Latest posts by Topbird

Insect bites

Posted: 10/06/2016 at 18:52

Witch Hazel gel is cheap and a very soothing and cooling treatment for insect bites. Has the added advantage of being non sticky once dry and it's clear so no white patches. Really does take the itch away for a couple of hours. It's the only treatment OH will use because he hates sticky ointments.

Last edited: 10 June 2016 18:53:52

Using cut grass to keep strawberries off the soil

Posted: 09/06/2016 at 19:11

Grass goes slimy & horrible when wet 

I bought straw to go round strawberries a couple of years ago. I don't know whether I bought the wrong sort but it had seeds left in it. Looked lovely for a week - then every last one of those seeds germinated... Took weeks to clear the bed 

I would opt for membrane or coarse bark chippings now. I actually just left them as is for the last 2 years & stuck a few sticks in to try to keep the heaviest stems off the wet soil. Lost a few to wet soil contact but still more than enough for us and the voles. 

What is your weather like?

Posted: 09/06/2016 at 19:01

Wasn't forecast to be hot today - but it was. Possibly not the best day to decide to shift half a bulk bag of bark chippings (I think that was about 25 barrow loads) 60 metres down the garden. Hope that tomorrow a few more loads & then we might be able to drag the rest next to the area where they are to be spread.

Am rather hot and bothered just now...

And I never cut the grass....

Hawthorn Hedge Brown Leaves

Posted: 09/06/2016 at 10:16

You snuck in there Fidget - looks like we have the same suspicion re the weedkiller 

I'm sure hawthorn will recover with a little TLC though.

Hawthorn Hedge Brown Leaves

Posted: 09/06/2016 at 10:13

To be honest Jim - I'm not sure at all.

I have some brown bits like that where fresh growth was a bit nipped by the frosts. I also know that occasionally a bit of weedkiller spray might reach the hedge when I'm leaning over to try to zap the huge nettles and thistles which have been allowed to grow wild in the field behind my garden.

If you don't think either of those is the problem for you, could the hedge perhaps be very dry and / or hungry?.

It looks as though there is quite a lot of stuff planted up to the base of the hedge. Maybe clearing some of that away, giving it a feed, a good watering and mulching would be beneficial. You could also give it a foliar feed (liquid seaweed) a couple of times this season.

Good luck 


Posted: 08/06/2016 at 18:43

Is it Angelica Runny?

(just thinking as we're on a cake making theme....  )

Neighbour dispute

Posted: 08/06/2016 at 16:34

Keeps us happy doesn't it Pansy? My neighbours think I'm stark staring - they're probably right 

Neighbour dispute

Posted: 08/06/2016 at 14:48

Never thought of it like that Pansy - "grow you bu$$er grow - or it's the compost bin for you.... "

That usually frightens 'em into action too

Rose clear

Posted: 08/06/2016 at 12:34

I think Rose Clear contains an insecticide. In which case there is some merit in spraying late in the evening when there are fewer beneficial pollinators about.

Will still zap some of them though

I use a fungicide if (and only if) there is a lot of black spot on the roses. I try to live with insect damage or use organic methods to control aphids (picking them off / blasting with the hose etc)

Help! Poorly silver birch tree

Posted: 08/06/2016 at 12:23

It sounds as though the tree is stressed and I would think your silver birch is itching to stretch it's roots.

A  'normal' silver birch is a big, big tree. There are  several in the garden next to us which have had several metres removed from the top and they are still as high as our (2 storey) house.  I have never seen one grown in a pot.

But maybe you have a special variety intended for pot growing?

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