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Latest posts by Topbird

Ideas of Nurseries and Garden Centres to Visit on my hols in the South East

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 18:12


We are off to the south coast for a few days soon and I would love to visit some really good, interesting (or otherwise special) nurseries or garden centres while we're there (OH does not know this yet - keep it quiet )

We will be staying near Folkestone and then moving to Rye so if anybody can give me a heads up of places to go within a 20 -30  mile radius of those places, I would be very grateful. I need to buy some more shrubs (nothing exotic) and I love herbaceous perennials. Not into grasses or conifers. If there is a warm tea room where 'somebody' can sit with a newspaper while I browse it's a Brucie Bonus - but not essential.


Scarifying: what is it?

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 14:38

No offence taken Edd  

Regarding the composting: I have to agree that general thatch (ie dead grass) is good for composting - but my previous lawn was very, very mossy when I inherited it (maybe 30 - 40% of the lawn area) - and it was the moss that just didn't seem to rot down as quickly as other material - and there was a lot of it!

After I started using a lawn company to treat (feed & weed etc) the lawn they advised me not to compost any scarified material as they were concerned about residual weedkiller in the moss. I would imagine they were providing the same sort of service as the company visiting Des and, presumably, using the same sort of chemicals - hence the heads-up.

 Regarding scarifying twice a year - I'm sure you are right but not for lazy old me i'm afraid. I regard tending the lawn as a necessary evil & I'm afraid I do as little as possible to keep it looking half decent (I tell you - immaculate lawns - it's a man thing )

what colour pergola

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 14:06

Personally I like black as a background to green foliage - looks quite contemporary and a bit oriental!

Sadolin (Classic?) wood stain (green tin) is available in several colours including ebony. Best bought from a builder's merchant. It is expensive but is an excellent product and was recommended for protecting our timber clad (barn conversion) house. 30 years on the house is still weather tight and no sign of timber rotting. (Being a house it was recoated about every 7 years)

If you were to do 2 coats now (better still make it 3) you would not have to worry about it again for 10 years - probably longer. Any of the cheaper fencing stains sold in the chain DIY stores will probably fade or start to flake after a couple of years & then you will face the dilemma of cutting your plant back to restain - or letting the pergola take it's chance.

Scarifying: what is it?

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 13:48

Add to my post above

Looking at the names above I think I might be in a minority of one here being female??

Have always found that tending grass / lawn & other groundsman's duties is much more popular with men than women. That might explain why I much prefer to spend my time doing things other than tending a lawn but the others don't seem to mind  

Scarifying: what is it?

Posted: 05/03/2015 at 13:42

I'm afraid I am bit of a lazy gardener  who prefers the planting, pruning, pottering side of gardening to the annual chores which (for me at least) require a lot of discipline to do. I am all for delegating those tasks...

If I had a very small lawn I would (probably) do the work myself - with either a rake as above or buy a small electric scarifier per Verdun's suggestion. I have always found the amount of moss and thatch produced is quite amazing and the job takes much longer than I thought it would.

If you have a larger lawn I'd be tempted to let them do the job once and see how much thatch etc they get out. You can then make the decision whether to do it yourself in future or pay them to do it - perhaps every other year. Larger scarifiers are quite expensive to buy & it would probably cost nearly as much to hire one as the company are charging to do the work.

Word of warning - I would be wary of putting the moss / thatch produced in the compost bin. The moss takes forever to rot down and may well contain traces of weed and moss killer which you wouldn't really want to spread round your borders.

here i am again

Posted: 04/03/2015 at 17:17

Denise, if the Green Thumbs guys are doing what the Lawnhopper guys did for my "lawn" in my previous house - you should be in for a pleasant surprise in a few months time.

'My' team basically turned up about every 3  months and did a feed / weed / moss treatment appropriate for the time of year and they came in to do a one-off scarify / aerate treatment. The lawn looked absolutely dreadful after that first treatment and also after the first moss treatment (about 40% went black!). 

But I / they persisted and within a year they had turned around a muddy, weed infested, mossy patch with a bit of grass in it to a rather nice green carpet - not perfect but good enough for a country garden. Yes - I could have done the work myself but it was a large area and I know I would not have kept up the treatment regime. It also worked out cheaper to pay them to come and do it with bulk purchased chemicals than to do it myself with packets from the GC - so why would I? (and they always came back a couple of weeks later to make sure each treatment had worked with reapplication to areas where it was needed - free of charge).

I thought it was an excellent service and will be using them again when I've finished cutting borders and hard landscaping in the field I currently call a lawn. 


Posted: 03/03/2015 at 10:01


Busy-Lizzie - only in France could you have "motley patisserie trays" for your plants....



Posted: 02/03/2015 at 22:13
SGL - I think Ashdale was going to see Monty today as well - hope (s)he enjoyed it as much as me.
Panda - I have tried your cheese scones in the past - they were yummy! Mine are sometimes more like cheese biscuits!
Matty - best wishes - you are doing really well.
Dove - solved the Connect Wall number 2 - Bohemian Rhapsody a bit of a give away for anyone of my age


Posted: 02/03/2015 at 19:17

Certainly is a good night Dove. We have to watch Only Connect on pause TV so we can pause it to do the wall. Have definitely got better at it over the last couple of series - must have started to understand how the brains that set them work.

I think OH's favourite bit is the opening sequence when he gets to see whether or not Vicky is showing cleavage - men don't seem to develop much beyond the age of about 16 do they??


Posted: 02/03/2015 at 19:00

Evening all - has been bitterly cold here in Suffolk with a couple of snow showers. Spent an enjoyable morning in the 16th century (transcribing wills at our local records office) and then had a really lovely afternoon with Monty Don (& a couple of hundred other people!). He was really entertaining talking about the development of his own garden and career and then about some of the gardens he has visited world wide.

He came across as a really nice person - very self deprecating - and everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy the afternoon. Can thoroughly recommend if anybody has the opportunity to go at another venue. Nigel got more than one mention!

Raspberry canes and hydrangea were delivered while I was out - so a little job for tomorrow I think.

My lovely OH is cooking dinner so time for a G&T in front of the fire  then University Challenge, Only Connect and Rick Stein in Australia - great day all round 

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