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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

how do they grow begonias tubers as a plug plant

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 00:49

Basically, from seed.  The science and practice of plants is so varid and complicated.  Seed sowing and production remains the most profitable.  For nurseries to produce from cuttings is very expensive.  Cell propagation involves laboratory conditions, once again expensive.  Most of these methods are reserved for the more difficult species.  To use such methods fro the common  shall we say begonia.  You might well be looking at a few pounds per corm!!!.

Topsoil help needed

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 00:32

Clay always seems to be a problem.  However, without it.  Heaven knows where we would be.  I have just browsed over the forum comments. Applying fresh stable or farmyard manure is safe, however one or two points to bare in mind.  Yes the acidity the animal pee etc, can be quite toxic.  So if using such.  Spread it over your plot late in the year, around the start of winter.  The weather will break it all down and the acids and other nuitriments will soak into the soil.   What remains on the surface, will add fibre etc when dug in.  Double digging seems to have faded into oblivion, however it works.  From the general comments of todays gardeners.  Forgive me for saying so, but.  the less work the better.  In brief.  Most of us would like to garden a plot, something rfesembling a giant seed tray.  Buying in from garden centres etc, bags of top soil.  Beware.  You gets' what you pay for.  I bought several bags of top soil from B&Q.  I ended up with a fine plantation of earth balls,or puffball fungi.  If clay is a real problem to you.  The usual advice isto dig in gypsum and the like.  Try digging out a spit.  Now infill with shredded branches and other cut down growth. Then turn over your next spit, and do the same.  The difference being in techniques, is.  Gypsum and the like.  The gritty substance tends to cut it's way through the barrier of clay.  Whereas, the perhaps more bulky twiggy chopped up woody material, will gradually be absorbed by the stcky clay  eventually bein devoured etc, but in the process, it will cause to be kept open the clay particles.  Added to the more courser ingredients, of course vegative compost is also of great help.  A wee tip however,  Adding compost to the soil, can also change the pH level.   Don't worry.


Posted: 28/03/2014 at 00:04

Probably.  Most gardeners would like to follow their hobby, without using chemicals.  I recall that some years back.  A very well known gardening writer penned the comment that.  Blah, blah etc.  Due to an EU directive.  It is no longer pernisseable to use soap and water to spray plants as a solution to getting rid of the invaders.  I think that this must have been perhaps one of the first objections to the EU.

In all honesty.  The take is.  Your plants have become hosts to these naturally created individuals.  Needless to say, we are now experiencing an inbalance.  The insects provide food for other forms of wildlife. particularly the birds.  So what do we do.  We clutter up the garden with hanging containers of bird seed and fat balls.  So truly what is the answer?  Towards the end of the year.  I gather up the lady birds and enter them to the greenhouse.  Come the new season.  My plants are host to bugs.  Mr/Mrs lady bird, where are you?  None to be found.  So This is another avenue we can investigate.

Stratification of Seeds

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 23:48

To be absolutely honest.  I have never resorted to this practice.   Not wishing to offend anyone.  As I so often quote.  Horticulture, gardening etc.  Is such a wonderful enviroment/hobby.  Believe me. I am, and will not condemn or unjustly criticise fellow gardeners for trying out all these methods.  Gardenin per se, is very much like a science lab.  Everything is there at your disposal.  Go on.  Have a go, take a chance.  Experiment.  From time in memorial we have been fascinated by what goes on around us.  Try it out.  Share your experiences.

Mankind and trees

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 23:41

  Trees.  I wonder. What is your take on the subject.  As a starter for ten.  I truly marvel at them.  What a magnifiscent part of creation.  They keep our air clean, they provide material sources, some produce food for us.  Apart from the majestic stature of trees.  I also find them very therapeutic.  I am being 100% honest here.  At times, I become depressed, and strange to say, at thesame time.  I often realise that Mike.  Calm down.  YOU are not the be all and end all of life/society.  Please give me room.  L:et me wander amongst the tall pines, the might oaks.  Then to me.  It is like looking at myself in a mirror.  These fabulous trees, constantly being buffeted by winds and storms.  Stand up man.  You puny little part of creation.  Look and learn.  Believe me friends.  Better than all the concoctions the GP can prescribe.

Myths and mysteries

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 23:26

As you probably have guessed.  Mike loves to share experiences, and, chat.  Where I live.  We had a green outside.  In the ceter stood a might Black Poplar.  This particular year, day, date, time and place.  Someone had complained to the local council, that the tree was blocking the light out of their house.  Strange really, as the tree must have been at least 30mtrs away from any building.  Anyway. The council sent the tree gang along.  Several limbs were cut off, and what was left wasn't too bad.  However as time passed, one or two bits snapped off and fell to the ground.  Now at that point in time.  My aged mum lived in a groundfloor flat, diagonally across the green from me.  Each night, I would cross the green to make sure she was alright.  At this stage in her life, sadly, she was on her own, and worst of all, her sight was faillng.  She passed away at the age of 90.5 yrs from a stroke and was blind.  However on this particular night.  As I passed beneathe the poplar.  Huge droplets of water came down.  No.  It wasn't raining.  Yes.  I know something about transpiration, and after all.  Where this giant of a tree stood., Slightly in a basin, as the surrounding fields etc tended to slope towards this point.  Returning home I related the experience to Val and my eldest daughter Kerry.  At the time, Kerry was around sixteen.  We all exclaimed that the tree was crying.  Poppycock and all of that.  However the next morning.  Kerry came running to me. crying out.  Dad. Dad.  They are going to chop the tree down.  Lokking out.  There was the tree gang.  Before Either Val or I could stop her.   Kerry was off and out.  She ran to the tree, and having her back to it, as in a protective stance.  She screamed out.  No. No. Please don't cut this tree down.  Come early afternoon. The green was bare.  The tree had gone.  So.  Transpiration.  Tree shared tears or what.

My writing is true.

Sycamore seedlings

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:56

I agree with all the posts about sycamores.  Backing onto my garden, are the gardens of 'the better offs'  When we moved in just over fifty years back, (seems like yesterday).. The sycamores and poplars were of course already well matured.  Then just behind them, on the betterorf's gardens, there was also several weeping willows.  Why? I don't know, but over the years the willows have all gone, and the other trees have been attacked by various tree surgeons.  Now none of the trees are allowed to attain anything resembelling their grandeur.  My tiny garden gets it's fair share of Acer seedlings along with a covering of the fluffy sseds from the poplars.  Strange.  The poplars never seem to grow in my garden.  The Acers are so easy to pull up, so I don't worry.  Thankfully.  I have no lawn.  From my front windows.  I overlook a small park.  There is a fine selection of Ilex, laurus, arbutus, pyracantha etc.  Then within the car park of the Bingo Hall.  There are a couple of beautiful sycamores.  Thankfully they have been allowed to grow naturally.  Believe me.  They are a sight for sore eyes, throughout all the changing seasons.  Sorry, Mike is getting carried away again.

A little showing off and a big thank you

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:39

Busy Bee2

Hey! some of us guys do a good job indoors

A little showing off and a big thank you

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 22:37

Hmmm!  M'Lady.

Hey whats all this name changing about?.  I've now got you listed under three different names.  It's like reading a charge sheet, with all the aka's

Anyway Lass.  You have every right to show off.  It's obvious that you have worked hard.  Thank goodness my greenhouse is cedarwood and boarded upto stagging height.  That way no one can see all the rubbish.  I wish you well and insist that you enjoy your garden.

Mystery of pH/useful list

Posted: 27/03/2014 at 12:12


pH values for greenhouse/indoor plants.



Venus Flytrap. 4.0-5.5 Aspidistra 4.5-5.5 Camelia. Columnia. Orchid.


Azalea. Cacti. Holly Fern. Sansevieria. 5.0-5.5 Aechmea.

Bird’s Nest Fern. Helxine. Mind your own Business. 5.0-6.0 Aglaonema.

Anthurium. Aphelandra. Aranucaria. Bishop’s Cap. Cardinal Flower. Clerodendrum.

Coffee Plant. Crassula. Creeping Fig. Croton. Cuphea. Dieffenbachia.. Dracaena.

Elephant’s Ear. Fig. Gardenia. Herringbone Plant. Jessamine. Laurus (Bay)

Monstera. Never Never Plant. Oplismenus. Pandanus. Peacock Plant. Pellionia.

Peperomia. Philodendron. Tolmiea. Tradescantia. Weeping Fig. Zebrina.


Acorus. Capsicum. Century Plant. Christmas Cactus. Grape Ivy. Hoya.

Iresine. Kangaroo Vine. Podocarpus. Succulents. 5.0-7.0 Mimosa. 5.0-7.5 Bromeliads. Cyprus. Umbrella Plant. 5.5-7.0 Begonia. Cineraria. Euonymus. Jasminum. Lantana.


Abutilon. Amaryllis. Blood Leaf. Campanula. Caster Oil Plant. Clivia. Feather Fern. Frittoni. Gloxinia. Grevellia. Gynura. Impatiens. Jerusalem Cherry. Patient Lucy. Plumbago. Punica. Shrimp Plant. Prayer Plant. Rubber Plant. Scindapus. Syngonium.


Bougainvillea. Coral Berry. Thunbergia. 6.0-6.5 Strelitzia. 6.0-7.0 African Violet. Calceolaria. Calla Lily. Cock’s Comb. Coleus. Cyclamen. Easter Lily. Episcia. Ivy Tree. Lace Flower. Schizanthus. Selaginella.


Bottle Brush. Butterfly Flower. Caladium. Chinese Primrose. Crown of Thorns.

Dipladenia. Dizygotheca. Christmas Fern. Cloak Fern Rabbits foot Fern. Spleenwort.

Freesia. Ivy. Jacaranda. Kalenchoe. Lemon Plant. Oleander. Palms. Spanish Bayonet. Spider Plant. Yucca. 6.5-7.5 Genista. Poinsettia. Polyscias. 6.0-8.0 Asparagus Fern. Eucalyptus. Button Fern. Maidenhair Fern. Geranium. Heliotropium. Hibiscus. Japanese Sedge. Kangeroo Thorn. Myrtle. Nicodernia. Oxalis. Pilea. 7.0-8.0 Hart’s Tongue Fern.


Discussions started by Mike Allen

Caution..Spoof emailers.

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Arum Maculatum

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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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