Latest posts by Newcastle

Watsonias from seed

Posted: 25/07/2014 at 11:19

Yes thanks for the response. I still have only five seedlings sitting under a cloche on the bathroom window sill and they are about 6" long - that's about all I can say. The hot weather does not seem to suit them despite keeping them moist and there has been some die-back which I trim off and live in hope.

I first saw these in Carol Klein's page in the Garden News when she said she had ordered some of these in February this year, presumably as established plants. I tried to find out in e-mails to GN what the outcome was but never got a reply. I believe that they are pretty robust once established and they originate from South Africa, where presumably they will have to be fairly tough to survive. Give it another year and mine should be quite well established although when there will be any flowers is an open question. The plants Carol Klein showed on her page were not from her garden but an image of what she planned to order this year and the flowers in the picture were orange.

Thanks again for replying.


Slugs.. sod the organic approach I just want them dead!

Posted: 01/06/2014 at 00:19

 and a lot of the snails and slugs seem to congreMr T suggested leaving pieces of wood and slate in handy places as day-time hidy holes for slugs and turning these over during the day to provide a feast for the birds. Ground beetles find theses a good refuge too and they will prey on the slugs.

The nematode option might work at this time of year now that it's getting warmer and the nematodes can thrive. Some folk advise watering these in around the hedge area and a lot of the beasties seem to congregate around there in my garden. Trouble is the nematodes don't work against snails and they don't always seem interested in the pellets I offer them - tem more modern ones are supposed to be wild-life friendly. Hope this is of some help. 


Watsonias from seed

Posted: 01/06/2014 at 00:06

Has anyone any experience of raising Watsonia from seed please? After over two months I managed to get some to germinate but am unsure how to grow them on. The largest are now at the 6" single  leaf stage and I now have five of these (waiting with baited breath for the others to emerge!) I'm keeping them indoors at present on a cool window sill - a precaution against the mollusc horde outdoors and possible late frost.

Any thoughts please?

Talkback: Making Christmas decorations

Posted: 28/12/2013 at 00:38
I was introduced to wreath making for the first time this year by a member of a community group I belong to in Nottingham. I take the point about using natural materials probably being more rewarding as well as costing nothing and I may well make some further experiments next year
wire coat-hanger makes quite a good base for shaping a wreath although I have seen drawings of how to use willow (or possibly Cornus) thin branches and interweave these with holly and conifer branches.
I am trying to grow standard hollies from cuttings; a slow process but it is interesting to watch them grow and the variegated kinds look attractive at any season. I've also tried my hand at Fuschia rings for the first time this year - possibly they could be used as Christmas decorations too? Watch this space!

Edgworthia shubs

Posted: 21/12/2013 at 22:56

Thanks to all who replied. I checked the shrub recently growing in a large pot in the front garden and it has formed buds and seems to be surviving O.K. I felt that the better drainage in the container would be helpful since the soil here is heavy clay. When I decide where to plant it next year I shall add some sand and grit to the planting hole. By then I hope it will thrive alright in the open ground.

I had heard about Edgworthia being used in paper manufacture but it will be a while before that becomes a viable option without damaging the plant irreparably. Flexible branches might be useful for basket work - I have experimented with this using other materals.      

seed share

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 21:36

Yes  I would be interested.I have a variety of herbaceous flower seeds and some vegetable seeds. Might be able to swap plants such as Lavender in the nottingham area if anyone is interested.

Edging for beds

Posted: 17/10/2013 at 21:29

Have you thoght about Box or Thyme edging? I f kept trimmed you could keep this looking neat and it looks more natural than hard edging, with the added advantage that you can include mre than one type of edging plant thus having a range of different colours (perhaps arranged in a repeating sequence) and you can select exactly the height and profile you want without being restricted by commercial sizes of edging materials.

An alternative if you want something harder would be to edge with blocks or paving which would enable you to have any shape of bed you wished and there is a great choice of materials. 


Posted: 23/08/2013 at 14:47

  Nematodes from organic gardening suppliers ae supposed to be good but you have to have the right conditions for them to thrive. Contact insecticide or covering with netting or fleece to keep the butterflies from laying their eggs in the first pace are other options or spraying with liquid soap or hand picking. A jet ofhose water can also help dislodge them ut it needs persistence whatever you try. 

Talkback: Summer berries

Posted: 27/07/2013 at 23:42
Any suggestions about the best way to deal with raspberry beetle please? I saw a reference to traps on this website but no details. Obviously I want to avoid destroying the beneficial insects - any ideas?

Talkback: Growing strawberries

Posted: 05/07/2013 at 16:33
I have tried growing strawberries in a raised bed his year and planting through slits in weed suppressing woven mulch. It seems to help to discourage snails (of which there are a super-abundance this year on my plot) and obviously it helps water retention and controlling the weeds. Not a lot of fruit so far but I live in hope.

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