Latest posts by petervanh

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Enlarging a pond

Posted: 01/11/2014 at 19:59

I also prefer the liner, though in the pond in my garden it started leaking some time ago some 10 cm below the surface. Will try to replace it next year and make the pond a bit bigger. The only problem is there never seems to be a right time to replace it, because you always risk to disturb the frogs (frogspawn in early spring) either some other interesting animals, either some of the flowering plants or prevent the frogs from overwintering... 

The other advantage of liner is that you can work easily with different levels - I was told frogs need some 1.5 m to overwinter properly if it gets really cold. Varying the depth also allows you to include a whole range of different plants. And you can perfectly adapt this to your needs, including e.g. a transition 'swamp'-area with limited depth to make a nice transition to the surrounding garden. 

How long does Roundup last in the soil?

Posted: 21/10/2014 at 22:42

The policy of the Dutch Government is to gradually reduce the use of Roundup. The measures include: 

- as of November 2015 ban of glyphosate sale to private persons (i.e non-professionals). This measure has been imposed earlier this year by a parliamentary motion. 

- as of November 2015 obligation for municipalities to switch to non-chemical weed control on hard surfaces (streets, roads) and playgrounds.

- as of 2017 ban on the use on sports and recreation grounds as well as parks, with a few exceptions (e.g. oak processionally caterpillar and Asian long-horned beetles). 

The ban is motivated by the 'increased societal commotion about environmental and health damage caused by the use of weed control with toxic products.' The Dutch government hopes the ban will result in an increase of research an innovation for weed control. 


How long does Roundup last in the soil?

Posted: 13/10/2014 at 18:15

In a report, just released a few days ago (see:, I fond this: "Recent publications show that so far the risks of glyphosate have been grossly underestimated. This is a huge problem, because residues from spraying are, for example, widely found in all sorts of food and therefore lead to continuous consumer exposure."
" studies showed a significant effect on the hormonal system in mammals. Further, a recent study indicated for the first time that the learning behaviour of bees can be affected by glyphosate. All these risks were classified as irrelevant by the German authorities..."
"Widespread heavy use of glyphosate, has led to huge problems with weeds that have become resistant to the herbicide, especially in countries which grow genetically engineered crops. The consequences have been an increased use of glyphosate and increasing residues in food and feed produced from crops such as genetically modified soybeans." 

My advice: be very careful when using roundup, try to avoid it as much as possible if you care about the bees and our own future. 

Ideas for replacement shrub needed

Posted: 10/10/2014 at 18:04

If you prefer a classical one, I would definitely opt for a Taxus Baccata - fast growing, and you can prune it exactly in a suitable form, which would allow you to keep sufficient space in front of it for a flower border or fill it with lower growing perennials. Another alternative is Buxus sempervirens 'rotundifolia', though this will take more time to get established. Or maybe Carpinus betulus is an option. The leaves dry out in autumn but only fall in early spring the moment the new leaves are ready. Beautiful, strong and fast growing. As all other fast growing plants, this one needs pruning at least once a year.

Check also Viburnum cinnamomifolium which best white followers in summer and blue berries in autumn - though this also will need a bit more time to establish.


Gardening Books

Posted: 10/09/2014 at 21:28

I am currently traveling in the Balkans, with in my luggage the RHS encyclopedia of planting combinations. A heavy book, but also fascinating. Many flowers I encounter n the wild (Crocus tommasinianus, Cyclamen hederifolium, Euphorbia polychrome, ... ) are included. 

Nevertheless computers are also fascinating: I found a flora of Macedonia, published in the Bulletin of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Written in 1918, by W.B. Turrill, a British officer in 1918 (end of World War I), based in northern Greece. Really fascinating, given the difficult circumstances for research at that time. See:

Fire Blight

Posted: 28/11/2013 at 19:46

This year was a disaster for the fruit in my garden: quince, apples, pears, none survived a serious attack of fire blight. The origin if probably an old hawthorn hedge. in the past, we had from time to time some minor problems with fire blight, but what happened this year, I have never seen before. All summer I have been busy regularly cutting away infected branches. Though RHS suggests not to remove hawthorn, I decided to remove them and to replace it with another less vulnerable hedge. The question: will fruit trees recover from fire blight, or will that remain a serious problem and would it be better tor replace them with (more) resistant species? Feedback and suggestions are more than welcome

Newspapers & Cardboard in Bean Trenches

Posted: 16/03/2012 at 19:13

The main aim of this is indeed to retain water. I usually do shredder carboard and newspapers, make it thoroughly wet and put a layer in the trench (3 to 5 cm thick). This works perfect - at least on a sany soil. 

Talkback: Brambles

Posted: 06/03/2012 at 14:33
I gave up fighting them. Instead, I allowed them to grow against the wall next to the main entrance of the house. They have beautiful white flowers attracting lots of bees and other insects, and tasty berries - birds do enjoy them as do visitors (especially kids) when waiting at the door. Finally these berries taste way better than the berries from thornless brambles. A real luxury, all for free...
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Discussions started by petervanh

Fire Blight

2013 a disaster 
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Last Post: 28/11/2013 at 19:46
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