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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

so the toms leeks and parsnips whats your plans for the weekend

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 11:49

Hello weekend gardeners,

I badly need to do some pricking out of my seedlings this weekend. Some of them are starting to get leggy and will make very poor plants if I don't get them out of their crowded seed trays soon.

Emma team

Container Gardening - all seasons

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 10:32

Hello mysterywoman196,

It may seem old-fashioned, but how about pinks? if you keep dead-heading them (which is quite a pleasant job) they can produce flowers for months. If you don't like the grey foliage look, some of them come with bright green leaves. And if you think the colour pink is not right for your pots, then go for white ones. They smell great too. Have a look at James' blog on pinks for some inspiration.

Emma team

tomatoes and mould

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 10:23

Hello Elly,

It sounds like you're doing the right things. Grey mould loves cool, damp conditions. Ventilation is really important. On warm days, try to open all the vents in your greenhouse and the doors to get as much fresh air in as possible. Spacing is also crucial. It's always tempting to pack in as many plants as possible, but closely spaced plants have humid pockets of air in between them - which fungi love. After the danger of frost has passed you can take some of your plants out of the greenhouse altogether for the summer.

I hope you have a good crop this summer,

Emma. team

pelargonium cuttings

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 10:12

Hello Gilda,

Don't worry, pelargoniums are some of the most forgiving plants when it comes to taking cuttings. Softwood cuttings can be taken from now through to autumn. Gardeners often recommend taking them in autumn so as to overwinter them but as yours have survived winter in their original pots (I presume) you can start taking cuttings now. You can use the method in our geraniums cuttings project.You probably don't need to bother with the hormone rooting powder. Be sure to keep them in a warm place.

Good luck,

Emma team

Talkback: How to plant a yew hedge

Posted: 15/03/2012 at 09:59

Hello Josie,

Buying bare root trees is a great way to keep the costs down. Try to plant them as soon as you get them if you can. This is especially important at this time of year as we're getting to the end of the bare-root planting season. If not, make sure the roots are kept moist, by covering them in compost / soil until you get them in. They should come with instructions. The instructions should let you know how far to space them apart for your hedge but a good guide is about five per metre for an average hedge. Be sure to keep them well-watered in the first year, but definitely not waterlogged. I hope you have a great hedge soon.

Emma team

Mystery Houseplant

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 12:15

Hello Baileyana,

As meiow and jeffd say, it's a variegated umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola). These are prone to scale insects, which cause the plants to be covered in a sticky film, whilst weakening them. Schefflera can also be attacked as you say by thrips, and mealybugs. Mealybugs can also cause leaf stickiness but you probably would have spotted them as you'd see the pale 'fluff'. It can be hard to spot scale insects as they can hide in crevices in the plants. After the danger of frost has passed, you can put your plant outside for the summer, that will help you to deal with these conservatory type pests. But have a look at the controls set out in the links above.

Shore flies / fungus gnats are annoying and can leave faecal spots on your plants, but they won't cause harm. Try not to water too much, to reduce the wet conditions they favour.

Good luck,

Emma team

Comstock Mealybug

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 11:42

Hello casi999,

You can ask fera (The Food and Environment Research Agency) about pests you're worried about. Have a look at their advice upon discovering a plant pest or disease. I hope the problem turns out to be less worrying than you thought.

Emma team

Help! Lavender gone leggy - what to do

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 11:32

Hello Lesley 4,

It's well worth cutting back lavender regularly to keep the plants compact. Always remove old flower stems when they are past their best, by cutting them right back to their bases. As for the foliage, don't cut into the old, hard woody parts, just cut into the green/grey foliage. You can do this in late summer, after flowering or in March, or even twice a year. Just trim off about 3cm, or even less if you find there's not much foliage on your stems to cut. I would recommend giving it a trim right now. Unfortunately lavenders do tend to look sorry for themselves in the UK in winter!

Emma team

Talkback: How to make a box ball

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 10:59

Hello cloud8,

The method for taking heel cuttings is described here. The project is about lavender but the principle is the same. A heel is the base of a stem, where it joins the main stem.

It's worth giving it a try - as jeffd says, it doesn't matter if a few fail.

Emma team

Encouraging birds to the garden

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 10:49

Hello cloud8,

The RSPB has a good list of shrubs that will attract birds, often by attracting insects first, which the birds can then feed on. You'll need to look each one up (or ask another question about them on the forum) to make sure it's suitable for the conditions in your garden.

I hope you'll soon have plenty of hiding places for your feathered friends.

Emma team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
Replies: 7    Views: 805
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 15:50


Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
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Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1064
Last Post: 13/01/2012 at 17:00

children and gardening

Replies: 7    Views: 704
Last Post: 27/02/2012 at 15:44

lawn edging shears

Replies: 5    Views: 1620
Last Post: 02/02/2012 at 23:47


Replies: 4    Views: 636
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

Replies: 2    Views: 717
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned