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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Unidentifed Raptor

Posted: 13/06/2012 at 09:39

Hi - I think the  "cream and brown speckly thing"  is in fact a buzzard - much more common these days than they were 30 years ago - and is one of the bigger birds of prey.


Posted: 03/06/2012 at 10:01

Maybe your lack of success with traps is due to where you placed them.  Mice don't usually run across open spaces but tend to keep to the edges - so I'd suggest you put the traps down on the ground where the side of the shed meets the floor.  I've found that milk chocolate seems to work as a bait, rather than the more conventional idea of using cheese!

Bark mulch

Posted: 22/05/2012 at 21:03

Hi - I think it's an American "thing" - my D lives in the US so I've seen the bark mulch everywhere there too, sometimes in really strong colours.  It does always look tidy!  I wonder whether it's treated in some way so that it repels insects, worms etc - that's what the birds would be looking for I suppose.


Posted: 21/05/2012 at 22:53

Hi Frank!  think I might abstain altogether......!  but I did love that Yorkshire garden though - it looked as if it had been there for years & years & years.  Full marks for that from me, but  -  if someone had shown me that bit just as a TV "clip"  -   I'd never have guessed it was from what's called The Chelsea Flower Show.

What's the weather like in your area?

Posted: 21/05/2012 at 22:44

Hi DK!  You were right!   .......... so, what are the winning lottery numbers going to be this weekend?

Mystery Plant - Help Needed

Posted: 21/05/2012 at 21:13

Hi Claireylouise - it's hard to eliminate marestail completely and even more so if it's coming through from your neighbour's garden, as any effort you make on your side of the boundary won't stop it growing there.  I'd suggest that whatever steps you take to kill it off, you ask your neighbour if you can do the same on their side - otherwise you'll have a never-ending battle.  If you google for ideas as to how to eliminate it, you may well find suggestions that you use glyphosate weedkiller.  This will work OK, as it travels to the roots and more or less kills stuff from the roots up.  However, this particular weed is a somewhat tough & even "waxy", so to get the glyphosate to work you need first to bruise the shoots (using gloved hands) so that the solution is taken into the plant - otherwise it'll just wash off in any rain.  You have to be very careful not to let the weedkiller touch anything else - or that will die too.  I'm so glad I don't have to deal with it & wish you lots of luck!

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?

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