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. 

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. 

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 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.

More ideas to use less plastic

In March 2018, I shared some of my ideas of how to reduce plastic use and try live more sustainably.  I love our planet, I want to do all I can to protect our world, this is an important issue for me.  I’d love to help you to find new ways to live sustainably and happily, saving money and having fun along the way!

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. 

In April 2018, I set up my Rainforest Terrarium.  I’ve created this planting list, so you can easily find and learn more about each of the plants that are currently growing inside this terrarium, if I add any new plants in future, I will also add them to this list.  I’ve listed the all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my plants, cork, and mosses, for this terrarium at the bottom of this list.

For me, deliciously scented flowers are a delightfully uplifting feature of the garden.  A beautiful moment spent enjoying garden flowers and their fragrances is utter bliss!  Time spent with delectably fragrant flowers eases life’s worries and stresses, brings joy to our day and makes everything feel better.  I have a particular fondness for scented daffodils or Narcissus.  Narcissus is the botanical name for this genus, while daffodil is the common name we use, but both names refer to the same group of plants.

If you’re setting up a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden, and you’re looking for miniature orchids to add to your indoor garden, you may find that it is not always easy to tell which orchids are truly miniature and which aren’t.

Many orchids that are sold as miniatures are miniature sized when they are young, but as they grow and develop, many of these plants will soon outgrow a traditionally sized terrarium or bottle garden. 

Daffodil: The remarkable story of the world’s most popular spring flower
Author: Noel Kingsbury
Photographer: Jo Whitworth
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-318-8

Daffodils are one of the most recognisable, most popular, and most widely revered flowers.  If you love daffodils and want to hear their story, then may I suggest a lovely book, Daffodil, which was written by Noel Kingsbury, and is illustrated with beautiful pictures taken by photographer, Jo Whitworth.