About Pumpkin Beth

Hello, I’m Pumpkin Beth; I am a horticulturist and garden writer.  I live in the UK and I currently garden in an area where the outdoor temperatures generally range from -5C (23F) in winter, to +30C (+85F) during the hottest days of summer.  While my indoor room temperatures range from 16C (60F) at night, to a maximum temperature of about 26C (78F) during the warmest part of the day, in summertime.  My average indoor room temperature is around 18C (64.4F).  I am aware that most people do not introduce themselves by providing such detailed climatic recordings and observations of their own personal environment, so immediately, (if at all) but these are the answers to some of the questions that I am most often asked.  I can usually feel the tension of the questioner and the keenness of their desire and anxiety to discover how my climate compares to theirs, so I wanted to provide this information first, just in case these were pressing questions for you, too!

Now you know my average room temperature, what is there to know about me?  Well, my heart is full of love for plants, I have a great love of nature, and the natural world.  I have a real and very passionate interest in plant conservation; I hold a strong desire to protect peat bogs, the rainforests, coral reefs, and indeed all manner of special environments, all around the globe.

I love hedgehogs.  I am particularly fond of growing plants with pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects.  I love nature and wildlife and I’m fascinated by ladybirds, grasshoppers, birds, deer, squirrels, frogs, toads, newts, lizards, and almost every creature!

I’m a gardening evangelist.  I simply love gardening and watching plants grow; I want to share this joy with you!  I want to help you to experience the uplifting delight and heart warming joy of growing plants for yourself!  I have a keen interest in encouraging others, I try to explain my methods and ideas as thoroughly as possible, in the hope of providing all the inspiration and information you require to begin, or improve your own gardening adventures.

I’m an organic gardener; I believe in creating a natural balance, working with nature within the garden.  I am very much opposed to using any form of slug pellets.  I have a passionate interest in all aspects of gardening, but I am particularly interested in conservation, gardening for wildlife, growing miniature orchids, creating and maintaining terrariums, growing houseplants, and every imaginable form of indoor gardening!  I love growing daffodils, roses, and cut flowers, as well as trialling plants and garden products.  I have a passionate interest in all aspects of edible gardening; I simply adore growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and cut flowers!  I love wild flowers, meadows, forests, streams, fields, hills, dales, and mountains.  I don’t like Impatiens walleriana, (they’re bedding plants, which are also known as Busy Lizzies) but I do like almost everything else!

Why am I called Pumpkin Beth?  Well years ago, I used to grow beautiful vegetables, fruits, and herbs for Michelin starred restaurants; I grew such good quality, delicious, and unusual produce that I surprised people.  I was often asked how I had grown such healthy vegetables, fruit, and herbs, how had I achieved such good results.  People I had never met, heard of me and came to me for advice.  I love to share my knowledge of gardening, I was happy to give advice, to share my tips and ideas, and answer questions.  I was the only grower of pumpkins at the time, so I became known as ‘Pumpkin Beth’!

I am very proud to be a Fellow of the National Vegetable Society.  I am the Programme, Visits, and Events Secretary for The National Vegetable Society Surrey District Association, where I also work as a member of the committee.  I am a council and committee member for the Surrey Horticultural Federation.  I am also the Programme & Visits Secretary for Thursley Horticultural Society, where I also work as a member of the committee.  I am very proud of all of the organisations and the people I work with; I so enjoy working as part of these teams.

I am a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Plant Heritage, The Garden Media Guild, Thursley Horticultural Society, The Daffodil Society, The Mid Southern Daffodil Group, The National Sweet Pea Society, The National Vegetable Society, and The Orchid Society of Great Britain.  I am a friend and a passionate supporter of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  I have a great affection for these societies and organisations, I am keen to support them however I can.

Previously, I have worked for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at Wisley, reviewing and editing digital photographs of RHS plant trials.  I used to organise Godalming in Bloom, and I have also worked for Milford Horticultural Society, as well as for other charities and organisations.

Through my website, PumpkinBeth.com, I work to provide you, and all of my readers, with all the information you need to garden.  I want to share my knowledge, providing you with great gardening tips, ideas, and advice.  I want to help you to discover the best gardening events.  I wish to help, encourage, and enable you to garden productively and organically, using top quality, peat free composts.  I hope to help you to garden in the easiest and most effective manner, without harming insects, wildlife, or any other creatures.  Via PumpkinBeth.com, I share the results of my ongoing Indoor Trials and Outdoor Trials, passing on my knowledge and wisdom, in the hope of encouraging and enhancing your connections to nature, to your gardens, allotments, and indeed to every patch of earth across the planet.  My aim is to help you (Yes, honestly, I really do mean you!) to experience, appreciate, value, and understand the magical awe and wonder of plants and the natural world.

As people, we differ in so many ways but we all share a connection in relying on plants to sustain every part of our being.  Plants give us life, they provide us with food, drink, medicine, clothing, make-up, fragrance, and even the air that we breathe.  I hope to help remind you of the beauty and power of that rather wonderful connection.  I wish to support and encourage you in your gardening, whether you have a windowsill, a small indoor table, or a window box, an allotment, a front garden, an average sized back garden, or an acre of garden, many acres of grounds, or even a whole island to call your own!  Wherever you garden, I sincerely hope that you’ll find information and ideas to enhance your gardening and brighten your life, at PumpkinBeth.com.  If you would like to support me, you could like my Facebook Page, and follow me on Twitter, on Instagram, and Pinterest.

I have written about a lot of topics, so I have designed my website to include a number of sections, to help you to more easily find the articles that are most likely to appeal to you.  If you’re viewing www.pumpkinbeth.com on a laptop or computer, you’ll find the sections along the screen, just underneath my photograph of a rather wonderful Turk’s turban pumpkin!  I hope that this guide will help you to find the articles that you’re most interested in reading:

If you’re wondering what to do this month, I have gardening advice for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.  You’ll find additional advice tailored to the current month, via links on the sidebar – on the right-hand side of the screen of your laptop.

I am keen to live and garden more sustainably.  If you’re looking for ways that you can be kinder to the environment, you may want to read about the steps I’ve taken to reduce the amount of plastic I use; if you’re interested in this topic, you may like to see my section on sustainable living.

If you’re looking to improve your growing, you’ll need to find some great growing media, I hope that the results of my Peat Free Compost Trials will help you.

I love gardening for wildlife.  If you want to see my garden pond, here’s a link to the first article I wrote about my wildlife my pond.  You can see all of the articles I’ve written about my pond, via this link – here.  If you’re interested in seeing some of my photographs of ponds; here is a link to a list of articles I’ve written about gardens with water features.

If you are interested in any of my Trials, you’ll find links to my Indoor Trials and my Outdoor Trials here.

If all of your gardening takes place indoors, you may like to know that I have devoted an entire section to indoor gardening!  Perhaps you’re particularly keen to read about terrariums or bottle gardens, or to be more precise, you’re looking for the article I wrote explaining the thinking behind my design for my Rainforest Terrarium?  You can see all of the articles I’ve written about my Rainforest Terrarium here.  While all of the articles about how I created my Tall Orchidarium can be found here.

Perhaps you’d rather read my article detailing the step-by step process showing how my Orchidarium was created, or it might be that wish to find all of the articles I have written about my Orchidarium.

Are you wondering where all of my BiOrbAir Terrarium articles are?  I have set up a Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, a Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, a Long-term Review BiOrbAir Terrarium – which is planted with terrarium plants, and a White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

If you’re planting a terrarium or bottle garden, you might enjoy this article I wrote with a step-by-step guide to setting up a simple glass terrarium or bottle garden.

If you’re looking for my list of terrarium and bottle garden plants, or my list of mini miniature orchids, a list of houseplants, or scented orchids, I hope these links help you find topics that will interest and inspire you.

After receiving a number of questions from my readers, I wrote an explanatory article about how I accurately monitor the growing conditions, the light levels, humidity levels, and temperatures inside my various terrariums, my glasshouse, and my trials areas, here’s a link.

If you’re gardening outside, you might like to read my information on: vegetablesfruit, or edible gardening, or perhaps you’d rather look through my suggestions of scented plants?

I’ve grouped all of my daffodil articles here. my sweet pea articles here, and my rose articles here, to make them easier for you to find.  While, if you wish to read about container gardening, I hope this dedicated section helps you.  If you – like me – love nature and want to encourage and help wildlife, you may be interested in my wildlife gardening section.

If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for ways to save money, or you’re looking for ways to make gardening easier for yourself, I sincerely hope these sections will help you, too.

I have a dedicated section for pests and diseases.  I have created another section where you can search for plants from specific countries.  While I have created another category especially for all articles about flowers, you’ll find articles about floristry here in this category as well.

If you’re looking for a new gardening book, I have created a section for all of my: book reviews.  Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or someone else, I hope that my product reviews and long-term product reviews will help you.  You’ll find some great gift ideas in these sections!  Here’s a link to the article I wrote about my mini glasshouse.

I’ve written about some truly inspirational growers, gardeners, designers, florists, and horticulturists.  You can read all of my interviews and articles about plants people in this section.

I hold two Plant Heritage National Plant Collections – a National Collection of miniature Phalaenopsis species and a National Collection of miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species.  Here’s a link to more information and the articles I have written about my National Plant Collections.

Here are links to my plant sections, you’ll find plants from each of these different plants, grouped together here: sweet peasdaffodils, roses, plants for bees, butterflies and pollinating insects, hardy plants, or terrarium plantsorchids, and ferns.  Here is an index of all of the plants I have created individual information pages for.

I dedicate every spare moment I have to working on articles for PumpkinBeth.com.  In 2017, I was absolutely delighted when PumpkinBeth.com was shortlisted as one of the 5 finalists for the Garden Media Guild Blog of the Year Award for 2017!

All text, content, and photography © Beth Otway 2010 – 2020, All rights Reserved.

One thought on “About Pumpkin Beth

  1. Theresa

    July 21, 2019 at 8:29pm

    Hi, I am going to show my Hosta at this year’s Oswestry Show on August 3rd, however I have never shown anything previously, do you have any last minute tips? Should I remove the flowers? It is a Hosta Patriot. Thank you, Theresa

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    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      July 22, 2019 at 12:59am

      Hello Theresa

      How lovely that you’ll be entering your vegetables at the Oswestry Show. I wish you every success at the show! I don’t know what the judges’ criteria is for judging at your show, but I expect that the judges will be looking for clean, strong, healthy plants that are free from any pests and diseases, with no brown leaf tips. I have seen Hosta growers remove the flowers from their plants before a show, as often judges expect that if one plant is flowering, then all of the plants displayed on the same exhibit should all be in flower. But I don’t know what criteria the judges at your show will be working towards. Don’t cut your plants’ flowers off if you don’t want to! I think I would leave my plants’ flowers alone – I wouldn’t cut them – but that’s my personal choice.

      The main thing is to have fun and enjoy the show.

      I find that staging an exhibit takes longer than you expect, so allow plenty of time and ensure that your plants are carefully packaged for transit. You might want to clean or wipe over your plants’ leaves, as you stage them. Remove any yellowing or discoloured leaves, taking care as you do so to cut the leaf off at the base, without damaging any other leaves. Check your pots over for any cheeky weeds. Ensure that you have your plants clearly and accurately labelled.

      Another thing that I would add is to read through the show schedule a couple of times. There may be some tips at the back. Ensure that you understand what the schedule is asking for and you understand what each class requires. Many entries are marked NAS – as the entrant hasn’t taken the time to read what the judges are looking for. If there are size guidelines, take a measuring tape and be sure to be exact.

      I hope these tips help you. I wish you good luck at the show!

      Best wishes, Beth

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  2. Elizabeth Yvanovich

    November 6, 2019 at 6:21pm

    Hi my name is Liz, I wondered what your smallest orchid might be, I’m looking for something different & on the wet side. Thank you

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    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      November 7, 2019 at 6:37pm

      Hello Liz

      It’s great to hear from you. Mini miniature orchids are so much fun! I’ve created this planting list with lots of ideas of mini-miniature orchids: https://www.pumpkinbeth.com/2018/08/miniatureorchids/
      I hope it helps you find a new favourite plant. Restrepia seketii is a mini Restrepia that thrives in very moist conditions and Lepanthes telipogoniflora is a teeny tiny orchid that requires a continually moist environment. You’ll find photographs and more information about both of these plants, and many others, in my planting list of Mini Miniature Orchids for Terrariums, Vivariums, and Bottle Gardens.

      I hope this helps you find a new favourite plant!

      Warmest wishes
      Beth

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      • Elizabeth Yvanovich

        March 1, 2020 at 4:09pm

        Hi Beth, how long does it take for delivery on plants? I’ll look into your plants list, thanks again Liz

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        • Author

          Pumpkin Beth

          March 1, 2020 at 4:17pm

          Hello Liz

          At the moment I’m not selling any plants on this website; I’ve added links to nurseries from my articles to try to help my readers find suppliers. Please contact the nurseries or suppliers directly if you’re thinking of placing an order with them. I don’t receive anything in return for including links – it really is just to help you.

          Best wishes
          Beth

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  3. Jeroen van Diepen

    February 9, 2020 at 11:06am

    Hi Beth,

    First of all I have to apologise for my bad English, I am Dutch and don’t write in Enlsih that much.
    Second, but way more important, I want to thank you for your wonderfull website. It’s a real help for me!

    I love to start an orchidarium (orchid paludarium, natural look), with miniature orchids. And you give me great advise in choosing materials and orchids! I have several questions, I hope you can answer them for me;

    – Do you still use the Skylight LED lamps, and have you ever discovered problems with them?
    – What did you prefer, the egg crate or the clay balls bottom (if you left the ecological benefits away)
    – I want to use my room temperature to ‘heat’ the paludarium. So the temperature will be around 18 till 20 degrees,
    and in summer maybe until 25 degrees (can cool to this level). What temperature range can I use? Intermediate to cool? And can orchids get used to a lower temperature?
    – I would love to have a wide variaty of pleurothallis and lepanthes species, but they don’t seem to be right for the setting I want to use. Do you have a list, or do you know website, where I can see list of miniature orchids sorted by temperature? So I can see if I can find some nice orchids which can be held on my room temperature, or if I have to choose some kind of heating.
    – Is there a low cost (energy use) way to get the temperature around 8 degrees up?

    I know a lot of questions, but I want to make the right decisions.

    Hope you can help me out.

    Greetings,
    Jeroen

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    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      February 10, 2020 at 6:36pm

      Hello Jeroen

      Thank you for your message – your English is excellent. I’m so glad to know that you’ve found my advice helpful. In answer to your questions, yes I do still have the Skylight lights. I have one set in my Rainforest Terrarium, another in my Orchidarium (I replaced the Jungle Hobbies lights I purchased for this Orchidarium when I first set this terrarium up), and I have another set of Skylights in use in my Tall Orchidarium. The Skylights are all working well; although I did have a few problems yesterday with one set of lights randomly turning itself off three times – I’m not certain why this happend – but I suspect that it was caused by a fault with the electric or internet here, as we endured storm Ciara.

      Orchids are such a vast group of plants, they grow in a wide range of temperatures and growing conditions, but some species prefer warmer temperatures to others. Many orchids enjoy warmer temperatures in summertime with a cooler winter, but some orchids prefer to have year round conditions without seasonal fluctuations. It’s often good to have distinct seasons with different growing conditions, it can induce plants to flower and helps to replicate the conditions the plants enjoy in the wild.

      I’ve not had time as yet to create a catalogue of orchids by temperature, but it is something I plan to do. Some plants can surprise us by growing in hotter or warmer temperatures than we expect.

      I prefer using the leca balls to the egg crate for the base of the orchidariums. I use my home’s heating to heat my terrariums; it works well. If you wanted to grow orchids that thrive in warmer temperatures, you could set up an orchidarium in your smallest/naturally warmest room and use a thermostat on your heater to maintain an optimum temperature range. As I said, many orchids enjoy warmer summers and cooler winter; as well as this many orchids need a distinct difference in the daytime and night time temperatures (warmer daytime temperature and cooler night time temperatures).

      You can see the temperatures my orchids are grown in – in many of my terrarium reviews, as I list the temperature the plants enjoyed from my last update to the currant one – it doesn’t sound like your temperatures are very different from mine.

      Cool growing orchids favour temperatures that range from 15C-21C in daytime and 10C-12C at night.
      Intermediate growing orchids favour temperatures that range around from 21C-26C in daytime and 12C-18C at night.
      Warm growing orchids favour temperatures that range around 26C-32C in daytime and 18C-21C at night.

      Many nurseries list their orchids by temperature or state whether the plant they are selling is a warm or cool growing orchid – if you’re not sure about a plant you could always send them a message to ask.

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Best wishes
      Beth

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