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; with an indoor room temperature that ranges 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 19C (66F).  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 have a strong desire to protect peat bogs, the rainforests, coral reefs, and indeed all manner of special environments across the globe.  I love hedgehogs, butterflies, moths, ladybirds, bees, hoverflies, 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 that 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, in growing miniature orchids, creating and maintaining terrariums, growing houseplants, and every imaginable form of indoor gardening!  I so enjoy growing daffodils, roses, and cut flowers, as well as trialling plants and garden products.  I have a great 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 knowledge, 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, Ewhurst Horticultural Society, Milford Horticultural Society, 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 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, really – honestly, I 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, or follow me on Twitter, on Instagram, and Pinterest.  If you would like to vote for me in the UK Blog of the Year Awards, here’s a link, it’s free to vote, you don’t need to register, so it only takes a moment.

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 if there’s a plant fair near you, you may be interested to read my calendar of specialist plant fairs, festivals, sales, and swaps.

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.

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.

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?  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, or would you rather see all of my BiOrbAir Terrarium articles?  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 temperature 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, 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 section for pests and diseases, another section where you can search for plants from specific countries.  While I have created another section 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, or long-term product reviews will help you.  You’ll find some great gift ideas in these sections!

I have a section dedicated to places to visit, with separate sections for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and for other shows and events,   I was very sorry to have to miss the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year, but you can see my articles from previous shows in this section.

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.  Last year, 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 – 2018, All rights Reserved.

One thought on “About Pumpkin Beth

  1. Roisheen Childs

    Jan 6, 2017 at 10:21am

    Many thanks for your very informative and fabulous ,friendly website! So much information and advice. I am glad that I have found you.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Jan 9, 2017 at 3:04pm

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Roisheen. I am so happy that you find my website helpful. I wish you a very happy new year and happy gardening too. Best wishes, Beth

  2. Marsha

    Jan 11, 2017 at 5:43pm

    Beth, I live in the SE US (east of Atlanta, Georgia). What are temperatures where you garden?

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Jan 11, 2017 at 5:51pm

      Hello Marsha

      I garden in the UK, our temperatures generally range from -5C to +30C in summer.

      Hope this helps, was there any plant in particular you were interested in?

      Best wishes

  3. Alice Brosnahan

    Feb 2, 2017 at 3:51pm

    You mentioned Daphne bholua ‘Jackueline Postill’ in a recent magazine. Can you recommend where you can get these. I live in Surrey

  4. Cathie

    Feb 8, 2017 at 6:56pm

    Hi Beth
    Linda and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you today at the orchid festival. so glad you were having a great day out. Your website is very informative I must say!
    Best regards

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Feb 8, 2017 at 9:49pm

      Thank you Cathie, I hope my website will help you have lots of lovely days out! It was great to talk to you and Linda, thank you for all the excellent work you do at Kew. Warmest wishes to you both, Beth

      • Linda

        Feb 9, 2017 at 5:48pm

        Thanks, Beth. You have a very impressive website! It was very nice to meet you yesterday at Kew. All the best to you and Mark. I look forward to seeing you again around the Gardens! Linda

        • Author

          Pumpkin Beth

          Feb 9, 2017 at 7:22pm

          Thank you Linda, and thank you for all the great work you do at Kew. It was lovely to meet you, I look forward to seeing you again sometime. Best wishes, Beth

  5. Jo Whitworth

    Nov 24, 2017 at 1:01pm

    Hi Beth
    We just wanted to say congratulations for being a finalist in yesterday’s GMG Awards! We were so pleased to see your name up there, very well deserved!
    It was lovely to meet you at Hampton Court, and we hope to see you at another show next year.
    Best wishes from us both, to you both,
    Jo and Rob Whitworth

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Nov 24, 2017 at 1:12pm

      Thank you so much Jo and Rob, that’s so very kind of you. I was so sorry to miss the Garden Media Guild Awards ceremony, I was absolutely thrilled when I saw that I was a finalist! If you’d like to visit my Daffodil Trial in April, you’d be so very welcome, I’d absolutely love to see you! I will let you know when the daffodils start flowering. Thanks so much for your kind wishes, Best wishes to you both, Beth

  6. Carole Furnivall

    Jun 4, 2018 at 6:24pm

    Many thanks Beth for your excellent website. I love the systematic way you test things out and on the basis of your test have now ordered Dales Wool peat free compost and am trying sand round my strawberries to deter slugs – no ash, soot or sawdust available just now, but I will collect some for next year.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Jun 4, 2018 at 6:49pm

      Dear Carole, thank you so much for your lovely message – I am so glad that you find my website to be helpful. I am sure that you’ll experience great results with Dalefoot Compost – it’s great stuff! You will need to adjust your watering, as Dalefoot is a very water retentive compost and so plants growing in it don’t need watering as often as the same plant would when grown in other composts. I am hoping that your strawberries will be safe from the slugs and snails – I have my fingers crossed for you! Best wishes, Beth

  7. Louise Gregory

    Jun 17, 2018 at 11:33am

    Dear Beth, what a lovely blog you have written about the Welcome to Yorkshire garden by Mark Gregory, you even included me. It was so lovely to read & the photographs you took were fantastic. Thank you. Regards Mark &Louise Gregory. It has been a hectic time.

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Jun 17, 2018 at 3:43pm

      Dear Louise,

      Hello, it’s great to hear from you you! I so enjoyed visiting the Welcome to Yorkshire garden, I really enjoyed talking to you and Mark. Mark created a delightful garden that gave us so much pleasure at the show and will be remembered for many years. I hope to see you at Chelsea next year.

      Best wishes to you both, Beth

  8. Cheryl A. Zielonka

    Oct 25, 2018 at 8:48pm

    I am delighted to find your site…I am not a horticulturist, but I love plants. I am 64 years old and I have recently discovered epiphytes and have had an orchid for approximately 4-5 years…this year it bloomed exquisitely and I am sure it was by moving it to a different location in my home. It now receives diffused light from east and southeast windows. I must say that I have developed a fascination for this plant. It now seems to be climbing out of the pot it has been in since I purchased it…roots are everywhere…is it possible to mount this phaleanopsis orchid on a piece of virgin cork mount? If so how would you advise I do it? It has begun growing a new stem and there are no buds or blossoms on it at this time.

    Thank you in advance –

    Cheryl A Zielonka

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      Oct 25, 2018 at 9:50pm

      Hello Cheryl,

      Thank you for your lovely message, it’s so nice to hear from you! You could indeed mount your Phalaenopsis onto a piece of virgin cork, I much prefer to grow my plants mounted, as opposed to growing them in a container. I have written an article with instructions on how to mount your Phalaenopsis onto a piece of cork, but let me just say first of all that mounted orchids need to be misted more frequently than potted plants, so in the heat of summer you may need to mist the roots of your plant every single morning and perhaps some afternoons too, depending on the weather and how humid your home is. Here’s a link with step by step instructions: https://www.pumpkinbeth.com/2017/04/mount-epiphytic-orchids/

      You can see where I have purchased my cork – all of the suppliers are listed on each of my planting lists for the individual terrariums I have written about, here’s a link to my planting list for terrariums and bottle gardens:https://www.pumpkinbeth.com/2014/11/planting-list-terrariums-bottle-gardens/

      I hope this helps you. I am so glad that your Phalaenopsis is growing so well and bringing you so much joy!

      Best wishes

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