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Sue Higham


Latest posts by Sue Higham

B&Q M.Purpose Compost Issues.

Posted: 15/06/2013 at 09:20
This is my first year with a greenhouse and I thought it better to use bought compost rather than my own to avoid unnecessary weed seeds etc. Used B&Q Verve and it was absolute rubbish. I watered my tomato plants in and the water just poured straight through and was immediately a dark brown colour - leached nutrients? I waited to see if it would soak back into the pots but no - it just sat there, the plants wilted and within 12 hours the water in the plant trays started to smell. I chucked it all out and replanted into Monty's recipe - I already had all of the ingredients! Result - beautiful healthy plants growing away ... Ta-daa.

B&Q Verve is not multi purpose at all - in fact it's only any use as an outside mulch, or as 20% of an outside soil improvement recipe. I have to confess to lurking near the stacks of it at my last visit to B&Q to mention this to potential buyers - but I didn't see any!

Birch Tree losing leaves in July

Posted: 14/06/2013 at 23:45
Hi Nicola ... emailed various organisations for help diagnosing my birch tree's problems and had a very prompt reply from the Plant Health Department at Forestry Commission Scotland - from the photos I sent them they are pretty sure the culprit is as follows ...

"The leaf spotting on the second photo is almost certainly caused by the fungus Marssonina betulae which in a wet summer can cause heavy defoliation and sometimes shoot die back. With large trees there is no practical control of this fungus and although the fungus may cause shoot die back it should not kill the tree although the foliage may be more sparse this year."

Sure enough, Googling the fungus name led me to images which do match my tree's symptoms. Will wait, with interest, to see what the other organisations have to offer, and will post here if there are different views.

Still apprehensive about the long term survival of my Very Old Lady of the Woods if we get more wet summers - leading to more fungus, more die back, and less leaf cover weakening the tree ..... but your 30 year old youngster should be OK!

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 14/06/2013 at 23:32
Last night I found myself unusually able to sit down on a Thursday and tuned into Beechgrove for the first time since the inaugural national showing - in the depths of the snow in March - and, as fate would have it, I found Chris Beardshaw planting around the burn, varieties of the same plants which I've had sitting in pots in various stages of rescue for months, having been too busy making new veggie plot to do anything with them. Result - one problem corner completely transformed in an hour, this morning. THANK YOU CHRIS!!!

Birch Tree losing leaves in July

Posted: 08/06/2013 at 22:11
Hello PatT3 .... How are your birch trees this year? My tree managed to produce about 30% new leaf cover in late summer last year and started coming into leaf again about 4 weeks ago. Today, I noticed the new leaves are falling. They are brown spotted on the reverse just as last year - no sign of aphids though - maybe it's a bit early for them? New leaves are still opening and looking healthy - but am anticipating the same behaviour from them in about 4 weeks. I fear the tree has been unable to store enough energy from reduced leaf coverage last year to take it through the longest winter for 50 years! Can't seem to find any conclusive diagnosis on the web - think I'll contact the Botanics next week to see if they can help. This could be the year drastic action has to be taken - I'll be heartbroken :'-(

A Cautionary Tale .....

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 20:43
Yes ... they really know how to get us, don't they - hook, line and sinker!

The other FAVOURITE, FAVOURITE, fruit of mine which I've had to eliminate is autumn fruiting raspberry - I'm heartbroken but "Such an easy plant to grow - doesn't need the framework and maintenance that summer varieties do" .... Yeah, right! I think it's in a secret society with bamboo!
In process of re-configuring veggie garden and am opting for summer raspberries instead - swapping one kind of 'maintenance' for another!

A Cautionary Tale .....

Posted: 04/06/2013 at 17:20
I expect it will be too late for many who have succumbed to the charms of Schizostylis, the Kaffir Lily, but if you have one in a pot, my advice is to leave it there and don't plant it in the open ground. The flowers are very beautiful and I used to value it as it bloomed in November - but it's run riot through my lavender, paeonies and roses. I filled 4 trugs full of unwanted shoots in February but the roots are very brittle and each bit left behind has grown tentacles, with small rhizomes too. It's worse than couch grass!!!

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 22:30
I always thought lightboxes were for photographers, quilters and other craftspersons - haven't come across them for gardeners - are they any different to windowsills?

I must have been very unfortunate in my Beechgrove eavesdropping - didn't come across anything that held my attention for long - last time I hurriedly changed channel after hearing Carol say she was going to demonstrate Cloud Pruning - and then proceeded to snip at something in a 5" pot ..... dear god!

As for seeming pressured or stressed or rushed - I also remember dropping in to one episode where an extremely animated Caroline Spray was trying to cram in the promotion of a mountain of gardening "gifts" which, of course, you could buy from her garden centre.

As I said - I must have been unlucky - and it just goes to show how many approaches to gardening there are. The bottom line is that whatever you watch it only works if it makes you want to get out there and do it!

I'll tune in to Beechgrove when Chris Beardshaw joins them

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 25/03/2013 at 18:46
"unnlike Geoff H, he doesn't show inventive things like GH's free or very cheap to make light box for seedlings and so on and so forth!

There isn't time for any of that!

The BBC allots us gardeners a miserly 30 minute time slot. That 30 minutes is precious - and yet they waste the first 5 telling us what they're going to be doing during the remaining 25!

We're a captive audience! It's our only visual source of good gardening sense from plantsmen/women - not DIYers. We're not going anywhere (though I have to confess to going to make a cuppa while Joe does his Jungle Garden theme - I live on the east coast of Scotland!)

I stopped watching GW during the period when BBC turned it into a dumbed down magazine type prog - full of 30 minute projects and sticking some poor stooge on the screen to be "educated" by the presenters.

Whilst I did feel sorry for Tony (it wasn't his fault) it is such a treat to now have 2 of my trinity speaking directly to me. They don't exactly garden in paradise themselves and they are SO grounded - their love of plants and earth shines through. How can anyone not be enthused by that - no matter the size or location of your plot?

Plenty Howtaes to suit garden DIYers out there on the web .... in fact not that far from where you are, right now .....

Chris Beardshaw to join Beechgrove Garden

Posted: 20/03/2013 at 00:19
Am a great fan of Chris Beardshaw; I love his approach and gardening integrity, just as I love Monty's and Carol's. They're my Gardening Trinity ... head and shoulders above the rest!

I have long felt that Beechgrove has been in need of some new blood. Apart from the occasional eavesdrop, I haven't followed it seriously for years (despite living within 5 miles of Caroline Spray's Garden Centre) as I found it extremely annoying, as was the Potting Shed (their attempt at copying GQT).

If harnessing Chris is an attempt to survive going 'National' (and without someone of his calibre it would be a struggle) I wish them every success . I just hope he's allowed the input he deserves and doesn't end up feeling used and abused

I shall watch with interest

really need help

Posted: 22/08/2012 at 17:26
Hello Andyhux

Once you've decided what to do with your plot I'd strongly recommend checking out Freecycle.

Here is a link to your local branch
http://groups.freecycle.org/stocktonfreecycle/posts/all.

The basic idea of the organisation is to avoid unnecessary landfill. Nothing is bought or sold - it's all given or acquired totally free of charge and is an ideal way of giving all sorts of goods a second life. You'd be amazed what people offer - or are looking for. I'm a regular user and have had no trouble at all finding (or giving) second homes for so many garden items from cold frames, mini-greenhouses, plant pots, veg seedlings - spare herbaceous plants after division, spare bulbs, seats, slabs, pallets for compost bins - plastic compost bins - the list is almost endless!!

Shoestring gardening is SO rewarding - give it a shot!! Good luck

Discussions started by Sue Higham

Lower leaves on tomatoes going yellow

Replies: 11    Views: 265
Last Post: 25/06/2014 at 17:21

Clematis Montana

Why has it died? 
Replies: 4    Views: 279
Last Post: 27/04/2014 at 21:02

Glass Cullet

Heat sink for greenhouse 
Replies: 7    Views: 547
Last Post: 23/09/2013 at 23:25

sanity

Replies: 3    Views: 323
Last Post: 27/08/2013 at 21:19

purple-sprouting-broccoli-

.... or are they Triffids? 
Replies: 2    Views: 526
Last Post: 08/08/2013 at 13:09

Help! Health of Red Pepper Plant in Greenhouse

Replies: 4    Views: 516
Last Post: 16/06/2013 at 11:40

A Cautionary Tale .....

Ever wished you'd not bought a plant? 
Replies: 58    Views: 2969
Last Post: 14/06/2013 at 16:48

Privet

Bare Root Hedging 
Replies: 4    Views: 1067
Last Post: 06/08/2012 at 09:48

Thankyou

Always look on the bright side .... 
Replies: 6    Views: 567
Last Post: 20/07/2012 at 09:25

Birch Tree losing leaves in July

Age, Disease ... or Drowning? 
Replies: 25    Views: 4604
Last Post: 23/02/2014 at 12:08
10 threads returned