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Topbird


Latest posts by Topbird

Just watched Monty Tonight

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 21:07

Just watched GW - mmm - not for me I'm afraid. My father-in-law, however, would definitely give that lawn10 out of 10 (he's from Yorkshire too - so perhaps it's a generational / geographical thing...). Still, each to his own and I have to applaud the guy for his dedication.

The bees have been all over our lawn this afternoon as well - busy, busy busy. Lovely 

Perki somethings gone wrong

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 16:21

I was having problems with answering a PM yesterday Granma (from an iMac - not a tablet type device). Maybe the Gremlins are at work .... 

Just watched Monty Tonight

Posted: 27/06/2015 at 16:16

Haven't seen GW yet but getting the gist of these comments..

My garden is very much a cottage garden. It's all a bit jammed in and we have just reached that point in the year where it feels ever-so-slightly out of control & requires the 'Hampton Hack' to restore some sort of order. Have just picked strawberries, mange tout, herbs and lettuce - so it is quite productive. The lawn is green (until it gets very dry) kept well trimmed and edged but it is rather - ermmm - undulating... and has more than it's fair share of weeds and moss. I think it all looks quite pretty in a countryfied sort of way.

My father in law, however, doesn't 'get it' at all. He judges a garden by the pristineness of it's lawn & does not understand why I do not grow regimented rows of pelargoniums and salvias all edged with blue lobelia. He is very unimpressed that I have no hanging baskets and just 2 'summer' pots. He doesn't think it's a 'proper' garden. Guess what? I don't like his either..

C'est la vie 

Coriander. Is it cut and come again?

Posted: 26/06/2015 at 09:46

I have done cut and come again with coriander - but find that it starts to bolt after the second or third cut. It bolts quite quickly if it gets very hot. I find that successional sowing aiming to get 2 - 3 harvests from each plant usually ensures a decent supply till first frosts. Coriander also has a slowish germination rate (about 2 weeks here) and germinates better when the weather is warmer.

Success also depends a lot on the variety.

I have used 'Calypso' for several years and find this is much slower to bolt and produces nice bushy plants. This year, I couldn't get those seeds and settled for a generic 'culinary coriander'. The plants have been spindly and gone to seed really quickly (they look like yours Edd - no offence) and I'm having to cut individual leaves rather than shearing huge bunches as I normally do. I'm off to the GC again to see if Calypso is back in stock.... 

 

Accidental application of Pathclear to runner bean plants

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 16:29

It's very easily done Andy ....

I now have 3 large plant sprayers - one for weedkiller, one for fungicide (sorry - had to resort to chemical help this season for box blight - not proud of the fact ) and one for liquid feeding. They are all clearly marked with red, blue and green insulating tape respectively (I find even permanent ink tends to fade or wash off with time).

It's nearly impossible to wash every last trace of weedkiller out of every last nook and cranny of a weedkiller sprayer every time it's used. I also find that keeping a bit of the chemical made up and stored in a dark, cool place means I am more likely to zap weeds while they are small. Suggest you use the weedkiller sprayer for nothing else and maybe invest in a second sprayer for other products.

Hope the other veg are ok 

Courgettes in containers

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 16:06

Female courgettes have a small lump beneath the flower (a potential courgette) - males don't. I think I read somewhere that you tend to get more male flowers (which don't go on to produce a courgette) at the beginning of the season and when it's colder. 

When you do get female flowers, these need to be fertilised by the male ones. Bees and other pollinators usually get on with this job but you can 'lend a hand' with a paintbrush if necessary (again, cold summers usually mean some intervention).

I always find that some herbs such as mint, parsley, chives and coriander are a bit like salad leaves and do better when it's a bit cooler. They tend to bolt and go over very quickly when it's hot and dry. Thyme, rosemary and sage don't mind a bit of heat and rosemary and thyme seem to thrive on under watering and neglect - definitely my sort of plants!!

Courgettes in containers

Posted: 25/06/2015 at 12:41

Longshanks - I have been unable to reply to your PM (keep getting an error message - don't know why) - but here is what I was trying to say:-

My plants are outside at the end of a large raised bed (about 2' high by 4' wide by 6' long). They were filled with a mix of soil and mushroom compost a couple of years ago and have had some garden compost and Growmore added this year. The soil tends to dry out fairly quickly. The beds are south facing and reasonably sheltered but they are shaded by mature trees from about 2 till 6pm. 

I have had very limited success with growing outdoor toms and courgettes because we rarely get the hot summers needed for these plants. This spring / early summer has been particularly cold and also very dry - so I am not expecting great things (which is why I only have 2 courgette and 2 tom plants). I only put the toms in because I had a bit of space at the end of the bed.

They are all still really small plants (toms about 8" high) because of the cold but I do now have a courgette flower (male) and a few tomato buds - but fruiting is weeks off yet. A neighbour has toms in a greenhouse which are 3' high and bearing fruit - that's the difference a bit of warmth and protection makes!

How about you? Where are yours and how are they doing?

 

Jardins Ouvert/Open Garden

Posted: 22/06/2015 at 23:46
Maybe we could borrow the tardis and have a TWIGS visit .....

Bloody cats!!!!

Posted: 22/06/2015 at 18:01

Hi Phil

You say you were thinking about putting some gravel down. Was this to be a surface dressing over the soil? If so - I  don't think small stones such as pea shingle would be effective - cats will dig in gravel or shingle.

I think, however, that a reasonably thick layer of larger pebbles or slate chippings would probably do the trick - it would also help keep weeds down and retain moisture and may enhance the look of the border if it's in keeping with your style of gardening. 

Jardins Ouvert/Open Garden

Posted: 22/06/2015 at 17:41

DD - we have just had our village Open Gardens. As ever, there were some truly stunning gardens and others which were - shall we say, less than perfect. Didn't matter - all owners were incredibly brave to open and show their gardens - warts and all. Some were inspirational - some made us feel a bit better about our own 'estates'.

Your garden is lovely. Displaying before and after shots is a great idea. If you already have them or you have the time to do them (not likely I know) you could also display or at least talk through some of your plans for future projects.

One of the gardens we visited this weekend was very much a 'work in progress' & the owners were most apologetic that it wasn't finished or perfect - but it was really, really interesting to see what had already been achieved and to hear their enthusiasm and to learn what they are planning to do. They said they had opened so people could do a 'before and after' if they open again in 2 years time.

Everyone visiting you will be gardeners (not garden critics) - so they will be as interested in the nuts and bolts of how you are transforming your plot as they will be in the final results.

A warm welcome for your guests and perhaps a glass of wine will make the weeds disappear - promise 

Enjoy the day - hope the sun shines for you.

 

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