Latest posts by obelixx

Home made organic way to kill aphids

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 22:32

The problem with any insecticide, organic or otherwise, is that they are indiscriminate and harm the good guys too.   The best thing is squishing with fingers or blasting with a spray from a hose pipe to remove them from the plants.  

The next best thing is the garlic spray as it puts insects off by smell without harming them.   If you grow the plants strong and sturdy in good light and ventilation they can fight off pests and beneficial insects will come and eat the aphids if you give them time to find them and don't kill them off with spraying.

For outside plants, I find feeding the birds is an excellent trick as the sparrows and tits feed aphids and caterpillars to their young and that keeps pest populations down.   Hang peanut and fat ball feeders near susceptible plants so they spot the pests whilst queuing for feeders.

What a morning

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 17:25

Used to have lots of greenfinches but they got succumbed to that illness going round as I haven't seen any for several years.   We do get chaffinches though and a full range of sparrows and tits (except long-tailed which I've only seen once).

Depending on the season we also get lots of small brown jobs such as robins, wrens, warblers, siskins and so on plus blackbirds and fieldfares but not mistle or song thrush.  Then there's spotted woodpeckers and turtle doves and jays and jackdaws and crows plus an occasional sparrowhawk swooping in.

Very few butterflies last year despite all sorts of nectar plants for them and the nettle patch I leave.   

Our blueberries haven't blossomed yet.

Bark chips

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 14:20

You are right to complain.

Bark chips should be sold graded by size, like gravel or frozen prawns.   When we first made our long, thin triangular bed out front I ordered the biggest possible so they wouldn't get blown away in winter gales.  This was years ago and most of it has now done its job and also decomposed into the soil which is fine as the perennials and shrubs have now more or less covered the bare soil.

For more sheltered beds, under dwarf conifers and the holly hedge and our woodland path I use a medium grade.   I never buy the finer stuff as it degrades too quickly into a happy weed seeding medium.   Easy to clean but not wanted.

Picture Postcard Request

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 14:09

Bought a postcard in France but didn't have time to find a PO for a stamp.  Will put it in an envelope with one of Gembloux. 

HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 12:04

Joyce - OH's ambition is to play golf when he's 100 and he's a December baby so that means another 35 years before he can happily croak.   Thinking along those lines you should see the tree peony flower and a couple of generations of its offspring too.

Cool today and vaguely sunny but no gardening still as thumb is still all wrapped up and tender.   Getting better tho so maybe next week?

Busy - our roofing man has been due to fix a couple of loose tiles for the last 4 weeks!   He passes by on his way home to the village nearly every day so it's a bit frustrating.   Recent gales have been having a merry time with our slates.   The electrician has been going to pop in for months to fix a circuit of ceiling spots in our bedroom.  He too lives just down the road so treats us as not urgent for when he has a spare half hour!

It took the plumber's son (two villages and 6kms away) 3 visits to identify that a leak in a bathroom was the toilet cistern and not the u-bend or the connector pipe both of which he "fixed" and then he had to come again with a new cistern.  At least he comes when he says he will and cleans up. 

Hope everyone's having a good day at work, play, visits etc.


Choose just one ...

Posted: 21/04/2016 at 09:21

Stipa anything dies in our winters and i have enough other grasses.  Acanthus grow well here but in my fertile soil they don't flower, just do glossy foliage.

I have alkaline soil which limits choices but, assuming I could grow anything and wanted a shrub it would be this https://www.woottensplants.com/product/corylopsis/corylopsis-pauciflora/

I'd choose this clematis to brighten up winter - https://www.woottensplants.com/product/clematis/clematis-cirrhosa-jingle-bells/

I'd have a group of dieramas for their grace and elegance and height.

Nothing tender or that needs cosseting.



Posted: 20/04/2016 at 19:06

Lot's of laziness and poor vocabulary in English language comes from the Americanisms creeping in to every day usage.    I often have to correct Possum who has grown up bilingual and without grammar instruction in English.

In general, the French speakers are better but I have noticed of late that younger people - under 30s - being interviewed on radio or TV start the answer with a "Donc".  Must be watching dubbed US TV!

Steve - add "gobsmacked" for amazed or astounded.   Such an ugly word.   BBC presenters using the plural verb with singular nouns such as government.   They should know better.

problem sparrows

Posted: 20/04/2016 at 15:41

Lyn, you seem to have argumentative sparrows.  We have loads of them here and they happily share the food with assorted tits, chaffinches, siskins, warblers, robins, wrens, blackbirds, turtle doves and so on but I do put out loose seed mix, fat balls, peanut feeders, plus insect, fruit and fat blocks so there is something for everyone.

The bolshy ones are the greater spotted woodpeckers which shoo everyone off the peanuts and fat balls and the jackdaws and jays whose size is imposing compared to the others.

Slug pellets

Posted: 19/04/2016 at 22:35

Me too.  No more soluble than the nasty ones and when they do dissolve they do it without leaving a harmful residue.  In Belgium they are called Escar-Go.   Worth buying just for the name.


HELLO FORKERS April 2016 Edition

Posted: 19/04/2016 at 17:37

Hi FG - yes but it was a tiny speck from the end of a bigger splinter and quite deep in so I couldn't get it out.   Doc was amazed when he say just how tiny it was and how much mess it made.

PD - do indeed log every event and maybe get a camera installed - high up where neighbour can't get at it and sabotage it.   Does the neighbour on the other side have similar problems?  Get together?

Our garden isn't looking too clever.  The week after Easter I sent the mower to be tweaked to stop OH from over enthusiastic mowing (too short and too frosty) and it hasn't come back yet so the grass is getting a tad long in places.......   Daffs and hellebores looking great as are early tulips and the hyacinths and lots of lovely fresh growth on hostas and other perennials with fabulous spring foliage shoots.  Great blossom on the amelanchier too.

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