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Peat Free Compost Trial 2017, Growing Calendula

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. 

Peat Free Compost Trial 2017, Growing Broad Beans

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! 

Maxi Rootrainers from Haxnicks

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.

Elegantly perfumed roses to plant this winter

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.

Juliet Sargeant and the RHS Kitchen Garden

One of the gardens that I was most excited to visit at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017, was the RHS Kitchen Garden.

Straw Bale Gardening was a feature of the RHS Kitchen Garden, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.  Cavolo Nero Kale, pretty pink Dianthus and thyme, pictured in the RHS Kitchen Garden, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017.

Colourful, Scented Container Plants to Plant and Sow Now!

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.  

Lee Bestall and The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden

The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden was sponsored by the Victoria Business Improvement District.  This Fresh Garden was designed by Lee Bestall & Paul Robinson, and built by Jon Housley from JPH Landscapes.  The RHS judges awarded The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Urban Connections Garden a Silver Medal, at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

Container Plants for Bees, Butterflies and Gardeners

A close up of Erigeron karvinskianus.

Whether you’ve got a garden, patio, balcony, or a windowsill, remembering to choose flowering plants that produce pollen and nectar that bees and other pollinating insects can access when you’re selecting new plants is a wonderful and worthwhile thing to do.

Christmas Gifts For Gardeners

A selection of some of the innovative, interesting and fun Christmas gift ideas I have selected for gardeners.

Giving a gift is such a special thing to do, if you’re buying a present that you’ve seen online or in the shops, it’s not easy to tell how useful, wonderful or lasting the gift will be in reality, when you haven’t tried it yourself.  

EarthBox Review

At this time of year, it’s lovely to look through the catalogues and choose seeds, plants and other exciting new products to try out.  While I was looking through The Organic Gardening Catalogue I spotted the EarthBox, a patented container gardening system, developed by commercial farmers, who designed it especially to offer a low maintenance, self-watering, portable method to garden and grow vegetables, even if you don’t have a garden.