Latest posts by Obelixx

Plant ID please

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 12:26

I think it's a white form of Jacob's Ladder which is a perennial whose original blue form has a habit of seeding freely.   Lucky you to have the white form.

Small agricultural paddock

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 12:20

AWB - there have been several cases of planning officers marching in and telling owners to revert their precious garden to pasture even after 20 years of nurturing it so yes, always get permission for change of use.

Robert - if your'e planning a wildlife reserve there may be advice and even grants available for planting the right stuff to attract and feed bees and small mammals and amphibians but do be aware that grazing sheep, pigs, cows, horses etc will eat everything you plant - except creeping buttercup which horses leave untouched.   Ask your local wildlife trust.

Your garden

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 12:15

We are an oasis of organic garden surrounded by arable fields and pasture which get agri-chems in varying degrees according to crop - usually potatoes, sugar beet or winter wheat - and season.   There is a nearby stream with woods on the other side and we have a pond and a mix of trees, shrubs, hedges, wild patches, ornamental garden and veggie plot.  

In the pond we have newts, frogs and toads and a nesting pair of mallards this year plus occasional visiting coots and herons.   

We get lots of visiting birds but not a lot are resident in the garden itself as we are quite exposed and they have better shelter in the woods.   There is a colony of sparrows in our eaves and assorted blue and great tits in the eaves and hedges.   Visitors to the bird feeders and garden include wrens, robins, chaffinches, warblers, other tits, siskins, other small brown jobs, blackbirds, starlings, field fares, crows, jackdaws, jays, woodpeckers both spotted and green, pheasants, mallards, sparrowhawks.  

There are buzzards which wheel and mew overhead and Canadian and Egyptian geese in the paddocks who occasionally inspect our garden but don't stay - thank goodness cos it's bad enough with the two dogs rolling in the duck poo this year!   We hear and sometimes see tawny and barn owls but haven't seen the little owls for years.

There are also assorted small mammals - shrews, field mice, moles in the garden plus rats which live in the field margins around the garden.   We used to have a lot of pipistrelles that visited at dusk but I only ever see one at a time now.  No idea why as my garden is full of flying insects to feed them and all the house martins that swoop by day.

I have lots of nectar and pollen rich plants and thus loads of insects - 4 kinds of bee on one sedum head is not unusual but we have had very few butterflies for the last few years.   Again - no idea why as I don't spray.


Posted: 12/06/2016 at 11:53

Dove - good luck with the paracetamol and Locketts.  Been struggling with a very similar cold for nearly a week now and still feeling chesty but all other symptoms gone.

Raining here so I'm on patchwork homework duty.   If it stops, I shall go and pull up the spent PSB and plant my courgettes out in their place and pull some weeds that have grown 2' in the last 7 to 10 days in a bed that has been cleared - in theory.

Need to find some inspiration for how to cook a shoulder of lamb for dinner too.

I've been 27 for ages.......

What would you plant here?

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 11:46

Does it have to be a shrub?   How about some perennials such as hardy geranium macrorhizum underplanted with creamy coloured spring daffs and autumn crocus to extend the season of interest.  It has scented foliage that turns red for winter and then pale, medium or purply pink flowers in May/June.   Easy to care for.  Just pull of tatty foliage with your hands in late winter/early spring.

Sedum spectabile would be good too and great nectar for bees and other insects.   Flower heads look good through winter when frosted.    Just need to cut back old stems at the beginning of spring to let the new foliage through.

All sorts of other possibilities.

Referendum, Doesn't it make you spit!!

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 11:39

It is over run because people go to A&E for colds, flu, splinters instead of using their noggin and taking an aspirin or going to their pharmacy or GP and leaving A&E to deal withreal accidents and emergencies.  

It is over run on the wards because of so many avoidable illnesses resulting from smoking, obesity, bad nutrition.   If you buy a car and fill it with the wrong fuel the engine seizes up.  If you don't change the oil and air filter regularly the motor doesn't work properly.   Same with the human body - it needs regular maintenance and correct fuel.   Better education and more personal responsibility would solve a lot of that waste of both lives and NHS resources.

There are also beds blocked because people can't go home because there aren't the people to care for them - meals, dressing changes, physio.....   In the UK that is deemed to be social care and is run by local councils who are strapped for cash and close them down.   Needs to be joined up and made efficient.

You go to an NHS hospital and no-one asks if you're costs will be covered by the fact that you are a UK citizen with right of residence and thus free care, or an EU citizen whose costs will be reimbursed by their health system or a rich foreigner whose private insurance should pay.   The NHS could recover millions every year from health tourists but doesn't even try.   

Medicine is evolving all the time and more and more can be done to enhance and/or prolong life but all that technology and pharmaceutical advances comes at great expense.  When the NHS was born barely anyone dreamed of such things as heart transplants, knee replacements and all those other revolutionary procedures we now take for granted.  

It's a shame that NHS management and delivery systems haven't evolved at the same pace - but that's nothing to do with being in our out of the EU..


Posted: 12/06/2016 at 02:08

I take it he means Osmanthus so you will at least get scented flowers - when it's big enough and as long as you don't clip back the flowering shoots each year........

My osmanthus has been in 5 years, is very slow to grow and has not yet flowered.   Expecting better things now we've put windbreak fabric on the perimeter wire mesh fencing.

I like Red Robin hedges.   They go red again after being clipped.

Small agricultural paddock

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 01:45

Planning rules indicate that you need to apply for change of use to make a garden out of former agricultural land - http://www.wrexham.gov.uk/english/planning_portal/lpg_notes/lpg14.htm 

I suggest that you first have a chat with the planning officer at the local council about your paddock becoming a wildlife reserve.   Assuming it's OK, you then need to make sure you control harmful weeds such as Japanese knotweed, ragwort, thistle and a couple more - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/prevent-the-spread-of-harmful-invasive-and-non-native-plants 

In order to attract wildlife you need to provide food and shelter so nectar, pollen, berries, seeds and foliage that insects, other invertebrates, birds and small mammals can feed on plus piles of logs, shrubs, trees for shelter and water for them to drink and to attract amphibians.

The RHS has a list of plants for pollinators - https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/pdf/conservation-and-biodiversity/wildlife/rhs_perfectforpollinators_plantlist-jan15 and the RSPB and local wildlife trusts will be happy to advise about your local area.

Referendum, Doesn't it make you spit!!

Posted: 12/06/2016 at 01:17

The NHS is the 5th largest employer in the world.  It is unable to recruit the staff it needs from within the UK.

Do you know that 10% of NHS doctors and 4% of NHS nurses are from the EU?   Do you seriously think waiting times will reduce if they all have to go home?


Posted: 11/06/2016 at 21:47

Me either.  A gardening friend and keen flower arranger was horrified when I took the scissors to all those nasty yellow flowers when she was here once.   Now I have more and more proper plants to fill the spaces the mollies are getting weeded to extinction in my garden.

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