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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

looking for prunus!

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 22:45

Sorry friend.  Agricultural inport etc.  Might pose a problem.

Mystery of pH/useful list

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 22:42

I notice that from time to time someone asks about buying a pH soil testing kit..  Friends.  Honestly.  Don't waste your money.  Just returning to the classroom.  A tiny sample of soil is subjected to a litmus test.  Like or no like.  You get a result.  Fair do's if you are testing the soil from a single pot plant.  Take into account how you have treated this plant and of course its soil.  In fact.  You have been working with a very small amount of compost/soil.  Remember.  You have been giving it loads of TLC.  Now go out into the garden.  Starting with the veg patch. Test comes up OK.  Then the flower garden.  Same results.  Honestly.  I have no idea what all this has cost you.  Mike has to come clean.  Apart from many moons ago.  I never use soil testing as such.   I do pocess a pH meter.  One simply prods the probe into the soil, and the needle on the scale gives the answer.  My honest advice is.  OK.  Your favourite plant is showing signs of distress.  Research the subject, signs and symptoms.  Then treat accordingly.  As I recall having said before.  If you go by all the books say.  BH!  I hope you have a good bank account.

How you choose fertilizers ?

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 22:24

Firstly.  You need to identify what your soil is lacking.  Then when out to buy.  Check the contents, the values.  These are always listed as. N. P. K.  Nitrogen. Phosphate. Potasium.  If you haven't done a pH test.  Mind you.  In all honesty.  Here in England, we have a pretty fertile land.  If I were you.  Just plump for a basic general pick me up.

narrow hedging

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 22:06

Really a sad state of affairs, when you have difficult neighbours.  Of course you could suggest to your neighbour, that they have the legal right, to cut back any trespassing branch etc.  However they must returnthe cu-off to you.

A problem most encountered here is.  We always tend to plant far too close to the dividing line.  If possible.  Prior to planting.  Read up onthe possible height and spread of your subject.  Then plant accordingly.  Perhaps as a suggestion.  A laural hedge.  If left for a while.  Laurels will grow straight up.  Usually it is only after a long time or cutting back, that they will branch out.  Nauty thought by Mike.  From your side of the hedge.  You can do what you like.  At the same time, if left untouched.  You will look out upon a bright grren hedge.  Next door.  Should they take to cutting back.  Their view will be,  Well not that very attractive.  Perhaps I should change my name.  Mike, the cunning old fox!!!!

Sedum Spectable

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 21:53

Strange isn't it.  All these little quips, yet.  Many do work.  Should you wish to allow your plants to continue growing and spreading, then some silver birch twigs can help.  I suggest the latter, as they are so fine and flexible. Use them as supports.  On the other hand.  Gardeners often apply the saying. 'Waste not, want not'  Having cut back.  Why not stick the cuttings into  few pots.  This way you will always have spares.


Posted: 28/03/2014 at 21:46

Hi Daniel.

Thankfully I have no lawn.  Can you give me some idea asto the birth of your lawn.  It appears that it is surronded by, what looks like woodchip?.  Please don't tell me you at sometime laid turf on top of woodchip.

Nevertheless.  Might I talk you through, what I would do.  Apart from tidying up the edges.  Good clean cut edges really do add to appearance.  Then stop feeding it.  Using a wire lawn rake.  That's the one that fans out from the stock.  Give the whole area a good even scarifying.  This isn't just raking.  It resenbles a scrubbing action over small areas at a time.  This will get rid of dead stuff.  Once you have cleared the waste.  Give the whole area a good spiking.  This is simply a method of forcing a fork straight down into the soil.  The purpose is to areat the soil.  This give access to air getting to the compacted soil and grass roots.  Next.  Depending upon your pocket or purse.  Some sharp sand, spraed over the area.  Then using if you have one.  An Ash rake.  This is all wood construction, usually used whe raking uo hay etc.  Using it upside down.  Spike pointing upwards.  Gradually rake over the area useing a back and forth movement.  This will have the effect of brushing the sand into the holes made by the fork.  Then the chioce is yours.  If you feel that it still looks orful, then a light top dressing of top soil, steralised if possible.  Spread this via a shovel like the sand.  A gentle raking using the Ash rake. ( an ordinary steel rake can be used, but the Ash rake is better).  Once this is done.  Using a good mixture of grass seed, scatter the seed as even as possible all over.  Once again a gentle raking will help.  Then the fight is on.   The birds will feel that they have been invited to dinner.  How you protect the seed and lawn is now your proble.  I do hope this info helps.  Keep us updated.

Mankind and trees

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 21:21

I once worked in the Ancient woodlands of south London.  Generally called, Oxleas woods.  Actually it is an area of open space and woodland, situated at Shooters Hill.  Woolwich.  It starts with King Georges Field.  Then Eltham Common which is actually part of Castlewwod, where Sevendrooge castle stands. This joins Jackwood, then Oxleaswood.  It used to be run by the London County Council, later The GLC.   When the GLC was done away with.  It, like other parks etc came under the control of the local boroughs.  In some ways, this was good.  In others, not so good.  Perhaps I might pen more later on this subject.

Mankind and trees

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 21:12

Busy Bee 2.


Oh! that terrible sound of a chain saw.  I hear it a lot around here.  Living close to Eltham Palace.   There are several ancient trees, that sadly have been victims of the recent gales etc.  It is so sad to see them go.  Then there are the morons, who move into a new home.  One of their first jobs is.  Get rid of the trees.  When Val and I moved here.  I started a small pinetum at the top of the garden.  Over time, I dug the trees out and took them to my daughter's place in the New Forest.  I kept one.  Now that monster must be around sixty feet tall.  I started it off fifty years ago from a tiny cutting.  Not wishing my life away, but.  I don't want to be around should the time come for it to be felled.  It would certainly break my heart.  As others have said.  A tree plays host to so many other life forms.  For instance.  I have a resident family of Magpies living in the penhoues apartment.  Such comedian, noisy at times, especially the youngsters.  They have the habit of picking up and dropping braed into the bird bath, so as to soften it up.  Then most of the tit family, Blue, Coal, Great and Longtailed.  They feed from it and nest therein.  Blackbirds and pidgeons are regular visitors.  Wrens and Robins and the odd Chiff Chaff, along with Blackcaps, Firecrest and Goldcrest.  So thankfully.  I have an ongoing natural stage set before me.

Mystery of pH/useful list

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 01:02

So! Great fanfare etc.   Jim boy.  You and I are on track.  My great loyal friends. Truly I have gathered the bits and bobs of this thread.  I hope it has been of some help.  However.  All this pH testing etc.  Believe me. It is rfeally a thing of the past.  As one of our members posted.   Most plants will grow merrily in the good old british soil.  My dear friends.   Please don't go overbord at this pH whats'it.  Please continue sowing, planting etc.  Thankfully.  We here onthis tiny island.  We areblessed with a basically well balanced soil pH.  Please continue to sow, plant and reap.  Take a look at your plants.  Now you can/might decide to look further.  Perhaps a little moreor less feed etc.  Take care.  Enjoy.

how do they grow begonias tubers as a plug plant

Posted: 28/03/2014 at 00:49

Basically, from seed.  The science and practice of plants is so varid and complicated.  Seed sowing and production remains the most profitable.  For nurseries to produce from cuttings is very expensive.  Cell propagation involves laboratory conditions, once again expensive.  Most of these methods are reserved for the more difficult species.  To use such methods fro the common  shall we say begonia.  You might well be looking at a few pounds per corm!!!.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Folk-lore. Any truth in it?

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Tree problems.

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Fantastic site.

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Modern Technology

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Future Time Team

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Last Post: 16/09/2014 at 22:17

More about using Coir

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Last Post: 11/09/2014 at 09:38

Talk about daylight robbery!

Plant prices. 
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Last Post: 13/09/2014 at 20:02

Have I overdone it?

Replies: 65    Views: 2401
Last Post: 05/09/2014 at 11:37

Growing with Coir

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Last Post: 03/09/2014 at 10:55

List of members.

Replies: 14    Views: 612
Last Post: 01/09/2014 at 16:35

Concern over conifers.

Replies: 0    Views: 138
Last Post: 31/08/2014 at 22:08

Good News for Mike

Replies: 31    Views: 1298
Last Post: 03/09/2014 at 18:22

Makes you Wonder!

Replies: 13    Views: 595
Last Post: 28/08/2014 at 10:03

A Wee Bit Cooler

Replies: 6    Views: 480
Last Post: 11/08/2014 at 22:10

Our Silent Fliers.

Replies: 28    Views: 965
Last Post: 25/08/2014 at 19:18
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