Mike Allen

Latest posts by Mike Allen

Rabbit's on the allotment and other Q's...

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 23:39

Please don't take this reply the wrong way.  Believe me.  This old whatstit loves you lot so much, the last thing I would wish is to offend anyone.  However. Foxes will eat whatever is going.  Yes, fruits berries etc along with worms.  Have you ever sat and watched a fox jumping up and down and then pouncing and drawing out a worm.  It's so amusing.  Val and I over the years have welcomed foxes to our tiny garden.  Our motto was.  There is room for us all.  In fact the wild life was here long before us.  Getting away from the sentimental thoughts and feelings.  Any food waste off my table, is readilly shared with the present fox family.  They thoroughly enjoy, boiled and raost tatties, cabbage, sprouts and cauli etc. They love the sausage rolls I treat them to, along with dog biscuites etc.  For those less fortunate to have some old F*** to care for them.  My old dad, now long gone and I have grown much on the then plot.  We have experienced foxy digging up parsnips, turnips mangols and the like, as well as helping themselves to fruit off the bushes.  Not being crude, but if you have foxes in your area.  Take a peek at their droppings.  Yes you will find many berries, look further.  You will probably find half of your dustbin and kitchen.  Bye the bye lily growers.  Reynard just loves lily bulbs, to him it's like a chocolate gateure is to us.

Foxes and rabbits.  And yes cats also. It is fact that foxy will so often give way to the cat.  When it come to chasing and catching a bunny lunch.  Foxy is an opportunist.  Why chase after it.  Wait until it become roadkill or pops its clogs.  Foxy and chicken.  More often than not.  A fox in the coup results in the chicken dying of heart attack.  Foxy is so confused etc.  Mad chuck burns itself out.  Foxy thinks, waste not want not and walks away with a bird in mouth.

Must add.  I used to keep ferrets and work them.  Might it surprise you to learn.  Many times I and my mate have gone to net up a rabbit warren, only to find that foxy also lives in the same hole.

Truly.  Life is full of mysteries.

A tale yes.  But true.

damage to grass

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 23:16

Peanuts my friend.  You have entered the realm of groundsmanship.  LOL.


Basically at the mo.  If your lawn is saturated.  KEEP OFF.  You will do more harm than good.  As soon as you get a fairly dry day, and it's not too quelchy.   Sytematically areat the lawn, simply by giving it a good prodding with a fork.  This will allow air to enter and also speed up drainage of surface water.  In time, if you can.  Hollow tyne the complete lawn.  This done by using a fork that has hollow tynes, sort of tubes instead of spikes.  Doing this removes cores of soil.  Good for the compost heap etc.  Then if the problem is serious.  Get a load of very sharp sand.  If you have the 'pennies' go for horticultural grade.  Otherwise builders sharp sand will do, providing no cement dust is present.  Then using a shovel, broadcast the sand over the complete area.  Once done, drag a stiff brrom ar the back of an ash rake across the lawn.  You will be surprised at the difference.  Once the lawn is totally dried out.  Then concentrate on getting rid of moss, lichens etc.  Give me time.  and I will give you a bowling green.

Shady blooms from seed - Help!

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 22:59


Welcome.  Believe me.  We are all novices.

You mention that you have already spent a load on plants.  Might I suggest.  Be patient.  Make sure the offending tree is removed.  Then take stock, of the amount of new light etc.

Please believe me, as you have already witnessed, we all climb aboard when someone cry's 'help'


Please keep in touch.  We won't let you down.

Flower free camelia

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 22:48

This is part of the common, 'japonica' side of the family.  It prfers a shady aspect.  Soil must be acdic or neutral.  It takes at least twenty years to mature.  When it flowers, it flowers in spring.  It hates being too wet.

Might I suggest.  If you feed your plant.  Select a feed that is high in potash and lower in nitrogen.

Rhodo vs Azalea

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 22:30


Also as a visual.  The leaves are entirely different, in shape, texture and whether evergreen or desiduous, upto a point.

Howevr, whatever.  Both are very beautiful flowers.

Spring is getting closer.

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 22:23

Hey!  you had this old fella dreaming for a moment.  Listening to the Thrush singing away.  Lucky you.  Spring and Daffs.  I've got daffs in bloom in the garden, still way-off spring.  Regarding sitting in the garden drinking tea.  My garden is a working garden, no time for sitting about.  Anyway folks make the best of whatevr you have.  Enjoy.

out door grow light advice veggies

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 22:11

Hello Manaquin.

I must admit.  I am a little puzzled her.  I take it that you mean lights as in electric lights.  Lights often refer to glass protection frames etc.  Then the tiers.


Firstly.  You say that the area only basically gets early daylight, as the site faces east.  Let's set aside a common myth.  That south facing sites are needed.  South facing simply implies that that area of the garden get the most number of hours of sunlight.  So basically as long as your garden get some daylight.  Don't panic.  If you were able to sit and watch your plants.  You would in fact see that they follow the light around.  Now the tiers.  If you have the space.  Then leave a gap between the front tier and the veg plot.  Then slope the tiers up and back.  Like the seating arrangement at a stadium.  I can't really see you have much of a problem.  In fact it's a good way of utilising what space you have.


All the best.

What to do with this boundary ?

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 21:57

Sounds as though those shrubs at the back of the planting, have died due to lack of light.  A cobo of snowberry and rhodos.  An odd combination.  RE; the invasion of the snowberry, is much due to the eveidence that the shrub hasn't been cut back.  Strange as it may seem.  If the chance for snowberry to grow up, it will,  However if it has become crowded, then it will wander outwards.

Before you attack the rhodos.  Get in amongst them.  You will probably find that they also have come forward for light.  Althogh staking is not a general thing.  Grab hold of  the leading overhang of a rhodo.  Lift it up and see how far you can pull/push it back.  Notice the difference it makes.  If that improves the appearance then.  Get some strong stakes.  Chestnut is best.  Drive one in each side of the shrub, slightly back wards.  Either attach a cross timber or use a good strong cord.  In the shape of a 'H'  This will help keep the shrub back.  Then if need be cut back what's not wanted.  Try and cut so that the remaining foliage will hide the cuts.  What you do cut off, can be used as propagating material.  Remember cut the snowberry back after flowering.

Spring Bulbs?!!

Posted: 11/02/2014 at 21:38

Although bulbs provide us with some fantastic flowers, sadly they no sooner bloom and they're gone.  To be honest, I find that they can be a bit of a PIA when planted in the ground.  So often the bulbs get cut to bits when planting on top of them.  I pot all bulbs up usually.  Thenplace them here and there in the garden.  I need the space.

Seed Swaps

Posted: 10/02/2014 at 23:00

I am sure that members would be only too pleased to contibute towards the postage.  For some reason or other, I tend to think, at times.  Perhaps members might feel a bit insecure at passing on their personal details.  Might I say.   I have made friends with several from the RHS forum.  We often email each other.  Agreed when it comes to mailing letters and packages, then perhaps.  You might think otherwise.


However let's face it.  Gardening folk are very akin to the doggy walkers.  Love me, love my dog.  There is something very special that develops between us.  When you stop and think.  All that junk mail that comes through your letterbox.  Applications for health/life insurance, and most of your details are already printed on the forms.   This really does get to me, as My details are not on the open electoral register.  So friends,  We enjoy each others company on the forums.  Why not give it a try.

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