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Latest posts by Topbird


Posted: 30/08/2014 at 09:05
Sorry Clari my family are quite a bit further north than that. But can I suggest that a bit nearer the time you put out a new plea for local members to bring you in spare plant pots - I always have a shedful from my GC purchases & regularly return some to a local nursery for recyling.

If I'm on my way up to see my rellies at the relevant time I'll happily do a detour with a box of small pots.
A local GC might also donate some sacks of compost in return for a bit of free PR and advertising. Sounds great fun

Good News for Mike

Posted: 30/08/2014 at 08:57
Always pleased to hear when somebody has come out the other side of the Big C experience & all the unpleasant treatments and procedures that go with it.

I'll raise my morning cuppa to you Mike & hope you continue to make good progress & can have a happy season in the garden next year.


Posted: 30/08/2014 at 08:48
Good morning everybody - been v busy this week as I'm off on my jollies too on Wed (the Dordogne). Fortunately the weather seems to be improving.
Your job sounds really interesting Clari - which museum is it - I have lots of family in Yorks & they might be able to help with plant pots etcif it's the right bit.

Bekkie's idea is really good - we all have seed left over each season & a lot of us produce more than we reuse each year.

could someone ID this please

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 18:08

Hi Panda - you snuck in there - hope things good with you - love what you're doing with your garden 

could someone ID this please

Posted: 29/08/2014 at 18:07

Penstemons are a bit on the tender side so if you are on heavy clay and / or you get harsh winters you might be better off protecting it over winter (shed should be ok - but not until much nearer the frosts start).

If, however, you're on lighter soil and / or the winter isn't usually too bad you could probably still get away with planting it now - my penstemons usually survive all but the harshest winters & the soil where I grow them is quite heavy.

Either way I'd take some cuttings now & keep them under cover for the winter. They strike really easily & hopefully you'll have loads of plants either for yourself or to swap / give away by next spring.

Irrigation System

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 23:11
I'm not entirely sure I fully understand what you mean David but if you are thinking about 2 separate, permanently installed systems that you can operate at different times - then you should be able to do that.
At the 'tap' end of the supply hose you have a valve which stops the risk of water from the irrigation system being drawn back into the mains water supply. I think it also helps to regulate the mains water flow so it doesn't 'blow' your irrigation system.

You would normally attach this valve to your outdoor tap but I can't see why you couldn't have 2 valves - one each on the 'tap' end of each irrigation system - and then use a regular hosepipe to attach to the valve to 'transport' the water to the system when you want to use the system (its just a regular hozelok type connection). You can swap the hosepipe between systems as required.

The advantage of this is that you can have the irrigation systems set up some distance from the tap and you're using regular hose to bring the water to each system instead of relying on long lengths of permanently installed 13mm supply hose running from tap to system.

One thing I would advise is that you find a way to keep the regulating valves off the ground & cover them when not in use. Any muck in the system will soon block it.

Clearing a garden

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 22:29
Congratulations Mr T - welcome to our world - we'll make a gardener of you yet !!!

So very satisying isn't it? Lots of pats on the back.

Mine's a G&T by the way......

Irrigation System

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 18:15

Hi David. The walls of decent hosepipe are often reinforced and would, I think, be too tough to puncture neatly at the point where you insert the micro bore tubing (which then connects onto the drippers). You can get droppers which insert directly into the supply hose but these also rely on a tidy insert hole.

A ragged hole in the hosepipe would almost certainly leak - which would both waste water and reduce flow to the droppers. I, therefore, don't think your idea to recycle the old hosepipe would work very well - better to use the 13mm hose sold by Hozelock or Gardena. You can buy mini taps which you set into either the 13mm tubing to shut off a whole section of your irrigation system and I think you can also get mini, mini ones for the micro bore tubing so you can turn off individual bits of the micro tubing. 

If you are going to go down the irrigation route it really is worth spending some time planning exactly how you want it to work so you get all the bits you need. You can change it once it's set up but it's easier to get it right from the start.

If you're going to go down the timer route I would also advise spending a bit more for one that gives you really flexible watering patterns. The cheapest will give you (say) 15 mins every day which is fine for containers. But I found that for irrigating beds and borders I was better off having the system running for longer (say 45 mins) but only every 3 days. 

Apple Trees - Hopeless Cases?

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 09:48

We inherited an apple tree (maybe 15 - 20 yrs old) which did absolutely nothing for the first two seasons we were here.

Last March I planted a crab apple nearby - we subsequently had a real bumper harvest  and this year's is probably better - maybe fewer fruit but bigger better quality apples (Egremont Russet mmm...).

If the apple trees were previously productive it makes me wonder if you removed something from the garden that could have been providing the necessary pollination.

Makes you Wonder!

Posted: 28/08/2014 at 09:40

Hey Lyn - just noticed your avatar.

I LOVE it ... 

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