Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Ask Alan

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 11:08

I'd like to ask Alan what particular aspect of gardening gives him the most satisfaction/enjoyment, and is there anything he dislikes doing (for instance, I hate mowing grass but love doing all the other stuff) 


Posted: 07/03/2014 at 11:03

It's nothing to do with birds' nests.  Unfortunately it's a virus of some sort which has appeared in the UK in the past few years and seems now to have spread everywhere.  I've noticed that some varieties of conifer hedging seem to be more affected than others, but there's no really effective way of preventing it or dealing with its presence, so far as I know 

After the nesting season, you might be able to deal with the brown/dead patches by removing them and tying the remaining branches across the resulting gap.  That's what I'm going to try!

What's digging up lawn?

Posted: 05/03/2014 at 20:07

The holes in my lawn look very like that & they are rabbit latrines, so maybe that's what's your problem too, if you have wild rabbits nearby.  Sometimes I find rabbit droppings in & beside the holes, so maybe you will too if you take a really close look.  I've had badgers dig up the lawn in the past, but the mess they make is different in that they rip the turf up (looking for chafer grubs etc) rather than just making holes.

p.s. today I heard of a good way to stop badgers digging the lawn.  Apparently they don't do it if you've scattered some of that granular lawn fertiliser around.  I won't need to try this out, as my garden is now more-or-less badger-proof, but the person who gave me the advice has in fact tried it, and said it really does work.

Where have the birds gone!!!

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 18:59

Hardly any sparrows here - they obviously prefer your garden, Sue!

There are lots and lots of blue tits, coal tits & great tits - the long-tailed tits always seem to come later in the day than the others.  Wonder why?  There's a robin, a blackbird, a song thrush, a couple of jays sometimes, and greenfinches occasionally, tho' no chaffinch.  Haven't seen a wren for a while - which is odd - and over in the field (and sometimes on the post & rail fence)  there are a couple of magpies and several crows.   Other visitors include the odd wood pigeon or two, but haven't seen a collared dove this year yet.  Yesterday there were two buzzards overhead, and a few gulls in the far field.  Heard a woodpecker in the wood earlier on today.  Used to see fieldfares and redwings together in the field, but not this winter. Starlings are a bit of a rarity round here now, as are plovers - used to see lots & lots of both.  A cock pheasant landed on the lawn last week!

Wisteria and dogs - poisonous?

Posted: 14/02/2014 at 19:46

Hello Rosie!  love the photo - thanks for sharing.



Hedging and Horses

Posted: 14/02/2014 at 19:41

sorry - a few typos in the above reply.  I haven't yet discovered a way of editing after posting.   Anyone know if that's possible?



Hedging and Horses

Posted: 14/02/2014 at 19:35

I think you probably need to establish who's responsible for the boundary fence in question.  If you have any paperwork relating to your property, the boundary ownership/responsibility might be shown like this:



which means  that whoever owns the land above the line is the "owner" of the boundary.  If the "T" were upside down and below the line, the owner of the land below the line would be responsible.  In other words, whoever owns the land on which the "T" lies is responsible for the associated boundary.

Sometimes things get a bit complicated.  For example,  it's often the case that in a road with a row/line of properties, each property-owner is responsible for two of the rear boundaries.  One way of explaining this is that if the rear garden is a simple rectangular shape, the owner would be responsible for two of the boundaries e.g. left-hand side and rear (imagine "L" upside down).  It's best not to to assume ownership of a boundary because sometimes "boundary" can equare to "minefield".

Of course things aren't always clear-cut!  However, what you can do (if you've got enough room) is create another fence inside the existing boundary, and attach some horse-deterrent electric fence-type gadget.  In this case you'd need something like a car battery in a waterproof container, if it's too far away to connect to the mains electricity supply.  I think I mentioned in my earlier post that it's probably best to go and get some ideas/advice from a local agricultural supplier/merchant.  A bit of googling beforehand will probably help too!

Wisteria and dogs - poisonous?

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 16:53

Have two wisterias and two dogs!


They aren't at the "chew-everything" stage so any pods which fall on to the ground aren't a problem for me.  They are  poisonous (the pods, that is!) so you need to make sure that there aren't any lying around where your puppy can get to them.  It really will be worth making the efffrt to get each and every single one of them - otherwise poorly & possibly dead puppy + vet's bills as a result.

I'd suggest you go to your local pet food place and get a lot of things which the puppy will  be able to chew safely - and you can offer one of these as a "swap" if your puppy does find (and chew) anything he shouldn't.  Is this your first dog?  if not, I'm probably telling you something you already know - but don't hesitate to ask about things if you think anyone here might be able to help.



Flood damage

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 18:01

I reckon it'll take a very long time for things to get back to what was "normal" where the land has been submerged for as long as it has been this time round.  Obviously we can see for ourselves those creatures which are mobile and probably will have survived - rodents, birds and so on - but what won't have survived are the insect larvae & worms etc.,and things we can't see,  as well as those creatures which hibernate - someone else "upthread" mentioned hedgehogs, I think. 

Another problem - which I don't think people  have mentioned - is the fact that there willl undoubtedly be pollution due to sewage systems ceasing to function properly, and the possibillity that there may well be pollution from oil fuel  domestic heating systems and underground fuel storage tanks.  Those rural areas which have suffered badly are probably those which don't have mains services other than electicity and water - and even the water systems may well be badly affected.

The water table overall is so high now that large trees are more likely than ever to be blown over in high winds - their roots being unable to hold due to the soft ground.   This is something we've seen round here, even though we're not at risk from flooding and the soil is relatively light/sandy.

There's every chance that all of us will find our buildings insurance premiums rising too - the insurance companies will get their money back somehow, just as they have done by increasing motor insurance costs as a result of  the rising number of claims for whiplash injuries...........  Property prices will fall in those areas which have been affected by the floods, and some people will undoubtedly find themselves in what's called a "negative equity" situation now - even if they could  find a buyer if and when they have to sell their home. 

It seems to me that there won't be many creatures or businesses which won't suffer long-term from the affects of the floods - maybe the only ones who'll do well are people who have a carpet shop!


Hedging and Horses

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 13:21

I'm a bit puzzled as to what is currrently in place to stop animals getting into your garden from the field beyond.  I presume there must be some sort of boundary fence or other - perhaps you could describe it for us.

Bored horses will often chew at anything they can reach, so it's best to plant things well away from the boundary itself.  If there's some sort of post & rail fencing there are a few things you can do to stop horses reaching over.  Two methods which work really well involve the use of an adaptation of normal & commonly-used electric stock fencing (which can be battery operated) and which horses soon learn to steer clear of.  Because of this there can even be times when you don't need to have the electricity supply connected.

One of these adaptations enables you to put the electric tape along the top of the fencing, and another enables you to fix the tape about 18" away from the fence itself (on the field side) by means of brackets which look a bit like those you'd use for hanging baskets on a house wall.  I guess if you look at a few websites you'll see what I mean.  Even better if you can visit a local agricultural merchant/supplier and they'd be able to show you how it all works.

Have you thought of having a word about this with whoever owns the land and/or the horses?  perhaps they'd be willing to help either financially or in a practical way, and once the fencing was sorted out you'd be able to plant whatever you wanted.

Discussions started by hypercharleyfarley

ID please!

looks like a cross between grass and foxglove 
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