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#1063542 - Sun Sep 07 2014 04:30 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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Loc: Northampton England UK
Terracotta? Some are... and some are handmade and already sealed thrown pots which have been glazed and put through a furnace and have already been through many winters... but many of the long tubs are, er, plastic. But I will seal the unsealed pots as you suggest, that's a great tip! smile

I was thinking of the soil freezing inside the plastic tubs, which I know can kill plants. They will be resting on gravel so I'm not worried about drainage and I can put them against the side of the house for a bit of protection but lots of sites all said to bubblewrap when it gets cold - only they all showed fit young gardening men lifting full tubs as though they were as light as candy floss and that's not me!
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#1063590 - Sun Sep 07 2014 12:52 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Loc: Alberta Canada
Where I live you can't keep anything outside in a tub once winter is here, no matter what you do with it or cover it with. And not just "tub plantings". We have to bring in things like ground planted dahlia and gladiola bulbs/roots/whatever, put them in the dark and hope they don't rot before spring. Crocus and tulips seem to do okay though. But do let us know if any of your experiments work out : )
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#1063630 - Sun Sep 07 2014 04:26 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Christinap Offline
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Registered: Sun Jul 27 2008
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Loc: Essex UK
All I do with the plastic tubs flopsy is lay a layer of fleece over the plants if it gets really cold. They don't seem to mind the soil being frozen too much, after all many plants like winter pansies, wallflowers etc. are often in frozen solid ground for much of the winter and they survive, same with bulbs

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#1063633 - Sun Sep 07 2014 04:39 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
mehaul Offline
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Loc: Florida USA
A cloche approach, no not like that 'Bulldog' Asteroid, where you put a cap on the planters to retain what heat they do accumulate while the sun shines on them might work. Cold frames are known for warding off the demons of hoar and extending growing seasons (mostly on the beginning end of the season but they work on the tail end too!). Try to make a tent shaped cover out of the bubble wrap and hanger wire (I assume you already have it handy - the wire is less available in these days of plastic coat hangers). Around dusk or when shadows move onto your planters, place the caps in place to trap the warm air in and prevent overnight breezes from siphoning off the soil's warmth. Roots are pretty hardy and it is the cold air working on above ground cell structure that'll cause the most damage. Cloches are long half pipe tunnels of white or transparent cloth that farmers use to insulate field plantings at the start of growing season. They work to keep in heat and ward off the chilling breezes that cause frost to form.


Amnesiac remark: I just recalled that I used to have a set of caps I used to use to insulate plantings. They were 5 sided boxes (rectangular boxes - open on the bottom) that were made out of a waxy type of plastic, corrugated like cardboard and translucent, that worked well to extend my planter box season. I think they came with a warning that leaving them in place during the day could harm the plants by raising the interior temps to dangerous levels!


Edited by mehaul (Sun Sep 07 2014 04:50 PM)
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#1063800 - Mon Sep 08 2014 06:26 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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Thanks for the advice everyone. smile

I have two sorts of plants to insulate - the plants/shrubs I planted this year which are in pots buried in the soil and the over-wintering flowers/spring bulbs. As Mehaul says, I needn't worry too much about the pots which are buried in the garden, the surrounding soil and mulch should keep them warm but I will wrap the visible parts of the shrubs in fleece because they're still only young and pot plants are more vulnerable than they would be otherwise.

I don't really want the expense of a cold frame - I shall be moving house at some point next year so buying kit I won't take with me (chances are I shall be moving somewhere with a limited, or no, garden) isn't on my list of things to spend money on. And if I really need to get things under solid protection I have two garages lurking somewhere. However I'm not supposed to lift heavy things so insulating the tubs in situ would be best - and fleece seems ideal. I've ordered some, it should arrive on Thursday.

Now, if I've got this advance planning right, once the fleece arrives it can sit in the garage - and because I'm so well-prepared for winter, the weather will be mild and the fleece won't be needed. Last year I prepared for winter by buying stocks of salt and grit that I could spread on the path when it got icy. The temperature never got that low. In fact, I never wore my winter coat at all, it's still in the dry cleaners' bag where it was this time last year. So I shall stow the fleece next to the path de-icer and hope my magic works!
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#1063818 - Mon Sep 08 2014 11:57 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
mehaul Offline
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Loc: Florida USA
Flopsymopsy, it sounds like your microclimate is akin to ours here in coastal Southeast Florida. We only get 1-2 days a year of freezing temperatures (if at all). Most of us just syringe the plants before night comes and also throw plain bed sheets over our foundation bushes and flowers. Those two efforts save 99% of our materials. It takes a lot of thermal energy to freeze the drops of water on the leaves and the sheets block the thermally cold draft from even causing those bits of moisture to freeze up. Our Orange groves use a similar tactic in the face of a freeze. An ice coating on the citrus prevents the temperature drop of the fruit, leaves and tender growth to stay at 32 degrees F even if the temps drop to what would be a damaging 25 degrees F. I didn't state that well. What happens is that inside the coat of ice, the temperature stays above the freezing point even if the outside air goes well below that. It is a cost effective effort to put ice jackets on the trees and curtail the damage which could be done by below freezing thermal waves of air. I think that states it a bit better.


Edited by mehaul (Tue Sep 09 2014 12:02 AM)
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#1063825 - Tue Sep 09 2014 12:19 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Loc: Alberta Canada
I would venture to say that Northampton is probably 1 or 2 zones less hardy than your area mehaul, if we're all using the same scale. But whatever works : )

Speaking of microclimates, they can occur within your own yard. There are certain things that will grow in mine where they are planted, but absolutely will not survive over winter somewhere else on the property.

Cool (no pun intended) about the ice jackets. So ummm.. why does the price of orange juice double when there's only one or two days of frost? lol Never mind, I already know the answer ~.
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#1063925 - Tue Sep 09 2014 04:16 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Christinap Offline
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Registered: Sun Jul 27 2008
Posts: 1700
Loc: Essex UK
Today's query from me is mice. We get a lot of mice in the garden because we are surrounded by fields, so once the harvest is in they are searching for another source of food. Over the years I have found ways to stop them eating my vegetables and fruit, both the crop and the seeds, but so far I have not found a way to keep them off my crocus bulbs. They dig them up in tubs, go into the ground and eat them underground, does anyone know of a mouse proof bulb planter or something.

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#1063930 - Tue Sep 09 2014 04:58 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
Posts: 2064
Loc: Alberta Canada
- Yes, it's called a gun lol
- Put traps out. Although people think that cheese is the best bait, it's quite likely that peanut butter is better. We've had mice in the garage and they NEVER went for the cheese lol.
= If you have mice, don't put bird seed in your feeder if you have one (if you have plants that have berries, the birds will have quite enough to eat over winter).
- if you have a cat, let it outside and hope it's a "mouser".
- mice hate peppermint (specifically peppermint oil) and moth malls, try putting those in/near your tubs.
- whatever you decide to do, do it soon. It's amazing how fast mice can multiply/reproduce. Not only that, but in just 6 months a pair of mice can produce 18,000 droppings, most of which are highly unhealthy, along with 300 offspring. In the same amount of time one PAIR will consume at least 4 POUNDS of food.
- mice aren't stupid (they run mazes quite well after all), so the electronic "pulse" thingies only work for so long before the mice get used to it (and ignore it), so don't waste your money on those contraptions.
- if you have any composters or woodpiles anywhere near your tubs, either move them or get rid of them altogether. They are both havens for mice (and wasps btw).
- if all else fails, call an exterminator. Just don't let your dog out in the yard until a coupla days later.-
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#1063935 - Tue Sep 09 2014 05:20 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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These are field mice - there will be loads of them within arm's length of Chris's garden and more behind them. And there is nothing that will stop them eating bulbs when they're hungry... except a mesh cage. No, you don't put the mice in the cage, you put the bulbs in it - and then you bury the cage. You could make cages for tubs relatively easily - as long as you secure all the openings by twisting the wire ends so the mice can't get in.

Of course, when the bulbs flower they'll eat those but hey. And the sparrows and finches will get the yellow ones... wink

Your only real answer, Chris, is to give up crocuses and plant daffodils. Nothing eats those. And scilla - not much eats those either.
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#1063936 - Tue Sep 09 2014 05:58 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
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Loc: Alberta Canada
The mice in our yard are field mice as well (not the white "lab rat" ones). If you want to know the species, they are deer mice, which carry the Hanta virus. We also have voles (which do an unbelievable amount of damage to the lawn) but the hawks and owls get most of those. I'm quite good with both my slingshot (handmade) and my bbgun ( a gift). I have no sympathy for mice, ants, magpies, squirrels or grass lol. Not exactly happy with the crows either.


Edited by Jakeroo (Tue Sep 09 2014 06:07 PM)
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#1063937 - Tue Sep 09 2014 06:01 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
MarchHare007 Offline
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Registered: Wed Aug 08 2007
Posts: 222
Loc: Jilliby NSW Australia         
Flopsy, I had a bassett hound that would eat daffodil bulbs, she'd fight for them if she saw them around - and soap. Fortunately the daffodil bulbs were planted away from her gaze and left to naturalise which saved the on-going vet visits. But at least she had a clean inside!

Can crocus be planted in smaller containers and brought inside?
I've started mine that way because the ants seem to like mine and pull all the soil away from the bulbs when they nest, but I don't have the freezing problems.

As for a possible mouse invasion, yes I know those and keeping everything clear is one of the best ways. And field mice are so cute.
We trap and peanut butter seems the best, especially the non-crunchy variety, it's nice and sticky.
We luckily don't have mice in the plague proportions that happen out west, although I've been in one. A heaving furry mass under the feet is a tad alarming.....

Rent a Kitty, Chris?
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#1063943 - Tue Sep 09 2014 06:41 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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Loc: Northampton England UK
That dog was nuts, cousin hare - everything knows that daffodils are poisonous! Although I gather the daffs got their revenge...

You can grow crocus indoors but it's not the same. They survive quite happily outdoors whatever the weather - it is just that various creatures eat them, either the bulbs or the flowers. Growing yellow crocuses here is quite difficult; sparrows like them, finches like them, squirrels like them - and yet they leave the other colours alone. It's a mystery.
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#1063944 - Tue Sep 09 2014 07:03 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
MarchHare007 Offline
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Registered: Wed Aug 08 2007
Posts: 222
Loc: Jilliby NSW Australia         
Indeed they are poisonous and the vet I think nearly bought a new car with the proceeds. Sam lived to a ripe old age of 12 and was planted among her daffodils. smile

I'll look after all your yellow crocus. They'll be safe here, no sparrows, no finches and so far - no squirrels!
I wonder what it is about the colour yellow? *goes google hunting*
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#1063945 - Tue Sep 09 2014 07:03 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
Posts: 2064
Loc: Alberta Canada
Soap is good for keeping deer out of your yard, weird about the dog lol. Daffodils, foxgloves and poppies all contain toxins that deer either can't tolerate or get sick from. THey're not happy about bleeding hearts either. THey also don't like plants that are strongly fragranced, like lavendar, onions, horseradish, ginger etc.

Unfortunately, if it is a harsh winter, they'll eat anything, including all of the above. (shrugs).

Have never had any problem with crocuses (of any colour) other than when the ants decide to build a colony under them. Then they're 'toast' lol.


Edited by Jakeroo (Tue Sep 09 2014 07:04 PM)
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#1063949 - Tue Sep 09 2014 07:22 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
mehaul Offline
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Registered: Wed Feb 03 2010
Posts: 6516
Loc: Florida USA
DO NOT HARM THE MICE! They are the ones in charge of the experiment after all (DNA reference).
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#1063950 - Tue Sep 09 2014 07:42 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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Loc: Northampton England UK
Originally Posted By: mehaul
DO NOT HARM THE MICE! They are the ones in charge of the experiment after all (DNA reference).


I've never understood that. I mean, if mice were in charge of the experiment how come they invented cats? What on earth possessed them? Or even off earth...
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#1063952 - Tue Sep 09 2014 08:59 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
mehaul Offline
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Commyfuldroopy, Slartybartfast's cousin, invented the cats - and the owls - all in an effort to keep the mice in good physical condition by having to dodge those other creatures all the time.
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#1064029 - Wed Sep 10 2014 11:38 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Christinap Offline
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Registered: Sun Jul 27 2008
Posts: 1700
Loc: Essex UK
MarchHare, we have two feral cats that roam the garden, especially at night, and they look very sleek and well fed! As flopsy says, they are field mice and any form of control is impossible, besides, I don't want to kill them, they really are cute little things, and other than eating my crocuses don't really do any damage. I think you're right, give up on the crocus and plant daffodils instead!

The garden centre suggested I try "Silent Roar" which is a fertiliser soaked in lion pee. Apparently it scares off a lot of things because they take one sniff and think there is a really really scary cat around. I've bought a small box to try and will report on success or otherwise in due course.

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#1064080 - Wed Sep 10 2014 07:27 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
Jakeroo Offline
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Registered: Sat Aug 30 2008
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Loc: Alberta Canada
lol Flopsy, that was very funny.

Christina: Hmm, how long has it been since England had free-roaming big cats? Hard to know if "instinct" has travelled this far down the line for prey. So do let us know whether the stuff works.

I know nothing about lion urine, but I can tell you that wolf urine doesn't really work to get rid of coyotes. The latter are opportunists and move on once the food source is gone (such as say, your cat or small dog). Not to mention that most coyotes in our area have never seen or smelled a wolf since humans did such a good job of eradicating them. Urine of any sort is of course water soluble and washes away in the rain. And, it's expensive (for good reason no doubt - who'd want that job after all? lol).
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#1064595 - Sat Sep 13 2014 08:18 PM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
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Loc: Western Australia


Can anyone identify this plant? It was growing in the garden of the resort that we stayed in at Kota Kinabalu (Borneo). We asked the staff, including those tending the gardens, but no-one seemed to know what it was. However, there was a bit of a language barrier to contend with as we only speak a little Malay and the staff only speak a little English.

P.S. I have taken about three or four shots of beautiful tropical plants in that same garden that no-one could identify and will be posting the others at acceptable intervals. Sue, I note from your initial post that we are permitted to post photos if seeking identification - how often are we allowed to post (one per day? one per week?)...


Edited by MotherGoose (Sat Sep 13 2014 08:22 PM)
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#1064609 - Sun Sep 14 2014 12:13 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
ozzz2002 Offline
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It looks like a snapdragon to me, but I cannot narrow it down. My knowledge of Borneoan plants is rather limited. smile
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#1064626 - Sun Sep 14 2014 03:45 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
ren33 Offline
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Loc: Kowloon Tong  Hong Kong      
Quote:
how often are we allowed to post (one per day? one per week?)...

shhhhh I wouldn't ask. Just wait till the OB notices.
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#1064627 - Sun Sep 14 2014 03:51 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12581
Loc: Kowloon Tong  Hong Kong      
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/red-flamboyant-flower-robin-becker.html
I was googling around and found this It is similar in that the seedpod thingie is the same shape and the leaves similar too. Doesn't give a name but I guess if no one recognises it we could ask that photographer if he knows.


Edited by ren33 (Sun Sep 14 2014 03:56 AM)
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#1064641 - Sun Sep 14 2014 05:07 AM Re: Gardening Queries, Tips and Tricks
flopsymopsy Offline

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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 5412
Loc: Northampton England UK
You're spot on, Ren, but even more so than you know - that plant is called precisely what that photographer called it... the Flamboyant Flower or Royal Poinciana. It's originally from Madagascar but now grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide. Latin name: Delonix Regia. Apparently it grows in northern Australia too!

Oh and Oz, this is a snapdragon in my garden, it's about a foot high and definitely not a tree. smile
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