Welcome to the twelfth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, I am excited to share the delight of the snowy white, newly opened flowers of Aerangis citrata with you!  Since my last update, I’ve introduced a few new orchids to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium and I’ve recently replaced the moss, to add a verdant green carpet to enhance the plants inside this special terrarium.

Snowdrop Events Calendar 2019

Welcome to my 2019 Snowdrop Gardens, Talks, Events, and Open Days Calendar!  Here are the dates, and all the details of the openings of some of the most beautiful and magnificent snowdrop gardens across the UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, and Germany; these gardens are all opening especially, to allow visitors to experience the joy of seeing their snowdrop collections.  

Featured

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!

Vegepod

Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous!  This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you. 

I enjoyed visiting the Seedlip Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018.  Dr Catherine MacDonald designed this interesting garden as a celebration of the pea plant family – Fabaceae, and to highlight the work carried out by three pea pioneers: Gregor Mendel, Dr Calvin Lamborn, and Ben Branson.  Ben Branson is the founder of Seedlip, a company that produce distilled non-alcoholic spirits. 

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. 

Teaming with Fungi: The organic grower’s guide to mycorrhizae
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-729-2

Through his book Teaming with Fungi, author Jeff Lowenfels, aims to dispel the myths associated with fungi; this book informs and educates readers about fungi and their fascinating relationship with plants.  80-95% of all plants form symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi.  These relationships are incredibly beneficial to plants, so it makes sense for gardeners, horticulturists, and those working in forestry, agriculture, plant propagation, or indeed any career or hobby based around plants, to learn and understand more about mycorrhizal fungi species and the true nature of their relationship with plants. 

I always look forward to seeing Jonathan Hogarth and his beautiful displays of miniature Hostas at the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows, so it was especially nice to have a chance to have a proper catch up with Jonathan this week; Jonathan has given me special permission to share his very best, tried and tested, Hosta growing tips with you!

Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-314-0

Teaming with Nutrients is the second book in a series of three books written by Jeff Lowenfels, for the publisher Timber Press.  Each book is focused on a different area of plant science; the other books being, Teaming with Microbes (written by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis) and Teaming with Fungi

Teaming with Microbes, the Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web  
Authors: Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-113-9

In their book, Teaming with Microbes, authors, Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, highlight the importance of a healthy soil food web, describing the benefits a fully operational and functioning soil food web has on plants.  Healthy soil is teeming with life! 

Essential Pruning Techniques for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers
Authors: George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham
Photographs: Andrea Jones
Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN: 978-1-60469-288-4

The first edition of the reference book, Essential Pruning Techniques was written by George E. Brown (1917-1980).  George was the assistant curator at Kew and a founding member of the Arboricultural Association.  The original book was published in 1972; for over forty years this book was the go-to reference for pruning. 

This year, I’ve enjoyed getting to know a couple of new Phalaenopsis hybrids.  These plants were grown in the UK by Double H Nurseries, they’re part of the nurseries’ new range of Phalaenopsis plants, which have all been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

The Award of Garden Merit was set up by the Royal Horticultural Society, to help gardeners find plants that will perform well in regular growing conditions, without any specialist care or attention. 

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. 

Dear Readers, I caught up with Pippa Greenwood recently, Pippa has a website where you can purchase vegetable plants, seeds, and other gifts for gardeners.  Pippa offers a service where her customers can order the vegetables they want to grow, the vegetable plants are then grown in Lincolnshire, in the UK, and posted out as garden ready plants in early to mid May, when the vegetable plants can be planted out in your garden, or at your allotment. 

I cherish every special, magical moment when I meet a person with whom I share a deep connection and enjoy a true and meaningful, lasting friendship.  One such fellow, whom I am very fortunate to call a close friend, is the horticulturist, broadcaster, journalist, author, plantsman and nature lover, John Negus.  John is a truly wonderful man, he is an expert gardener and horticulturist; John never fails to inspire me. 

Miniature Orchids in Flower today!

It’s so wonderful to be able to share these photographs that I have taken of my orchids’ latest flowers with you – these photographs are of the very same inflorescences that are open now – these are the orchid blooms that I am enjoying today – I hope that you’ll enjoy these miniature orchid flowers with me. 

I love terrariums and bottle gardens!  I so enjoy designing tiny plant worlds and creating miniature gardens.  This is the ideal time to build a terrarium or bottle garden, these Lilliputian microcosms are fun to make!  Terrariums will enhance your home and provide the perfect gardening therapy through the autumn and winter months.

The photograph above shows some of the ingredients that I use to formulate my own compost mixes for terrariums and bottle gardens. 

I planted this glass terrarium especially for the readers of October 2018 edition of Vantage Point Magazine.  This is a simple glass globe, planted with some attractive, but easy to find terrarium plants.  You can see all of the plants that I used for this terrarium, in the planting list below.  If you’re interested in any of these plants, click on an individual plant page for more information, where you’ll also find links to every article I have written for pumpkinbeth.com that mentions that particular plant. 

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 so enjoy creating terrariums, vivariums, and bottle gardens, I’d love to share my love of indoor gardening with you!  If you’re looking for some fabulous plants for a bottle garden, terrarium, or vivarium that you’re creating, I hope that this list, which is filled with super plants that are perfectly suited to the growing conditions found inside these enclosed gardens, will help you to enjoy a spot of successful and fun indoor gardening.