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I've won once, girly pink hand tools. Also won on Grow Your Own magazine, RHS Apple book. Last year I won the prize draw for the Insiders questionnaires, £250 Amazon vouchers
You should be able to see some roots at the bottom of the pot, unless it has just been potted on to sell
Iris reticulata usually come out before crocus
Definitely blackcurrants, cut out some of the thickest oldest stems down to the ground. Leave the younger growth
I leave my astilbe flower heads on too and just cut them off when there are signs of new growth.
No they are not a marketing trick, they grow huge in their second year, pretty tall in their first year too
Looks like the grey wagtail http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/g/greywagtail/
get extendable bypass ratchet loppers, they won't get jammed shut
You should have a look at Niki Preston's blog and facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheTwoFingeredGardener . There have been many features in Amateur Gardening covering her difficulties.
Were there any mushrooms around the tree which died? You don't want to plant another tree in the same area if you had honey fungus. https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=180