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Latest posts by Topbird

HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 27/03/2016 at 10:03

Happy Easter one and all!

Big 's - struggle to cope with the first day or so of the earlier mornings but always enjoy the lighter evenings. I've been enjoying the clock changes for 58 years now and the novelty in both spring and autumn hasn't worn off yet.

Sorry to hear your neighbour problems have escalated Doc - I got terribly down when we had a similar problem at our previous address although I suspect it wasn't as bad as you're going through - and we had some very good friends and support in the other neighbours. Hope something happens to sort matters out.

KEF - glad you enjoyed the meal - the wine and chocs you brought were topnotch 

HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 26/03/2016 at 19:10
Sounds like a lovely day BL.
Fingers crossed for tomorrow Fairy - lovely part of the world.
Enjoying a (rather strong - hand slipped whilst pouring - oops!) G&T in front of the log burner which is roaring away because of the wind direction & strength - getting quite warm in here now - suspect we might be snoozing in an hour or so.....

HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 26/03/2016 at 18:10
Ha ha - of course I meant that our original plan was to move TO Norwich. Though after our last lot of dealings with solicitors / estate agents etc it might be simpler to just move the city nearer to us

Any chance of a walk this weekend Fairy? I'm sure you've been watching out for a weather window

HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 26/03/2016 at 17:24
Dovefromabove wrote (see)

Topbird - all the compost in the world has been delivered to Notcutts here in Norwich - there are acres of shrink-wrapped pallets of the stuff in the car park. 

Dove - I have to tell you that our local Wyevale couldn't organise the proverbial 'party' in a brewery. They were really short of nearly all types of compost - very poor planning bearing in mind that Easter is probably the biggest gardening weekend of the year. Not for the first time do I wish we had gone with our original plan to move Norwich...

Haven't watched Big Dreams yet - gardening TV tonight I think 

Hosta - don't you go knocking yourself out so close to your op (it must be very soon) - we need you to be fit and healthy on the day.  Not so keen on figs so we went for the extra fruit buns. Have put a few dried cranberries in the pud though & orange zest - love that combination.

Plenty of space round the table KEF - drinks in front of the fire at 6.30 - dinner at 7.30 - the more the merrier.



HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 26/03/2016 at 17:00

Afternoon - what a horrible day (weather wise) - a world apart from yesterday when we had to drink our tea in the shade because we were too warm!

Got lots of digging and mulching done yesterday - as my back can tell you today.

Went to SM this morning (hellish) and also large GC - which had run out of seed compost on Easter weekend

This afternoon I have been making spicy tomato sauce for chilli eggs tonight, the meat stew which will form the base of a mutton hotpot for tomorrow and Easter bread & butter pudding for both nights (extra cream in the custard and sliced hot cross buns instead of stale bread - yum!)

Some nice photos on here today... 

Keep warm & don't get blown away - looking forward to the lighter evenings from tomorrow 


Uses for jumbo bulk bags

Posted: 25/03/2016 at 14:56

I have 2 or 3 which I keep next to the compost bins for storing stuff like shreddings, grass cuttings and leaves which always seem to 'arrive' in bulk (in spring, summer and autumn respecticely) - but are better added to the compost bins in shallower layers. At the moment 2 are full of last autumns leaves which are just starting to break down and will soon start to be added to the bins.


HELLO FORKERS March 2016 edition

Posted: 24/03/2016 at 14:47

Afternoon all.

Pleased to hear Ma is feeling a bit better Dove - aged P's are a worry aren't they? I'm sure it's a little easier knowing she's so well cared for - her home sounds like a very good one.

Pat's pies and biscuits look yummy as usual and everybody else sounds as though they've been busy.

Think I'm finally on top of most of the admin so I've been trying to get in the garden for a couple of hours every day for the the last few days - mainly cutting back, weeding and generally turning the soil. Hope to start feeding and mulching in a day or so.

My garden is a funny old mix. In some areas the soil is relatively thin and dry and in others it is the heaviest of clay. I've been working in one of the clay bits today and it's impossible to get a handfork  into it. I think that bit didn't get mulched last year so it's going to get a good 6" of compost mulch tomorrow.

Just starting to rain now so time for soup then ironing then a quick tidy up before OH comes home late tonight. Will be pleased to see him home safe and sound after the attacks in Brussels - one of his colleagues was staying in a hotel very close to the underground station and was not allowed to leave the building for 24 hrs. He got home yesterday.

Will catch up with The Archers while I'm ironing - find out what that b*st**d Titchener has been up to while I was away 

Invasive plants

Posted: 22/03/2016 at 18:28


Am I the only person in the world who has failed to establish mint in their garden? I have tried in every garden I've owned (5 to date) and have managed to get small bits going but it has never done more than establish a relatively small clump.

It's doing better in the current trial (apple mint) but is well under control. 

Perhaps it's because we're in Suffolk and have very low rainfall. I hate watering so only do the essentials  - and mint isn't in that category.

I would love to have access to wild garlic for cooking but would never plant it in my garden. Am thinking about asking my neighbours if I can try establishing it in their wild wood across the road...

Trees or bushes that grow to 6-10m mature height

Posted: 22/03/2016 at 17:35

I love crab apples - the blossom seems to last for much longer than regular apple trees and doesn't blow away at the first gust of wind. For this reason they act as excellent cross pollinators for almost all eating apple trees if you wanted to include a regular apple tree in your garden. 

The crab apple fruit itself - whilst unpleasant to eat raw - does make excellent crab apple jelly. 

In terms of which crab apple to choose - my experience is:

John Downie - pretty and large fruits but very susceptible to disfiguring scab and the birds usually finish the fruit by October. 

Everest - usually smothered in fruit - orangey colour. Birds and squirrels usually finish the fruits early to mid winter.

Red Sentinel - beautiful bright red fruit - the birds don't usually finish this one off until late winter.

There are lots of others but these are the ones I have.

You could also consider a hazel / cob nut tree if you like nuts and want your garden to be productive. Mine are probably 15 - 20 years old and are about 4m high. A denser canopy - but it can be coppiced if it starts to cast too much shade.

BTW - I'm also on clay soil so these should be ok for you.

Trees or bushes that grow to 6-10m mature height

Posted: 22/03/2016 at 15:17

Agree with KT53's comments re size of trees and garden dimensions. If you are determined to have something so high, it does need to be something finer and airier. Hence the suggestion for a silver birch. Do some research (library - books on trees) to try to find which might be the best variety to go for and perhaps visit a good tree nursery for some advice.

10m is as high as a 2 storey house so I don't really understand the comment that you don't want to shade the garden but you are considering putting something that high in? Planting a tree is a big step in any garden - especially a relatively small one - always think long and hard about what to use.

I'd be more inclined to go for perhaps 3 smaller trees (amalanchier / crab apples - these can still grow fairly tall and have seasons of interest) and some large shrubs which will give more of a feeling of enclosure and privacy and distract the eye away from the views 

I fully understand why you want privacy from neighbours - but you are unlikely to be able to achieve this in the whole garden without making it feel like a prison yard. You could, however, probably make a secluded corner using (perhaps) a pergola type arrangement with climbers and large shrubs around. That way you will have an area to sit and relax / eat which is hidden from view but you are unlikely to be able to achieve that for the whole garden. 

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