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Latest posts by SMOKIN DONKEY


Posted: 11/08/2014 at 08:56

Why conifers?

If it's for a fencing idea whe not think of "PHOTINIA RED ROBIN"

These grow slowly and if your willing to give them a trim once a year they'll stay at the hieght your  after,

they have a lovely red leaf colour all summer and a greener colour the rest of the year, they dont drop many leaves at all and the roots dont go down or out as much as the conifers,

They're not fussy ref soil but do start any such plants off with a good manured base as they have a long life to live and need a good breakfast.

Plus some councils are now banning certain Lleyandi due to both how high they can grow and the damage roots can cause to nieghbouring property,

One other point to think about, if your thinking of staying in your home for many years, how will you feel about dealing with keeping such a hedge in good trim?

You only need to miss one or two trimmings and you've got problems,

so age and health for the future are well worth thinking about,

And a final nail in the coffin ref such as Lieyandi have a look at your house insurance,

some insurance companies state they dont cover such trees due to the root systems length of growth, ie the height of the tree is the same as the length of the roots under ground, how far is your nearest nieghbour and think about your own dranage pipes.

Ive a hedge of one phontinia tree and then one Laurel tree and so on,

the hedge looks really nice and what i call calm, and the bonus is the birds love it,

I must have provided 100's of homes for the birds in the past nine years,

I provide the home they pay back by providing the dawn chorus "perfect just perfect"

Whats happening?

Posted: 11/08/2014 at 08:34

The people here in this part of france i feel for ref this rainy summer are the 'brocante stall holders (car boot)

We live deep in the countryside and the brocante's are a big weekend/bank holiday gatherings for families but because of this wet summer and because the rain decides to come on a weekend the brocante has been a washout this summer (excuse the pun)

But they are still a good place for really old tools etc My favourit stalls are the rusty counters "box after box of old rusty tools"

I bought a smashing pair of rose sectures for  4 euro, they've got a brass hinge and the body's made of metal, really well made, When i sorted them out of this box of tools they we're covered in an oily dust but i got them home and cleaned and oiled them.

Im made up with them.

We did go to one last weekend and apart from lots of dogs sitting behind the stalls i did see one stall holder sitting there just letting the world go by while he cuddled a large "Hen" on his knee,

Now thats the first time ive seen that one,

I wonder what the hen's name was??? Any ideas !!!!!!! maybe Paxo

Whats happening?

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 21:45

It's strange you saying "Hester scott ref a blazing fire today,

Ive just checked my summer list of next must do this month and cleaning the wood burner flu is this weeks job ready in plenty of time for the winter.

(Can't beat a good gardening book a nice cuppa and the fire blazing away and Roxsanne snoring away by my feet "perfect peace")

What would be your perfect day.

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 15:56

Oh ive had my perfect day,

What it was i got a call from the local animal rescue people 2 years ago,I'd rescued at that time two ill treated dogs and at the time i did think this is as bad as it gets ref ill treating animals but i was in for a real shock after this latest call,

"Could you please foster a 14 year old german sheperd dog for a few weeks we're at busting point and need help"?

After a long thought "2 seconds" We said ok we're on our way.

Some 18 miles later we arrived at the centre, we we're asked to come into the office and then told the dog was not a savage dog it was a bitch, one of two her other sister had just been fostered out, both dogs had been in a cellar for two years after their owner had died and his two daughters had just locked both dogs in the cellar, the french police had taken the dogs off the girls after complaints from an heating engineer who'd been to the house to sort heating problems out and he'd seen the dogs suffering.

Well after this introduction to what the dogs lives had been like they opened the door to the back office and thats the first time i'd seen "Roxsanne"

She was thin really thin her claws we're long the fur you could pull out, the fur was rough like wire, her eyes we're what i'dcall like a dead fish's eyes just blank and under her front legs was raw, no fur tobe seen, she'd been on a concrete floor for christ knows how long and to add insult she stank.

The centre did offer to clean her up but i said i'd sort her out,

I just wanted to get her out of the centre and all the barking dogs in the background,

The strange thing was she tried to climb into the back of our 4x4 but could'nt manage to even walk properly.

We got her home and fed her some of the puppy food the rescue centre had given us, it went in one way and within a few mins was coming out the other end,

It was pure liquid no sign of her bady using the goodness in the food,

we fed her milk and rag washed her coat, cleaned her ears and made a bed inddors in the kitchen, (the dogs are normaly in the stables area at the rear of the house but i didn't think this dog would see a week out, i was sure she'd die.

After three weeks of baby food feeding and verious milky drinks with honey etc added she started to pick up and we managed to get the pads on her feet to start to heal up from a raw state so she could walk around the soft lawn but no chance on the driveway or the track outside our house were we took the other two dogs for daily walks,

It was a long hard battle for "Roxsanne" and now if you could see her and her coat you'd understand what im saying about my best day, the day she gave me her fist lick,

Ive had many since but im amazed this dog ever wanted anything to do with humans ever again,

But i did my best for her and she's now always within a few feet from my side

And every evening we both go for a walkies on our own and she loves it.

Whats happening?

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 15:22

Hi to one and all who've replied,

"Orchid Lady"

, Im in the crues dept 23 here in france about 200miles from Paris heading towards spain,

Sort of the middle of france.

We as the norm have great summers even uo towards the end of october,

But this summer for some reason isn't that good,

Lots of rain and not much sun, dont get me wrong it's warm with millions of those midges biting away at any signs of fresh skin they can get at.

Ive a few plum type family large tree's and the plums have done well, (just ask any of our four dogs they all eat them and then after a few hours they "BLOW OFF" for france

The pears again no complaints, but the things that as the norm do great ie russian (black) tomatoes no good at all, peas again no good even the weeds dont look as good as in the past.

But thats mother nature for you, After all we're really just caretakers when it comes to the garden and if we dont look after it mother nature steps in and takes it back.

Whats happening?

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 13:25

Well it's sunday 2-15pm and it's pouring down,

I can honestly say its the worst summer we've had in 9 years,

Whats going on with the weather?

We do have fruit on the orchard fruit trees but not as much or as advanced as normal,

Im not to worried about the fruit tree's as we have plenty of bottled fruit from some three years ago up until last years bottling,

This is the good thing about gardening you can save your fruit for next to nothing and eat it years later.

I do feel for those back in the uk who are having storms rain and even floods.

Spare a thought for the gardeners who are unable to garden thanks to this weather.

Brambles, Ivy and Nettles

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 06:37

The first thing here is you've been given the wrong information ref clearing the site

of bramble type plants,

these are a harder wooded plant and if you resort to any chemicle you'll be waiting a long time for the chemicle to do its job and only then after more than one spraying,

Here is how ive removed one acre of overgrown land, the first thing is to remember nobody said gardening was not hard work,

remove as near to the ground as possible all the growth, even grass,

I say this because you'll find it very hard to just remove the harder wooded items alone such as bramble without moving the grass etc.

I used a good quality strimmer fitted with the bush cutter blade (it saws through bramble plants quick and you'll use less fuel than just the gut line on the strimmer,


Once you've got down to ground level you 'll need a centre safe space on the land to build a bon-fire and burn all the cuttings, (the pot ash will be rotovated back into the ground later)

Not only will you be amazed how big the now cleared of top growth gound looks but you'll be making fast progress,

Next job is to dig out all "and i do mean all" the rots of the harder wood ie bramble plants,

I did this via a good rotovator, once you've broken the ground and got your first root set out its a bit easier to continue along your way,

Burn all roots,

Now if you find this size (half acre ) is on the large size and time to do the work is limited then section off the plot in three sections and cover what you wont manage to get to with black pvc covering (you'll get rolls of this from anygood farm supply store,

By covering this stops light getting to the grass area etc and slows down growth,

you'll need to also cover the area's you've removed the roots from to stop grass/weeds etc from now taking advantage of their new open ground,

Any time you break ground open you'll release a few million seeds (more about chemicle use on this area & when to use chemicles later)

Once you've cleared the complete (half acre) of all roots !!!!!

  You can now turn over all the ground ,

You can now think of doing just that "rotovate the complete area" and remove all the black pvc coverings,

The first time you rotate this virgin land will be hard going "But" the more times you turn the ground over the better the soil and the better it all looks. (A great feeling)

The grass etc will now start to grow and its now time to kill the grass roots with a good chemicle (glyphosate) is the best one to use you dont need any licence for small amounts ie 2ltr containers and this mixes really well,

By breaking the ground and removing "ALL" the rooted bramble plants you've let air into the ground /space & light nows the time to clear all the grass/weed roots ,

Time of the year can be used to help slow down the growing cycle of weeds etc

I'd say september on wards towards febuary is a good time, this gives the colder wearther time to really slow growing life up and yet the chemicle will still work in killing the main root supply and give you time to get the plans sorted as to we're you want this and that to grow/ fencing off area's shed possition etc etc etc

But if you cut corners and think its a five minute spray any chemicle here and there!!!!!!! you'll pay the price for as long as you grow anything on your "half acre"

The roots you didnt kill will return with a renewed strength thanks to the now extra space it has and light etc,

Fighting weeds is a continued task thanks to birds dropping them and the wind blowing them onto your your sight but this situation can be kept under control

with good sensible gardening and the will to garden,

My final word to help you want to do a good job is tw

Are you finding this is a poor season?

Posted: 10/08/2014 at 05:41

Many thanks for your replies,

Just shows you you never know with mother nature whats in store,

As ive said one of my neighbours said they'd had a poor year for the likes as toms/pea's / and even the apples are not as good as normal,

The best fruit ive had is the plums, as always excellent.

Are you finding this is a poor season?

Posted: 09/08/2014 at 23:19

Has anyone else found that the fruit and certain veg this year have not performed very well or is it just here in this part of france,

Most of the locals are blaming this very wet summer and not as much sun as in the past few years,

Just thought i'd ask how the rest of the forum members are finding growing in their area's.

State of Water in Water Butts

Posted: 09/08/2014 at 23:07

Me also I second what you've said "Nutcutlet".

I dont believe in any free meals and if you take health as some sort of  expectation your only fooling yourself for as long as your healthy,

Let the safe fence fall down and pay the price and its not always a case of "when i recover i'll never take that chance again,

Some people dont recover and it's not always the fault of the consumer,

bad health practice is all around us and some times you cant help but think why has it taken so long for laws to change ref what is excepted and what isn't,

Just to show you one point of what im talking about,

" Here in france the powers tobe have now said that all manure from any farm cannot be used as silage on the fields were the same farm cattle have been bred,

this is because the powers tobe think this manured grass is eaten by the same live stock that their manure was used to grow the grass and this causes those animals to cross infect,

Farmers are up in arms with this "NEW" idea and are now wondering what they are to do with all this manure they have piled up in the fields,


Once this manure was spread over the ground to feed the cattle next spring but not anymore.

As im sure you can see this idea of the soil will sort out any bacteria isn't working anymore so dirty water will be thought of as the same cross infection.

Some of the old ways of thinking and practicing are changing fast And as i said forums such as this are for the amature gardeners but when it comes to health then the years of Lab testing and the results found are all done by trained people who have the interest of health as their main issue and its because of such people and their education and findings that we can continue to live in a healthy state.

I hope this little lot will shine a light on why times are changing.

Discussions started by SMOKIN DONKEY

rain and then a reminder

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