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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

Pruning standard roses

Posted: 29/02/2012 at 16:04

Hello Cetti,

You'll need to prune your roses to make sure that they grow healthily this summer. A standard rose is pruned in the same way as a bush rose except that you need to ignore the main stem. The shoots that come out of this are the same as shoots emerging from the ground in a bush rose. Be sure to use sharp secateurs/saw and disinfect your implements regularly. Cut to a bud that faces in the direction you want the stem to grow. Outward buds are good as this opens out the plant and promotes airflow. Cut out dieback until you reach healthy tissue. Be sure to remove very thin stems, and stems that rub against each other. Finally, if you want some more encouragement, have a look at Adam's blog on this subject.

Emma team


Posted: 29/02/2012 at 15:38

Hello Poolcue,

I'm hoping you haven't started yet, so you can watch Joe's video on pruning honeysuckle first!

Emma team


Posted: 29/02/2012 at 15:32

Hello David,

You're painting such lovely pictures with your words. Is there any chance of you adding some photos to this thread? It all sounds very picturesque.

Emma team

Pots of scented flowers for late June

Posted: 29/02/2012 at 15:22

Hello sparklygardener,

hybrid musk roses come to mind. If you're quick you could plant some bare-rooted ones now. Sweet peas are also great for scent, but if you want them flowering in time it would be a good idea to buy them as plants rather than sow them now. I have seen plants advertised recently. If you have to grow the plants in pots, try to make your pots as big as possible, and fill them with good quality compost containing lots of organic matter. Try to keep your plants warm, i.e. by putting them in a polytunnel to get them into flower in good time.

Have a great party!

Emma team

What fruit veg could i plant in a shady garden(peas, strawberries)?

Posted: 29/02/2012 at 15:05

Hello shady garden growers,

Have a look at Kate's blog on growing veg in the shade. There are a few tips in the comments as well.

Emma team

Best greenhouse irrigation method

Posted: 29/02/2012 at 15:01

Hello Marco,

If you're growing different varieties of plants in your greenhouse, you'll need to treat them differently as they'll all have individual needs. If your greenhouse is 2.5 x 2.5 metres, it won't take you long to check each variety and make sure it's getting what it needs. Often a watering can is the best tool as you can deliver exactly the right amount with it. If you're sowing seeds you'll have to be extra careful about watering as seeds can easily rot if the soil is too moist. Fogging is great for situations where you want high humidity i.e. if you're growing plants from humid places, or you have taken cuttings and they haven't rooted yet. However it won't deliver much water to the roots of the plants where they need it most.

Read our guidance on watering, which mentions micro-drip systems. An irrigation system is very useful for when you're away, but if you're on site then the best thing you can do is to assess the plants' needs daily, as the weather changes and water them as needed.

Enjoy your new greenhouse, it sounds lovely,

Emma team

Can any one tell me what to do with an Azales that was flowering at Christmas

Posted: 29/02/2012 at 12:46

Hello Gil,

First of all have a look at Rachel de Thame's video guide on caring for azaleas given as gifts at Christmas. The video focuses on wintertime and you'll need to do a few more things the rest of the year to give your azalea the best chance of flowering next year. Look for a label to see what variety it is and try to find out if it'll be hardy outside in your area. A lot of them are in most of the UK. If it's hardy you can plant it outside in early summer and leave it there but make sure that you plant it in acid compost if you don't have acid soil. If it's tender you can submerge its pot in a bed for the summer, or simply keep it outdoors as a patio plant until autumn. Either way, always keep it well-watered (preferably with rainwater) but never flooded. If you're bringing it back in for the winter, fertilise it fortnightly in the autumn with a high phosphorous, low nitrogen fertiliser to encourage flowering. Re-pot regularly with ericaceous compost.

Good luck, I hope it keeps rewarding your care in years to come,

Emma team

Welcome to the plants forum

Posted: 17/02/2012 at 15:54

Hello mophead,

The reason why seed composts are different is that they have fewer nutrients in them. They also tend to be quite fine. Compost containing strong nutrients can damage seeds. Also plants don't need feeding until they are bigger. Now you've started the process you should probably stick with it as they might have started to germinate. I expect you'll get better results than you imagined anyway!

Emma team.


Posted: 17/02/2012 at 15:08

Hello hibiscus lovers,

A lack of flowering may be due to our recent lack of long hot summers. They always flower better after a good summer, so maybe we'll get lucky this year! However, Jan Chandler, your problem could be botrytis. This is a fungus that is always worse in cool and wet conditions. It can damage the flower buds, so that the flowers are spoiled and will never open. Unfortunately controlling it is very difficult, but improving the air-flow around the plant, by reducing crowding will help and so will removing all old plant debris from the site.

Emma team

soil nutrients

Posted: 16/02/2012 at 16:59
Emma Crawforth wrote (see)

Hello rubbersoul,

You would do better if you composted the leylandii first. To make a compost bin, have a look at our project. Cut the leylandii up if you can before composting, and mix it with softer matter, like kitchen waste. If you put plant material straight into beds without composting it first, you can upset the balance of nutrients in the beds.

Emma team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

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Winter pruning

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sweet peas

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