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Latest posts by Topbird

Block paving - How do I weed it?

Posted: 17/04/2015 at 12:20

I would have thought that weedkiller is your best option unless (as Pansy has already said) the area is sloping so the liquid just runs off.

Assuming the area is reasonably level - I would grit my teeth and let the weeds come through for a few weeks so there is a bit of growth. I would then apply Path Clear - this has a residual effect & helps prevent seeds germinating. Use the concentrate (rather than ready mixed) & apply using a large sprayer - you can cover a large area fairly quickly. Choose a day when it's a bit overcast but no rain is forecast (& no wind of course) - I often do mine in the evening.

If you use Path Clear you can spray all the grout joints (even those that appear 'clean') as well as the weeds to try & stop seed germination. The weeds should start to die within a few days. I would then leave it a few weeks and respray if weeds start to germinate. After that I would check the paving and regrout any areas where there are holes and gaps for weeds to set up home.

Glyphosphate / systemic weedkillers are excellent for killing weeds in ground that will be cultivated but only works on plants with green foliage. It doesn't stop seeds germinating & it becomes inactive when it comes into contact with woody stems or the soil. I would only use that on the persistent weeds you think are growing from under the paving itself once you've tried the above. 

I find I need to apply Path Clear about 3 times between early spring and late winter on my gravel drive (aka a "weed seed tray").


Return to the gardens of our grandmothers

Posted: 16/04/2015 at 10:13

The idea of the victorian cottage garden has been very idealised over the years. The romantic image is of a thatched cottage with an agricultural labourer pottering about tending his roses in the sunshine. The reality was more likely to be a vermin infested semi-derelict hovel & an exhausted worker trying to grow potatoes and other staple veg after a 14 hour shift at work.

However, I'm sure there were some pretty plots and Geoff Hamilton tried to recreate these at Barnsdale in the cottage gardens. 

Suggest Jana tries to find a copy of his book or DVD "Cottage Gardens". The section on "The Artisans Cottage Garden" gives many ideas for growing fruit & veg together with ornamentals in an attractive way and for construction and growing on a budget.

To go or not to go ?

Posted: 15/04/2015 at 14:08

Hi Gillian & welcome  Love the natural 'water feature' in your garden. 

Not sure about the mystery plant - snowberry is a good guess but I wondered if it's a spirea? The tangle of branches makes it look almost like a clematis or honeysuckle but I'm not convinced by that idea.

Try Googling some of the suggestions to see if you think any are right. If you can't work out what it is and whether it is worth keeping I would be tempted to cut that tangle really hard back now or (bearing in mind where you are!) when there is less chance of hard frost and see what happens.

I suspect you will get lots of regrowth which you may, or may not feel inclined to tame. 

Enjoy your new garden - lovely part of the world 

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 14/04/2015 at 18:51

BL - That bitter cress gets absolutely, flaming everywhere. Am trying to keep on top of weeding it out this year - but what with that and brambles and bind weed and sticky weed and nettles and dandelions it's amazing to find any nice plants growing in the garden...

Planted up the verge outside the house with about 50 ox-eye daisy plugs and sprinkled some opium poppy seeds as well. Not sure if they will take - but should look nice if they do - and it will save me mowing it through the summer.

Sandy soil

Posted: 13/04/2015 at 18:25

I was trying to work out what was happening in the opening picture. ...Then I realised it was a posting by Runnybeak so I either needed to stand on my head or lie sideways to look at it properly  - every time -  it's a real skill that RB 

Hope you know I'm just teasing & you get some nice plants for your bed. Rosa Rugosa & echinops would be lovely together - perhaps underplanted with Alchemilla Mollis.

Wintersong is right that builders sand can be toxic to plants (I think it often has a lot of salt in it). If, however, the sand has been there a long time & you've previously had stuff planted in the area with no problems - then I would think any nasties have been leached out. Perhaps wisest not to mix it up too much with your new soil & compost tho'.


Am I grumpy cos.....

Posted: 13/04/2015 at 18:11

Really dislike leylandii - didn't buy a nearly perfect house because 3 sides of the garden were leylandii hedging - 2m tall perfectly maintained but how much work would that be in the future? - and there was nothing else worthwhile growing in the garden.

I have to whisper that I don't really grow or even like daffodils. Can't be done with that harsh yellow, the short flowering season,  the blowing flat at the first storm all followed by weeks of untidy leaves.

Much prefer hellebores, brunnera & other long flowering spring perennials whose foliage continues to 'give' something to the garden long after the flowers have gone 

hosta and geraniums

Posted: 13/04/2015 at 17:59

You often get ??? instead of  when you're working on a tablet Tanya - no idea why - just happens 

Doing colon, hyphen, close bracket usually results in a smiley on my iPad 

Health and Safety

Posted: 12/04/2015 at 16:44

Sounds horrid Berghill - hope you feel better soon 


Seed disc for hanging baskets

Posted: 10/04/2015 at 18:01

It was down to 0.4C in my unheated potting shed a couple of nights ago. I might risk putting mature geraniums out at the beginning of May (they don't mind the odd coldish night) but I wouldn't risk tender seedlings for at least another month.

As Blue Onion says you also need to ensure the discs are kept damp (not wet) for the seeds to germinate.

Talkback: Growing woodland anemones

Posted: 09/04/2015 at 12:50

Cattie87 - I don't know for sure who has been at your plants - but voles, mice & squirrels all think my garden is some sort of banqueting table & plump little bulbs (& pea seeds) seem to be their favourites. Pigeons are also doing a bit too much pecking around for my liking at the moment 

Discussions started by Topbird

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

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Which Currant Bushes Would You Recommend

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Papaver somniferum seed

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Papaver somniferum seed

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Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

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Last Post: 16/03/2014 at 21:15

Growing strawberries

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Last Post: 14/07/2013 at 23:02

Harvesting spuds, onions & garlic

Replies: 3    Views: 1005
Last Post: 25/07/2013 at 20:19

Dividing Perennials

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Last Post: 12/06/2013 at 10:34

Moving delphiniums at the wrong time

Replies: 9    Views: 2542
Last Post: 20/05/2013 at 16:08

Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
Replies: 1    Views: 594
Last Post: 04/05/2013 at 10:49

Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
Replies: 6    Views: 2275
Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
11 threads returned