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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

True lute

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 22:30

Perhaps a name most are not familiar with.  Case I forget.  Please Google the name.  I first came in contact with a true-lute, when I was doing my groundsman cothanks to London University.  It really is such a simple tool.  In fact any guy with a workshed and an arc welder could easily knock one up in an evening.  On my course all those years back.  We used a hand version and a tractor drawn one.  The latter of course being so much larger. For those googling it, you will see.  Basically it is a frame made from angle iron.  Then the center is made up of four or five cross members.  From either end, two pieces were welded and met in the center with a stubby tube for the handle/shaft to fit.  The action and use.  The flattened side of the angle iron was used as a basic rake.  Topsoil etc would be spread on the ground.  Then the tru-lute would be used simply as a rake.  The expannce of the frame allowed for greater and more effective levelling of the soil/compost.  Flipping the frame over. The finer edge of the metal work proved it's worth.  For anyone with lawn problems.  I recommend this tool.  Mind you.  I am shocked at the present day price.  Believe me.  As I say. I could cut and weld one in an evening.  Back to the traing course.  The tractor drawn version.  Much larger and much heavier.  This really made short work of repairing and re-surfacing cinder running tracks.

All right .... own up .... which ones of you do this?

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 22:07

Ah Scott.  I always say about church yards. So peaceful and quiet.


Phippa Smith.  Hi!

You mention our lovely feathered friend the Thrush.  So, so sad.  These beautiful bird seem to be in a minority, especially in South East London, where I reside.  In my garden, we used to have frequent visits from Thrushes.  My two daughts in their tiny tots days would ask me.  Dad.  What are thos e pretty birds with the spotted fronts.  How I wish that these tiny garden helpers were still around.  Far better than all your chemicals etc.

My mind drifts back to my work days, mid eighties.  I was employed by the MOD.  In this garden, a very large property.  I was enjoying one day, the peace, quiet and serenity of a fine summers day.  Despite the garden was overlooked by a gian tower block.  I heard  a tap tapping sound.  Glancing around the vast garden, as we do at time, see with our ears and listen with our eyes.  The I spotted it.  A beautiful Thrush.  Snail in beak, and he was bashing the living daylights out of this snail.  Constantly whacking it against some large edging stones..  Happy memories.

Magnolia from Cuttings

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 21:49

Goldcroft.   OOps a bit high to try layering.  Some of the lower branches could perhaps be weighted down in some way, and air layering could be used.  If you care to cut off some fresh new growth.  Then hardwood or semi ripe cuttings can be tried.

Let me run you through the process.  First and foremost.  You are embarking on a very long time task.

Seeds should be sown as soon as they are ripe. Sow around October time. Germination can take upto two years.  Then growing on even more years. Three to four years.  Cuttings.  Four inch half-ripe heel cuttings taken in July, inserted in sharp sand and place in a propagator at a temp of 70 deg F.  When rooted etc.  These can be plunged into a coldframe until large enough to plant out.  Arial cuttings.  This is a process not often used.  However it does work.  Big problem being.  Whatever course you take.  You are probably looking in the long term to around twenty plus years from start to finish, before seeing signs of your first flower.  Question to ask yourself.  Can I wait that long.  Is it worth the time and trouble.

can I prune my primroses

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 21:27

Two lines of thought from me.  Unless seeds are wanted.  Then go ahead and cut off dead flower stems.  If as it appears in your case.  Space is limited.  Something like tomato boxes { shallow boxes the shops etc receive their fruits in}  Lift the plants, and temporarily store in the boxes.  Keepng them watered etc.  In your own tgime.  You can divide the plants and replant into the garden or pot up.  This will give you more plants.  Incidentally.  Primulas can be propagated from leaf cuttings.

Newbie.. help with summer flowers

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 21:20

Dave.  Welcome.  Not wishing to speak for other forum members, but.  Please believe me.  I am not puting you down or anything, for asking.  Howevr I find it a bit of a trick question.  Obviously each and everyone of us will rattle off a list of our favourite plants.  Might I suggest.  Take a stroll around a garden centre.  Now is a good time, as the summer plants are hitting the market.  Your desire to have plants reappear each year.  You will nee perennials.  Just a point.  When buying in.  Some perennials might not produce flowers this year, but they will in years to come.  Dave.  Take a look around, dot down a list of what takes your fancy, put that list to the members.  Then we each can have our say.  Believe me.  You are among friends.  We will do our best to help you.  Kind regards.

Pear tree leaf curl

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 21:10

If any chemical deficiency is responsible.  It probably is BORON.

Pear tree leaf curl

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 21:08

Similar symptoms to Peach Leaf Curl.  Usually takes place soon after leaf break.  I won't bore you with technical terms etc.  The leaves will drop prematurely.  They will then be replaced by a new flush.  This econd flush is usually OK.

All right .... own up .... which ones of you do this?

Posted: 18/04/2014 at 20:59

I think most of us have to put our hands up, respecting this.  Dove.  So glad you mentioned the RHS bods, actually marking the shells, and then finding loads returned in due time.  Some years back.  I read a scientific study about snails.  It confirmed exactly the same point.  It also made known that.  Within the slime trail that snails in particular leave behind.  There exist  a chemical reactor.  This recognised by what we term Baby snails.  The result was.  All the time the baby snails we picking up this kind of coded indicator.  The stayed clear of the grown-ups walkways, or should that be, slime-ways.  Also the the baby snails moreoften than not, remained as babes until such time.  The adult trail identities stopped.   It was presumed in the paper that this indicated that Snail senior had come to the end of his days. {Some garden wearing size tens had crunched grandpa under foot]  Do any of you remember 'The Old Codgers'  It was a short column some fifty years ago, in the Daily Mirror.  Info had come their way as such.  In the office of a senior Natural History Museum.  A cleaning lady had, during her dusting and polishing.  She had wiped over the 'donkey's year old, giant snail that adorned the desk, as it sat there mounted on a plinth. The cloth was obviously wet/damp. By the time the good lady had completed her chores in this office.  She was dumbed struck.  The snail had in fact been resurrected.  Scientific reports claimed that.  The seal that forms over the opening of a snails shell, protecting it durin dormant/hibenation periods.  That the wiping motion and the moistened cloth, had broken the seal.  Absolutely amazing.

Flower or Weed?

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 23:43

Orchkid lady you are branching out. Well done  Ooops b computer.

What do you do with grass clippings?

Posted: 17/04/2014 at 21:41

Ooops.  Nearly forgot.  Stick a load in a container and let the mass rot down, it is a quick process. Then either strain the liquid or simply water it onto the growing area.  No trade names. No advertising.  Simply, as most call it. Mother Nature going about her daily business.

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