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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Notes on lily planting

Posted: 11/03/2014 at 21:10

Clay pots are porous, so the base drainage hole should suffice.  Being porous, to to an fro transfer of water is quite natural.  The common plastic pot, is the type I had in mind.  Even on the growing bench, sometimes more than the needed amount of water can build up.

Glad I have a friend on here who shares one of my specialities.  A word to the wise.  Bulbs of the Martagon family, are very prone to rotting.

Notes on lily planting

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 23:07

Sorry folks.  I prepared this post a day or so ago.  Browsing the threads, I can' find itg. Perhaps I forgot to press submit post.


Notes on the cultivation of Lilies.

As the subject has been raised as to the overwintering of lilies. Basically, most lilies will overwinter in the ground, provided that good sensible care was taken when planting in the first place. Might I say. That even as one who has grown many different varieties. Pleas do your research. Yes! I admit. I have set about plant new lily stock, sometimes even replacing lost specimens. Please do your homework. Lily bulbs still remain amongst some of the more expensive bulbs.

If I might point out at this early stage. Due to the lack of a generous garden site. I often resort to sinking pots of bulbs etc into the ground. From a more scientific aspect, might I suggest. Build yourself a stock of, ‘Your special pots’. Take the average pot, drill several holes around the sides of the pot, and at varying levels. You will get better results and might I add, with far less losses. Various bulb planters can be purchased. These usually resemble the kitchen cullendar, used for rinsing veg; etc. The practical aspect here is. Take any size pot. It’s sunk into the garden. Heavy rains etc can flood the contents of the pot. Before the compost has adequately drained, the poor old lily has rotted. On the other hand. The spread of the plant, could well prevent sufficient water to enter the pot. Death due to lack of moisture. Whereas, the multi holed pot, will permit ground water to filter into the pot at lower levels. Not forgetting of course. Roots will seek out moisture. This can be achieved using this method.

Now the lily bulbs. Once again. Read the instructions. Some lilies do best in an alkaline compost. Others will tolerate a little lime/acid. Others, even the slightest sniff of lime, and you have lost that one. Interestingly lilies offer the gardener several opportunities.

For instance. Some bulbs need special care. The bulb is planted low. Usually 6inches deep. However the pot/container isn’t filled with compost. Gradually the growing point will grow a little, the roots will form. So here you will have roots at the base of the bulb, and now roots just above the top of the bulb. So you have to add more compost. This can take place several times. Please be patient. Lily bulbs are made up of scales. Sometimes, especially with new stock. Some of these scales might break off. Don’t panic. Removed scales whether accidentally or intentionally, they are valued propagating material. In this case. Using a polythene bag. A handful of peat and vermiculite. Drop the scales, add a tiny drop of water. Blow into the bag to expand it. Tie the top and place in the airing cupboard. In time tiny roots and bulbs will appear at the scale base. Take out. Pot up and grow on. Back to the bulbs. Some lily bulbs produce new bulbs attached to the parent bulb. Usually in this case. After flowering, the parent bulb will die, leaving behind the new bulbs. Grow these on. A very fascinating aspect of lily growing. It will be noticed that in the leaf axils. Tiny bulbils start to appear. These also can be harvested and grown on. In some cases, the removal of the flower head/bud will permit these bulbils to grow faster and better.

Were I a journalist be. I could probably write a whole book on the subject. However folks. The old eyes are getting a bit painful

I do hope this info helps one and all.

garden centres vs garden nursery's

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 22:19

Hey Jack3.  Checking your profile.  Bromley.  You have that place at Keston, also Polhill.  I will message you with my address.  Feel free to call in sometime.


For my friends who, sadly are far from either nurseries or garden centers.  Such a shame.  Apart from the obvious.  I often pop along to a garden center, because, being amongst plants and trees, i fell so different, happier etc.  Plus as an added bonus.  I always manage to get a conversation going with someone.

Leaf Pruning - is there such a thing?

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 21:54

This sometimes happens to other woody stemmed subjects.  For instance.  Fuchsias often retain old leaves far into the new growing season.  If you can see any visible defects or signs that  disease etc might be to blame.  Then as suggested pick the leaves off.  Otherwise leave them.  In time they will fall.

Rhubarb Crown with No Roots ?

Posted: 10/03/2014 at 21:48

This reminds me of when I was kid.  Dad and I were working on the allotment, aided also by my brother-in-law.   Come brew-up time. Dad says to Charlie.  So! what do you think about gardening?  I guess it's OK, POP, but I'v e dug up loads of old dry rotton wood.  Dad almost jumped out of his skin.  ''You daft 'B****R!  that's not rotton wood.  That's my rhubarb....Poor old Charlie trotted off muttering.  Never did like gardening anyway.  Absolutely true friends.  To this day, over which some sixty years have passed.  Although I don't grow rhubarb anymore.  I can't say that I have ever seen roots as such on this subject.

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.

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