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Latest posts by obelixx

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:51

I'd be interested too Nut.  We had a bad year for butterflies last year and that probably meant bad for moths too.   When we cleared our barn out at Easter, ready for renovation, we did find a few hibernating but only 3 or 4 which is not encouraging for this year's population.

Talkback: Bees and pesticides

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:45

I've seen a few bumble bees so far and yesterday had to rescue one that got stuck in the tomato plants on my window sill.  I've built an insect hotel to shelter them and other insects though it needs renovating after the birds have removed some of the fillings like straw and pine cones.   I've also drilled holes in our walls for sloitary bees and wasps to live and lay their eggs.

I have lots fo fruit bushes and veggies that need insect pollination so I don't use any sprays at all as even soapy water can affect beneficial insects.  If I have a major infestation of aphids and not enough ladybirds I'll sometimes blast them off with a spray from the hose pipe but I find that hanging peanut feeders near susceptible plants like roses encourages the birds to come and feast on the pests.   They also take most of the caterpillars of my brassicas so it's win win.


will yellow rattle kill couch grass

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:33

Worth a try but I'd weed the big plants out first and use the yellow rattle to weaken the inevitable new ones that come.  I too have couch grass rampaging about no matter ho well I weed my borders so may well give the rattle a try.

Good idea.

Talkback: Growing salad crops

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:31

We love salads and I always grow a wee tapestry of green Cos and red oak leaf lettuce in spring and summer.  Looks good and tastes good as well as bringing different textures.   I also grow radicchio but this year I'm branching out and growing various salad mixes. 

I use rocket on its own occasionally but more often as a highlight.  Beetroot leaves are good and pea shoots too.   Baby spinach leaves are a daily staple in OH's packed lunch as it' s good for his eyesight and is ogten a base for family salads but I like to add watercress and fresh herbs for variety along with proper lettuce.  

Cat Friendly Plant Suggestions

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:21

I have cats and have never had a problem though I do only gorw lillies in pots so they can't accidently brush up against the pollen which is the dangerous part.   I have foxgloves and daffodils and lily of the valley and trumept vine and have also grown morning glory with never a problem.

For a shady garden, try hostas, primulas, Japanese anemones, ferns, hachonekloa grass, hellebores, snowdrops, aquilegia, heuchera, clematis and pulmonarias.

monty don

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:13

All TV programmes cost money to make.  It's up to you what you choose to watch.

Some have tiny budgets and some seem obsecenely extravagant.   Reality TV is generally cheap to make and it shows being, for me, unwatchable crud.  I like programmes that involve some thought, good research, good planning, some taste and some inkling that the viewers may have mroe than three brain cells chasing around their skulls and a memory span of more than two minutes.

I find GW with Monty Don quite dull but occasionally interesting and certainly good enough to spend half an hour of my time in front of the TV in the hopes of seeing something beautiful or learning something new.   It's way better than when Toby hosted it and I like it best when there's limited Joe Swift but that, as in all things, is a matter of my personal taste.


Posted: 21/04/2013 at 13:03

I'd go with dwarf beans too but they'll need lots of watering as Dove says.  You can also try salad leaves in window boxes or tubs and carrots do well in tubs, especially the shorter varieties such as Chantenay types.

solar power

Posted: 21/04/2013 at 12:58

 I too think the best way forward is to reduce energy consumption by insulating homes and having more efficient machines in them, more efficient transport systems both personal and public and more home production of fuel to lessen reliance on unreliable or costly imports.   We reduced our bills by almost a third last year simply by being more careful about lights, using the oven less an doing fewer but bigger loads of washing and changing from grilled bacon and poached eggs to fruit and cereal for breakfast.   

I think wind farms probably have their place but that's a long way from human habitation and wildlife migration routes and habitats on land or in the sea.  The planet is theirs to live in and inherit as well as our children's.  However round here I see the indecent haste with which short termist politiicans are rushing to erect them in unsuitableplaces and also see here, where we nearly always have some wind, even if it's only a breeze, how often the damn things don't trun or are turned on grid power.  Ludicrously inefficient and wasteful.

I recently saw a programme about genetically modified cyan bacteria which can prodcue methanol for fuel which sounds good and means food crops can provide food instead of "green" fuel but do we now have to worry about who controls such organisms and their escaping into the environment?

Fracking seems to me an eminently sensible process as long as they are sensible and careful about it but taht's ever the trouble with industry isn't it?  They're there to make money for their investors and safety standards for personnel, the environment and local community tend to have to be imposed form outside and all too often aren't in less developed countries.

solar power

Posted: 20/04/2013 at 22:45

Typical!  We have a nest of 13 whoppers on the edge of the village strung along the E411 motorway that runs south to Luxembourg.   When there is no wind at all they'll have half turning and burning grid electricity.    Who do they think they are kidding?

In the old days, this area had loads of windmills for grinding corn and the locals know all about real wind and fake wind.   Every time a new set of turbines goes up they're bigger than the last lot and they're getting closer and closer to habitation and the main party pushing them is Ecolo who are supposed to want to preserve the environment and wildlife habitats.   Far more cost effective to subsidise home insulation for all and reduce energy consumption than give susbidies and unsustainable profits for a few wind energy companies and constructors.


Posted: 20/04/2013 at 17:04

How high is the fence and is it yours or theirs to maintain?   If it's yours, the kids may be damaging it hne they climb on it and that could get expensive for repairs.  Is there a local advice service that can help with handling neighbour problems?

As for hedges, I would suggest yew which is evergreen and can be hard pruned if necessary.  It's foliage is toxic to animals which eat greenery such as cattle, horses, pigs,  goats but it's OK in ornamental gardens with dogs and cats.   Another choice would be privet which, like yew, has green or yellow forms.   You could also try photinia Red Robin whose new shoots are red and which keep appearing when you trim the hedge so a good feature.   

You could also be naughty and plant pyracantha which is evergreen and wildlife friendly as it has spring blossom for nectar and autumn fruits for birds.    It has thorns which might dter the obnoxious kids from hanging on the fence. 

All hedges need good soil preparation so the new plants can establish quickly and grow well.  The best time to plant is autumn when the soil is still warm and the roots can grow without being stressed by having to nourish foliage and growth above ground.   All hedges benefit frorm a spring top dressing of general fertiliser and regular trims to keep them thick and neat.

Good luck whatever your choice.

Discussions started by obelixx

Chelsea photos

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10 threads returned