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obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

Talkback: Bees and pesticides

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 16:25

I buy organic fruit, veg, cereals, eggs and honey plus well borught up fish and meat whenever I can and garden organically to produce my own fruit and veg and grow flowers for pollinators such as wild honey bees.   I have signed the petitions to stop the use of nicotinoids in pesticides and I advise members of my garden group never to use pesticide sprays. 

I can't get more worried than that about what we are ingesting in commercially grown foods.

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 16:17

Hi Dove.  That's very interesting. 

My garden is next to and opposite two boggy pastures which are designated a site of special environmental  interest for the breadth of species specialising in this habitat.  Trouble is the cow pasture gets a couple of treatments a year for certain weeds and most of the birds they list as resident actually feed at my feeders most of the year.   I don't know where the bats we lost were roosting and we surely have more insects than before but maybe not the right kind.   

We get far more swallows and such swooping over the horse paddock across the road as that's ours and the farmer that uses it gets bonuses for maintaining it and his own neighbouring pasture as a wildlife site for birds, insects and plants.   Still no bats though. 

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 15:46

That's wonderful Nutcutlet.  We also get mozzies rather than mdges.

I've bought a bat house but can't site it till the barn renovations are finished.  I've also bought some night scented stock seeds and already have quite a few of the other plants listed though I suspect this winter will have taken out some of the perennials so I'll fill gaps with nicotiana.

SWALLOWS

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 12:33

Ours usually arrive around the 25th and I'd be surprised if they were any earlier this year. 

Border edging

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 12:28

We found concrete versions of log roll a few years ago and used it to edge new paths we made in a woodland corner but it wasn't easy and cretainly couldn't be curved.  I'm about to make  a new path through some shrubs where the dogs have trampled and barged their way and will use treated wooden planks screwed to small vertical posts banged in at intervals. 

I can cut the wood at angles to make the bends I will need but won't get real curves.  However, once the irregular slabs have gone in and been filled around with chipped bark and the plants have spilled over the edges it will look softer and curvy.

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 12:21

We talk a lot on here about encouraging beneficial wildlife in our gardens but not a lot about bats.  Did you know a tiny pipistrelle can consume 3,000 midges in one night?

We used to have a colony of about 30 when we moved here about 20 years ago but they are now down to just one or two even though we have turned former cow pasture into a garden with a pond and all sorts of plants designed to attract birds and insects so I've been googling about and found this info -

http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/bat_behaviour.html

Scroll on down and you'll find a list of lovely plants that will attract them and the by product will be food for swallows and swifts and house martins too as they will come to eat the insects these plants attract.   Double whammy.

Rose pruning and frost

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 12:05

I pruned mine last week but would have left it later if I could but I've had foot surgery again this week so needed to get it done before I got laid up for a few weeks.   After this winter there was more dead wood than usual and not a leaf on any but some good looking buds starting to swell so fingers crossed.  I didn't do the ones over on the more exposed east side as they risk getting knocked back by a late frost so will ahve to take their chances with a late prune.

You definitely have to go with weather conditions and not calendars.

For whom do we garden .............

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 12:01

It's a tough one isn't it?   I like to share the garden with as much wildlife as possible - slugs excepted - so plant things that provide food or shelter for birds and insects but also give me pleasure.

I gave up on yellow crocuses years ago and now prefer to plant the stripey purple ones which they seem to ignore but which also cheer me up.  For cheery spring yellows I have dwarf and normal daffs and primroses which they also leave alon.    I feed the birds all year round and find that means they repay me by picking of nearly all the aphids and caterillars on my roses and veggies.

A friend of mine gave up planting up pots near her front door because they were always pecked to death by peacocks and pheasant visiting from a suburban farm behind her.   My country phesants stick to the bird food thankfully.

solar power

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 10:58

Interesting indeed Goldilocks.  We have just started work to renovate our barn and have decided to go the energy saving route.  We are currently having the roof insulated from the outside as this is more efficient, apparently, than just slapping panels of insulation under the beams.   The sllates will then be put back and a full bank of PV panels fitted to generate up to 10,000 watts a year.  Then we get the holes bashed out for the new windows and the walls will be insulated from the outside to a thickness of 6'/15cms.  Underfloor insuation and heating follows with a heat exchange pump to drive that.

We won't have any energy bills in there apart from logs for a proper fire or log burner and we should have almost no electricity bills in the existing house part.  Just continuing oil for the existing central heating installed 20 years ago.   It's all going to cost more than we paid for the whol building 21 years ago but will be worth it.

Meanwhile, there are applications to surround our very windy village with over 80 monster wind turbines which are so cost ineffective, so intrusive on the environment and eye and so bad for migrating birds of which we have many, some rare, that I wonder just where politicians and finance ministers especially have their heads and hands.

Metal obelisk or willow wigwam for sweet peas?

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 10:45

I once did a day's willow weaving course and made an obelisk of which I was inordinately proud and which I used to support a new clematis.  It cost me €60 for the course and materials.   The obelisk died after one winter being sogged and blown to bits.

I also have metal obelisks in various sizes and they are solid, indestructible and will last for years.   They look good all year round, with or without plants and cost me between €20 for the small ones to €80 for the big ones.    You can leave them rusty as I did to start with or paint them, as I am starting to do now so they will fit beautifully in you very good looking garden.

Enjoy your fence painting.  It should look great.

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10 threads returned