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.

East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing
Author: Meera Sodha
Publisher: Fig Tree Books
ISBN: 978-0-241-38756-6

I discovered Meera Sodha‘s recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Korma in Meera’s ‘The New Vegan’ column, in The Guardian, back in October 2018.  I’ve been a huge fan of Meera Sodha’s recipes, right from the first moment I tasted this delicious roasted cauliflower curry. 

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners 2019

Christmas time is such a special time of year.  It’s a time for meeting up, celebrating, and showing our thanks and appreciation to those around us.

Make the promise of a day out together, to visit a snowdrop or daffodil garden

Love and friendship are priceless gifts.  Why not gift the promise of a day out together in a magnificent snowdrop garden, in January or February? 

Snowdrop Events Calendar 2020

Welcome to my 2020 Snowdrop Gardens, Talks, Events, and Open Days Calendar!  Here are the dates, and all the details of the openings of the most beautiful and magnificent snowdrop gardens across the UK, Ireland, America, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.  These gardens are all opening to allow visitors the chance to experience the joy of visiting their snowdrop collections.  

Garden Twine Trial

Twine is an essential product for gardeners.  This small, but vital product helps us to support, tie in, and train our plants.  Garden twine assists us as we hang up bunches of herbs, garlic, and onions, for storing and drying.  Twine enables us to mark out rows, and carry out all manner of garden tasks.  Whether you enjoy growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, or cut flowers, if you’re fond of tending herbaceous borders, or you enjoy taking part in any other form of gardening activity; twine is a universally useful product!

Plant Conservation: Why it Matters and How it Works
Author: Timothy Walker
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-260-0

I felt that it would be both very timely and apt to write a review of Timothy Walker’s book, Plant Conservation: Why it Matters and How it Works, as this book presents a range of activities that we as individuals can do, to help to conserve the plants on our beautiful planet. 

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.

Green & Blue Bee Brick and Bee Block

A couple of years ago, back in the late summer and early autumn of 2017, I discovered an award winning Cornish company, called Green & Blue.  I was keen to try two of this company’s products, namely their Green & Blue Bee Bricks and their Green & Blue Bee Blocks.  These products have been designed to provide nesting sites for red mason bees, leaf cutter bees, and other species of solitary bee. 

Garden spades

Every year, many of my readers have got in touch to ask me for my recommendations for a strong and effective, comfortable and lasting, spade or fork.  I love to help out.  I relish that wonderful feeling when I’ve tried and tested a product and have found the item to be incredibly useful and effective.  Knowing that I can help other gardeners with my recommendations is a wonderful feeling. 

Burgon & Ball Container Root & Transplanting Knife

This year, Burgon & Ball have launched a new range of gardening tools, which have been especially designed to help gardeners tend to their container plants.  These Burgon & Ball, container gardening tools, are endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.  All the tools in this range, come with a ten year guarantee.

Millais Nurseries and Exbury Gardens, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 Millais Nurseries

One of the loveliest things about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is getting the chance to see amazing plants and having the opportunity to speak to plant experts.  If you’re interested in Rhododendrons and Azaleas, David Millais is the man to talk to.  David’s the Chairman of the Rhododendron, Camellia, and Magnolia Group, and the owner of Millais Nurseries in Churt, near Farnham, in Surrey.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

A highlight of the horticultural calendar, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show runs from Tuesday 21st May 2019, to Saturday 25th May 2019.

In preparation for the show, over the past three weeks, award winning garden designers, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists, and crafts people, have been working tirelessly to transform the Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea, into a plant filled oasis. 

Mother’s Day 2019

Mothering Sunday, also known as Mother’s Day, will be held on Sunday 31st March 2019, in the UK.  If you’re looking for a special family day out, you might be interested in discovering more about the following gardens and attractions, which are offering free entry to Mothers, or other special offers on Mother’s Day 2019.  Some of these Mother’s Day offers differ, so I’ve listed the details of each event for Mother’s Day 2019 offer separately for every venue. 

Growing tomatoes

I just adore growing fruit and vegetables!  Any form of edible gardening is a soul enriching experience, which I would encourage you to try.

When to sow tomato seeds and plant tomato plants outside?

Last year, I ran a Tomato Trial, to discover delicious, productive, and reliable tomato varieties.  My tomato seeds were sown inside my Access Garden Products Glasshouse in the middle of March. 

Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters

A number of forms of air pruning pots are available, I am a fan of these types of containers, as they prevent plants’ roots from becoming pot-bound.  I have found that plants grown in air pruning pots establish more readily when they’re planted in the garden, when compared to plants grown in regular containers.  They’re very effective.

Last year, as part of my Tomato Trial, I used Haxnicks Vigoroot Planters for the first time.

The BiOrbAir Terrarium

Have you seen my BiOrbAir terrariums?  I love this specialised, automated terrarium, so much so that I often write about it!

A BiOrbAir makes a fabulous indoor feature.  The LED lights inside this terrarium enable you to grow plants in dark rooms or basements, where there’s no natural light.

These are some of my BiOrbAir Terrariums…

I’ve grown a wide range of plants inside my BiOrbAir terrariums. 

Snowdrop Events Calendar 2019

To visit my 2020 Snowdrop Events Calendar, please click here.

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.  

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. 

Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits

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.