Latest posts by MACAVITYTHECAT


Posted: 15/08/2013 at 13:28

Maybe, with you not being there often yet, your best bet would be to clear an area at a time and cover it with thick plastic or tarpaulins until the weeds die completely because of the total lack of light. Given the size of the garden you'd probably have to take it in stages and it would be pretty unslightly at first, I grant you, but if you did it before you move there permanently you would later have the benefit of having eradicated the problem right down to the roots.


Posted: 15/08/2013 at 12:18

I love your design. Especially the path. I'd really like to do something similar but then I think of all the work and start pricing up stepping stones instead Consequently I've 'parked' the path issue for now.

Since you asked for photos....

This is my garden at the beginning of last year:

 and this is the garden last week:

 It's definitely less a 'design' and more 'what size hole do I feel like digging this weekend' but considering I lived in a flat with a window box before buying this house I think I'm doing alright

Best Compost 2013

Posted: 13/08/2013 at 10:14

I think I've tried a bit of everything this year. Having a very big garden with clay soil filled with an awful lot of stones/rubble I tended to buy whatever was on offer just to get the bulk, figuring that anything had to be a soil improver. My slow and steady trick of transforming the garden involves adding 120l of compost for every bucket of stones unearthed.  That way I break up the clay, improve the soil and build the beds up a little as I go.  Overall the technique is working but some of the compost this year was so poor it was more effort than it was worth.

Favorite this year was Petersfield commercial compost but was too pricey to use all over and I never found it on offer anywhere. The Petersfield potting compost was nice this year too, but imo not as good as last year.

I found New Horizon organic compost to be excellent this year, bought bags and bags of it and the smell, texture and results were all spot on.  I bought some J A Bowers before the New Horizon and it was terrible. It was full of plastic and smelt like raw silage. I ended up mulching it into the garlic and onion beds simply to hide the stench of it. I mentioned this when I was at the Garden centre buying the NH and the guy there told me they'd had tons of complaints about it this year and loads of people returning it.

I bought a load of Westland compost because it was on offer in Costco. It was good for filling some big half-barrels and bulking the flower beds but not suitable for baskets and pots because it dried out too easily.

I bought some multipurpose from Homebase and it had lots of sticks and bark and I ended up using it mainly for mulching. I bought some own brand John InnesSeed compost from Homebase and it was really nice texture and quality. 

I bought some own brand John Innes Seed compost from B & Q and it was kak. Full of stones and clayish lumps. Disillusioned with B & Q overall this year, due to various issues, I didn't buy any other compost there BUT then I was given some verve multipurpose compost last week by someone who had overbought and I expected it to be hardly worth the effort of hauling it down the garden. It turned out to be so nice and fine grained that I seived it with the John Innes and used it for potting on.


Posted: 26/07/2013 at 10:26

I'm far too squeamish to squish anything - I can't even bear to use slug pellets because the corpses always look like they died in agony   Slugs and snails get collected and rehomed in the compost bin. 

Anyway... it turns out that lily beetles can't swim so a bucket of water works.


Posted: 19/07/2013 at 10:23

Weird... I would have sworn those were Lillies, not Glads

Talkback: Deterring pigeons

Posted: 12/07/2013 at 09:40

I've given up on deterants as none of them work - or at least not permanently.  Just as I finally prevented the foxes that live at the bottom of the garden from digging plants up looking for worms by simply feeding them cat food every night, I now do the same with the pigeons.  I buy huge sacks of birdfood from Costco -  a quarter of the price I'd pay anywhere else - and I put a huge scoop in a ground feeder tray next to my raised beds every morning.  Since doing so, I've found all of my beans and berries untouched because the birds are too lazy to work for food when it's literally being handed to them on a plate. My friends thought that feeding them would encourage even more birds to the garden but it turns out the pigeons are very territorial and drive off would-be interlopers themselves so the actual number of birds visiting the garden remains pretty constant.

Must admit that I now have some very plump looking wood pigeons and I  find myself frequently considering how nicely they would fill a big pigeon pie... 

problem with first year rose bushes

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 14:54

I had the same problem with a couple of Austin climbing roses (overlong stems and very big, blousy flowers that weighted them down so much they nearly hit the floor) and was told it was characteristic of the plants in the early years as Salino said, but to avoid nitrogen fertilisers and instead use phosphorus based fertiliser to strengthen the stems. I loosely supported the weak stems with twine and stakes to prevent breakage, and I bought Uncle Tom's rose feed at the suggestion of someone at my gardening club and it definitely seems to have done the trick (combined with another year of growth).

Where have all the ladybirds gone?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 12:57

Has anyone on the forum ever bought ladybirds? I've been contemplating doing so because I hate the idea of spraying aphids because having made a point of planting a special wildlife meadow this year to attract flying insects it wouldn't really be cricket to start pumping out chemicals all over the place. So buying some ladybirds seems a good idea but at £14.99 for 25, it could become a very expensive mistake if they just up and fly off to next door's garden.

Where have all the ladybirds gone?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 12:29

Yes, Rainjustlearning, you're right.  I did find that out... eventually....

How long do Lupins live?

Posted: 04/07/2013 at 12:28

I lost energy towards the end of last year, despite my original intention to get all my less hardy plants under cover before xmas, and left one North-facing flower bed untouched. Out of three lavenders, three two year-old lupins and a large sage I lost one french lavender and two lupins and half the sage to the cold.  The two lavenders and one lupin that survived have grown like monsters this spring and the surviving half of the sage has sprung back to full vigor.  Weird how you can lose half a plant   Anyway, the surviving lupin is so big and flower covered now that I'm glad I left it alone.

Discussions started by MACAVITYTHECAT


a bit of a whine?? 
Replies: 17    Views: 1669
Last Post: 29/11/2013 at 08:40

What to do...

Unexpected donation of multudinous perennials 
Replies: 11    Views: 1178
Last Post: 30/10/2013 at 16:53

Alien abduction?

pond problems 
Replies: 14    Views: 1366
Last Post: 24/09/2013 at 12:52
3 threads returned