Latest posts by Topbird

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Posted: 15/06/2016 at 13:00

Seconded Steve 

What is this wildflower?

Posted: 15/06/2016 at 11:13

Could it be Fox-and-Cubs ? (Pilosella aurantiaca) ?

Flowers a bit like dandelions but orange?

White garden

Posted: 15/06/2016 at 11:10

Eleagnus is a good choice. You could also consider some of the varieties of Euonymous. They tend to have smaller leaves if this suits the area better and there is everything from solid green to green with a splash of white to white with a splash of green. Even a euonymous which appears to have a low growing height (say 1m) will often grow quite a bit higher if growing against a wall.

Ivies might also be worth a look.

Sometimes an all white garden can look a little flat. The most successful ones have good structural foliage and sometimes a few non-white flowers - very palest pink or pale lime for example. These colours help the white sing out.

Good luck with your plan - sounds as though it will be lovely 


Posted: 12/06/2016 at 08:48


Welcome home Dove - sorry you've got the sniffles.

Glad BL's strawberry tea went well & I wish DD good luck for this afternoon - I'm sure your visitors will enjoy it whatever the weather.

Had a great afternoon yesterday - some really good acts at the Blues festival & the CAMRA beer tent had an excellent selection. Nice and warm - not too sunny. Fortunately I had checked the weather forecast before leaving - yellow warnings for heavy rain - so I decided to forego the beer & took the car instead of bikes. 

We left early at 6pm because I needed to come home to do a few jobs & water veg beds before our trip. Shut the car door to the first crack of thunder. Within 10 mins the roads were flooding & it was difficult driving - fortunately it's only about 7 miles. 

Certainly no need to water the beds and new plantings - will just have a quick whizz round & do a couple of pots before we set off for the Cotswolds. 

Have a good day everyone!

Last edited: 12 June 2016 08:50:11

David Austin Graham Thomas climber

Posted: 11/06/2016 at 10:38

Rubi - if you ring David Austin they will be able to advise how thorny the stems are and maybe suggest an alternative if it's not the right plant for you. Similarly, Peter Beales Classic Roses nr Attleborough, Norfolk might have a suggestion.


Posted: 11/06/2016 at 09:26


DD and BL - hope your events are enjoyable whatever the weather.

Have been working hard shifting a bulk delivery of pine bark chippings from one end of the garden to the other. Hot work but I now have a 4-6" deep mulch round all the soft fruit which (hopefully!) means no weeding and nice dry paths to walk on to pick the fruit. Nice chunky stuff - no rubbish- looks good - smells like a forest floor 

We have a nice couple of days lined up as a reward for my efforts.

This pm we are off to a blues and beer festival - will be cycling there and wobbling back 

Then tomorrow we head to the Cotswolds in the campervan. Staying o/night for free at the back of a really nice old pub. We'll be having a meal in the pub (asparagus festival is still on - yum!) & if we're not driving we can enjoy a glass or two of wine...

Monday we're going to Hidcote - can't wait - have wanted to go for yonks and might go to the other garden across the road too.

Then Tuesday we head home via some pretty villages and interesting churches.

Hope the rain everybody is wishing for happens at night. Seems funny hearing people in the West Country & Scotland talking about empty water butts. 

Enjoy your day everybody - SYL

Using cut grass to keep strawberries off the soil

Posted: 11/06/2016 at 08:19


Having just taken delivery of 2 different lots of bark I would say this:

I had a bulk 1 cubic metre delivery of ornamental pine bark intended for play areas (to make paths in my fruit bed) It was dry, large nuggets of pine bark, smelt lovely and would be perfect to put under strawberries to keep them clean and dry.

I needed a tiny bit more to finish of the job I was doing - so went to Homebase yesterday and got a 100 litre bag of play area bark - supposed to be large chunks.

When I opened it it was wet, slimy, didnt smell so good and was bark shreddings (rather than nuggets) and was full of bits of wood.

I was able to mix it in with the other nuggets so it didn't matter for me - but that would not have been any good at all under strawberries - no better than the original idea of grass cuttings.

Havng suggested the idea - I would now say only use the large nuggets. You need to be able to see what's in the bags...

Last edited: 11 June 2016 08:24:48

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....

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