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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth


Posted: 20/01/2012 at 17:25

I would also like to add my vote for the Dr. Hessayon books. They are really practical and one of the best things about them is that they often use the names that you'll find in your local garden centre or nursery. So you won't be wandering around with a complicated scientific name in your head that many people working in the industry have never heard of!

Also you can often find old editions in charity shops and bargain book stores. I always buy one if I see a cheap edition of one that is not already in my library.

Emma. team

Rust on garlic

Posted: 20/01/2012 at 17:13

Hello Shuv,

I was going to say that rotation is the best solution for your problem, but then I read that you are rotating your crop. So the answer may be that you should plant your next set of bulbs as far away as possible from any of the places you've grown them before. It's also very important to get rid of badly affected plant material - throw it away rather than putting it on the compost heap. Finally, don't plant your garlic too close together. As with most fungal problems, humidity caused by the plants being close together will make the infection worse, and it'll spread more easily.

Have a look at Pippa's blogs -

even real experts can suffer from this problem!

I do hope you have better luck this year,

Emma team


Posted: 19/01/2012 at 16:13

Hello Happymarion,

How about this one:

Kirstenbosch in South Africa. I've never been there but I'd certainly like to go!

Emma team

Where do I get peppermint?

Posted: 19/01/2012 at 15:36

Hello TeenyWeeny,

The scientific name for peppermint is Mentha x piperita. There are plenty of suppliers - too many to mention here. but if you type it into your favourite search engine, with the word buy, I'm sure you'll find somebody who can send it to you mail order.

For growing it, have a look at our profile here:

Enjoy your tea!

Emma team

plant for large pot

Posted: 19/01/2012 at 13:12

Hello Lindylou,

Have a look at our pots and containers section to see what you like the look of:

Personally I love the look of trailing plants in an urn. This is easy in summer as you can use bedding like petunias, bidens, verbenas and my favourite Dichondra 'Silver Falls'.

In the winter it's a bit harder, but variegated ivy trails beautifully, and Muehlenbeckia complexa will do the job but would be best in a sheltered spot.

For a strongly architectural look try our hosta display:

Add a copper strip around the pot to deter slugs.

Enjoy it, it's always fun to have a new project you can start from scratch.

Emma, team

Almond "Ingrid"

Posted: 19/01/2012 at 11:08

Hello MacWilly,

Almonds would normally be trees. Whenever you prune, you introduce the possibility of infection, so only do it if you need to. There is an adage that you shouldn't prune unless the branch is small enough to prune with secateurs. That way the wound will be smaller and will heal more easily. Also, almonds do get silverleaf so don't prune until late summer. Always use sharp, clean implements, and disinfect them before you move onto your next plant.

As for what and where to cut - if you have two 'leaders' (two branches sticking up at the top) you can take out one. Make it the one that comes out of the main stem lowest down. If they both come out at the same height cut the thinner one. Don't cut flush with the main stem. Make the cut just beyond the branch 'collar' - you'll have a tiny bit of the branch left sticking out from the main stem. This should heal over well. 

I hope your almond grows well and does you proud. They are lovely trees.

Emma team.

last years compost

Posted: 18/01/2012 at 17:15

Hello Jasminesdad,

Perfect gardening practice involves using fresh compost for potting and seed sowing every year. Older compost will have lost some of its nutrients. If the bag has been open, it will have gained extra micro-organisms - that's why you often see white fungus in the bags. However it still has many excellent uses and you have named two. Personally I'd probably put it in the raised beds, especially if you have soil that lacks organic matter (i.e. clay or sandy soil). Dig it well in. It would do fine in your compost bins, but that would be a bit of a waste.

Emma team


Posted: 18/01/2012 at 16:50

Hello Pauline,

It sounds as though you need to grow salad potatoes. There are plenty of varieties and the following should be easy to find:


Pink Fir Apple,


Hopefully these will give you a better texture in your meals!

Do let us know how you get on.

Emma. team.

Slug invasion

Posted: 18/01/2012 at 16:33

I hope all the slug haters have read James' latest blog:

in which he talks about all gardens having bad slug problems except Hever Castle!

I'd like to add to that. I've worked in other large public gardens that didn't have bad slug problems. I concluded that the whole ecosystem of the garden was working to reduce slug populations. There would be plenty of birds, mammals and reptiles and the slugs didn't have a chance to get out of hand. This is obviously cold comfort to anyone struggling with slugs in a normal garden - myself included. However I do believe that the answer can lie in getting wildlife to work for us. Having said that, nematodes - as Copperbottom says, are very effective.

Emma. team

creating a flower border

Posted: 18/01/2012 at 16:14

Hello Rubber,

You've given us a bit of a challenge there! I would recommend starting with climbers suitable for a north wall:

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris, Garrya elliptica  - esp. 'James Roof' and various species of Parthenocissus. Variegated ivy would provide some nice pale colours, but in shade it tends to be less variegated!

You'll need some woody plants to provide some depth and height. Try variegated holly and Euonymus fortunei cultivars, Chaenomeles x superba, Cotoneaster species, Jasminum nudiflorum and Mahonia aquifolium cultivars.

At the base of all those you can plant some herbaceous perennials. The following will tolerate dry shade. You haven't said the border is either of those things but given that it's next to a three metre wall I'm assuming it's both. So try these:

Epimedium species, Heuchera cultivars, variegated vincas (vinca can be invasive, picking a variegated one makes this less likely), Brunnera macrophylla.

You can go to town on some of the spring bulbs - snowdrops, wood anemones and white siberian squill would suit you.

Polystichum and Dryopteris ferns usually cope well with dry shade. Keep them well-watered when you first plant them.

In the summer you can use bedding plants that don't mind shade - begonias and bizzie lizzies will take it.

None of my recommendations takes into account your soil type so do a soil test and check before buying that each of these is suitable for your soil.

I agree that pastel and white plants will help the area look brighter, but if you stick to those you'll have no structure, so pick them where you can - i.e. in bedding, bulbs and variegated plants.

Good luck, it sounds like a fun project to work on. Let us know how you get on.

Emma. team

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