Latest posts by MACAVITYTHECAT

Horrible garage roofs

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 15:08

There's a sealant paint you can use on asbestos roofs called Teamac Acrylic and its available in green, grey and red.  Maybe, that would be a tempory solution for smartening the appearance.


Unwelcome visitor

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 15:02

I don't think I'd particularly like wild ones, Welshonion, but I have a friend with pet ones and they are surprisingly cute.

I'm happy to see the rain because ...

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 14:47

Me too!!  Trying to dig out the footings for a low wall and at the moment I simply can't get the spade into the ground at all.

Dream Potting Shed

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 14:22

That made me laugh out loud enough to get funny looks from my work colleages...oops!

I admit I had similar problems with the Powerbee light at first.  Because I live in the countryside, I don't even get ambient glow from streetlights at night so when it is dark it is really dark and I can't even tell which direction I'm facing.  That's why I bought the dim but constant gardman light.  It means I can see perfectly clearly to wave at the sensor to turn the Powerbee light back on.Now I know that doesn't sound like an advert for the Powerbee light but, honestly, it is so very bright that its well worth the small inconvenience.  Even in the midst of winter when there is barely any daylight, the Powerbee light still holds enough charge to be a great, bright, workable light that stays on indefinitely as long as you keep moving and, lets face it, when it's really cold its a good idea to keep moving anyway


Dream Potting Shed

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 13:10

The motion light is a powerbee solar ray shed light 48 LED and is amazingly bright. (Its on offer on Amazon at the moment for about £25 delivered - bargain!)  It turns itself on almost the instant I open the door and stays on until about 30 seconds after I stop moving and is definitely bright enough to read small-print by.  That's the good and bad part of it. If you stand still too long it turns off, LOL.  Then you have to wave your hand in the air. That's why I also have a gardman light, the dusk til dawn one. They were £25 for 2, also Amazon, and they last all night even in the winter and are bright enough to see by, but too dim to read by or do anything precise.  The combination of the two is the best of both worlds, imo.  I have one of the gardman's in the greenhouse and that is more than adequate for doing watering and stuff, then the two combined in the shed to do more visually demanding work.


Unwelcome visitor

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 12:30

I feel the same way, waterbutts. I sometimes get the impression that I'm wrong or not a real gardener because I strive to accomodate wildlife in my garden because I truly believe that every living thing, vermin or not, has an equal right to life.  I admit I find it distressing sometimes when, for instance, the morning after I have lovingly planted something I find it strewn all over the lawn because something has decided to burrow for Australia but I just shrug, replant (sometimes a dozen times) and eventually the critter gives up.  I find it irritating that I built a series of raised beds only to find they were in the route of a 'fox run' but, rather than try to get rid of the foxes, the raised beds have been turned into a wildflower meadow instead of the planned veggie-beds. The bees and butterflies are thrilled

I understand the health issues of rats and reluctantly accept that calling in pest control is probably the wise option here, but I am distressed by the casual and almost joyful descriptions of killing that seem to have become the tone of this discussion.

Dream Potting Shed

Posted: 06/09/2013 at 11:44

I don't have electric in my shed, so most of my must-haves come from that. If you have electric, just ignore my suggestions

I have low level solar lighting that is on from dust til dawn and a really bright motion detector solar light.  That way I always have enough light to see, but almost day-bright light if I'm moving around doing something. It's amazing how much pottering about I do in the shed on winter evenings so the lights are crucial.

I have a gas-cylinder camping stove and kettle. I thought I'd bought it for making tea but I find myself going back to the house for that. What it has proven invaluable for is a source of hot water down the bottom of the garden.  In the winter its really miserable to do anything with cold water so even being able to add a dash of boiling water makes all the difference to whether or not I do things like clean pots properly and I don't have to lug stuff up to the house OR carry hot water down the garden. Its also very useful for frozen taps on the waterbutts etc...

I have a tiny camping heater that runs on the same little gas cylinders, which is ideal for taking the nip out of the air and, seated on my potting bench, keeps my fingers from dropping off with frostbite as I do bits and pieces.  I also have a big paraffin aladdin heater for when I want to spend a while down there.

I have a little bistro table and chairs with a radio permanently tuned to radio 4.  A bookshelf filled with my gardening reference books (but be careful because books can get damp if you don't at least partially heat). I have candle lanterns suspended from the ceiling that I put scented tea-lights in.  Makes the atmosphere nice, smells nice, and goes out soon enough if you forget to put them out yourself.  In the part of the shed that doesn't have windows, I suspend all of my herbs and lavender and such to dry and that, again, adds to the ambience.




I love my potting shed and spend a LOT more time in it than I do in the house, so I made it a really me place. A bit shabby chic and girly and definitely NOT a man-shed



Posted: 30/08/2013 at 09:03

I don't have electricity in my greenhouse as it's too far from the house to be economically installed.  I bought a couple of modern paraffin heaters but they were a nightmare - I think the wick kept going out because they poured black smoke out that coated everything including plants.  I was contemplating a gas cylinder heater but the idea of having to lug the cylinder up and down the very steep slope of my garden when it needed refilling was too offputting. So then I bought an ancient Aladdin Paraffin greenhouse heater off ebay (it had been sitting unused in a shed for 30-odd years but there is absolutely no problem getting spare wicks and things via ebay for these oldies but goodies) and it was so wonderful that I bought a second one for my potting shed.  I have a large greenhouse so that one has a 2" wick heater which is a little expensive to run (about £5 a week if on constantly) but the one in the shed is a 1" wick one and, running it about 4 hours a day, I only refilled it twice all winter.  I found that buying a big metal jerrycan and going to a garage for the parrafin was half the price of buying it in B & Q etc.. though you have to hunt around for a garage that sells it. It tends to be small independant old-fashioned garages that still have Paraffin by the pump.  There was a point when I started to wonder whether the cost of heating my plants  through the winter was worth it. I'm still not certain whether it would have been cheaper overall to let the tender plants fend for themselves and just replace any that died in the spring but on the other hand  I managed to grow and keep some more unusual varieties that would have been difficult to replace and I definitely had a head-start on all of my neighbours and had plants in bloom weeks earlier and, overall, a better display all-round so this winter I'm definitely going to do it all again.


Posted: 28/08/2013 at 14:20

I respect your view on this lucky3, even though I don't agree with it. As you say, we all have different opinions. I fully appreciate that structural damage of my house would possibly change my own attitude but the squirrels in my garden don't appear to be guilty of any crime greater than helping themselves to food that they could reasonably be expected to see as 'fair game'.

As for them being 'vermin', I accept the point but then again so, probably, are the foxes in my garden that keep destroying my veggie beds.  It's a term I'd happily use for the frog family that's recently  moved house into my small goldfish pond and is causing such a problem to my fish that I've spent most of this morning costing up the construction of a much larger pond that can accomodate both species.  To some people (including my husband) the more obvious answer would be to evict the frogs. To me, accomodating my unexpected (but not unwelcome) new residents is the ONLY answer.

I started out wanting a bee-friendly garden, and then it expanded to being a wildlife friendly garden, and now it's an all-comers are welcome garden (including a decidedly feral cat who's moved into the potting shed and now expects three meals a day) and I genuinely can't understand how people can 'pick and choose' the wildlife they welcome into their gardens as though one species of animal has less right to life than another. I personally feel absolutely thrilled and even honoured whenever some new wild animal finds my garden to be a safe haven to live in and if it happens to be an animal that no one else likes then that's even extra bonus points for me.

But I fully respect the right of other people to feel differently about it.


Posted: 28/08/2013 at 10:39

Alternatively, embrace the squirrels!   They need love too    I honestly can't understand why people don't want to feed them. I really enjoy watching them doing their 'Mission impossible' tricks to get up my feeder pole and then hanging upside down on the peanut feeder to tease the nuts out. I did, however, make a point of buying  very rigid, thick metal feeder so they can't bite through the mesh and I also use garden wire to 'safety chain' the feeders so they can't be taken in their entirety.  I find that if I keep one relatively easily squirrel-accessible feeder full of nuts, they don't bother with the other ball-on-a-chain nut holder so the birds get nuts too.  Also I have a number of feeders on my pole, with various seeds and stuff, and other than pinching the odd mouthful out of the ground feeder tray, the squirrels are too happy with the nuts to eat the other bird food.  They definitely don't seem to touch the mealworms. Cost wise, I keep feeding the hoardes manageable buy stocking up on feed from Costco.  12.5kg bags of mixed feed are less than £7 and a simiar sized sack of peanuts is £18. Even keeping the squirrel feeder topped up daily, I only get through two sacks of peanuts a year.  All in all it's a very cheap daily cost for keeping lots of happy wildlife in the garden and early in the morning I really enjoy watching them all having breakfast.

Discussions started by MACAVITYTHECAT


a bit of a whine?? 
Replies: 17    Views: 1646
Last Post: 29/11/2013 at 08:40

What to do...

Unexpected donation of multudinous perennials 
Replies: 11    Views: 1165
Last Post: 30/10/2013 at 16:53

Alien abduction?

pond problems 
Replies: 14    Views: 1345
Last Post: 24/09/2013 at 12:52
3 threads returned