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. 

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!

Remembering loved ones

When you’ve lost someone you love, it’s natural to want to arrange a fitting memorial and to plan a meaningful tribute in their memory.  Memorials of any kind are such a personal choice, but I want to help you by sharing some information and ideas of ways that you could leave a lasting legacy, one that will beautifully celebrate the life of someone close to your heart, whilst being kind to the environment. 

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.

The Chinese Kitchen Garden: growing techniques and family recipes from a classic cuisine
By Wendy Kiang-Spray
Published by Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-677-6

If you’re making a list and checking it twice…..of all the interesting and exciting vegetables and crops that you hope to grow next year, then you might be interested to read The Chinese Kitchen Garden, a charming book, written by Wendy Kiang-Spray.

The Book of Orchids: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World.
By Professor Mark Chase, Dr Maarten Christenhusz, and Tom Mirenda
ISBN: 978-1-78240-403-3
Published by The Ivy Press

Comprised of six hundred and fifty-six pages and weighing in at 2.3kg, The Book of Orchids is a substantial book that’s jam packed full of interesting information about orchids!

The English Roses
By David Austin
Published by Conran Octopus
ISBN: 978-1-84091-751-2

This is the third edition of this book, The English Roses by David Austin, to be published, having been updated to include some of the new rose introductions that David Austin Roses have made since the first edition of this book was printed in 2005.

David Austin begins The English Roses by introducing the reader to the history of the rose and rose growing, focussing on the history, breeding, and development of the English Roses, acquainting the reader with some of the roses David used in part to breed the English Roses – the Gallicas, Damasks, and the Albas.  

Hedera The Complete Guide
by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall
Published by the Royal Horticultural Society
ISBN: 978-1-90705-773-1

Could there be a more wonderful Christmas gift than a book about ivy?

Ivy is such a valuable garden plant, evergreen, hardy, and native to the UK, whatever your garden’s style, ivy can enhance it.  Hedera The Complete Guide, really is just that, a complete and wonderful guide to this fascinating plant genus. 

I discovered Green & Blue Bee Bricks and Green & Blue Bee Blocks earlier this year.  I was so excited to find these specially designed, stand alone bee houses, that can be placed in your garden, or at your allotment, or used in construction as you would a regular brick, to provide homes for solitary bees in walls, houses, offices, sheds, conservatories, and greenhouses!

No Dig Organic Home & Garden:
Grow, Cook, Use & Store Your Harvest
By Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty
Published by Permanent Publications
ISBN: 978-1-85623-301-9

I have included the No Dig Organic Home & Garden book by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty in my recommended 2017 Gifts for Gardeners article, as this is simply a great gardening book, which clearly explains the principles of the organic ‘no dig’ method of gardening.

I used to have a large glasshouse.  I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the use of my glasshouse, every day I appreciated the exciting range of crops I could grow inside, and the extended growing season and bountiful harvest that my glasshouse helped to provide me with.  I was so grateful, excited, and so inspired by the vast array of glorious fruit and vegetables that I grew inside the glasshouse. 

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.

The beautiful flowers in this article’s cover photograph are from The Great British Florist, these flowers were photographed on the 19th January 2017.

I love flowers!  I cut flowers, stems, and seed heads, and gather pinecones, leaves, and all manner of natural materials from my garden and allotment, to bring indoors all through the year.  Seasonal flowers brighten my home, and bring cheer to my day. 

Gifts for Gardeners

I feel such an uplifting, happy sensation when I find the perfect gift.  I have been busy testing out products, searching for special gifts for gardeners.  Here are my recommendations:

Horticultural Society Membership

Membership of a horticultural society would make a super present.  There are many local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey, where you can learn about gardening and make new friends.  

Botanicum
Curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
ISBN: 978-1-78370-394-4
Published by Big Picture Press/Bonnier Publishing

Please note – I make no apology for the frequency, or the extent of my gushing over Katie Scott and Kathy Willis’s book – Botanicum – I love this book, I hope you will love it too.

I sat back in sheer awe and wonder as I read Botanicum, this is a truly beautiful book,  filled with the most captivating and enchanting art work, which perfectly depicts the fascinating information about the plant kingdom that’s given in this special book.  

I received this beautiful holly as a gift from a group of very special friends this autumn.  This Ilex ‘Nellie R. Stevens’ specimen was purchased from Squire’s Garden Centre in Milford, Surrey, where it was described as an ‘Instant Impact’ plant.  This standard holly cost £99.99, the plant is guaranteed by Squire’s for three years from the date of purchase.  

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.  

I so enjoy using my Felco model No. 12 Compact Deluxe secateurs.  Felco is a premium brand of secateurs, I aspired to own a pair of Felco secateurs, for many, many years before I finally got my own pair of secateurs.

My hands are very small, I require a small size of gloves, and even these small sized gloves can at times be a little too large.  

I use strips of material cut from stockings and twine to secure many of my plants in place.  A variety of different plant ties are now available, some plant ties, like these reusable VELCRO® Brand One-Wrap Plant Ties, make life easier for gardeners as they don’t require tying in, and can also be reused many times.

I felt that these VELCRO® Brand plant ties would be ideal for everyone, but perhaps they are especially useful, for those of us who have difficulty in tying knots, or have difficulty reaching up, or down, to tie in and secure their plants.