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Latest posts by Topbird

Tree ID please

Posted: 20/04/2015 at 19:40

Definitely one of the amelanchiers - lovely trees and shrubs - good autumn colour as well as pretty spring foliage and blossom. 

Fruit trees - plum and apple

Posted: 20/04/2015 at 17:15
Verdun wrote (see)

Don't like ant powder around edible crops Topbird.  


You are probably right Verdun  - won't do that again.

Can anyone add to this list?

Posted: 20/04/2015 at 17:11

My hand weeding fork has a bright girly-pink handle and my secateurs are orange and yellow. My garden knife is bright red. The idea is that the handles stand out in the border so I never lose them.

Guess what? - Doesn't work!

Some days it seems I spend nearly as long looking for things I had 'just a minute ago' as I do actually working. I too have gardening caddy which keeps things all neat and  tidy in the shed but is just there to trip over when I'm working.

I am going to invent a mini tag to attach to garden tools that emits a little tune (whatever!) when activated from a key ring fob to help me find stuff. I am going to take it on Dragon's Den and become a millionaire ......

Fruit trees - plum and apple

Posted: 20/04/2015 at 16:55

Hi Panda. We inherited a maturish Victoria plum tree which didn't fruit at all the first couple of years we were here (same with the mature Egremont Russet apple).

Two years ago we did major landscaping & the planting included 4 crab apple trees. Last year we had loads of blossom = loads of pollinators = super, bumper crop of really nice apples and bumper (well ok - 11 - ) crop of plums.

I have concluded that the poor cropping of plums is due to lack of pollination (Victoria is supposed to be self fertile) but I'm hoping it will get better year on year as we increase the pollinator friendly planting. Meantime I might try the old paintbrush trick myself...

Re aphids on the apple tree - encouraging birds is a good idea. I also get a bucket of soapy water and stiff brush and scrub off any of those patches of cotton wool the woolly aphids hide in. Doesn't get rid of them but helps to control them. I have been known to sprinkle ant powder round the base of my tree before now - didn't last long but made me feel better.

What have I got

Posted: 20/04/2015 at 12:31

Sorry Benjamin I'm not sure what it is either but I just wanted to say that your description & photos should be the template for how everybody should ask for a plant ID - good clear pictures & every aspect of the plant leaf, flower and habit covered. I'm sure somebody will be able to ID it for you before long..

Nutcutlet is usually pretty good at these things 

ask a silly question....

Posted: 19/04/2015 at 11:18

I'm so right sided it's laughable - can do hardly anything with my left hand, use my right foot for digging, kicking off on my bike, kicking balls etc etc. When I had physio a few years ago I was advised to try to use my left side a bit more as the muscles on the RH side of my back were so overdeveloped. 

My mother in law is naturally left handed but was forced to use her right hand at school - consequently she is fairly ambidextrous. My OH is right handed but does quite a few things left handed (genes?) including using a knife in his left hand. He can easily swap to using his left hand when doing DIY etc if it makes access easier

Buried treasure

Posted: 19/04/2015 at 11:01

In my first garden (victorian country cottage) I uncovered the original rubbish heap (pre council refuse collection). Lots of broken pottery, a few coins, some lovely, intact, local earthenware ginger beer bottles and some unusual glass bottles.

In my previous garden (converted farm buildings) I found lots of bits from the old farm horses (horse shoes, one horse brass, bits of harness etc).

In my current garden (20 year old build on site of a 1930's bungalow) I have found several breeze blocks, large lumps of mortar, a concrete lintel at least 4' long (still there - couldn't dig it out) and a large buried roll of roofing felt and lots and lots of broken brick 


Posted: 17/04/2015 at 19:09

Congratulations Fidget - enjoy the planning and partying 

New here. 😊

Posted: 17/04/2015 at 15:26

Hi Wonky & welcome - we've heard snippets about your garden from your mum - sounds lovely - no secrets on here I'm afraid ... 


Block paving - How do I weed it?

Posted: 17/04/2015 at 12:20

I would have thought that weedkiller is your best option unless (as Pansy has already said) the area is sloping so the liquid just runs off.

Assuming the area is reasonably level - I would grit my teeth and let the weeds come through for a few weeks so there is a bit of growth. I would then apply Path Clear - this has a residual effect & helps prevent seeds germinating. Use the concentrate (rather than ready mixed) & apply using a large sprayer - you can cover a large area fairly quickly. Choose a day when it's a bit overcast but no rain is forecast (& no wind of course) - I often do mine in the evening.

If you use Path Clear you can spray all the grout joints (even those that appear 'clean') as well as the weeds to try & stop seed germination. The weeds should start to die within a few days. I would then leave it a few weeks and respray if weeds start to germinate. After that I would check the paving and regrout any areas where there are holes and gaps for weeds to set up home.

Glyphosphate / systemic weedkillers are excellent for killing weeds in ground that will be cultivated but only works on plants with green foliage. It doesn't stop seeds germinating & it becomes inactive when it comes into contact with woody stems or the soil. I would only use that on the persistent weeds you think are growing from under the paving itself once you've tried the above. 

I find I need to apply Path Clear about 3 times between early spring and late winter on my gravel drive (aka a "weed seed tray").


Discussions started by Topbird

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Which Currant Bushes Would You Recommend

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Moving delphiniums at the wrong time

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Last Post: 20/05/2013 at 16:08

Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
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Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 10:49

Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
Replies: 6    Views: 2213
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
11 threads returned