Sow seeds of something different this spring!

April is the month for seed sowing.  We can sow hardy annuals and half-hardy annuals now, as well as the seeds of fruit and vegetables, but perhaps you’d like to grow something different?  Mistletoe berries are ripe now, so it’s the perfect time to gather berries and raise your own mistletoe plants!

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

Mistletoe doesn’t grow in the soil; it grows up in the branches of trees. 

A favourite with garden designers, every year Angelica archangelica is one of the most admired and coveted plants at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show in May.  This is the perfect time to sow Angelica archangelica seeds; don’t miss out on this opportunity to introduce this glamorous and statuesque plant to your garden or allotment!

There’s no need to mess around with pots or compost, as Angelica archangelica become rather resentful if their roots are disturbed; therefore, sowing seeds directly where you want your plants to grow is both the easiest and most successful option. 

Meadows epitomise the picturesque idyllic summer garden that so many of us dream of.  However, creating a successful meadow is often more of a challenging project than we anticipate.  Whether you’re creating a new meadow or fixing a failed meadow, August and September are the months that meadow gardeners must spring into action!

Preparation is the key to success.  It’s easy to rush soil preparations, giddy with the excitement of sowing seeds – this is where most people fail. 

My Final Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation in 2023

I’m sad that Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count has finished for another year, but I am delighted that I managed to take two Big Butterfly Counts yesterday; the sun shone following a day of heavy rain and thunderstorms.  I am already looking forward to the Big Butterfly Count returning in 2024; however, before then I plan to spend as much time as possible outdoors with butterflies and moths!

More Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation

I’ve been so busy this week, but whenever I’ve been able to get outside and take a 15 minute Big Butterfly Count – I have taken a break and made the most of this lovely chance to relax and observe butterflies.  I adore the Big Butterfly Count!  Every year I look forward to this event, as I find taking a Big Butterfly Count is inspiring and relaxing, and just such a wonderful thing to do.

Butterfly Conservation report that in the UK, long-term trends show that 80% of our butterfly species have decreased in abundance or distribution – or both – since the 1970s.  Do you see many butterflies and moths in your garden?  I hope to inspire everyone to help butterflies and moths.  Please don’t allow any pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides to be used on your garden, allotment, or indeed on any area in your locality, as these products obliterate our bees, butterflies, and moths.

Peatlands are a unique type of wetland.  These ancient, wet, and boggy areas of our countryside bestow many blessings and privileges on us, yet peatlands are the unsung heroes of our landscape.  So many of us are unaware of the priceless ways that peatlands enrich our lives and protect us.

Peatlands benefit us by:

• Peatlands filter water to help provide us with good quality, clean drinking water.

An Update from my Wildlife Pond in Springtime

Hello and welcome to my wildlife pond in springtime.  Over the past few weeks, our weather has been so very summery; my Marsh Marigold flowers have simply sparkled in the sunshine!  I’m having an amazing time by my wildlife pond.  I’ve got some really exciting news to share with you about the wildlife I’ve seen by my pond; I’ve even got a homemade video for you – so you can share in the excitement, but first of all, let me tell you about the water in my pond and show you how my aquatic plants have developed since my last update

Water Levels

I took this picture not long after my last pond update

Calendar of Orchid Plant Sales, Orchid Shows, Orchid Talks & Orchid Events 2024

Welcome to my calendar of orchid plant sales, orchid auctions, orchid shows, orchid talks, orchid garden openings, and orchid events!

How to Use this Calendar

NB: This calendar is dynamic and will update as I add new events.  Please don’t waste paper or resources printing this calendar and remember to check back for new events as I add them!

Sunflowers bring such positive energy and welcome cheer to our gardens!  If you want to brighten up your garden with pollinator-friendly flowers in summertime, April is the ideal time to sow sunflower seeds.  There’s no need for any special equipment; sunflowers are hardy annuals that can be sown outdoors now.  Seeds can be started off in containers of peat-free compost and planted out after they have developed their first true leaves. 

Featured

Magnificent Bluebell Woods and Bluebell Gardens

Bluebell woods are such relaxing and uplifting places to visit.  I hope you can enjoy time walking in amongst the bluebells this spring, so you can envelop yourself with the scent and beauty of these awe-inspiring flowers.  This is truly magical time of year!

I am a huge fan of our native British bluebells, which are also known by their latin name of Hyacinthoides non-scripta. 

Spring is such an uplifting time in the garden.  As the days lengthen and spring flowers come into bloom, the anticipation of the wealth of flowers we’ll admire in our countryside and gardens over the coming seasons provides me with an abundance of reasons to be thankful.  If your garden is looking a little lacklustre at the moment, don’t worry – there are some delightful spring-flowering perennial plants available at nurseries and garden centres, which will brighten up our gardens this spring and in the years that follow.

Take the Pledge to be Peat-Free and Proud!

For decades, we’ve heard hundreds of empty promises to protect and restore our peatlands, but the sad fact is that our peatlands are still in danger and these precious areas are still being damaged today.  Humans have been relentlessly draining these rare habitats and ripping out the life and soul – the mosses, plants, life, and peat – from our peatlands for an unthinkable amount of time. 

2024 Calendar of Daffodil Garden Openings, Daffodil Shows, & Daffodil Events

Daffodils are full of spring cheer!  I want to brighten up your spring and so I’ve created this calendar of daffodil events.  If you’re holding a daffodil talk, daffodil walk, daffodil garden opening, or daffodil show, do let me know and I’ll add your event to this calendar.

I hope this article helps you to find beautiful daffodil gardens to visit; as well as some lovely, fun, and interesting daffodil events to attend in 2024.

Urgent Action is needed to protect our peatlands

We urgently need our leaders to take responsibility and introduce laws and treaties that will protect our environment.  There is so much to be done that could help our planet and not enough action being taken.  Many of the messages and promises that were shared at COP26 are statements that have been shared many times before but are yet to be acted upon. 

Peatlands cover just 3% of our planet’s surface, yet these precious areas store more carbon than all the world’s forests and vegetive plants combined.  Home to rare plants and wildlife, peatlands support a biodiverse range of plants, insects, birds, and wildlife, including many species that can only survive in these unique habitats.  As well as protecting us from climate change and providing us with beautiful open countryside refuges, peatlands offer us many other advantages. 

Winter provides us with a wonderful opportunity to plant trees.  What could be a better Christmas gift than planting a tree with your family?  I’m a particular fan of planting bare-root trees: trees that are grown in the ground (not containers) and then lifted, dispatched, and planted while they’re dormant.  Bare-root trees are grown in the soil, they’re naturally peat-free, require less watering at the nursery, and can be grown plastic-free – as there’s no need for containers. 

The Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods

I attended the ‘Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods’ conference, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International.  I fully support the Kew Declaration on Reforestation for Biodiversity, Carbon Capture and Livelihoods.  I am just one of the 3000 global experts and concerned citizens from 114 countries that signed this declaration which aims to promote the long-term protection and restoration of natural forest ecosystems worldwide. 

Calendar of Winter, Spring, & Autumn Snowdrop Events for 2024!

Welcome to my Autumn & Winter Snowdrop Gardens, Talks, Events, and Open Days Calendar!  I want to help you discover the most beautiful and magnificent snowdrop gardens.  These gardens open to allow visitors the chance to experience the joy of visiting their snowdrop collections.  However, it’s not just garden openings in this calendar, you’ll also find details of snowdrop talks, lectures, webinars, virtual and online events, and any other lovely snowdrop events happening this autumn, winter, and spring!

I’m supporting Peat Free April – a campaign by garden writers, nature writers, and gardeners who want to ban the use of peat in horticulture and protect the planet’s peatlands and peat bogs.

We really need your help to push the government to protect peat bogs and peatlands, so please sign this petition to ask the government to ban the use of peat in horticulture.