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. 

I love our planet, I love plants and nature.  I want to protect our environment.  I want to live more sustainably.  Sustainability is not a new desire for me, it is something that I have always aspired to.  Firstly though I must tell you that I am far from perfect, I make mistakes and I am always learning.  I want to improve, I want to make changes to live more sustainably and to live ethically. 

Why Use Peat Free Compost?

Peatlands are extraordinary environments, which cover just 2-3% of the planet’s surface.  These scarce ecosystems are also very fragile, they are dependent on sufficient moisture levels being available, and they require a slightly cooler temperature range to allow the necessary sphagnum moss, which slowly forms peat, to grow, flourish, and reproduce.  Peat bogs can increase at a rate of one millimetre per year if the desired conditions are present. 

Why Peat Free Compost?

There are many wild, beautiful, and fascinating areas of our planet that are diminishing due to human destruction.  These precious natural areas require our protection urgently, before it’s too late and they are destroyed or lost altogether.  There are relatively small areas of rainforests, peat bogs and peatlands remaining on our planet, yet these areas are continuing to be destroyed by humans. 

I have found that peat free composts can vary enormously: from bags of compost filled with bark chips, which could be used as a mulch, but can’t be used as intended – as a compost to grow container plants or seedlings, right through to the other extreme – the finest quality composts, which are capable of producing prize and award winning plants, and of course, every compost in between these two polar opposites! 

Gifts for Gardeners

I treasure the joy I experience when I find the perfect gift for a special person.  I hope to share this joy with you, by sharing the best products that I have tried and tested this year, to help you find superb presents for your loved ones this Christmas.

Gardening Society Membership

There are many great local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey.   

For the last few years I have used Deep Rootrainers to grow the sweet pea plants for my Sweet Pea Trials.  I had been happy with the results that I had achieved using Deep Rootrainers from Haxnicks, but last year I decided to trial Deep Rootrainers against Maxi Rootrainers, which are also available from Haxnicks, to discover if using a larger sized, deeper Rootrainer would be beneficial for my sweet pea plants.

As autumn turns to winter, days shorten and the prospect of warming ourselves by the fire may be more enticing than being outdoors, take time to warm your heart with thoughts of elegantly perfumed roses.  This is the perfect opportunity to order roses as bare root plants to plant during the winter time, while the plants are dormant, to deliver charming, beautiful rose blooms and delectable fragrance to your garden or allotment next summer.

I love growing sweet peas!  I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow your own sweet pea plants, so that you can experience these wonderful plants for yourself.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are beautifully fragrant, hardy annuals.  Throughout my ongoing Sweet Pea Trials, I work to provide my readers with a wealth of information to help you to learn how to grow the healthiest, most floriferous sweet pea plants, that will produce the earliest flowers, with the tallest flowering stems over the longest flowering period!

Inside the Floral Marquee at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, I met Jackie Currie, a passionate Allium expert and Garden Designer from Surrey.  The RHS judges presented Jackie with a Silver-Gilt Medal, for her first ever exhibit at Hampton Court, which featured a selection of Alliums, from Jackie Currie’s National Collection of Alliums.

Beth: Congratulations on your beautiful Allium exhibit and your success here at Hampton Court Jackie!

Fragrant daffodils deliver an uplifting joy and bring an unadulterated cheer into the spring garden; these scented daffodils can brighten your view and gladden your heart.  Many daffodil cultivars are listed as being scented, but some daffodil cultivars are more perfumed and more pleasing than others.

In 2016, I decided to run a Scented Daffodil Trial, to showcase the most beautifully scented, long flowering daffodils.  

Containers filled with your favourite coloured flowering plants can bring so much joy to you, and to the bees and butterflies in your garden.

Beautifully scented plants are always top of my list.   The dwarf, compact, lavender cultivars, known as Lavandula angustifolia, are such lovely options for containers in a sunny spot, where their calming, soothing fragrance can be welcomed and enjoyed by all.  

I am so very lucky to have a beautiful, new BiOrbAir terrarium!

I decided to plant up this very special terrarium with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar, to highlight and raise awareness of the fragility of this very special place on Earth, and showcase the beauty of Madagascar’s plants.  Many of the orchids that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth.

Madagascar is an amazing island that’s situated off the South East coast of Africa.  Madagascar is a special place, it’s is home to a large number of interesting and amazing orchids, many of which are only found in this one special area of our planet.

In order to highlight the beauty of Madagascan orchids – and to raise awareness of the fragility of their home environment – I have planted a specialised, automated BiOrbAir terrarium from BiOrb with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar.  

The simplicity and beauty of white flowers are enjoyed and appreciated by many of us.  I received a great many requests from my readers to plant up a white flowered orchid terrarium, so in April 2017, I emptied and re-planted my specialised, automated, BiOrbAir terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb, with a variety of white-flowering orchids, to showcase how beautiful a single colour planting scheme for terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, or bottle gardens can be.

Apart from your plants, everything else you need to plant up your BiOrbAir terrarium is included when you buy your BiOrbAir – it all arrives together in one wonderful, ginormous box!

I find my BiOrbAir terrariums easy to look after and care for.  I love growing miniature orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  Here is a guide to the regular, general terrarium maintenance, and plant care that I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums.

Peat Free Compost

Last summer, I ran a Peat Free Compost Trial to compare the different peat free composts available, and find out how well each of the composts performed growing dwarf French beans under the same conditions.  In my trial, Dalefoot Composts Wool Compost for Vegetables and Salads, and Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost were the clear winners producing healthy plants with a great harvest.

Why Peat Free?

I have always loved our natural world.  I have always wished to protect every important habitat for plants, animals, and nature, all over the world.  I am passionate about protecting the rainforests and the many other wonderful, precious environments and habitats that exist on Earth, including peat bogs.  Peat bogs are amazing environments, covering just 2-3% of the planet’s surface.  

Rootrainers and the Rootrainers Racking Station

I love growing Sweet Peas!  Every year I look forward to sowing my Sweet Pea seeds and picking the beautifully scented, frilly flowers that my Sweet Pea plants produce.  For the past few years, I have used Deep Rootrainers to sow my Sweet Pea seeds.

My Sweet Pea Trial is very important to me, I dedicate a lot of my time and energy to working on this trial.  

Growing Sweet Peas

For me, sweet peas are one of the real joys of summer.  The sweet pea’s frilly flowers have a powerful yet serene fragrance, which gently envelops the garden in its loveliness.  The scent of sweet peas can fill your home too; they’re very floriferous plants that produce excellent cut flowers.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are very accommodating – you can sow their seeds in September, though better still sow in late October, and at any time up until March, or even April at a push.