WIN Seeds & The Chance to Name A Brand-New Tomato Variety

We could all do with a little cheering up and what better way than to get your thinking caps on and join in with this naming competition. How would you like to be in with a chance to name a brand-new tomato variety from Burpee Europe?

To help you with your creative juices, here is some more information on these sunny looking balls of joy!

What am I growing inside my Vegepod?

Since I first told you about my Vegepod much has changed.  Back in 2018, my Vegepod was set up in an area of my garden that enjoyed partial shade, but after trialling the Vegepod in this fairly beneficial position (vegetables thrive when they’re grown in sunny and partially shaded sites), I decided to move my Vegepod to a more shaded area of my garden, to see what I could grow successfully inside my Vegepod with more challenging growing conditions.

Acrobat ant update

Last year, I discovered Crematogaster scutellaris ants on the cork I purchased for my new Tall Orchidarium.  Crematogaster scutellaris ants are known as acrobat ants, but these ants are found in many different countries, so they’ve got many other common names, too.  With their distinctive amber coloured heads and pointed abdomens, these ants are easy to identify. 

Peat free Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

Dalefoot Composts have produced the top performing peat free composts in all of the Compost Trials that I’ve run over the past seven years.  Rather than just continually highlighting every year that Dalefoot Composts are the best peat free composts to use, I designed this Compost Trial to demonstrate methods you could use to get the best results from one of their products, namely Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2020

If you’re in need of some time out, a delightful and quite simply enchanting activity that you can take part in this weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 – spending a restful, restorative hour watching and counting birds.  I love birds, wildlife and nature.  I adore taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, it is one of my favourite events of the year! 

If you’re looking for ways to make a positive difference to the environment, why not build a pond?  Ponds support a vast range of wildlife, from the bottom to the top of the food chain.  Insects, invertebrates, amphibians, and birds, all need ponds.  These ecologically important habitats give us the chance to see dazzling dragonflies and get closer to nature.  Ponds grant us exciting opportunities to grow waterlilies and aquatic plants! 

Things to look our for when you’re setting up a new Terrarium

I’m currently in the process of setting up a new terrarium, which is very exciting!  Don’t worry, I’ll take you on a tour of my new Tall Orchidarium in due course.  However, today I wanted to tell you about something unexpected that happened to me, while I was gathering together the materials for this new enclosure.

Autumn leaves

Autumn is such a beautiful season.  I love to watch the leaves on trees and shrubs, as they turn from green to gold, burnished amber, and an array of fiery autumnal hues.  Autumn leaves twirl and dance, as they make their descent, gliding and tumbling through the air onto the floor below.  It’s quite simply magical; autumn leaves are a blessing!

An Update on the Orchids growing inside my Orchidarium (part four)

In February 2017, which (as I write to you in September 2019) was over two and a half years ago, I decided to create an Orchidarium with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  This wasn’t about creating a beautiful enclosure; I built this Orchidarium to house as many orchids from my collection as possible inside this enclosure and to provide these plants with automated care. 

Orchidarium Update

In February 2017, which (as I write to you in September 2019) was over two and a half years ago, I decided to create an Orchidarium with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  This wasn’t about creating a beautiful enclosure; I built this Orchidarium to house as many orchids from my collection as possible and to automatically administer the plants’ lighting and watering, and control their growing conditions.

Orchids flowering inside my Orchidarium today!

I designed this Orchidarium in 2017; it was constructed in the early spring of 2017.  If you’re interested in the materials I’ve used, you can see the step-by-step process of my Orchidarium build here.  I thought I’d share some of these pretty orchid blooms with you.  These orchids are all in bloom inside my Orchidarium, today.

The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the thirteenth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  I first planted this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in March 2017.  So, at the time of writing, in August 2019, this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium is now two and a half years old.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to show you a few of the twinkling, crystalline flowers of Aerangis hyaloides, alongside the beauty of the snow-white, pendent blooms of Aerangis citrata, as they fade. 

Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the twenty-second part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  This trial update is not all about success.  Since my last update, two orchids have declined – one more so than the other.  One plant looks like it’s probably in the process of dying; while another miniature orchid just isn’t looking as healthy as I would like.

How to Control Red Spider Mites on Orchids and Indoor Plants

Spider mites are a serious pest of orchids, indeed they are a pest of a great many other plants too, but with the warm weather we’re experiencing in the UK, today I wanted to remind you about the importance of controlling spider mites on orchids and other indoor plants.

Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions. 

White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial

Welcome to the thirteenth part of this my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.  I dedicated this terrarium to white flowered orchids back in April 2017 – which as I write to you today was exactly two years ago.  In this update, I am delighted to share with you the glistening twinkle of Aerangis hyaloides flowers and the glamorous, snow white flowers of Amesiella philippinensis

April Gardening Opportunities

April is a magical time in the garden.  This month offers us so many wonderful opportunities.  There are so many seeds you can sow now, so whether you favour growing vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers, don’t miss this chance to grow the plants that hold a special place in your heart.

Viola tricolor

Viola tricolor, often known as ‘Heart’s Ease’ is a dainty, yet easy to grow plant, which produces edible and very pretty, purple, yellow, and white flowers that have an attractive painterly quality. 

Controlling sciarid flies around houseplants and inside terrariums, on plants grown inside our homes, conservatories, and glasshouses What are sciarid flies?

Sciarid flies are teeny, tiny flies, from the family Sciaridae, they’re also known as fungus gnats, or by their genera’s scientific names of Bradysia or Lycoriella.  Although sciarid flies live outdoors, as the flies are so minute in size, you’re unlikely to notice these insignificant little flies outside. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

In March 2018, I commissioned Rich, from Rainforestvivs, to build this fabulous, custom built Rainforest Terrarium for me.  I designed my Rainforest Terrarium to fulfil my requirements: I needed to provide an enclosure that would house as large a number of orchids as possible from my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species and my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species, within the limited space I had available. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

In this my first update, you can discover how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids that are housed inside my Rainforest Terrarium have grown and developed over the past eleven months – from April 2018 to March 2019.  Discover which plants have died and which orchids have thrived during this time frame, in my first plant update for this custom built terrarium. 

Tomato Trial

I love growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs.  We’ve all got our favourite heritage tomatoes, but have you tried any new tomato varieties?  Last year, I grew lots of new tomato varieties, as part of my quest to discover the most delicious and productive tomato cultivars available to gardeners!

The objectives of this Tomato Trial were to identify delicious, productive, disease resistant tomato varieties, and to discover whether any of the trialled tomato cultivars perform differently when planted in the ground or grown in a container.