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Mrs. Little Bush


Latest posts by Mrs. Little Bush

9 returned

Attacking pampas

Posted: 23/02/2014 at 11:20

That's what 'they' used to suggest. Don't do it. I once tried. I also had the hose pipe at the ready. Good job, as the heat began to melt an acrylic pane in the nearby greenhouse.

This morning the first pair of frogs have arrived. It is 12 months exactly since they first arrived last year! How do they do it? The weather conditions are not anything like a year ago. The only similarity is the date, or maybe the light intensity. I think it is still too cold out there for me and the majority of the frog population. The surface of the water is not on the 'full boil stage' yet and the choir of croaking is not in full voice. Gardening is interesting, isn't it?

Attacking pampas

Posted: 22/02/2014 at 14:25

I fell in love with the much hated Pampas Grass after a late autumn trip to Cornwall. I bought one for my Pennine garden. It is an excellent screen for a less than beautiful sight in the garden but treat it very carefully. Don't be too anxious to raze it to the ground. It is only February. Mine is still waving in the gales. We could have snow in April! The male frogs like to overwinter in the thicket.If you have cut the flower stalks off you could find Ladybirds asleep inside the remaining hollow stems. So, wait until the frogs are busy pairing up in the pond and the Ladybirds are hunting the aphids. Then, don complete gardening armour and use the powered hedge trimmers. I was once very ignorant and pruned it with secateurs and bare hands and arms. It took weeks and all the medication that the doctors could think of to repair the destruction that it had done to my skin! One can always trim the straggly leaves to keep it looking tidy. If the plant becomes too big it can, after cutting down, be dug out in bits. The rotten dead centre will easily pull out and the new outer portions transplanted or sent to another home. It will still grow, looking youthful once again. And cut it down each year.

Talkback: Frogs and toads in the garden

Posted: 11/03/2013 at 11:48
Last year the frogs arrived on the 24th February. This year there were masses of frog spawn, yesterday, 10th March. Nature is so cruel. Today it is all set in ice! Maybe the intensity of light also controls behaviour. I hope I am not to blame. On the 7th I had a huge Eucalyptus severely pruned because it was casting too much shade over the pond and greenhouses. The increase in light was so noticeable. The frogs are so interesting but their numbers have dwindled over the years. At one time I could count thirty or more relaxing in the evening sun on the stones surrounding the pond. One year a bright orange one didn't attract a mate but spent a lot of time stretched over the heaps of spawn as if it was looking after it. I will have to wait and see what happens this year. It looks as if they will have to get amorous again!

Horsradish Thongs......to be or not to be

Posted: 15/02/2013 at 11:54

You really have to be in love with Horseradish to let it into your garden. It will never leave you! Mine was planted 30 odd years ago (after bringing a root from our allotments in Oxford - where it had been thriving for 10 years). I have dug the roots out with the spade going as deep as possible, whenever my husband wanted it. You can never get every bit out and it will eventually regrow from the bits of root left in. Mine is planted in a corner where two side are walls but I am always trying to dig out stays. I have tried weed killer on the leaves when it encroaches too far but it doesn't work too well. But if you persevere it does weaken the growth. You do have to dig out as much as possible so you get new tender roots and not very old thick ones. I once had such a lot that I went to see if the Polish delicatessen were interested. They said they only sell it for Easter!. The worst bit is peeling (with a good potato peeler) and the grating. It broke my food mixer! If you can get as far as mixing in the cream etc. you will have more tears than you have ever shed! Perhaps that is why it is associated with Easter. Good luck. 

P.S. I don't know when you should really harvest it.

tree heights

Posted: 05/01/2013 at 11:16

My Gleditsia is 30 years old and has also remained small until this year, when it has made more growth than usual. I put it down to the extra rain. However, I can still prune mine into shape. 

My eucalyptus is a major problem. It is so huge. I really don't know what to do.

Try Amelanchier. It is the best small tree (in my opinion). Beautiful leaves, which change colour throughout the year, covered in flowers in spring and red berries in June (it is called June Berry). It is a twiggy tree which grows very slowly but you can buy one of a reasonable size to start with.The Blackbirds, in particular, love it. This year they visited the tree in June in great expectation and showed visable signs of disappointment and anger because this year, due to the weather, for the first time in 30 years, the berries did not ripen until July! 

Cotoneaster Waterii is another good one - still covered in red berries and is evergreen.

Talkback: Slug-proof plants

Posted: 04/01/2013 at 11:00

I am not too sure that we can win the battle.  This year, because the ground has been so waterlogged, I have come face to face with them crawling across my windows, eating the Wisteria over the garage door, on the very top of my Runner Bean poles and even at the top of a Cucumber plant in my greenhouse. They are very resourseful! We humans still enforce hosepipe bans and tolerate being flooded out. Do we ever build more reservoirs upstream to collect and supply our water as required? NO.

I don't remember snails when I was little, here in the Pennines. I would have remembered, because I have never, ever picked a worm up again since my mother rescued half a worm from my mouth when I was at that age! If there had been snails I would have been terrified of them, too. But - when we lived in the South in the 70s Our little son collected snails from our garden. It was the first time that I had seen them. We didn't have them on the allotment - just rabbits!

When we returned to the north in the 80s I noticed snails here up to about 300feet, but none in our garden at 600feet. Now they have certainly climbed. Is this actually climate change? Another thing - it is now fashionable to grow in raised beds and not bother digging. If you dig you will uncover masses of snail eggs - little shiny pearls that look as if they should be decorating a bunch of cup cakes! So we do not remove them at source. I once attended the most wonderful lecture by Chris Beardshaw and he informed us that adult snails look after their eggs by returning to them and covering them with secretions to keep them soft. If we kill mummy and daddy, babies' shells harden and the snails start to eat and grow, and the population explodes! Have you also noticed that they hang out in gangs under plants that they don't eat e.g. Bergania, Cyclamen, Francoa - but so does my fat, resident frog!

Talkback: Slug-proof plants

Posted: 01/01/2013 at 17:07

They don't seem to like antirrhinums either! Aren't nematodes pretty terrible for the slugs? I use limestone chipping paths round my vegetable patch and they don't like crossing the chippings. 

 

Beetroot

Posted: 01/01/2013 at 15:24

Try Boltardy. Sow when the soil has warmed up - April, maybe.

Put the seeds in a cup or glass and add some water to cover plus a bit extra because they will absorb the water and swell up. Do this the day before you wish to plant them and have the ground dug, raked and ready. Mark a line with string where you want to sow the seed and draw out a drill with the corner of the rake or a stick, about 1" deep.

Next day drain the water from the seeds. Boil a kettle ful of water! Pour the boiling water all the way along the seed drill. Now, start to drop the seeds on to the bottom of the drill, 1 at a time, about 6" apart. Don't worry, they won't be cooked - the boiling water will have cooled by now, but will have warmed up the soil. Then carefully cover the seeds with soil by gently raking it back into the seed drill and gently use the flat top of the rake to tap down the soil along the drill to firm it.

Wait for signs of germination - the leaves are very small and dark red. Hopefully you won't have to thin them out but can leave them to grow and start pulling every other one at baby beet size. Do not cut the leaves off - they will bleed and do not peel them - they will bleed. Just wash the soil off, put in a big pan of water and boil gently until the peel will pull off easily. 

You can start growing a bit earlier by sowing in the same way in 3" pots  of compost in the greenhouse - 2 seeds per pot, thin to 1 after germination and then plant where you want them outside when they have grown into larger plants.

Good luck!

Cucumber how to grow

Posted: 01/01/2013 at 14:58

Buy Burpless Tender Green F1 seeds.

Fill 3" plant pots with multipurpose compost, water first and drain. Push one seed in each pot, upright, with long edge horizontal and only just covered with compost. Scatter a 1/4" layer of vermiculite on top and place in aheated propagator/ airing cupboard / or a warm place indoors. After germination, which will only take a few days, bring into the light e.g. greenhouse bench and leave to grow. When they are larger - when roots are showing through base of pots - pot on into 5" pots, using more multipurpose compost, without disturbing the roots, and water.

When the plants are much larger and perhaps showing signs of flowers, pot on, into 12" pots, again with multipurpose compost,water and place in their final growing positions in the greenhouse. Provide support and care during growth according to the instructions on the seed packet.

Keep a bin full of water in the greenhouse, add the required amount of fertiliser e,g,tomato or miracle grow and use this for watering as it will be very handy and the same temperature as the plants. Only water when the compost feels dry to the touch, or if the weight of the pot feels lighter than usual, or if the leaves look limp. Do not over water. Cucumbers like water (they are mostly water) but too much can kill more easily than too little. Too little can be remedied but too much cannot.

Do not sow until it is warmer - April/May. It is easy to get seeds to germinate in warmth but after germination you need to be able to provide light and a warm situation outside the propagator. Good luck!

9 returned

Discussions started by Mrs. Little Bush

Talkback: Frogs and toads in the garden

Last year the frogs arrived on the 24th February. This year there were masses of frog spawn, yesterday, 10th March. Nature is so cruel. Toda... 
Replies: 17    Views: 988
Last Post: 10/06/2013 at 12:54
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