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Latest posts by obelixx

coffee & tea

Posted: 13/05/2015 at 08:21

Ca you set up a micro-climate like that of Brazil?  Or Kenya/Guatemala/Costa Rica?  And have you any idea how tall a coffee bean tree gets before it bears fruit?   

Tea may be easier as the camellia bush is lower growing and kept low by constant picking of the new leaf shoots that make the tea.  Good quality acidic soil, water with rainwater only, no frosts and no early morning sun when it has been cold should do the trick. 

Any tips to reduce the ant population?

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 22:27

If I do find aphids in great numbers, I squish them with my fingers or blast them off with spray from the hosepipe.  It pays to wait for the ladybirds and hover flies and birds to come and eat them.

Ants do farm aphids for their sugar secretions to feed their own babies so deal with the ants and you'll reduce your aphid problem.


Posted: 12/05/2015 at 20:29

Just feed the birds all year so they treat your garden as home.   They will feed insect larvae and caterpillars and aphids to their young because they need the moisture content and easily accessible proteins to grow.

I have never used insecticides in this garden and my daughter, now 20, was never stung by bees.   Bitten by mozzies and horse flies because we have cows next door and horses opposite in marshy pastures but not by garden insects.

The only pesticides I use are wildlife friendly slug pellets round hostas, clems and baby veggies.


Any tips to reduce the ant population?

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 20:19

As Edd says, lots of water as they like dry soils and pots.

Failing that, there are smells they loathe and that make them move on.  Ty watering bad spots with a solution of one small bottle of essential oil of cloves in 10 litres of water and pour that over the affected plant or area.

You can get the oil of cloves at pharmacies and health shops.


Posted: 12/05/2015 at 18:50

The soap is to give it a consistency which sticks to the pest or plant.   Personally, I don't trust any pesticide to be selective and only kill pests so prefer to let the birds hoover up the aphids and caterpillars or else cover with fine mesh or fleece to keep the pests away.  

That way bees, hoverflies, ladybirds and other good guys are safe to do their work.

Wisteria help

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 17:41

I rather think you just need one to go over your front door and cover your front wall.

Have a look at these - 

Repotting - a word to the wise

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 14:07

Met too.  Huge hosta Sum ans Substance which I had to butcher with an old bread knife to get it out.  The good thing though is I got 9 fabulously healthy plants growing very well with big leaves.  Some given to special gardening friends, some sold at a charity plant fair and 3 spare left for me to play with.

The pot now houses a rose that wasn't doing too well in the border but is loving life in its big ceramic pot in a sunny, sheltered spot.

Wisteria help

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 11:43

They are both planted very close to a brick wall so their soil will be dry as a bone and they will be struggling to thrive.

I suggest you trim off the blackened part of the stem cutting back below it to the next pair of branching stems and then water them generously (10litres each) at least once a week and more frequently in hot spells  all this summer until their roots have had time to develop and grow down to find moisture.   Give them feeds of tomato food to encourage formation of flowering buds for next year and each successive year.

Check out the RHS website for cultivation and pruning of wisteria to encourage flower formation - 

Clematis Star of India

Posted: 12/05/2015 at 09:33

Yes of course - as long as the container is deep enough and filled with good quality compost to allow the clematis to develop its roots properly.   It will need to be regularly topped up with extra food because clematis are very hungry, thirsty plants.   it will need regular watering and also liquid feeds of tomato or rose fertiliser to keep the clem happy.



I rotavated couchgrass!

Posted: 11/05/2015 at 09:43

I don't like glyphosate either but in extreme cases it has its uses as long as people stick to the recommended doses.   Residue in the soil is inert but does get washed into waterways and then it's a problem as is over concentrating the spray mix which has led to cancers and birth defects in 3rd world countries.

My garden is surrounded by arable land and pasture so couch grass, nettles and teh rest are constantly present.  For two years I was unable to garden much following neck surgery for a slipped disk and then having both feet reconstructed.  The weeds had a fine time invading but 2 years on they are under control in all except one large bed round a natural pond that we haven't really tackled.

Constant vigilance is needed and some refereeing when the roots get entangled in the roots of treasures but you can win without chemicals.


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11 threads returned