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Daniel Haynes

Are you mystified by terms such as pollarding, pleaching or stool pruning? Don’t be embarrassed to ask for explanations of strange garden jargon. Also, swap tips on double digging, seed sowing and a hundred other gardening tasks.

Daniel Haynes


Does anyone know where I can buy a decent small hand hoe for dealing with the weeds in my pots ?


Emma Crawforth

Hello Pam,

I had a look at the site run by Thrive, the gardenening charity. They recommend quite a few small tools, many of which are suitable for pots. Have a look at this link:

I hope you get the better of your pot weeds!

Emma. team


Having watched Carol Klein sowing seeds last week and being new to gardening, does anyone know the name of the wooden tool she uses to level out the compost in the trays.



Firming board-usually home made.

To anyone in the know!

I would like a hand held sort of Matlock, something that is strong that I can break the ground up with? But cant find one and dont know what it would be called?

I saw Monty using one when he was planting in his veg garden, and it looked like it would fit the bill perfectly.

I go through a trowel every couple of months at the's getting a bit silly!

Any advise would be greatly appreciated x x

I swear by the ones at Chillington Hoes - do a google search and you can find them. I do not understand why no gardening centres ever sell them

Just had a look they are perfect! Thank you

Weed fairy

Im looking for a really strong lightweight border fork. My last one was about 70yrs old and inherited from my aunt. Sadly it suffered irreparable damage from an unseen lump of granite. I have since had a series of "good" border forks that end up with bent prongs! Any suggestions?


I just finished reading the article "How to Make a Wooden Planter". I am mystified by the term "Treated Gravel Board". Here in the U.S. I have never heard the term in our "lumber yards" though I am pretty sure we have an equivalent. Please explain. I'm stumped.



Can anyone help with the following queries please ?

Can you use Builders sharp sand for mixing with potting compost in order to make it better draining?A local DIY store sells horticultural sharp sand (double the price of the builders sand) and it mentions that it is `lime free`.Should I do a ph test on the Builders sand to check that it is ok?


I've had contradictory advice on the best type of secateurs to buy.  Some say any mid-price range is perfectly satisfactory, whilst others swear by that most expensive one (name escapes me) costing at least £50, and which can be sent away for servicing and sharpening (how much does THAT cost?).  I'm not a 'name snob'!  What'd you reckon?  TY, P.

I urgently need to prune my box and yew 'bushes' and would like to 'topiarise'  them...but confused about the best tool for the job! Although as an art teacher I feel confident about my ability to sculpt them I don't think I have the patience or the stamina to keep sharpening my shears throughout  what promises to be a quite lengthy project. Last year I tried a mini battery operated, single handed hedge  trimmer which did not seem to cut efficiently at all, so I ended up returning it to the garden centre. I then resorted to shears which seemed to need sharpening CONSTANTLY. All suggestions would  gratefully received and considered!

@Maria7 : search for 'mattock head': I bought one a few months ago, and it works really well for lifting turf, and digging up stony or compacted ground.

@GrandBob : gravel boards are (roughly) 6"x1" boards that go along the bottom of fences. Try looking for fencing laths, perhaps: but that's about the size of what you want.

@Reg Simpson : I bought bags of sharp sand from Wickes, instead of pricey horticultural sand. Sharp sand drains better than builders sand, which is too round (I believe), and doesn't help drainage. You have to be careful of lime and salt: they're the risks with non-horticultural grit, but I've been ok so far.

@WeedFairy : I really like Joseph Bentley forks & spades, which haven't bent on me yet. They've got nice ash handles, and are a good length.


Hi all, can you tell me why when taking cuttings we are told to place them at the edge of a terracotta pot then cover with a plastic bag? I find every time I do this the remaining leaves  rot.


I have been told you can use honey to propagate rose bush and other cuttings instead of rooting powder. is this true?

I have seen a super rigid plastic cloche on different gardening sites, they are about one metre in length and have two end panels, it can be extended by buying another length they can be pegged down in windy weather, unfortunately they don't. deliver to N.Ireland , is there a site anywhere that does, would be thanhful for any information

Perhaps rather a stupid question but when I read about looking after tools etc. magazines etc say I should use oil on the blades....but my silly question is which type of oil? Thanks.