Shrinking Violet


Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Re planting Clematis and Miscanthus Grasses

Posted: 28/10/2016 at 19:33

I know how heavy the roots can be!  But the current clump was divided in the spring, potted up and brought with me when we moved last year.  It is absolutely fine at the moment, but I shall divide etc. next autumn.

Re planting Clematis and Miscanthus Grasses

Posted: 28/10/2016 at 19:25

Well, Verdun, that means I have been putting up with large clumps of miscanthus for many years when I could have divided them when sorting out the other plants in the autumn!  But I know now, and will remember it in future.  My current clump is just about getting to the right size, but next year it will certainly need attention.  Thank you.

Dahlias in Devon - in the ground or not?

Posted: 28/10/2016 at 19:21

The tried and trusted way of drying out dahlias is to cut back the stems, shake of surplus soil from the tubers, and then invert them so that moisture drains out of the stems.  When you cut them, you will see that the main stems are hollow, which can result in water collecting and contributing to the tubers going soft. Once reasonably dry they can be stored for the winter, either wrapped in newspaper or kept in dry sand.


It would be possible to leave them in their pots and allow them to dry out, of course, providing you kept  them dry and under cover ie frost-free.


PS It may well be that newer advice is different from this method, but I have done it for years, having learnt it at my mother's knee!   And she loved her garden!

Re planting Clematis and Miscanthus Grasses

Posted: 28/10/2016 at 18:05

I have always found that miscanthus is best left overwinter without being cut down, and that it moves and divides better in the spring.  Most plants, however, move easily at this time of year.

Dahlias in Devon - in the ground or not?

Posted: 28/10/2016 at 18:03

I'm in Devon, too, and have lifted my dahlias today to be stored overwinter.  In the past, in even warmer Somerset, I have gone down the "leave & mulch" route, but have found that they can still be vulnerable to the cold and, as Hosta has  said, the wet of winter.


Once the tubers have drained and dried, I shall wrap them in newspaper and store until next spring.  It works for me, and the plants don't become too large for their space, which they can otherwise do. It is easy to split the tubers to make extra plants, too.


I hated cutting out the flowers when they were still giving me so much colour in the garden, but some of the leaves had been blackened by the bit of early frost we had recently.


On the plus side, I now have two vases of colour indoors!

Plant ID and advice appreciated.

Posted: 26/10/2016 at 16:57

Looks like a Lantana to me, though the pic is a bit blurred.

Vandals in Sheffield

Posted: 22/10/2016 at 21:49

I seem to recall that the horse chestnuts are not suffering from disease, as such (although there is some evidence of a weeping canker, or something like that, in some trees) but that the leaves are infested with leaf miners - the larvae of a particular moth.  This causes the leaves to turn brown and autumnal-looking early, and the leaves drop prematurely.


This, in itself, does not apparently harm the trees, although there may be as yet undiscovered consequences.  But stopping the spread of the moth is difficult, and it may be that "disease" is used as a shorthand for getting rid of some lovely mature specimens.


As for the wholesale destruction of trees whilst claiming to act on behalf of the population at large seems somewhat perverse.  Nick Clegg is, as Philippa suggests, MP for Sheffield Hallam.  (I think he has a little more spare time these days, so may be willing to help )

Do you bubble wrap your greenhouse?

Posted: 19/10/2016 at 22:23

DHR ; I used to have a swimming pool in the garden of our previous house, so I know the bubble wrap that you mean. 


The bubble plastic for a swimming pool is designed to keep the heat of the water from being dissipated in the air.  It is heavy, blue (for the cheapest) and gold coloured for the most effective.


It is not interchangeable with bubble wrap for use in a GH.  Sorry, but it's heavyweight and far too shaded for use where plants need all they light they can get, by the end of the winter at the very least.  The product is also stiff and would be difficult to use in a GH.


Garden Centres sell bubble wrap for use in the GH.  Small bubbles are easier to handle, large bubbles have better insulation properties.  But swimming pool insulation is expensive and not right for the job.


And if you look after it, the orodinary bubble wrap will last many years, even if you have had to use tape to fix it.  I have done so many, many times.

Recipes for using up apples

Posted: 19/10/2016 at 19:18

I still rely on "Your 100 Best Apple Recipes" originally published by Home and Freezer Digest.  I just looked at my well-thumbed booklet, to find that it was first published in 1981!


Doubtless it is unavailable generally, but you may find it popping up in a charity shop or a jumble sale - in which case, snap it up instantly!  All the recipes are tried and trusted from the then-readers of the H & F monthly magazine, sadly now defunct.  Oh, and the sainted Mary Berry was a regular contributor to the monthly magazine.

sore gums

Posted: 19/10/2016 at 19:12

I find that I have a couple of gaps between molars that are susceptible to trapping food particles.  And sore gums, sometimes bleeding, is not nice!


Hygienist recommended dipping the little brushes in mouthwash (she said Corsodyl was best and I use that) before brushing between the teeth helps.  It certainly has helped me, and problems are now rare.


I also see that bacteria in the mouth can be a contributory factor with heart problems (reported in the press) so extra cleanliness is desirable on many fronts, it would seem.

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