them rot. Even more flowers!

On the other hand, if you mean hardy geraniums. they do all the work for you. Just sit back and admire them.


Posted: 07/04/2013 at 23:04

Plantagogo have great plants. Just ask them for advice on what variteies grow well in your conditions. They hold the National Collection (Plant Heritage) so they are the experts and very helpful

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