Jess is in the Garden

Latest posts by Jess is in the Garden

Golfinches have landed!

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 13:49

 that's brilliant Dove.

Yes, the blackbirds, robins and odd word pigeon have been doing a grand job getting rid of the fallout. 

Interesting how they go for sunflower hearts over all else - I wonder if that's because they are meant to be the rolls royce of seeds and require no work either. Plus they get more in one beakful!


Golfinches have landed!

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 13:34

Thanks Lesley! It really has been amazing to watch them. And when I'm in the garden, they all stop, cock their heads to one side and cheep at me, but without flying off, as they used to. Seems they are getting used to me 

Off to google Nyger seed...

Dreaded thrips

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 13:19

Thanks Edd - never heard of sticky strips! What do I do there and how do they work? Did you find nematodes worked for you? I used the Grow your Own and they made no difference at all, but maybe I wasn't catching them whole or was spraying too infrequently...

Golfinches have landed!

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 13:17

After almost a year of virtually no activity with my bird feeder, I was positively delighted when TEN (yes 10!) goldfinches started using it a couple of weeks back.

Now it's a constant food fest up there - along with a few coal tits, some blue tits and the odd blackbird/robin/wood pigeon that hoover up what ends up in the flower bed beneath 

It has been pure joy for me and my little girl, aged 6, to sit at the kitchen window and watch them all.

I've been using 'no mess' sunflower hearts - all the birds soon to love them - but after doing a bit of research and reading that goldfinches' natural food is seed, I was wondering if there is a particular kind they prefer or that is better for them, as they are the ones feeding from my garden the most - messy too - they scatter the husk less seeds everywhere!



Posted: 27/01/2015 at 13:12

Really? That's lifted my spirits! Thanks 

One of mine has a dark cluster of new growth in the centre - can't tell if only leaves or some buds too yet...

How big are vine weevil grubs?

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 12:20

UGH , ugh and ugh again - hate the blighters!

They can be anything up to and inch long - orangey head, creamy, disgusting, fat body.

Have I mentioned how much I despise them?

Definitely use nematodes to control them in the future - April and October for a big infestation. Or alternatively Provado only in pots that doth have pollinating insects visiting that plant.

Works for me.

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 


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