London (change)


Latest posts by waterbutts

Protecting banana plants - suggestions?

Posted: 05/10/2013 at 23:05

The section titled "Artistry with Straw" in the website shows how the Japanese traditionally deal with plants in the winter. Very beautiful, as all things Japanese are, but very hard work.

Have you ever tried not cutting it down at all but leaving it, shorn of leaves, at full height? I once saw one like this wrapped up in straw, chicken wire and hessian. It worked in an outer London garden.


Posted: 05/10/2013 at 20:44

Hello Danielm2323,

It certainly sounds bad.

You could try snapping the stems just above a leaf joint, starting at the top of the plant and working down to the ground, to see if the stems as well as the leaves are dead. If they are dead they will be very brittle and break easily.

Sometimes the leaves die but the stems are alive, so try this and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Bootlaces = honey fungus?

Posted: 05/10/2013 at 20:14

Hello Pete8, The honey fungus will be in the soil, that's almost certain. Probably the reason it bypassed your shrubs and never attacked them was because you never cultivated the soil and never disturbed their roots. 

I think the fingus attacks plants by entering them through damaged tissue. So long as the plants are healthy and there are no cuts on the bark or roots, I think that they will be safe(ish).

There is honey fungus in and around our garden but it only ever gets a grip on elderly plants or ones that are weak or diseased.

If you restock your border during the winter when the fungus is dormant, I think you should be OK. 

Should all horticulturalists be qualified? College investigation

Posted: 05/10/2013 at 08:16

I think my original post was along those lines, Dove. I think the qalifications just show that someone has bothered to get them and, perhaps, therefore is a bit more serious in their approach to the work. Not always true of course. 


Posted: 04/10/2013 at 06:54

Hello jean6,

Some rose varieties will take easily and some just refuse to play.

I find the best way to take a cutting is to find a stem without a flower bud, about 8 or nine inches long and about as thick as a thin pencil. Pull it off the parent plant so that a little heel of the old wood is still attached, trim that heel a bit so that any wispy bits of     stuff are cut off, pull off all but the top set of leaves and cut the top leaves in half crosswise. 

Then find a quiet spot in a border where you know you won't be digging, moving other plants, hoeing or generally messing about for several months. Ideally, the spot you choose should be a bit gritty and slightly shaded but not completely so. Push the cutting into the soil so that several of the leaf joints are buried in the earth. 

Go away and leave the cutting alone. Don't be tempted to dig it up if it starts to grow. Leave it until the spring.


Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Rubyyyy

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 23:20

Weigela "Bristol Ruby" is very pretty.

Moving laurels

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 10:16

You can move a laurel just about any time you like and you are unlikely to kill it. They are the spawn of the devil.

Now is an excellent time.

Dangers in your compost

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 10:15

A manicure!

Should all horticulturalists be qualified? College investigation

Posted: 03/10/2013 at 09:16

Hello Sam, I know nothing about horticulture. I'm just a gardener. However, I used to be self employed as a craftsperson. There are two ways that a person can offer a professional service. One is by having acquired a level of skill through college study over a relatively short period of time and one is by having aquired knowledge over a lifetime of trial and error. Clearly, the latter is not the best method as one is then too old to have a viable working life in which to offer one's services.

It would be folly for anyone to sell themselves as a source of professional advice without having a resevoir of professional knowledge themselves. In fact, it would be fraudulent. So yes, I would say that horticulturalists should be qualified.

As to whether a trade body would help, I'm surprised to hear that there isn't a trade body already.

Silica cat litter instead of vermiculite

Posted: 02/10/2013 at 23:10

Just make sure that you make use of the cat litter before the cats do

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why not? 
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something for all you mole haters

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