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!

Orchids in flower this week

This weekend I have been admiring the beauty and grace of some of my orchids that are in flower.  I am very fortunate to have been able to gather my orchid collection together, I don’t want to keep these orchids away from prying eyes, far from it – I’d love to share their flowers with you!

Welcome to the tenth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, I am delighted to share with you the extraordinary blooms of Aeranthes arachnites!  I’ll also be showing you an update on the progression of my Aerangis citrata specimen’s flower spike production, alongside updates on the growth and development of all of the orchids that are growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Through my work I have become very well acquainted with so many fascinating plants, but I have also enjoyed getting to know some interesting people, many of whom I have met at the different gardens I have visited.  I hold a deep affection for the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, I am a great fan and supporter of Kew’s work in conservation and plant science, and I love to visit the beautiful glasshouses and gardens at Kew; Kew’s plant collections amaze and delight me! 

Welcome to the nineteenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  In this update, I share with you updates on how the miniature orchids are growing inside this terrarium – some plants are flourishing, while other plants have declined and so have now been moved to other terrariums.

Miniature Orchid Trial The BiOrbAir Terrarium

The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb.  

Welcome to the eleventh part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial!  In this update I will share with you the catastrophic results of over watering epiphytic miniature orchids, with advice as to how to avoid making this mistake yourself, and how to rectify this problem if you over water your own plants!  First though, here’s an update on why I decided to run this White Orchid Trial:

Reasons for this White Orchid Trial

I decided to plant up this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017, after receiving many requests from readers asking about white flowered, miniature, epiphytic orchids to grow in terrariums.  

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The highlight of the horticultural calendar, The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is the world’s most prestigious flower show!  Over the past three weeks, award winning garden designers from all over the world, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists and crafts people, have been working solidly to transform the Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea into an oasis of gardening ideas and inspiration!

The Temperate House is the world’s largest surviving Victorian glasshouse!  This substantial glasshouse is sited at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, which itself is a National Treasure and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Temperate House is a Grade I Listed Building.  When this glasshouse’s refurbishment programme commenced work in 2013, the Temperate House was in a dilapidated condition, at this time the Temperate House was on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register.

I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in August 2013, just before the planned Temperate House refurbishment programme began and this Victorian glasshouse, with its shabby chic but regal splendour was closed to the public.  I watched nervously as Kew staff wheeled containers and decorative, heavy looking display items out of the glasshouse.  Back in 2013, the planned reopening date seemed so far into the future, 2018 sounded somewhat space age then, but now, here I am delivered safely to this date, with the good fortune to be here at Kew to see the Temperate House on the day of its reopening! 

Welcome to the ninth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  This Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium was set up in April 2017, so as I write to you now, in April 2018, this terrarium was created exactly a year ago.  In this update I am delighted to share with you the distinct lime green coloured flowers of Aeranthes arachnites, which I find simply mesmerising! 

It may surprise you to know that in the garden, as well as on the catwalk, fashions change and evolve, often quicker than we expect.  A plant that’s regarded as a ‘must have’ plant one minute, can soon be taken for granted and neglected, before being cast aside to make way for the latest modern plant introductions, when the superseded ‘must have’ plant is then at risk of being forgotten, often within a shorter time period than you might anticipate. 

When I was a child, it was my aim that by the time I became an adult I would have saved up sufficient funds to purchase, and forever after protect a beautiful woodland or forest, and at least one meadow!  I haven’t succeeded in my aim – I sadly have been unable to protect any of our woodlands, forests, or meadows, but I still feel just as passionately about plant conservation. 

In March 2017, I created an Orchidarium, complete with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  In this update you can see how these automated features have performed over the past year, and you can also discover how the plants inside this Orchidarium have grown and developed. 

Welcome to the eighth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar inside the BiOrbAir terrarium!  Since I published the last update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, the plants inside this Madagascan terrarium have been growing steadily.

There are many new Madagascan orchids which are now growing inside this terrarium, these plants were introduced during my November 2017 reshuffle, which saw me move many of my orchids from one terrarium to another, so that I could group the plants more interestingly. 

Welcome to the eighteenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  In this update I am thrilled to share with you the delightful flowers of Macroclinium manabinumCeratostylis philippinensis, and Masdevallia rechingeriana!  I’ll also be updating you on the growth and development of the newest additions to this Miniature Orchid Trial.

As well as these mini celebrations, in this update I will be sharing the sad news of the death of one of my miniature orchids, and I’ll also tell you about the pests that these orchids have encountered recently!

Kew Orchid Festival

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are currently hosting their 23rd annual Orchid Festival.  You’ll find an array of colourful orchids, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, until Sunday 11th March 2018, when the Orchid Festival closes for another year.  I hope that you can make it to Kew to see this impressive orchid spectacle during the next couple of weeks! 

I’ve admired the work of Master Florist Henck Röling for a number of years now.  Henck Röling is a Master Florist and Artist, he works for some of London’s top florists, Henck creates weekly flower arrangements for the Ritz, Southerby’s, and Fortnum and Mason, to name but a few.  As well as at top London hotels and restaurants, you may have seen some of Henck’s work at Kew Gardens’ Orchid Festivals, where Henck has created an absolutely fabulous series of floral installations over the past eight years.

Phalaenopsis honghenensis

Phalaenopsis honghenensis is an epiphytic orchid species, which is native to Honghe in Yunnan.  This is the region in China which gives this orchid species its name, but Phalaenopsis honghenensis can also be found growing in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Phalaenopsis honghenensis can be found growing at about 2000m above sea level, on the trunks and branches of mossy, lichen covered trees in Vietnam, Thailand, and China.

Kew Orchid Festival 2018 Thailand!

From Saturday the 10th February 2018, until Sunday the 11th March 2018, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are hosting their 23rd Orchid Festival.  If you’re looking for a wonderful day out, you’re sure to find it here, at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew!

This inspiring plant extravaganza has been designed to celebrate Thailand’s vibrant plants and culture.