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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

garden centres vs garden nursery's

Posted: 09/03/2014 at 21:01

Have to agree.  On average.  A basic garden center is home to around four to five hundred percent more franchise, compared to plants.  I live close to the A20.  Evans, better known as Ruxley Garden Center.  Vast place etc, but in comparrison, plant to garden furniture etc.  Yes you know the answer.  Next door to this vast empire is.  Ruxley nursery.  Walk in here.  The staff treasure the place.  No.  No one is watching the clock.  Ask a question and you find that this lass or this fella really does know their job.


Take a guess as to where yo might find me.

Ask Alan

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 21:59

Hi Lucy.  Thanks for the invitation.

To be honest.  At tgimes, I have to admit.  I loathe Alan.  Then on the otherhand.  Yes.  I admire the man.  Truthfully.  I'd love to meet up with him.  OK.  He started off his gardening career with the local council etc.  Then he gained his Kew Diploma.  Well done Al.  Fair do's Alan has really pulled out all the stops.  This 'Yorkie'  starts out getting his hands dirty.  Then he manages to poke his nose into so many places.  He has been honoured with various local delights.  What is it Al.  Lord Lt. of The Isle of Wight?  You have met my eldest daughter Kerry.  She helps out a  friends ducki and chicken place in East Boldre.  You had the damned cheek to criticise her Blue Peter book.  Alan.  You have really sold yourself to the Devil, eh, what?  Let's face it.  From council gardener to TV host, to book writer.  Tv presenter.  Bloddy hell mate.  You must be amongst the riches in the land.  Who knows.  Perhaps a side glancing of the majestic sword.  Alan.  Jokes aside.  Yers I would love to meet you etc.  Well done mate.  You have made a pile.  How the tax man is rubbing his hands,  Alan. Take care, and all the best.



Weed seedling web page

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 21:38

A very valid point Peanuts.  Even for the 'Pro's.  At times it is difficult to tell a weed from your valued seedling.  Do't worry.  Been there done that.  Let's be honest.  Try a little experiment in your garden.  OK.  You have sown some seeds in the open ground.  In time tiny green shoots appear.  Now this is where most of us have fallen foul of creation.   Now then.  That is a strong shoot.  Hey and look at this tiny half-starved next to it.  Which do you pluck out.  More often than not.  You will grab and pull out that seedling that you have been dreaming about.  Yes.  You left the stronger one and sacrificed the weaker.   WRONG!  The stronger looking one that you have saved.  More often than not will turn out to be the weed.  Think back to your school days.  RI.  The parable about the wheat and the weeds.  Logic.  Let them both grow alonside each other, until  you are certain which is which.

watering seeds from the bottom

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 21:22

Might I suggest the following.  Once you have filled your pots, trays or cells with seed sowing compost, leaving some space below the top.  Water either overhead or by soaking.  Let the tray etc drain.  So the seed, then a light covering of soil or vermiculate.  Once done.  Use a very fine rose watering can and give a light overhead watering.  In most cases, unless the surround air space is hot.  Your next act will be, to fine spray the tiny seedlings.  To be on the safeside. I often have a sprayer to hand.  If this is kept full of water, it will attain a suitable temperature.  Pump up the sprayer, set the nozzle to a very fine spray, and away you go.


Without offending anyone.  The practice of basically submerging pots and contents, so that the water level comes level with the soil.  This is arecommended method of dealing with mature plants.  To apply this method to freshly sown seeds.  One.  The action of the water 'waving' across the soil surface, is likely to dislodge the tiny roots, whereby, you will have a tiny clump of seedling at the edge of the pot, or cell.  Also the action of the water draining downwards will obviously suk the seeds down lower. In the case of suface sown seeds.  You can kiss them goodbye.

A further tip.  I know that I have advised in the past, to stagger seed sowing, giving you a bit of breathing space, when it comes to pricking out.  However.  If you have loads of seeds to sow.  Why not try this out.  Soil up your pots, trays cells etc.  Water them all together.  Leave to drain.  Then  you have a clear run.  Within a very short space of time.  All seeds will be sown.

I do hope this post hasn't offended anyone.   Mike...means well

Since joining GW forum,I have been overwhelmed with all the support & advise

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 20:35

I believe it perks everyone up, when reading kind and appreciative comments fom members.

Time passes so quickly.  To be honest, I have only been a subscriber on here, for a very short time. However.  I am so pleased that I signed up.  Truly a graet gathering of friends.

An ENVY thread....

Posted: 07/03/2014 at 17:02

I'm keeping quiet.. This kind of, 'propagation' is too much for my concern

New Allotment, advice please!!

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 23:15

First and foremost.  SLOW DOWN!  Sit down and let your thought s work this out.  So you have a plot.  All turned over, just waiting to be sown/planted up.  OK.  So! when you applied for the plot.  What did you have in mind?  Did you wish to extend your gasrden, did you have grand ideas of growing all your vegies etc.  Please friend.  Sit down.  Take a breather.  Time up!.  So what do you wish to grow?

Talkback: How to plant lily bulbs in a pot

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 23:08

I am a member of the RHS Lily Group.  Not that that means much. A couple of years ago, perhaps more....whose counting?  I lashed out.  At the end of the day, I had spent around one hundred and eighty pounds on lily bulbs.. I had a fine show.  Then disaster.  I lost the complete collection albiet but a couple.  No. Not that blighter the red devil, Lily Beetle.  No.  Mr slug.  Tiny slugs had entered the pots via the drainage holes.  I now use a piece of perforated zinc to cover the holes.  Even so. somee little 'Buggers get through.  So I find a frequent change of compost is good.  Our friend the author of tis thread I feel was asking how to plant. Firstly good drainage, Secondly.  Depending upon the types. Some liliums prefer alkaline compost.  Some acid.  then some will try and perform in basically any compost.  So check out, what your new baby prefers.  Then of course good drainage is of paramount impotance.  Sadly so many bulbs rot away in overwatered pots..  Then select you lilies.  Martagons in particular will rot in the dormant stage.  So be careful.  Might I advertise here.  will give you fuller details.   Bulb planting basics usually suggest plantin the bulb twice it's depth.  For many liliums, especially the much larger bulbs.  Plant them at six inches.


Hope this helps.

An ENVY thread....

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 22:47

OK.  Mike has donned his tin helmet.  Taken up the giant shield etc.  I hear a friend shouting.  Missiles approaching.  So Mike does his best to shrink into his anorak.  So what's the mystery?  So.  Out of the window goes all of my fan mail.  Fan mail.  I wish. All those lovely ladies etc etc. [Sorry.  I am dreaming again]  Mike loves enjoys most plants, trees and shrubs, but I have to confess.  Although local parks, gardens in fact everywhere, hellebores seem to be ruling the roost.  Sorry folks.  I don't find them in anyway attractive.  OUCH!.

A quick visit to Kew

Posted: 06/03/2014 at 22:36

Today proved to be, just what the doctor ordered.  Sunny, warm etc.  So different from what most of us on this tiny island have been confronted with over the past weeks.  As travelling to Kew, by car is such a bore.  I decided to go by train and underground.  Whoopie, it cost me nowt.  My freedom pass says it all.  I caught the 12.27 from Eltham to Victoria.  Then took the tube.  A steady stroll fro Kew Gardens station, then I was there going through Victoria Gate.  A pleasant greeting from a lady at the entrance.  Quick flash of my card.  Thank you sir, enjoy your visit.  I then made a bee line for thePrincess of Wales Conservatory where the annual orchid display was on.  I attended last year, but the schools were on holiday, and it really was too crowded.  Added to which.  I had inadvertently pressed a tiny button on my camera.  All the pictures came out silver coloured.  So I intended this year to get some good piccies.  I intend to put a selection on photobucket.  I will give details later.  I was delighted to exchange some conversation with an elderly lady.  We both agreed.  The display wasn't quite as good as last year.  I strolled the walkways, took my pictures and was home again by 5.15pm  Time now to put my beef joint in the oven for tea.

I do find it strange.  Perhaps you are like me.  When enjoying gardens, parks etc.  Seeing a member of the staff, toiling away.  I often pass some remark like.  You're doing a good job there.  Usually this wil give the worker a brief spell to straighten the back and share a word or two.  However.  I have found that at Kew and Wisley.  Groundstaff seem afraid to engage in conversation.  Surely, the 1984 concept doesn't linger in such surroundings.  Might I ask.  Are there any other members who visit such places as Kew.  Wisley?   I would love to meet up with fellow forum members.  What say you?

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Dare I say.

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A request or suggestion.

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Pernission to speak SIR!

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Caution..Spoof emailers.

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Arum Maculatum

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Childbirth at 65

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Interest fro across the pond.

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What is going on?

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Great revival of British Gardens

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Just my luck

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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... 
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Last Post: 05/07/2014 at 23:37

Collecting and Saving Seed.

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