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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Clematis Montana

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 23:49

Ah Little Garden Gnome.  Hello and welcome.  Mike is also registered disabled, so I can well understand some of your feelings.  Don't fret.  All of us on the forum are only too pleased to help.

Firstly, it is a big mistake of the majority of us who grow clematis.  Even I.  The dreaded Surgeon of horticulture, tend to leave the clematis out of the cutting back program.  To be honest.  I was taking stock of my clematis just the other day.  Oh! what a tangled mess.  In regards to youngish plants, the idea is to cut back almost to ground level.  For more mature subjects, especially if you have trained yours to cover a fence or wall.  Then by this time you probably have several main stems, or trunks.  In this case, take your time or seek help.  Working outward from each main stem.  Check for signs of fresh buds etc.  Cut back to three or four buds.  When completed your clematis will look quite naked, but you will be able to forsee next seasons growth.  Believe me.  You won't be dissappointed.


Problem if left.  Clematis as with so many climbers.  New growth will start on the outside.  As with Lonicera.  You end up with a bird cage effect.  Masses of dead undergrowth.  Given time the plant will take over your garden.


Hope this helps.

New to growing veg

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 23:26

Hi Lynne.


I think that the weather in your part of the woods has suddenly change for the worst, according to the news.

It's a wee bit early for sowing veg seed.  Being also that the ground is sodden, the last thing you want is for the seedlings to rot away upon emergence.  Should the bad weather go on too long.  Lightly sow some of your seed in pots, rather than trays.  This will allow for deeper roots to form.  If you have a greenhouse then OK, but keep an eye on their growth rate.  Preferably stand the pots etc out in the open.  If possible a bit of plastic or glass, raised above the pots, so as to prevent the pots becoming flooded.

With regards to tap rooted veg.  Carrots, parnips etc.  Wait until the weather changes.  Even if sown late.  They will soon catch up.

St John's Wort

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 23:15

St Johns Wort.  Hypericum.  Rose of Sharon.


Great healing properties. IMO.  Let your subject attain the height pleasing to you.  Then say every three years take a close look at it and remove most of the thich heavy wood.  Try and keep a good alround shape.

Rhodo vs Azalea

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 23:09

I quote from the Readers Digest Encyclopedia of Gardening.

Rhododendron. A genus of at least 500 species of greenhouse and hardy trees and shrubs. It includes Azaleas, formerly treated as a separate genus. These differ from other rhododendrons in the following way.

Deciduous azaleas are the only deciduous rhododendrons that do not have scaly leaves.. Evergreen azaleas are not true evergreens; the leaves that are formed in the spring on the lower parts of the shoots fall in autumn.

There are so many pages I have no intention of typing them all out. Browse ebay for the book. I refer to it more than I do to upto date editions of RHS Publications.

Hope this helps.

Rhodo vs Azalea

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 19:38

Edd.  Believe me.  I never set myself up so as to judge another.   I totally agree with you.  Seeing plants, shrubs etc in a more natural surrounding than what e might attempt to mimmik in our gardens, is so much more delightful and rewarding.  I have always had a desire to visit countries from where many of our plants originate from.


Keep enjoying the wonders and beauties of nature.

Get if off your chest.

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 01:28

Great thread.


I think that a pesent grouch to many is.  This rain problem.  So.  None of us can change the natural world, but surely there must be room for comments and if need be actions as to how the politicians have acted up.

Thinking back.  That now much imortalised  weather forcast my Michael Fish.  Then the hurricane of the late 1980's.  The powers to be, chastised the weathermen.  Get your 'B' act together.  Give us more warning.  In all fairness the Met office responded.  Never before in history have the predictions been so accurate.

The present situation.  Met office issue warnings of terrible weather ahead.  Who cares!?  The politicians remain seated, with their hands beneath their bums.  Then the winds and the rains come.  Homes suddenly get flooded out.  Lives become at risk.  What does the government do.  FA [Fanny Adams]  All the while HM Gov. is more concerned with the lands abroard.  Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraqu Sudan and everywhere else.  Their concern for their own.  Get stuffed.  Get on with it.  Stop moaning. I support no political party.  Now the PM wanders about dressed like something off a christmas tree.  Spouting words of encouragement.  Don't worry. No expense will be spared.  Whatever it costs at the end of the day.  The government will pay up.  Bricks and mortar plus material things mightwell be able to be compensated for.  Tell me PM.  How do you mend broken hearts.  How do you calculate the cost of human deprssion and all of that.  Face up gto reality.  HM Gov and the various departments were well aware of the devasting signals that faced britain in the next few days or weeks.  What did YOU DO.  As usual.  Sweet bugger all.  This country is famed for it's long chats, talks and all that.   When it comes down to basics. Pulling your finger out. Britain is left to suffer, to remain a laughing stock.  Now had the cry gone out that some part of the world people needed help.  OH YES. britain.  Saviour of the nations.  We will donate millions.  Hey PM.  Where is all this money coming from.  One minute you and yours are tellig us.  We are skint.  The next minute.  You are flashing the dosh. How about a bit of honesty.  Truthfullness and, face upto it.  You and yours have left the tax payers, your supports etc high and dry.  PM and others.  Please.  Cut the proverbial crap.  Try for once in your life.  Try and be honest.

Clearing brambles...

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 01:03

Personally I dislike using chemicals in any shape or form.  However please take into account.  Forums such as this.  Members feel relaxed, free to put forward their questions etc, thankfully knowing that they aren't going to get their heads bitten off.

Clearing brambles...

Posted: 12/02/2014 at 00:55

Yes.  Firstly cut and clear the above ground growth.  Have a go at grubbing out the harshet of roots.  Then blaze away.  Fair do's the odd stray whisp of a brmble might some day show up, but hells bells.  The masses will be no more.


Posted: 12/02/2014 at 00:49

Actually, Mike has never been an orchid lover.  However I do know that the genus orchi makes up most of the floral kingdom. I took a friend along to the RHS London Orchis show a few years back.  I was impressed.  Then last year, I took my daughter and grandchildren to the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.  They stage such a wonderful festival of orchids.  Please try and visit.  Later in the year.  The RHS hold their own orchid display at Wisley.  Please do try and come along.

Clearing brambles...

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 23:56

Zoomer.  Mike didn't wish to offend you.

There is an alternative but it could work out expensive and labour intensive.  Having many years ago worked in the public park sector.  In the woodland areas such as the ancient Oxleas woods in SE London.  Bramables were so often a pest.  In those days Roundup hadn't been invented.  On vast areas the tractor came to the fore.  Vast areas could be quickly grubbed out screned etc.  Smaller areas.  Basic grubbing out took place.  The soil turned over and then the whole area could be burned.  This was done by using flame guns.  Basically oversized blow lamps.  Fortunately with brambles.  It is only the main root, that hard clump of woodlike root and the above ground  branches trailers etc,that cause the problem.  So a matock is perhaps the best tool to use.


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