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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Hardening Off Help

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 00:06

Tracey.  To be honest. Mike has had quite an eventful day.  It is now 1205 and I have entertained my favourite tipple.  Leave it to me.  Trust me.

How do you all know so much

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 00:00



LOVE.  Love for creation.  Love for plants.  Love for people.

Gardening, horticulture, plant sciences, plant pathology.  Check out my profile.  Now at the age of 74+  I am embarking upon a study of plant pathology.  For many.  Looking at creation or the world around us, truly delights us.  However unlike a famous painting say?  looking at it gives so much pleasure, delight and satisfaction.  Nevertheless, that same picture, when you look at it ten years on.  Why, yes you exclaim.  I know every brushstroke of the work.  Yes! it wa sthe same last year as it is this year and will remain throughout the comining years, So branching out.  For the enquiring mind.  More needs to be known.  So whatever our status might be.  We venture forth.  We start to investgate, well where did this plant come from?  whhy will it only grow in this soil? and many more questions.  My friend. As so with other subjects.  You olny get out of it......what you put into it.  For instance.  Many are confused regarding the latin terms etc.  OK.  Whenyou sow seeds of Forget-me-nots.  Add the botanical name.  Myosotis.  Then when pricking out  simply label up as Myosotis.  Believe me  everything falls into place.

So forums such as this.  Men and women of similar likes etc come together.  Thankfully, none of us LORD it over anyone else.  Neither do we criticise a fellows methods.  In the criminal world, there is a saying.  Honour amongst theives.  In the gardening world.  Perhaps, honour, respect, and appreciation..


My friend.  enjoy your garden.  Apprceiate the wonders of creation.  Hopefully it will strengthen your bond with the Grand Creator.

Turtle99 and Magnolia.

Posted: 16/04/2014 at 12:06

To be honest Sue.  I don't know.  Possibly the local garden center will have some proprietry feed containing Fe & Magnesium.  However I fear that probably the frost and winter winds might well be responsible.

If due to climate change etc, we can expect harsher winters in the future.  Then no doubt many well established trees such a Magnolia, will be affected.  Reason fo say this.  The magnolia is such a beautiful tree.  So when planting.  Folks tend to want to show it off to others.  So the tree is left to grow and flourish usually in the most exposed spot in the garden.  In fact, in their natural habitat.  Magnolias prefer dappled sunlight, and protection from winds and severe weather changes.  I am hopeful that our friend's tree will survive if a good mulch is applied.  I can list various possible causes for the damage in this case, but  I think I have covered it well.

Human irrigation system

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 23:46

Thanks again you wonderful beautiful bunch.  Yes many happy memories of Val, my wife.  We were married for 48 yrs just coming upto 49.  Oh how I miss her. Perhaps in our, mu case.  Val and I both realised that her heart op, would be 'Goodbye' Thanfully due to our belief, we held/hold a grand hope for the future.  Hey friends. Mike has got an appointment for his CT Scan.  Saturday morning 11.30  Nothing to eat four hours before.  You can drink as much water as you like.  Mike can't stand tap water.  Can I have a few tipples of the scottish necter?  Anyway folks.  Now ny innards will be photograghed yet again.  Wowee!!.  Believe me guys and dolls.  I am trying to keep calm.  Please hold my hand.  Love and kisses to all.

Turtle99 and Magnolia.

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 23:29

Hi Turtle.  Thanks for the PM.  Mike is always so happy to help out.  Sorry about the misunderstanding.  I really did take it, that your magnolia was containerised.  Lokking at the pics.  I have to say.  Several different ideas, suggestions etc come to mind, plus a bit of personal research.  Yes I can understand your concern.

In brief.  The pics tend to show many different problems.  Don't worry too much about the dark spotting of the leaves.  In this case. The leaves really are the factors.  Magnolias like so many other trees etc.  Have over this past winter, sufferred very much.  Perhaps hard to believe.  Cold winds etc can actually cause burning.  Burning usually is associated with heat.  In this case the opposite.  So some of the damage might be due to burning.  Then there is a definite indication of Iron and Magnesium deficiency..  Also a possible contributor is Lime.  Has lime in some way been added to the soil.  Lime will change the pH balance.  These three components will individually or collectively produce chlorosis, a wishywashy appearance.  As I say.  Some of those winter winds have caused many problems.  In all honesty.  There is, as far as I am aware.  No, off the shelf cure. I suggest a very good mulch of acidic compost.  I can and will gladly research and offer further help. Best wishes and regards. Mike.

Plant biology.

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 23:01

Thanks friends.  However sad to say.  I feel that my question remains unsolved.  Actually I believe in creation, rather than evolution, another subject.  I am well aware of the genetics in breeding.  I used to keep canaries and British finches.  Like most fanciers.  I did my fair share of Muling and hybridizing etc.  That I feel is a diving point between evolution and creation.  Anyway back to the question.  Yes! I have studied under the microscope pollen grains etc.  Actually I am well into microscopy and plant pathology.  Thanks anyway for your valid responce.  I have a family friend who is an entomologist, working for HM Gov.  I'll give him a shout.  Thanks again folks.  Mike.

Japanese knotweed shoots & Mower contamination ?

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 19:14

Bindweed.  This presents it's own means of propagating.  Once it is cut or pulled.  It will double itself.  From your pics.  It looks quite young.  Try digging it out.  As I say, any breaks and it will multiply.  Otherwise you might try  something like  Roundup.  Give the leaves a good praying.  Be careful not to spray anything else.  The weedkiller will be absorbed into the leaves and travel through the stem, to the roots.  Any contact with the soil, the chemical is neutralised.

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.

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