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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Clematis plants in containers

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 22:56


That's them.  I've just popped down to my front door.  I have five all planted up with climbing roses, daffs, hyacinths, polyanthus, cyclamen.  Yes the sizes are the same.  I have no doubts in my mind that they are deep enough for almost anything.  Check out my post relating to shallow rooting etc.  Dont forget.  Provide some protection in the summer regarding keeping the roots cool.  Come the winter, as with all containers.  Wrap them up a bit against penetrating frosts etc.

lithops and cactus

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 22:39

Well done Jonboy.  Enjoy.  However be wise.  Learn the basics and then gradually experiment.  The latter is so exciting at times.  Never be afraid to ask questions.


Best wishes.

Greenhouse Table/Shelving

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 22:28

Mattbeer, I've just had a peek at your profile.  Lucky you, with your garden.

You have certainly come to tghe right place for genuine help and advice.  You ask.....We answer.

  6x4 is a bit of a problem, however.  I would suggest, if you just want bench style stagging.  Utilise just one side of the house.  Work inside the G/H.  Basically four timbers say waist high.  These will be the legs.  Two timbers for the length.  Four corner struts.  Two lower bars to keep the legs rigid.  The top can be slatted or a sheet of external ply.  Nail each corner to the top of the legs and runners.  Cover with plastic sheet.  At the blank end of the house, you can easily construct a framework with removeable shelves.  This will act as your seed tray area etc.

If as I understand.  You are going to build your own greenhouse.  Perhaps part of the bench can be incorporated into the main structure.

All the best.

Clematis plants in containers

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 22:03

Depending upon how handy you are   I'd go for making my own boxes/containers.  I purchesed a number of containers from B&Q when my roses arrived.  Bad weather and nowhere to heel in.  The containers are rectangular about 18-24 inches square tappering down at the base.  Colour dark green or  earthenware.  Cost around 4.50 each.  They will give plenty of root space.  The main point to consider with clematis roots is.  Some are surface rooting, if not shallow rooting.  Protection is called for during hot weather, such as good mulching or even stones or slate top dressing.  Anything to deflect the heat fro reaching the roots.  Remember also.  It is a good idea to cut growth well back in the winter.  This along with well balanced feeding will ensure good strong growth and fine flowers.

planting mirabilis jalapa tubers

Posted: 28/02/2014 at 21:48

If planting in the garden.  A sheltered sunny site, with a rich soil.

Whether planting tubers in the ground or pots.  From details posted.  It sounds as though just single tubers have been purcased/supplied.  In this case, simply lay the tuber flat.  Usually a well developed tuber will resemble dahlia tubers, where each tuber radiates from a center join that is the stem/stalk.  Plant tubers in April.  If planting inpots, then use a good general purpose compost.  Storing tubers, whether potted or bare tubers.  They should be overwintered in a frost free area....not in a fridge.


Seed sowing.  Sow seeds in JI No.2  February /March.  Young  seedlings and plant often attract loads of aphids, so be warned.


Hope this helps.

However propagating from seed is the cheapest and simple.

Sowing bedding pansies

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 23:23

Seed will usually produce many plants.  Germination is good and simple.

As already pointed out.  Classifying pansies as perennials,is a bit misty.  However, some varieties do lend themselves to qualify so as to come into this classification.  Who knows, in some distant time the powers to be, might re-classify.   Pansies, Violaceacea et are so easy to produce, and at the same time produce such alarming results.  Let's be honest.  Who couldn't fall in love with all tghose funny faces?

Cosmos seedlings

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 23:09

Yes.  A wee bit too soon to sow.  Nevertheless, all is not lost.  Remove the lid or not, is up to you.  From germination to more than half an inch high, causes me to worry.

Cosmos are among the fasted to germinate.  Try and apply the basic principle with seedlings.  'As soon as they are large enough to handle'  To me, that means.  As soon as I can gently get hold of them, or better still.  Soon after they develop their second pair of leaves, prick them out.

Now then.  One might assume that simply moving a seedling fro A-B would have little or no effect.  Sorry, I can't answer that one, but actually.  The pricking out and transplanting does have a great effect.  A simple test you can do.  OK. Take a pot or tray of seedlings.  Now then.   Prick out a few.  Keep them alomgside the basic seedlings.  You will see that the seedlings continue to shoot up, and sadly as so many have learned.  The seedlings soon become so leggy that, even when pricked out, many will wilt and die, others will not really come to anything.  Now look at the pricked out seedling.  For a while, it will appear to have come to a standstill.  Then it picks up.  If you are scientifically minded.  Take a closer look at it's structure.  The stem has thickened.  The leaves are so much more thicker and stronger.  I rest my case.

Pound Shop Lupins

Posted: 27/02/2014 at 22:49

Truly a great and happy bunch of gardeners on here.  Seriously thogh.  Lupins and delphiniums are either a YES or NO to so many.  We usually blame Messrs Slug, Snail &Co.   Would you believe it if I include on the name plate.  Messrs Slug, Snail & Me.  Quite often we the avid grower will kill either by kindness or lack of know -how.  These plant are very susceptible to damping off, and being drowned.   When growing your own from seed.  Refrain from constant watering of pots or trays.  Having sown your seed upon within a moist compost.  That should do until growth appears.  Then gently water around the edge of the container.  This latter action also is useful when potting on shop bought plants.  Please don't sniff at cheapie stores plants.  The hard part has been done for you. You now have to be the carer.  I find it a good idea to sprinkle some small grit or decorative dressing around the base of each plant.  Water outside of this.  Once plated out.  The garden becomes the killing fields of WW1.  The enemy rushes to the attack.   Various measures can be take to ward off the attacks.  Copper bands/rings etc.  The application of grit and similar rough granules around the base.  Have you ever considered the fact that Mr. Slug can actually be inside your plant, prior to planting out.  Not only can this pest be in the compost but, yes.  The little 'B' can actually be inside the plant itself.  Dahlias, Lupins, Delphiniums and many more.  These plants have hollow stems.  So think about it.  Wee baby slug has found a way inside.  For a period of time his presence has no affect on the host plant.  Inturn the fluids etc circulating within the plant doesn't object.  Sadly a false sense of security.  During which time Mr slug has beengetting stronger.  Time to eat ones way out.  That is why so often, especially within the greenhouse.  No slime trail has been noticed.  So.  As Mike has discovered from this forum.  Quite a number of us try and resort to natural ways of protection.   However in this case, don't be afraid of resorting to a systemic treatment.


I do hope that tis helps.

lithops and cactus

Posted: 26/02/2014 at 22:16

If I may.  It is always of extra special interest and sometimes afascination, to grow shall we say.   The less popular plants.  Therefore I have learned that it is a good idea to perhaps read up a bit.   Not only catalogues, but some literature that deals with the countries where these plants grow in the wild.  Hence with cacti etc.  Usually the days are hot and dry, except for the rainy season.  Then come nightfall. The mercury can fall out of the bottom of the scale.

Pruning help

Posted: 25/02/2014 at 21:15

Henry Hi.

Usually no pruning is neded with Arbutus.   Thin straggly branches can be removed.  In this case.  Take them back to good strong branches.

Arbutus is a very attractive species. Normally they will self balance.  However as you say, the garage removal has affected your one.  Sadly.  Once they become wind damaged like yours.  Then you will have to carry out a bit of re-shaping, otherwise they will topple. Normally they are disease and pest free.  A word of warning.  It is best not to allow children to climb them or to rig up swings.  The bark is smooth and cracks easily.  The cracking can go deeper into the wood and then limbs will snap and drop.

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