Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet


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. 


Posted: 18/08/2013 at 20:28

Chilli Focus is excellent  - my chillies are all doing extremely well.  As are all of us, incidently!  OH wrapped some CF and put it on the Christmas Tree as a "silly" present.  Trouble was, I didn't have my glasses on, so I added it to a Chilli con Carne, thinking it was culinary rather than horticultural!  It didn't do anything for the taste (!) but, thankfully, didn't kill us, either.  I had assumed it was a bit like Tabasco - and hadn;t read the label.    (I won't make the same mistake twice!!)

Fuschia Cutting's

Posted: 04/08/2013 at 23:28

Everyone has a favourite method - so it's worth trying a few of the suggestions.  Re the oasis - make sure that, when you cut it into blocks, you don't cut the roots themselves - so leave space between the cuttings.  (Or cut into blocks about 2" cubed before popping the cuttings in!).

Hope you are successful with one or another of the suggestions. 


Weed or Plant identification

Posted: 03/08/2013 at 19:13

When we bought in a lot of topsoil (cost a lot of money from Travis & Perkins) we had a lot of weeds, just like your photo.  I kept pulling them out and gradually got on top of the problem, but it was a real nuisance.  Incidentally, the topsoil was pretty poor in terms of nutrients, and after one season it needed a lot of extra compost etc.  Given the cost, I was rather disappointed in the quality. 

Fuschia Cutting's

Posted: 03/08/2013 at 19:09

Another way that can be successful is to use florists' Oasis - the green "foam" that is soaked in water.  Keep it moist and put the cuttings in a narrow hole that you've made in the foam and they will root in no time.  When you're ready, cut the foam into blocks around the new roots and pot each plant up in a pot of compost.  The foam will help to hold the moisture and the compost will give the burst of nutrients that are necessary.  I've never had a failure with this method at this time of year!  Oh, and I do cover the cuttings - usually with a clear plastic dome, although a plastic bag, held above the cuttings so that they aren't compromised with moisture collecting on the bag, will do as well.


Posted: 31/07/2013 at 17:02

I haven't had much success with this gel.  The theory is good, but in practise it doesn't seem to do the job.

For bindweed, I unwind it from the plant around which it has lovingly entwined itself and then use a large drink bottle (2 litre lemonade size is good).  With the bottom cut off, it makes a long sort of a bell shape.  I poke the bindweed up through the neck of the bottle, and then spray into the bottle with regular weedkiller.  This means that the bottle protects surrounding plants, and the whole thing is left for a week or so until the bindweed has died.  It works pretty well - although the roots are the devil to kill outright, and it may come back a couple of times.  But this method will weaken it initially and eventually kill it.

This method is also very good when the stuff is in the middle of a much-loved plant that needs protecting.

Hope this helps.


Pale courgettes

Posted: 30/07/2013 at 22:54

I have the odd one or two that do that - and it is lack of fertilisation that is the cause.  It's not a problem so far as I am concerned at the moment.  I have come to the conclusion that the collective noun for courgettes is an embarrassment!  They are fruiting faster than I can pick them (or give them away!!!)

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