Tomato blight identification on fruit and what to do. Time-lapse

September 25, 2009

Tomato blight is weather-dependent and can be devastating during wet summers. Watch out for signs on outdoor tomatoes, which are most at risk; glasshouse tomatoes are less likely to become infected though the spores are carried in the wind and will enter through open windows and doors.

Tomato blight on leaf

Tomato blight on leaf

Early Blight can affect the foliage, stems and fruit of tomatoes.

Symptoms: Dark spots with concentric rings develop on older leaves first. The surrounding leaf area may turn yellow.

Affected leaves may die prematurely, exposing the fruits to sun scorching.
Management: Early Blight fungus overwinters in plant residue and is soil-borne. It can also come in on transplants. Remove affected plants and thoroughly clean fall garden debris. Wet weather and weak stressed plants increase the likelihood of attack. Copper and/or sulfur sprays can prevent further development of the fungus
Late Blight is caused by a fungus, Phytophthora infestans. It’s the same disease that led to the Irish potato famine almost 150 years ago.

The disease is not directly harmful to people as it only infects potatoes, tomatoes, and some related weeds, but it is not advised to eat the infected fruit or tubers.
It is important to catch any tomato disease early, before it spreads to all of your tomato plants and possibly other plants in the same family, such as potatoes, eggplants and peppers.
Look for brown, rapidly spreading patches on leaves and stems. The fruit, too, may show firm, quickly spreading brown patches followed by rotting. Infected parts die rapidly.
Destroy infected plants; but do not compost them as the plant residue is soil-borne and will spread the disease to your next years crop.
Late blight needs living plant tissue to survive, so infected tomato plants should be destroyed as soon as the disease is identified. In small gardens, this means removing plants in trash bags and sending them to the landfill;

By Time-lapse by Neil Bromhall

I have made an on-line interactive plant finder, identifier and pruning guide web site. which I hope you find interesting.

It has over 3,600 garden plants, 10,000 photographs plus time lapse sequences and each plant has in-depth plant care and illustrated pruning advice.

The plant database is continuing to grow.  If you have good quality photographs of garden plants that are not not already on the database I’d like to hear from you with an interest of adding it to the collection.

Contact me on

Aphid infestation on rose bud, time-lapse

June 30, 2009

Aphids are attracted to the tender new growth. Here is a time-lapse of rose leaf bud growing and as it does becomes infested with aphids.

At the end of the sequence, one of the natural aphid preditors the hoverfly larva comes in and eats most if not all of the aphids.

This shows just how efficient hoverfly larvae are at controlling aphids.

The sequence was filmed over a period of 24 hrs.

filmed for my website

Cleve West writes Independent Review on Garden advice software

October 23, 2008

RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold winning garden designer Cleve West has written a review in the Independent Newspaper.  Saturday 25th October 2008

Cleve has written a review about the Complete Garden plant advice and pruning guide encyclopaedia CD-ROM.

Being featured in a National Newspaper and written by such a respected Garden Designer will be a big boost in raising the interactive, visual plant database CD-ROM profile.

Cleve West Independent review…ow-969471.html

The only information missing from his glowing review are the contact details where to buy the Complete Gardens CD-ROM and that the software is both PC & MAC compatible.

Many people will be unaware that such a product exists, so Cleve’s review will be a great help.

A CD-ROM is disc that you insert in to your computer. The CD-ROM allows the user to request information that appears within seconds by a simple a click of a button.

A CD-ROM can hold thousands of images plus data and illustrations which is easily accessable.

In addition you can add your own notes and print them with images plus make plant lists of plants you have and plant you want and the unique calendar lists reminds you which plants will be in flower and remind you which of your plants that need pruning and how.

The CD-ROM is designed to help you find plants for every area of your garden and season.

With this simple yet basic knowledge, the CD-ROM can help garden enthusiasts whatever level of experience find the right plants for the right time and place in order to create a garden with seasonal colour and interest.

I’ve now made an online version, please see where I can add new plants, images and time lapses.

What’s making holes in the leaves? Leafcutter bee

October 14, 2008
If you wonder what is cutting circular holes around the margins of your leaves, then it’s likely to be the solitary leaf-cutter bee.
The longer cuts are used for wrapped around the chamber. The female will then provision the chamber and lay an egg. The circular cuts are used to seal off the chamber. The egg hatches into a grub.
The grub eats the pollen, pupates and later emerges as a bee.
The female leafcutter bees select leaves that are bendable and not too heavy to carry.
Leaf cutter bee damage to leaves

Leaf cutter bee damage to leaves

Bees are vital for pollination. You can buy leafcutter bee houses to attract the bees to your garden. The leaf-cutter bees are solitary and unlike honey bees do not swarm like honey bees so they are little or no danger to humans or pets.

Bees are vital for pollination.

Leaf-cutter bee house

Leaf-cutter bee house

You can buy leafcutter bee houses to attract the bees to your garden.

 Leafcutter bee house. Leaf cutter bees like hollow tubes and bamboo are ideal. They also excavate tunnels in flower pots where light gritty compost is used.  

Leaf-cutter bee chambers

Leaf-cutter bee chambers

Here I’ve cut open a bamboo cane to reveal the leaf-cutter bee nest chambers. Row of leaf-cutter bee chambers lined with cut leaves. The male will be nearest the exit

The female has used the circular cuts to seal off the ends of the chamber, whereas the longer cuts are wrapped around the sides. The adult bee will provision the chamber with pollen and lay an egg. The larva feeds of the pollen.

The female larva are the first to be layed and are deepest in the line. This means that if the nest is predated by a woodpecker, the feamles have a better chance of avoiding being eaten. The male larva is nearst the exit and will be the first to be eaten.

Leaf-cutter bee larva inside chamber, eating the pollen provided by the bee

Leaf-cutter bee larva inside chamber, eating the pollen provided by the bee

Although this larva will probably die, I carefully replaced the bamboo and sealed it with wax to keep the chambers intact and dry.

Leaf-cutterbee damage to a rose

Leaf-cutterbee damage to a rose

Leaf damage on rose by leaf cutter bees

Narcissus grub eating daffodil bulb. Garden pest identification

October 12, 2008


Narcissus grub larva. 10mm long

Narcissus grub larva. 10mm long

Narcissus grub eating daffodil

Narcissus grub eating daffodil

If you’re digging the garden or planting bulbs, it’s worth checking on your daffodil bulbs for the Narcissus grubs.

Narcissus grub eating a daffodil bulb

Narcissus grub eating a daffodil bulb

These pests eat the inside of your daffodil bulbs.

Discard the bulb as they probably won’t recover.

Narcissus bulbs. healthy and narcissus grub infected

Narcissus bulbs. healthy and narcissus grub infected

It is easy to see which bulbs are healthy and which ones are infected. At the base of an infected bulb will be black and unhealthy looking

Garden spiders. Orb-spider Araneus diadematus

October 3, 2008
Orb spider eating a wasp
Orb spider eating a wasp

Garden spiders like this Orb-spider Araneus diadematus can be beneficial if you don’t like wasps.

This one is tucking into a wasp, so spiders can be added to the natural pest control list.

These garden spiders are common around houses and hedges September – October

Splitting daffodil bulbs in September

September 29, 2008

Tulip and daffodil bulbs have already started to shoot underground.

Tulip and Daffodil bulbs in September

Tulip and Daffodil bulbs in September

If you’re digging your borders, be careful not to cut into and damage your bulbs.

Gently pull Daffodil bulbs apart

Gently pull Daffodil bulbs apart


Gently pull the bulbs apart

Gently pull the bulbs apart

If you haven’t already done so, it’s a good time to split your bulbs by gently prising them apart, beging careful not to damage the delicate roots.

Plant the the bulbs in the ground about three times the length of the bulb and about 10 cm apart.

Narcissus grub infected daffodil bulb

Narcissus grub infected daffodil bulb

If the daffodils have blackened ends near the roots and the shoot have not begun to grow then check for the narcissus grub. These pests eat the centre of the bulbs. Throw the bulb away as it won’t really recover properly.

Complete Gardens advice CD-ROM