Latest posts by Topbird

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 17:35
Obelixx says:

.....Rasta ate the windfall birdy fat balls and has now been sick on the kitchen floor.  Nice.

TB - ask a bee specialist about having a natural hive where you don't harvest the honey.  Wild bees need homes and seem to manage without anyone harvesting their honey...

See original post

 I will probably do that Obx. This year (at some stage...) I intend to plant another tree in the back garden with bulbs and wild flowers planted in the grass underneath. That area of grass would be left unmown for much of the year and I thought that might be a good location for a hive.

Unfortunately there seems to be a 'degree' of animosity between those who want to have natural hives (where the bees essentially look after themselves) and those who think bee hives should only be run as honey production factories complete with marked and wing-clipped queen bees and regular smokings and hive inspections. It was this 'discussion' which got things stirred up last time. I'll do the relevant research when I'm ready to do something about it.

Fortunately we have some bee keepers in the village who might be prepared to see an alternative point of view.

Nice one Rasta 

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 16:56

Bloomin' 'eck it's freezing out there today.

Had a quick hour trying to retrain a rose which I bought thinking it was a shrub and turned out to be a climber. Lots of long, whippy growth last summer. Decided to try pegging it into a dome shape like they do at Sissinghurst - only problem is mine is all laterals 'cos I've cut the leaders during shrub rose style pruning in previous years. 

Looks more like a wonky crab now rather than a carefully trained mound  Still, it wasn't working as it was before so nothing lost. If this doesn't work I'll cut it down to the ground and start again.

I'd love to have a bee hive in the garden. Have thought about having one of those top bar ones and just leaving it for the bees to do their own thing. ie just providing them with shelter and not really bothering with harvesting honey (don't like it that much). 

I discussed doing that once on the Forum and was positively rounded on as being irresponsible. I was told I would be responsible for causing bee swarms and the spread of various viruses which kill the bee population. But bees have been making hives and sorting themselves out naturally for centuries...

Glad you enjoyed the exhibition Dove. Might have to join you for a nap...

Views on Plant Combination - Black Elder & Clematis

Posted: 28/02/2017 at 16:30

I have a Sambucus Nigra (Black Elder) - "Black Lace" - planted 3 or 4 years ago, which has grown well and is doing a good job as part of a tall shrub screen.

I cut it back to about 1m high every spring to maintain the shape and keep it under control but it still gets to 4m high and 3m wide by the end of summer. So far, so good. 

The only problem I have with it is I find the black leaves (which I planted it for!) can start to look a little dull and funereal from about mid summer onwards - mainly because of the sheer size of the plant.

I'm considering planting one (maybe even two) of the later flowering (perhaps viticella) clematis to grow through it. These could be cut back in spring when I cut the elder down and then grow up through the elder through the summer. My thoughts are that a pretty pale colour would just liven the whole thing up.

I'd be interested to hear if anybody has any thoughts as to whether or not this will work. In particular any real cons to doing it.

Anybody else done it?

Any thoughts as to the best clematis to use?


Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 23:21

Really enjoyed the Mary Berry programme - some really nice recipes and even better views of Scotland.

Not sure I could have picked what to have from the menu at the Ullapool seafood shack - think it would just have been easier to start at the top and work on down. (Greedy guts )

Have very happy memories of enjoying a huge plate of spinies or squat lobsters at the hotel in Applecross when we rented a cottage there some years ago.

Time for bed now - night all 

Last edited: 27 February 2017 23:22:37

Lovely shrub, but what is it?

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 17:04

It's a lovely plant Phill. One I have always found space for in my gardens. 

Lovely shrub, but what is it?

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 15:37

Another possibility is Rosa Glauca. 

Suggets you Google Dove's and my suggestions and see if either plant resembles yours when it's in full foliage.

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 15:29

Ooops - meant to say thanks to Obx for tip about bathing thumb.

It's really quite sore at the moment - but that's probably as much because I keep squeezing and digging at it.

Pretty sure there's not 13mm of thorn in there  Ouch! I bet that was painful!

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 15:23

I clearly remember half day closing (Wednesday) when probably 90% of the shops were shut - including the post office & probably the banks too.

I also remember desperately trying to get to my bank when I first started work. The bank was open Mon - Fri & closed at 3.30pm. I worked Mon - Fri and the very earliest I could leave was 3.30pm. The office and bank were in different towns so no chance of getting there in a lunch hour. Had to take a half day's leave whenever I needed to visit the bank.

Also remember how tedious childhood Sundays were. We had to be quiet when we were outside so as not to disturb the neighbours & no ball games etc. We didn't go to church so the day revolved around preparing a roast dinner and then going out for a drive or visiting grandparents before tea and then sitting down to watch The Forsyth Saga. I don't remember any other half decent TV programmes on a Sunday. Nobody particularly enjoyed any of it - just ways to relieve the boredom. A particularly dire activity was 'window shopping' - ie looking at the window displays of the closed shops.

I think even the cinemas were closed.

Sunday always seemed like a day to get through rather than one to be enjoyed. Saturday was altogether jollier.Personally I'd hate to go back to the Sundays of the 1960's.

On holiday, I should probably find the French lunchtime closing rather 'quaint' and a bit nostalgic. Instead, I always forget and just find it very irritating that I'm forced to shop when it suits the shop owners rather than when it suits me. But then I'm just a grumpy old cow

Hello Forkers - February 2017 Edition

Posted: 27/02/2017 at 08:48


Office day today. Couldn't garden anyway. Ripped into thumb with a rose thorn yesterday & it feels as though a tiny piece may have broken off in there. Need to Google for home made poultice recipes when I get home.

Sun is shining now but we had quite a bit of rain in the night which the garden needed. Will probably start mulching this week now I can see where some of the treasures are - and it's better if the ground is wet.

Feel so sorry for Clari's little beaver (can I really say that?) Poor lad will probably have been absolutely mortified and anxious that it might happen again if he goes for another sleepover. Doesn't matter how kind the adults were at the time. Hope you get a good night's sleep tonight Clari.

I don't have strong views regarding Sunday trading / deliveries so long as nobody is forced to work against their will on their own particular Sabbath. That applies to all religions not just christians. I do agree with Hosta though really. People shouldn't knowingly apply for jobs with working conditions which may conflict with their beliefs.

Must get on....

Last edited: 27 February 2017 08:51:25

Puzzlers Corner 2

Posted: 26/02/2017 at 18:02

"A Pair of Blue Eyes" by Thomas Hardy?

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