Featured

Aerangis hyaloides: an exquisite miniature orchid species

I’ve been caring for these miniature orchids for quite a few years now, so the chances are you’ll have seen both of these Aerangis hyaloides plants before, as they’re plants from the National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species.  My plants are blooming now, so in this update I hope you’ll enjoy seeing these miniature orchids in flower.

I adore my houseplants.  I relish the tranquil, serene, and yet simultaneously refreshing atmosphere that indoor plants bring to my home.  Not all houseplants are easy to grow.  Many plants need much higher humidity and light levels than we naturally have inside our homes.  I want to help you find houseplants that are true heroes, eager to grow in the same conditions we have indoors. 

Orchids in bud and flower today!

It’s always nice to share the joy of plants; with this in mind, I thought you might like to see an update on a few of my orchids.

Angraecum equitans update!

First of all, let me show you my Angraecum equitans plant.  You might remember this plant, as I’ve been writing about it for eight years now and I’ve trialled this particular Angraecum equitans plant in a number of different terrariums. 

At this time of year one of my favourite plants is Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, an absolutely gorgeous shrub that gives me everything I dream of but don’t expect to find in the midst of winter – namely enchantingly pretty flowers with an exquisite fragrance.  This delightful shrub was raised by Hillier’s legendary plant breeder, Alan Postill and named for his wife, Jacqueline back in 1982.

I relish any plants that flower at Christmas time.  I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas so far and I wish you a very merry Christmas for tomorrow.  Today, on Christmas eve, I’m enjoying this Vanda nana plant’s first flowering.  I purchased this sweet little miniature orchid from Spicesotic Plants in 2022.

NB: I meant to take of the sprinkling of moss that’s attached itself to my Vanda nana‘s plastic mount, but I totally forgot and instead took the orchid out of my Tall Orchidarium, took some pictures for you, and then put the plant back inside its enclosure! 

At this time of year, as temperatures plummet and frosts highlight winter foliage with sparkles that glisten in the morning sunlight, gardeners are blessed with a seasonal window of opportunity to plant bare root plants.  Be sure to capitalise on this moment, as bare root plants are only available during the winter months  This is a chance to purchase top-quality plants, whilst making a substantial saving on usual retail prices.

Rather than traipsing around the shops and frittering the weekend away in seemingly endless queues to buy gifts this December, I’d like to encourage you to head out into the garden to propagate your favourite plants and share the joy of home-grown gifts this Christmas!

Mint is a fast-growing and spreading plant.  I always recommend growing mint in containers to prevent this plant’s naturally assertive growth from taking over your garden, patio, and any nearby countryside! 

In my last pond update, I showed you the shape of our wildlife pond after it was dug out and explained my thinking behind the design for the contours of my new wildlife pond.  With the pond now all ready to set up, the next phase of our wildlife pond project is to prepare and install the equipment needed to make it all work!

Trialling the new BiOrb AIR 30

I was very excited when BiOrb contacted me to see if I was interested in trialling their new BiOrb AIR 30.  This is a smaller sized terrarium than the BiOrb AIRs you’ve seen in my earlier BiOrb AIR Trials (see my Miniature Orchid BiOrb AIR Trial, my White Orchid BiOrb AIR Trial, my Madagascar BiOrb AIR Trial, and my Long-term BiOrb AIR Trial). 

Bring positivity to a dreary autumn day by forgetting the outside world and focussing on creating your own miniature plant world!  My step-by-step terrarium planting guide will help you plant your own long-lasting indoor centrepiece to enhance your home this autumn and winter.  Get ready to make the most of the longer evenings getting busy designing your own plant paradise!

Terrarium plants

A terrarium creates a perfect environment for small plants that thrive in low light levels and high humidity. 

Hooray: Two of my Orchids are in Flower Today!

Back in January I moved house.  It was a nerve wracking and anxious time, made more difficult because I grow a lot of plants inside terrariums, bottle gardens, and orchidariums, which I can’t bear to be parted from.  These enclosures all needed to be emptied and washed up, and the plants and glassware required careful packaging and wrapping. 

I was both excited and incredibly relieved when I heard that the National Trust had purchased Munstead Wood, the Surrey home and eleven-acre garden of the legendary horticulturist, designer, writer, artist, photographer, and craftswoman, Gertrude Jekyll.

Gertrude lived at Munstead Wood in Busbridge, Godalming, from the 1890s until her death in 1932.  Having met the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens early in his career, long before he achieved fame and was knighted, Gertrude invited Edwin to design her an Arts and Crafts house to complement the garden. 

Butterfly Conservation report that in the UK, long-term trends show that 80% of our butterfly species have decreased in abundance or distribution – or both – since the 1970s.  Do you see many butterflies and moths in your garden?  I hope to inspire everyone to help butterflies and moths.  Please don’t allow any pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides to be used on your garden, allotment, or indeed on any area in your locality, as these products obliterate our bees, butterflies, and moths.

The Rose of the Year 2023 is Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ (KORmelpea)

Every year I wait in anticipation to discover the newest winner of The Rose of the Year Competition.  I adore growing roses and I particularly enjoy trialling plants and finding new, naturally healthy roses I can recommend.  In February 2023, Roses UK sent me a new bare root rose to trial – the winner of the Rose of the Year 2023 Competition – Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ (KORmelpea)

Vegepod Gardening in the Shade

Whether you garden in sunshine or shade, there are plants that will be perfectly suited to growing in your garden – it’s just a case of finding them!  In 2019, my Vegepod was moved from a sunny spot, to a new enclosed, deeply shaded area of my garden.  I am not exaggerating when I say that in its new position my Vegepod truly was shaded – my Vegepod was sandwiched in a tight space, wedged between a tall conifer hedge, a two storey high wall, a tall fence, and an 8ft tall pergola that was smothered with climbing plants – the plants growing in my Vegepod did not receive any direct sunshine whatsoever.

Gorgeous Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 2023

This year, Mothers Day is on Sunday 19th March 2023.  The best things in life are free – spending time together is a priceless gift that means more than anything.  If you’re looking for gift ideas for Mother’s Day 2023, I have some fantastic ideas!

Make the Promise of a Day Out Together and Visit a Beautiful Garden

Love and friendship are priceless gifts. 

2022 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

Going peat-free is a positive action that each of us can take to protect our peatlands, safeguard nature, and protect our planet.  When you are buying plants, before you make a purchase ask if the plants were raised in peat-free compost.  When buying compost, check the packaging to see whether the growing media contains any peat – look to buy growing media and composts that are 100% peat-free. 

I’ve Moved to a New Garden!

There have been so many unexpected changes in my life over the past four months.  I was so very grateful for my old cottage and garden, my lovely neighbours, and fantastic local community; I didn’t have any plans to move, but then a larger level garden was spotted and we wondered if we could try to stretch ourselves to make this our home. 

Kick Start the Year by Growing Your Favourite Flavours: Sow these Red Chilli Pepper & Sweet Pepper Seeds Now!

Chilli pepper and sweet pepper plants grow slowly and can take longer than we expect to reach maturity and produce peppers.  January is my favourite time to sow chilli and sweet pepper seeds, as it gives the plants a longer growing season with extra time for fruit to develop and ripen, compared to the standard spring-sown plants.