Roger Brook

Latest posts by Roger Brook

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Keeping wind off a windy allotment

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 07:36

You have got lucky with the excellent advice above, Gardener 164. ( I wonder who the other 163 are?)

Although a permeable artificial windbreak might be best I would not trust myself to construct it well enough to stand Beachy Head!

I like the suggestions for hedges including sea buckthorn - but don't let it run!

I wonder about escallonia as a nice hedge. The difficulty in suggesting plants is to know ones that grow well on your site and my suggestion is a little frost tender. It sometimes helps to walk around and find out what plants grow well in your area.

Removing Horsetail

Posted: 21/04/2014 at 22:45

It's all been said, it is a very difficult weed. I have successfully controlled it with glyphosate but it has taken three years and that has been tackling intact plantings (rather than chopped up pieces that grow erratically) and starting with large horsetails with lots of receptive leaves. Their are lots of wrinkles to enhance absorption of glyphosate as other comments indicate. It is impossible  to eliminate if it is growing amongst established herbaceous plants. Under a higher canopy of shrubs it will still take three or more years but at least you can enjoy the shrubs.

On allotments some gardeners just regularly hoe it and think of all those lovely nutrients the horsetail is mining from seven foot down. It will keep coming from the roots but the hoed off tops will not grow!

I wonder if the lawn is mown often enough that you can live with this dreadful weed.

Add Ash to Soil ??

Posted: 26/03/2014 at 14:37

Of course you can use it after it has burnt, what is the world coming to when people imagine a burnt fence will be toxic! Mind you the ashes will be next to useless as timber has very little nutrient content as compared to for example burning smaller branches and twigs.

I burn quite a few fires and extinguish them with water not letting the the fire 'burn through'. That way I get lovely black charcoal which will improve the physical structure of the soil- as well as retaining the potash and lime that wood ash contains. Google biochar to find out more

The Mystery of NPK

Posted: 15/03/2014 at 17:28

I used to collect seaweed down on the beach at Seaton Carew when I was a kid sixty years ago. Excellent stuff.

Calcified sea weed is a superb product but It's not right to scrape up the ocean floor causing untold damage just for the garden!

Small tree stump in ground

Posted: 21/02/2014 at 17:10

I never dig stumps out and I have never had any problems- but then I am a no digger!

I have recently been reading about hugelkultur where people actually bury logs or create raised beds of wood covered by soil. It's quite fascinating and the rotting wood over the years creates wonderful 'organic' soil!



Posted: 13/02/2014 at 17:33

You will get lots of helpful advice in this forum - and there are many possible reasons for your drooping leaves (even if it is actually anything wrong at all sometimes leaves do point down)

Is there any chance your plant is getting too much water and the drainage of the pot is not too good?

Rose Pruning

Posted: 08/02/2014 at 15:01

An expert rose grower once told me "you can prune them hard, you can prune them light, you can prune them early, you can prune them late, they will still flower!"


What can I start sowing now in an unheated greenhouse

Posted: 01/02/2014 at 21:43

I am with nutty cutlet and that some hardy plants might not get their necessary winter cold. Many gardeners get seed from the hardy plant society, alpine garden society, Scottish rock garden society and many of the seeds  can be sown in a cold greenhouse on arrival. Things like hardy cyclamen and hellebores need that chill!

When seed germinates in a cold greenhouse with natural sunlight it is rarely 'forced' as is the unhealthy growth in February often suffered  by those gardeners who heat their greenhouse.

Overwintering lilies

Posted: 26/01/2014 at 21:27

Don't worry about the dead stems KT they will do no harm. Cut them back with the secateurs if you want.

Surprised  no one had suggested back in Autumn popping them in the ground to   naturalise. 

Baby bulbs are a bonus. When transplanting lilies I am always happy to pop them in around the parent bulbs to bulk up and give future flowers a year to two hence!

What 2 plants would you put together in the herbaceous/perennial border?

Posted: 22/01/2014 at 23:57

Brodea amongst agapanthus will fool every body but it works!

A colleague naturalised hardy cyclamen amongst golden creeping Jenny.I have my doubts, but she liked it.

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