London (change)
Today 13°C / 10°C
Tomorrow 13°C / 9°C

Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Turtle99 and Magnolia.

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 23:29

Hi Turtle.  Thanks for the PM.  Mike is always so happy to help out.  Sorry about the misunderstanding.  I really did take it, that your magnolia was containerised.  Lokking at the pics.  I have to say.  Several different ideas, suggestions etc come to mind, plus a bit of personal research.  Yes I can understand your concern.

In brief.  The pics tend to show many different problems.  Don't worry too much about the dark spotting of the leaves.  In this case. The leaves really are the factors.  Magnolias like so many other trees etc.  Have over this past winter, sufferred very much.  Perhaps hard to believe.  Cold winds etc can actually cause burning.  Burning usually is associated with heat.  In this case the opposite.  So some of the damage might be due to burning.  Then there is a definite indication of Iron and Magnesium deficiency..  Also a possible contributor is Lime.  Has lime in some way been added to the soil.  Lime will change the pH balance.  These three components will individually or collectively produce chlorosis, a wishywashy appearance.  As I say.  Some of those winter winds have caused many problems.  In all honesty.  There is, as far as I am aware.  No, off the shelf cure. I suggest a very good mulch of acidic compost.  I can and will gladly research and offer further help. Best wishes and regards. Mike.

Plant biology.

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 23:01

Thanks friends.  However sad to say.  I feel that my question remains unsolved.  Actually I believe in creation, rather than evolution, another subject.  I am well aware of the genetics in breeding.  I used to keep canaries and British finches.  Like most fanciers.  I did my fair share of Muling and hybridizing etc.  That I feel is a diving point between evolution and creation.  Anyway back to the question.  Yes! I have studied under the microscope pollen grains etc.  Actually I am well into microscopy and plant pathology.  Thanks anyway for your valid responce.  I have a family friend who is an entomologist, working for HM Gov.  I'll give him a shout.  Thanks again folks.  Mike.

Japanese knotweed shoots & Mower contamination ?

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 19:14

Bindweed.  This presents it's own means of propagating.  Once it is cut or pulled.  It will double itself.  From your pics.  It looks quite young.  Try digging it out.  As I say, any breaks and it will multiply.  Otherwise you might try  something like  Roundup.  Give the leaves a good praying.  Be careful not to spray anything else.  The weedkiller will be absorbed into the leaves and travel through the stem, to the roots.  Any contact with the soil, the chemical is neutralised.

Primulas looking weak

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:40

Matthew.  For some unknown reason, over the years, primulas, primroses, polyanthus, all of a sudden they seem to have been classed as the same. Despite the fact that these subjects are easily obtained fron nurseries and supermakets,.  I have fong this year and the last part of lst year.  Mine have continued flowering,   Now at last, the flowers are dwindling.  I intend, within the next few days, to lift each plant.  Believe me,many have noe now formed clumps.  In the commercial world.  At the end of each season.  Stock is destroyed.  For the basic gardener.  Waste not...want not.  So here goes.  Have ready a suitable potting bench.  A good quantity of pots and compost.  Now begin lifting.  With the aid of digital photography. Take a snap of each flower.  Label one to whatever.  Now the victim is raised, placed onthe table.  I prefer to use a sharp knife. I seperate each individual plant, allowing some root.  In all honest.  I forgo the sulphur dusting of the cuts.  Each new seperate plant is potted up with a numbered label.  Then the pots are placed amongst the garden plants.  In time.  These will be planted out.  I could blind you with science about propagating this species.  Ask me later.  Mike.

Osteospermum problem

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:22

Somehow, I know how you feel.  Both of my daughters seem to have inherited my love of horticulture.  However, I find as in the case of most fellow gardeners.  The mere thought, mention of cuttin back or down .  Can I deal with this in the shortest way.  Ground cover plants. They will spread out for evevr.  Sad to say.  They will become very woody, and in time. The center of the plant will be just a mass of stalks.  Believe me.  You have got to take the bull by the horns. Cut it back hard every season.  Also in the meantime.  Take cuttings, because, in time.  sooner or later. Your plant will exhaust itself.  Please forget this inhibition about cutting back.  Todays plants are mainly those cultivated, propagated etc by man.  In the natural world.  Things automatically take care of themselves.

Belfast Sink Ideas

Posted: 15/04/2014 at 00:11

Oh deary me!  Hey lass, count yourself lucky getting even a single Belfast.  Believe me.  Alpine plant enthusiast would give their right arm fo just one.  You have three, and wait for it.  Have you noticed.  There are a lot of only left armed alpine plant enthusiasts about.  C'mon.  That must deserve a hug!.  No.  Seriously Tracey.  There is so much you can use the sink for.  Yes a tiny herb garden.  However most, use them as alpine minatures. Some how they seem to have been made for the purpose.  What will add to the attraction is, if you coat the sink in tuffa.  This is a cement and sand plus peat mix.   Just like mixing up cement for the garden path etc. It's so easy.  Equal parts, sand. cement and peat.  Plaster this onto the sink.  The same mix will provide porous rocklike amounts for alpine gardening.

Gardening Book

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:55

Hi O/L.  and that isn't short for....old lady  Truthfully there are so many books on the market.  I have often thought about penning one myself.  However.  The RHS seems to hold such a long list.  Believe me.  My library consists of many books on gardening.  Like some plantaholicks.  Mike loves books.  Often I call myself a silly..'B'  as upon reading the book.  Even I could have done better.  Tracey [?]  My advice is.  Search the market even ebay.  Check out.  Readers Digest Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers.  The contributors are/were friends of mine.  Believe me.  Even now.  I use this volume so much.  Regards.  Mike.

Planting sweet peas and hollyhocks in pots

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:45

I would suggest, what is known as a long Tom.  Much like what you'd buy a rose bush in.  When planting out.  Don't seperate each plant.  Rather plant as one.  Plant close to a trellis or something that the can be climbed up.  The sweet peas will do the rest.

Growing rhubarb (& possibly veg or herbs) under Apple trees

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:39

Kitty, Hi.

I can't see any issues here.Your apple tree is or should be a deeper rooted subject than most veg.  The rhubarb is an above ground producer.  So depth is of little concern.  In fact perhaps the over shadow of the tree might well entice the 'barb to reach for the skies.  Othewise.  Plant way from the tree trunk by about two feet.  To be on the safe side.  I personally would lay down some good topsoil mixed with compost or farmyard manure to about a foot deep.  Dig this in.  Then you will have good depth for most crops.  Most important.  Don't forget to water well.

Plant ID, updates and confirmations.

Posted: 14/04/2014 at 23:31


Much the same as our friends.

1.Dogwood.  2.Deutzia.  3 Sycamore.  4 Sycamore.  5 ?  6  Myosotis.  7 ? vibernum.

Discussions started by Mike Allen

Wildlife gardening -Month by Month.

Replies: 17    Views: 469
Last Post: 13/12/2014 at 20:09

Memories of Yesteryear.

Replies: 22    Views: 997
Last Post: 11/12/2014 at 23:39

Posting an Avitar

Replies: 4    Views: 374
Last Post: 08/12/2014 at 00:21


Replies: 21    Views: 686
Last Post: 08/12/2014 at 22:13


Replies: 24    Views: 1008
Last Post: 02/12/2014 at 02:42

Once again. SORRY.

Replies: 36    Views: 1484
Last Post: 29/11/2014 at 10:11

Enough is enough.

Replies: 33    Views: 1198
Last Post: 27/11/2014 at 18:09

Eucalyptus trees & Paropsisterna selmani

Replies: 0    Views: 171
Last Post: 26/11/2014 at 21:07

Orchid Lady

Replies: 1    Views: 297
Last Post: 26/11/2014 at 06:15

A Special day.

Replies: 3    Views: 387
Last Post: 28/11/2014 at 01:42

Help Please.

Replies: 2    Views: 328
Last Post: 24/11/2014 at 06:31

To cut everything down, or leave.

Replies: 150    Views: 5386
Last Post: 01/12/2014 at 09:47

Something of an apology.

Replies: 17    Views: 804
Last Post: 25/11/2014 at 08:57

RHS Lily Group Bulb Auction.

Replies: 2    Views: 252
Last Post: 15/11/2014 at 22:59

Computer problems

Replies: 1    Views: 212
Last Post: 14/11/2014 at 22:45
1 to 15 of 116 threads