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hypercharleyfarley


Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Repotting new Christmas tree

Posted: 30/11/2013 at 18:26

The tree sounds lovely!  However, it wouldn't be a good idea to change too quickly from the sort of temperatures you'll have indoors to the outdoor mid-winter cold.  If you're going to add decorations or fairy lights, the idea of "misting" could cause you a bit of shock/problem!  One thing you might be able to do is to keep it somewhere relatively cool in the house - i.e. certainly as far away from a radiator or open fire as you can.  Maybe only bring it into the living room (?warmest place in the house) only when you really feel you want to.  Otherwise it'll be happier somewhere cooler, and you'll maximise its chances of survival.

Tudor Monastry Farm

Posted: 21/11/2013 at 10:52

I enjoyed the cookery programme much more than the Monastery Farm one!  Nigel and Adam work really well together as presenters, don't they?

I suppose I sit there waiting to "nit-pick" with the "farm" thing - and as usual saw and heard things which made me wince.  Maybe it's not fair to attribute these solely to the programme's presenters - the producer and director must surely take the blame, so to speak, just as they would with any praise.  One of the opening shots showed a chap with a pikel over his shoulder - a relatively modern one, and not something which would have been around in the 1500s.  I was interested to see that they did in fact use a wooden one when forking the straw into the steaming pit.  The presenters should, however, know that "to blunten" and  "sheared" aren't the right words to use (!) and I don't think he really meant what he said when he sort-of explained that the vertical sticks in the pit "transported" heat either.........

However, back to the "nits"...........   I wish they would learn how to handle any livestock they deal with.  The way they dealt with the sheep was really awful, and it did make me smile when they said that the poor muddy one which finally escaped from that filthy pond would have to dry out for a few weeks before shearing. .......     did they really think the sheep would stay clean?   When it came to carding the wool, they were using modern metal-tined carders - whereas in the 1500s they'd most probably have used something made from dried teasel heads - that's where the word "teasing" comes from (in this context).  I think they could - and should - have explained that there are varying degrees of fibre quality in any whole fleece, so the sorting of the wool would take this into account.  For example, the parts of the fleece from the underside/throat/chest are finer, softer and shorter fibres - whereas the parts from the hindquarters are much coarser, and these would be separated for use in different ways.  Imagine, for instance, a rug -  and a vest for a baby - both can be made from wool.  The other thing they didn't mention is that the fleece/fibre quality is affected by something called "the rise" which is a weakening of the fibres & which happens in the early part of summer when not only is the grass quality better, but the weather's warmer too.  This combination of improved nutritiion and warmth causes a sudden growth spurt in the fleece which weakens the fibres and is part of the reason why sheep sometimes appear to moult a bit.  The ideal time to shear, therefore is at the time when this weakness is closest to the body.   Makes shearing easier & quicker and means the fibres don't have an inherent weakness.

The goose boots were a complete joke! 

Tudor Monastry Farm

Posted: 13/11/2013 at 16:33

Hello DK!  I suppose you might perhaps wonder whether Frank (aka Palaisglide) and I will be watching!  I'm not sure where Frank is at the moment - he's not posted here for ages, so I do hope he's OK.........

I'm sure you'll recall that  Frank and I felt there were quite a few occasions during the earlier series which really showed the presenters' lack of research and knowledge of the subjects they covered, so I'm wondering whether they'll continue in the same vein.  It's a pity that people were taken in by this, and misled completely at times - for example, do you remember when one of the presenters said that rats don't have a bladder?  ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!     He couldn't explain/didn't know why they urinate the way they do, so made an utterly incorrect statement.  They made mistakes about hatching chicks/brooders etc. - and milked a cow just after her calf had suckled,  without washing her udder and teats.  There were lots of other similar "howlers" so I'll no doubt be yelling at the TV  tonight - again!   Cheers!  Ma.

Wisteria Pruning

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 19:52

It's probably best to wait a bit before doing anything drastic.  When all the leaves have fallen it will be easier for you to see those points on the stems where next year's growth will begin, from new "buds". I think that most of us who have wisterias have seen a greater amount of growth than usual this year - mine have set more seed pods than ever.  If you wait until the usual pruning time - February - you can then decide which parts you want to train and grow, and which you want to remove altogether.

If the plant is reasonably well-established, even if you cut it right back to what you might call "the trunk" it will most probably shoot from there too, even if there don't appear to be any obvious buds. You'll need to tie it to its supports and this is easier when there's no foliage to wrestle with.  It's quite important to make sure that the roots don't dry out during the autumn & winter - most wisterias seem to be  planted against a wall and the soil there is often dry and of poor quality, so some good mulch or manure will help a lot with the new growth when it finally emerges.

I hope this helps a bit - my wisterias grow like triffids all through the summer months, so I have to do regular tidying-up then, otherwise I'd not be able to see through my windows!

Poppy Fields

Posted: 17/07/2013 at 14:00

I don't think they really need winter cold for germination - it's light they seem to need more than anything, hence the "sudden" appearance of poppies in France after WW1.  In any case, imagine what happens when they're left alone:  the pods develop those little openings around the crown of the seedhead and the seeds themselves are scattered when the wind shakes the dead stems.  The seeds fall on the ground and aren't covered over.

Poppy Fields

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 13:01

I saw an amazing field-full of red poppies in Norfolk last week!  There's a connection between Little Ann's post and the fact that our national flower emblem for remembering those who died fighting for their country during world wars is a red poppy. I believe it's because those fields in France which had been devastated by the WW1 trenches were covered in red poppies in later years - the trenches etc disturbed land which had been uncultivated previously, and the poppy seeds had been thrown up by the digging.

Problem with Ivy---Hedra helix Goldheart-

Posted: 23/06/2013 at 14:06

Before you contact the landlord, I'd suggest you try to find out who's responsible for your garden boundaries, and also whether there's any restriction as to their height.  Sometimes the legal documents relating to house purchase can and do identify these things, but not always.  If you have a site plan, and there are sometimes little symbols which look a bit like a "T", and the owner of land on which the "T" is shown owns that boundary:-  i.e.
__________________T____________________ means that the owner of the land above the line "owns" the boundary.  If the "T" were upside down & below the line, the owner of that land would be responsible. 

It's unlikely that you'd "own" all the boundaries round your property, especially if it is one of a row of houses.  One side of the plot, and possibly the rear, are the most likely - but you really need to check and be armed with all the facts (relating to height as well) before you tackle your neighbour.  You'd almost certainly be within your rights, however, if you cut down anything which overhung your garden - but you're supposed to hand to the neighbour what it was that you removed!

Garden DESTROYED!?

Posted: 19/06/2013 at 10:05

Probably a young badger's the culprit.  They venture away from the sett (last year's cubs) and often end up as roadkill round here.  Almost always the small/young ones, as far as I can tell, and it's interesting that whereas crows & magpies etc seem to scavenge on dead rabbits/foxes/pheasant etc at the roadside, I've never yet seen them near a dead badger.

Wisteria

Posted: 19/06/2013 at 09:28

I had a similar problem with the wisterias which grow on the front of my house.  They were very well-established when I bought the property but - like yours - didn't produce any flowers.  I think I discovered the reason for this, which seemed to be the fact that they were planted in such a way that their roots grew beneath a concrete path which ran along the front of the property.  Before the path was eventually taken away - and a border established - I made sure that I watered them well during the autumn, by pouring literally buckets-full of water into the planting hole which they sat in, which was surrounded by concrete then.  Ever since the path was removed (many years ago now) the wisterias have flowered profusely - it looks a purple waterfall all along the front & side of the house at the moment!  I don't know which variety of wisteria they are, but both produce the longest racemes I've ever seen - well over 12" long.  I prune the unwanted new shoots during the summer months and do a general "tidy-up" sort of pruning in February/March, depending a bit on the weather - but before the buds show any sign of new growth.

So - before you do anything too drastic ref pruning, I'd suggest that you consider whether or not your plant could be short of water.  Seems simple enough, but when you consider that any plant which is sited close to a wall is likely to suffer from this.  Feeding usually produces more leaf than flower, though some plant food is often necessary because the soil near a house wall is often poor in quality.  I don't know the real reason why copious amounts of water in the autumn seemed to work for me - but it did!

watering (i'm new to gardening)

Posted: 11/06/2013 at 21:33

Hello!  It'd help if you could tell us a bit more about what you did in order to make the lawn & borders - e.g. is there rubble or something not far beneath them & if so,  how deep is the soil?  Did you just use what "turned up"(!) or did you use some new topsoil and/or compost?  All these things have an effect on how much moisture the ground will hold.  Is it shaded or sunny?  Would you describe the soil as sandy or clayey?  Did you use turf or did you seed the lawn?  Is it sloping or level?  Any new lawn probably needs some extra watering to help it get properly established.  A good soaking once every ten days or so is probably better than just sprinkling more often than that.  As far as border plants are concerned, it can depend a bit on how big a hole you made to plant into, and whether or not you back-filled it with good compost (which would retain water well) or whether you just used what you'd dug out in the first place.  Any newly planted stuff needs some watering in order to help it grow properly - once plants are established there's less need to do that, unless we get a prolonged heatwave!

I know all that sounds a bit OTT - but there are so many factors which can affect moisture retention. One idea might be to dig down a little bit to see if the subsoil seems at all damp - it'd probably be a bit darker in colour than the soil on the surface. 

Hope this helps a bit - perhaps other people will add their thoughts too.

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