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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

What do you do or what did you do at work

Posted: 23/04/2014 at 15:55

Like your 'tact' O/L.  I was chucked on the scrap heap when I was just four years older than you now are.

How to propagate Rhododendron

Posted: 23/04/2014 at 15:45

The typical woodland variety, purple flower, speads like wildfire. That is R.ponticum.  Considered to be the the gandpa of them all. If cared for, ponticum can be managed.  In some woodlands one might find the odd hybrid variety.  Usually these have been especially plant by the owner or carer of the woodland.

Sad to say, as with most shrubs.  Individuals often seem afraid to attempt to have a go at cutting and shaping.  Early action is required as even with the hybrids, new growth can run away with itself.  In that case, one ends up with long straggly branches which leave the center of the shrub bare.  Remember Rhododendrons are very shallow rooting, so don't go loosening the soil around them of hoeing any weeds.  Hope this helps.

Where are YOU?

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 23:44

So.  Who an I?


Hey Mark.. Great idea, starting this thread.  Now we are all crawling out of our shelves.  Apart from the majority of gardening fiends.  I find that I have joined a circle of friends.  Dave for instance.  A former London cop.  I'm sure we can find much to mull over together.  Then there is our Vicar.   Nice to have on board  an individual who has a faith, in this sad world.  Then all of my crazy friends, yet believe it or not.  Such wonderful friends.  Believe me.  If only we could at some time, all meet up.

What do you do or what did you do at work

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 23:31

Oh Tracey! no pics.  How about via private email?  So you are an Aussie.  I have some longtime friends who emigrated out there.  As Dave another forum member.  I was once a London traffic cop.  When any of the Roayal Prks formed part of my patrol.  It was aregular sight, to see groups of medels out on a photo shoot.  At times I had to laugh.  These slinky femmes, dressed up.  Taking a look behind them.   No, behind them, not at their behinds.  So often their dresses would be held together by loads of clothes pegs.  What a laugh.

Soil PH Meters

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 23:19

Hi.  Rapitest used to do a good meter.  Please don't get too involved with pH testing.  Thankfully most plants will do well on this island of ours.

Belfast Sink Ideas

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 23:14

Tracey.  That last picture such an improvement. Can Mike suggest something, without offending YOU or anyone else.  The idea of a sink or trough garden. Is to attempt to recreate in minature an aspect of the natural world.  Imagin you have come back from your hols in  an alpine area.  In their natural habitat, one can find so many what we term, rare plants, all growing together.  Now here we are, back home, and you,you lucky lady have obtained three Belfasts.  OK.  Fill with compost.  Select your plants.  Now then.  Cast your mind back to the hols.  Perhaps you ventured up a mountainside or across some steppes. What did you REALLY see? Yes many different plants. How were they growing.  Were they all in  straight lines.  Did you notce  Hidden behind a stone or two, some tiny little plant was growing away happily.  Was the terrain level?  Not just you fair lady, but other members who might be attracted to alpines etc.  Try and create in that sink, a tiny portion of that mounten area.  A few bits of slate, undulating surface.  Believe me.  In now ay do I wish to offend anyone.  Please. Give it a try.

grass seed not germinating

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 22:54

Not wishing to tread on anyones toes.  Firstly. Soil temperature has zilch to do with it, no disrespects.  In fact one would asume that grass seed would spring up over night.  Being as supposed  one of the creme de'la creme of grasses.  It could be, that you have in fact buried the seed.  Sprinkle the seed on a prepared area, the gently rake it in.  Might I summise. The ground is too dry, or is too solid, or as mentioned you have buried the seed.  Example.  A busy well used sports fieled.  Soccar. especially the center spot and the goal area.  Likewise the cricket pitch.  As soon as play stopped, game over.  Out there, rakes and tines etc. Sedd and leave. By the next match, all was good in the garden.  Grass seed is much like mustard and cress.  It will spring up over night.  Try laying a sheet of polythene over the area, during the night.  Make sure you remove it at day break.  If no resultsin a week.  complain to your seed supplier, either that, or the birdies have had a good feed, at your expense.

Ants in compost bin

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 22:42

Strange how some people react. I have a friend who now lives in France.  He did his thirty inSouth Yorks Police, ended up as an Inspector.  His is also a moderator on a police forum that I subscribe to.  It was he who decided to give me and/or make me the forum horticulturist.  Speaking on the subject of compost bins etc.  He responded to another's post.  I looked into my bin. and *****SSSSS etc, what I saw.  UGGGH!  A can of petrol and that was that.  As you can imagine. Police jargan can at times be unprintable.

Feeding bulbs

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 22:32

IMHO.  Totally a matter of personal choice.  The most important part/time in a bulbs life is.  The dying back.  Whether your bulbs are in pots, containers or open ground.  Leave them alone. Fair do's if potted or containerised then th pots etc can be moved out of sight.  However.  Don't bother about cutting off the flowering stalk, such as with daffs.  Let them gracefully die back.  The required feed, believe it or not is actually in the vegetive growth.

What the best seeds for cut flowers

Posted: 22/04/2014 at 22:22

Sorry Mark.  Mike is in one of his funny moods.

Question.  What the bestseeds for cut flowers? 

Perhaps trying those that grow and finally's zat?


Sorry mate, couldnt miss that one.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

A Special day.

Replies: 2    Views: 193
Last Post: 24/11/2014 at 19:32

Help Please.

Replies: 2    Views: 187
Last Post: 24/11/2014 at 06:31

To cut everything down, or leave.

Replies: 37    Views: 885
Last Post: Today at 00:25

Something of an apology.

Replies: 17    Views: 684
Last Post: Yesterday at 08:57

RHS Lily Group Bulb Auction.

Replies: 2    Views: 198
Last Post: 15/11/2014 at 22:59

Computer problems

Replies: 1    Views: 173
Last Post: 14/11/2014 at 22:45

Back to the Lecture Hall.

Replies: 3    Views: 243
Last Post: 07/11/2014 at 23:17


Replies: 1    Views: 259
Last Post: 04/11/2014 at 05:32


Replies: 0    Views: 182
Last Post: 03/11/2014 at 00:01

Hidden treasures.

Replies: 5    Views: 367
Last Post: 03/11/2014 at 11:41

Modern Technology etc.

Replies: 18    Views: 714
Last Post: 12/11/2014 at 09:49


Replies: 9    Views: 452
Last Post: 02/11/2014 at 09:22

Now't so strange as Folk.

Replies: 4    Views: 403
Last Post: 01/11/2014 at 08:56

How do trees come into your life?

Replies: 9    Views: 359
Last Post: 29/10/2014 at 21:43

YOUR view of music over the years.

Replies: 24    Views: 785
Last Post: 29/10/2014 at 07:26
1 to 15 of 107 threads