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      11.04.2003 15:59

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      I fonnd this site with no trouble at all. I then ordered two mushroom growing logs for my fathers 60th birthday. They were a little more expensive than other places but the Delivery was 2 weeks not 28 days. That was the last time I heard from them! My payment was processed by world pay at 10.30am on 19/03/03, Spidergarden have not replied to my e-mails, I cannot now access the site and world pay say "contact the merchant" if having trouble! I suggest that none of you purchase anything from this place or you could lose out too. I consider this theft but nobody wants to help.

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      27.01.2003 03:40
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      I grow my own plants from seed, and find it very satisfying and much cheaper than buying ready grown plants. I get all my seeds mail order from chiltern seeds. I have been buying from this company for a while now and have nothing but praise for them. They are quick to reply to queries and orders, and very fast to ship out. Perhaps I should explain, as suggested by the name this company sells seeds, all kinds of seeds. I first came across them in a search engine whilst looking for catnip for my cat. They were cheap so I thought I?d give them a try. My seeds arrived within a week and I was stunned at how many I got for such a cheap price, and even better pretty much all of them germinated! My kitty was in catnip heaven (until she ate them all, I think there may be one left somewhere in the garden although it was totally worth it to see her come swaggering down the path and lie drooling in my arms ) I have since bought many seeds from them and have always been delighted with what has arrived ? even better is a promotion they have where if you spend over certain thresholds you get a free assortment of seeds, and the more you spend the more free seeds you get! I spent over the £12 and got 3 free packs of seeds ? an annual mix, a perennial mix and a tree/shrub mix ? they allowed me to completely replant my garden as there were so many seeds I just about had room to plant everything that grew! If you don?t know the specific name of what you are looking for that the catalogue can be a bit confusing, but everything is clearly labelled so you know what it is and what conditions it needs to grow. It also has a section for edible plants, wild flowers and a last minute additions section. The mixes are a good idea; especially the colour coded ones as without trawling through everything you can get yourself a beautiful blue garden if you so wished. The only problem I can see is that the catalogue as well as many of the plants on the w
      eb site have no accompanying pictures so you cannot see what you are buying, although the descriptions are so thorough that you can usually get a pretty accurate picture in your minds eye, but once you have the name of the plant it shouldn?t be difficult to find a picture of it elsewhere. The order form is clear and simple to use or you could use the web site, which has the similar problem of being difficult if you do not know specifically what you are looking for but you can search by name, family and type giving an easy navigation of the site. Ordering online is much the same as everywhere else ? add what you want to your basket, proceed to checkout and submit payment ? couldn?t be easier. There range is amazing, from edible plants to some bizarre tropical ones, I have personally grown cacti, Swiss cheese plants, pansies, clematis, foxgloves, dragon tree?s and many more besides! They are truly right when they say how satisfying it is to grow something from seed.

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        09.08.2002 03:17
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        Sunflowers...so easy to grow, and so rewarding. We all know the van Gogh painting, but the real live ones in your own garden are so much better. Nowadays you can buy seed to produce short or tall plants, single flowered or with many flowers, single or double. And different tinges of yellow and brown. They look lovely in the garden, but the smaller flowers also do well as cut flowers. How tall they grow depends not only on the seeds, but also on the soil and the amount of sun they get. This year I have one that's about eleven feet tall! But large or small, I think the simple yellow flowers are really lovely. They're symbols of life, radiance and happiness. You should try some next year. "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."

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          12.07.2002 01:35
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          If the following seems a little over- romantic for an op, it is because it is for Jill. My garden is anything and everything that I want it to be. This tiny plot holds magic within it's boundaries, and has the never-ending ability to match or lighten my mood, however I feel. Winter or summer, a lovingly tended garden never stops smiling. At times, during the lushness of summer, it positively laughs as it invites me out to join it. The senses are pandered to, and I am never more aware of them than when sitting by the pond listening to the music of splashing water. The Japanese are able to "tune" the sound of water with placement of rocks. For me the indisciplined sound of a mini torrent, interspersed with an almighty splash as a mirror carp leaps for a fly, is all I need to lift the spirits or sooth a troubled mind. I read once that if blackbirds were less common people would travel hundreds of miles just to hear one sing. I have my own songster whose music, just before an early-summer dawn, echoes back from the woods as it wakes the other stay-a-bed birds. I am a tactile person who can't help welcoming the first bloom from a white delphinium with a gentle brush from the back of my hand, the same hand which plays with the narrow leaves of a bamboo just to hear them rustle in response. Taste partners scent on the breeze. A light, soft inhalation takes in mint and sweetpeas and roses, lavender and rosemary. The white nicotiana fills the air with such perfume, it drowns my own Chanel and makes it suddenly seem tacky. Beneath the tranquility, though, a busy miniature world goes about it's business. The soil is a-scurry with ants and brightly coloured beetles and the air full of butterflies around the buddleia. The bees are gentle souls who don't seem to mind if you accidentally brush them with a hand while weeding. I must admit that a "Sorry bee" apology is automatic when I do this
          . Just in case.....:-) There is humour as a wood pigeon for some weird reason thought for a second that my pond was solid. It's strong wings saved me having to fish it out, with all the trauma this shy bird would experience. Then there is the sight of a magnificent heron flying over each morning quite low. I have no fears for my fish as the garden is too enclosed to invite a wary heron. This blessed plot is not large, or grand, or designer planned. There is my pond, my beloved fish (some of which are over 20 years old) a mass of flowers and shrubs in no particular order, and any spare space filled with pots of colourful geraniums with happy faces. At the end of the day in that very moment just before sunset, as the garden drops into silhouette and a soft silence, all the white flowers take on a glow in the fading light and make the dusk their own. Why do I say my favourite thing is an *English* garden? That is because it is beneath an English sky. "Jill Murphy asked me to write about one of my favourite things to help her celebrate her fourth anniversary of cancer-free living and to remind ourselves of all the nice things in the world. It takes more muscles to make a frown than a smile you know. If you'd like to join in, whether you've only just joined dooyoo, or you've been here ages, you're more than welcome. Just write about one of YOUR favourite things, make your title "A Favourite Thing: [ your choice]" and include this paragraph at the foot of your opinion. And post before Friday, 9th August."

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            11.04.2002 17:45
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            I was never really into gardening, it was my mum who started me off. I was watching an Alan Titchmarsh program when i saw him sowing some seeds. I decided to sow some myself to see if i could get them to grow. I only had one tray for seeds but there were three different types i wanted to sow. So i made my own little pots by rolling newspaper around toilet roll holders and then taking it off and stapling it. After a few days they were supposed to come up and i was dreading looking at them in case they hadn't come up. So after watering them and putting them in a warm place i left them alone for five days. When i eventualy got the courage to look at my little seeds, i was delighted to see they had sprouted and were growing. I couldn't believe it, it sounds daft but i was really pleased i felt an enormous amount of pride for these seeds and decided i am going to sow seeds every year. After they begin to sprout you can gently separate them into different pots, but make sure you don't touch the stems because they are very fragile, always touch the leaves. Then as they get a bit bigger you can transport them to the garden. But if like me you have a dog who loves to live among the plants then wait until their big enough to look after themselves before moving them to the garden.

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              04.03.2002 19:51
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              When we moved house in July 2001, one of the many reasons for choosing the house was its large gardens that back on to open fields without another house in view. At the side of house was a 30-foot Holly tree, the tree was full of berries and has a perfect shape to it, and we quickly became rather attached to it. It was always our plan to extent the house during 2003 and when we sat down with a builder we decided to build much bigger than planned. This had one problem; the Holly tree was now in the way. The builder offered to cut down the tree and remove its roots for a small extra charge, but neither if us wanted to lose the tree. So we set about finding a tree surgeon that would be able to transplant the whole tree to another location in the garden. After a few days of phone calls we were referred to a company called Nature First in Gloucester, who sent of lady to the house to look at the tree and site. This company uses a machine called a tree spade, which is part of mid-sized lorry. She explained that the tree spade would clamp around the tree trunk then 4 large (around 6 feet high and very wide) hydraulically driven spades would be forced in the ground around the tree. The spades took a root ball of 2 meters across by 5 feet deep, all roots outside of the ball are cut as the spades are driven into the ground, the tree is then simply lifted out of the ground and moved to its new home where a ‘plug’ of earth has already been removed by the machine. The ground needs to be as hard as possible as when the tree is removed the lorry weights in at around 18-22 tonnes. So we waited until the ground had frozen over the Christmas period. The tree spade seemed to make light work of the whole job and had most of the neighbours and a handful of people who were either driving or walking by stopping off to watch the action. The process took around 3 hours to complete in total. Our holly tree is now in its new location further d
              own the garden, it has three thick metal guide-ropes pegging it into the ground and they have to stay on for around 2 years, the tree will also need a huge amount of water through the summer (luck we’re not on a water metre). Two months on the tree seems to be doing well and we just about to start building. Nature First were not able to guarantee the tree would survive the transplant, and said its should have about a 95% chance. Seeing the tree in its new home now makes me think that it was worth saving it and gives a nice story to tell others our may also be in the same situation.

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                13.10.2001 03:34
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                Autumn is well and truly upon us and before long we will be into winter and time to make sure our feathered friends have food and water. If you have a decent size garden with one or more trees in it then you can hang nets with nuts or seed from the trees and you have no problems with feeding the birds, but where do you put water for them to drink? I have a fairly simple bird table in my garden, which I made about eight or nine year ago while I was at school and it is still going strong. I was only about fourteen when I made it and have never really been very good with tools so if I can make one any one can. This is a very simple project, just a square of wood mounted on a stake, which is then pushed into the ground. You need a stake about 6 foot long and about 2 inches square, you can buy stakes at most garden centres and they are already sharpened at one end, they are usually used for supporting young trees. The tabletop should be about 9 inches square and about 1 inch thick; again you should be able to get this from most wood yards. The most important thing for our feathered friends during the winter months is water. When we have frost and ice the birds are unable to get water to drink and because of this it is a good idea to incorporate a container for water into the top of the bird table; to do this get an empty plastic tub, something like an empty shallow margarine tub with a rim at the top will do, place it upside down on the top of the table somewhere between the centre and edge and draw around it; having done this measure about an eighth of an inch all around the inside of the drawing and again draw around (you need the tub to fit snugly). Drill a hole in each corner of the drawing to enable you to get a hacksaw blade or electric saw in and cut out the shape of the tub, the tub should fit inside the hole. You can then keep changing the tub and keep it topped up with fresh water but make sure the water does not freeze dur
                ing the winter. Drill a hole through the centre of the table top and fasten the top to the stake with a brass woodscrew, the screw should be at least two inches long. If you find it difficult to screw completely down, remove the screw and drill a starter hole in the centre of the stake, you should then be able to screw the table top straight onto the stake. If the tabletop wobbles when the screw is in place cut four small triangular wood braces from 1 inch thick wood and screw these onto the stake flush with the tabletop. Tack some balsa wood around the edge of the table top to prevent the wind blowing the bird seed and bread of the bird table and screw one or two cup hooks onto the edge of the bird table to hang nets of nuts or seeds from. Hammer the bird table into the ground about 2 feet deep to keep in place. This is a very basic and really simple bird table but also very effective and it adds a little bit of interest to your garden during the bleak winter months. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for THAT type of bird!!

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                  31.08.2001 01:57
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                  This idea came from my neighbour and I thought that it was so good that I would share it with you all. Have you ever wanted to grow your own vegetables but not had the space or the inclination to do all of the preparatory work? Well this year my next door neighbour gave me some seed potatoes with the instructions to grow them in the old dustbin lurking at the botton of my garden. I did as instructed in a mixture of 50:50 multi putpose and peat, and with regular watering they started to grow within a week. After a few months my potatoes were ready to pick. Yes I did say pick because the beauty of growing vegetables this way is that when you need some, you just put your hand into the bin and pick what you require and leave the rest to carry on growing. I am so pleased with the results that I now plan on buying a few more bins and and planting parsnips, carrots, swede and maybe brussel sprouts ready for christmas.

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                    15.08.2001 22:45
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                    Unless they’re out on a romantic stroll with their lady friend, very few men will admit to an interest in the joys of gardening. Images of poofy flowers, monstrous gnomes and old men stumbling around their veggie patch, come to mind. But these same men often secretly long for an escape, an outdoor retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, or the constant nagging of the wife. With that in mind have you ever thought that money spent on your garden is a good investment, in fact a well presented garden can add more to the value of your home than a new fitted kitchen (only problem being, it is harder work). Plus a beautiful garden is no longer the preserve of grannies, nonce’s and the crabby-faced Alan titchmarshes of this world. If you are faced with a garden that could be described as a landfill site, why not have a go and turn it from the once grubby patio to a grand garden fit for a queen, or your wife. A haven where not only she but also you can relax, hold a party and entertain in style. If you are a bachelor remember a women loves flowers, in my experience even more so if you have nurtured them from a seed. There are many projects you can undertake to complete your task but I recommend that you do one at a time. You must start by jotting down your planned garden; no doubt this plan will change as you go along. As you will find some things to difficult or you might decide that it is easy and you want more of a challenge. Once you have decided on your plan the first physical job is to get the ground ready. Let’s start with the Patio/Decking area. ----------------------------------------------- You must do some prep work and decided on the best decking for your garden. Search for a flooring that would be comfy to walk on, the right colour/shade to suite your garden design and of course make sure it will be hard wearing enough to stand up to it’s use. My favorite is the wooden decking you
                    see on ground force every week, so I will use this for my opinion. Now is the time to get out your plan and mark out on the ground where your decking is going to be situated. You must make sure that you leave any manhole covers or drains accessible. Stores like Homebase and B&Q do handy ‘How To’ Leaflets on all sorts of DIY projects, so do yourself a favour and swot up, allow your self three to five days for the build process. Don’t worry you won’t need to be one of Noah’s carpenters to put together a nice stretch of decking. You will have to start with a wooden sub-frame, on which your decking will lie, just like internal floorboards. Dig into the ground to remove any stones and vegetation to make yourself a level site and to help drainage. Then lay some black membrane (available from the builder’s merchant) onto the soil, this will stop any weeds growing through. The next stage is to build your sub-frame joists so that the decking can be laid on them. For this you will need to lay the boards across the joists leaving a gap of 3mm between each board for movement and swelling, when fixing the boards down use screws not nails. Screws will give you a stronger fix and also enable you to lift the boards with ease in the future. Note: Depending on the quality of joists and floor boards you have purchased they will all need treating with a garden creosote to stain and seal them from moisture, thus preventing rot. The Next Step Is Foliage (Big Plants) --------------------------------------------- The key to a successful garden is one that offers low maintenance; you will need a lot of slow growing shrubs, so that you’re not out every week on shrub patrol. For that lasting look all year round, make sure you have a healthy quota of evergreens, position your plants so that they are not on show but part of a garden thus creating a more exciting feature. Here are some of
                    the good foliage plants that I have come across: 1) Cabbage Palm – This is going to be the big talking point in anyone’s garden, the large exotic kiwi palm might look out of place in sunny Manchester, but hold no fears this fella can stand up to anything the British weather throws at it. Price Guide £50 2) Australian Tree Fern – Will love to fill those dark corners where you have trouble getting anything else to grow. The striking Australian fern hails from the alpine regions of Oz. Weird then that it relishes the cold wet conditions of Britain. Price Guide £80 3) New Zealand Tree Fern – Whereas it’s Aussie counterpart is a size 16 this much slimmer version measures in about a size 10. Nicknamed the Dirty Rotten Stinking Kiwi by its over zealous importers, this glacial fern comes recommended for garden in London and the Southwest. Price Guide £75. 4) Agave Americana – Needs a sunny, free draining site but this splendidly stiff spiky Agave makes for a handy space filler, doubling as a warning to invading cats to get back over the fence. I positioned underneath windows; it would take a very determined burgular to fight his way through the sharp spiky ends. Price Guide £100 5) Chinese Windmill Palm – Known to withstand temperatures as nippy as –18*c, the giant trachycarpus fortunei, as Latin-loving gardeners more commonly call it, is the hardiest palm to hail China. Only an onslaught of extreme cold and rain will bother it. Requires free draining soil and a big bank balance. Price Guide £360. For the Cheaper Option ------------------------------ 1) Aucuba Japonica/Japanese Aucuba – Plucky little blighter which throws up glossy yellow-spotted leaves and red berries in winter. Likes good soil, but will tolerate the dubious muck in your back yard. This is perfectly hardy but does like a good drink. 2) Hosta – This piece of unk
                    illable foliage will knock out small white flowers in the summer if feeling perky. It can be prone to slug infestation, but a layer of grit around the stem will prevent that. 3) Acanthus Mollis/Oyster Plant – A bold little soil dweller, never happier than when growing glossy, big lobed leaves. It isn’t picky either. It will grow virtually anywhere, but it’s best in a sunny spot. 4) Mahonia x Media/Holly Grape – Reaper dodging evergreen which does a mean impression of a holly bush. It likes either partial shade or partial sunlight, but it won’t give you sleepless nights sweating on its survival. 5) Euonymus Fortunei/Climbing Euonymus – Rock hard evergreen that produces leaves blotched with yellow, and will climb walls if you stick it next to the house. You might want to reach for the clippers it gets carried away and starts tapping your bedroom window. The Clean Up ----------------- It is a messy business digging up your garden week after week, with the amount of rubble left you could knock up a multi storey carpark. So rather than have endless trips to the local skip in black bin bags, get yourself a skip. You will be able to find a local firm in the Yellow pages, they will leave a skip outside your house for as long as needed charging rental, then on your command take it away leaving you with a cleared garden. Be weary though, as unless you have room on your property for the skip you will need a lisence from the council to leave it on the road. Let There Be Light ------------------------ I suspect that whether you have the acres of Buckingham palace or a balcony with a few tubs you will want to make the most of it this summer. But when the sun goes down you might want you newly furnished garden to entertain your friends. So instead of breaking out the garden candles why not set up some garden lighting. Whether it’s a garden path, lo
                    p sided bush or splendidly luxurious Jacuzzi, clever use of outdoor lighting will transform it. Most spotlights are waterproof and multi directional, casting shadows of plants, trees and features. When you’re out scouring the local DIY store, make sure you check the IP number. An IP is a two-digit number that stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ against solids (first number) and liquids (the second) entering into a light fixture. Basically the higher the IP, the greater it’s all round resilience. I would urge you to get a qualified electrician to do this work for you, as I am sure you would prefer your guests to leave your garden on there own two feet. Ensure that any wires that are sunk into the ground are armoured and designed for outdoor use. Bathe Like Hefner ----------------------- Traditional hot tubs, with their hefty wooden surrounds and technical wizardry, are likely to set you back £10,000 – leaving you with little money for a babycham let alone a Magnum bottle of bubbly. The clever man, however, would be better advised to consider lighter, portable tubs, such as the soft tub. Having forked out an extra £7,000 to have an enormous bath airlifted into his garden, your dumbstruck neighbour will weep when you simply carry your soft tub through the house. To finish of your garden I would suggest a pond with fountain or waterfall, the sound of running water is a source of great relaxation. Unless of course you have just got out of the car after a 6 hour journey, in which case it will have you running for the toilet. I won’t go into this now as that will be a whole new opinion in it’s self at some point. Regards Mr Writer

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                      27.07.2001 20:32
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                      Recently the Ipswich Borough Council delivered a second (Brown)wheelie bin. This second bin is for materials that can be used to make compost for their Composting Scheme. On a set day they will collect the contents of the compost wheelie bin just in the same way as normal household rubbish. The material is treated and matured to produce compost which then is sold. This is a very useful means of recycling that in the end produces organic compost. It also may reduce the council spending, but not by much. Items that should go into the Brown wheelie bin: Fruit and vegetable peelings. Spoilt fruit and vegetables. Egg shells. Tea bags and coffee. Food scrapings (i.e. bread, rice & pasta. Grass cuttings. Leaves. Weeds, dead flowers and plants. Light garden prunings. Hedge trimmings. Untreated wood Chipping’s. Sawdust and pet straw. Items that should not go into the brown wheelie bin. Meat, fish or bones. Soil ,turf, sand, rocks or building rubble. Dog faeces or cat litter. Plastics. Fats and oils. Contents of vacuum cleaners. Disposable nappies and dressings. Cardboard. Newspapers/magazines. Metals. Glass. Textiles. Ashes. Batteries. Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals & dyestuffs. Sand based animal bedding. What I have done is collect all the grass cuttings etc. in the bin and allow it to rot down which only takes six weeks. The compost is then emptied out and used on the garden as compost. With a little ingenuity a suitable plastic bin the size of a wheelie bin or larger could be used in your garden. If you do not have enough appropriate materials to make the compost you could approach your neighbours and use theirs. Ideally the plastic bin should have some ventilation or you could find the bin on fire due to spontaneous combustion (A large amount of heat is generated while the material is d
                      ecomposing). If its possible fit a tap to the bottom of the bin so you can collect the liquid (Some gardens produce nettle water in the same way). This liquid then can be used like ‘Baby bio’ or fertiliser in potted plants and hanging baskets. If you find that there is not very much liquid try dampening the compost material with water on a weekly basis. Happy gardening.

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                        25.07.2001 18:25
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                        I realise that there is something of a trend in my reviews - I spend most of my time advocating doig things the old fashioned way.... well, here we go again. Reason number one for not using electronic gadgets in the garden is that they use electricity and you can be more green by doing it manually. Reason two - doing it all manually makes for better exersize. Reason three - electric gadgets can do a great deal of harm to critters in your garden. Slower moving manpowered tools take longer to get around and give frogs time to get off the lawn (And believe me, frogs that have been shredded by a lawnmower are not a nice lawn feature.) Strimmers are lethal for hedgehogs who are prone to lurking in hedges and long grass - you won't know your hedgehog is there until you have strimmed him. Sometimes they can survive, but the injuries can be horrible. Hedgehogs are a good thing to have in the garden because they live mostly on slugs and snails. (As well as being very sweet and endearing little creatures.)Be kind to a hedgehog and use a shears - you have to get closer to the plants beign cut and you'll be going slowly enough that any hedgehogs around can leave long before you get to them. Reason 4 - noise pollution. Electric gadgets in the garden make a lot of noise, they cut through the peace of any afternoon and make being outside far less pleasant for everyone else in the area. Reason 5 - why are you gardening anyway? If you just want something to look at through the window and don't like gardening for any longer than you have to, consider planting things that need less work (tubs and patios are good for having colour but little maintainance.) If you like working outside, tending your plants and the like, why not use non electric tools? being outside for a little longer will be no great hardship. Realistically though, unless you are fit and have time, mowing a large lawn by hand is not an option, and cutting
                        hedges by hand is far too much work. Not everyone has the time or the energy. However, there's still a lot you can do to protect the residents of your garden. Check over the lawn before you mow it and move any frogs on (use gloves if handling them - human skin is too hot for them.) check long grass before you strim and evict anything living there rather than just hacking it up. A few moments of care can protect the wildlife in your garden, and you might be surprised by what you find living in your hedge! The presence of wildlife can be very satisfying - there's something very wonderful about seeing a hedgehog on your lawn or a mouse in your hedge. Most of these residents aren't harmful, and will be keeping down other pests in the garden. Bird netting will keep most little visitors off anything that needs protecting, and if you don't want them eating what you have planted, leave out something more appealing - a bit of fruit, seed, bread etc. You can get a lot of pleasure out of this and I can personally recomend it.

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                          24.07.2001 16:37
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                          Several of my friends have asked me for advice on gardening in general, so here we go. This is basically a tale of how to keep a largish garden looking presentable for as low a cost as possible. I have recently been turning the garden of a friend's council house from a field to something a bit more presentable. The grass and weeds were about four feet tall to start with. At least one of my circle of friends here on Dooyoo have suggested I get some sheep to graze out there to start with as the area was fairly large at 110 feet by 20 feet. However I ruled out this Somewhat Useful opinion on the basis that in my experience it is quite difficult to get sheep on buses, and if I moved them in my car they might eat the seats. I did follow another suggestion though and introduce some birds to the garden, these proved useful not only in their attractive appearance, but also could provide the regular supplies of Stella Artois and coffee needed for the hard work ahead. On with the work now, and on the basis we were starting with no tools, so the first thing I did was to buy some shears and secateurs. These can both be purchased for about £4 and £2 respectively from either pound shops or Woolworths, but I would recommend buying as strong a pair as one can afford. These were purchased first because the grass and weeds were so long and matted that cutting by hand at first was the only option. Having covered the whole garden by hand and getting everything down to a height of about two inches, the next piece of planning came into operation, where to put the rubbish. A space was chosen as far from any house as possible, and a large pile began to be accumulated. At this point a cheap lawn mower was chosen, which can be purchased for about £30 from any superstore such as B & Q or Homebase. I chose a hover mower because of the undulating nature of the ground but one must remember that a cheap mower is less powerful so any job will take slightly lo
                          nger. At this point another essential gardening item became necessary, a mobile or cordless phone, essential because it is an extreme nuisance to walk back the whole length of the garden to answer a phone call selling double glazing. Once the grass was to a suitable and shortish length another purchase becomes necessary, a rake. All the grass area should be raked over to remove all dead grass and moss etc. This initial work of getting the grass into reasonable condition can take a considerable time, in my case a year, but is worth it in the long run. Any bald patches can be resown with seeds (but this didn't help my hair), and now having an attractive lawn hopefully, regular watering will be required, so a hose will be required at about £8, perhaps with an added sprinkler for about £5. Around this time or perhaps a little earlier the rubbish will need removing, I burned mine. I did this one night. As the by now not inconsiderable heap was as far away from any house as I could get it, I decided to burn it one wet and miserable night when some of the neighbours were on holiday, and the rest would not have had washing out. At this point another essential gardening item was used, a very loud radio to drown out the wailing of neighbours saying "You can't 'ave a fire at this time of night mate !!. Some people will whinge about anything won't they ?? With some of the excess earth and ash and compost now laying around I made a rockery in one corner, it's amazing how many spare rocks and stones of very attractive colours there are laying around on beaches and moors which no-one seems to own !! At this time of course, two more purchases were made, being a spade and a fork, both at £3 from a boot sale. At this point while remarking on the transformation already achieved a neighbour said his Irish Wolfhound had been put down. Talking to neighbours is a nice bonus to gardening, I asked him why. He said it had been out in
                          the garden gnawing on a large bone, and when it stood up his back leg fell off !! Borders were now made to line out the area required for plants, in this case very small because it was intended to be a fairly low maintenance garden. Bordering material can be purchased fairly cheaply, the cheapest being old bricks if done carefully and properly Plants, so far for low cost, roses, flag irises, daffodils, tulips and conifers have been planted, most being accumulated from boot sales for under £1. Roses can be fairly well pruned back each year and are hardy enough to benefit from that, there was in fact a huuuuge rose bush there already, about nine feet tall, and this has been cut down by about five feet and is very healthy and growing well. Flag irises grow basically on the surface and every year can be thinned out and replanted, so within a few years quite a collection will be accumulated, all of my friends have been donated quite a few. Well, there is the story so far, I will perhaps give more specialised tips in other opinions in the future, except to say that this story of cheap gardening is now taking another twist, a shed may be required to put all the tools in !!

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                            13.07.2001 21:42
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                            I took the plunge recently and decided to have my front garden landscaped. As I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to plants and the only ones I can keep going are plastic ones (and even those melt in front of the fire in the winter) idecided to employ a professional. 'It's not like Groundforce' I was warned 'Don't expect a garden in 2 days' I was Ok with that and having agreed plans, the price (gulp - more that I thought) the work began. I'm having grass - everything was previously tarmac - paving to the front door, raised beds, a bit of gravel and two benches.....it looks nicer than it sounds I promise :-) Anyway - two days of digging up the tarmac have elicited the following comments from my neighbours who until now have been really lovely but over the last two days have taken to standing looking over the front wall and making snide comments..... 'We decided not to do our garden, as it didn't seem worth spending money in this type of area' 'Well anything will be better than the eyesore we have had to put up with for the last 5 years' 'The problem with having a nice garden is that it will emphasise how horrible the house really is' To cap it all - having paid a fortune to get the tarmac up I arrived home this afternoon to find a tarmac company about to re-tarmac the garden...........someone had ordered it and they were getting on with it in my absence....a passing neighbour had said it would probably be OK......but they didn't know who it was.... My advice - get groundforce in then everyone loves it because they can be on the TV!! I only wanted to improve my aspect through the front windows and I've fuelled a feud! My final thought is that it must be looking good for them to be sooo jealous :-) I'm just waiting for the cans to end up in my garden as they walk past....

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                              29.06.2001 22:02
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                              I have been gardening for 45 years and have come accross the perfect garden center called BAKKER. web site www.bakker.co.uk I have recieved their catalogues via snail mail over the years & have orderd plants from time to time & my last order was a year ago. for 3 types of lilies 2types failed they just seemed too weak, so i found that they had a web site this was a year after planting them. So i told them via an email,i couldnt remember my customer account number & that the plants had failed, they returned my money within 2 days with a letter of apology. Now that kind of service means i shall definatly be reordering because they have given me the confidence to do so.. Their web site is great i hope they go from strength to strength. Were so quick to complain its so nice to give a company a pat on the back... Well Done

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                                10.06.2001 23:33
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                                A very personal opinion on gardening: I really cant get to grips with gardening, and ive certainly tried. Once i became a home-owner i figured that "doing the garden" was all part of the deal. But i soon learned a critical flaw - everything keeps growing! There are few pasttimes where the odds are so massively stacked against you. Kinda like running a bath with the plug out. However much i pruned and trimmed, the plants i didnt want (mainly ivy and weeds on the lawn) just kept coming back. Mocking. The things i did want to grow (grass and puny little shrubs from garden centres), resolutely did not. And then there was all the names. Strange latin things and about 3,000 words to describe "something that kills plants." And the money...oh, the money The manager of my local Homebase drives a Bentley! Weedkiller, lawnfeed, soil (isnt that like buying air or water?), plants, pots, various tools, gloves, books. And it was never enough. Always needed one thing more. "You'll be needing a dibber" said the neighbour. Back to Homebase to look for the dibber section. There must be an easier way. When i was a kid my mother (bless her) used to spend a significant portion of her time cooking. These days she microwaves, boils in the bag, and buys ready made custard instead of Birds powder. All this technology and invention to make life easier. So where is it in the garden? Okay, so the lawnmower is quite tasty, but thats about it. The rest is old fashioned, back breaking, children down the mine, dead at 35 type stuff. So i have given up. Or rather i have been beaten. I would like to pretend that the lawn turned into moss and weed only after i gave up, but its not the case. My garden DID NOT WANT to be trimmed, edged, pruned and hoed. None of them do. So dont get stressed about blackfly and sheep
                                wort. Give the garden back to nature, and save a fortune. And if by chance you have mastered the green art of gardening, im willing to pay for a few hours a week....

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