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Tim Burr

Latest posts by Tim Burr

Aconitum (aka monkshood / wolfs bane)

Posted: 26/08/2012 at 17:03
Thanks guys - have chopped them about half way down, some of the stems had flopped and made their way up to the light again so had u-bends in them, so cut to there. No lower leaves - eaten by gastropods I think, although I thought slugs dont eat them - cant think what else would?

Do aconitum benefit from Chelsea Chop? Trying to stop them growing so tall and then drooping under their own weight.

Aconitum (aka monkshood / wolfs bane)

Posted: 26/08/2012 at 11:07
My aconitums haved finished flowering - now setting seed, some of which has dried in situ, wih the rest still green. Should I cut it down to the ground (like other herbacious) or leave? Not fussed about it setting seeds, but want to make sure plant stays healthy and strong.

Bamboo Problem

Posted: 25/08/2012 at 10:58
You should not attempt to kill it using weedkiller - it can take it up to the main parent plant on your neighbours land and kill it. If discovered, you can be charged with criminal damage and also face civil action for the cost of replacing it, if the owner wishes to pursue.

Slugs and snails

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 20:04
Dont worry - its a bit of a myth hedgehogs gorge themselves on slugs . They only make up around 5% of their diet. They much prefer other things like insects and beetles.

Slugs arent good for hedghogs as slugs carry lungworm, which causes the hog to die a slow painful death from pneumonia.

I do use pellets very sparingly in my garden, because despite my garden being frequented by three hogs, I have millions of slugs. What I dont get by catching by hand (in glove) and putting in the green recycling bin, eat the pellets, crawl back underground and dont come back. I use ferrous pellets as they are supposidly less toxic to wildlife and can be used near food crops.

I believe slugs that are grey in colour and have a pattern like leopard skin (they are sometimes called leopard slugs, would you believe), are to be encouraged because they tend to eat only dead stuff and other slugs (orange and black ones).

Beware if picking up slugs and if doing so wear gloves or wash your hands straight afterwards. They do carry parasites that can cause parasite-induced meningitis in humans.

Spring Bulbs

Posted: 17/08/2012 at 19:37
Roll on Spring 2013!! My mum always said to never wish your life away, but as gardeners we're always looking forward, never back.

Spotted Christmas cards on sale in Card Factory on Wednesday!! Think I may buy a box and write them out on a quiet couple of hours when I take my summer holiday!!

Discouraging Starlings

Posted: 16/08/2012 at 23:59
I have a flock of starlings that arrive at nearly the same times during the day. I think they do the rounds several times a day because within a couple of hours, they are back. It seems that they send out a scouting party because when they arrive, at least 2 or 3 arrive upto 5 mins before them, and if the feeding station is low or bare, they fly off and the flock don't arrive en masse- a few turn up but not the volume there is if the feeding station is well stocked.

I gave up at trying to feed mealworms. Sparrows and tits only take a few at a time, but the starlings swoop down and scoff the lot in a matter of minutes. My other half decided one day to throw a whole scoop on thinking I had forgotton, only to find starlings stacking up 2 or 3 high on top of each other on the feeder. She reckoned there must have been over 40 birds in our little back garden all going bonkers for the mealworm.

I've also had to reduce the lard cakes - the starlings go thru them at a rate of one a day. I have found coconut shells filled with lard/seed last better because not so easy to hang from or off for starlings but ideal for smaller birds.

I use no mess seed - although more expensive, it means I dont have grass and sunflowers popping up everywhere in the garden. Starlings tend to avoid it too unless they are really desperate.

Bramble invasion

Posted: 14/08/2012 at 20:00
Ive been helping somebody clear their garden. They have some massive brambles with stems so thick even the hedge trimmer cant get thru it. I was thinking of getting hold of hyperdermic needle and get weedkiller into the bramble by syringing into the stems - a bit like how to treat bindweed but unfortunately, bramble isnt hollow. If i get around to it (where do you get hyperdermic needles?), I will report back success or otherwise!

Talkback: Wet weather and wildlife

Posted: 09/08/2012 at 22:03
I was in the garden last weekend and noticed a right racket coming from the bird feeder. Turned around and saw a pair of sparrows with at least four newly fledged chicks. And this week have noticed the starlings appear to have had a second brood as several starlings look like theyve just left the nest. I know birds can have second broods but first year I've actually ever noticed fledgings in August. My hedgehog comes around for his (or her) nightly feed, but fills up on mealworm and "Spike" hog food that he takes no interest in the slugs! Bees have seemed a bit more active with the warmer weather. Have seen a few butterflies flitting around the garden - quite a few whites, and a handful of red ones (admirals?)

Using vinegar to kill weeds

Posted: 05/08/2012 at 16:32
My sister-in-law needs to regain control over her garden and she has a lot of annual and perennial weeds growing in the beds. She doesnt want to use chemical weedkillers because of the wildlife in her garden (badgers and foxes). Ive researched and found that an organic alternative is vinegar which when sprayed on the plant will kill it. I believe it needs to be mixed with washing up liquid. Anybody used vinegar on weeds and can confirm its success or otherwise. She has lots of bindweed, nettles, thistles, and established bramble as well as the annual weeds. I think the annuals can simply be hoed into the soil, and as long as they are not flowering or setting seeds, will just dissapear quietly as long as the ground is hoed regularly to stop them re-establishing.

rooms in my garden

Posted: 04/08/2012 at 22:56
Start with a simple trellis at a third and two thirds down the garden, and if possible, have them on opposite sides of the garden so your eye cant see all the way to the bottom of the garden. Behind the trellis you can put a bench, or a single seat. Put climbers up that have good scent (honeysuckle).

Discussions started by Tim Burr

Glyphosate based weed killers (i.e. Roundup et al)

Are you still using it? 
Replies: 23    Views: 1074
Last Post: 19/05/2015 at 23:10

Planting Yucca in Ground

Plant these above, below or halfy halfy!! 
Replies: 6    Views: 366
Last Post: 12/05/2015 at 08:23

Photinia Red Robin trimming

Too early/too late to trim back 
Replies: 4    Views: 518
Last Post: 10/05/2015 at 12:09

Relocating an Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry'

Wrong tree in the wrong place 
Replies: 1    Views: 330
Last Post: 27/04/2015 at 00:08

Hard pruning a Mahonia

What to do with the cuttings 
Replies: 1    Views: 330
Last Post: 25/04/2015 at 23:22

Camelia not growing, but otherwise health and flowering

Replies: 4    Views: 292
Last Post: 10/05/2015 at 12:52

Conifer for narrow space and upright form

Recommendations please. 
Replies: 4    Views: 365
Last Post: 17/04/2015 at 23:45

Semiarundinaria Fastuosa - Narihira Bamboo (AGM)

Doesn't run, but does it need to be contained? 
Replies: 0    Views: 374
Last Post: 12/04/2015 at 16:32

Do slug eat thru' carrier bags

Replies: 29    Views: 1192
Last Post: 28/08/2014 at 12:45

Crocosmia Lucifer

Early flowering? 
Replies: 29    Views: 2328
Last Post: 06/07/2014 at 19:04

Bamboo in trough

Trimming it down to size 
Replies: 7    Views: 837
Last Post: 24/02/2014 at 19:15


Replies: 9    Views: 1327
Last Post: 04/08/2015 at 19:08


Replies: 10    Views: 715
Last Post: 14/08/2013 at 18:05


Replies: 8    Views: 703
Last Post: 11/08/2013 at 18:20

Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)

Gone all scruffy 
Replies: 13    Views: 1128
Last Post: 21/09/2014 at 13:41
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