Laura Corin

Latest posts by Laura Corin

Talkback: Rabbits and myxomatosis

Posted: 06/05/2012 at 13:33
It comes through here in waves too. There was a rabbit sitting by the road on Thursday - luckily my neighbour was prepared to dispatch it.

I'm not good at dispatching rabbits myself. Shortly after we moved here there were Myxi rabbits in the garden. I tipped one into a bin liner, tied the top (so it would suffocate) and put it in the bin. Two hours later, I went to put something else in the bin, only to see the live rabbit and the shredded bag at the bottom. It was not strong enough to avoid me, but it had enough self-preservation to chew its way out of the bag. Since then, I've left the rabbits to the foxes: we have a healthy fox population so I suspect the rabbits don't suffer for long. I've certainly found several dismembered rabbits recently.

There are one, two, three, four, five, six healthy little rabbits living under my woodpile. I have an area of garden fenced off and elsewhere I experiment with rabbit-unpalatable plants. So far, the winners are buddleia, alliums, lambs' ears, hellebores, euphorbia, daffodils, muscari, iris, rosemary and heather.

Ground cover plants - suggestions

Posted: 29/04/2012 at 20:31

Vinca might work.  Vinca Minor is said to be less invasive than Vinca Major.  It has pretty blue flowers.

Planting a Rambling Rector

Posted: 28/04/2012 at 22:55
Paul N wrote (see)

Your Rambling Rector like my Bobby James and Kiftsgate may need a couple of years to get going but then one day you'll go outside and look upwards and say "Holy Moses..." 

I like the sound of this.  Last autumn I planted a Rambling Rector to grow through a large tree and a Kiftsgate to cover a double garage.  I look forward to the 'Holy Moses' moment.

Mulching after rain - compacting soil?

Posted: 22/04/2012 at 22:51

We've had continual showers for the last week and are forecast for the same for the next week.  There are a couple of beds that I had intended to mulch but haven't got around to.  I remember reading that you shouldn't walk on beds that are too damp, as it compacts the soil.  But you are meant to mulch when the soil is damp.  What should I do?  One of the beds is really big, so I'd have to tramp around on it a lot to mulch it.  The subsoil is clay but the top soil is not too heavy.

Many thanks

Sambuca Nigra

Posted: 18/04/2012 at 21:32

My purple-leafed elder (I don't know what variety - I inherited it) has pink elder-shaped flowers.  It grows six or seven feet in a year, so I'm guessing it would make a good-sized tree if I didn't chop it down.  I think some of them are smaller....

Digging a natural, unlined pond?

Posted: 17/04/2012 at 22:18

Brilliant!  That's great to hear.  I think I'll do some experimental digging this summer to see where the water table is then, then make plans.


Digging a natural, unlined pond?

Posted: 17/04/2012 at 20:07

The garden slopes down to a very damp bit.  When I was planting a willow down there last autumn, the hole I dug was soup almost immediately.  What would happen if, when we hire a digger to get some root stumps out, we also dig a big hole, maybe steep at one end and sloping at the other?  Maybe a surface area of four metres by three metres?  I'm guessing it will fill up with muddy water.  Could it be healthy, or will it just go slimy?  I'd like to have frogs and newts, and perhaps plant up the margins with hardy bog plants.  I won't be able to top it up with fresh water - it's too far from the house.  I'm assuming I can't put a liner in, because it would just get pushed up from underneath by the ground water.  Our subsoil is clay.

Community Orchard

Posted: 17/04/2012 at 16:17

Would the Jubilee Woods project include fruit trees?

Clearing weeds from a paddock

Posted: 17/04/2012 at 14:01

Welcome to my world.  We have an acre of what we call an orchard: young fruit trees and rough grass.  We have planted some wildflower plugs into one area of it but we battle docks every year.

I do use Grazon, but I don't have a pond.  If I was in your situation, I'd use Glyphosate (Roundup or similar) and just make sure that I targeted it very closely on the dock leaves so it didn't kill the surrounding grass.  Now is a great time to do it, when the fresh leaves are growing strongly.

If you have a farming supplies shop near you, I'd buy a backpack sprayer and generic glyphosate which you can dilute - it will be much cheaper than garden centre bottles.

Now the bad news: we've been in this house for three years, and I spray for docks every spring.  And every summer I wade through the grass looking for any docks I missed and cutting off seed heads (those brownish/red things) and binning them.  Docks are very persistant and, when the leaves are small, hard to spot.

For what it's worth, we don't mow the grass short all through the year.  Instead we let it grow up until August, allowing time for the wildflowers to flower and set seed.  Then we hire a heavy-duty brush-cutting mower (our tractor won't deal with hip-high grass!), push it through the field and rake it up.  If you live in the countryside, another option is to ask a local farmer if s/he wants to make hay from the field.  If there's nothing else planted in it, they might mow and remove the hay for you.

If you want it to be lawn, then a lawn tractor (although you will probably need to use a brush-cutting mower once just to cut it down to a manageable length) used regularly will help to deal with the docks too, although weedkilling will be necessary alongside: the mower will stop them growing big or setting seed, but it won't kill them.

Making new section of garden private

Posted: 16/04/2012 at 21:16

Clumping bamboo?  It claims not to spread too far, but I've not had it long enough to give advice for certain.  I use Scottish Bamboo, because they really understand which ones are the most hardy.

Discussions started by Laura Corin

Do you really need special seed compost?

Replies: 5    Views: 2073
Last Post: 16/04/2014 at 06:42

Rotation with only two beds?

Replies: 5    Views: 1271
Last Post: 20/02/2014 at 10:33

Can I really plant these peas and carrots so early?

Replies: 5    Views: 1519
Last Post: 05/02/2014 at 17:28

Is this area suitable for growing veg?

Replies: 0    Views: 1468
Last Post: 24/06/2012 at 21:56

Newspaper under woodchips as mulch?

Replies: 2    Views: 1890
Last Post: 15/06/2012 at 07:44

Is anyone growing Asian pears?

Replies: 0    Views: 1073
Last Post: 13/06/2012 at 07:39

Should I be hand pollinating my fruit trees?

Replies: 3    Views: 2135
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 22:36

Aphids on seedlings

Replies: 1    Views: 1107
Last Post: 08/05/2012 at 21:28

Mulching after rain - compacting soil?

Replies: 2    Views: 1867
Last Post: 23/04/2012 at 19:08

Digging a natural, unlined pond?

Replies: 2    Views: 2810
Last Post: 17/04/2012 at 22:18

Help me to love my peonies

Replies: 2    Views: 1406
Last Post: 13/04/2012 at 22:55
11 threads returned