Latest posts by Joe_the_Gardener

What treatment for new Pergola?

Posted: 04/04/2015 at 16:36

Actually Tetley, you need an answer from someone who had a pergola installed 20 years ago!

Help don't no what to do

Posted: 29/03/2015 at 15:10

If there are that many you certainly couldn't kill them all even if you set out to do that, so I would enjoy the spectacle, watch what they're doing and not worry at all about it.


Posted: 29/03/2015 at 15:02

I'm with Lyn on this; get a push mower and give the neighbours' ears a break.

Elderberry Tree

Posted: 28/03/2015 at 15:42

I never think of elder as a particularly prolific seeder.

advice needed

Posted: 28/03/2015 at 15:36

I'd be interested to know where the advice came from. I've been racking my brains to think of any bulb that would benefit from such treatment.

advice needed

Posted: 28/03/2015 at 13:13

What sort of bulbs are we talking about?

Swifts in decline

Posted: 28/03/2015 at 12:37


It's really up to all of us to do as much as we can to change the culture, perhaps by making representations direct to local planning authorities or via wildlife trusts or other local groups. Don't expect to win every situation, but believe me, there is a lot of support for the birds. We can use local news media to raise awareness. Larger companies have a lot to gain by being able to tick an 'environmental' box.

Gillian, your particular example is unfortunately typical of the lackadaisical approach of people who ought to know better. They should be made aware that Swifts leave very little evidence of nesting; what little material they use biodegrades very quickly and they take all the droppings away from the nest. The only evidence of nesting is really observation of adults and young. So the more records that we can provide the better.

4thPanda - it takes a while for Swifts to adopt nest sites, and a lot of the Swifts that are bombing around are young birds that are not yet breeding - they may not start till their 3rd or 4th year. They do tend to distract you from the nests that are in use! See the website for ways to attract Swifts.

laurel hedge will not grow near leylandii tree.

Posted: 27/03/2015 at 17:13

I would not do anything without first making a friendly approach to the neighbour, explaining the problem and inviting them to come and have a look at it from your garden. This way you are ten points up from the very start.

Swifts in decline

Posted: 26/03/2015 at 12:44

In about a month Swifts will return to Britain and those of us lucky enough to have a local population will be thrilled by their high-speed flight and screaming calls - a key sound of summer - and the more you get to know about them the more fascinating they are. The only time these birds land is during the breeding season and we have a responsibility to look after them. 

However, Swift numbers have been dropping for some years and part of the problem seems to be destruction of traditional nest sites by restoration of buildings. It is  now common for building techniques not to preserve any of the nooks and crannies that Swifts prefer. This is particularly significant in older factory buildings and Edwardian and Victorian houses. You can find a lot more about the problem and ways in which we can all help to do something about it at

Your local Wildlife Trust and ornithological society are almost certainly involved with this issue and will have information on how you can help. Particularly important now is recording of nest sites (which can be surprisingly hard to find) so that they can be protected. If you have local knowledge it will be very useful - you may know of a nest on your street or your house (lucky you) which would take someone else ages to find. 

It is just as easy for builders to preserve or replace nest sites as it is to destroy them and techniques have been tried and tested across Europe. Swift Conservation have worked with major developers to provide Swift nest sites, so this isn't a conflict, rather it can be a win-win. If you get the chance to attend a Swift Conservation meeting or event you'll be inspired.

Take care where you put the mouse traps

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 11:01

Also avoid loose netting over soft fruit.

Discussions started by Joe_the_Gardener


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Useful tool

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