Shrinking Violet


Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

What do we do about the badger?

Posted: 18/03/2016 at 23:26

I used to have a badger in my previous garden - and it's true that they can cause a lot of mess digging up the lawn etc.  Predominantly, and luckily for us, the badger run was at the very end of the garden the other side of a leat, so the amount of damage wasn't too bad.  But I was advised that they are deterred by human urine - male only!  So if you are able to find suitable parts of the garden that can be sprinkled regularly, that may help to deter them.  (I don't know whether this really works or is an Old Wives' Tale - but it sounds credible). 

How to find out if compost is peat free?

Posted: 15/03/2016 at 19:36

I'm another "sinner" - I insist on quality compost, and I just haven't found a peat-free compost that is worth paying for.  I took issue with Levington's when I had to sieve all the sacks of compost to remove stones, glass, nails, binder twine and wood pieces.  Until the quality can be sorted out, I'll go with what works.

Incidentally, I went to a local nursery and had a long chat with the owner as he was busy pricking out seedlings (it's a lovely, small concern).  He tried peat free compost one year - and declared that the results were poor, and the customers voted with their feet the next season.  He has reverted to compost that does the job, or so he says. 

Anyone done any gardening today - Version 2

Posted: 13/03/2016 at 19:32

Finished the border that had been dug over yesterday, and then managed to dig the second one, too.  Took it steadily - my back told me yesterday that I'd done enough.  I was then able to place pots around where, roughly, they will be planted, and suddenly, from a horticultural desert, it shows the makings of a garden.  Well pleased with it.  Off to get lots of grit and (I hope) well rotted manure to dig into the soil before I plant.  And then there's another border to be dug, greenhouse to be erected and summerhouse to be ordered.  But what a lovely, lovely day it has been - sunshine and warmth that makes it all an absolute joy to be outside.

Anyone done any gardening today - Version 2

Posted: 12/03/2016 at 20:21

My muscles tell me that I've worked very hard in the garden.  After two fences blew down in the storm this week, the garden is a wreck  - so it was all hands on deck to try to sort it out.  It had been neglected by previous owners - we moved in last November, since when it has rained consistently so little could be done until now. Digging the soil over was an "interesting" occupation.  I think there are still bits of builders' rubble from when the house was built (about three decades ago).  One side is very heavy clay, to that is crying out for grit and enrichment before planting.  The other side is less heavy and seems to have been cultivated a little more, so that should prove easier to deal with.  But hooray for some welcome sunshine and dry weather.  I may be aching now, but it will be worth it in the end.

ID bird please

Posted: 06/03/2016 at 16:59

Sounds like a Black Cap - they are becoming less rare than they used to.  Smaller than a sparrow, though, but at this time of the year the black head is quite pronounced.

We used to have a pair visit our previous garden, and I noticed that the male could be quite aggressive to the other small birds.  But nice to see varieties that, a few years ago, were not often seen in my garden.

In Or Out Of The EU Garden?

Posted: 04/03/2016 at 21:21

I have to correct the misapprehension that we were EVER given the vote to decide whether or not to JOIN the then Common Market.  We were signed up for it, like it or lump it, by one E. Heath Esq.  It was Wilson who called the plebiscite for the population to decide if we wanted to remain part of the "club".

At that time, I was an active campaigner for us to remain, believing in better trade (in comparison with EFTA) and a better long term future.

I rather regret my youthful enthusiasm - although I have yet completely to make up my mind on the forthcoming vote.

The problems are well documented - there is endemic corruption (just think of all the subsidies paid for more olives groves than actually exist, for example.)  The accounts have not been signed off for two decades (and if a private company was run like that, the directors would get short shrift - assuming that they weren't behind bars).

 The project has morphed from a trading agreement to "ever more closer political union" - and that has never been offered to the population as an option.  From the Common Market we have had the European Economic Community, The European  Community and now The European Union.  We have never voted for these evolved manifestations, and our influence is diminished the more we are subsumed by other countries that wish to join.

The Gallic Shrug epitomises the way in which some countries actually implement the European diktats.  Sign up for anything and obey it if they feel like it.  And we, goody two-shoes, adopt and obey every rule and regulation that comes our way.

Remember the BSE crisis?  When our national herd was declared safe, the Germans and French still refused to allow us to send our beef to them.  Germany backed down when faced with legal action.  France did not, and was due to pay hefty fines as a result.

Guess how much they ever paid for preventing us from trading legally in our quality beef?  Nothing.  Ever.  Gallic shrug again.

They have interfered with all levels of society, and we gardeners have felt the effects in many ways.  There have been products withdrawn because they are unsafe, and has been pointed out upthread, they almost certainly would have been banned in any case.

But there are other products that are "banned" because, even though they are safe to use, they are produced by companies that do not have the resources to put them through long and very expensive testing/validation procedures.

And many of the banned products are less to do with inherent dangers per se, but are far too often the result of national lobbying on the grand scale.

I would like to see the whole project re-configured to bring about more simple trading positions, with more local influence restored to national parliaments. I would like to see the whole Schengen experiment consigned to history - a madcap scheme that is reaping mayhem at the moment.  I await positive proposals to bring this about from anyone entering the debating arena.

 

 

Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 21:10

aym280 - I took your advice and posted on Facebook:  I have had a response from Argos.  Yes - you did read that right!  I actually got a response!  Now that in itself is something of a result.  They have asked for the order number so they can follow it up.  We'll see what tomorrow brings - I live in hope.

Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 17:07

Actually I am awaiting a response from Argos (I chased it by phone and they have promised to contact me this week - their  correspondence department being "a bit behind").  In my letter I gave them ten working days to sort it our or we would take the sofabed to the shop from whence it was ordered and leave it there and bill them for the van, on top of existing claim for compensation. 

to be continued . . . . . . .

 

Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 14:12

I have recent experiences with Argos (sofabed) and Homebase (shed) and both show the poor service that we are meant to accept!

Argos: sofabed ordered and paid for October.  Delivered beginning of December - broken.  Date for replacement given - they failed to deliver.  New date set for end of January,  subsequently changed to mid February.  They failed to turn up (again).  The contract has been cancelled.  Letters sent to CEO (recorded delivery) elicited no response.  We await collection of defective item and refund + compensation.

Homebase: Shed: ordered beginning of January.  Delivered with a broken side panel. 

Three deliveries attempted to replace the broken panel - except they sent the wrong one each time.  Finally they delivered the right one.  And then tried to deliver another one the following day!

Persistence is required to get things satisfactorily sorted out (and believe me, I'm being very persistent with Argos).  But what an indictment of our "Customer Service".

If all else fails, the Small Claims Court beckons.  Trading Standards can exert pressure, but they deal with the criminal law rather than consumer law per se.

Verbena bonariensis

Posted: 21/02/2016 at 16:05


 

This is my Verbena Bonariensis last year, used as a loose screen to mask an unlovely fence. 

We have moved since then - but the seedlings that I potted up have survived, and I shall look forward to the flowers later this year.

 

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