John Harding


Latest posts by John Harding

Advice needed

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 13:53

Black spot is a fungus (Diplocarpon Rosae). Minor attacks will not harm the plant but the affected leaves should be removed and burned. Severe attacks will weaken the plant. There are various products you can buy to combat the fungus and one method from many years ago was to spray the ground with a solution of household disinfectant or colloidal copper spray. Many of the compounds used years ago have been discontinued but there are a fair few available in GCs such as 'Rose Clear'

Punkdoc: Peat does not necessarily prevent black spot - a book I use written by Ian G. Walls 'A-Z of Garden Pests and Problems' (1979) ISBN  0  907812  66 X recommends using Peat, spent hops, or grass mowings (providing the grass hasn't been treated with hormone weed killers) as a mulch to keep the plants healthy.  

Lyn,  the soil here in Bristol is towards alkaline so the amount of peat I use doesn't do much to turn the soil acidic and the roses seem quite happy. In fact a small azalea we have in the garden which does need acidic soil had to be replanted yesterday in ericacious compost because it definitely looked under the weather after OH moved it last year so I've added a fair amount of peat as a mulch around that too. Time will tell how it likes that. John H

Advice needed

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 10:13

I've been planting roses since I was 14 (that's 55 years) and I have always used the method I was taught then. I dig a hole and partially fill it with John Innes No 3 compost with some FBB (Fish Blood & Bone) added. Then plant the rose with roots spread out and backfill with more John Innes No 3 to fill the hole and gently tread in to firm up, making sure any graft area is above the soil.

If Roses have been planted there before then use some Rootgrow Mycorrhizal Fungi available in GCs around the roots as you plant it, but it isn't really necessary if roses haven't been planted in that spot before.

One of the problems that can/does affect roses is black spot and I add about 2-3 litres of peat to the base of the plant and gently fork it in to help prevent this.

There are those who say we shouldn't be using peat in our gardens but the amount gardeners use is pitifully small compared to the commercial extraction which is then used as fuel to burn. At least gardeners are putting it back into the earth where it belongs.

Garden Gallery 2014

Posted: 22/05/2014 at 11:11

Went to Westonbirt Arboretum (Glos) yesterday. Twas a lovely sunny day & took my camera (Panasonic TZ40)


Still a lot of Bluebells around, though they are mostly towards being over now.

These are English Bluebells, darker in colour than the Spanish ones and spikes always hang in one direction.

 


 A close up


 There are masses of Rhododendrons around 'Circular Drive' at Westonbirt currently in flower.


 


 


 This one (below) was taken by OH (Eileen) on her Panasonic TZ18


 


 

Tomatoes

Posted: 22/05/2014 at 08:37

Yes, if you allow compost above the graft the plant will send out roots from the original variety and negate the benefits of using the more vigorous root stock. Orangino F1 is an indeterminate variety so yea again you would expect to pinch out the side shoots and grow as a cordon plant. I don't know the Florryno F1 and cannot find it described on the internet but I do note that Suttons do the Orangino/Florryno F1 twin grafted plants so it would be an idea to email them and ask the question.

I'm guessing the Florryno F1 is a new variety and not listed yet, and I would be surprised if Suttons graft Determinate and Indeterminate on the same root stock, though it never pays to 'Assume' anything!

Hope this helps, John H

Damaged tomato, help!

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 21:09

If it isn't actually broken off the support from a cane and tied in with some soft twine should help it (the wide piece of cloth is good as it will be soft enough to support the stem without cutting into it).

If the damage is at ground (soil) level try adding some more compost to the stem above the damage (removing any leaf stems to that point) and the stem will throw out more roots and give the plant added support. This may mean re-potting the plant a little deeper but as long as the soil ball is not damaged it should be fine. Just give the plant a good drink of water afterwards.

HELLO FORKERS!

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 20:55

Here are a few taken today at Westonbirt Arboretum

1st for Dove!!! (label 1st to explain)


 and the tree? - I first saw one of these at Birmingham Botanic Gardens in 1984 and was told then that it was only 1 of 3 in the UK at that time.


 Next an acer taken from underneath to backlight against sky


 One of the many paths at W/Birt: this one is called 'Circular Drive'


 

Tomatoes

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:40

It depends on what variety of tomato plant is being grown: determinate (bush) no picking out, or indeterminate (cordon) - remove side shoots. The root stock doesn't change the variety - just makes for a stronger plant and will need at least a 12" (30cms) dia pot as the roots are very vigorous and will need the space to grow well.

If for instance, you are growing 'Red Alert' then it is a determinate and you do not pinch out the side shoots: If the plant is say 'Shirley' or 'Alicante' or 'Ailsa Craig' then they are all indeterminate and are best grown as cordon.

Best way is to google the variety name and see what the type is but whatever it is don't start using tomato feed until the first truss has set fruit or you will get loads of foliage and little fruit.

HELLO FORKERS!

Posted: 21/05/2014 at 19:24

Hi all, have been to Westonbirt Arboretum today; lovely sunny day and have taken loads of photos. Will post some when I upload them to my PC - when my feet have stopped aching that is.

Have been out in the garden for the last hour or so watering the plants, potting up an Acer (low growing variety - max height 4ft (1.2mts for those who don't work in fahrenheit).

Have booked tickets to take OH (Eileen) to Highgrove on 3rd June (3 miles on from Westonbirt) as a birthday treat so looking forward to that, though phones and cameras are not allowed so will not be able to take any pics there more's the pity. John H

ID please

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 16:29
Aka sea thrift, common name and frequently found in coastal regions

Buy cheap pay twice...

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 22:33

I used to manage a hand tool shop in the 1970s and 80s and we sold thousands of gardening tools. For me the best makes for forks and spades were Spear & Jackson and Wilkinson Sword - 'Stainless Steel'

I have has  S&J all steel handled garden fork and a S/Steel garden spade for over 30 years and both are still in very good order (spade had a wooden handle which I snapped trying to dig the root out of an old apple tree so I bought a new hickory handle and fitted it and it's been fine ever since). About 10 years ago I then bought my wife a 'ladies' fork & spade in stainless steel and that is still 'as new' condition.

Stainless steel I'd a lot more expensive but they will give a lifetime of good service and they are so much easier to use as soil (especially heavy clay) doesn't stick anywhere near as much as it does to carbon steel. Definitely a worthwhile investment if you can afford it. My philosophy is to ask myself what I will think of my purchase in a years time. There is an old American saying 'quality is remembered long after price is forgotten'

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