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Latest posts by obelixx

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.

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.


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.

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