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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Unknown beetle

Posted: 26/06/2014 at 21:12

Just in case anyone is that interested.


I bought a book the other week called.  Bugs Britaninica  by Peter Marren & Richard Mabey.  Really good addition to the library.  Cost me around £2.00 from The Works.

Been to the doctor...

Posted: 26/06/2014 at 21:03

I always thought it was to stop your brain escaping


Posted: 25/06/2014 at 22:50

Hi Punkdoc.


Yes the antibiotics have worked.  I am scheduled for a pre admission assesment on the 30th.  It is only a month ago that I went through all of this.  What a waste of time etc.  Then 31July I am in fo a rigid cystocpotomy.  Thanfully I will be out to the world.  Then according to my consultant, I will be on a ten year program od scans and flexi cystoscopes.  To be honest.. Here I am just short of seventy five.  Time and again I am being told. Your cancer is not a kiler.  That as one gets older.  Many of these health problems take so long to develop etc.  Onto my possible being a victim of Hemochromatosis. Even this probably I might die with, but not due to.  So Mike has the ace card.  Even my daughter Amanda who has a medical degree.  She says.  Dad.  The choice is yours.  Whatever you decide.  I will support you.  To be honest friends.  Yes, I am a religious man.  I am also a horticulturist and  a scientist. I love life and value it  so dearly.  However. The ongoing gamble today.  Forgive me.  I want out.

Plug plant offers

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 22:18

Oh Dear!  Such conflicting answers.  Firstly. Plug plants come in various sizes.  Strange that nobody noticed that.  As with buy plants by mail.  Basically.  You pays your money and you take your chance.  No greenhouse, so what?  Look we are closing in on June.  July is in the horticultural calender a very important month.  It is a month during which so many perennial cuttings are taken.  So why not have a go with plugs. Bypass the quantity for quality.  Pick the largest and take a chance.

ID help please

Posted: 25/06/2014 at 22:02

Scuse me, ladies and gents.  Might I ask a question.  How do you interpret, flowering one or twice?  Just a thought, no offence intended.

Major lilly problems

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 22:11

My dear friends.


Mike is a member of the RHS Lily group, so perhaps it might be expected some special know how is available. What can I say.  In my own circumstances.  I sadly have had a bad year.  OK my greenhouse was well filled. I'd spent a fair sized wad on new lily bulbs.  In the greenhouse, all systems go.  Seeds sown, bulbs planted etc.  Then man's perhaps worst enemy strikes.  Tghe big 'C'.  So perhaps not so bad as it might seem.  However my recovery from surgery.  Never did I ever think that so many changes in day to day life would affect me.  My collection of lilies have remained in the greenhouse.  They have grown so much, up to the eaves and across.  Thankfully no lily beetle. Sluds and snails yes.  Sadly some of my newly purchased bulbs have failed. As I have once again beome that wee bit stronger.  I have move a couple outside.  In all honesty. It is so sad that such plants that at the end of the day can cost some so much. Then to fail.  Honestly folks.   don't know.

gardening for a living

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 21:50

As I have mentioned so many times before.  Go for it.  At the same time, I have perhaps critisized some of the learning curves. I have never undergone such training courses.  I have however been in a supervisory position in the public domain.  Come the summer recess.  Notification would come down from head office.  Mr/Mirs/Miss So and so will be joining your summer staff, on a student vacation programme.  Wowee!  All of us would be quacking at the knees.  So the day arrives and the student. We would all be very chatty etc.  So James, how long have you been at.......? This is my third year.  Believe it or not, but to go through horticultural college, it is much the same as training to be a doctor of medicine.  I emphasyze this because I have a frind who is a doctor and has specialized in microbiology. He tells me that he also had to include zoology in his studies.  So we can see.  Academiically Medicine, zoology and horticulture are so cloely related.  Back to student courses etc.  Postal courses are out, as far as I am concerened.  All lab. learning is also out.   What is in, is hands on. My honest advice to anyone seeking a future in horticulture.  Make youself known at your local garden center.  Try and get in there.  Soon the boss will notice your potential and push you forward..  Believe me. Bits of paper are one thing. To me. Practice makes perfect.

honeysuckle won't flower

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 21:22

Might I?

It must be about twenty five years ago.  I was tending a very tiny garden attached to my local Kingdom Hall.  A very dear friend, who actually was in charge of an enviromental horticultural center, planted a Lonicera. So Brian, what's it called?  Mike. We are looked upon as the experts.  I have to be honest mate.   I just don't know.  What I do know is.  It is a prostrate grower. [A plant that hugs the ground].  Well in due time I thinned it out a bit, and rather than dump all the bits, I used it as cuttings.  Well in my tiny garden, it now grows along with, Rosa Seagull.  I often laugh.  Prostrate?  This beggar is over six feet tall and growing rampantly.  Well believe it of not.  Just the other day, I was looking at a very overgrown garden.  Mike me boy.  Look at that.  That lonicera has got flowers on.  After all these years.  So friends.  Never give up.

Talkback: How to grow wallflowers

Posted: 24/06/2014 at 21:10

I am so pleased that the Wallflower is once again gaining popularity.  I well remember it having been the mainstay of cut flowers. As a kid.  Oh yes! Mike was a kid once.  Sometime around the 'Relief of Mafekin'  Off I would go to infants and then junior school, with an armful of wallflowers for the classroom.  Then over the years, wallflowers always feature high on the list of cut flowers.  What I do miss now is.  The vastness of the colour range appears to have dwindled, and todays colours seem to lack that viberance.  Also, I recall that in most instances, each plant would really a mass of florets.  So different from todays.  Nevertheless, still a plant worth growing.  So, onto growing.  Please don't be offended when I say.  Don't waste your time growing wallflowers in pots.  If you want the best.  Sow the seed in the open ground, in time thin the plants out.  You can pinch out if you like, but generally given space etc, they will grow strong and automatically branch out.  In fact I used to ridge the rows up, similar to growing potatos.  This I found caused the basal stem to really mature.  If you are unable to grow your own, and have to rely upon some market trader of garden center.  Pick out the strong, tough looking plants, well branched.  Believe me it can amount to, penny wise and pound foolish.  So shouts the market trader.  Twenty five wallflowers for a pound.  Getting them home and what have you got.  A bundle of greenish sticks with a few leaves on.  Mind you.  Don't spend out on potted specimens at two to three quid a pot.  As other members have quoted.  Basically wallflowers are biennials.  Sow this year and enjoy the flowers next year.  Usually the custom then is.  Out with them and dump them.  I once as a youngster, grew some wallflowers.  Following the usual practice.  End of season up and out, bye bye plants.  One plant remained.  That plant was perhaps my begining into experimental horticulture.  This is why I encourage all gardeners to experiment.  That wallflower stayed with me for over eight years.  Believe it or not. It ended up as a shrub some 3.5 feet tall by about four feet across.  It was magnificent.  Contary to what one migh have thought.  It never out grew itself.  Being at the time very green behind the ears, I loved and nurtured that plant, ant it rewarded me so well.  Never did the abundance of blloms wane.  Simply using my eyes and immagination, I would lovingly prune it.  So friends.  Despite all said and done.  Like wsa mentioned in myv hread about pH values.  We on this tiny island.  We really must count our blessings.  Even in some parts. Tropical plants survive in the open.  Once again.  Enjoy your hobby, take a chance and experiment.


Posted: 23/06/2014 at 23:17

Sorry to bore you with my problems, but then.  You fine folks have really come to my aid in the past.  Today I ventured out on my own for the second time.  Previously I had taken a slow walk around to the surgery.  The doc and I as has become the norm, exchanged pleasantries. I told him about the side effects of the antibiotics for my UTI.  Honestly. I felt like I was a zombie.  I must have suffered every known side effect.  Thankfully now.  I can have a wee withoutthat terrible feeling of someone dragging rose thorns through my willy.  Also the nightly visists to the bathroom have become less frequent.  So last Friday, taking a gentle stroll to the surgery. Hey ho.  I feel like I am walking on air.  Hey everything looks so strange. No. No.  Last night I only had my usual tipple. No Matron Mike is not P............................ed.  Yet the whole world seemed so strange.  Perhaps my friend Puncdoc can advise here.  Let'sback track. So Mike suddenly started to wee red..blood. GP  suspects a chill to the prescribes antibiotics. Three tabs later.  No more of the claret.  GP had also asked for a scan. and urology exam. Then everything took off high speed. Scan.  No Mike. You are not preganant.  There is a mass in your bladder, also a cyst on the left kidney.  Then today. I just had to get out.  Amanda was at the hospital for her own problems. So, Mike walks out.  A couple of hundred yards up yje road, and I met a sister from my bcongrgation. Hello Mike, how are you?  Telling her how I felt. Mike. Please go back home.  You shouldn't be out on your own. I ventujred forth.  Most of the time looking down at the paving stones.  People looked so strange.  I eventually made my purches and headed home.  Then I met with an elder and his wife from my congrgation.  Mike.  You should be at home.  By now all of this beginning to worry me. In brief.  OK. I had been diagnosed with bladder cancer.  At the end of some vey painful investigations I had an op.  I wa s assured that the cancer had been dug out and despite the bladder wall being perfororated all went well.  Then the painful ordeal of catheters and bags.  Then home.  Truthfully. How  do I feel.  Thankfully the tumour has been dealt with. The other bits and  bobs.  Painful yes, but now past thoughts.  My problem now is.  Why do I feel so strange?  Strange to the point of being afraid.  Suddenly my eyes are so painful.  Yes I am taking eye drops for the onset of glaucoma.  Then there is this feeling of being on another planet.  Everything seems to be out of proportion.  Honestly I just don't know.  For once in my life.  I am scared, frightened. Is this to be my future,  A short visit to the garden then back in doors.  Wait for daughter Amanda to take you shopping.. Please GOD.  Please dont let it all end like this.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Caution..Spoof emailers.

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Arum Maculatum

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Monty Don.

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Last Post: 21/07/2014 at 22:02

Childbirth at 65

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Last Post: Today at 07:51


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Last Post: Today at 15:36

Interest fro across the pond.

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Last Post: 11/07/2014 at 22:35

What is going on?

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Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 15:17

Great revival of British Gardens

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Last Post: 08/07/2014 at 21:49

Just my luck

Replies: 9    Views: 324
Last Post: 08/07/2014 at 01:51

Talkback: Yellow leaves and slow growth

Pippa. I love your blogs and your general writings. Might I pick your brains etc. I am an oldie. 75 in fact I bagan gardening as the bomb... 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 23:37

Collecting and Saving Seed.

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Last Post: 07/07/2014 at 22:22

How the NHS has changed

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Last Post: 03/07/2014 at 09:40

Computer replacement

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Last Post: 01/07/2014 at 09:25

The Dirty End of the Stick

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Last Post: 29/06/2014 at 08:25
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