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Latest posts by obelixx

Early summer

Posted: 13/03/2015 at 11:04

Saw my first one yesterday whilst in the barn inspecting the pots we've sheltered there for the winter.   I trust it flew outside to gorge on the primulas, crocuses and snowdrops in flower now.  

Had our first houseflies of the year too which is not so welcome.

best way to get rid of rats

Posted: 12/03/2015 at 12:16

I use a Belgian product called ToxaOverdose.  It is sachets of blue grain pellets soaked in poison which kill the rats and other rodents quite quickly and then dessicates the corpses so you don't get the dreadful smell of decomposing bodies.   It is faster than the ones containing warfarin that make them bleed to death over a few days.

Our house is an old farmhouse surrounded by arable fields and pasture so rodents are a permanent feature in the garden and they migrate into the house and barn and attic and garage in winter so out come the sachets.   They've also been eating my pots and troughs of bulbs in the greenhouse this year.

I have a mousing cat and two dogs, one of whom is an excellent ratter but they can't get them all so I slide the sachets under and behind furniture and the stuff in the attic and garage so our pets are safe.   

How cruel is this?

Posted: 12/03/2015 at 07:48

You are not alone Verdun.  I make a cake or cup cakes or muffins every Monday for my scientists and OH never gets any.

The only time he gets to have his cake and eat it is when I make some for a dance club event.

On Sunday the dancers got chocolate chip biscuits, honey, parsnip and coconut cake and banana and cardamom cup cakes.   On Monday the scientists got orange and cardamom drizzle cake.

soil test kit accuracy?

Posted: 11/03/2015 at 15:48

Did you use demineralised water?   Tap water may make the results more alkaline.

Having said that, alkaline is great as long as you don't try to grow ericaceous plants like camellias, azaleas, rhodos and some others.   My garden is fertile alkaline loam on a clay subsoil - great for clematis, honeysuckles, roses, all sorts of shrubs, tres, perennials and bulbs and also good for veggies.   Brassicas like alkaline soil as it helps fight club root.

Adding fertiliser is always going to help but it's best applied as a mulch of garden or municipal compost in autumn to condition the soil and then well rotted cow, horse or sheep manure in late winter so the goodness doesn't get leached out by all the winter rains.   You can also scatter pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone if foxes aren't a problem.   You can make a liquid feed from nettles to give a nitrogen boost to leafy plants and a comfrey feed for plants which will flower or produce fruits.

Obelisk prices

Posted: 10/03/2015 at 16:47

Don't buy tubular.   They break/snap/rust/die of metal fatigue very quickly, especially if your garden is windy as the clematis will add extra wind resistance.

I have several styles/shapes/sizes of solid metal obelisk for my clems and have paid anything form 20 to 80 euros plus a fancy arty one I ordered from a chap at Chelsea flower show in 2007 which as just over £100 on special offer.    They are all very strong and look good on their own in winter when I've taken off most of the dead clematis growth to reduce wind resistance.

Raised bed wood preservation

Posted: 10/03/2015 at 08:18

A good wipe with teak oil will help feed and waterproof the wood too.  Leave it to soak in for a day then build and fill.

Bare roots perennials - can I put them straight in the border?

Posted: 07/03/2015 at 09:33

I think the soil is still too cold to make a cosy home for bare roots.  Soak them to rehydrate then plant in pots and keep in a sheltered, sunny spot till growth starts.    Plant out in May when they should be sturdy enough to cope in the borders and make sure they are well watered in any dry spells.

nettle fertilizer

Posted: 07/03/2015 at 09:30

Yes.  Just make sure you make it with rain water and not tap water which may contain calcium and chemicals from the treatment plant.

nettle fertilizer

Posted: 06/03/2015 at 11:59

Nettles absorb lots of nutrients from the soil which you can then use to make a liquid fertiliser for general use or as a tonic for special plants according to how much you have available.

It takes 2 to 3 weeks to make the nettle "soup" before it's ready to dilute and use and it gets smelly so tuck the bucket away in a quiet corner of teh garden and keep a lid on it.    The process and uses are well described here - 

Willow Trees

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 15:31

We have a boggy paddock across the road and one boundary is stream lined with the usual marsh and willows that are pollarded every couple of years.  Not attractive but they do a job - except when they have no leaves as they are dormant and the paddocks get flooded after the slightest bit of rain.

You need to think about a different solution to your problem and I would suggest maybe excavating a deep, unlined pond to take the excess water.    We have done this in our garden which was once cow pasture and is bordered by another boggy pasture.  It works a treat for us and allows us to grow a host of marginal plants around it that actually like the wet conditions.   You just need to make sure it doesn't get invaded by terra forming plants like bulrushes and flag irises.  It would be worth paying a gardener to come in and clean any of those out once a year.

Discussions started by obelixx


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Plant id for Obxx

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GW 2015

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Chelsea photos

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Hello Jro - and any other old friends

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Beechgrove this weekend

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Weekend 22 March

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Good Morning - 21 March

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Choosing chillies

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Hanging baskets and window boxes

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1 to 15 of 16 threads