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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Buying new secauters

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 22:51

I agree.  Felco, every time.  I have two sets.  Both for the past forty years have been in constant use.  Felco used to do a service free for private users.  I have maintaned mine myself.  All this time and use, I have only replaced the blades once.


However.  Take hold of what takes your eye!  If the tool feels good in your hand and you and it feel part of each other.  Then Go for it.  Don't forget.  Secs' will just as easily prune your fingers, as well as the roses.

The Mystery of NPK

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 22:42

Of course the abbreviations, NPK are used on commercial packaging.   OOOps! sorry.  Mike's pinching your material.


Thanks bye the bye for the compliment.  PS.  I haven't written it yet.  Cheers!

Privet Panic

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 22:15

Aubreii.  It does sound strange to suddenly reduce height at such an early stage.  However it wisw.  Otherwise you will find that as soon as the roots establish themselves, the top growth will simply race away, presenting you with loads of leggy twigs.  Similar practice with many other plants.  Pinch out, stop etc.  All the same purpose.  To encourage growth low down.

Holly hedge from cuttings

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 22:08

If it's mainly to conceal the wire fence.  How about a vine of sorts.  As you intend haveing a foreground feature.  How about a jasmine.   Grows fast and can be controlled with a hedge trimmer, or mile a minute.  Will hide the wire in no time.

What type of tree is this?

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 21:57

Looks like Juniperus chinensis 'Pyramidalis'. Perhaps having been reduced in height.   If correct.  It's heigh after five years would be around five feet.  A slow growing Juniper. Blue-green foliage that seems to remain juvenile.  Often listed also as. J. excelsa 'Stricta'


'Mind you.  It could be a wooden one

New petrol mower

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 00:54

Mowers.  So many to choose from nowadays.  OK. Each to their own and  the controlling factor...the purse strings.  It really must be a prblem for many.  Thankfully.  Mike has no grass to cut.  However I am still interested in cutting/mowing.  I was at Kew, a few days ago.  Bright sunny day, much activity with the groundstaff.  In front of the Palm House, the troops were cutting trimming and titivating in general.  I was so shocked.  Kew Gardens.  The epitomy of horticultural whatever.  A member of the groundstaff, going back and forth with a rotary mower.   Hey mate.  This is a display bed. BANG goes my membership.  Truly what I am attempting to get over is.  What kind of grass area do you wish to cut.  Then choose your mower.  Big boys love big toys.  So if you have a large garden and lots of grass. The big boy will want a ride on mower.  Fair do's.  It will get the job done quick and easy.  Stand back and consider.  Yes,it is a large grass area.  Now compare.  Had te same expance been cut usuing a Dennis 36.  The the comment would have been.  Wow! what a fine lawn area.  For the smaller area say a bowling green.  A Ransom certese.  That really gave the ultimate cut.  It was a cylinder mower, having sixteen cutting blades. The maximum.  Mind you.  If you had a lawn cut by this machine.  KEEP OFF.

Holly hedge from cuttings

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 00:31

Strange plants hollies.  They always seem to appear where you don't want them.  Try growing them, and you are wasting your time.  Might I ask.  The dimensions of your intended hedge.  Why just a holly hedge?

There are in fact several nurseries that specialise in hedging plants, and strange to say.  The prices are reasonable.

gardeners world presenters

Posted: 14/03/2014 at 00:24

Now then Mike.  Bridal your tongue.  I say that, because i tend to get a bit of hate mail for being critical.  In fact.  I admire anyone who shares gardening/horticulture with me.

Perhaps I would, yes, like to see more of gardening on TV.  It would make a change from doctors and nurses,  Auctions, police chases etc.  I think that the program planners tend to 'dress up ' gardening.  For instance.  Just within the bounds of forums such as this.  I try vto pass on my practical and theoretical experience to others.  Even at 74 with what amounts to 69 yrs experience.  I am still learning.  This is what I would like to see on my TV.   There are so many youngsters coming into horticulture.  TV offers the ultimate teaching spot.  Even short programs.  I'd like to see a series where you are taken through the basics, gradually widening out.  Where perhaps at the end of a six week series.  Applications would be pouring in, for individuals wishing to engadge in gardening.  It is very pleasing to see more young women entering the field, but please.  Program casters.  Look at the real life.  Gardening can be mucky and wet, soggy and nasty at times.  Please stop showing us young ladies, almost dressed in their Sunday best.  Hi Guys.  Do you like it.  I got it from M&S especially for the show.  Now to do some planting.  Please stop the camera play to.  I have supervised park staff.  I have had some very strong hard tough women working on the parks.  They knew their job and they worked hard, and in those days, they worked for a damn sight less than girls work for today.  Stop the playing to the cameras.   Then to the male gardeners, well TV stars.  Please programers,make the programs more real.  OK.  Not knocking the chap.  In fact I like him.  Monty.  Here he comes, wellies on, wheel barrow etc.   I used to be a copper so I tend to look close.  Wellies.  To me they look as if he's just bought them from the high st.  That barrow.  Fresh out of the garden center.  Then today, we will transplant this shrub.    Long pregnat pause.  Sound off.  Hey, how do you pronounce that?  In all honesty.  What really is the purpose of these gardening programs?  I remember Monty was doing another program, and although I try to avoid bad language, yet I admit to failing at times.  Anyway, in this scene.  Monty was enacting some kind of team leader, exiting a large wooden building, he exclaimed in no uncertain words, for the team to get their act together.  I am not saying that I wish to hear foul words etc, but can we have programs taht are more true to life than portraying some sexually titivating experience or basically making grown men look like a load of idiots.

Iris Reticulata. Gordon Fletcher

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 23:47

Bilje Hi.


This is the special part about gardening.  There is such a vast playing field.  OK, I am not disagreeing with Carol, she has vast experience.  So, what's stopping you from placing your pot in full sunshine and seeing what happens.  Without getting too scientific.  Due to climate change.  Many of the weather changes etc are also starting to have effect here in the UK. Take a chance.

Irrigation systems

Posted: 13/03/2014 at 23:40

Thankfully.  Having been born and raised within a poor family.  I learned at a very early age to, 'make do and amends'  Over time I have developed many skills.

So watering.  Val and I along with our two daughters, used to caravan in the New Forest, sometimes being away for three months at a time.  One yar, I asked a friend to visit the garden etc and water.  Returning home I found all my hanging baskets of fuchsias etc.  DEAD.  Bone dry.  My friend assured me, he had watered a few times, but most days it was pouring with rain.  He didn't realise that the baskets were hanging under the spread of trees.

I have electric and water piped to the greenhouse.  So I fitted a timer to one of the greenhouse taps, gradually adjusted the flow.  Then made up a line system.  I used a standard half inch plastic hose pipe.  Then with the aid of saddle clips.  They consist of a flat plate plus a shaped piece that fits around the pipe.  The parts are then screwed to the underside if the roof bars.  The pipe was connected to the timer unit, just inside the GH door. It then ranthe length of the GH fixed about midway from the side wall to the ridge.  Across the end of the GH and back along the other side.  The end was then bent over and secured with a jubilee clip.  That blanked it off.  Then I simply punctured the pipe at about eighteen inch intervals...not right through.  Just half way.  Having purchased a handful of mini-nozzles, I simply pressed these into the punctured holes and screwed them in.  Returning from holiday that year.  My greenhose resembled the tropical house at Kew.  The watering system had done a much better job than I would have done.  I was well pleased.  However Mike had fogotten all about the timer.  There i was boasting to myself, when, click and YES,  Mike had his first shower in the greenhouse.  Believe me.  You can save yourself pounds, simply by having a go.

Any problems.  Just give me a shout.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Dare I say.

Replies: 82    Views: 2028
Last Post: Today at 00:02

A request or suggestion.

Replies: 6    Views: 280
Last Post: 30/07/2014 at 17:00

Pernission to speak SIR!

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Last Post: 29/07/2014 at 23:12

Caution..Spoof emailers.

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Last Post: 23/07/2014 at 23:02

Arum Maculatum

Replies: 2    Views: 73
Last Post: 23/07/2014 at 22:17

Monty Don.

Replies: 37    Views: 987
Last Post: 24/07/2014 at 20:44


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

Childbirth at 65

Replies: 7    Views: 359
Last Post: 24/07/2014 at 07:51


Replies: 60    Views: 938
Last Post: 24/07/2014 at 18:22

Interest fro across the pond.

Replies: 11    Views: 349
Last Post: 11/07/2014 at 22:35

What is going on?

Replies: 5    Views: 329
Last Post: 13/07/2014 at 15:17

Great revival of British Gardens

Replies: 1    Views: 113
Last Post: 08/07/2014 at 21:49

Just my luck

Replies: 9    Views: 336
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... 
Replies: 0    Views: 65
Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 23:37

Collecting and Saving Seed.

Replies: 26    Views: 494
Last Post: 07/07/2014 at 22:22
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