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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Pound Shop Lupins

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 23:08

Kindergarten.  If it's white.  Just keep it barely covered.  If it's green.  Expose it.  As my friend the meerkat says.  Simples.


Music in the Garden

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 22:45

Tracey.  So you are a singer, and a mum also.  Strange what secrets unfold on a forum page.


I think that singing is truly one of the great joys of life.   Forget the good and the not so good singers.  What does it matter?   When I was employed.  I would often have a small radio turned on.  Strange though.  I was always tune into LBC, with Brian Haynes.

However I love music.  Val and I had such a wide range of interest.  As a real youngster.  I enjoyed singing in the local church choire.  Hand on heart.  I have sung solos in Canterbury cathedral and other great places, Croydon and Southwark.  My musical interests now include.  Lanza.  [even though he was such a big head.]  Mantovani. Military bands.  Most classical and operatic stuff, even for the latter, I can't understand a word.  I have recentgly become  a fav. to Claudia Hirschfeld.  She is  german female organist.  She owns three Wersi organs.  Wow can she play.  Please take time to check her out on You Tube.

Adding colour to grassy bank

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 22:22

Lucky you Novice.

From what I can see.  This slope, bank or whatever seems to be well established.  I agree with Nut'.  Perhaps a cut would improve it, but.  From my knowledge of grasses.  It appears there are many tuft/hummock forming species in there.  Simply to cut down to a reasonable height, might make it look worse.

If I may, without offending anyone.  Most of the suggestions put forth, are ecellent.  However the terrain here is a slope/mound  For one to see and benefit from such sowings, you would need to comfortably walk about on it.  Might I suggest.  Try and reduce the size of most of the clumps.  Reduce the height, don't try and make it a lawn.  Here and there, I'd be inclined to plant a few Cornus.  Dogwoods.  At this time of the years, their stems whether red or greenish white, really do make a fine display. Plan ahead for next year. Take your time.  Afew clumps of Daffs and other bulbs will certainly play their part.  Coming down the slope nearer the path level.  The I would tend to go along with the suggestions other members have made.  You can actually purchase packets of wild flower seed.  This could easily be broardly cast.

To be honest.  I so often find it very difficult to advise in cases like this.  Whereas, to stand side by side and chat about it.  Then that's a different situation.   So much.  My friend.  Depends upon, what deep down in your thoughts.  YOU would like to see, each time you look at the slope.


Please keep us all informed.

RHS London Shows.

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 21:57



For goodness sake, please don't misunderstand or be put off by me.  In all honesty.  I would do my utmost to encourge everyone to visit these shows.  Believe me.  They are certainly an eye opener.  Over the years I have witnessed highs and lows inthe gardening world.  Who knows?  perhaps the general world affairs are getting most people down.  Add that to the most unsettled weather we have had over the past couple of years.  I do believe that to see flowers in bloob, really perks people up.  Even as in some cases, the joy might be somewhat short lived.  I say.  Go for it.


Just as a remider to forum members.  The Orchid Festival is on at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, until March 8th.  If you are interested in Orhids.  Then try and get there.

RHS London Shows.

Posted: 22/02/2014 at 21:01

Actually, I paid a second visit today.   Arriving around lunchtime.  Whata difference a day makes.  Compared to yesterday's crowds, the place was very much lighter. I'd made the journey again, as I wanted to purchase some lily bulbs.  I enjoyed a pleasant chat etc with the exhibitor. H.W.Hyde, of Hyde and Son.  I left the hall with some thirtysix fresh bulbs, and a very generous discount in my pocket.

Thinking about my photos on photobucket.  I will include pios of our tiny garden, taken over the past couple of years.  This will allow you all to meet our friendly foxes.  I will include also various pics I have taken of the Garden of the Rose.  Regents Park London.  Wisley Gardens and Wakehurst Place.  I hope you will enjoy them.  Please allow me a couple of days.


Thank you all so much for your very kind comments.  This oldie really does appreciate such friendliness.

RHS London Shows.

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 22:20

Well today was the day.  The first of a two day plant show at the RHS Halls in Westminster.  In the past.  The society has set aside Tuesday and Wednesdays for these London displays.  This year has witnessed a change.  This year it is Friday and Saturday.

I arrived close to midday.  Wowee!.  Folks were queuing to get in.  Ah! made it.  Now just a single checkpoint and ticket issue desk.  The familiar scene.  Fingers fumbling away at purses and wallets in search of membership cards.  Found it. The member of staff then turns to the next in line.  Membership card Madam.  Oh'  I'm with my friend.  I'm not a member.  Then the poor young lady behind the desk has to run through the rules and conditions.  Glancing rearwards.  There must have been aroud seventy others behind me, all waiting patiently.  Well at least we hope so.  Then past the check-point and I was in.  Then having climed the few stairs.. There it was.  The exhibition hall.  Glimpses of many colours etc, but the mass of swarming bodies.  Honestly.  I have been attending the RHS London Shows for the past fifty-four years.  Honestly, hand on heart etc.  Mike has never seen so many people inside the hall.  I know in retrospect that the Chelsea show can get very crowded.  At Chelsea, at least one can toddle off along another route.  However here in the hall.  It reminded me of driving on the M25.  In an emergency.  There was no escape route.  At one time.  Visitors most often entered the hall, took a grandstand view from the stairs, and the proceeded to turn left and follow in an orderly manner around the displays.  Please don't misunderstand me.  It was in one respect such a marvellous site.  All these lovely people, all sharing along with me, a great love and passion for plants.  Sadly though. It really did appear and prove to be a matter of each one for him/herself.  No I am not saying that there was actual pushing and shoving, but there was far too much added momentum shall we say.  To be able to take photographs.  I recall times when, one could comfortably compose a shot, and end up with a really good picture.   Today.  No way.  Most of my camera shots.  I had to set my Olympus DSLR to auto, hold the camera way above my head etc and click.  I did on several occassions step back and beckon to others to cross my path.  Thankfully this did bring forth some very pleasant smiles and thank you's.  Then a few who were taking photos would smile and whisper.  'Sorry' as they realised perhaps they had become part of the picture.

Nevertheless.  It was a very colourful show.  For me, sadly.  So many of the old faces amongst the exhibitors were no longer there.

In due respect.  I do think that the society might need to examine this particular London Show.   I wouldn't mind being on a committee to discuss the matter.   From a H&S aspect.  I do honestly think that perhaps some future measurs should be taken to avoid mishaps, and to help increase the joys and benefits of those visiting.

I will gladly share my photos on photobucket.  Link to be announced.


Happy gardening.


RHS London Shows.

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 22:19



Yes,mthank you.  It was pretty hard going.  So much walking etc. I did enjoy it though.  I am going to post a brief.............if you can believe that from me, update on today's joys.

RHS London Shows.

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 21:15

Well today I was at the show.  A chap did come upto me and ask if I was Mike  so and so.  As the surname didn't apply.  I said.  Sorry. No.

I am now womdering if this chap was Punica?

My apologies if this was the case.  Perhaps a future meet?

Van Meuwen

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 20:59



Actually several nurseries/outlets will often take this precaution.  Especially in adverse weather conditions and civil disputes.  Nevertheless, they usually inform their customers in advance.

Van Meuwen

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 20:56


My greenhouse is wooden framed, boarded from base to stage height.  Glass ends and sides.  Roof, twinwall polycarbonate.  Two roof vents.  One I only open in really hot weather.  The other one is auto controlled.  The staging on bothe sides is covered with polythene, sand and compost.  This I find is useful should roots grow beyond the bottom of the pots.  The staging compost always remains moist.

Actually you have identified your biggest problem.  Condensation.  You really do need to have ventilaion, even in mid winter.  Plants will automatically give off moisture.  This is different to transpiration.  The latter takes place when a plant and especially trees, have absorbed excessive quantities of water.  Droplets of water will drip from the foliage.  However in your case.  I might be wrong, yet I am convinced otherwise.  I suggest that the build up of condensation, has cooled down, dripped upon your plants.....onto the foliage.  It has laid there until a slight rise in temperature when it has begun it's cycle again.  That is stage one of your plant dying.  The foliage rots.  However as you mention.  You haven't watered.  Had you even just watered a little, enough to prevent the compost becoming a dried up desert.   I am sure the plants would still be alive.  Perhaps a watering say once a month, will do.  Most of my fuchsias stored in the greenhouse are in large pots/containers, and are at least three feet tall.

Your next question.  Do I use hormone rooting powder on my cuttings.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  A problem, or should I say with using rooting powder.  Bye the bye.  A jelly form of rooting aid is available.  A general mistake is to moisten the lower part of the cuttin and dip it into the powder.  Try and avoid this.  Only the actual base, should have powder on it.


I hope this helps.

All the best.

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