Latest posts by Topbird

Hello Forkers - April edition

Posted: 12/04/2017 at 18:59

Goodness me! What exciting news today

Well done DD - another hurdle overcome - everything crossed that you continue making great progress. It must have been such a relief to meet somebody who was impressed by your plans and really seemed to 'get' what you want to achieve and also what you need. Go girl!

As for you Wonky - mahoosive congratulations. That really does sound like a brilliant job and opportunity. I imagine you will be part of a small team in a garden that size - so lots of opportunity to learn new skills while doing something you love. We'll all be turning to you for advice now!

And Lily P - what wonderful news for you. I'll have a little chocolate bet with myself that there might be a few happy tears at the airport after all the emotional ups and downs of the last few weeks.

I'm going to have a large G&T to celebrate on all your behalfs

Lamium maculatum

Posted: 12/04/2017 at 18:41

They root as they spread so you can pull little clumps off and dot them around where you have spaces.

Start looking in a couple of months.

Last edited: 12 April 2017 18:42:37


Posted: 12/04/2017 at 18:38

I start pinching cosmos back when they have 2 sets of proper leaves. This makes a bushier sturdier plant (still grow to about a metre high by the end of the season). I stop pinching back sometime in May and usually have flowers from August to last frosts.

This is for the ordinary bog standard large cosmos. The dwarf special varieties I grew one year didn't seem to like it so much.

Children & Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Firethorn etc

Posted: 12/04/2017 at 11:02

I think I'd take my custom elsewhere in future - what horrible and unprofessional conduct by the GC manager.

Your hedge sounds like a lovely mix which will grow quite quickly into a wildlife friendly hedge.

Yes, you do have some thorny choices in there but you can teach your child not to go rummaging around in the hedge and they will reap the benefits of watching the hedge develop and watching the local fauna start to take up residence in a few years.

When they're older you can also teach them to make sloe gin with the blackthorn fruit

The only caution I would offer is to try to stop children running about in bare feet near the hedge. It is very difficult to clear up every single thorn after pruning / cutting the hedge. You might think it worth investing in one of the leaf sucker / vacs which are used to clear autumn leaves to hoover up the last of any trimmings. You can also put a large sheet or such like under the hedge when you trim it to catch the trimmings.

Enjoy your hedge - it sounds much more interesting than hebe

Hello Forkers - April edition

Posted: 12/04/2017 at 10:28

I suspect chard might get too hot and run to seed in a greenhouse - but it's certainly worth a try if there's no alternative - just keep the greenhouse open as much as possible & keep the chard really well watered.

Don't forget chard can be planted into the ornamental border as single leafy plants if you have a few small spaces - it doesn't have to be grown in a row or block.

I would also have thought a large pot outside might be more successful than the greenhouse - if you can find space for one or two pots.

Never used the wooden troughs. If you buy one make sure it's pressure treated to resist rot and I would line the inside with black plastic so the damp soil isn't in constant contact with the wood. Make sure you punch lots of holes in the bottom for drainage though!

Last edited: 12 April 2017 10:28:59

Hello Forkers - April edition

Posted: 12/04/2017 at 09:01


Sunny today - still no rain. Grass is turning to straw in places and the water butts are empty. I don't think it's been this dry since 2011 / 12 when we ended up with a hosepipe ban. Yet people not that far away (relatively speaking) are complaining that they can't garden because it's too wet / raining again.

What a strange little island this is - no wonder we're obsessed with the weather.

Cartmel is a lovely little town Doc - lots of interesting buildings / history stuff. Haven't been to the restaurant yet. Think it's a bit like the Three Chimneys on Skye used to be (may still be - don't know). First rate food but really friendly and informal ambience. Perfect.

Hello Forkers - April edition

Posted: 11/04/2017 at 17:48

Exhibition looks great Dove. Haven't been to the SC for yonks. Might give it a try

Non-gardening - plastic bags!

Posted: 11/04/2017 at 10:58

Cupboard under stairs - hook on the wall - one large carrier bag with all the others crammed into it - at least 6 fall out when I go to pull one out.

Still have a bit of a stash but it's getting smaller and smaller now we don't get bags when we're shopping. Not saying that's a bad thing - but sometimes you just need a spare plastic bag - and not one that's extra large or heavy duty...

Resurrected Eleven

Posted: 11/04/2017 at 09:45

M-U  - no idea how I trapped my finger but I'm in the middle of a phase of self abuse at the moment - cracked knees, elbows - the works. Think it happens when there are a million things going round in my head and I'm not concentrating on the job in hand.

Curious about getting an electric shock from frozen peas....

Enjoy your new car BL - a lovely present from your mum

Resurrected Eleven

Posted: 11/04/2017 at 09:09


A nice sunny one here so I shall probably be outside for most of the day. Not sure what I'll be doing. Grass could do with a trim although it is starting to go yellow and straw like in places because the ground is so dry. Maybe that's not a great idea unless I use a really high cut. Think the sprinkler will have to come out

Could do to lay half a dozen paving slabs and put up some training wire on the fence but I managed to get a finger stuck in the SM trolley bars yesterday and then give it a really hard twist and a yank. Thought I'd broken it at first but now I'm sure it's just sprained & bruised. Anyways - it's bl$$dy sore if I catch it at the wrong angle. Working hand of course.

Maybe a bit of cooking and then pricking out seedlings would be a better idea.

We haven't started watching Line of Duty yet. Have them all recorded and will start watching next week - nothing like a good series binge. Trying to avoid any spoilers

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