Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Bletilla striata Alba

Posted: 03/05/2017 at 19:47

I am trying to grow several bletilla plants at the moment.  I ordered 5 last year from Hayloft Plants, and they all failed to thrive.  Hayloft promised replacements this year, and above and beyond my expectations, they sent them - in much better condition than last year, and I currently have them protected in the GH - planted low down so out of any direct sun, but well protected from frost in particular and bad weather in general.  All but one (which died) are putting on slow growth.

They are doing OK-ish.  But further advice from experienced growers of these would be interesting.  They certainly weren't sold as "water plants" but they seem to be a bit picky with regards to site/location etc. And even here in the generally mild South West they don't seem to be making the progress I had expected.

Thompson Morgan - dead plants, dead customer service

Posted: 28/04/2017 at 18:46

Theoretically, Obelixx,  the MD or CEO of a company ought to respond to a complaint.  Three letters to the CEO of Argos produced absolutely nothing.  Zero response.  Hence Facebook as a recommendation.  And given the track record of T & M on this board, I would hazard a guess that their top exec would be as reluctant to respond as Argos.

There is no such thing as Customer Service worthy of the name in so many large organisations - simply serried ranks of people on telephones in front of computer screens, who have variable IT skills and/or concerns about the customer.

(Sorry - rant over!)

Thompson Morgan - dead plants, dead customer service

Posted: 28/04/2017 at 16:24

Name and shame them on Facebook.  I did that with Argos over another long-standing problem.  Trust me - these companies don't like public complaints!

Swallows, swifts and martins - have you seen them yet?

Posted: 26/04/2017 at 19:43

House martins returned yesterday (24th April) which seems a bit foolhardy, given the weather forecast!  But that's nearly a week earlier than last year, and I am so pleased to see them again.

Bird ID

Posted: 26/04/2017 at 19:36

I have had cats for many years.  Their eyes may light up at the sight of a feathered friend (or a mouse) but their ability to catch the wild birds is not as great as some would have you believe!

They (the cats) are unable to leap across a wide expanse of open ground/grass without the birds flying off in alarm.  Far more difficult for the birds is where there are shrubs/trees etc that give the cats cover as they stalk their prey.

I find it distressing when a beautiful bird is caught and killed;  I take solace from the fact that it is the weakest who fall prey to predation, and that the strongest are the survivors.  The numbers of birds in my garden and at my feeders seem to confirm that.

Mind you, I am less tolerant of magpies than you are!  Or rooks/crows, for that matter.  Just a personal thing, I guess!

Advice please on bare root roses

Posted: 26/04/2017 at 19:28

My first reaction, having just planted a bare root rose last week, was to suggest that yours should be planted asap.  But looking at the soil in the pic, and taking account of your description of it, I think I would be tempted to pot them up - making sure that the pots are large enough not to compromise the roots, and making sure that they were kept out of intense, direct sunlight, and were kept well watered.  I wouldn't keep them in a conservatory;  they are outdoor plants, and the over-heating that can occur in a conservatory will not help them a bit.  Outdoors (sheltered) would be preferable, I think.

When to plant into the ground I am less sure;  perhaps it would be best to wait until the plants become dormant (autumn) rather than risk them in the forthcoming summer.  But there will be others better able to comment than I can. And, of course, the soil structure will be benefit from some medium that improves it - such as well rotted manure.

So - maybe not a lot of help, but I hope a bit of a guide in relation to difficult growing conditions that you face.  At least you have done the right thing by getting the roots into water in the short term, rather than risking them drying out!  And glyphosate does  not affect the soil - it is a plant-contact weed killer, so the soil will not have been compromised by your using it, I believe.

Bird ID

Posted: 26/04/2017 at 19:16

They also, allegedly, love Niger seed.  However, they will only eat that when there isn't enough in the sunflower heart feeder!  But we have had as many as 28 in our small garden - many on the feeders, and many more scavenging on the ground for the seed that has fallen below the bird feeder. 

Of all the British birds, this is one of the most exotic-looking and, according to RSPB surveys, one of the success stories of recent years.

I love them - and waste a lot of time just observing them and marvelling at their bright colours.

If I had a brain I'd be dangerous!

Posted: 10/04/2017 at 11:38

Oh, the relief to know that it's not just me, then!  And Kitty, I can sympathise with the oven problem.  I set the oven to pre-heat ready to pop the roasting joint in.  Trouble was, I had turned on the small oven rather than the large one, and the Chicken wouldn't fit!  So, having wasted the electricity, I had to put on the large oven, and timings for dinner were about 20 minutes later than planned.  (You'd think I would have learned from the mistake, but I regret to admit that I've done that a couple of times.

If I had a brain I'd be dangerous!

Posted: 09/04/2017 at 17:35

If I had a brain I would have known that those tulips which, on the pack, said they were "an unusual colour combination" which looked dull and uninteresting (basically, beige with pinkish beige) would be - mega-boring and - well, beige!

And when I planted another trough with tulips - some cream am some purple, and the cream ones, described as 10" but were actually 15" which dwarfed the purple ones, instead of just moaning about it I should instantly have seen that all I had to do was . . . . . . . . . . .  turn the trough around so the cream ones were at the back!  Simples. (it took me a couple of days to work that one out.  'nuff said!)

And when I said I could manage with a smaller greenhouse because my new garden is a lot smaller than before, I should have known that I would quickly run out of space for seedlings, over-wintered plants etc.

And when I said that, with the new-to-us house with a small garden would be fine - I was self-delusional.

If only I wasn't a scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, I would have had half a brain and would have known these things.

Please tell me I'm not alone!

Plants arrived from

Posted: 06/04/2017 at 20:03

These plants are not frost-hardy.  You can put them outside during the day - but they need overnight protection until the threat of frost has passed.  This is usually thought of as being the end of May/beginning of June, depending where in the country you are. 

As in many things gardening - make haste slowly!  ie don't rush to plant things outside or to make quick judgements.  Quite often I have found the "wait and see" philosophy has stood me in good stead.  (There have been some exceptions, of course .  .  .  )


Discussions started by Shrinking Violet

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1 to 15 of 17 threads