Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

I had those poppies for a few years unfortunately they quckly reverted to the basic very pale lilac opium poppy type - not that attractive. All gone now.

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I’m trying to actively grow them, unfortunately next doors cats have other ideas with me growing plants in general. Having had a big replant at the end of March to make it “my” garden, I’ve had to replant an entire bed this week because they just dug up everything that wasn’t a shrub.

And for the positive version of this post.

I just got to replant an entire bed. Plenty of Salvia’s, foxgloves, some Echinacea, Geraniums, Cirsium and Monarda added to the lupins which for some reason the cats didn’t tough. I also bought a black elder, that I have no idea where it was going to go.

Rather sparse right now, but hopefully it’s not so late in the season that they won’t take.


Sounds like you need a beastly water pistol!



If you do an internet search for plants that repel cats, there are some good results. May not be the ones you want mind, but something might appeal?

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Amusing/frustratingly, the Cat Shoo, Lavender, Rosemary and Thistles planted specifically for that purpose were the first things to get dug up. I’ve covered the newly replanted area both in lion manure pellets and the remains of a very prickly rosemary bush.

They’ve made it through the night at least!



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You can buy sprinklers with a motion sensor attached designed to repel border boarders (mostly cats). Around £25 - Google will find you one.

However, this gentleman from Australia took things to the next level with his DIY project -


The 2004 Massolino Parafada really starting to come into its own right now.


Today we shall be making apricot jam! I drank the 2010 barolo during the last two days, not as complex and fragrant as I had hoped it would be. It was OK, but there are many better value for money TWS wines in my opinion.


How are your Ukrainian house guests doing Jos?


Andrii has settled in very well. Marta successfully completed her final exams whilst with us and did graduate as a physician in the top 10% of her year. She has now returned to the Ukraine to practise. We are very happy to have helped making this possible for her.


You should be extremely proud of yourself. People forgot about the Ukraine in all the petty bickering in politics.


Wisley in mid season form

But considering they tell us we don’t need to water our lawns some of the grass is suspiciously green


It’s been a good year for the……black fly🤬 Flowers falling off the runners before they have a chance to develop into beans. Fortunately I over- planted as usual so we are getting beans but it won’t be the usual glut. Maddening.

Not a predator in sight. Fewer insects than usual, I think. Zero ladybirds. Only seen one wasp so far, and of course those buggers are usually only interested in pissing off humans trying to enjoy lunch despite enthusiasts trying to big up their pest control and pollinating abilities.


I’ve had similar problems up here; I’m expecting a very reduced crop :frowning:

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Yes, definitely fewer bees and butterflies around this year, despite laying on a feast for them.

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Runner beans now doing ok……had a glut of of broad beans and onions. Strangely tomatoes have struggled despite being in the greenhouse


Grape harvest chez Chateau “cinq vignes” Harvey status update.

Indoor grape # 1 - Black Muscat. Roots outside but grows through patent hole in greenhouse wall. 23 years old. Total write off this year. It usually supplies about 20 lovely bunches but in May powdery mildew descended and I was too late. Double decker single Guyot. Maybe because I didn’t winter tar wash…

Indoor grape # 2 - Perlette (cousin of Thompsons Seedless), 20+ years old . Roots in the ground in the greenhouse. Usually a reliable easy crop - 20-30 bunches, so long as I protect from late frost, which I did. Prune back to the main stem and crops on the current season shoots, so essentially a single cordon. Inexplicably only shot 2 flower bunches this year. These two currently in cellophane bags to protect from blackbirds who find their way in through the ventilator panels.

Outoor grape # 3 - Solaris. 5 years old, bought from a vineyard in Holland. I wanted it to grow through the greenhouse hole but it never made a shoot long enough so this year I’ve let it grow outside entirely - looks healthy; hope to crop from it next year - big downside is the wasps which adore Solaris

Outdoor grape # 4 - Schiava. about 15 years old. Single double-sided Guyot. Looking very good, much better than last year - ahead of last year despite slow start.( Dry farmed - ie can’t be bothered to water them). These stay on the vine through October but will need cellophane bags to protect from pheasants and blackbirds

Outdoor grape # 5 - Reichensteiner, about 10 years old, bought from Camel Valley. Single layer double Guyot. Again looking very good. These will ripen nicely as opposed to last year which were little bullets come October.


Are these in the UK? I spotted a few rows of Solaris last week overnighting in Soros, on Zealand in Denmark. Apparently it is used a fair bit in the region as copes well with Danish climate. Had wondered about using in Surrey myself.

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