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Latest posts by obelixx

New EU law to block gardeners collecting and growing from their own seeds.

Posted: 27/05/2013 at 09:20

You can buy Weed seeds and starter packs at the plant stalls in Amsterdam.  It'll be interesting to see if those seeds get registered.

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Posted: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Hi Jro.  For new feet you have to be careful where you go.   I've had bunions for years but they didn't bother me till the metatarsals gave up too and disconnected from the next 3 toes so I've had the bunions fixed and two metatarsals shortened on each foot and the toes reattached.   The third should heal by itself now the pressure is off.

First chap I saw said the metatarsals were unfixable.  Two other chaps in Brussels said yes we can and I went with the one who would do them fastest so I only lose one season of dancing and dog walking, not to mention gardening.

Your neighbour is a nightmare.  Are there no rules about damaging a neighbour's property?    I'm sorry you haven't the energy for veggies.  Our crops were hopeless last year because of the cold, dark, wet summer so we've transformed one long veggie bed into a black and redcurrant bed as they look after themselves but I've planted assorted cabbage plugs in one bed and red onion sets in another.   Salads to go in soon and a couple of pumpkins then I have pak choi to sow later on but that'll be it really apart from the other soft fruit and rhubarb which also require very little attention.

Possum is looking at Louvain-la-Neuve and Namur for university.  Doesn't want to live away from home just yet and doesn't fancy the commute to ULB in Brussels.   They all do open days at the autumn and spring half terms so 6th formers can go and sit in on lectures and see how things work which is great as parents don't have to trail along.   She has all summer to decide and register.  No system of offers and grades here.  They just need to pass their bacc to get in and then pass their exams each year to stay on and complete their degrees.  

OH isn't a gardener either but he likes it to look good and does labour and will dig or carry when I ask and has been cutting the grass for me.   Since Early April, I have a woman who can tell the difference between weed and treasure who now comes for 5 hours every other week.  It's a bit like painting the Forth bridge clearing weeds in my beds after last year's neglect and my absence this spring but we'll get there and we're already doing plant swaps.

Sunny here today but it won't last.  More cold and rain expected for the next few days. 


New EU law to block gardeners collecting and growing from their own seeds.

Posted: 27/05/2013 at 08:35

I really don't understand why people get so exercised about the EU before informing themselves about what is really happening. It is to do with seed varieties having to be registered in order to be sold, a process which costs a lot of money. Seed companies only register varieties that sell well, those that don't are dropped from catalogues and may disappear. The EU's argument is that registration ensures the quality of seeds being sold.  

It is not going to interfere with gardeners swapping seeds.   It will make it harder to get unusual varieties of seeds but Garden Organic already has a way round that problem for saving old vegetable varietties.    Others will, i'm sure, find ways round the new rules.

It should not be forgotten that there is a British officialdom menatlity that means rules are applied in the UK to excess as the Jobsworths over interpret regulations.   EU rules are there to try and bring equality of standards and competition across many countries of diverse incomes, productivity, character and customs.   There is, for example, no Health and Safety department at my local council here in Belgium.  People are expected to use common sense.

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 14:48

It's good to know you're still around Jro though I'm really sorry to learn about your neighbour problems.  It must be so dispiriting.  Hope the weather improves soon to cheer you up and warm your bones.

I haven't done much gardening this year either as i've been getting new feet.  Last year I lost a few months to surgery for a slipped disk in my neck and this year i've needed both feet fixing so, apart from some seed sowing and potting on I haven't done much except for a two week gap at Easter between getting the oprthopedic boot off the right foot and having the same op on the left.

Next is lots of physio to teach my toes to bend again and walk properly.  I've discovered you can't put on boots and shoes with non bendy toes so am living in flip flops.  Not good for weeding nettles or digging or doing anything when it's thi s cold.   When it's all over I'm going to hang my crutches on a wall like crossed swords and then display my selection of 3 different orthopaedic boots in the gaps.

All this means the weeds are rampant and i've don elots of embroidery while blobbing on the sofa.   I can at least drive now so am no longer housebound and have been doing garden group meetings and a plant sale and I hope to be back in full gardening and dog walking mode by this summer and dancing again in September.    We've started work on our barn and have a lovely new garden shed which needs painting and shelving and filling and maybe some new beds in front.  

Went to Chelsea with my scientists and a wheelchair and had a great, but exhausting time.  Found it a bit dull for a special centenary show but loved the planting and sculptures in Chris Beardshaw's garden and the use of space and plants in the Homebase garden.   The Stoke garden was clever too but, generally, I found the planting and design in the artisanal and fresh gardens far more interesting than in the big show gardens.   The floral marquee was, as always, brilliant.

I hope all goes well for the A levels.  Possum is doing her baccalauerat in 11 subjects but is dithering about what to do at university.  It was going to be ancient history and archaeology but now she thinks maybe languages...........

Two grandchildren.   Yikes!    Lots of changes.

Delphiniums from seed

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 14:28

I think these need a good root system to support those tall flowering spikes so I'd cut them back too and keep potting on and feeding and hope to get a great show next year.

Weeds in gravel garden

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 14:26

Wolf garden tools system.  You buy handles of varying lengths and then attach the head needed for what you're doing - hoes, rakes, brooms, lawn edgers, cultivators, pruning saw and many more.  Have a google and then go checkout a good garden centre or DIY store.

Jro - I'll start a new thread rather than go further astray on this one..

Weeds in gravel garden

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 13:17

Hello Jro.   How are you and yours, and your garden?

Weeds in gravel garden

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 12:19

Weeds in teh garden are like dust in the home.  No matter how clean and neat and tidy you are they always come back because they are designed to survive which means they can propoagte themselves from tiny bits of root left in the soil and from seeds that have lain dormant for ages or sprout fresh form a flower you missed pulling.

Weeds in gravel are easy enough to pull by hand, especially after rain, or can be carefully scalped with a Dutch hoe or one of those lovely double edged Wolf heads.   Regular pulling and hoeing will weaken them in the end.   If you have a large area use a glyphosate based product but with care as it is indiscriminate in what it kills and leaves residues in the environment which will no doubt come back to haunt us all.



Posted: 26/05/2013 at 12:09

Aubretia require full sun and good drainage.  i suggest you try something better suited to a shady position - fuchsias, impatiens New Guinea varieties, begonias, ferns, campanula carpatica, clematis - some, such as integrifolia forms, are small and don't need trellis support - corydalis, some hardy geraniums, hostas, hydrangeas, some of the pelargoniums and so on. 

For early spring there are many narcissi and primulas that will flower happily for you and can trhen be replaced by others to continue teh season of interest.   A lot depends on the size of your pots and troughs and the kind of compost you are using and how much time you have to feed, water, dead head and nurture.

Remove Crocosmia

Posted: 26/05/2013 at 11:51

i'm afraid that glyphosate, like any opther garden chemical, does have a long term effect on the environment.  Just because it becomes inert on contact with teh soil and only kills the plants with whose green parts it has been in contact doesn't mean it isn't getting into water ways and water tables or being ingested by other organisms, including humans.

I know of scientists conducting environmental research on behalf of the EU and who say it is likely to be banned in the not too distant future. 

There are others who have found high levels of glyphosate in processed sugars, corn and wheat and who believe it is affecting beneficial bacteria in the human gut and thus leading to an increase in digestive problems such as Crohn's disease, IBS and even obesity tendencies -

I personally never buy any Monsanto products but I do use other glyphosate products where no other conventional weeding techniques work.    I would advise its use but with great care, especially near water courses and do not exceed the recommended doses.   Adding a drop or two of washing up liquid to the mix helps it stay on the plants you want to kill and do its work better.


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