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Roger Brook


Latest posts by Roger Brook

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clay soil

Posted: 16/12/2014 at 16:12

Clay is a great constituent in soil as long as there is not too much of it. Unfortunately on some sites builders leave you clay subsoil or leave you a thin veneer of topsoil.

You will get plenty of advice to dig in lots of organic matter. As a no dig gardener I would suggest you add lots of organic matter to the surface!

Identify - Bush / Hedge

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 16:34

All agreed, a camellia! 

Shame it is not covered with fat flower buds at this time. It looks as if it might have been clipped, what a shame

My camellias are looking really good this Autumn with it being so mild and wet here in York. Looks very promising for Spring unless a late frost gets them! They grow well here but too often the flowers do get frosted in May.

Tulbaghia - wow!

Posted: 26/11/2014 at 16:22

Mine survive well over-winter in my gravel path on the  south facing wall of our house, they are still flowering now here in York.

I did have them for several years on my sandy soil in the open garden but 2010 winters killed them off

Anyone with a cold greenhouse can fork them out soil and all, and overwinter them in pots dec to march inside.

Whitefly on my mint plant

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 17:27

It does look like whitefly when you click on first picture on the shrub and I think I can see some more adults and young stationary scale-like nymphs on the mint. 

I am not a believer in seaweed for effective control and would be inclined to wait for the frost to kill them. Cutting back might help but will deprive you of your mint.

What is essential is not to take them into a greenhouse where it might infect other susceptible plants and cause problems for the future.

The whitefly will not seriously harm your mint at this time of year. Do cut it back in a few weeks time as whitefly has been known to overwinter outside in very mild winters

Overwintering cacti seedlings

Posted: 15/10/2014 at 12:12

Thanks soul boy for your explanation. I never avoid direct sunshine even for most - but not all -normal seedlings. I had better read your link belatedly! Thanks

Overwintering cacti seedlings

Posted: 15/10/2014 at 10:49

I don't understand about keeping them out of the light? Surely cacti, other than the Christmas cactus type, need as much light as possible especially at this time of the year when they are not quite dormant yet.

My own cacti are the more hardy types and are in a cold greenhouse with no artificial heat what so ever, but like soulboy I will cease watering completely for from about now for the next four months.

I am not sure whether such extreme drought is suitable for small seedlings which have less water reserves and would suggest that on complete drying out they are given a watering, perhaps every month or so overwinter.

As long as your greenhouse is capable of maintaining 2 or 3 degrees c on the very coldest nights I would forget about the heating pad.

Flowering currant hedge

Posted: 11/10/2014 at 16:43

I would not be too keen digging near cables!

If the rest of the hedge is ok, why not prune in such a way that the flowering currents on either side grow to fill the space.

You could have another go planting for free by sticking in some hardwood cuttings in the space, they root like weeds

unknown plant 2nd attempt

Posted: 09/10/2014 at 22:34

I am pretty sure it is lemon balm.

It looks if the tired top need cutting back but there looks to be some basal shoots that will give you the lovely lemon smell, perhaps even through the winter . It will make strong new growth in  Spring.

Its a bit of a thug but if there is a demand from the kitchen….

Transplanting raspberry bushes

Posted: 09/10/2014 at 22:25

Take a good spade full when you move them as you have existing plants.  New ones from a nurseryman will be much more flimsy!

The only reservation is that if they are very old  they might have virus and it would be better to buy fresh ones.

If your rasps are cropping well go ahead and move them.

An expert friend recently  said that although he knew he perhaps should not, he was transplanting as he was redesigning his garden. I know he will take strong plants.

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.

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