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For me, deliciously scented flowers are a delightfully uplifting feature of the garden.  A beautiful moment spent enjoying garden flowers and their fragrances is utter bliss!  Time spent with delectably fragrant flowers eases life’s worries and stresses, brings joy to our day and makes everything feel better.  I have a particular fondness for scented daffodils or Narcissus.  Narcissus is the botanical name for this genus, while daffodil is the common name we use, but both names refer to the same group of plants.

Welcome to the eleventh part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to share with you the exotic flowers of Aeranthes arachnites.  But as is so often the case, alongside beauty and delight there is tragedy – whilst examining my Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s flower spike, which was being produced for what would have been this plant’s first ever flowering, I accidentally dropped the plant and broke the flower spike off! 

More ideas to use less plastic

In March 2018, I shared some of my ideas of how to reduce plastic use and try live more sustainably.  I love our planet, I want to do all I can to protect our world, this is an important issue for me.  I’d love to help you to find new ways to live sustainably and happily, saving money and having fun along the way!

I really enjoy designing and planting terrariums and bottle gardens.  Usually, I look for pre-made glass bottles, vases, vivariums, old aquariums, or fish tanks, to use to create and design my indoor gardens.  However, earlier this year I decided to commission a custom made terrarium, which was designed to fit neatly on top of my sideboard, where it now provides a home, complete with automated care, for some of my orchids. 

In April 2018, I set up my Rainforest Terrarium.  I’ve created this planting list, so you can easily find and learn more about each of the plants that are currently growing inside this terrarium, if I add any new plants in future, I will also add them to this list.  I’ve listed the all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my plants, cork, and mosses, for this terrarium at the bottom of this list.

Welcome to the twelfth part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.  This update focuses on the enormity of the disastrous effects and the simply catastrophic results of my overwatering earlier this year.  You can see which orchids have survived, which plants are still battling and which plants have lost their battle.  Sadly, there is no chance of any orchid flowers in this update, just orchid winners and losers. 

Welcome to the twentieth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in August 2018, this BiOrbAir terrarium is three years old! 

Heritage Open Days 2018

I have some wonderful news to share with you, the Heritage Open Days have been extended for 2018!  This event will now create eight, very special days during September 2018, where you can experience local history, culture, and architecture.  The Heritage Open Days provide a rather wonderful opportunity to both open, and visit interesting, historic, beautiful and important places, which are normally closed to the public; as well as giving you an opportunity to enjoy free entry to some lovely places that usually charge an admission fee.

I am sorry to say that 2018 was a terrible year for many of the daffodils grown in the UK.  The daffodils that were grown for my 2018 Scented Daffodil Trial experienced snow at the end of March, at a time when many of my trialled daffodil cultivars were grown, some of my daffodils stood poised and ready, just thinking about blossoming and coming into flower. 

If you’re setting up a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden, and you’re looking for miniature orchids to add to your indoor garden, you may find that it is not always easy to tell which orchids are truly miniature and which aren’t.

Many orchids that are sold as miniatures are miniature sized when they are young, but as they grow and develop, many of these plants will soon outgrow a traditionally sized terrarium or bottle garden. 

A great many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but daffodil flowers’ fragrances vary greatly, with some daffodil fragrances being more powerful than others, and some scents being more desirable and more pleasing.

Through my Daffodil Trials I have encountered a number of daffodils, which were listed as being fragrant, but when I grew the bulbs myself, I was disappointed to find that I was unable to detect any scent from their flowers however close I got to their blooms, and however many times I examined them. 

I first met garden designer Sarah Wilson when she designed a garden for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in 2015.  Sarah has now started a brand new Podcast called Roots and All, which is aimed at encouraging new gardeners, providing them with lots of inspiration and information.  Sarah recently interviewed me for her new venture, in the interview, Sarah asked me to provide her readers with advice and information on terrarium gardening. 

In the early part of 2017, (which as I am writing to you, was over eighteen months ago now) I decided to create an Orchidarium: an enclosure complete with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature and small sized orchids and provide them with automatic care.  I chose to create this orchidarium as a functional terrarium, the planting and style of this Orchidarium is not designed, or intended, to be naturalistic or beautiful, instead this Orchidarium allows me the opportunity of growing a greater number of plants, all mounted individually, so the plants can easily be removed or rearranged as I wish. 

Daffodil: The remarkable story of the world’s most popular spring flower
Author: Noel Kingsbury
Photographer: Jo Whitworth
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-318-8

Daffodils are one of the most recognisable, most popular, and most widely revered flowers.  If you love daffodils and want to hear their story, then may I suggest a lovely book, Daffodil, which was written by Noel Kingsbury, and is illustrated with beautiful pictures taken by photographer, Jo Whitworth.

Plant Heritage are a plant conservation charity, based in Guildford, that encourage horticulturists, botanists, and gardeners to grow, propagate, share, and conserve a wide range of plants to protect and safeguard the variety of plants we have available to grow and enjoy.  This year, Plant Heritage are celebrating their 40th anniversary, so to mark the occasion they asked garden designer Jackie Currie to create an exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018, to publicise the value of Plant Heritage’s work.

A catch up with Phalaenopsis micholitzii, Aerangis biloba, Angraecum distichum, and Humata repens!

In November 2017, I conducted a large scale reorganisation of my orchids, moving plants from one terrarium into another.  My intention, and the end result of all of this disruption, was to group my orchid plants more interestingly: placing plants from different orchid species that originate from the same genus together wherever possible. 

The Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count runs from the 20th July 2018, until the 12th August 2018.  During this time, Butterfly Conservation – a registered charity who work to protect British butterflies and moths, are asking members of the public to take 15 minutes out of their day, to take note of the butterfly and moth species they see around them.

Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

During periods when I find myself at home, working longer hours than I would like, I am ever more grateful for my plants, especially my houseplants, terrarium plants, and orchids.  At these times, when I am unable to escape to a meadow or a forest, my orchid flowers remind me of the beauty of our natural world, providing me with a cheerful pick me up, just when I need it most!

I love to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, for me this is the most prestigious and exciting event of the horticultural calendar!  I enjoy seeing Chelsea’s show gardens of every size and style, I am always interested to discover the latest gardening products, and I really look forward to finding new favourite plants, whilst being reminded of old favourites.  I so enjoy visiting Chelsea’s Grand Pavilion, which is filled with over one hundred exhibits created by expert growers, from nurseries that seem to specialise in growing almost every kind of plant.