Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

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.


gardenersworld.com 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,


gardenersworld.com 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.


gardenersworld.com 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!


gardenersworld.com 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.


gardenersworld.com 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.


gardenersworld.com team

Talkback: Preparing for drought in the garden

Posted: 14/03/2012 at 10:39

Growing drought tolerant plants, as pamajo suggests, is a great way of dealing with water shortages in the garden. Just recently I visited the Cabo de Gata in Spain, which is a semi-desert area. Lavenders, rosemary and helianthemum were flowering their socks off. I was especially amused to see a beautiful lavender, thriving in a crack between a traffic island and tarmac! It's a shame that some of these plants find it hard to handle our unpredictable wet spells, so it's always a good idea to plant them in free-draining compost/soil.


gardenersworld.com team

seeking a course

Posted: 05/03/2012 at 13:35

Hello sandy10,

A great way of finding out about courses and training is to volunteer or become an intern at a public garden. Kew, the RHS and the National Trust all offer opportunities. To apply for an internship you usually need a little horticultural experience, so it's often a good idea to volunteer first. Higher education colleges such as Bicton often have open days where you can put your questions directly to the staff. They'll be quick to work out the level of course that's right for you.

Good luck,


gardenersworld.com team


Posted: 05/03/2012 at 13:12

Hello Gary,

There are plenty of plants that you can grow in tubs to help wild birds. Here is a list from the RSPB. Most of them are shrubs, which would require a little extra care if confined to a container. Be sure to water, feed and top-dress them regularly, and repot as they grow. The daisy family is a good recommendation - there are plenty of attractive daisies that will grow well in pots. Also have a look at our features on helping birds in the garden on the site.

Good luck, I hope you soon have lots of feathery friends flocking to the courtyard,


gardenersworld.com team


Posted: 02/03/2012 at 16:40

Hello joy s,

You can pinch pinch out the male flowers as this stops them from pollinating the female flowers. However to do this you need to be able to identify which are which. Watch Monty's video to help you identify them. As sarah mcilvenny2 says, F1 seeds are supposed to give you only female flowers, but you do need to keep an eye on them. Good luck with this summer's crop.


gardenersworld.com team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

How old is your houseplant?

Let us know if you have an ancient aspidistra or senescent spider plant 
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Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
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Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
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Winter pruning

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children and gardening

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lawn edging shears

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Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

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Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
8 threads returned