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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Rose Pruning

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 21:37

Hey! I'm lost for words..  Thank God, for that, I hear someone say

It always seems that pruning roses tends to cause heads to scratched, and perhaps the odd nightmare.   Possibly the main cause for concern is, the many varieties of growth.  Most favoured time to prune is just as the winter season is ending and the re-awakening of plants begins with the start of spring.  Basically the idea of pruning is to, restore a good shape to your subject.  Cut away damaged and flimsy growth.  Might I suggest that one checks the original description of the plant.  Is it bushy, upright, vigorus, climber, rambler etc.  HT's and florabunda can be cut almost to ground level.  Climbers etc, vizualise where and how you want new growth to go.  Actually for most of the growing season.  We are continually pruning.  Each time you cut a bunch of roses.  Youare in fact pruning.  So.  Do't worry too much.  As members have posted.  In most cases the rose will come through even the harshest of treatments.

How often do you feed your Annuals?

Posted: 07/02/2014 at 23:14

Quite unbelievable.

The humble annual.  Please bear with me, before Mike goes forth on one of his mystery tours.  The humble annual. Take a look across the local fileds etc.  Thousands of annuals are growing, flowering setting seed..  Sorry folks. Mike has no intention of upsetting the applecart.  Can we perhaps come to an agreement.  The horticultural classified annual.  Lets be honest. Take a local weed. Cultivate it.  Save it's seed etc.  That's it.  The class of the annual.  It germinates, It grows, produces flowers, then seeds and dies.  All in one single season.  The Biennial.  This germinates, grows, produces seed after a season of growing.  Then once having seeded.  I dies. Then the perennial.  Seed is sown or naturally sown.  The plant gows, it might flower, however the main thing is.  Out of sight and mind, creation has diverted everything to developing a grand root system.  It is here that future generations of the plant depend upon.



Posted: 07/02/2014 at 22:58



Actually Mike has a very tiny garden.  For many years I and my late wife held close the love of the rose.  Aiding this interest.  Back in the early 1960's  I came in contact with S.M. Gault.  A well known and respected Rosarian.  He was at the time Supt. of Regents Park. London.  In fact.  It was he wo nominated me to become a Fellow of the RHS.  No.  Mike doesn't live in a mansion, with loads of grounds.  Mind you.  My dear wife often would say to me.  Mick, even if you owned Greenwich Park, you'd still run out of space.  When we began life together, in 1959  We both loved roses, especially Ena Harkness.  Once married and being offered a council flat, with garden. We jumped at it.   Our first  plantings were roses.  Actually I bought a selection of HT's and standards from J. Parkers.  Then in June 2010 Sadly My Valentine Val, failed to wake up from major heart surgery.  I then decided to redesign 'Our tiny garden' into a memorial garden.  I reshaped the borders, covered over the crazypaving with gravel.  Bolstered up the borders with topsoil and manure.Then spent what must be around three to four hundred pounds on roses.  Sad to say.  Even though most of my order was placed with a well known rose nursery.  Sad to say.  The plants supplied were to my standard.  Way way down the list.  Despite many emails.  Mike was left holding the proverbial baby.  Thankfully.  For those roses that do delight me and others with their blooms.  There is so much to be happy and contented about.  I am a member of the Royal National Rose Socy.

fixing fleece / closches

Posted: 07/02/2014 at 22:34

Hi Sarah.


Truly I envy you.  To be able to pass on info to eager beavers.  Sarah, in the days that I used cloches, fleece hadn't been invented.  Basically the wire frame, if that's what one would call it.  It consisted of a length of wire.  Bent halfay into a wide spanned 'V'  Upturned with the tips just bent back enough to support a pane of glass.  Now there are curved versions, and instead of glass, polythene.  A very simple method is to.  Bend into a gentle curve a suitable length of wire.  Insert the ends into the soil at both ends of your planting row. If it's a long row, then best to use a couple of intermediated wires.  Then get your polythene.  Measure out enough so asto be able to drape it over the wire frame, allowing a bit extra to be weighted down.  Then the humble desk stapler.  Fold over the ends and staple.  For fleece protection.  Drape the fleece over the subject, then simply staple the overlap.

Hope this helps.

Mike. xx


I like the pleasantries

Gardener come.....

Posted: 07/02/2014 at 22:21

Actually this has now't to do with gardening.  However I notice that many of my new-found friends are or have been connected with the medical prof;  Believe it or not.  One of my ambitions as a youngster, was to be a doctor, specialising in Obs & gyne.  Sadly my educational standard was not good enough.  Plus my parerents were poor working class. My other ambition was to be a marine biologist.  Guess what.  Even taking a bath.  As soon as the water rose above my navel.  Mike was out like a light.   Back to the medical interest.  I have always been so interested in the marvells of creation and pro-creation.   I spent many years studying privately.  During my brief time as a policeman.  I dealt with so many trials and tribulations of everyday life.  The one case I longed for, never came my way.  An emergency childbirth.  Our first daughter was born in hospital.  The second, she was a home birth.  The visiting midwives were so taken with my knowledge etc.  Actually they became a bit concerned.  They really did think that I would leave it too late before calling them.  Thankfully that old four letter, took over.  I watched Amanda being born.  Truly what a wonderful priviledge.


Sorry folks to ramble on.  That's Mike.

Begonia Corms

Posted: 07/02/2014 at 22:02

I contributed to a members post regarding Begonias, just a few days ago.  Check under plants.


Give me a shout if needed.


Posted: 07/02/2014 at 22:00

Paul's Scarlet is an old rose.  Very good.  Light scent.  However usually it will only attain a height as a climber, to around 2.8 metres.  Once established, it will produce an excellent crop of blooms.  Despite often being refered to as a repeat flowerer.  Additional production of blooms are usually much of a hit an miss.

A good strong grower and very reliable Red is.  Alec's Red Clg.  It retains it's HT size/shaped blooms.  Highly scented, long lasting.  Well worth growing.

A tip regarding, what many term as, 'Repeat flowering'  In reality what actually takes place is.  Once flowering begins, usually the blooms will last for quite some time under favourable conditions.  The actual flowering period tends to be long drawn out.  This is often mistaken as being repeat flowering.  Many roses will very late in the year, produce further blooms.  Even now.  I have some blooms holding their own, even in the present wet conditions.

Buying from 'cheapy outlets'  Certainly nothing wrong with it.  In fact many of these outlets can prove to be a boon.  Commercially rose growers are obviously looking at making a fast buck.  It takes several years to produce a new rose.  Finally it might not take off as well as expected.  Production often comes to an early end.  The specialist growers will keep a stock for many years, especially if the breeding line is a good sound investment.  Hence many of the older roses seem to vanish, however often the cheapy outlets will  step in and bridge the gap.

So it can be worthwhile to keep ones eyes open.


Hope this helps.

Where is the best place to look for information on ferns?

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 23:42

Todays modern IT.  The www net has so much to offer.  So often we tend to quote/mention the RHS.  The RHS is not the only source of information.


Joke.   Watch this space.  Mike is bannished from being a fellow of the RHS.....No way.  If you value my subs!!!.

Ornamental Grasses

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 23:37

Truthfully.  I would be inclined to suggest.  Take a close-up look at your plants, especially the crown...the center.  Judge for yourself.  Now then.  Yes it seems to be a well established plant.  However use your noddle.  Is the ceneter becoming far too closely bound.  The new growth.  Where is it coming from.  Try and look into the future.  Oh my lovely grass.  All of a sudden you seem to have become just a tight center clump.  I would be inclined to split up established clumps, say every three years.  That way you will aid the encouragement of new growth to the original , and at the same time you will be producing the next generation.  Think positive.  You might be able to sell a few new productions.

Have you sown any seeds yet this year?

Posted: 06/02/2014 at 23:26

Yes.  I was in the local B&Q and spotted a multi packet of sweet peas.  I bought a packet.  Just a week ago I sowed them in deep pots.  Already the shoots are showing.


Might I add a word here.  Today thanks to modern technology etc.  Seed packets etc usually have a sowing, planting, height, spread etc printed.  Take time to consider.  Depending upon your own personal circumstances.  Most seeds are considered best sown in March.  Try and visualize it.  You have been out shopping. I like that, and that, oh yes, that will look good in my garden.  So you make your purchases.  In due couse you sow the seeds.  Now each of these tiny seeds has been blessed with it's own individual code of practice/conduct etc.  In a ver short time you find that your pots, pans, trays, are green with thousands of tiny new plant lives.  In fact what I am trying to say is.  Use the info as a guide.  Then consider how much time you have to spare.  Pricking out is a long job.  Think of all those other seedlings that are growing leggy, whilst you are still on seed tray number one.  Take time.  Space yourself.

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