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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Crazy paving

Posted: 21/05/2012 at 19:25

Hi Annie - don't think it would be a good idea to lay gravel over the top - it wouldn't settle/bed in - & thus be rather "skiddy" -  therefore a bit dangerous.  I think Gardeningfantic's got the best idea - gravel with some "stepping stones", but you'd need to make some sort of edging to keep the gravel in place - i.e. along the edges of the path. Probably best to try to lay some sort of membrane under the gravel too, as this would help stop weeds growing through.  You'd have to work out what depth of gravel you'd need to make it level with the paving you put in place.  Whatever you decide, I don't think there's a quick fix, unfortunately!  As far as the gravel goes, I always think it looks best if the gravel colour is compatible with the local earth colours.  For instance, the ploughed fields round here have a distinct pinkish look about them, and the local standstone is pink in colour.  Golden gravel seems to jar, in my opinion, so I prefer the look of the pinkish-grey stuff.  This would look all wrong in a garden in the Cotswolds, however, and probably in other parts of the country too!  Good luck with whatever you decide.

electric start petrol mowers

Posted: 18/05/2012 at 13:38

Hi Bob - I have a Hayter electric start rotary mower (key operated) and it's supposed to be semi-self propelled  - whatever that means - but I wouldn't recommend it for a sloping lawn.  I've enough problems getting it deal with uneven - though relatively level - ground.  I wish I'd tried it out for myself before deciding to get it.  I only had a demo by the salesman, which I now realise was a mistake.  The problems I find are firstly that the charger unit is very difficult to plug in and also to unplug, and secondly the grassbox is awkward to empty - something I only discovered for myself having used it.

So, I'd suggest that you get your mum to actually try a mower herself, in spite of what a salesman might say about its performance and ease of use.  Good luck!

Talkback: Cats and foxes

Posted: 18/05/2012 at 13:31

I think foxes have taken up residence in urban areas because they can scavenge for food easily and - of course - are nowadays being encouraged to stay because people think they're "cute" and so on, and feed them, so I would argue against your view that there is precious little food for them.  What there is, of course, is plenty of shelter and somewhere they can raise their young - under garden sheds and so on. I believe they will only stay and breed in places where they can easily find sources of food.  Apparently people in the UK throw out an astonishing amount of foodstuff  these days and dustbins etc are a relatively easy target for foxes - they don't have to stalk a dustbin!

I have to confess, however, that I did once put left-over dog food out for a few days for an injured fox.  It had a mangled paw and had been investigating the contents of my dustbin for several days - despite the fact that there was nothing edible there apart from some chicken bones which were wrapped in newspaper.  I hoped that perhaps it would recover fairly quickly - obviously wasn't fast enough on its uninjured three feet to catch a rabbit or rat - otherwise it would have had a lingering death I suppose.  Maybe it was the same one which took one of my gardening boots and buried it in the shrubbery!

May In Your Garden

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 18:25

Hi Pam, - chap has just collected the mower & says he doesn't think it'll be too much of a problem to fix.  Fingers crossed!

We've not had myxi round here for quite a few years.  I was wondering whether it's anything to do with the fact that the rabbits seem to spend far more time above ground these days than they used to do - I remember reading somewhere that myxi is probably spread by fleas via underground contact in the burrows.  Maybe those which survived past outbreaks spent less time underground so it might be an inherited trait.  They all seem far smaller than they used to be and I can usually see several at any time of the day whereas it used to be at dawn & dusk. What do you think?

May In Your Garden

Posted: 16/05/2012 at 09:48

Rabbits reaching plague proportions now.  Maybe they'll eat some of the grass I couldn't cut the other day when the mower developed an oil leak + nasty noise. I don't mind them eating the grass - but it's the other stuff they do that makes me so mad.  Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who's late with the runner beans...........


Posted: 16/05/2012 at 09:44

Seven baby rabbits in the garden this morning.............  and they say that for every one you can actually see, there's another three out there too. 

faded wisteria

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 12:44

Hi - have no idea why - mine are not yet fully in flower but look the same as they always do at this stage.  They are on a south-facing front wall so probably get the best of whatever sunshine we do get - tho' not much of that lately. Is yours in a shady place?

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 15/05/2012 at 12:29

Hi Frank - it's rained more or less non-stop since they cut for sileage!  Don't know whether they'll bale it or not - I exect they will as the farmer who rents the field from me has now given up milking & won't need the winter keep for the dairy cows.  Hasn't sown any forage maize this year either.  Couldn't compete any more with the "major players" in the dairy industry ref milk prices, so is raising heifers and selling them on close to calving. Much of the land is now given over to potatoes - apparently destined already for frozen chips & someone-or-other's "crisps" factory.  I was astonished to see 10 tractors working at once in one of the fields the other day. Its about 40 acres I guess - & had been ploughed a couple of weeks ago.  I reckon it would have gone from deep ploughed to potato planting completed in a less than a day.  Phew!

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 14/05/2012 at 18:24

Better sunshine today than we've had for ages    -    managed to cut some of the grass but only did about half before I had to stop, as the mower started making an odd noise - think it's developed an oil leak.  Oh well.  Luckily I'd left the mossy areas of the lawn til last, and of course it hasn't been done now.............  

Farmer's contractors have just finished cutting the field at the back for sileage - two ginormous tractors each cutting three swathes at once, at great speed.  Never seen them like that before.  However, no sooner had they finished - and it only seemed to take about 20 mins to do approx 5 acres - the sky turned black-ish and it's started to thunder - some raindrops too.  Typical.

Just what is it about cutting grass that makes the rain start? 


Posted: 12/05/2012 at 22:04

I wish I could agree with you ref the dog pee!  If that were the case, the three baby rabbits I could see this afternoon might have chosen to stay in the field on the other side of the garden fence  -  despite the various "efforts" of my two whippets to keep them away.   As a previous poster has said, there seems to be nothing you can do to keep them out apart from wire netting fixed both above and below ground all round the garden boundaries. This, for me, is not an option not only because of the costs involved but also the various levels twixt garden and field area beyond.

Over the years I have had to learn to live with the problems which result from living on the edge of rabbit-ridden fields.  The only rabbit-proof part of my garden is a small raised bed which does have chicken wire to protect it - the rest of it has bolt holes & rabbit latrines in the lawned areas, as well as several burrows in the shrubbery areas.  I have found that even those plants which are suposed not to be favourite rabbit food will in fact be eaten - they seem to find any newly-planted stuff almost irresistible.  They will even stand on their hind legs to nibble away at stuff in fairly tall terracotta pots. Some chaps come ferretting from September to March - and this helps quite a bit.  During the last foot & mouth outbreak they weren't allowed access on to the land  - and when they did start ferretting again they caught 406 rabbits, over six visits, within 200 yards of my house.

Until two years ago I had semi-feral cats which certainly kept the front garden totally rabbit-free.   I never ever saw the cats in the fenced part of the garden where the dogs are free to run round - whippets seem to be "hard-wired" to chase cats and small furry things, so they had to be kept separate from the moggies' area. Since the last of the cats died, the rabbits have taken up residence in the front garden too.

So, if you don't want to resort to having to shoot the rabbits and don't want to have a dog - which wouldn't be free to roam in the way that cats can - I suggest a semi-feral cat or two might be one solution to the problem for you.  If anyone else can come up with an utterly foolproof rabbit deterrent, I'd simply love to know what that is!

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