More ways to use less plastic in the garden

Over the past few years, we’ve all become more aware of the dangers of our over use of plastic and the damage that this material can do to us, our environment, and to creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the rivers, oceans, and in the landscape around us.  For the most part, the horticultural sector has taken their time to address the horticultural industry’s use of plastic. 

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, roses, and cut flowers, so the choice was simple – I opted for the Daffodil Trug, the trug that you see pictured below. 

Sweet Pea Superstars!

I just love growing sweet peas!   I love to be enveloped by the sweet pea flower’s powerful and sensuous scent, while I’m encompassed by the flower’s beauty and charm.  Eternal bliss!  Everyone should have at least a few moments of pause and reflection, to recharge with their favourite sweet pea blooms each and every summer.

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.

I love growing sweet peas!  I hope to inspire and encourage you to grow your own sweet pea plants, so that you can experience these wonderful plants for yourself.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are beautifully fragrant, hardy annuals.  Throughout my ongoing Sweet Pea Trials, I work to provide my readers with a wealth of information to help you to learn how to grow the healthiest, most floriferous sweet pea plants, that will produce the earliest flowers, with the tallest flowering stems over the longest flowering period!

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.  

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 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.  

Growing Sweet Peas

For me, sweet peas are one of the real joys of summer.  The sweet pea’s frilly flowers have a powerful yet serene fragrance, which gently envelops the garden in its loveliness.  The scent of sweet peas can fill your home too; they’re very floriferous plants that produce excellent cut flowers.

Sweet peas, also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are very accommodating – you can sow their seeds in September, though better still sow in late October, and at any time up until March, or even April at a push.  

Though I didn’t find 2016 to be a particularly successful year for growing Sweet Peas – the plants grown for my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial didn’t produce as many flowers as I had hoped, my love of Sweet Peas has not diminished in strength.  I love Sweet Peas.  I highly recommend that you experience growing these magnificent annual flowers.

The Sweet Peas I have grown for the 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, are also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus.  

I love the excitement of the garden at this time of year, with colourful, cheery spring flowers emerging and the promise of so much more to come.  This is such an invigorating and inspiring time, with so much to see and do in the garden!

Prune Figs. The latex that figs readily emit when you prune is an irritant, so it’s advisable to wear gloves whilst pruning or tending to your plants, and then wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve finished.  

I love Sweet Peas.  Every year I look forward to being charmed by the Sweet Pea’s beautiful flowers and romanced by their heavenly fragrance.  Sweet Peas are certainly an annual that I recommend you try growing.  Sweet Peas, which are also known by their botanical name of Lathyrus odoratus, are very versatile, here in the UK, you can sow their seeds from September right through until April.  

Gold Medal Nurseries at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Here are some of the Gold Medal winning nurseries from The Royal Horticultural Society’s 2015 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show……….

Fibrex Nurseries Harts Nursery Harperley Farm Hall Nurseries Derbyshire Bonsai Trewidden Nursery David Austin Roses Hampshire Carnivorous Plants The National Dahlia Collection Victorian Violas Roualeyn Fuchsias W. S. Warmenhoven Every Picture Tells A Story Hoyland Plant Centre Hewitt-Cooper Carnivorous Plants Brookfield Plants Blackmore & Langdon Southfield Nurseries Avon Bulbs Eagle Sweet Peas Vacherot & Lecoufle

Other articles that may interest you…….

Nurseries at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015

The Great Pavilion at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show extends to an area equal in size to three football pitches; during Chelsea week it’s filled with a glorious array of interesting, new, rare and beautiful plants and stunning floral exhibits created by top plant breeders, growers and nurseries.  Here are some of the Gold Medal winning nurseries from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show:

W & S Lockyer – Auriculas

Bill, Joan, and Simon Lockyer are specialist growers and breeders of Florist Auriculas.

I co-wrote this article for the May 2014 edition of Vantage Point Magazine with Anna Maynard from the Godalming Chiropractic Health Centre.

Gardening: How to Have Fun and Prevent Injuries!

Anna Maynard from the Chiropractic Health Centre and Beth Otway from Godalming in Bloom have joined forces to help you enjoy gardening safely and avoid injury while working outdoors.

Gardening is a fascinating hobby; as well as stimulating your mind and senses it is wonderful exercise for your body. 

I enjoy the quiet romance of February in the garden.  Here are some jobs you can be getting on with this month:

To enjoy the best flowering display from your Wisteria you need to prune it; you’ll enjoy more flowers of better quality, and it will look tidier.  At this time of year the structure of the plant is clear of foliage, so it’s easy to see where to prune. 

I love this time of year!  I look forward to seeing the beautiful, diamond like sparkle of the first frosts glistening in the morning sunlight.  There are lots of lovely things you can do now, both indoors and out, to ensure that your garden is in tip-top condition, with lots of wonderful new plants that you can look forward to growing next year!  

This time of year is so exciting, with Christmas coming and lots of celebrations on the horizon!  Make the most of any bright, sunny days, wrap up warmly and get out in the garden!

Mycorrhizal fungi are a species of fungi that occur naturally in the soil.  Mycorrhizal fungi have a special growing relationship with some plants, they effectively work together to create a stronger, wider reaching root system for the plant; helping the plant to withstand drought and stress.  

It’s an exciting time and romantic time in the garden, with lots to do this month and so much to look forward to!  Take time out to relax and enjoy the wonderfully scented flowers of Daphne, Sarcococca and Hamamelis.

Prune Buddleja davidii now.  If you’ve got an old and maybe rather neglected specimen, then rejuvenate it now by removing any old dead wood and cutting it back hard.  

This is such an exciting time of year, with so many beautiful colours in the garden to enjoy, and hopefully a bounteous harvest to look forward to!  There are lots of lovely things that you can do now to make the most of your garden this month, and to ensure that your garden will look better than ever next year!

It’s time to move tender plants under cover.