London (change)
Today 13°C / 11°C
Tomorrow 15°C / 14°C

Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

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?

Magnolia seems to be sick -- please help

Posted: 13/04/2014 at 23:47

Turtle my friend.

Obviously youy pet is potted or containerised.  All is not lost.  My suggestion is.  Totally repot. ASAP.  This means.  Remove your pet from it's present container.  Crefully wash off all compost from the roots. Then using a clean container/pot etc, and fresh compost.  Repot.  A gentle soak and leave to stand.  Please forget about feeding etc.  Judging from your pics.  Your baby is suffering fom soil probs, and perhaps some kind of infestation.


Please be patient.  I am prepared to stick my neck out here.  The forum members are witness to this.  Should my advice fail.  Then I will post you the financial cost of replacing your babe.  However you must keep me upto date.   Mike.

Planting sweet peas and hollyhocks in pots

Posted: 13/04/2014 at 23:36

For sweet peas.  These plants tend to send down deep roots.  So a deep pot is required.  Some gardeners tend to go for grow tubes, such sa toilet roll centers.  Whatever method chosen.  If at the end of the day it works for you, then stick to it.  I practicality.  By far the best way to grow sweet peas is.  Forget the greenhouse and pots or tubes.  Sow direct.   Please watch the forum.  I will in time write a bit on the subject.

Can anyone identify this tree?

Posted: 13/04/2014 at 23:27

Perhaps if I may.  For members to attempt to identify trees.  I agree, not always the easiest of tasks.  However.  Firstly identify the season. For instance.  Winter- Spring.  The hedgerows are often colourful.  The most predominant is the blackthorne.  Then we come into spring.  Whether we live in towns or country.  Most public authorities do a grand job of roadside plantings.  The majority of spring flowering trees are prunus.  The cherry family.  OK.  There are some acers that show flowers before leaves, these are mainly the red leaved varieties.  A little wile later in the season.  The almond will come into flower.  Stranly the malus, the crab apple tends at time to infiltrate most seasons.   I am sure fellow gardeners can add to this list.

Onions from seed

Posted: 13/04/2014 at 23:15

To coin a phase.  You know your onions.  However.  My allottment days are over.  Perhaps I am of the old stock.  In short.  I would never have considered oinion growing in trays, modules or whatever.  Veggie gardening to me has always involved.  Soil preparation.  Sowing in drills and then thinning out.  The thinnings can be planted on.

So to my dear friends request.  Plant your seedlings out asap.  Don't bother about potting up or on.  Believe me.  My method never failed..


Posted: 12/04/2014 at 17:04

Quite a large family are these.  Best grown in a greenhouse, either from seeds or cuttings.  Take cuttings between May and August, of lateral shoots 3-4 inches long. Place in an equal volume of peat and sharp sand. If cared for, most will live for years.  Pot-on yearly.  Abutilon are often used as 'Dot' plants in beds and borders.  When growing from seed.  There is no veed to start them off in the dark.  A temp of around15-18 deg C

Hope this helps.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Folk-lore. Any truth in it?

Replies: 9    Views: 463
Last Post: 14/10/2014 at 21:49

Tree problems.

Replies: 15    Views: 441
Last Post: 09/10/2014 at 09:32

Fantastic site.

Replies: 0    Views: 188
Last Post: 25/09/2014 at 23:18

Modern Technology

Replies: 1    Views: 176
Last Post: 20/09/2014 at 08:54

Future Time Team

Replies: 19    Views: 581
Last Post: 16/09/2014 at 22:17

More about using Coir

Replies: 2    Views: 188
Last Post: 11/09/2014 at 09:38

Talk about daylight robbery!

Plant prices. 
Replies: 33    Views: 1053
Last Post: 13/09/2014 at 20:02

Have I overdone it?

Replies: 65    Views: 2404
Last Post: 05/09/2014 at 11:37

Growing with Coir

Replies: 12    Views: 325
Last Post: 03/09/2014 at 10:55

List of members.

Replies: 14    Views: 617
Last Post: 01/09/2014 at 16:35

Concern over conifers.

Replies: 0    Views: 140
Last Post: 31/08/2014 at 22:08

Good News for Mike

Replies: 31    Views: 1301
Last Post: 03/09/2014 at 18:22

Makes you Wonder!

Replies: 13    Views: 598
Last Post: 28/08/2014 at 10:03

A Wee Bit Cooler

Replies: 6    Views: 482
Last Post: 11/08/2014 at 22:10

Our Silent Fliers.

Replies: 28    Views: 968
Last Post: 25/08/2014 at 19:18
1 to 15 of 92 threads