Latest posts by SavvySalli

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I've broken the main stem of my fuchsia standard help!

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 10:36

Oh, and when it re-grows, if it gets big then stake it if you live in a very windy position.  Put a long chunky piece of wood in the planting hole beside the roots, knock it in firmly, put the soil back, and tie the plant to the stake - ideally this should be long enough to reach just below the first shoots so that it doesn't block/damage the plant's growth - put a piece of string/rope/rubber around the stem, cross it over like an 8 and then tie the ends around the stake, should be about 3-4" below the top of the stake. Tie firmly enough to support the plant but not enough to damage and cut into the bark. Oh, and the stake should be on the windward side, about 2-3" from the plant.

I've broken the main stem of my fuchsia standard help!

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 10:29

Is this is a grafted fuschia, I had assumed it was? This is just two different, closely related, plants which are joined - a method most commonly used with apple trees so that they're not so big. If so the rooting section will be a different plant and taking cuttings from the top growth is essential to get a clone with the same flowers. 

To find out look below at the main head of growth where it joins the upright stem, somewhere around there there will be a gnarly bulge,(see photo below) some thin wax maybe, and possibly a change in bark colour. If you can't see any signs of this then your roots will hopefully produce the same plant, just not a standard.

Good luck.


EU proposes ban on traditional seed

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 09:51

This is the thin edge of the wedge - what Monsanto is up to in the US is even more frightening.  They're slowly getting control of all seed production, producing GM infertile seeds which means that people who save seeds - from us small gardeners to farmers in Asia - will be forced to buy them.  And what for? I'm sorry to say that the only real motivation for them is financial growth and hence power, and the prognosis is extremely worrying as they're just taking over food production in this way.  We wander around our own gardens, enjoying the beautiful plants originating from all around the world and out there Monsanto's dominating the vegetation market, from grass to cucumbers to poinsettias to apples to dahlias.

This is quite a good summary,  As you can see this protest is global.


pruning lavender

Posted: 28/04/2013 at 09:18

The digging up and burying sounds like a very good idea.  I also am trying somethiing heard on Gardener's Question Time: if you have some space around your bush try layering it - pin some branches down in/onto the ground and cover them with compost, cover with something to keep it in position & moist. Leave for probably at least a season, maybe longer, and carefully check after two or three months.  I've tried this but too soon to report any results yet, and mine's in a very difficult situation so I've taken lots of cuttings too.

Welcome to the potting shed

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 23:11

Hi all, I'm a newbie, but already given out my pen'orth! 

Did you watch GW this evening?  I was astounded to watch Monty Don turn a potted plant out into his hand and just plant it in the hole, back fill and walk off.  The plant was really pot-bound, just a mass of roots and he did not cut/break open the sides/base at all, he dropped the plant in (no base dressing I suspect but maybe bed was recently treated to his chicken manure) and left it, no watering to get rid of air pockets, and to get good root contact.  I missed what the plant was but as an example to beginners/learners of how to plant I think it was far short of a model method.

Broad beans

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 23:00

This is my first time growing BBs - I didn't realise I could plant them out yet!  I'm on the edge of Salisbury Plain and we get strong winds (probably created by the army manoeuvres!) but I can shelter them, from the wind not the sun.  We're supposedly getting almost down to freezing, if not frost, tonight - aren't they likely to get frost-bite? or do we fleece them up?

I've broken the main stem of my fuchsia standard help!

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 22:54

Did it break all the way through with no bark still connected?

tool advice

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 22:44

I have a Fiskars Swoe - brilliant, it's strong and done some tough work.  I have pruners from Wilkinson which outlasted a pair of Wilkinson Sword with a 10 year guarantee (which I'd claim on but lost receipt); a Spear & Jackson pruning saw, sharp as hell but fell apart whereas the one I bought from Wilkinsons is still going; Wolf  anvil secateurs, very comfy, strong, reliable, sharp.

I also bought an excellent pair of loppers from Lidl and they're still going strong, despite some use that really needed a larger ratchet pair, and I garden 4-5 days a week on various sites with a lot of cutting back.

If you go the Wolf-garten route you're locked into their tool heads, which is fine if you're gardening a regular patch, with no changing situations, and you're an organised gardener so that swapping heads doesn't leave you wondering if a head is lost in the pile of weeds!  If you wanted a Swoe there isn't a head like that; a wider soil rake with more tines; and other more individual needs.  Also, with more parts to break/go wrong if it's in heavy regular use I'd be a little hesitant.  I think they're very well made, expensive, and whilst it's quite convenient to have only a few handles, I just prefer to not have to swap heads - I'd lose them! 

Many of the tools also I don't think are necessary - if you look at a good range such as Joseph  Bentley or Spear & Jackson (normally strong and reliable) they don't provide anywhere such a wide range but what they do is reliable and guaranteed.  There's a limited number of tools one needs in regular use: spade(s), forks, bypass and anvil secateurs, hand-fork/trowel - good quality essential or they'll bend, dibber, hoe (I love my swoe - it glides through the soil and weeds, doesn't cut into roots if they're accidentally knocked, is light with a long handle for reaching into the depths of a  bed, and it just laughs at stones!) .

One other thing to consider is the material - wooden handles have the major advantage of being able to be repaired/replaced, but need maintenance, whereas metal/plastic are more susceptible to damage and may be irreparable.  Depends on your spend budget (one of my spades is a £10, and it's excellent but I don't stress it too much just in case!), whether you want tools for life or for maybe 1-10 years and then replace them (treating them as consumables really - not good for landfill).  On the other hand I've bent a £20 fork, thought it was better than it was!

Even if you're not yawning by now, I am!

Talkback: How to maintain your lawn

Posted: 26/04/2013 at 22:11

I paid £20 for a Qualcast Electric scarifier from Ebay.  It's brilliant, and you should see the huge piles of moss I'm getting out of the lawn, and how the grass has perked up in just three days.  The settings vary from a leaf collector where the wheel and tines are higher to scarification where the tines scratch into the soil, approx 2 mm.  I've been very tough on this lawn, the moss is thick, and I've worked with the lowest setting and still it's not getting through the moss for three or four runs in some parts.

I've ordered some Eco Lawn Seed which contains microclover and I'm hoping will a) feed the lawn, b) outcompete the moss, and c) help it withstand the rigours of a young and huge Bernese Mountain dog!  I'll oversow with that and next year when it's well established I shouldn't be scrarifying two or three wheelie bins full of moss and thatch! 

As the grass wasn't growing (thanks to thatch, moss and said dog!) I haven't even serviced the mower yet! 

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