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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

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.

Emma 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,

Emma 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,

Emma 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.

Emma team

Gardens for Dogs

Posted: 02/03/2012 at 15:40

Hello dog-lovers,

Suzi, I'm glad you're getting some good info! Here are some bits and pieces from the site about dogs in the garden. Firstly some advice about how to deal with dog wee. Secondly Adam's written a blog about his poodle when she was four and then when she was 5 - 6. Hopefully they will give you something to look forward to!

Emma team


Posted: 02/03/2012 at 15:02

Hello rucklidge,

Have a look at our vine weevil advice. As you'll see they spend a lot of time hiding in soil / compost. As you say, they do favour polyanthus and heuchera. In a nursery where I worked we made a point of vigilantly checking the 'h' section at certain times of year. I have recently discovered that Americans call them snout beetles, which is rather sweet.

Emma team


Posted: 01/03/2012 at 16:07

Hello sara41,

Collembola, or springtails won't do harm to established plants as they prefer to feed on dead plant material. They do favour moist conditions, and are commonly found at this time of year. It is possible for seedlings to be damaged by them but not to the extent that you need to throw out what you've already grown. If possible, try to water less. Good luck with your seedlings,

Emma team

Talkback: Ants

Posted: 01/03/2012 at 15:45

Hello karenlincoln,

In order to make good compost you need moisture in the bin. Have a look at Chris Beardshaw's video where he talks about layering wet materials with dry materials. It sounds as though your compost hasn't decomposed enough yet to be used as a mulch. Putting unrotted material on beds can actually harm plants. If you have a lawn, the best thing to do would be to layer wet grass clippings with the dry, half-rotted compost. Then it will all rot down well together. You may need to buy/make a second compost bin so that you can do this more easily. If you're not going to be collecting grass clippings, keep watering your compost. It will eventually rot down. Give it a really good soak as it can be hard to make water penetrate a really dry bin. If you can, move it to a shady area, so it doesn't dry out in the sun. When the bin is cooler and moister, it won't attract the ants.

Good luck!

Emma team

Hungry Deer 2

Posted: 01/03/2012 at 15:10

Hello Penny 57,

If you've seen your deer and they're about the size of a large dog, then they're muntjac. Have a look at James' blog on them. Richard has also written about deer in his blog. You'll see that both of them are thinking along the same lines as you! In a garden where I worked we had muntjac visits. They were especially fond of bulbs, but a very simple low fence made of bamboo and plastic mesh around the bed kept them off. It was only about 1m high. Not very pretty, but as it was a trial bed it didn't matter. However I'm sure you could find a more attractive material!

Emma team

Peace Lily

Posted: 01/03/2012 at 14:47

Hello bigsweirguru and gardengirl6,

Bigsweirguru, good for you for persevering, it's always more fun that way. Your plant needs low light in summer (it will be burnt by direct sunlight) and strong light in winter. It wants humidity and would like you to mist its leaves regularly. Stand it on a tray of pebbles which you keep wet so that as the water evaporates, it surrounds your plant with humid air. The compost should be rich in organic matter, but free-draining. The leaves will flop when it needs water. You should always keep it warm, a bathroom could get too cold but it does depend where it is. Propagation is done by division, as you have done. Looking at your pot, the compost looks a little stale, so top dress it with fresh compost and add a little slow release fertiliser to your top dressing. Take care with feeding because it can burn the leaves. Over-feeding promotes leaf growth at the expense of flowers. (This is probably why yours didn't flower gardengirl6). If you have added slow-release fertiliser to the top dressing that should be enough for the next few months. I would be tempted to cut off the darker leaves in your picture, they look as though they're on the way out, but the light green ones look healthy.

Good luck both of you,

Emma team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
Replies: 7    Views: 796
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 15:50


Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
Replies: 26    Views: 2082
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1057
Last Post: 13/01/2012 at 17:00

children and gardening

Replies: 7    Views: 690
Last Post: 27/02/2012 at 15:44

lawn edging shears

Replies: 5    Views: 1607
Last Post: 02/02/2012 at 23:47


Replies: 4    Views: 633
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

Replies: 2    Views: 707
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned