Q: Hi Ken i have a willow tree in our garden which is 15-20ft high I need to trim it right back as it is intruding into other gardens. When is the best time to do this and is there any rule to how much i can cut it back?  John

A: Cut the willow tree back as much as you like unless you are in a conservation area.  Best time to cut the willow tree is during the dorment period November to beginning of March.


Q:  Ken, I wonder if you or your team might be able to help me.   I was given a small half barrel, planted with 2 bulbs.  Was told that the bulbs were not identified, they are have now started growing quite rapidly, but neither me, the wife,  dad, cannot find out what it is.  The head of the plant has now got what seems to be a whole bunch  of buds underneath.  Would you have a look at the photo Ken, and maybe give me your opinion.  Love the BBC ESSEX show by the way Ken, brilliant.  Regards, Barry Barnes.

A: investigating this one Barry

Barry: Following my enquiry and photo identification on thursday 14th, I think I may have found the answer.  I believe the plant in question is a Eucomis Bicolor “Pineapple Lily”.   Our local gardening centre put me in the right direction, and also found them advertised on Ebay for £7.99 for a 2ltr pot and bulb.  Maybe you could take a look Ken and give me your opinion. Best of luck regards Barry.

A: You are dead right, they are sold in Garden Centres, in fact we used to sell them as dry bulbs when we had a nursery , but for the life of me last week I just couldn`t remember it’s name (Must be age!!!)


Q:  Can you please give me some advice on the pruning of josteberries. I have a number of plants on my allotment and they are very vigorous growers and need to be reduced a bit.  Rick

A: Normally josteberries pruned similarly to a gooseberry and they fruit on last year’s wood. You therefore can remove and prune the wood that has fruited this year leaving the new growth to fruit for next year.


I was nothing less than appalled when listening to your programme this morning.  I am sick and tired of hearing about the best way to kill things. I presume he was your guest, a Mr. Hodge, seemed almost excited when advising a listener on how to kill ants.  Describing how the ants take this poison down into their nest and it wipes the whole lot out.  If it wasn’t for ants, the human population wouldn’t even exist.  Why do many of you so called gardeners jump at every opportunity to kill anything living that you feel shouldn’t be in your garden.  I live on West Mersea and have a couple of acres.  I don’t use weed killers or any of your so called pest killers and apart from having to keep up with the weeds on the drives, have no need to use such chemicals on these creatures.  No wonder our bird population is not doing so well.  Wake up to nature and stop killing everything you feel gets in your way.  I spoke with a couple of friends this  morning who are also of the same opinion.  Julie.


Q:  Hi, hope you can help me. My garden has been invaded by earwigs and they are eating my pot plants, leaves and roots. They lurk under our patio table and come out at night. They are under every pot and even on the bird table.  Now I have found them in my Fridge in the garage and yesterday in my bread bin in the kitchen! Help, how can I get rid of them?
Desperate of Rayleigh!!!

A: One of the best methods is to place upside down clay pots on top of a cane strategically around the garden, stuff them with straw or shredded paper – the earwigs will be attracted to this.  You then have two options: the friendly one is to shake the material to the floor and stamp on them quickly, alternative I have known people to set light to the straw or paper.