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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Would someone be kind enough to identify this beautiful smelling shrub

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 21:32

Strange that many winter flowering shrubs, have few leaves at this time, but such glorious flowers.  Another sweet smeller is.  Sweet Box.  Then of course the Daphnes.

Lawn care

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 21:27

Due to climate change.  The grass cutting calender has changed, especially in parks and gardens.  Now quite often you can see the tractors out cutting in December and January.  In your case.  Stick to your Dad's practice.  The gardens are still pretty wet, and as our friend says.  Cutting now could tear out the grass.  When you do decide to cut.  Have the mower set on high.  It might not look as though you have just cut, but this is best.  Plus the weight of the mower will have pressed the tiny grass plants back into the soil.  Following cuts, gradually lower the blade.  In some cases the fourth cut will be down as low as you need to go.

Mice and seedlings

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 21:16

Sprig2. Usually mice go after the seeds, whether above or below soil level.  Not denying that they may lke a bit of green stuff now and then.  Probably in his attempt to get the sweet pea  seed etc, the seeding was damaged and destroyed.

The general question regarding mice liking seeds.  Seed is their staple diet. last summer.  I entered my workshop.  Mice were falling from the shelves and everywhere.  Previously I had received an oredr of about forty to fifty pounds worth of wild bird seed an peanuts.  Not thinking.  I had left the sacks on the workshop floor.  The mouse population had a feast day.  Cleared the lot.

For anyone who keeps cage or aviary birds.  Always check the bird seed, for signs of mouse activity.  Contaminated  seed will kill your birds.  Also a ver strange thing.  Believe it or not.  Very few birds will eat spiders.  I lost some cage birds, in the birdroom.  No sign of mouse problems.  However I found when moving some cages.  Loads of spiders.  A bit of microscopy and I discovered that.  The urine or waste left by the spiders as they moved over the seed, actually poisoned the seed and the birds.  So my sad loss perhaps also explains why few birds eat spiders.






Mice and seedlings

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 20:55

Tracey.  Perhaps they are indian mice.  If not.  You have some, 'Real Hot Meesies

Lily 'bulblets'

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 20:46

Please see my recent post on lilies.

Stopping ants climbing cherry tree

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 00:17

Apply a grease band.

what to do with my HUGE laurel???

Posted: 12/03/2014 at 00:16

Hello my friend.

Looking at your picture.  Believe me.  I love plants trees and shrubs.  However I have to admit.  This giant is in the wrong place at the wrong time.  IMHO it is serving no purpose at all.  In fact it is totally destroying anything that your garden might otherwise offer you.  Sad to say.  If I were you. It has got to go.  Nothing more to be said.

Value branded compost V branded names

Posted: 11/03/2014 at 23:21

Well! quite a mixed bag of compost...sorry, comments.  In the past I have made do with whatever has been to hand.  Let's be honest.  Most of todays products are marketed to be attractive to the eye and have enticing slogans.  I've raised seeds and plants in basic leaf mould.  I had a friend, a fuchsia grower in Kent.  He used to get a local dairy farmer to drop a load of cow dung to his nursery.  That was all he would use.  I have tried Levingtons.  OK fo lime loving subjects.  OK.  I tried B&Q own composts.  Cheap yes.  Lots for your money and various special offers.  However I fond most, very dusty/dirty.  To explain.  I could imagine the various staff members of office cleaning firms.  At the end of their shifts.  Emptying the vacs into a big container.  That's it.  I have to admit.  I have never carried out any scientific tests analysis etc on any commercial composts.  I have experienced being choked by the dust given up by many ones such as B&Q. also somewhat dangerouse.  I have found many steel bristles from the sweepers, in the compost.  Many of these composts, I would have to add my own additions, so that at the end of the day.  I would be out of pocket.  The most reliable one that I have found and use for everything is.  J.Arthur Bowers general purpose compost.  From seed sowing to planting out, even for bulking up the garden soil.

Monty don new presenter for Chelsea

Posted: 11/03/2014 at 23:02

Should I.  or Should I not add my two pennarth to this thread.

Firstly.  I think that we all have to realise that despite the Chelsea Flower Show being, probably the world's greatest floral exhibition.  The whole event is for the RHS etc to become the 'Widow of the Horticultral world.

The average tv viewer wants to be entertained.  Whereas some would no doubt enjoy being lead around the venue by some Prof. of botany etc, who would without a script advise you of the name of this plant.  Where it originates from etc.  Everyone else would no doubt switch off.  So to try and keep it as a family show, it often becomes a big joke.

So where do we go?

Let's take a look at some of the names already mentioned.  Alan T.  I like him in small doses.  I think he has too many fingers in too many pies.  I'm a bit envious of him.  He's got a Kew Diploma, I haven't.  Oh yes.  He's got pots of stuff they call money.   I  think that Tv can help individuals and at the same time harm them.

The Irishman.  Sorry, I have never met him, but there is just something about him I can't stand.  I find some of his ideas crazy to say the least.

What we have to remember.  The majority of presenters are required to work from a script or 'Q' board.  Sophie is a good looking lady and very popular with viewers for her news reading etc.  Monty is in my book.  A great guy, he's gone through the mill in the past.  He has a captivating way about him.  He turned to journalism and has been casted in tv programs.  However in my book.  He's not a gardener.  Nikie Chapman.  I really like her.  She's played her part in previous Chelsea Shows.  To be honest.  I have to admit.  Whether she's showing us around Chelsea or Down Under or in Escape to the Country.  I find myself looking at her, to hell with the program.

So where does that leave us?  Basically that's where we came in.  Do we want a knowledgeable horticulturist to show us around, or would we prefer a well shaped general presenter,or a guy who out to earn a good living.


So.  Dovefromabove.  As far as I am concerned.  The job's all yours.  However please leave the Miss Marple s hat at home.

levelling the garden

Posted: 11/03/2014 at 22:28

Mrs T.


Hello.  Actually from the details you have provided.  Two feet high isn't really all that much.  Then as you mention.  You have gone down about seven inches and then hit concrete.  So the fence posts are secure and concreted in.  Usually post that are set in concrete usually are sunk at around eighteen inches.  So IMO you have nothing to worry about.  I'd be inclined to start by taking out a strip say three feet wide.  Levelling it.  See if there is any movement.  I am certain that you are worrying about nothing.


Hope this helps.

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