For my 2015 trialled and tested list of gifts for gardeners, I recommended a hand-made Trug Makers Trug – Trug No.7 – a large, deep versatile trug, ideal for harvesting large vegetables and fruit.  I am still using my Trug No.7, this versatile trug is just as good now as it was when it arrived with me in 2015.

After he read my 2015 review, Trug Maker Kevin Skinner very kindly offered to send me a trug of my choice, I love growing sweet peas, daffodils, and cut flowers, so the choice was simple – I opted for the Daffodil Trug, the trug that you see pictured below. 

Vegepod Raised Garden Beds

I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food!  Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.

The Victoria Garden, Farnham

There’s something quite magical about a secret garden!  Did you know that Farnham has its own secret garden hidden away in the town centre?  If you venture towards the back of Sainsbury’s car park in South Street, you’ll have the chance to discover the Victoria Garden for yourself.  A beautifully serene, sheltered and enclosed garden awaits you, a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

I love looking at this orchid; I so admire Angraecum distichum‘s shape and form, this plant’s simple, leafy stems are a thing of beauty.  I love to see young and old Angraecum distichum specimens, whatever the plant’s size, I find Angraecum distichum utterly mesmerising!

Angraecum distichum is a miniature to small sized epiphytic orchid species.  Angraecum distichum plants can be found growing upon a range of tall trees in a variety of different environments including: rainforests, humid forests, deciduous forests, and plantations. 

Endangered orchids

If we hear that an item is rare – be it a jewel, or an item of clothing, or a plant – the very idea that there is limited stock of whatever it is available can send our minds into overdrive, just knowing that there is a restricted quantity of the product in question in existence, can fervently increase our desire to own the item – we don’t want to miss out after all! 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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!

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! 

It’s so important to appreciate, look after and cherish every square inch of earth, every inch of our planet.  For those living in town centres or cities, or areas where outdoor space is at a premium, it can sometimes be hard to find inspiration of how to green up and make the most of the limited areas of ground, roof, or wall space that are available. 

Garden designer Dr Catherine MacDonald devised the Seedlip Garden as a celebration of the pea – Pisum sativum.  The Seedlip Garden features peas and plants related to peas – plants from the pea plant family – Fabaceae.  This Space to Grow Garden also honours the work of three men and their work in relation to peas.  The first man that the Seedlip Garden commemorates is Gregor Mendel (1822-1824). 

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!