An Update from my Wildlife Pond in the Intense Heat of Summer & the Drought of 2022

Hello, and welcome to my wildlife pond during the heatwave and drought of 2022.  I’ve been anxiously watching the water level in my pond as it recedes.  I’ve invested in another water tank and I’ve been busy scouring the local area for any second-hand water butts and water tanks for sale. 

June blesses us with the truly wonderful convenience of being able to sow seeds outside without any risk of frost culling seedlings or dashing our hopes.  Make the most of this wonderful moment: summer can feel endless, but speed is of the essence if you are to provide your courgettes, pumpkins, French beans, and runner bean plants with sufficient time to grow, mature, and produce a decent harvest.

An Update from my Wildlife Pond in Springtime

Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in springtime.  Over the past few weeks, our weather has been so very summery; my Marsh Marigold flowers have simply sparkled in the sunshine!  I’m having an amazing time by my wildlife pond.  I’ve got some really exciting news to share with you about the wildlife I’ve seen by my pond; I’ve even got a homemade video for you – so you can share in the excitement, but first of all, let me tell you about the water in my pond and show you how my aquatic plants have developed since my last update

Water Levels

I took this picture not long after my last pond update

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Dwarf French Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts – I want to encourage everyone to go peat-free!  However, I do understand that gardeners who use peat-based composts might be reluctant to switch to a peat-free compost, if they aren’t familiar with this type of growing media.  Trying a new compost can feel like a venture into the unknown; none of us want to start the gardening season off on the wrong foot, to be unnecessarily delayed, or to have our gardening compromised by using products that are not as good quality or effective as we might wish for. 

An Update on the Aerangis & Angraecum Orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium

I set up my Tall Orchidarium in November 2019.  I am absolutely thrilled with this custom built terrarium, which Matthew (from Custom Aquaria) built for me in autumn 2019.  I’m growing a large number of orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium, so I’ve divided up this update (which covers the period from November 2019 to March 2021) into three posts of slightly more manageable sizes. 

2020 Compost Trial: Growing Broad Beans

I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for peat-free composts.  I know from my own experience, that it’s not always easy to find a good quality peat-free growing media.  I understand that gardeners who have used peat-based composts all their lives might be hesitant to switch to a peat-free compost and gardeners who have purchased a poor performing peat-free compost could naturally be reluctant to try peat-free growing media again. 

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.

White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial Update

Welcome to the fourteenth update from my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to share the sparkle of this Aerangis hyaloides plant’s glistening flowers with you.  Yes – that’s right – this miniature orchid’s blooms really do twinkle in the sunlight!  I’ve also got a crystalline Ceratostylis pristina flower that you might be interested to see. 

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! 

Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the twenty-third update from my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  Since my last instalment, the two plants that were really struggling – Diplocaulobium chrysotropis and Macroclinium chasei have both died.  But it’s not all bad news, I’ve got a few orchid flowers to share with you and I’m also celebrating that for this week at least, the tiny aphid species that has colonised the plants inside this terrarium is temporarily under control.

More Ideas for Sustainable Living

It’s frightening to think of all of the destruction and hurt that we have inflicted on our beautiful Planet Earth.  This is our shared catastrophe; we must act now to repair the damage we have caused our environment.  We all need to work together to tackle climate change, to heal the environmental damage we’ve inflamed, and make a positive difference to soothe and heal the planet.

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.

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. 

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. 

Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the twenty-first part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  Since my last update, I’ve re-arranged the planting, introduced some new plants, and replaced the moss inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  In this update, I’ve got some gorgeous Ceratostylis philippinensisPhalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’, Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, and Restrepia seketii flowers to show you! 

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 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!