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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

Winter pruning

Posted: 12/01/2012 at 16:34

The time has come for us to prune our apples and pears, late-flowering clematis, gooseberries etc. It's a very satisfying job if you have a sharp saw and warm clothing. I've been having a go at some neglected apple trees on my veg plot and wondering whether to reduce the height of the leaders to make them more manageable. Has anyone else been trying to work out which bits of their trees and shrubs to saw off and which to leave for another year?

Emma team

Pruning Rowan/Mountain Ash

Posted: 11/01/2012 at 09:58

Hello Lydiaann,

Sorbus aucuparia needs to retain a good framework to support the fruit, which can be quite heavy. Otherwise, branches can snap off. It sounds as though yours has already grown into a handsome tree. The cultivars that are grown for their attractive bark colour are pruned to show off the trunk, by removing lower branches. There is nothing wrong with doing this. It is difficult for me to be more specific without seeing a picture of this tree. However, in principle, branches can be removed. Take care to make a neat cut, close to the trunk, not right on the trunk, but not leaving a large snag either! A good way of doing this is to reduce the weight of the branch first, by cutting the end off it. When you make your final cut, you do not want any branch weight that could make a tear in the trunk.  For timing, I would advise doing it in late summer. Sorbus can be susceptible to silverleaf.

I hope you'll soon have both a lovely tree and a great fruit bed.

Emma. team.

Back garden Chickens

Posted: 10/01/2012 at 17:34

Hello Eric and other chicken lovers,

I just wanted to refer you to James Alexander-Sinclair's amusing blog on this subject:

If you want to see more info on the site, type 'chickens' into the search box, and then use the filters to refine your search. Many of our bloggers keep chickens so there is plenty of info out there.

Enjoy your husbandry!

Emma. team

Problems with herbs

Posted: 10/01/2012 at 17:11

Hello Andrew,

Without seeing your plants I couldn't be sure, but it sounds like thrips. Have a look at our advice on identifying and treating thrips at:

Thrips thrives in warm conditions and is a therefore a real problem in greenhouses and conservatories.

Emma. team

ligustrum ovalifolium Argenteum

Posted: 10/01/2012 at 16:52

Hello Welsh Dragon,

I've found some suppliers on the internet for you. Have a look at this link. There are some suppliers advertising this plant at the bottom of the page:

I also found some suppliers in the RHS Plantfinder, so it is out there. If you want to know about them, if you enable the message facility in your settings, I can send you more details.

Emma. team


Posted: 10/01/2012 at 15:48

Hello Harry,

For an introduction, have a look at James Alexander-Sinclair's blog on bonsai:

You'll need to choose a suitable tree to grow. Popular trees to bonsai include Japanese cedar, Japanese black pine, Scots pine, crab apples and the elm parviflora. I would recommend that you get hold of one that's easy to find, like a Scots pine or crab apple. To keep it small, you need to trim the roots and branches. I gather that this is usually done as little as annually. However, do always look for and treat pests, feed and keep your tree well-watered. Having small roots it will not cope well with drought. Although they look like house plants, bonsais grown from outdoor species are best kept in the outdoor conditions they usually thrive in.

I've had a look at the websites of the big garden centre chains and at what's available via the internet and found plenty of starting kits to buy. Have a look at these:  See if you can find a bonsai collection at your local botanical garden. You should be able to get some advice there too.

It's great to hear that you're so enthusiastic about growing plants. Good luck and please tell us how you're getting on. And any experts out there - I hope you'll give us your advice!

Emma. team.

Rotavator Tines

Posted: 09/01/2012 at 09:45

Hello Ceris,

I wouldn't use a rotivator for that job. You could use a rake as per Monty's video:

or if you want to use a machine, there are lawn scarifiers you can buy. It sounds as though the more gentle raking approach, involving less severing of buttercup runners, would be best for you if you can do it. Creeping buttercup and moss are both signs of poorly drained lawns, so some aeration, also shown in the above video, would probably help.

Have a look at our advice on dealing with creeping buttercup below:

I hope you'll soon have both beautiful baskets and well-trained lawns,

Emma. team.

flower buckets, mushroom cartons and noodle pots.

Posted: 06/01/2012 at 13:54

Hello Dinah,

Thanks for sharing your great ideas with us. I especially like the idea of your border of mushroom cartons. It would be great to see some photos if you could post them on the site. I hope you enjoy the new growing season,

Emma. team


Posted: 06/01/2012 at 13:48

Hello Fred,

I would go for the 15 litre pot. Have a look at Monty's video at:

for some good advice on giving your tomatoes the space for thriving.

Enjoy it!

Emma. team

Slug invasion

Posted: 05/01/2012 at 15:38

Hello Campbell,

I'm glad you're soldiering on! I agree that a spell of good cold weather is a great thing for many reasons in our gardens.

Emma. team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
Replies: 7    Views: 798
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 15:50


Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
Replies: 26    Views: 2090
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1059
Last Post: 13/01/2012 at 17:00

children and gardening

Replies: 7    Views: 691
Last Post: 27/02/2012 at 15:44

lawn edging shears

Replies: 5    Views: 1611
Last Post: 02/02/2012 at 23:47


Replies: 4    Views: 634
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

Replies: 2    Views: 709
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned