Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Planting help needed

Posted: 24/01/2014 at 20:27

Having had just such a barrel in the past (inherited with the house) I would suggest a tough polythene liner, suitably perforated at the bottom for drainage and then a base layer of crocks/pebbles etc.  Otherwise you'll find the wood will rot, and that lovely container will deteriorate before your eyes!  Also, standing it on raised "feet" will help to prevent the base from rotting with the winter rains etc.

Gardening programmes

Posted: 08/11/2013 at 19:34

Not just Geoff Hamilton (who was a superb broadcaster and inspirational gardener) - I was inspired by the Geoffrey Smith series ("Mr Smith's Vegetable Garden" and "Mr Smiths's Fruit Garden" - if I remember the titles correctly!)  These were shown originally on Sundays - roundabout 1pm, I think.  But the down-to-earth presentation was faultless.  And worth repeating imo.

(Mind you, my memory may be failing - these series were first broadcast in the late 70s or early 80s, so that rather gives my age away )


silly quotes

Posted: 06/11/2013 at 20:29

One man's meat is another man's poison (I think - dunno about castles)

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride (alwiays liked that one)

We had to learn proverbs and similes at primary school - and were tested on them each week!  This thread sure brings back some memories!!!


Posted: 06/11/2013 at 20:12

I was expecting a real perfume punch, Dove, but it was disappointing.  Mind you, it could be my age   The Nicotiana that I grew from seed and planted out this year in the garden were slow to grow, and low on perfume, too.  Perhaps I'm losing my sense of smell!  (Oh, well, it could be worse I suppose!!!)


Posted: 06/11/2013 at 20:05

Just a quick update:  the bulbs have been very healthy and have grown well.  The two more active ones are now in flower.  One bulb is in bud, and the other two are behaving as I would have expected ie leaf growth showing good signs of developing flowers for Christmas or thereabouts.

I have to say that the actual flowers are much smaller than I had anticipated and the perfume not as strong as I expected.  But at least I tried!

(hyacinths next year, methinks)

Bonfire night memories or traditions.

Posted: 06/11/2013 at 19:57

All these memories brought back so many for me, too.  We used to save up our fireworks, going down to the local newsagent each week when we got our pocket money, and buy some more fireworks to add to our stash.  These were kept in an old biscuit tin under the bed!  OMG.  what would Elf'n'safetymake of that???

Dad would always get the Standard half-a-crown box ("Light up the sky with Standard Fireworks" - that was the ad, I think) and when he was a bit flush, a couple of extra rockets and Catherine wheels.  Of course, the wheels usually came to nothing - they whizzed like mad and didn't revolve, or they whizzed too much and came off the nail into the garden, to our shrieks and consternation!

And what about the Jumping Jacks?  Now they really were an accident waiting to happen as they hopped and fizzed randomly.  And my brother (a research chemist in later years) would take the bangers and split them for the gunpowder to make "super bangers" which, fizzing and stuffed into the dustbins, would explode with huge force and blow the lids high into the air.  No wonder safety measures were introduced (and it's amazing that he still has all ten fingers and no scars in spite of his stupidity!).

Hot jacket spuds were a must, and mother used to make what she called "Hunters' Cake",  I can't remember what it actually tasted like, but it was always standard fare for us.

Family members would join us, and the menfolk were in charge of the bonfire and the fireworks;  women were consigned to more culinary endeavours!

And, yes - sparklers to write your name in the cold air;  rockets launched from milk bottles and guys made from cast-off shirts and trousers. 

Halloween isn't a patch on it!


Posted: 15/09/2013 at 20:38

Thanks Dove.  I've replanted them.  Two had extremely vigorous root systems (hence their heaving themselves out of the bowl) and the others were, perhaps, being stunted as a result.  I looked again at the Sarh Raven tutorial, and I hadn't done anything wrong - but perhaps these two bulbs were much more aggressive (can bulbs be aggressive?) and causing problems. 

Anyway - the deed is done, and I hope that the outcome will be a positive and fragrant display in due course!



Posted: 08/09/2013 at 21:15


Every year I swear I shall plant some PaperWhite narcissi for Christmas - and every year I miss the boat.  So this year, as soon as I saw the bulbs in the local GC, I bought them, and planted them. 

I anticipated that they would need to be planted rather like hyacinths, and the on-line tutorial by Sarah Raven seemed to back that up.  But . . . . . . .

Happy though the bulbs may be, and early though the initial growing phase may be, a couple of them seem to be lifting themselves (heaving themselves!)  out of the bowl.  The roots look to be strong (too strong, perhaps). 

So - should I let them do their stuff regardless?  Or quickly re-plant them, nose up, but with deeper root runs?

Suggestions gratefully received!


Posted: 18/08/2013 at 22:41

I had the same problem Berkley.  Having had difficulty with carrots in the open ground in the past, I sowed Early Nantes in deep troughs.  They have been regularly (and copiously) watered, especially during hot, dry weather.  So exactly what the problem is, I don't know - but the roots that have a hard core have the hard centre cut out.  The rest of them, some not as large as I would have liked, are just scrubbed, topped and tailed and quickly steamed.  Had some for dinner today (roast lamb, with fresh mint sauce and French and runner beans from the garden: delicious) and the flavour was superb, even if the odd shapes of some of the carrots would have been frowned on by the MasterChef judges!  But then - I grow for taste not presentation.


Posted: 18/08/2013 at 20:32

I had one that did that - and I cut the shoots off at an angle (a bit like a heel cutting) and potted them up  Result - new plants from old, with much more vigour. 

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