Gardening Advice, Hints and Tips

If you've got any gardening advice, hints or tips, that you're happy to share with other members, please let us know and we can upload to the website. Please email info.

We understand that you may not want to share your show secrets!

Tip No 1

Pruning Apple trees

January or at latest February is the month to prune apple trees. Last year we had a trip to Waterperry Gardens where we had their method explained. Rather than looking for fruiting buds, the main principle is to create an open tree to allow for maximum light and air. This also reduces diseases. Cut away enough branches to allow you to get into the middle of the tree. Also cut away branches that are crossing others. This year I am leaving some branches from last year’s growth. These will help to draw up the sap in the spring. Try cutting away some major branches each year. This contributes to opening up the tree and encourages new growth.

Espalier and single cordon trees, such as I have, have to be treated differently in that they are normally open to the air and weather. Even so one has to be careful with older trees that there is not too much side growth. Again this year I have left some longer branches at the top to help draw up the sap. See my photos below

Pear and plum trees may be treated in a similar manner but with plum do not prune until the sap is ring in the spring

 Apple tree pruningsPruned bush


 Example larger branches cut out Cordon apple trees


Right: pruned bush and single cordon

Apple trees showing thinned branches left

To draw up sap in spring.






 Any questions and queries to








 Tip No 2

Pruning Privet Hedges


Privet Hedges are not as common as they were once. As a dense hedge they used to provide privacy screening of your house from the road. However they can still be seen and are often overgrown. Many people think that they cannot be pruned but this is wrong. Care  must be used. The following advice was given recently to an individual

 Here is what to do

  1. Don’t do anything until temp is above 9 deg C or at least don’t do anything while there is frost about
  2. Choose the height and width to cut it down to. It is very hardy, however I think it better to cut back when the sap is rising so that you will see the fresh growth.
  3. You will need to feed the hedge with ‘Bonemeal’ or ‘Blood fish and bone’. As I suggested go to the Aylesbury gardening Society trading hut on the otherside of Stoke Road bridge. More details are available on Aston Clinton Horticultural Society website or Aylesbury Gardening soc website.
  4. Privet hedges are hungry feeders and I suspect yours has not been fed for years; so be generous with the bone meal and AGS sell it in bulk and someone there will advise on application rates, so get as much as you need.
  5. Further advice can be obtained from but I recommend you wait till weather is a it warmer and forcast does not predict heavy frost following pruning.


Tip No. 3 - Petunias for Free!


Here’s some advice sent in by one of our members, Ron, on how to get Petunias for free each year!


“Many of us I’m sure buy new Petunia Surfina plants very year .However, I have found that one can keep the old plant through the winter in a  frost free green house (unheated) Just make sure they are not completely dried out.  In the spring increase water and when the new shoots appear about 3cm long break these off the main stem and pop into some seed compost and place in a heated propagator .Amazingly they root in a week or two and without rooting powder either! and you have new plants for free. It also works for geraniums.”




Please let us know if you’ve got any tips you’d like to share with other members – please email