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Kate Bradbury

Latest posts by Kate Bradbury

Talkback: New Zealand flatworms

Posted: 16/04/2012 at 13:50

Gerry Court, the creature you are describing sounds like flat-backed millipede. These are lovely, beneficial creatures. Information here

Ponds for wildlife

Posted: 16/04/2012 at 10:49

Hi wrightt, that's interesting to know, thanks. Which pond do the frogs spawn in? Traditionally they prefer spawning in shallow water - but I agree, I have seen lots of frogs and newts spending time in deeper ponds. What about other pond life though?  <span>The greatest variety of wildlife in ponds lives in the very shallow water, including tadpoles, newt larvae, water beetles and dragonfly nymphs. Do you get these in the shallow or deep pond?


desperate for advice please

Posted: 16/04/2012 at 10:38

Hi clints, my garden was completely paved over and a desert to wildlife when I moved in. I took the slabs up and imported topsoil, and planted lots of bee- and butterfly-friendly plants, made a small pond in an old tin bath, bought a bird bath, hung some bird feeders, put up nest boxes and planted climbers to cover the walls. I also made a log pile and stuffed leaves behind pots for creatures to shelter in. I have had lots of birds, bees, butterflies and hoverflies visiting my tiny plot, and the frogs love it. Whatever you do to your garden, think of it as a project that will benefit you and the local wildlife. I'm sure that in no time at all it will be a wildlife haven.


Talkback: Dung-flies and rat-tailed maggots

Posted: 16/04/2012 at 10:23
Thanks for all your replies.

@happymarion - how lovely. Sounds like you have the perfect butterfly- and ladybird-friendly garden.

@oldchippy - the nettle bucket isn't in the flat! The smell isn't that bad, really. I can guarantee you won't notice it if you come to paint it ;)

@kevc - dung flies are important predators of other flies, including mosquitoes, and rat-tailed maggots turn into hoverflies, which pollinate flowers and fruit and veg crops. But why do they need a purpose? What purpose do humans have? Regarding your clay soil, if you give it a really good dig over, then dig in some horticultural grit, you should notice a difference immediately. Then, every spring and autumn, apply a mulch of home-made compost/well-rotted manure. This should make the ground more manageable.

@kaycurtis - the smell isn't so bad, really, and you soon get used to it. It's fun!


tomato plant pests

Posted: 12/04/2012 at 11:52

Sounds like red spider mite, Gina. If you mist the plants daily to increase humidity, the spiders should move on. More information here



Posted: 04/04/2012 at 11:27

Hi moonchild1984 and Urszula, wasps aren't as bad as many people make out, and very few people die from wasp stings. I got stung by wasps as a child and lived to tell the tale! Wasps are usefull allies in the garden - they eat caterpillars, flies and beetles, many of which are usually regarded as pests.

However there's a great product called the Waspinator, which you hang in your garden to deter wasps from entering. It looks like a wasp nest so, being territorial, wasps won't enter a garden if they think there is already a nest there, as they fear they'll be attacked.

Information on the Waspinator is here:


Vine Weevil

Posted: 04/04/2012 at 11:21

Hi Tracey, vine weevils do love strawberries! There's no guarantee the grubs won't eat the immature roots of your veg, but it might deter them (I've never heard of vine weevils eating carrots, parsnips and leeks). It's a good idea to lay a thick layer of gravel over the soil surface to prevent the adult beetle laying eggs in the compost, but I wouldn't recommend this when soing seed! Alternatively, you could use nematodes ( to safely kill the vine weevil grubs. Apply this to your trough twice a year and you'll still be able to grow strawberries.

Hope this helps



Posted: 04/04/2012 at 11:13

Hi Percy, as a compromise why don't you let the thistle flower but then cut the flower off before it seeds? Then you get to enjoy your thistle but it won't spread all over your garden.


Clearing a large area of Ground Elder

Posted: 04/04/2012 at 11:10

Hi Rose7, thick black plastic, cardboard or weed-supressant membrane (which can be expensive) for a year would probably do the job, though ground elder is quite difficult to eradicate. I'm interested to see that you're hoping to turn it into a wild area... ground elder and nettles are pretty wild already. Nettles in particular are fantastic for ladybirds, butterflies and moths, many of which are in decline. And ground elder has flat, umbel-type flowers, which are particularly suited to butterflies and hoverflies. So it might be worth saving time and effort and just leaving your wild patch, as it sounds like it is already a great wildlife habitat.


All year round Wall basket - drought resistant!

Posted: 04/04/2012 at 10:40

Hello NJJ272, it sounds like Mediterranean herbs are the perfect option for you. Does your wall get a lot of sun? First I would consider lining the baskets with an old plastic bag to conserve moisture in the compost (the coco matting liners should hide this). Add a few drainage holes so any excess water can drain. Then plant it up with lavender or rosemary. These plants thrive in dry, sunny conditions, so do well from a little neglect. The lavender will need deadheading and a bit of a prune to keep it in shape (many people do this after flowering, but I do so in spring, so the birds can eat the seedheads in autumn and winter), and you'll need to repot the plants every year or two, when they get rootbound. Lavender alone has attractive foliage, and of course lovely flowers in summer, and rosemary has pretty blue flowers in spring. From the size of your baskets I'd probably just go with lavender. You can have a mini, fragrant, bee-friendly hedge jsut outside your back door!

Hope this helps


Discussions started by Kate Bradbury

Unusual bird behaviour

Replies: 13    Views: 398
Last Post: 05/09/2014 at 21:02

Talkback: Queen wasp

Lovely x x 
Replies: 6    Views: 525
Last Post: 21/04/2013 at 07:22

Talkback: Leaf-cutter bees

Saw my first leaf-cutter only a couple of weeks ago Richard. Didn't get a chance to look at its underside... Kate 
Replies: 5    Views: 550
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 21:40

Potted ponds in Thailand

Just some of the many 'potted ponds' I found in Thailand 
Replies: 13    Views: 3153
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 20:24


Replies: 5    Views: 1043
Last Post: 15/02/2012 at 14:45


Replies: 1    Views: 436
Last Post: 17/12/2011 at 08:16


Replies: 4    Views: 518
Last Post: 14/12/2011 at 20:26

Favourite tools

Replies: 17    Views: 1160
Last Post: 28/04/2012 at 10:06

Redesign of garden

Replies: 35    Views: 6014
Last Post: 15/03/2012 at 19:49

Seed buying

Replies: 7    Views: 1140
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 12:16

Plants still in flower?

Replies: 64    Views: 17834
Last Post: 19/01/2012 at 21:10
11 threads returned