Roy Hill

Latest posts by Roy Hill

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Talkback: Ragwort

Posted: 03/08/2014 at 17:50
All I can say is that the field next to my garden which houses a horse of no great immaturity (and occassional grazing cattle and sheep) has had ragwort growing. Last year especially.

I've now got a bit of an over-run area which has ragworts and willowherbs. This year I have a breeding population of cinnabar moth (ragwort obviously) and elephant hawk moth (willowherbs).

Gardens can be used to grow animals as well as plants.

With regards to insects it should be mentioned that insects 'see' at different wavelengths to the human eye, well into ultraviolet ranges. Flowers/plants can have markings which are hidden from human eyesight.

Talkback: Blood rain and butterflies

Posted: 20/04/2014 at 00:27
"The single droplet of meconium from each small tortoiseshell butterfly in my kitchen amounted to less than half a teaspoon."

How many of the 'each'?

Leaving my garden

Posted: 11/01/2014 at 23:35


A garden can be the reflection of the soul of the gardener. The new garden should not be a mirror of the old. New beginnings. I've sat and generally watched my 'new' garden for nearly a year. Watching the wandering lights, the seasonal visitors, the inhabitants.


Enjoy another garden

Wildlife blues

Posted: 22/12/2013 at 18:55
landgirl100 wrote (see)

But unless the council keeps coming back, it will all return, given time. 

If the same sort of actions are repeated in multiple locations then the chances of  'it will all return' becomes a much shorter bet.

Wildlife blues

Posted: 22/12/2013 at 18:39

Happygirl. Some of the wildlife will adapt. Some, however, will not.


New Family Home with Lovely Garden - worried beginner

Posted: 22/12/2013 at 18:21

If you can - live 12 months with what is there. Not all plants will be visible - herbaceous and bulbous plants have their seasons, and only a few are in season now. Supervise children so they don't decide to eat stuff that looks pretty but is toxic. Make a measured assessment on how you personally manage that scenario.

A 12 month record of the garden with photos (lots of them) will help you with changes. Alternatively, you rely on memory and try to remember where the seasonal gaps are.


The larger the garden, the more important it is to wait and see and let it be.

Very large garden - where to start

Posted: 04/12/2013 at 20:12
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

You'd think that if Stuart Franklin was a satisfied customer giving a personal recommendation he'd say so ....  maybe he's a proud relative .... it looks as if he's been trawling the net looking for changes to talk about this company .... which would make it advertising which should be paid for 

I've been an interwibble user for maybe 15+ years. This sort of stuff happens during economic downturns; I've seen it before. It is a gauge of desperate times, perhaps. I'm not excusing it, just making a comment.

My 'large' garden is asleep, but I've still got bulbs to plant. And beetroot to lift. And field bindweed roots to dig. Tarmac to repair. And. And. And. The garden may be 'asleep', but there are still things to be done.


Talkback: Autumn tidying in the garden

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 23:21
Phytophthora (translated - plant destroyers) are (technically) water moulds and not fungi. Sorry to nit-pick.

Talkback: Winter flowers and bumblebees

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 23:12
This spring the bumbles appreciated the mahonia aquifolium. What I have also seen in the past is that blue tits are attracted to some (not all) Mahonia x media types. I think they also are taking advantage.

Talking of frosts - minus 5 this evening, sparkly brrrrr. I wonder when the redwings and fieldfares will arrive.

What is still flowering in the garden? Nothing, bar some violas. The frosts will nip back their flowers, but they'll produce odd blooms in milder spells. The rest is being reduced to structural bones. The larch has shed the vast majority of its needles, the beech has lost most of its leaves. The birches cling to a few yellowing leaves, the berberis leaves are taking on a deeper hue of red so there is still colour scattered around.

Help please to stop ground covering plant spreading.

Posted: 17/11/2013 at 19:50

As nutcutlet says - spraying glyphosate onto open ground is a waste of money. Glyphosate is a translocated weedkiller. It requires contact with growing/live tissue. Leaves on pants absorb it and it spreads via the plant's vascular system. For e.g. tree stumps you are looking at painting a strong solution onto freshly felled/cut stumps ('freshly as in no longer than about 30 minues) or drilling through the bark into the cambium and carefully injecting it. Spraying it willy-nilly onto bare soil won't help your pocket or anything else.

Talking of weeds, this summer wasn't 'kind' to me in trying to get on top of some of the perennial weeds in the inherited garden. The summer  was dry and it affected weed growth (which was delayed by the late spring anyway). At least I had opportunity to hoe off a lot of weed seedlings. I'm tackling celendine, field bindweed, nettle, willow-herb and bramble as well as dandelion, field and creeping buttercup, couch grass plus a variety of annual weeds (and an outbreak of honey fungus). I look on such things as a multi-year 'project'. The past neglect of the garden requires a similar amount of time to put it back into shape. Some of the above mentioned 'weeds' will be welcome in parts of the garden when it comes into shape.

Weeds are a part of gardening. There are times when I've thought of self-sown buddlieas and lady's mantle (alchemilla mollis) as weeds. The latter (garden plant) breeds/seeds prodigiously and isn't fussy at all when it comes to soil types. I'm just thankful I'm not having to battle with Japanese knotweed, ground elder, horsetail and himalayan balsam.

With regard to celendine (that is what is shown in your shots), I recently (1st week of November) cleared a small bed. I knew there were celendine in it (saw them in the spring). The 'pips' were starting to shoot (as were the mish-mash of daff bulbs and crocus corms). I think I managed to get the majority of the celendine pips removed. I may have to give attention to any that remain. I'll also point out that there are named 'types' of celendine that have purple leaves. If they pollinate/seed they are prone to reversion to the original species type. Been there, done that. They seemed like a good idea at the time...

For the plants growing in the cracks I would revert to manual methods. Old knife, patio knife. Persistently destroying the top growth will exhaust the tuberous roots. Another alternative is to lay a weed membrane. That will exclude light and likewise cause the demise of the unwanted plants. It will need pegging down so that the wind doesn't blow it away. At a guess, for celendine it will take a year (maybe two?) and won't look nice in the meantime. After that you would have to keep an eye out for germinating celendine seedlings (seed can remain viable for many years). I remember a rhyme - "one year's seed, ten years weed". (or something like that).

1 to 10 of 55

Discussions started by Roy Hill

Living with honey fungus

Replies: 3    Views: 1673
Last Post: 31/10/2013 at 23:09

Braconid wasps, Pieris sp. caterpillars and brassicas

Large white caterpillars and nasturtiums 
Replies: 4    Views: 1176
Last Post: 26/09/2013 at 22:54

Talkback: Lawns and insects

Can I just say - I very much enjoyed reading that. Not all lawns need to be bowling greens. What you say about utility grassed areas is so t... 
Replies: 2    Views: 766
Last Post: 22/08/2013 at 16:31

Talkback: Pond dipping for wildlife

Pond skaters are also a top predator in their own right. Diving beetles (so many species)? They do have this habit of using their neather re... 
Replies: 0    Views: 773
Last Post: 18/07/2013 at 23:56

Talkback: Growing rosebay willowherb

Do some moth larvae still like the leaves? 
Replies: 1    Views: 790
Last Post: 17/07/2013 at 13:26
5 threads returned