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Latest posts by Topbird

Nightmare Lawn / Mole problems / Total Beginner

Posted: 06/06/2014 at 13:34

Hi Flaz & welcome to the world of gardening.

If you have a real problem with moles you will have an uphill task trying to get rid of them - especially if your neighbours have paved gardens making yours the nicest space to visit! Lots of threads on this site about trying to get rid of them but they are something many of us have to learn to live with (speak from experience!). You could try contacting a pest control company - depends how you feel about such things - but even they have only limited success with moles & they often come back if the area is attractive to them.

A good lawn does look lovely but it sounds as though it could be hard work to prepare it & might be even more attractive to the moles when you've finished (better lawn = more worms = more mole food!) A small lawn can also be relatively time consuming to maintain.

Wondered if you have considered other alternatives which might look equally as good in a small space and be less attractive to moles. A gravel garden for instance could allow you to plant to soften it but still provide areas for seating/ sunbathing / BBQ etc and you wouldn't need to mow and edge it every week (and the moles would be less noticeable if they still visit).

Depends how you want to use the garden really and how big the overall area is (is it just the lawn or are there borders etc already established?)

Good luck & enjoy your new space whatever you choose to do with it

Can you use wood logs as stepping stones

Posted: 30/04/2014 at 23:26

I believe it's perfectly possible to use the discs as you describe but PF is quite right to point out that they could become very slippery - especially if they're shaded or damp.

I seem to remember 'somebody' advising stapling chicken wire over the discs to make a non slip surface. I would also be a bit concerned as to how safe they would be to walk on if they started to rot after a couple of seasons - could be just as dangerous as a slippery surface I would think. For that reason I would make them thicker and treat them with some sort of preservative prior to laying (the sand or gravel idea would probably help too).

Good luck - I'm sure they'll look lovely and add a rustic touch to your garden.

Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 11:01

Thanks NC - I appreciate your concerns about using chemicals but can reassure you I garden very organically most of the time. This is a very small area of my garden but the box represents a very recent investment of several hundreds of pounds plus tens of hours in terms of preparation and planting - so I want to do whatever I can to protect it for at least the first couple of years.

If it's doing well after that I'll revert to purely organic methods 

Will Jeyes Fluid harm my Box hedge?

Posted: 16/03/2014 at 10:14

I planted a dwarf box hedge last spring which has done OK but, in September, areas of what seemed to be box blight started appearing. I've tried to do all the 'right' things (good hygiene, removing infected bits etc) and there are now signs of decent growth / new leaf formation. Maybe I've caught it - maybe it's not the dreaded blight - but anyway....

I want to do some preventative fungicide spraying this year (spraying the plants themselves) as I have read this can help with control. I have also read that it is a good idea to disinfect the soil below the plants to kill any lingering spores from fallen leaves and then apply a good mulch. The article says the disinfectant they used is not available to unqualified gardeners.

I thought about using diluted Jeyes fluid as a disinfectant on the soil. Has anyone else tried this? The main thing I'm concerned about is that it might actually damage the plants (bearing in mind I use this yucky product to kill algae etc on paths). I was thinking of diluting it 1tbs to 2 gallons and aiming it just at the soil on a calm day. I will only use it on the soil immediately below the plants (ie not over the whole bed).

All views gratefully received (and yes I did watch poor old Monty cutting out his beautiful box hedging on Friday!!)

Summer or Autumn Raspberries

Posted: 31/01/2014 at 18:46

Agree it is difficult to tell from just looking at the canes at this time of year.

Assuming that all the canes do look the same - I suggest you cut down half the canes now. The timing of crop maturity and amount of crop on the differently treated plants should enable you to work out whether you have summer or autumn fruiting plants for the next season - and at least you'll get half the potential crop this year.

Just hope the previous owner didn't mix and match in the same bed (as it were!) - it makes life difficult.

Tree Advice

Posted: 23/01/2014 at 19:06

Hi Sheila

I've planted some small crab apples (Everest, John Downie & Red Sentinel) in the last couple of years as well as some amelanchiers.

All been lovely but I think I'm getting the most value from my crab apple 'Red Sentinel'.It was smothered in pretty blossom in the spring for several weeks and has had the lovely red apples ever since - which is really cheering up my garden through the grey and dreary days we're having at the moment. The blackbirds have discovered it in the last 2 weeks but there are still lots of fruits left!

I've found 'Everest' fruits a bit too orange for my taste. 'John Downie' has beautiful fruit but was badly affected by scab - and the birds and squirrels had all the fruit by November!

Amelanchier is very pretty in the spring & autumn & gives nice dappled shade but I find it a little boring in the summer and winter - but underplanting helps deal with that. Amelanchiers have the added advantage that they don't mind being cut back quite hard if they start outgrowing their space.

Have fun!

I will/I won't grow that again

Posted: 06/10/2013 at 10:41

Nice thread!

Good year on the whole if a bit of a late starter. Lots of new beds for me to go at although addition of several truck loads of mushroom compost in the spring may have made the soil a bit rich for some plants & seedlings in the first season. Cougettes liked it though & it should be great soil next year!

1st year for raspberries - Autumn Bliss - amazingly good crop so far. Summer ones have put on lots of growth for next year

Cougettes (yellow & green) - bumper crop - have made loads of spicy fritters for the freezer & several jars of sweet pickled cougettes - absolutely yummy with cheese or cold cuts

Peas - Early Onward - much better than last year - fairly long period of cropping

Runner beans - Scarlet Emperor? - tasty & v tender when picked small -  heavy crop - very late but great just now

Chantes carrots - good tasty crop - had to protect from fly

Cosmos - huge bushy plants (4' +) -  still full of flower - sown late (mid April) & pinched out

Tomatoes - GD & Sungold grown outside both really poor (again) -  thick skins, lots split & very late to ripen.  I think too many extremes of temp & very little rain this year. Oudoor toms often dont seem to do very well for me & cause lots of anxst - is it warm enough? will the neighbour water? are they staked securely if its windy? have I fed enough / too much? - not sure if I can be bothered next year! (Taste so good when I get it right tho')

Coriander - Calypso - started well but bolted in the heat & 3 further sowings in ground failed to germinate - same with Butterhead lettuce. Have done well in the past. Wondering if mice or voles have eaten the seeds - lots of holes in my raised beds this year!!

Garlic & shallots - tiny & rotting in the ground - ended up in the bin

Seems to have been a year of extremes both weather & cropping - wise




Posted: 21/09/2013 at 09:34

I have inherited a hedge of Prunus Lusitania (aka Portugese Laurel) which I really like because

  • it's evergreen & dense & abt 2m high
  • it seems to grow quite quickly but...
  • I only have to cut it once a year in summer
  • it has retained a nice shape
  • the foliage is good for cutting (flower arrangements & Xmas decs)
  • it's not prickly!

Whatever you plant, soil preparation and watering will be the key to success. 

I have found Red Robin can be leggy and also split, so I would be wary of using it where you need screening. Also be wary of choosing something just because it is fast growing - it will continue to be so & you'll be forever cutting it.

I have also not heard of deep pipes being affected by shrubs. The real culprits are thirsty water seekers such as willow (so dont be tempted by a "fedge"!).

Good luck.






Posted: 01/09/2013 at 12:12

Thanks nutcutlet - I'll gather some seeds from my favourite plants and see what comes up next year.

My plants are looking better now than they did even a week ago - really big and bushy. Hope they keep going for another couple of months if we don't get early frosts.



Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:18

Same problem & a bit of a nightmare to control.

Lots of hand weeding (fork out the seedlings as soon as you see them - I don't think using a hoe works as the basal roots are left behind) and use a glyphosphate weedkiller on any larger patches. I'm not on top of mine yet - but I'm getting there!!


Discussions started by Topbird

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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Dividing Perennials

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Is this Pea Weevil?

Something's chewing my pea seedlings 
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Getting rid of daffodils

Rogue daffodils in raised veggie beds 
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Last Post: 27/04/2013 at 22:12
9 threads returned