Ask the Audience

If you have any gardening-related queries please send them in. Responses will be posted here as well so that everyone can see the replies and benefit from the experience of other members.

Send everything to this address .

Unseasonal Apple Blossom – Why?

I wonder if someone can give me an explanation why my eating apple tree has just come out in blossom (30 August 2022) as per the photos below.
The tree has apples that are nearly ready for picking and seem in good health.

Replies to

Roger Carey

Apple tree plus blossom – 30 Aug 2022
Apple tree plus blossom – 30 Aug 2022

Black Ladybirds?

We have an infestation of what appears to be completely black Ladybird-like creatures in both front and rear gardens. Any suggestions as to what they are please?  They are the same size as small ladybirds. The first time I noticed them in numbers was when I cut the grass at the front of the bungalow. A day later, when I went down to water the greenhouse, they were there in their hundreds, both inside and out. I haven’t noticed any damage to plants yet.

Have you heard of anyone else with the same problem?”

If you have an answer to either or both these questions, please let Drew McFarlane know by emailing

Does anyone know what this daffodil is called?

Does anybody know what these two are, apart from being trees? 

Mystery Flower

My son was given this plant but we don’t really know what it is.  Can anyone tell us what it is? 

A: I think it is Indian Shot a species of Canna Lily. It is also known as Edible Canna; African Arrowroot; or Purple Arrowroot. Botanical name Canna Indica and the variety is “King Midas”.

Salvia – Big Blue

This was recommended by Gardening Which? early this year. It’s an annual so we bought 24 plug plants and finally we have a few flowers on one or two of the plants. A good colour but all in all not one we will be planting again. Has anyone else tried growing them? And if so, what is your opinion of them?

My bumper crop of Victoria plums?

Sadly not so – it’s badly invested with plum moth larvae.

Is spraying the only answer, and how effective is it?

What’s gone wrong with my carrots – planted in un-manured ground but dressed with fish blood and bone before sowing?

Can anyone identify the tree in this photo? 
It was taken in Tintinhull Gardens in the middle of September last year.

A: Clerodendron trichotomum – Harlequin glorybower looks to be a possibility.

Mystery Tree

Does anyone know the most effective rain dance? The twist has so far failed to work.

A: Remember the ‘hot summer ‘ ? If my memory is correct it only began to rain again when we had a Minister for Drought.

Wood Pigeon Menace

Much as I enjoy our 2 wood pigeons they do a lot of damage to the veg. They are clever enough to come when I go for a dog walk! Any suggestions on how to dissuade them?

A: We netted the veg, with supports, but 2 sparrows (1 RIP) managed to get caught in the netting so we took it down.  I think cages are the way forward (nice and tall) but they are a major investment.  Where are these escaped large cats when you need them?