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Latest posts by Topbird

water butt tap not working

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 17:23

Some lovely images being conjured up here - people kicking water butts, people getting drenched in the Tsunami after removing tap from said water butt, stockings with and without suspenders and people walking round with water butts wedged on their heads - all topped off with people emptying saucepans of rice down the sink (that would have made me soooo mad RB!).

I love this forum 

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 17:12

6 varieties of bare root hostas turned up today so I braved the elements down to the potting shed & potted them up. The Geranium Palmatum seedlings received and potted up about 3 weeks ago are doing well (considering the compost has been frozen several times) - I just love those plants - they look tender, exotic & really quite tropical but are actually pretty tough - and evergreen to boot. They can be quite short lived (abt 2 - 3 years) but are easily propagated from seed.  I am planning a nice large patch of them this year.

Other than that - filled the bird feeders and got some logs in. Fire now lit - sitting room nice & snug.

Apple tree dilemma

Posted: 29/01/2015 at 10:15
My way is much the same as Bekkie's.
Dig over the area where you want to plant the tree and dig in some bulky organic matter as you do it (this could be homemade garden compost or leaf mould or well rotted farmyard manure or well rotted horse muck or even an old bag or two of multi purpose compost).
Then dig a really nice big hole in this enriched soil and (as you plant the tree) sprinkle just a little of the fungi over the roots and the base of the hole. But the fungi is just an extra boost some of us like to use. It is good but definitely not essential.
Knock a tree stake in before filling the hole - (that way you won't push it through the rootball) and gently firm the soil around the roots with your boot as you're filling the hole.
Water well after planting and put a 3 - 4" layer of compost or leaf mould mulch over the soil to help retain moisture. You probably wont need to do much else with it for a while, but when it starts getting warmer and drier I would water it once a week for this first summer unless the soil is already clearly damp.
If you can't plant the tree in the ground straight away I would do the following:
If it it's in a pot it will be fine until you can put it in - just dont let it dry out or blow over
If it is bare root & you need to leave it more than a day or so I would either just dig a hole, bung it in & cover it over until you can do it properly (called heeling in - forget about the soiless compost bit)
Alternatively, if the ground is frozen or you are short of space, you could find a big plastic pot and pot the tree up in multi purpose compost & just look after it until planting conditions are more favourable (just think of it as a giant pot plant).
At a push you could soak the rootball for a couple of hours then wrap the roots in damp newspaper or old towels and place the root ball in a bin bag. This will keep it all damp ( but not saturated) - but, personally, I wouldn't want to keep a tree like that for more than a few days as there is a risk the roots could start to rot.
As Bekkie says - if you just dug a hole in the ground and stuck the tree in - it would probably grow away just fine. By improving the soil first you are simply giving it a head start.
Don't put it in the ground if the ground is frozen or covered in snow (quite possible where you are this weekend)
If that's the case I would pot it up & wait till the weather is a bit better.
Good luck. Don't worry about it too much - a tree is just a bigger plant. It wants to grow for you.

Apple tree dilemma

Posted: 28/01/2015 at 14:13

Hi Charmaine & welcome to the forum 

Planting a tree is always exciting! Good advice from Bekkie & co above.

I have used the mycchrorizal fungi for trees, shrubs and roses - and can thoroughly recommend it. It really speeds up the development of a large network of the finer fibrous roots which are important for the take up of water and food.

If you are unable to plant the tree this weekend make sure you wedge it in somewhere so it doesn't get blown over in the strong winds which are forecast - I had a broken branch on a baby crab apple after failing to do so last year (school girl error )


Worries & troubles that affect Forum friends.

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 17:08

Hello Pauline - hope you received some reassurance this afternoon and this is a problem which can be sorted out with no permanent damage to your sight - will keep my fingers crossed for a positive outcome.

PS - If you go to Italy you'll be a fashionista - Italians seem to wear sunglasses all day everyday - indoors and out 

Greenhouse cleaning

Posted: 27/01/2015 at 11:59

I have used diluted Jeyes in the past - which certainly does the trick & kills off a lot of nasties.  However, I always think it leaves the greenhouse smelling like the type of public convenience I hate using - and the smell seems to linger for days

Would probably opt for the washing up liquid & bleach mix now. Be sure to wear old clothes though and pick a milder day - it's a messy old job (or is that just me? ...)

Worries & troubles that affect Forum friends.

Posted: 26/01/2015 at 18:30

So sorry to hear your news Verdun - but glad that you seemed to have some happier days with her over the last few weeks, when she was more like your old mum. 

No views over the ring - but a plant to remember her is a nice idea. I planted one for my father and chose a richly scented viburnum which was always in flower for his birthday   - it seemed more appropriate to me to celebrate his birthday (which was always a happy event) than to remember the day he died.


Posted: 26/01/2015 at 17:17

I am restarting my raspberry bed and have decided to go for just autumn fruiting canes. They require less support than the summer fruiters and seem to produce more fruit over a longer season (& the birds seem less attracted to them than the earlier varieties).

In view of the recommendations above I will give Polka a try this time. But (out of interest) - has anybody tried any of the yellow varieties? I thought I might go for just one cane to add interest to the fruit bowl.  How do they compare in terms of yield and taste? Any recommendations for variety?

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 25/01/2015 at 23:11

Good luck with the propagation Mrs G - hope all goes well 

Take it easy Hostafan - carrying on like a mad b**g*r won't make spring come any sooner you know!

Lovely to see so many flowers today - I'm glad I planted some stuff for winter colour & fragrance - really lifted the spirits to see it in the sunshine today.

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 25/01/2015 at 15:05

Today I used my extra-long-handled loppers to cut back the brambles & ivy in my neighbours field which grow through my fence every year to join the self seeded nettles & docks (again from her unmanaged field ) in my strawberry and nursery beds...

Then went to GC & bought 12 sacks of half-price MP compost which I will use to supplement my home produced compost as a mulch for my beds. Several days of shovelling coming up....

Oh - and moved some budding snowdrops from under a hedge to a couple of places where I can see them more easily. Meant to do that last spring but other stuff got in the way as it does 

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