Do crab apple trees need to be pruned in the same way as apple trees?

Not necessarily. There are many varieties of crab apple, and some require little pruning other than the removal of root suckers and damaged or dead branches. When pruning is needed it is usually done in late winter to early spring while the tree is dormant. But if you don't want to miss any spring blossom you could delay pruning until immediately after flowering has finished - any later and you affect next year's display.

Do the carnations known as Otaki pinks originate from Otaki?

Not if you go way back. Apparently this hardy dianthus was developed in England and first named after nurseryman Frank Aldritt. It was brought to New Zealand before World War II and Otaki proved the right place for growing commercial crops. But Otaki pinks, as the plants became known, eventually lost their popularity and almost disappeared for many years before being rediscovered and commercially propagated by a group keen to promote the small North Island town of Otaki.

Do all kinds of soup freeze well?

Not all, but most can be frozen successfully for a few months. If making soup with freezing in mind, omit any herbs and seasoning as well as additional milk, cream, pasta, rice and thickening: these are better added after thawing. Use less water if possible, and freeze in leak-proof containers, remembering the rules about headspace. And don't forget to add a label with the name of the soup, the date and a note on what you need to add once thawed.

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