Quick questions & answers
QIs this type of apple good for crosspollination? Gerry Mandeville, Boston, Lincs
AThis is a crab apple. Trees flower over a long period and are used to cross-pollinate a wide range of dessert and cooking apples.
The fruits are edible and can be made into jelly, though some people are allergic to them.
QCan you identify this gorgeous plant? Becky Lafferty, via email
AThis is the shrub Leycesteria formosa, also called pheasant berry or Himalayan honeysuckle.
It is a hardy, vigorous, fastgrowing non-evergreen shrub that is easy to grow and self-seeds easily. It is at its best in partial shade. It produces berries in autumn, which are loved by birds.
QCan you tell me what this amazing insect is? It was on my sprouts. Frank Melody, Grantham, Lincs
AThis is the hawthorn shield bug (Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale). Widespread, it also colonises dogwood, hazel, holly, oak and many other trees.
Harmless to cultivated plants, it lays eggs between mid-spring and early summer. Pleasingly, no control is necessary.