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Emma Crawforth

Latest posts by Emma Crawforth

Talkback: Moss

Posted: 05/01/2012 at 15:12

Hello Chris,

It would help if you thought about what has caused the moss to be there in the first place. Moss grows on lawns that are wet, badly drained or shaded. Sometimes bad drainage is caused by the soil being compacted. That is why it helps to aerate lawns. This can be done using a machine or even just a fork, continually dug in and removed. Sometimes bad mowing practises will have helped the moss to thrive. If you think your lawn is wet, badly drained or shaded, can you do anything to change the conditions? If so, you have a good chance of growing good grass, where the moss was removed. 

Have a look at Monty's video on lawn renovation:

Emma team

Talkback: How to grow orchids

Posted: 05/01/2012 at 14:52

Hello Olive,

Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids are epiphytic in the wild. Basically that means that they grow above ground in trees, rather than in soil on the ground. That is why the roots are greenish, and like to be exposed to the light, through a clear plastic, or glass pot. Although I have been told not to cut off the flowering shoots on moth orchids when they finish, some of mine turned brown and died this year, so I had to cut them off. As lilwead says, if you cut the stem just above the node where the last flower was, the stem should remain alive, and hopefully produce new flowers in a few months.

Emma. team

Slug invasion

Posted: 04/01/2012 at 13:50

Hello Campbell,

As you say, both the warmth and the recent rain will have helped the slugs thrive. Have a look at our advice on dealing with slugs below:

If you're still looking for solutions after that, type 'slugs' into the search box and you'll find plenty of information about how others have dealt with infestations. Pippa Greenwood, who is an expert on garden pests, has written quite a few blogs about these pesky beasts.

Emma. team

Moving Shrubs

Posted: 30/12/2011 at 12:10

Hello Janethales,

The best time to move your contorted hazels would be autumn. Have a look at Carol's video advice on the website to see how to go about it:

The smaller the bushes are, the easier it will be to move them without harming them.

Emma team


Posted: 30/12/2011 at 11:38

Hello Oldchippy,

I agree with you, once mistletoe germinates, it seems to be able to form foliage within a few years. A student at Kew Gardens carried out an experiment, to see if he could propagate it. The Malus trees on which he placed the seeds did not bear mistletoe but a nearby Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn) developed a new clump which was monitored closely. I salute anyone who succeeds in propagating it in their own garden!

Emma team

Clematis through a shrub?

Posted: 30/12/2011 at 11:16

Hello Pansy2,

I agree, Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) is one of the loveliest things in the winter garden. I would like to recommend annual / tender climbers to you. They will die in the winter so there is no danger of them covering your wintersweet when you want to enjoy the flowers. Because they only have one season of growth, they find it hard to dominate other plants. There is always a risk with climbers that they might smother the rest of the garden! Some lovely annual / tender climbers to consider are:

Ipomoea tricolor (morning glory)

Ipomoea lobata (Spanish flag)

Eccrenocarpus scaber (chilean glory flower)

Cobaea scandens (cup and saucer plant)

Thunbergia alata (black-eyed susan)

Seeds of these are readily available. Let us know how your wintersweet does this year.

Emma. team

Welcome to the plants forum

Posted: 30/12/2011 at 10:51

Hello Madasahatter and Happymarion,

It may not be very original, but Clematis montana should grow quickly, cover the gaps and cope with any shade the rest of the hedge causes. It is also very pretty. It prefers alkaline - neutral soil so I would pick something else for a garden with acid soil. For next summer, why not go for some climbing annuals, or tender plants like morning glory as well? They will grow faster than hardy perennials and give you lots of colour. You could make use of them to fill the holes while you wait for the clematis to grow bigger.

Emma. team.

Wood Mice

Posted: 30/12/2011 at 10:03

Hello Willowplanter,

I agree with you that they are cute, but it is true that some gardeners consider them a pest. It probably depends on how much you want your garden to be a sanctuary for wildlife, and whether you are growing a crop for sale! Have a look at this page from the BBC website to learn about their habits:

Emma team

Growing Pumpkins Vertically

Posted: 29/12/2011 at 16:49

Hello Sonja,

Thanks for your pumpkin info. While we're on the subject, do you have any tips for people who want to go to the opposite extreme and grow giant pumpkins?

Emma. team

Rotavator Tines

Posted: 29/12/2011 at 16:22

Hello Steve,

Rotivator tines turn the same way as the wheels. If you are looking at the machine from the side with the front pointing to the right, they rotate clockwise. When you fit the tines the cutting edge (the edge that is not flat or blunt), faces backwards, so when the tines rotate they come round forward and cut into the soil. I hope the soil conditions improve so you're able to get outside and give it a go.

Emma. team

Discussions started by Emma Crawforth

Big Garden Birdwatch

Big Garden Birdwatch 
Replies: 7    Views: 802
Last Post: 24/02/2012 at 15:50


Do you want to help hedgehogs? 
Replies: 26    Views: 2101
Last Post: 15/05/2012 at 21:27

Winter pruning

Replies: 2    Views: 1062
Last Post: 13/01/2012 at 17:00

children and gardening

Replies: 7    Views: 696
Last Post: 27/02/2012 at 15:44

lawn edging shears

Replies: 5    Views: 1616
Last Post: 02/02/2012 at 23:47


Replies: 4    Views: 635
Last Post: 06/01/2012 at 15:41

sweet peas

Replies: 2    Views: 715
Last Post: 05/12/2011 at 09:28
7 threads returned