Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Are these Sloes?

Posted: 21/09/2016 at 16:07

The "frosting before picking" idea has been dismissed in recent years by some authorities.  I always used to bank on it - and then found that, when I went back, all the fruit had been picked by others! 

Current thinking seems to be:  if the fruits are ripe, pick them and use them.  I've just made this year's batch (of damson gin:  I can't find any sloes locally since we moved here last November ).

Rather than go for the tedious business of pricking them with a darning needle, you can freeze them.  The skins may split on defrosting or you can just give them a bit of a bash with a rolling pin (fruits inside a poly bag!) and go from there.

Good luck.

Wildflower ID?

Posted: 17/09/2016 at 21:06

This is very hardy - apparently it grew in nooks and crannies in bomb sites after WW2 and earned the name "fireweed" as a result.

I think it is spectacular along the roadside when in full bloom - a real splash of colour.  But it is prolific, so I wouldn't want it in a garden setting!

Mixing cremation ashes with soil

Posted: 10/09/2016 at 19:28

As an aside:  when father-in-law was cremated we had his ashes returned in a large plastic urn.  (We scattered his ashes on his much-loved Quantocks btw).  Within a short space of time, our beloved cat was cremated;  her ashes were returned in a beautiful, carved, wooden casket.  I wonder about our (society's) priorities! 

Mixing cremation ashes with soil

Posted: 10/09/2016 at 17:41

There are two ways I can think of to help you:  first, you could sprinkle just a few of the ashes to mix with compost and plant a rose (I have done that, and the rose, "For Your Eyes Only" is lovely and has flourished) and keep the balance of the ashes for another pot/another garden.  Or second idea is that you could decant the ashes from the (probably) large urn in which they were given to you into a smaller, jar (something like a small ginger jar, for example) and bury the pot under the roots of your chosen plant.  Should the plant need to be re-potted in the future, the ashes could be retrieved and planted again.

Hope this helps. 

Let's make gardening easier

Posted: 09/09/2016 at 15:44

I felt like I had wandered into the Two Ronnies sketch -answered the previous question in the space allowed eg "which tools are most useful small tools or large tools."  No answer - but next question I expanded with "depends on the job in hand. "

How do you cope with flies

Posted: 07/09/2016 at 19:59

Where we lived in Somerset we were beset with cluster flies;  pest control chap said that, if there was such a thing as a "clean fly" then the cluster fly was it, since they feed on pollen rather than obnoxious stuff that the common housefly chooses.

We used to have thousands (and I mean thousands and thousands!) that over-wintered along the rafters in the attic.  They are immune to fly spray (which I prefer not to use anyway) so I got a long nozzle on the vacuum cleaner and "hoovered" them up.  After a couple of years, the numbers had reduced to a minor inconvenience - but I was ever vigilant thereafter.

If you have the horrid sort of fly, then, unpleasant though its appearance is, the old-fashion fly paper is pretty good.  Failing which, a good swipe with a fly swatter does the trick.

Last edited: 07 September 2016 20:00:02

My roses

Posted: 01/09/2016 at 21:25

Bulkerb - what a wonderful, thoughtful gift:  such a personal touch that would be much more appreciated than any expensive "thing" bought off the shelf.  I am in awe of the quality of your photos (and not a little envious of the eventual recipient of you calendar!)

New GW...??

Posted: 31/08/2016 at 17:23

I shall watch the programme, and reserve full judgement until afterwards.  However, I make the following observation:  the remit of this new, up-graded, one-hour GW is, apparently, designed to attract a younger audience.  Hmmmm.  I don't see too many younger people stopping in on a Friday night to watch a programme that has been around since their granddads' day!  They are much more likely to be down the pub/clubbing/dining out with friends/watching something on Netflix etc.

It won't matter who they draft in to present it, how whacky the subjects are treated (assuming that they can remember and don't repeat the disaster of a few years back) - their desired audience is unlikely to be watching.

I reserve final judgement - but the omens are not good imo. 


Fuschias and vine weevils

Posted: 25/08/2016 at 11:51

You can still buy Armillatox on line - and I have found that it is the most effective chemical way of controlling the critturs.  Gritty compost (loam based) also helps.  (Only use it on non-edibles, of course).

Tomato plant deformity 2016

Posted: 25/08/2016 at 11:47

After having problems with Levington's compost the other year (I had to sieve it to take out the stones, glass, binder twine, plastic and goodness knows what else) I have refused to use their compost.  I, too, use one that has peat in it (Violet Farm is brilliant stuff).  The loss  of a whole season's crop is more than just annoying - and there is no financial compensation that overcomes that loss.

I did once have a problem with tomatoes grown from seed, but the company (Suttons) admitted that occasionally it could happen, and promised a replacement packet of seeds for the next season.  They honoured that promise, but that year's tomatoes were, perforce, plants bought from the GC.

Discussions started by Shrinking Violet

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