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Latest posts by Tomsk

Dead rose

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 23:26

I bought a rose a few months ago but after planting it, the stem has just turned brown and it looks dead. The main stem used to feel dense and solid, but now it feels hollow when you tap it and bends, feeling as though it will snap cleanly like a dry dead stick.

It was the kind of rose that's been cut almost down to the ground so when you plant it there's just a couple of inches of stem above the ground, then you have to wait for the rose bush to grow almost from scratch.

Nothing else has appeared on the surface since, so is this rose completely dead or is there any chance that something's still going on in the root and it may grow new stems next year?

How many frogs?

Posted: 10/06/2014 at 23:20

I don't usually get frogs in my garden, but whenever I've gone out in the evening or night over the last few months, there's a frog. It's usually in one corner of the garden, though occasionally I see it in another spot. If I disturb things in the corner where I assume it lives, I can hear it jump around. I've never seen or heard more than one frog.

So, is this likely to be the same frog or am I only just spotting one at a time? I'm sure it's the same one because it's always the same size and usually lurking in the same corner of the garden, but I would have expected garden frogs to live in groups.


Snapped lily - Will it grow?

Posted: 09/06/2014 at 21:23

A cat jumped off a fence in my garden and snapped the top of a growing lily plant. Three small heads had formed at the top, though looked like they were far from blooming yet.

Two of them are snapped right off but the third seems OK. So will I only end up with one flower this year, or will new heads grow (like dahlias) over the rest of the summer/autumn.

Annoyingly, I already lost a lily when I discovered a caterpillar had completely eaten through the head of a stalk. What remains isn't really growing and there are no signs of the head growing back.

Bees and more bees!

Posted: 08/06/2014 at 18:25

I love seeing bees come to the garden. Last year I had a dahlia flower very well, and they were all over it every day. This year I have a few dahlias, partly because of the bees, though they're yet to flower.

Try raising the ISO of your camera to 200 or 400, or maybe even 800 on a bright sunny day like today. The difference in picture quality will be small but you'll end up with a faster shutter time, which will produce sharper images.

Taking photos like this is always difficult because the wind is blowing the flowers around while the bee is buzzing around, so nothing stays still. The shorter the exposure (a faster shutter time), the clearer the snapshot of the moment will be, and sometimes it's a better compromise to have a sharper image with more speckles caused by a high ISO, than a blurry image with no speckles at all.

Tall dahlias in pots for slug protection?

Posted: 08/06/2014 at 17:56

Well I did think it may be a way of making it harder for things to crawl up onto the leaves above, but also to leave a nice gap around the bottom of the dahlia 'bush'.

I have some growing in pots, and I'd prefer to have the top of the soil fully exposed rather than the leaves resting on the rim of the pots. It's aesthetics, but I thought it would also help reduce pests is no leaves were near the ground.

Do you mean it'll reduce the number of flowers just on those branches I cut off, or that cutting lower branches affects the flowering of higher branches?

I grew my first dahlia last year in the ground. It flowered very well, though the slugs and snails seemed to really savage the leaves close to the ground. And then there were the vine weevils chewing the petals...

Tall dahlias in pots for slug protection?

Posted: 08/06/2014 at 17:33

Is it safe to prune the lower branches off a dahlia plant, so that there are no low-hanging leaves touching the soil?

I know it's safe for tomatoes and roses, but what about dahlias?

Growing Mushrooms

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 18:59

I bought a chestnut mushroom box kit from the pound shop that didn't grow very well. I slid the tray out, emptied the spores from the plastic bag onto the compost and woodshavings and watered it, and a week later there was lots of nice looking fungus growing over the top, with lots of little dots forming which I assumed would become mushrooms.

The instructions said to spray water over them every day after this, but doing so seemed to kill the fungus, even though I mist-sprayed just a little water. In the end, two mushrooms grew, and they tasted lovely, but hardly worth a pound and a few weeks of waiting.

I tried to re-use the kit and was even more gentle with the watering, but nothing grew at all. Well, a few tiny 'buds' formed, but never continued to grow into mushrooms.

I gave up on the second attempt and stirred the contents of the tray and added a good bit of water, then left it in the box for a week. This third attempt resulted in a single mushroom growing.

So after all that, I'm not sure if I'll bother growing mushrooms again. Besides, they have no more boxes in the pound shop.

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 18:34

As an aside, what do people who casually grow a tomato plant or two do when they go on holiday? Mine are still small and in small temporary plastic pots, and they're already drinking like fish. So when the vines are big and the tomatoes are forming, I doubt they'd survive for a couple of weeks without water, even in a big pot.

If you don't have a neighbour who can do it for you, what do people do?

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 07/06/2014 at 18:30

Great to know they're OK and thanks for the video! I've been meaning to replant them in a bigger container for the last week or so, and really must get around to it soon. There's now at least 8" of hairy stem below the first leaves, so I'm losing time that they could be growing new roots from the stems.

I also see tiny buds (a millimetre or so across) forming at the top of a couple of them, so all the more reason to get them planted properly.

I also noticed the first buds forming on my dahlias too, so the first flowers should be appearing in a month or so. This year's been a good one in the garden for me. Lots of spring flowers and now the summer stuff seems to be going extremely well. In previous years, very little has grown.

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Posted: 06/06/2014 at 21:36

Does it stunt the growth or harm young tomato plants when you forget to water them and they droop over?

I have a few in small pots, looking just like the above photo from Bf206, and they've started soaking water up like mad. A couple of times I've forgot to water them or not realised how quickly they'd become dry, and the leaves have curled up and wilted, and some of the stems have even curved right over. Watering them and waiting a couple of hours seems to have cured them on those occasions, but does this do any long term harm?

Discussions started by Tomsk

Daff & tulip shoots already?

Replies: 2    Views: 373
Last Post: 04/12/2014 at 23:07

Protecting a planter over winter

How to protect from cats' mess and anything else? 
Replies: 8    Views: 314
Last Post: 26/10/2014 at 13:01

Tomatoes - End of season

What to do with vines once they're finished for the year? 
Replies: 3    Views: 305
Last Post: 21/10/2014 at 13:03

Pruning tomato vines

How much is too much? 
Replies: 5    Views: 297
Last Post: 19/08/2014 at 21:29

Unknown spiny-leaved plant

Help identify this non-flowering green plant? 
Replies: 12    Views: 493
Last Post: 28/07/2014 at 17:26

Split tomato vine

Unsupported plant collapsed, leaving split vine branch 
Replies: 6    Views: 252
Last Post: 25/07/2014 at 17:55


Are they harmful to plants? 
Replies: 7    Views: 264
Last Post: 16/07/2014 at 22:49

Growing basil and other herbs

What time of year to plant, how long do they last? 
Replies: 9    Views: 398
Last Post: 15/07/2014 at 10:59

Lidl bulbs and plants

Nice plants, but often wrong colour/variety. 
Replies: 17    Views: 1057
Last Post: 11/07/2014 at 11:41

Compost smells of Jeyes fluid or bitumen

Is this a problem for plants and fruit/veg? 
Replies: 6    Views: 874
Last Post: 04/07/2014 at 21:10

Using compost early

Is it OK to use home compost before it's completely rotted? 
Replies: 4    Views: 333
Last Post: 23/06/2014 at 22:43

Removing leaves from unknown bulbs

Can I remove large leaves that are hiding flowers 
Replies: 7    Views: 1629
Last Post: 26/07/2014 at 10:29

Plant feed for flowing plants

Can I use up the products I already have? 
Replies: 10    Views: 3120
Last Post: 13/06/2014 at 14:39

Dead rose

Any chance of it rising again 
Replies: 4    Views: 291
Last Post: 11/06/2014 at 20:16

How many frogs?

Nothing to do with light bulbs 
Replies: 4    Views: 257
Last Post: 12/06/2014 at 08:49
1 to 15 of 42 threads