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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

Buxus Plants

Posted: 02/02/2012 at 16:04

Hello Mrs TJ,

Buxus will grow in north-east facing situations. It makes a good hedge because it's so adaptable and is an excellent choice for pots framing a front door. It does not take being buffeted by strong winds as it can become scorched, but hopefully your front door is in a reasonably sheltered position. Have a look at Monty's video on planting box at:

There is a lot of advice there about box in general which will be relevant even if you're growing it in pots.

Do send us a photo when they're in place!

Emma team

Big Garden Birdwatch

Posted: 30/01/2012 at 13:03

Hello bird counters,

My Big Garden Birdwatch was not very impressive:

Two robins - not fighting, therefore I think they are male and female

One blackbird - often I see a part albino blackbird but he was absent, and an all black one was there instead.

One pigeon - I won't encourage him - don't want my cabbages eaten

One wren - chased away by one of the robins, which confirms my theory as the robin clearly was feeling fiesty!

Thanks to all those who have told us about the birds they saw, and look out for Richard's forthcoming blog about this on Wednesday.

Emma. team

Big Garden Birdwatch

Posted: 26/01/2012 at 17:09

This weekend, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January 2012, the RSPB is hosting its annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Please do tell us if you're taking part and give us some info about the birds you've seen. And have a look at Kate's new blog about helping garden birds to stay healthy.

Emma. team

Gardener's World - Monty's Sweet Pea Experiment

Posted: 26/01/2012 at 16:17

Hello Tootles,

There is a long running debate on when to sow sweet peas. In fact on our very own site we suggest sowing them both before Christmas - see Sarah Raven's video:

and after Christmas (Jan to May) - see the following project:

Personally I favour after Christmas. I've had good results from spring sowings. It saves you the hassle of looking after them over winter. Giving them nice fertile soil (dig in lots of organic matter) and watering a lot both help enormously.

Also, the earlier you sow, the earlier they'll flower and ultimately die. Ideally you'd probably sow some early and some late, to have sweet peas for as long as possible.

I hope you get lots of bunches of blooms from yours,

Emma team


Posted: 25/01/2012 at 16:55

Hello Stephanie,

It sounds as though you've given your hibiscus a good spot and mulching and not pruning it is the right approach.

Have you ever tested your soil? Hardy hibiscus do not thrive in acid soil. If you want to know if you have acid soil you can buy soil testing kits from garden centres. Sometimes some parts of the garden are different from others so it's good to test all over. They also like moist (but free-drained) soil, so it's good to give them plenty of water in the summer.

Having said all that, my dad moved into a flat where there was a hibiscus that wasn't thriving at all. His soil is alkaline so it should have been OK. When we dug it out to remove it, we found it had been planted several inches too deep, so that gave us the answer!

Do let us know how your investigations go and good luck,

Emma team

turbo plants

Posted: 25/01/2012 at 15:06

Hello Newallotmenteer,

'Turbo' tomato plants are grafted. The idea is that giving the plants different roots to grow from makes them more disease resistant, helps them fruit earlier and for longer, producing larger yields etc. All of these things may be true. Grafting is a useful technique and tomatoes respond to it well. Commercial growers use it a lot. However the price of grafted tomatoes is quite frightening. I've seen 3 potted plants being sold for £13.00. Packets of good tomato seeds can be bought for under £2.00 and you can grow many plants from them. Some people have real problems with tomato blight, in which case grafted plants would be well worth a go. The same thing goes if you're growing yours for a show. Otherwise I think it's more fun to use seeds.

Emma team

Tool Storage Solution

Posted: 25/01/2012 at 14:30

Hello Tom,

This looks very interesting, thanks for posting it. It might be worth making a similar version for smaller items - like trowels or hand forks. Is this for a college assignment?

Good luck with your plans,

Emma. team

Plant labelling

Posted: 25/01/2012 at 14:21

Hello Cricketbluebell,

This is always a problem and unfortunately the sun will eventually fade pretty much everything. However the best solutions I've found for amateur use are:

Use a permanent marker - I've noticed these in stationers in a large range of colours recently.

Buy a labelling machine from a stationers. You just type in the name on to adhesive plastic tape and stick it on your label. This lasts for a long time.

Use pencil - yes it works well. It's the method I was taught at horticutural college and has the advantage that you can erase your writing and re-use the label. Soft pencils work best.

Good luck!

Emma. team


Posted: 23/01/2012 at 16:47

I've just been reading about hedgehogs. Apparently surveys show that hedgehog populations have dropped by almost 50% over the past 25 years. One of the things you can do to help them is to leave a small gap in your garden boundary so they can move around their territory. It only needs to be 15cm high. Has anybody been making changes to their garden to help hedgehog populations?

Gardeners World

Posted: 23/01/2012 at 09:19

Hello Devon Gardener,

We understand it's Friday 9th March. In the meantime do enjoy our video projects:

If you use our new search facility (white box at the top of the page) you can match your viewing up with what you want to find out about.

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: 2084
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1058
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: 1610
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: 708
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned