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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Pruning help

Posted: 25/02/2014 at 21:15

Henry Hi.

Usually no pruning is neded with Arbutus.   Thin straggly branches can be removed.  In this case.  Take them back to good strong branches.

Arbutus is a very attractive species. Normally they will self balance.  However as you say, the garage removal has affected your one.  Sadly.  Once they become wind damaged like yours.  Then you will have to carry out a bit of re-shaping, otherwise they will topple. Normally they are disease and pest free.  A word of warning.  It is best not to allow children to climb them or to rig up swings.  The bark is smooth and cracks easily.  The cracking can go deeper into the wood and then limbs will snap and drop.


Posted: 25/02/2014 at 20:56

No advertising?

So.  I popped into a high street store.  You know.  One of those shops where you hands over a pound, and gets a penny change!!!

Being a new boy on the block.  How far are we allowed to go, in respect of a bit of name or product dropping.

An honest question.  No offence intended.

Rose and clematis combination

Posted: 25/02/2014 at 20:40

Sometimes there is an overlap.  Much depends on the amount of sun.  Just like people.  Plants can be unpredictable at times.

Dahlia Tuber

Posted: 25/02/2014 at 20:28

Tubers can in fact be left in the ground, or in pots and tubs.  Just cover over the area with hay/straw or the like.

Cost Conscience

Posted: 25/02/2014 at 00:22

I was at Wisley Garden the other day, with the intention of seeing the butterflies in the glasshouse.  The queues were so long, we gave it a miss.  Outside of the glasshouse the air was filled with such an intoxicating fragrance.. The provider of the fragrance. Sarcocca confusa. Sweet Box.  At the gift shop on the way out.  There were many 2Lt. pots of this shrub.  Cost. 12.99 each.  I wanted half a dozen.  Two each for myself and my two daughters.  However we returned home without the plants.  Contacting Wisley I was told that no delivery, outside the local area was available.  No discount etc.  Checking on-line.  Plants Wholesale do the same item. 5.99


Today also.  I picked up four x 100 Ltr. Bales of.  JA Bowers general purpose compost.  This is usually sold at Makro's for 6.99 plus VAT  They are knocking it out at two bales for six quid plus VAT.  I wanted twenty bales, how about delivery?  Sorry we don't deliver.  However there is a local man with van, who could deliver for thirty pounds.   No thank you!

A word in favour of JAB compost.  I have tried several popular brands.  B&Q I found it was like floor sweepings, plus it is dangerous from the fact that I found, at times, painfully.  Steel brush bristles or whatever.  JAB.  I use a lot.  It's time many of my container plants had a change of compost.  It is really a good compact product.  To be on the safe side for plants that prefer a bit of chalk, then it's no problem to add the odd handful to the mix.  For the shall we say larger plants.  I will use a bag of farmyard manure mix it up well, and pot up.  On it's own.  The consistancy of it is suitable for mulching with and bulking up the garden in general.  Spent/exchanged soil fom pots/containers go onto the garden.

lithops and cactus

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 22:48

In the past.  I have grown a collection of cacti and succulents in an unheated greenhouse.  I'd set up the stagging to resemble a mini desert.  During adverse weather conditions.  I would simply lay sheets of newspaper over the plants.  It worked.

Pound Shop Lupins

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 22:43

Yes Tracey.  I usually switch the computer on about nine pm.  This is my 'Low' time of the day.  Don't worry about proper names, latin or otherwise.  Knowing them is an asset if you are communicating with people of other lands.  It is basically taken as being an international language.  Lupins and delphinums are great favourites of slugs and snail, so watch out!

Planting a rose bush

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 22:32

Most of what needs to be said, has been.  To add.  Usually planting instructions for trees and shrubs is. Place the subject in the center of the hole.  With roses.  It has been found beneficial to actually lean the plant against the side of the hole.  Should the graft be below or above soil level.  There exists a difference of opinion with various gardeners.  More often than not it is thought that in severe cold districts the graft should be, below soil level.  From my experience, I find that there's little to ponder over, as within a short time mulches will be applied and the rootstock will be well buried.  The wax coating can be left on.  It will soon break down.  I have only pointed these bits and bobs out, so that you don't get confused later.


Happy gardening

Distinctive Shrub/Plant

Posted: 24/02/2014 at 22:18

Julie.  May I offer my sincere condolences.  When I lost my wife, almost four years ago after a lifetime together.  I settled for redesighning the garden and choosing roses.  In the past, I've had people say.  Roses have only a short period of attraction.As I haven't yet pruned the roses, already they are looking attractive.  Their shapes and sizes.  Then there is this sudden blaze of reds and greens as the leaves break bud. Flowers will in due course appear giving fragrance colour and bringing back those personal memories and thoughts of the lost loved one.  Later in the year, many will present a new flush of blooms. I also had a plaque engraved, and that also constantly reminds me.

I do sincerely hope that whatever your choice.  That you will never forget all those happy memories you shared with your dad.


Posted: 23/02/2014 at 23:22

Actually I stopped sowing seed for a couple of years.  Then this year I plumped for ebay advertisers.


I hope this doesn't contavene any website rfules.  Take a look at Premier Seeds Direct.  There is another supplier in Essex.  The most you will pay is 99p a packet.  give it a try.

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