Sweet Revenge!

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  1. Thanks again Guy. I've checked the curled up bits with a x8 magnifier, there are very tiny,( even under the magnifier) white spiky objects that look as if they might be shed skins from aphid young. I'll have to get my microscope out. Aphids are partially parthenogenic, they over winter as eggs and all hatch as females which give birth to live young without needing males. Later in the summer the males are born and then eggs are produced again to over winter. I think I need to concentrate spraying in late summer and early spring. Each year recently we've been getting about a fortnight of warm weather in May up here and I need to start spraying just before the new tubes form. It is deffinitely sooty mould not botritis as it is not furry like botritis and also it appears higher up on the tubes not where ventilation fails to reach. I'm very careful about botritis and cleaning up dead bits. I've very rarely seen any on my cp's luckily. Triona
  2. Likewise, sorry for the delay in replying! many thanks for your reply. I don't actually see the greenfly, I was just told that was what caused the grotesque distortions in the tubes when they grow.. Then later in the year I get sooty deposits as if from the 'juices' that the greenfly produce. It is quite noticeable that the Leoco's are the ones affected. It is obviously happening very early on in the tube growth so by spraying early just as they start growth, with a systemic, I am hoping to catch the little perishers before they can start reproducing. I'm not sure what stage greenfly over-winter in. I can't think what else could cause the problem other than greenfly, can you? 'Triona
  3. Thanks Guy Did you just spray the centres or the tubes as well? I've tried Provado the last few years but taking each one out to make sure I sprayed them all round but the tubes on a few still seem to come up malformed. I bought one of the little pressure sprays to make life easier but still have to refill several times. I'm wondering if I should try spraying much earlier before the new growth starts?
  4. I've been having far more trouble with greenfly in my greenhouse this year, especially on my Sarracenia leuco's. The tubes and even the flower stems are really twisted. In prevoius years I've used Provado and SB but it takes ages to take each one from the greenhouse, spray it all around and then replace it. I've been using one of those small pump up pressurised sprays. Plunging them in water takes even longer and the perlite floats. Can anyone suggest a method of efficiently spraying a fair number of plants in situ please? also would it prevent the little rotters getting a head start if I chopped the foliage right back in the very early spring rather than cutting away at the brown dead growth a little at a time? Many thanks. Triona
  5. I have always taken it to be pollen, it gets washed down off the roof with the rainwater. I only seem to get it after a dry spell so now if I know rain is coming I hose the roof first and disconect the water butts. I got a lot off the Alder trees with the first dry spell in the spring, but it doesn't seem to have done it this time, presumably because nothing much is flowering. Yesterday was the first rain we've had in weeks. It probably doesn't do any harm but it must break down into nutrients after a while. I skim it off the top of the butts if I see a lot but I don't worry if it gets through because I have quite a high turnover of water. Try skimming it off with strips of newspaper if it annoys you and you don't want to waste the water, trouble is you have to move the plants out of the way and wipe the outside of the pots.
  6. Several sources both online and in publications advise boiling peat in water, adding more water and leaving it a few weeks until it goes straw coloured. The same techniques have been used to prepare water for breeding various tropical fish species for many years. The reasons there being 1) it helps the peat to sink for a soft substrate for certain fish that dive into the mulm to spawn. 2) It acidifies and adds tannins to the water for fish normally living in such conditions. 3) water left with a handful of hay in it was left until it went straw coloured, which is caused by the production of vast numbers of tiny creatures that used to be termed "infusoria". This culture was then used as a first food for tiny fry. Please could someone who has been successful with these tell me specifically what I am aiming at for aquatic Utricularia when some native species apparently only need putting in an existing fish free pool. Am I trying to lower the PH below rainwater? or culturing "infusoria" for the plants to feed on? or both? or is it that someone found this works and everyone else just followed suit and it might therefore be worth experiments with other techniques. Methods that don't involve the rest of the family peering into my saucepan and making comments about my cooking abilities...... many thanks
  7. Hi Snowwy, I think various museums and venues have different attitudes. I have been taking photographs and measuring pony pack saddles for many years, usually by prior arrangement as they are often kept in store rooms. Only The National Museum of Wales has ever stipulated that I must write for written permission to use my photo's if I publish them. I've never used the photo's taken there but when using others taken elsewhere in displays and talks I have always stated where they were taken and stated gratitude for access. I personally would contact them out of politeness, I would be surprised if they refused or charged. Having said that, my brother who is a professional photographer says that when taking photo's of flower beds in Birmingham parks they used to appear and demand a fee of £150 and that was many years ago! The photo copyright is yours but your publisher should be able to advise about the legal situation. Good luck with your book.
  8. Hi Charlotte, I used slate in aquariums for fish that like soft water and never had problems. It's probably best to just check by putting a small amount of vinegar onto the surface and it should fiz if has any alkaline inclusions in it. Slate comes in different colours from different areas so if you take a small piece along to your local landscape, large garden centre or aquarium shop you may be able to match it with some larger chunks for between pots which would look good. I also use bogwood between mine but you have to keep an eye on it as it can develop moulds in the high humidity. It looks great with various mosses growing on it though. Good luck
  9. Hi Mike, I would love to come to your open day please. I just happen to be down visiting relatives in Brum that week, now there's a funny coincidence!
  10. Thanks Dunc and Ian. I wondered if it would just go dark and not show up. I do like the idea of recycling it though and I suppose it could be sterilized before re use to get rid of any potential nasties.
  11. I have changed from using sand/grit to perlite this year and I just wondered what other folk do with their spent compost when it has perlite in it? My old compost from re-potting used to go straight on the compost heap and thence on to the garden. Apart from perlite looking pretty unnatural, I wonder how long it takes to break down? Will it end up in the sea like nurdles? I have a river at the bottom of the garden and a sea loch only a few hundred yards further on. I realise in the great scale of life I'm not talking about tons of the stuff, the only thing I could think of was to put it in a bucket with water, give it a stir and see how much I could float off the top. There is nothing like a bit of OCD to exercise the mind ;)
  12. Hi, It might be worth checking out a few marine fish keeping forums as a lot of people use RO water for reef tanks once they realize that the water that comes out of the tap can have higher nitrate levels than the water they are changing. I do know that they use a vast amount of water just to produce a small amount of the pure stuff. I used to buy a small quantity from a local aquarium shop and store it for doing floating Drosera binata leaf cuttings. If you only need small quantity for emergencies (otherwise known as heatwaves) and or have metered water then buying might be an option to consider.
  13. Thanks Hannahraptor. At least I know that for every one that bites me, dozens get eaten. :) to be fair they are only around for about 3 to 4 months, the rest of the year it's safe to go out. I've been told it's because they like to feed on the tourists.
  14. Hi, My plants and I live where the water butts often overflow (touches wood frantically, not to tempt fate) and the midges give the CPs indigestion. I have been keeping CPs for about 7 years, though up until 18 months ago that was on the south side of Birmingham. It's milder, wetter and harder to get peat up here, but great for my little green midge chompers.