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Bees in the compost [16 May 2011|11:32am]

I have a big compost bin full of well rotted leaves that I want to use as mulch on some recently weeded flower beds. The problem is that when I pulled up the bin to reveal the compost, so that I could fork it into a wheel barrow, a great cloud of angry bumble bees appeared. Despite the fact that the bin had a closed lid the bumble bees have made a nest in the compost. I don't want to disturb them, but I also want my mulch. Does anyone know how long bumble bees nest for and when can I go in to get my lovely leaf mould?
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Effects of this year's winter [11 Aug 2010|02:51pm]

I live in York and have (or rather had) a Magnolia grandiflora on a south facing wall. It was doing beautifully - that is until this winter when we had some severe frosts. I've tried reviving it, but sadly it looks as dead as a Dodo and I'm guessing that sub-zero temperatures are the reason. Did anyone else lose treasured plants this winter? The rest of the garden seems fine and we are set to have a bumper crop in the orchard.
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Name that tree! [11 May 2009|10:58pm]

Twice now I've been in England (specifically, Harpenden and Reading) in late April / early May and have encountered a tree that I'd like to know the name of. It's not because I want it, I'm afraid - rather the opposite. On each occasion, the tree in question has been busy COVERING its owners' garden in a snowfall of impossible little fluffy seeds. They fly around and get everywhere, collecting in drifts, coming in windows, ending up in hair, nose, clothes.

I didn't take note of the leaf shape, but the tree produces small catkins covered in white fluff: these are the seeds, which take flight at the slightest breeze. They're very like dandelion seeds, but the seed part is much smaller.

I've tried Google, but without success - looks like I need actual humans. Any ideas?
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Trading in Oxford [21 Apr 2009|11:36am]

Hi, although it's fairly quiet here, I thought I'd give this a try.

Apart from a few big plants that were already established in my garden before I moved there, I grow only native British plants, or those that had been imported by the medieval period.

I was wondering if anyone in the area (or up to a 30 minute drive away) would be interested in swapping?

I have lots of forget-me-nots, lots of wild strawberry, lots of creeping pennyroyal, and some oregano, already grown.
I have lots of seedlings for borage, corncockle, and wild rocket. These should be ready to transplant in about another 4 weeks.
I have some ragged robin seeds.

I'd be especially interested in acquiring plants/seeds of ramsons (wild garlic) and St John's wort.

If you leave a comment here with what you have, I'll get in touch via email.

2 comments|post comment

Crocus voucher [16 Jul 2008|09:33pm]

I have a voucher for £10 off crocus.co.uk if you spend £50 and I'm unlikely to use it. Valid until December 2008.

Anyone want it? Comment here, then email your address to my LJ username @gmail.com and I'll post it to you.

Ooh, forget that. Reading the small print it seems you can order online or by phone (0870 787 1414) and quote voucher code 9004 to get the discount. So you don't need the voucher at all.

This discount excludes the purchase of cut flowers, garden machinery and gift vouchers.
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Weather Watching [09 Jul 2008|09:01am]

Following a visit to West Africa I've become addicted to weather watching. Birth and life of storms can be followed on weather satellite images available on the internet (such as Eumetsat).

Atlantic hurricanes start in the African Sahel and then power across the ocean to the Gulf of Mexico or Florida. However, the first hurricane of the year, Bertha, has deviated northwards and will soon pass by Bermuda:


This is relevant for the English gardeners because Bertha will now follow the North Atlantic gyre north and eastwards towards the UK. The hurricane will lose power as it passes over cooler waters, but it is likely there will be plenty of oomph left by the time it reaches us.
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Introduction [04 May 2008|10:10pm]

Hi. My name's Faye. I live in Oxford.
I've always liked gardening, but really took to it 4 years ago, when I moved house. I'm still learning, especially about positioning. I've learnt the hard way that tiny baby plants can indeed grow up to 6 foot, so you don't put them in the front of the bed :)
I grow native plants, plants that would have been in England in Medieval times, and herbs. I'm gradually clearing out plants that don't fit into this scheme.
I often have to grow plants from seed, as normal garden centres don't stock what I want. We don't have room for a glass greenhouse, but last year I found a collapsable plastic one, which has worked well.
One of my neighbours asked for help with her garden yesterday, and I'm looking forwards to it because it's a mess and a challenge.
I'd really like to hear from people who grow the same sort of plants. If you do, please comment.
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Advice needed for clueless and lazy gardener! [27 Apr 2008|03:33pm]

I bought my first house last summer and I've more or less finished doing the major indoor jobs that needed to be done, so I've moved onto thinking about the garden. Problem is, despite coming from a family of people who would spend every waking hour in a flower bed if they could, I've never had the slightest interest in gardening myself so I'm totally clueless about what to do with the garden. I've had a flood of advice from my grandma, but unfortunately she and I have wildly different tastes, available space and expertise when it comes to gardens - her: vast gardening knowledge, giant garden with well-behaved shrubs, heavily pruned bushes and very formal-looking layout. Me: tiny north-facing garden, zero interest in spending more than minimal time doing things to plants, preference for an oriental/jungly/slightly unruly look, herbs, things that smell nice, and NO SCULPTED BOX SHRUBS. I'm looking for any advice/suggestions for things I could plant and then mostly ignore apart from the occasional pruning! Inspirational pictures also welcome...

All about the garden...Collapse )
Apologies for my gardening ignorance and thanks in advance for any help/ideas/suggestions!
5 comments|post comment

non-plant life [27 Apr 2008|02:38pm]

The non-plant inhabitants of my garden give me as much, or maybe even more pleasure than the growing stuff. Especially birds. Yesterday I noticed a pair of blackbirds taking turns to sit on their nest in a snall tree at the bottom of my garden, which I found ridiculously exciting. There are great tits nesting in a disused ventilation thing on the side of my next-door neighbour's house again this year, so I get to see the parents whizzing in and out with food and the frenzied cheeping that greets their arrival each time. Other regular visitors include a little posse of blue tits, long-tailed tits, a wren, a robin, occasional sparrows and occasional greenfinches. Parakeets fly over regularly and noisily, and woodpeckers can sometimes be heard nearby. This little avian oasis is in Peckham, by the way. The only animal life that I'm aware of are the foxes who come into the garden to party noisily and destructively each night, and the squirrels, which are a bit of a pain with their digging. I live in hope of a hedgehog, but I've not seen one yet.

So englishgardeners - what wildlife do you get in your gardens?
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Help is apreciated :D [19 Nov 2007|06:59pm]

I am a high school student who is interested in gardening and has a strong sense of entrepreneurship. Therefore when I entered a business competition, it was an obvious choice for me to choose a lawn-care business. I have to write a business plan concerning this topic and I was wondering if you guys could help me out with the research aspect. I am trying to gauge consumer trends. It would be be greatly appreciated if you could take the one minute of your time and complete this survey. Thanks A lot. If you are uncomfortable with answering any of these questions do not hesitate to leave it blank.

1. What is your profession.

2.How many hours a week do you work?

3. Are you currently contracting Landscaping Services?

4. Are you satisfied with your lawn's appearance?

5. How many hours a week are spent maintaining your lawn? (Average)

6. Rate your lawn's appearance from 1-10 (10 is the highest)
4 comments|post comment

Rampant growth [20 Sep 2007|02:27pm]

My house has disappeared under ivy and wisteria, my fruit trees are toppling over under the weight of fruit and branches, the rose and honeysuckle archway is about to collapse. There seems to have been a massive amount of growth this year - perhaps because of a very warm Spring and lots of rain. Or perhaps it is an increase in CO2 encouraging photosynthesis. Has anyone else noticed a lot of woody growth in their garden this year? I'm going to have to do some heavy pruning in the Autumn.
9 comments|post comment

Bedding Plants Now? [22 Jul 2007|07:07pm]

I've just taken out this year's foxgloves and cut down the dicentras. Now I have gaps in my borders. What plants would you recommend?

I've got a white/pink colour scheme and the position is sunny to half shady. Too shady for penstemons, e.g. but the busy lizzies, fuchsia and ornamental tobacco are doing great. This is in north London.

Ideally I'd like the plants to do well from now until at least mid-October because I'm leaving this flat at the end of September.
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Pretty [19 Jul 2007|09:52pm]

Sometimes when I get home from work in the evening I like to spend a little time unwinding in the garden (weather permitting). This evening there was a striking damselfly by my pond so I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. I thought I’d share them here because he was rather beautiful. :)

Common Blue DamselflyCollapse )
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Woohoo! [08 Jul 2007|08:56pm]

The rain finally let off long enough here in Norwich to allow me to mow the lawn today and give my garden a bit of a much needed tidy up. Click here to see what I picked in the garden this afternoon.Collapse )
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Garden Update [03 Jun 2007|06:41pm]

The garden, 3 June 2007
The garden is looking a bit more kempt now; I've cut back the bushes at the left hand side and mown the grass! The pond which I dug a month back is now home to a large frog who is very well camouflaged. The apple tree slightly overhangs the pond so I have to work out something to do about the June Drop which must be imminent. Netting, I expect. This will also keep the cats from thinking it's frog-fishing time. Cats don't go after frogs if they first encounter a toad, because toads taste horrible to cats and cats can't tell the difference between the two kinds of creature. So I hear.
There are purple alliums to the right and also the shrubs I planted under the shade of the pittosporum are doing well considering.

The clematis are also going up the arch, as is the jasmine from the other side.
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Clematis (Dr Ruppel) [28 May 2007|11:09am]

Berkshire UK April 2007 - a very early hot dry Spring. This early clematis started flowering mid April. Still in full flower end of May.
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Update on Bulb Ranting. [26 Apr 2007|08:48pm]

[ mood | pleased ]

I made this post last year about my barren-bulbless-wasteland of a garden.

Climbing the Anemone.

Click the cut to see the difference this year... my special Blueberry Ripple tulips came out and all - I'm so pleased!
PhotosCollapse )

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English garden in spring... [25 Apr 2007|07:40pm]

to spare your screensCollapse )

By the way, behind the rather splendid lilac microphylla is an old shed on a concrete base that we'd really like to move to replace the manky old greenhouse in the other corner. Has anyone had experience of trying to move garden sheds wholesale?
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Pond [10 Mar 2007|01:27pm]

Frog spawn. And before I managed to get round to cleaning out the pond.
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I just wanted to show you how beautiful my chickpeas are : ) [03 Feb 2007|09:09pm]


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