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Latest posts by Topbird

Talkback: How to prune and propagate dogwoods

Posted: 12/02/2015 at 19:24

Try Googling 'contorted (or corkscrew) hazel' and 'contorted (or corkscrew) willow' and looking at some pictures - possibly one of those. Failing that a photo might help one of the plant experts to identify it for you

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 10/02/2015 at 19:05

Bit overcast today but it was dry and no wind (hate, hate, hate gardening when it's windy) so spent a good 2 - 3 hrs in the garden today. Cold when I went out but got a nice glow on by the time I'd finished.

Lopped 2 - 3' off a viburnum tinus and made it a slightly better shape and had a general tidy up of one little border. Moved some perennial plugs from the potting shed to the mini greenhouse to make some bench space for seed sowing in a couple of weeks.

Definitely a few signs of vegetation stirrings out there. Not long to go now folks ...

Worries & troubles that affect Forum friends.

Posted: 09/02/2015 at 08:30
Hi BL - I've been away for a couple of days & unable to post before today.
I am so very sorry to hear about Tigger. Caring for loved but ill pets can be so traumatic - if only they could talk to tell you what makes them feel more comfortable. From previous postings it is clear that all your pets are as loved as any other member of your family and that you strive to do your very best for all of them.
I do hope you have a little more time with Tigger and are able to add some special memories to the memory bank over the coming days and weeks. Love him, cuddle him and treasure the time with him. So many of us have been down similar roads - we understand what a horrible time this is for you.

another pair of eyes please

Posted: 08/02/2015 at 22:36
Oooh Lily - I hope my clocks will be springing forward in the spring - not falling back - as they do in the fall

You have lovely plants in your garden - some nice ideas above


Posted: 07/02/2015 at 10:21

Oh - and another thing - larger pacs which are more expensive than buying 2 smaller ones - specially to fool those who don't do the sums -

e.g. buy one 100g item for £1.45 or buy a larger 200g pac for £2.99......


Posted: 07/02/2015 at 10:18

Another thing (while we're having a little lament). Has anyone else noticed how many products these days are smaller than we used to get? Tins of tuna that no longer quite stretch to lunch sandwiches for 2 because they contain less fish, chocolate bars which are the same size but thinner so they weigh less. Lots of products like this...

It's certainly a way to avoid increasing the price of an item (& in the case of a chocolate bar it's probably no bad thing if I'm getting a little less each time ) - but it is very annoying when I go to make a tried and tested recipe and find that where it was once one tin or packet - now it is 2 or (more usually) 1.5 - so then I have half a tin left over which I need to use or throw away. 


Posted: 07/02/2015 at 09:14

The other thing a lot of people do is to go to a local shop to see what something looks like 'in the flesh', how it handles and to get advice on special features etc - and then go home and buy it for less on the internet. Electrical and other household items are particular targets for this.

I have been guilty of this in the past but, after a spate of local shop closures, I now try really hard not to do it unless there is such a huge difference in price that I think a shop is taking the p**s.

It really is true that, if we don't buy from our local shops (with their specialist knowledge and, often, excellent customer service), then we will lose them.

Having said that though - the best ones near me have a strong internet presence too and one of them said he makes far more from internet sales - but he likes having his small 'outdoor' shop with a loyal and regular clientele - good for him! 

What flowers in February?

Posted: 05/02/2015 at 08:57
Hi Pauline
I would certainly consider one of the scented winter flowering shrubs mentioned above and then under plant it with some choice hellebores, snow drops and cyclamen. It should be a pretty harbinger of spring each year to lift the spirits


Posted: 05/02/2015 at 08:44
I grow mine in their own raised bed. They usually reach a fruiting peak at about 3 years so I have a rolling programme of replacing older plants with plantlets from the runners.
Personally I would find it hard to manage the strawberries if they were growing amongst other veg. They become quite large plants in the summer with lots of runners and I also have to net against the birds. Doesn't solve the problem of the short tail voles which burrow their way up from below - but they do much less damage than birds.
Mine are planted at 18" spacing. I would always buy plants rather than growing from seed - we have a good farm shop which sells a wide variety of strawberriy plants for less than a pound each. I am happy for someone else to do the initial work!

Shady spot..what to do?

Posted: 04/02/2015 at 10:04
Aaaah - that's not how I had visualised it all - sounds nice.

I'd be tempted by some evergreen shrubs that you can keep nicely shaped (yew, eunonymous, pittosporum, or holly for example - maybe even grown as standards) and then underplanted with bulbs, ferns, hostas, geraniums etc.

Have fun

Discussions started by Topbird

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

Replies: 8    Views: 278
Last Post: 06/03/2015 at 13:52

Which Currant Bushes Would You Recommend

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Papaver somniferum seed

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Papaver somniferum seed

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Last Post: 20/06/2014 at 22:28

Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

Replies: 4    Views: 1291
Last Post: 16/03/2014 at 21:15

Growing strawberries

Replies: 4    Views: 560
Last Post: 14/07/2013 at 23:02

Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

Replies: 3    Views: 913
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 20:19

Dividing Perennials

Replies: 5    Views: 667
Last Post: 12/06/2013 at 10:34

Moving delphiniums at the wrong time

Replies: 9    Views: 2038
Last Post: 20/05/2013 at 16:08

Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
Replies: 1    Views: 527
Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 10:49

Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
Replies: 6    Views: 1836
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
11 threads returned