Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Did you know?

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 22:45

I hope that I might be able to draw out fellow members.  Please tell us your experiences.  Propagation and increasing stock.  Lets start with bulbs.  Be honest now.  Did you know that the bulb of the hyacinth actually has it's flower stem etc already in place..  Test this one out.  Take a hyacinth bulb.  Now with asharp knife, cut it in half...downwards.  Tip to root base.  Now then take a look.  You will see the layers of the bulbs makeup.  Then at bottom center. What do you see.  Hey!  that looks like a tiny minature hyacinth flower.  Correct.  As far as Mike knows.  This is actually the only bulb of any plant specie that has this marvellous aspect.  As to thye posible colouration.  This can be with discernment found inn th outer skin colouring of the bulb.


Another aspect regarding the hyacinth.  If you are a bit short of the pennies, and still wish to increase your stock.  Mind you.  It takes a while.  Take a hyacinth bulb, in it's dormant stage.  Turn it upside down. You willobserve a ring from whence the roots will sprout.  Now, carefully using a teaspoon, gently gouge out the center of the base of the bulb.  Now plant the bulb in a pot. Not too deep.   Don't worry if top growth seems slow.  Be patient.  When whatever top growth dies down.  Lift the bulb.  Hopefully you will be greeted by a ring of new bulblets.  Plant these on and in time you wil have many more hyacinths.

Might I now refer to my favourite.  The rose.  So whether you have a single rose, or many.   What do you do with all those cuttings...prunings.  Do you simply bin them, sentence them to the bonfire?  OK the books set out what the experts consider to be the creme' de la'creme'  methods.  Try this out.  Believe me.  It will save you pounds.  No special skills needed.  As you prune each rose.  Grab hold of a bunch of cuttings.  Find an empty pot or spot in the garden.  Take out a hole.  Plunge your bundle into it.  Replace the soil, firm and leave.  Oh yes, don't forget to label the site.  Give it time.  Look out for new growth.  In time lift the bunch.  Select the best rooted and replant seperately.  OK it will take a year or two, but hey ho!  you have aquired several new rose bushes.  Bye the bye.  This metod along with, placing cuttings twigs whatever in a slit trench is known as Irishmans cuttings.  Go on test it out.

How often do you feed your Annuals?

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 22:09

Oh dear.  Please believe me.  Since joing this forum, Mike has made many new friends, and believe me.  I value friends so much.. So Laddies and Gents, please dont take offence. What is it with all this pruning, cutting back and feeding?  Truthfully Mike is amazed that such concern exist.  Fair do's. In many instances todays, seeding, potting and general composts normally have added nutriments etc. To support the growth of the seed, the developement etc of the new plant.  Might I respectfully suggest.  Hold tight to your hard earned pennies.   Enjoy your garden, your plants.  When you see that a plant is struggling then pop out and buy some feed.  I admit this might sound harsh etc.  However I have gardened throw the ages...so to speak.   No offence my dear valued friends, but.  In all honesty.  The industry really does love you so much.  Please stop and think.  Does your garden really need all this feeding etc?


Mike sincereley hopes he hasn't offended anyone.  Just trying to help.

Fig trees

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 21:54

I have to admit.  I have never grown figs.  In fact, apart from seeing the fruits on market stalls etc.  The only sightings of figs in this country has been, as they are grown close to a wall.  I wish you well.  Please keep us updated.

star jasmine

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 21:50

Yes Julie, as Dannyboy says.  Let it flower, then I would suggest midway through the season, prune it well back.  Keep an eye overtime on the thickening of growth.  Do your best to always have an abundance of new growth.  Otherwise if left to it's own resources, it will wander on and on and produce fewer and fewer flowers.

Thinking of growing a Cob Nut tree

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 21:45

fidjetbones.  You took the words right out of my mouth.  I have a family of Toby's residing in a Poplar tree adjoing my garden.  They come when called.  They are so intelligent.  Fantastic.  It's worth the bit of damage and mischief they cause at times.  Our wildlife is so valuable to us.

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 word...love, took over.  I watched Amanda being born.  Truly what a wonderful priviledge.


Sorry folks to ramble on.  That's Mike.

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