London (change)
Today 15°C / 14°C
Tomorrow 16°C / 8°C

obelixx


Latest posts by obelixx

spare room

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 14:30

No.  Household rates cover refuse collection.  Water and sewerage are separate.  Medical care - except dentistry - is free at point of delivery except for prescriptions and that depends on your status - or so I understand it after not living there for a while.

In Belgium we also pay every time we visit a doctor but it's refunded wholly or in part by the Mutuelle insurance depending on problem and patient status - which concentrates the mind about not bothering GPS for colds and other minor ailments that can bet treated with advice from the pharmacy or even common sense.

Some prescriptions, eg cancer drugs, are refunded 100%.  Others such as contraceptives are not funded at all.  Children's meds are funded differently too.  Medicines can only be bought from a pharmacy, unlike in the UK where you can get some at the supermarket or off the shelf in a drugstore.    I like the Belgian system.  It's rapid, efficient, effective and hard to abuse.

spare room

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:23

Every household in Belgium has a water metre so you pay for what you consume which seems fair to me.   There are also rules about water companies and maintenance and maximum percentages of leakages allowed.   Most UK companies would be in breach and having to pay fines and effect repairs whose costs may not be passed on to the consumer.

Like WW, I prefer to nurture my new plants rather than lose them.  There are better ways to save water - shorter showers, not leaving the tap on when brushing teeth, using a dishwasher rather than washing by hand etc. 

bindweed

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:16

It will have lots of roots, not just one so, as Dove says, spray regularly with glyphosate and this will eventually kill off all the roots too.  If you can't spray, the alternative is to pull off all visible top growth and check every few days for new shoots reappearing.  Remove these by hand or use a spot gel or paint on treatment of glyphosate on the leaves and eventually the roots will die from lack of food form above.  

Either way it's a slow process and requires patience.

Digging is another option but no matter how painstaking you are, little bits of root will be missed and will grow into new plants and you'll have to remove every visible bit form the roots of plants you want to keep as well as the soil in between.  

I'm going through this process myself after surgeries which have meant I've been unable to look after the garden for nearly 2 years so bindweed, couch grass, nettles, creeping buttercup and thistles have been enjoying themselves.   

Bilberry

Posted: 13/09/2013 at 12:06

I can remember eating native bilberries as a child and them having a much more intense flavour (and blue effect on the tongue) than blueberries.

I have my blue and bilberries planted ina part of the veg patch where I have dug out deep, fertile but alakline loam and rpelaced the soil with bags of ericaceous compost.   Apart from having their blossom frosted at teh wrong moment, my two blueberries have enjoyed the cool wet spring and put on masses of new growth and look amazingly healthy.  The two wee bilberries have done well too and almost doubled in size this season.

For winter, I shall erect a sturdier frame than last year and place a netting windbreak around them and I'll leave it in place till the frosts have passed and the fruit has set.  This year the winds bent and broke the frame so I ended up removing the netting too early.   We've also booked our hols for next August and not July so I'm expecting to get the best of the black and red currants and all the blueberries and strawberries.  This year a lot ended up being scoffed by the birds.  I always leave them some but there are limits.

Moans about GW

Posted: 12/09/2013 at 14:21

Joe Swift's allotment planning was risible, but not a sstupid as his execution of those plans.  BIg mistake in my opinion.  I want a section on growing veggies to be done by someone who has relevant knowledge and experience and isn't going to be making bigger mistakes than most beginners.   They should have got Cleve West to do it rather than have him just hanging around occasionally.

Monty is getting better at showing how to do stuff but I still reckon it's stuff not many find relevant to their gardens.

I do so agree we need more gardening with programmes better focussed to wards particular audiences with all levels of experience and skill and different styles of garden and conditions.

 

Bilberry

Posted: 11/09/2013 at 09:11

How big are they?  I collected some tiny ones 3 years ago from a nursery in Cumbria and they are only just getting to about a foot wide and 6" high and haven't flowered yet.   No confusion about seasons though as some leaves are starting to colour up a beautiful red.  One or two leaves turning on the neighbouring blueberries too.

All of them are looking very healthy though so fingers crossed for a good crop this year.  The blossom on the blueberries was frozen at just the wrong moment so we only had about a dozen berries in all this year.

Fingers crossed for better luck next year and I hope you get a good crop too.

Moans about GW

Posted: 10/09/2013 at 21:32

I like Beechgrove.  It's packed with interesting info without seeming rushed and crowded and I like the mix of presenters.  Some of their plants and schemes are a bit old fashioned but since Chris Beardshaw arrived this season we've had some lovely ideas and info about old and new techniques for doing things plus the whys and wherefores.

I find GW isn't challenging enough nor is it relative to the vast majority of urban and suburban gardeners and their small plots.  Monty's garden is interesting and has some gorgeous plants but is too far removed from the norm in form and content.'  I can do with less of NIgel and the arty (time wasting) strolling shots and more actual gardening too.

GW is so relaxed and laid back that I find myself falling asleep and it can take me four or five goes to watch a 30 minute programme through to the end.   Having said that, I strongly disapporve of it being pushed aside for sport or anything else.  30 minutes a week is surely not too much to ask for in a whole week's schedule.   If they absolutely must they could air it earlier in the day in place of a repeat of one of the daytime progs on its 3rd or 5th time round.  At least then we can record it and watch it when we can instead of doing without completely.

Shady areas

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 21:10

Conifers suck all the nutrients and moisture out of the soil for quite a distance so make sure you work in plenty of goodness, as suggested above.   removing lower branches will at least allow in more rain and light.

Sparrows!

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 19:38

Not a tuneful bird but it's good to hear their chatter.  Our flock has done well too and tends to gather all together in the shrubs near the feeders or have conferences in the conifer hedge which has a hollow centre.

They nest in the eaves and seem to have done well this year here too.  For the last couple of weeks they've been feeding on spilled grain after the wheat harvest in the fields behind but are now returning to my feeders.   They and the assorted tits have done a terrific job hoovering pests off my brassicas, clematis and I've had no bovver from aphids or caterpillars.  Just a few naughty slugs and a very busy and irritating mole who's been tunneling under the beetroot and fennel patch.

What's best to grow in terracotta pots

Posted: 09/09/2013 at 13:19

You could paint it inside and out with a couple of coats of clear acrylic varnish which is water based and that will help with water absorption and give some protection from frost damage.

I would then suggest a simple, hardy ornamental grass such as carex bronze beauty which is evergreen and will give year round interest.   The foliage will dance in the breeze and glow in the sun and just needs coming through by hand (wear gloves) or with a rake in spring to remove dead foliage.    

 

Discussions started by obelixx

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1178
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 549
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 723
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1061
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 591
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 3308
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1602
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 885
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2239
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 18    Views: 7091
Last Post: 12/01/2013 at 08:55
10 threads returned