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Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Begonias part 2!

Posted: 02/02/2014 at 22:55

All that has been written above is true.  Whether fiberous or corns.  Begonias are easy to grow, and propagate.  Cuttings of either will root very easily.  The fiberous varieties will provide you loads of seed.  Keep a few on the greenhouse staging, let them flower and set seed, let the seed drop.  You will end up with loads of seedlings.  Cuttings for those without a greenhouse, will root very well, using the same method as with Saintpaulias. Ie; the cuttings suspended in water.  The large leaf varieties, mainly grown for their colourful leaves, can be propagated by detatching a leaf.  Cutting through the ribs on the underside of the leaves.  Usually out of a single large leaf, you will probably gain a couple of dozen new plantlets.  The leaf is layed flat on the moist compost.  A few pebbles or tiny bent pins can be used to hold the veins close to the soil.  You will soon see the tiny plants developing.  Propagating using the corms/tubers.   If planting the corm as a whole.  Then the concave is planted face up, with minimum covering.  To propagate from a corm.  First place however many corms upon some moist peaty mixture, in a tray.  There is no need to cover the corms.  You will eventually see tiny new shoots sprouting around the edge of the concave.  When these reach about a quarter of an inch high.  Take a sharp knife and cut the corm into sections.  Immediately dust the cut surfaces with Flowers of Sulphur.  As soon as the wounds appear dry, pot the segments up.  As now there is no concave.  Just leave the new shoot appearing above the compost.  Go easy with the watering, try and water around the inner edge of the pot, keeping the corm on the dry side.  Soon you will have several new corms.  Taking cuttings and cheaply and rapidly increasing ones stock in this way is known as. 'Vegetive' propagation.


I hope this helps.

DIY heated propagator

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:53



Great theme.

A man after my own heart.  Well done.

Two things that I have no idea about!

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 22:49

Oh Dear!

This touches very much on an ongoing, periodic question.  Horse manure.  Should it be used ASAP or composted?  It will be freely observed that grazing areas, the piles of this valuable comodity are frequently removed.  This I understand is basically due to animal hygene.


Howevr think about it.  That beautiful creature, the horse, spends his/her life chomping away at the grass etc.  The horse, like any other grazing animal, is very much like a walking living factory.   With all it's eating etc, finally a very valuable product is deposited from the rear end.  Please.  Not decrying those who stand by, composting it.  From a scientic aspect.  The constituents of the humble droppings are so valuable.  Practically all the minerals, elements that are so beneficial to the sustainability of the soil.  It is all there in, excuse the quote.  One dollop.  Why let so much of it's values drain away into th ground beneath the compost heap.  Spread it across the plot.  If you have plants etc growing, then by all means avoid the dung from actually touching the plant stems.  The acids and various nutreiments will filter into the soil.  On bare land.  Spread it, let the winter frosts and snows break it down.  Please don't waste it.  Let it do it's job as nature intended it.

ORCHIDS/London Plants show

Posted: 31/01/2014 at 21:35

Just a quickie.  Venue.  Royal Botanic Gdns.  Kew.  February 8th onwards.  Kew will be presenting their world famous Orchid displays.  Believe me.  It is something not to be missed.


Also for February.  At the RHS halls in Victoria.  London.  21-22 Feb.  Plant show.

Roses - black spot problem

Posted: 31/01/2014 at 21:22


Cutting back, pruning etc, always seems to terrify people.  Depending upon the type of rose you are dealing with.  To prune back HT's for instance to within about six inches, is a good idea.  Especially for fairly young plants.  It will allow new growth to start low down.  Over time you can cut back allowing greater length.  Always keep in mind your idea of a well balanced plant.

Spraying.  I think most of us will agree.  To spray during the present 'Monsson' season is just throwing money down the drain.  Let the leaves dry out for a couple of days, then spray.

What is hapenning to my lawn in the winter

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 23:56

I am certain that the author respects and accepts your valid responses.  Please May I ask you to take a peek at my bio.

Then consider this.  However much you tend,care for your lawn.  As the once BBC comedian used to say.  The answer lies in the soil.  Might I correct.  In my book.  The answer very much lies in the grass.


Might I respectfully suggest.  That you choose a new blend of grass seed.  Obviously what you have is somewhat tempremental to your location.  Might I suggest.   Visit your local nursery and ask fo a grass mixture containing.  Chewings fescue.  Canadian brown top and rye.  I think you will end up with a hard wearing and pleasant looking lawn.

Roses - black spot problem

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 23:44

Remove the offending leaf stalk.  Watch for signs of reoffending.  If need be, more into the growing season.  Then Yes.  A light spray might be well worth it.  Take into account.  Perhaps your roses have not yet been cut back.  Give it some thought.  The offending shoots etc might well be in the area of cutting off in any case.

Worst Winter ....... .?

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 22:37

Just a thought.  I wonder if the German Dam builders would care to come to blighty.  They did a fine job on the great wartime dams.  Why can't the brits do similar and put paid to the summer hose-pipe bans.??????????

Are French Marigolds still in 'Vogue'?

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 22:32


Consider yourself lucky.   You and yours have a new friend.  Mike's the name.   Fair do's perhaps the scent is not to everyones preference.  Actually folks.  I believe that the humble frenchie is making a come back.  Just consider.  For donkey years.  The wallflower was the number one king of the garden.  Then the marigolds stepped into place.  Followed by the Impatiens.  Busy Lizzie.  A viral fungas wiped most varieties out.  Plants such as Ageratum took a back seat for a time, also Cinneraria maritima.  Now they are being sold by stores and garden centers.  Even Bellis perennis.  That is doing well.  Peoples tastes are changing so rapidly.  Much like the clothing fashion world.

Gardening is a wonderland of adventure.  Enjoy it.

Broad Beans

Posted: 30/01/2014 at 22:18

Burgela.  A very warm welcome to the forum.

Some very strange things are happening in the gardens etc.  Gardening offers so many oppotunities for us to venture away at times from the classroom and text books. For those whose beans /plants are racing away.  Select a couple and 'Stop' them.  More drastically, don't be afraid to reduce the height.  Also if possible, expose the plant to more daylight.

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Pippa. I love your blogs and your general writings. Might I pick your brains etc. I am an oldie. 75 in fact I bagan gardening as the bomb... 
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