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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

no flowers on gladioli

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 23:45
Roy. This is or more corectly has become a regular feature. So sad to say. Modern technology has overtaken itself. How often can we buy a sack of daff bulbs for next to nothing. Plant them and, and, amd nothing. Sad to say, the commercial world has gone mad. Also purchasers such as you and me. We buy, we plant, we gasp, but. WE DON'T COMPLAIN. For instance. I class myself as a professional horticulturist. I have purchased sacks of different daffs etc. Plenty of leaves. No flowers. Do we save reciepts etc and do we complain. NO.

Talkback: Yellow leaves and slow growth

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 23:37
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 bombs fell in 1944/5 alongside my dad. I have endured a professional life in horticulture. Amongst my credits. I gained a first in general horticulture. Likewise in groundsmanship etc. Take a look at my profile on GW forums. Now I am engaged in plant pathology. Pippa old luv. I am contemplating writing a book. Can you. Will you please impart some of your knowledge.

Kindest regards.

Collecting and Saving Seed.

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 22:50
Well there cetainly is much interest this subject. Might I be allowed to add a few tips. To bin with, we are all aware that different plants flower and set seed at a variety of times. So we can't expect to go into the garden or plot, armed with an assortment of jars, boxes and packets, fully expecting to return indoors with loads of seeds. Probably a major factor to seed collecting is, being able to recognize just when to pick the pods. Then to be aware of the sensitivity of some pods. I well recall one year in the greenhouse. For the life of me, I can't remember the plant but. The pods were like tiny pea pods. Many had turned a rich bronze colour. So Mike armed with a pair of fine nail scissors in one hand and a small container in the other. I am still convinced that I hadn't actually touched the plant when, like rapid fire. Pods were bursting open and tiny seeds were being fired all over the place. In the wild. Ivy leaved toadflax is a great marksman. When you see tiny plants growing through the cement pointing of walls. Anyway, as my greenhouse staging is compost covered. It wasn't long before the whole are resembled a bed of mustard and cress. But I wanted the seeds, so the next attempt called for better preparation. More or less an open fronted box lined with white paper. In many cases it is wise to first obtain a supply of paper bags, very small ones, such as kids used to be able to buy a few pence worth of sweets in. As the time draws close for the pods to open, the pod can be bagged up, using some twine etc to close the bag. Incidentally, I don't know if you have a local 99p shop close by. They stock an assortment of green shaped plastic ties but with a spring clip. Intended to hold stems to canes etc. They are ideal. Please don't be in a hurry to gather the seed. In time you will become expert at identifying all the tell tale indicators. A special tip, regarding really fleshy podded seeds such as Irises. Just as these are swelling up, our arch enemies snails and slugs are really gorging themselves. If invaded, then I suggest you cut off the pod bearing stem, as low down as possible. Then in an out of the way place. Hang the stems upside down. Despite the many myths that once a fower has been pollinated/fertilized then all is well. WRONG. Just like a tiny embyo in the mothers womb, the tiny seeds require feeding. Leaving a long stalk attached, and hanging upside down. A good degree of natural feed will drain into the seed capsule. Sadly so many collectectors become dissappointed because their saved seed fails. Mainly this is down to collecting unripe seed. In addition to this. Have you perhaps suffered distress, when picking up your seed collection ready for sowing, and wow!. Where have all those glossy black seeds gone. In your hand you have nowt but dust. I am fortunate in this respect. [I am attempting to avoid the odd comment...big head] I do a lot of lab research and the microscope reveals so much. So taking a really close look at this dust. Yes I identify minute remains of seeds, and what is all this other dust. Opening up the magnification. OK. There are dust/dirt particles but als there are loads of tiny microscopic dead bodies of mites. I have mentioned before that in the case of slugs. Even with the naked eye, one can see loads of mites bugs etc rushing about all over the body. With seeds. Not so obvious. Perhaps in the past I may have suggested a quick spray of insecticide over the seeds. I have now realised that some seeds can actually absorb such chemicals and this can cause mutations etc even death to the seed. Might I suggest. Placing the collected seed into a capped container. Then using the container in much the same way as a field collector might, as a killing jar, a tiny wad of cotton wool soaked in some proprietary chemical. The inside air beco

Talkback: Leaf-cutter bees

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 21:40
In the RHS Encyclopedia of pests and diseases. It actually lists these bees as pests. Howver despite the destruction they can cause, they are protected. The advice given is to constantly water the plant and if need be, swat the bee. Incidentally many other plants and shrubs, are a natural source for this lady's behaviour.


Posted: 05/07/2014 at 21:19
There. I nearly escaped posting any answers this evening.
1. You have the choice either to let the seedheads form, thus providing you with seed for the future. Lilies propagate easily from seed, although three -four years before flowering. If seed is not required. Remove the seed head down to the top pair of leaves.
2. Cutting stems down. Your choice. Some species, toward the end of flowering will actually produce tiny bulbils in the leaf axils. Thes if left will often reach the size of ones thumbnail. When ripe, remove these and sow in pots.
3. Other species will actually produce fresh young bulblets fom the original bulb.
4. Returning to the bulbil stage. Stems can be cut down and layed in a shallow trench and lightly covered with soil/compost. The bulbils will continue to expand and will in time send up shoots through the soil/compost. These can be overwintered and come next year, they will have grown into healthy young plants.
5. I do not favour with any plant, the practice of cutting it down and then dumping loads of various feeds on the remaining rootstock, bulb, tuber of corm. To me. Unless a plant has been allowed to die down naturally. It is like like murdering a subject then attempting some magical act at bringing it back to life.

RHS Online Plant Shop

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 22:11
There is a Ltin saying that basically translates. You pays your money and you takes your chance.
Let's please come down to earth. The RHS is an organisation. It continues to hold sway over any and every other horticultural organisation. So in all fairness etc. It is good. But for heavens sake. Just because a product is dubbed with the RHS logo That does not mean it is the greatest. For goodnes sake friends. The RHS despite parading as the worlds leadiny authority on horticulture. Let's leave it there. To purcahse from the advertisers etc. Be wise. Deep within many of these well known organisations the satan of commercialism lurks. Be warned.


Posted: 04/07/2014 at 21:58
Hopefully. Mike will not get hate mail for being or parading as a know it all. Here I set aside the text books etc. As a Rosearian Might I add my two pennarth. As with this years plants, shrubs etc in general. So many strange things have taken place. In all honesty. I urge everyone, not to blame themselves for underwatering , under feeding etc. At this juncture. I do honestly believe that mots forum members do go a bit too far with feeding. Never mind. Back to Roses. As most members are aware. I have forked out a small fortune on roses. Believe it or not. I feel that I could very easily convince myself, thgat I am an amateure. In the front row. I have Rosa. My Valentine. I think I have given due credence to my choice here. My Valentine was my Valerie. Born on 14 Feb 1944 so how could I not include this rose in her memorial garden. It is HT and the catalogue details are correct. However, perhaps something to do with my health probs etc. I was unable to prune. Now this particular rose is about eigt feet tall. One mass of blooms. To be honest. I am thinking about insertin a stron stake/pole and allowing at least part of the subjet to grow into a pillar. Lokk to be honest. So many new, never before things are taking place. Go for it, take a chance, test it out, experiment.

Help with identifying plants in school wildlife garden

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 23:20
Hello! is there anyone there. Seems as though wires have bcome twisted. We were talking about Bracken Now we ar onto trees. Sort it out please.

Crossing Roses advice needdd

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 23:11
Kribon. I admire your task. To be honest. I have to admit, batanically etc . Once a flower has had it's prospecive seeds fertilized, what takes place next. To be on the safe side. I would go down the road to isolation. That being. Bye the bye I take it that you are talking about hand pollinating. Now then. To do this. You really are setting up a min lab. So everything has to be kept sterile. In all honesty. I have to admit. I don't know if a fertilized seed pod can now be re-fertilized. However to be on the safe side. Might I state my process. So. Plant produces flower. Fine anthers and peds are there. Now, hopefully before any creepy crawly enters the scene. Cover the flower with a bag. Thenat your leisure. Take some brushings of pollen and transfer onto the victim. Once again enclose the flower. In time nature takes it's course. The flower wilts and dies. Also the whole plant begins to recede back to the roots or bulb. Let the plant die down. A whole amount of nutriments will return to th root source. By this time. The seed pods should have swollen. Give them chance to ripen. This will be obvious when the oute shell/encasement begins to split open. Collect the seeds, Keep them dry and airy. Perhaps a quick spray of som insecticide might kill off parasites etc.

Nasal Polyp OP

Posted: 03/07/2014 at 22:43
Thanks Andy. Hope Beth has a sweet tooth.

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Talkback: Yellow leaves and slow growth

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