Tim Burr

Latest posts by Tim Burr

Flower bed against an external wall

Posted: 07/05/2016 at 09:50

When you say 'vents', do you mean the sink contents empty onto the flower bed and not down a drain?  

In normal cases, where the soil is below the damp proof course (which should be around 2 bricks below), then there shouldn't be an issue with rising damp, an the damp proof membrane (DPM) should prevent moister rising and also when rain hits the ground, the splash back up is generally believed to be no more than two bricks.

If you're worried about moister entering the bricks at ground/foundation level, then you could put in what is generally called a French drain, which is essentially a trench dug up against the foundation wall anywhere between 8 inches to two feet below ground level and at least one foot out from the wall (wider the better). At the bottom of the trench your lay washed gravel or small rock, then put in a perforated pipe that redirects the water away from the house, and then cover with more gravel or small rocks.  Wider French drains are better because they tend to silt up less. If you also wrap your permeable pipe in permeable landscape cloth, then that will prevent silting up further.  You need to have the pipe drain sloping away from the house to the garden and into a land drain or soakaway in the garden that disperses the water into the ground.  You shouldn't tap the pipe into the house drainage.  Water board would get upset with that.  Also, consider rodding points so you can clear the pipe of silt etc, that will build up over the years.  Sounds a lot of hard work, but if done properly is a good relatively cheap solution.  However, if done incorrectly you could end up with a nice mini moat around your house. 


Posted: 01/05/2016 at 12:37

I doubt very much that any cat (unless it is particularly unwell or stupid) would foul in the full open air directly on the lawn.  Cats (in my experience) prefer a bit of privacy and will go out of the way to do their thing.  They dig a hole, do their business, and then bury it out of sight, only for gardeners to come along an dig it back up again!!  Also, generally I find that once a cat starts to go in one area of the garden, that's their place to go and they don't tend to move around. That's probably OK if you've got a big enough garden and you've only got one or two cats doing it, but I can see it might be a problem if your garden is the neighbourhood cat litter tray.  Cat's do not like using other cats areas to go in so will find their own spot.  I agree that neighbouring cats don't come in if there is a resident cat, and certainly I don't have an issue with other cats using my garden.  My own cat also doesn't use my garden and prefers without doubt her own private covered tray in the house.  My garden is so packed in with planting that she would find it difficult to go anywhere, and anyway, she is way too much of a Princess to go outside! 

Monarda still in slumber

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 12:25

I have a path that runs along the border, and the monarda is on the edge so border so benefits from the heat of that, even when the sun has gone around the corner.  I like it there because it maximises the amount of light it gets, it very upright plant so doesn't flop all over the path, and when brushing passed it, get a nice whiff of bergamot.

Have checked this morning - no signs of life (yet).


Does Bamboo (Fargesia Robusta) Regrow its leaves

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 12:21

Hi - I saw Beechgrove the other week where Carole cut out a number of the canes at ground level to thin it out, and then she took off the lower leaves on the canes so to open up the bottom of the bamboo.  Perhaps a silly question, but once cut off, do those leaves re-grow (making it a regular task to do), or once they've gone, they're gone for good?  I know canes don't regrow!

If you see a slug or snail

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 09:43

Pellets - I use the ferris ones which are apparently organic and less toxic to other wildlife.  I have a pond in the garden with frogs, but they still don't do enough to control the slugs.  I don't over use pellets and use them very sporadically, and the frogs do OK.  I've never found a dead slug on the ground (or a dead frog for that matter), so what it says on the packaging about the slugs eating the bait and returning underground to die must ring true.  

Monarda still in slumber

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 09:04

Unfortunately, because of the way my garden is, I only get around 4 hours max of direct sunshine on each of my borders at any one time.  I'm on a 'modern' development, so the garden is a postage stamp, and surrounded by six foot fences on three sides, and house on the other.  My garden faces east, so by around 4pm most of the garden is in shade because of the house.  My neighbour has generously removed two large trees from his garden thats on the south side of the garden that's increased the amount of light, but still not direct sunlight.  I know I'm probably pushing what I can put into the garden in terms of plants that enjoy full sun, but I experiment every year to see what works or what will cope.  

Red Robin unwell.

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 08:54

Photinias are impossible to kill in my view.  I've got one which has been severely cut back several times over the years and it just springs back into life and then needs to be taken back again.  I find that if I leave it to go, it tries to turn itself into a tree, and although it has lots of leaves, they are all on the outside and nothing inside.  All the dead leaves create a mess in my borders and create a great haven for slugs and snails. I normally take mine back in the early autumn which means that if it puts on any growth, it hardens up for winter, and I get the bright red leaves for the spring/early summer. Last year I reduced its height (about 18 foot) by half, and this year, I'll take it back even further (another 3 feet), as I want the main trunk back below fence height and try and get it back to more of a shrub.

Monarda still in slumber

Posted: 01/05/2016 at 08:39

Hi aym280 - they were shop bought last year.  Found on another gardening website that Monardas can be a bit late appearing in the border in the spring whilst everything else romps away, so I think I just need to be a little more patient.  Just aweek since my original post and still nothing showing, not even a hint.  How patient does one have to be?   Will leave be.

Monarda still in slumber

Posted: 27/04/2016 at 20:57

I planted Monardas last year and they gave a good show other than a bit of mildew.  They died down over winter, and I cleared the dead growth in March and eagerly waited their return, however, they are stubbornly not showing any growth yet.  I thought they'd all given up the ghost, but I pulled a bit out the other day and at root level, they still appear alive, as there was some live shoots (which were red) underground.  Are Monardas just slow growers or are they truly on their way out?  I did buy some more to replace but then when I saw the they still looked alive, planted them elsewhere in garden.  I appreciate its been a bit cold but most other things in the garden are getting on with growing.

'Feels Like' Temperature - does it affect plants?

Posted: 26/04/2016 at 19:59

I was in the garden on Sunday clearing last years dead and dying fern leaves from around the pond and was surprised how warm it felt near the ground whilst crawling around on hands and feet.  It felt like the ground was radiating warmth back.  The ambient air temperature at standing height was quite cool, but the sun had been shining so had obviously warmed up the ground.

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