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Jess is in the Garden

Latest posts by Jess is in the Garden

Dreaded thrips

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 12:14

Last year, my small and very enclosed urban garden aaas decimated by thrips.

I tried everything: SB invigorator spray which worked very well, but it rained a lot in spring, when I was away, so that didn't help and they had really settled in by the time I returned.

I tried thrip nematodes too - waste of money - though i use slug and weevil nematodes every year and they are brilliant. Unfortunately, thrip nematodes have to make direct contact with the insect, via a spray, so unless you get the buggers as they're flying off, no good.

I don't like spraying chemicals, because my garden, though tiny, has 3 frogs that visit regularly, as well as loads of pollinating insects and birds.

So once the annual insects had died off in late December, the birds were out of sight and the frogs too, I sprayed the whole lot within an inch of its life, to try and kill any eggs lying about.

I also cleared lal fallen annual and hardy perennial leaves ext, which I hadn't done previously, to remove as much diseased stuff as possible.

I've also winter washed my two dwarf acers and dwarf apple tree.

All is looking good, but right up until early December 2014, here in London it was very milk and the blooming' thrips were still flying out in clouds from their favourite nibbles - Japanese anemones, hellebores, hebes....

Some plants were so decimated last year, they've died over the winter (my favourite hebe Pascal ) and many hardy geraniums and anemones which had been glorious in previous years, didn't flower at all in 2014.

I am fed up!

Has anyone else had this problem and found the best solution for it?

Have I missed something crucial? Ought I spray again before Spring perhaps, or do something else?

My tiny garden is my oasis and I was so down when I saw it being chewed up...even a vine weevil infestation and red spider mite infestation were easier to handle than thrips and I managed to get them under control.

Please help 

Gardenia to be moved

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 12:03

Ok, fussy gardenia update then :

I repotted it and kept it indoors, in a not too warm room, away from radiators. It is sitting on a bed of small pebbles, which I mist frequently, as well as misting the little darling itself every other day or so. Soil is ericaceous compost, top dressed with horticultural grit.

Seemed really happy just before days got very short - put out a few cautious new leaves.

But now, after so much care and attention, many leaves are going yellowish and dropping off. No new growth. 

No pests to speak of.

I want to start feeding it ( I read that it just needs a generic feed and not much either, over winter, then from Spring a nitrogen rich feed specific to gardenias, weekly), but what is best to use and how ought I apply it? Do I water that in weekly and then separately mist the leaves, or do i water the feed into the pebble tray?

Argh! Too high maintenance for me, but I refuse to give up! 


Posted: 27/01/2015 at 11:55

Due to money reasons, I bought some Crocus ones in the end (sorry nut and verdun ) but I got 2L pots and the plants were very healthy when they arrived. 

Still looking good, but although I planted them early october, I haven't had a single blooming' flower 

Sternbergia Autumn. daffodils

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 11:53

Thanks everyone - at least I know I'm not doing anything wrong! Mine have a lovely mass of fresh, green leaves and not a flower in sight 


Clematis Cirrhosa

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 12:14

Likewise! Hope this rain stops soon 

Clematis Cirrhosa

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 11:33

Ok - I'll be buying that next then! Thank for the tip Dove - always good to ask the experts on here 

Clematis Cirrhosa

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 10:21

 thanks Dove - perhaps I ought to feed mine too? Hadn't thought it needed feeding, as compost is pretty new there...there are two other clematis nearby, but spring/summer varieties. Does it have to be clematis feed or will tomato feed/seaweed do?

Thanks again.

Vine weevils

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 10:18

Nematodes work well in open ground, provided its not really heavy clay and you keep it moist. Have a go in April (I treat mine April and October to keep at bay).

I don't like provado (sorry verdun!) but resorted to using it in a few non-flowering/non-pollinated pots last year, as the nematodes weren't happy there (too hot and difficult access for me to water). So long as bees and other pollinators are not going to be affected, I'm ok with that, just...

Good idea to crush beetles at night - but they're damn fast, so be aware! Takes some practise .

Very good idea to clean the soil off really affected plants and repot, if potted. Grubs can be huge, particularly if the winter has been mild (again) and often no adults have been killed off and the larvae have really grown well. Yuk.

Bear in mind that it's usually about controlling your problem with weevils, rather than total elimination - simply because your garden is likely to be affected by pests from other gardens, so unless everyone treats weevil, the blighters will always be there. 

I find that twice yearly nematodes, a tiny bit of provado in the right places and vigilance,e as others have said, controls the problem to a point that it doesn't bother me much, but I know that the weevil will never be wiped out in my garden either.


Clematis Cirrhosa

Posted: 08/01/2015 at 10:09

My Wisley Cream is happy and healthy - quite large too (several feet) and was planted in well-drained soil in a raised bed, sheltered position, bit of sun, not too much, August last year.

Still no flowers though...will I have to wait until next year?

Happy New Year to everyone 

****** NHS box tickers. I need to vent

Posted: 12/11/2014 at 15:09

@ Artjak - that is so true and precisely why ill people need particular care and respect, because they are in a more vulnerable state than anyone else.

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