Latest posts by steephill

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Posted: 24/10/2016 at 22:56

The RHS use both names for all cultivars so it is not surprising that there is confusion. The troublesome montbretia is a hybrid, crocosmia x crocosmiiflora. It is an offense under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to plant or otherwise allow it to grow in the wild so it must be disposed of appropriately. 

I have it in my garden and find it easy enough to keep under control.

Help needed to identify white 'balls' in field

Posted: 19/10/2016 at 09:46

Slugs or snails eggs I think. Put some in a container, check daily and you will soon know which it is when they hatch.

HELLO FORKERS! October Edition

Posted: 18/10/2016 at 12:20

Planting bulbs in my garden usually involves a pickaxe and a lot of spadework so I had been looking for a better method. Clearing steep banks with a Flymo left me with a knackered shoulder so a lower effort solution was required.

Had been looking for bulb planting augers but couldn't find any in the UK until recently. Crocus have then, just fit to a cordless drill and off you go. Best to drill lots of holes first then drop in the bulbs and back fill the holes with used compost. Probably easier to work as a team with an obedient undergardener. If I hit rock or tree roots I just move a little and try again. 

It has certainly been a labour (and pain) saving method for me, especially on steep slopes. Highly recommended with the usual disclaimer of no commercial connection to Crocus, it is just where I found them.

Pruning first year grapevines

Posted: 16/10/2016 at 11:50

From the RHS website - 

Grape vines are tough plants so shouldn't need much if any protection here in the UK. 

HELLO FORKERS! October Edition

Posted: 14/10/2016 at 10:24

Fancy a unique pink chainsaw? Here's a charity giveaway for a good cause.

Having lost family and friends to cancer anything which helps is good in my book.


Posted: 28/09/2016 at 11:40

It is one of the downsides of rural living unfortunately. The further you are from the exchange and cabinet the worse the signal gets, think of it as the further you stand from the fire the less heat you feel. Add in opportunities for line damage from trees etc. and you can end up on a poor line pretty easily.

All of the infrastructure (exchanges, cabinets and lines) is owned and operated by Openreach which although is part of the BT group does not deal with customers directly. You need to contact your service provider to sort out any problems and that can be a real hassle. Although TalkTalk have a poor reputation for customer service they are not alone, just try getting decent support from BT's very offshore call centres!

There are a few checks you can run yourself to see how your line is performing. First one to do is a quiet line test on your phone line. Dial 17070 then select option 2 - if you hear crackling then you have a poor line and should report that as a telephone fault to TalkTalk (don't mention internet at this point). Fixing telephone line faults will automatically improve your internet. If you start by saying your internet service is poor there are far too many ways for them to wriggle out of doing anything by blaming your equipment and wiring.

You can also try this BT site which will check what broadband you should be able to get - That should show you all of the services and the likely speeds which you are able to get from any supplier, it all comes down the same wires. The results table will probably only show ADSL products as available for you.

I am assuming that services like Virgin cable come nowhere near you so are not an option.

Laurel bushes

Posted: 28/09/2016 at 10:11

The weed sounds like bindweed. One way of dealing with it is to unravel it, lay it on the ground and treat it with weedkiller.

You might not like the next bit but to produce a thick laurel hedge cut it down to about a foot high. This will encourage much bushier growth and give you the thick hedge you want. It grows fast and would be back to 8 feet within a couple of years. This should have been done when the hedge was planted but maybe you were reluctant to lose an instant if inadequate 6 foot hedge at the start.

Best place to site a greenhouse

Posted: 03/08/2016 at 16:05

Is it the greenhouse in the second pic? Your north corner would be fine although it looks like you will have to move a few plants out of the way. Make sure you leave enough room around it for clear access for maintenance.


Posted: 01/08/2016 at 21:39

Dew-drops, I hope there is no connection between the disappearing cat food and the unusual chilli  .

Help - unexpected greenhouse tomato management

Posted: 01/08/2016 at 13:51

It is easy to forget that Sungold tomatoes don't go red when they ripen, they just stay that yellow colour that red varieties go through before they ripen. (just saying, not that I have ever been that stupid honest ) So you need to test the ripeness of Sungold in another way. See if the oldest tomatos are easy to remove from the sprig and taste test.

1 to 10 of 402

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