2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread

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  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    And all the people said
    Amen
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Dunno what you're complaining about - lovely sunny evening here.

    I have just ordered, on a friend's recommendation, a book on what plants to grow in Scotland. I think my RHS gardening year one is (at least) a month out on planting times etc.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    This is the first year that the apples from the Beauty of Bath have not tasted insipid. Is it that the tree is dying (it's ancient by apple-tree standards), or is it climate change?
  • DiomedesDiomedes Shipmate
    Wow - I envy you the Beauty of Bath tree! We used to have an ancient specimen too and the apples were always the first in the orchard to ripen. If you are in the UK (I'm not sure how widespread they are as a variety) I imagine your tree has just enjoyed the perfect weather conditions this year. Lucky you!
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Up here in North East Scotland , our assorted squash plants desperately require sunshine! Whoever has it, please send it on!
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    I am in North Eas Scotland and the sun is splitting the sky. Hope it is doing the same for you now.
    Today I put on protective clothing (long sleeves and thick gloves) and went to begin to tackle the jungle. This is the back quarter of our new garden which has been Let Go in spectacular fashion. It is a mass of Sticky Willie and ivy and rioting fuschia and trees and nettles and…..
    I went for the nettles which were taller than I am. Eventually I realised they were growing through a pile of dead branches which had been dumped there. Removed all. Cut back rampant brambles and discovered Gooseberries! Fruiting! Even though they have been so badly used for so long. So I can’t wait to find out what the rest of the jungle conceals.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    @Cathscats , sunshine arrived finally! Hurrah!
    I pottered, then slumped in a chair and watched the birds.

    Gooseberries sounds fab!
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    My Nellie Moser clematis was flowering beautifully but then developed clematis wilt. I gave it a good trim and it is back in bud.

    Most of my tomatoes did not survive the unstable weather but my runner beans have flowered well and have begun to produce pods, my courgettes are thriving and it looks like I will have a good crop of daikon to experiment with.

    My beans are flowering well but not all of them are producing pods.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The various bedders - lupin, godetia, snapdragon, zinnia etc are coming to the end of flowering. But I'm leaving them in the hopes that they will set seed. I've been surprised at some of the things that have returned of their own accord - and disappointed in a good many more that ought but didn't.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Dunno what you're complaining about - lovely sunny evening here.

    I think someone has turned the UK upside down - it started grey here, and I drove home through apocalyptic downpours! It'll be nice to come North on Thursday and get some sun again!

  • After removing all the dead roses, trimming, feeding, watering my three bushes in our new patio, lovely new buds appeared. I was hoping they would bloom for the first visit to our new home by my dear daughter-in-law this weekend. Not a one opened. She left early this morning. Guess what bloomed out this afternoon. Yes, all three rose bushes.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    The various bedders - lupin, godetia, snapdragon, zinnia etc are coming to the end of flowering. But I'm leaving them in the hopes that they will set seed. I've been surprised at some of the things that have returned of their own accord - and disappointed in a good many more that ought but didn't.
    I have always thought of Lupin as perennials. They certainly usually do well. (And I have planted three assuming it is an investment for the next years.). Snapdragon too, sometimes.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    My "Dwarf" Buddleia is now over eight feet tall....however it is finally producing some flowers so at least it hasn't completely let me down!!
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    MrsBeaky wrote: »
    My "Dwarf" Buddleia is now over eight feet tall....however it is finally producing some flowers so at least it hasn't completely let me down!!
    I have a dwarf buddleia too, which very well fits the part of the garden it's in and is flowering and giving much pleasure to me as well as the local bees and other insects. I cut it back very hard indeed last year, so much so I feared I'd killed it off completely, but it has flourished and would probably be twice the height this year if I hadn't.

    My wild flower areas of the garden have also done well, except that there are no poppies in either area. Fortunately a poppy has self-seeded itself in one of my tubs so I'll be saving the seed and scattering it.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    @Nenya How tall is your dwarf Buddleia?
    When I bought mine the label promised it would only grow to be a few feet tall which was perfect for where I planted it.
    If we hadn't chopped it earlier this year when it started going rogue it would most likely be tree sized by now!
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    MrsBeaky wrote: »
    @Nenya How tall is your dwarf Buddleia?
    When I bought mine the label promised it would only grow to be a few feet tall which was perfect for where I planted it.
    If we hadn't chopped it earlier this year when it started going rogue it would most likely be tree sized by now!
    I was told that too. Mine is about four feet tall and four feet wide as well and I haven't got room for it to be any bigger. I shall be cutting it back equally (scarily) brutally in the autumn, as it has flourished and is looking lovely.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I have a Mystery Shrub which the plant-identifying app has variously identified as a caricature bush (nope, leaves not variegated), a bush honeysuckle (again no, wrong leaf/stem arrangement) and latterly, viburnum. This seems a bit more likely, but while otherwise thriving, it has never flowered. The foliage is quite attractive, developing from green to bronze-ish with reddish edges (the app reads this as a sign it's Poorly, which I don't think is the case).

    Any viburnum growers care to comment?
  • CactusCactus Shipmate Posts: 12
    Is there a way of destroying buddeia? mine is 7 feet tall & taking over. or is it the plant equivalent of a cockroach?
  • CactusCactus Shipmate Posts: 12
    oops I meant buddleia
  • My husband did it to my regret by chopping it down and digging out the pretty shallow roots.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Cactus wrote: »
    Is there a way of destroying buddeia? mine is 7 feet tall & taking over. or is it the plant equivalent of a cockroach?
    I believe it's the plant equivalent of a cockroach unless, like Mr Lamb, you dig the roots up. I have a friend who didn't prune her buddleia thoroughly enough one year and lived to regret it. In the autumn I will be cutting every stem of mine to within about three inches of the ground.
  • Is it so big that you just can't handle it anymore? If so, you have two options - dig it out or cut it to the ground & apply stump killer to the stump.

    Alternatively, it is like cockroaches - hard to kill - so if you like it, but don't want it to take over, literally just cut it off at ground level (or as close as your back will let you go) every year, and it will sprout from there, and be quite happy. I don't know where in the world you are but in the UK you can cut back as late as May and get flowers.
  • The gardeners - so called - the ever changing party of younger and younger operatives lacking in plant knowledge who attack the outside spaces here with large machines badly wielded, managed to kill the buddleia and leave some nasty evergreen shrub. No idea how they did it. They cut the grass areas infrequently, badly and leave the cuttings as large gobbets of chewed foliage where they lie, and occasionally attack the shrubs with more enthusiasm than skill.

    I'd be politer but I have had to cut the hedges that are striving to grow across the access from my flat forever, as that gets ignored. Those hedges have been allowed to grow into Sleeping Beauty-esq jungles through neglect.
  • I am thrilled to finally have more wildlife on our patio. Hummingbirds are now coming each day to visit the blooms on our lemon tree. We are now sure we have 5 lizards living among the rocks near our fence. 5 months ago I put out a birdbath and feeder. No visitors until this week Mr. Image reports seeing from the window by his desk the same bird returning twice to eat. I have planted sunflowers and will leave them to dry, so I am hoping for more feathered friends this winter. Having moved from the country to the city we missed nature, as our patio seemed to have no wild visitors.
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    I am thrilled to see about 15 low hanging fruit on my Black Sapote tree! I'm assuming there are a lot more up high! The past few years I've only had the windfalls to enjoy.

    Healthy 'chocolate pudding' will hopefully be on the menu about January!
  • All the pots of soil that “didn’t germinate “ were thrown on random piece of soil.

    I now have a flush of random flowers and absolutely no idea what they are!

  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    In the southern hemisphere (the Western Cape), it is still winter but I've begun planting for spring and summer by putting in a new flowering jasmine next to a fence it can climb. Not too close to windows so we don't get fragrance headaches. And a dark brown restio, more attractive than it sounds, to entice the rare Cape dwarf chameleon back into the garden. Some ordinary white marguerite daisy bushes for brightness as the winter aloes die down.

    All our nurseries in this area are closed because of Covid but I had some plants brought in from a market gardener. I want to put in more indigenous wild plants but that can wait.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited August 17
    While in the garden a bee got caught in my hair. I was promptly surrounded by lots of other bees, were they attempting to help?

    There was much commotion until Mr Alba sorted matters
  • We now have 5 or 6 different birds who come each day. Do they tell each other? How did they know after 6 months of no birds we now have regular guests? There are two different kinds of birds that I have yet to identify. My sunflowers are now in full bloom glory. They along with zinnias were the only seeds I planted as the dirt area in our patio is limited. Next year the plan is for pots.
  • My dear mother has landed me with the task of trying to find replacement lights for her garden path - the old ones were smashed by a freak hailstorm a few weeks ago. She has very firm ideas as to what she'd like, which may not be compatible with what is actually available, and of course searching the internet for products like these throws up all the weaknesses of the way search engines work. So if anyone has any they've bought themselves, or knowledge of the field, I'd welcome your advice.

    They need to be 12v (solar is Not Wanted), as they'll need to be spliced into the old supply and the junction waterproofed, at least 4 lamps (more is not an issue as they can run back up the other side), and she'd like some kind of bulb so that ones that die can be replaced. They also need to cast light down onto the path rather than across it. Oh, and to be cheap - certainly under £100 a set, preferably much less. You'd be amazed by how much that challenges search engines and product descriptions!

    Over to you, all advice welcomed.
  • Whatever you do, do it like young kids and give her the final choice of two (or maybe three). I buy electrical stuff online from CPC-Farnell - they might be worth a look. 'Garden lights 12v' is a search string which means something there - here you go.
  • Whatever you do, do it like young kids and give her the final choice of two (or maybe three).

    That is brilliant. I usually find that, if the order still turns out to be wrong, the person ends up jealously defending his or her choice rather than blaming me. :mrgreen:
  • I'm full of good advice for other people. Would that I could remember some of it when it comes to my own family :smile:
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Have you - or anyone - any in respect of mulching? If I weed and dig over a patch for planting spring bulbs, can I lay mulch over it without inhibiting the growth of the bulbs?
  • I would think that was fine, as the bulbs send up shoots through a good thickness of dark soil anyway, and a bit of extra mulch (to deter weeds getting going?) wouldn't hold them back. I would think. Other green stuff getting going before the bulb shoots are 'up' can well discourage them - though my Montbretia survived years of crowding by other things (though putting on a very poor show) and came back well this year when I pulled up all the other growth which had inhibited them. I like them - that and the hardy fuchsia remind me of hedges in Ireland.
  • I'm full of good advice for other people. Would that I could remember some of it when it comes to my own family :smile:

    So say we all!

    As for mulching, it shouldn’t hurt provided you don’t put outrageous amounts over the bulbs and drown them a foot deep.
  • Dunno, @Firenze , I'll tell you in the spring when ours have (or haven't) come up through the mulch!

    Thanks, MiM, appreciated!
  • Someone at the public library had the idea of handing out seeds to occupy new gardeners this summer. My dear Wife, of course got straight to it, and we are now overwhelmed by giant mutant tomatoes the size of small pumpkins (not an exaggeration). I've never seen anything like them, though the taste is a little bland. It's remarkable that our usual predators - the groundhogs - have left them alone. We are already at the stage of giving them away, though a friend did point out that they could be useful, what with an election coming up.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes? apparently meant to have a mild taste, otherwise known as lacking in taste.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    though my Montbretia survived years of crowding by other things (though putting on a very poor show) and came back well this year when I pulled up all the other growth which had inhibited them. I like them - that and the hardy fuchsia remind me of hedges in Ireland.

    Whereas one of my jobs for this autumn is thinning out the monbretia which is rampaging all over the place. Mind you, this stuff is descended from actual Irish monbretia.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes? apparently meant to have a mild taste, otherwise known as lacking in taste.
    I think you are right, judging by Auntie Google's images. They really are the size of small pumpkins. To say they are lacking in taste is being charitable, and they are still growing like a plague. I'm going to try to catch some when they are under-ripe and make a curry.
  • Nice for fried green tomatoes if you are into that.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    Flavour of large tomatoes rather depends on how much sun they get, I think. On foie gras land market, they are the size of your head and they are delicious, with a much better flesh to pips ratio than the smaller ones.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Has anyone found a variety of late-fruiting apple tree suitable for SE England that they particularly like? Hoping to try and get the uni to plant more fruit trees so the fruit can be sold in the campus shop - apples seem like the easiest option for something that ripens after students have arrived on campus, can be eaten raw, and ripens reliably (hence not asking for pear suggestions...). If anyone has any reliably-ripening late season dessert pear suggestions though....

    Obviously the online garden sites have all the varieties, just after people's thoughts on varieties they've felt are especially tasty.
  • Someone just gave me an absolute shed load of runner beans. Now I need to find something to do with them...
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited September 18
    We only have one dessert apple and I’m not even sure what it is. We aren’t in the SE of England but our community orchard has local varieties for Cambridgeshire https://trumpingtonorchard.org/our-trees/ some of their list are very niche but perhaps there is a community orchard near your uni which might have suggestions? Alternatively, our local botanic gardens does apple tasting in the autumn so perhaps a local garden/garden centre might have similar.
    I’ve noticed the council has recently been planting apple trees on our council estate which is such a good idea and I’ve no idea why fruit trees aren’t more commonly used in residential areas.
  • @mark_in_manchester - my grandfather used to salt runner beans, sit at the table for hours, slicing them into shreds, removing the strings and packing them into a jars with salt. I quite like them curried.
  • Someone just gave me an absolute shed load of runner beans. Now I need to find something to do with them...

    Oh dear, I AM sorry you've suffered in this way... :lol: It reminds me of National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    edited September 18
    The Blenheim Orange is the best late apple around Cambridge. It's good for cooking or eating, and looks a bit like a giant Cox's Orange Pippin.
  • Tomato update.... The favour is greatly improved from two weeks ago. They get direct sun for half the day almost every day, plus a lot of night time rain lately. They are bigger and uglier than ever. Amazingly, no predators. I wonder where our groundhogs have gone?
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