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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Primulas looking weak

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:40

Matthew.  For some unknown reason, over the years, primulas, primroses, polyanthus, all of a sudden they seem to have been classed as the same. Despite the fact that these subjects are easily obtained fron nurseries and supermakets,.  I have fong this year and the last part of lst year.  Mine have continued flowering,   Now at last, the flowers are dwindling.  I intend, within the next few days, to lift each plant.  Believe me,many have noe now formed clumps.  In the commercial world.  At the end of each season.  Stock is destroyed.  For the basic gardener.  Waste not...want not.  So here goes.  Have ready a suitable potting bench.  A good quantity of pots and compost.  Now begin lifting.  With the aid of digital photography. Take a snap of each flower.  Label one to whatever.  Now the victim is raised, placed onthe table.  I prefer to use a sharp knife. I seperate each individual plant, allowing some root.  In all honest.  I forgo the sulphur dusting of the cuts.  Each new seperate plant is potted up with a numbered label.  Then the pots are placed amongst the garden plants.  In time.  These will be planted out.  I could blind you with science about propagating this species.  Ask me later.  Mike.

Osteospermum problem

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:22

Somehow, I know how you feel.  Both of my daughters seem to have inherited my love of horticulture.  However, I find as in the case of most fellow gardeners.  The mere thought, mention of cuttin back or down .  Can I deal with this in the shortest way.  Ground cover plants. They will spread out for evevr.  Sad to say.  They will become very woody, and in time. The center of the plant will be just a mass of stalks.  Believe me.  You have got to take the bull by the horns. Cut it back hard every season.  Also in the meantime.  Take cuttings, because, in time.  sooner or later. Your plant will exhaust itself.  Please forget this inhibition about cutting back.  Todays plants are mainly those cultivated, propagated etc by man.  In the natural world.  Things automatically take care of themselves.

Belfast Sink Ideas

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:11

Oh deary me!  Hey lass, count yourself lucky getting even a single Belfast.  Believe me.  Alpine plant enthusiast would give their right arm fo just one.  You have three, and wait for it.  Have you noticed.  There are a lot of only left armed alpine plant enthusiasts about.  C'mon.  That must deserve a hug!.  No.  Seriously Tracey.  There is so much you can use the sink for.  Yes a tiny herb garden.  However most, use them as alpine minatures. Some how they seem to have been made for the purpose.  What will add to the attraction is, if you coat the sink in tuffa.  This is a cement and sand plus peat mix.   Just like mixing up cement for the garden path etc. It's so easy.  Equal parts, sand. cement and peat.  Plaster this onto the sink.  The same mix will provide porous rocklike amounts for alpine gardening.

Gardening Book

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:55

Hi O/L.  and that isn't short for....old lady  Truthfully there are so many books on the market.  I have often thought about penning one myself.  However.  The RHS seems to hold such a long list.  Believe me.  My library consists of many books on gardening.  Like some plantaholicks.  Mike loves books.  Often I call myself a silly..'B'  as upon reading the book.  Even I could have done better.  Tracey [?]  My advice is.  Search the market even ebay.  Check out.  Readers Digest Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers.  The contributors are/were friends of mine.  Believe me.  Even now.  I use this volume so much.  Regards.  Mike.

Planting sweet peas and hollyhocks in pots

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:45

I would suggest, what is known as a long Tom.  Much like what you'd buy a rose bush in.  When planting out.  Don't seperate each plant.  Rather plant as one.  Plant close to a trellis or something that the can be climbed up.  The sweet peas will do the rest.

Growing rhubarb (& possibly veg or herbs) under Apple trees

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:39

Kitty, Hi.

I can't see any issues here.Your apple tree is or should be a deeper rooted subject than most veg.  The rhubarb is an above ground producer.  So depth is of little concern.  In fact perhaps the over shadow of the tree might well entice the 'barb to reach for the skies.  Othewise.  Plant way from the tree trunk by about two feet.  To be on the safe side.  I personally would lay down some good topsoil mixed with compost or farmyard manure to about a foot deep.  Dig this in.  Then you will have good depth for most crops.  Most important.  Don't forget to water well.

Plant ID, updates and confirmations.

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:31


Much the same as our friends.

1.Dogwood.  2.Deutzia.  3 Sycamore.  4 Sycamore.  5 ?  6  Myosotis.  7 ? vibernum.

Japanese knotweed shoots & Mower contamination ?

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:24

I can't disagree with Perki, however.  My knowledge of plant pathology etc.  I have never heard of JKW being propagated via stem of foliage cuttings.  As probably others may have quoted.  This plant tends to spread via it's root system.  I have actually experimented to a degree with this plant.   One establishmen that I worked.  Very large garden.  The lower end had a wall.  The otherside of the wall was a pond.  Actually it was more of a reservoir that fed a cooling plant in Woolwich Arsenal.  Close to the gateway, there grew a very large clump of knotweed.  It never in my time, extended its boundaries.  However some twenty or so yards further on, anothe clump.  This I cut down.  In no time at all new growth appeared and satisfyingly, it's boundaries had extended very much.  My conclusion.  It is an an unwanted specimen.  However it appears that.  Left alone.  It will to a degree contain itself.  On the other hand.  Something like as in the day of the triffids.  Interfere with it, ie; cutting it down, and it will retaliate.

Moving a Rhododendron

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 00:01

Definately not now.  Wait until the flowering season is over, plus a month.  Then you should be safe to move.

Plant biology.

Posted: 13/04/2014 at 23:58

Now then!  So at last this old beggar is asking advice.  No.  Please.  No flag waving and all that.  Ages ago.  At schol.  Mike was forced to follow the rule of the day.  So I studied atomic and engineering science.  Now at the age of 74+  I have lived with this question for years.

Question.  Within the insect world of pollinators.  So each visit so many flowers, during the day. Collecting and dispersing.etc.  So acoounting for all the various nectines, pollens etc collected.  How come, plants of the same genera, etc are at the end of the day fertilized?

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Folk-lore. Any truth in it?

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Tree problems.

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Fantastic site.

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Modern Technology

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Future Time Team

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More about using Coir

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Talk about daylight robbery!

Plant prices. 
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Have I overdone it?

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Growing with Coir

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List of members.

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Concern over conifers.

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Last Post: 31/08/2014 at 22:08

Good News for Mike

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Makes you Wonder!

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Last Post: 28/08/2014 at 10:03

A Wee Bit Cooler

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Last Post: 11/08/2014 at 22:10

Our Silent Fliers.

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Last Post: 25/08/2014 at 19:18
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