Vegepod Raised Garden Beds

I love growing vegetables, it’s a truly wonderful, soul enriching experience to grow your own food!  Sadly an increasing number of us are without the luxury of a garden or allotment and have nowhere to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, or flowers; while a great many others struggle to garden in small, often paved spaces, without any access to the soil.

I cherish every special, magical moment when I meet a person with whom I share a deep connection and enjoy a true and meaningful, lasting friendship.  One such fellow, whom I am very fortunate to call a close friend, is the horticulturist, broadcaster, journalist, author, plantsman and nature lover, John Negus.  John is a truly wonderful man, he is an expert gardener and horticulturist; John never fails to inspire me. 

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. 

Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

I love our planet, I love plants and nature.  I want to protect our environment.  I want to live more sustainably.  Sustainability is not a new desire for me, it is something that I have always aspired to.  Firstly though I must tell you that I am far from perfect, I make mistakes and I am always learning.  I want to improve, I want to make changes to live more sustainably and to live ethically. 

Kew Orchid Festival

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are currently hosting their 23rd annual Orchid Festival.  You’ll find an array of colourful orchids, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, until Sunday 11th March 2018, when the Orchid Festival closes for another year.  I hope that you can make it to Kew to see this impressive orchid spectacle during the next couple of weeks! 

Why Peat Free Compost?

There are many wild, beautiful, and fascinating areas of our planet that are diminishing due to human destruction.  These precious natural areas require our protection urgently, before it’s too late and they are destroyed or lost altogether.  There are relatively small areas of rainforests, peat bogs and peatlands remaining on our planet, yet these areas are continuing to be destroyed by humans. 

I have found that peat free composts can vary enormously: from bags of compost filled with bark chips, which could be used as a mulch, but can’t be used as intended – as a compost to grow container plants or seedlings, right through to the other extreme – the finest quality composts, which are capable of producing prize and award winning plants, and of course, every compost in between these two polar opposites! 

Earlier this year, I decided to create an Orchidarium with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  Here is an update as to how the automated features that I installed have performed and how the plants have grown and developed.  If you’re interested, you can read my step by step guide as to how my Orchidarium was created here.

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. 

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!

I love indoor creating bottle gardens, terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, and other indoor gardens.  In this article I’ll show you how one of my orchidariums was created.  I hope this feature will help you if you’re considering creating an orchidarium, vivarium, terrarium, or other lovely indoor garden of your own.

BiOrbAir terrarium features

I love my BiOrbAir terrariums!  I so enjoy growing miniature orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants inside these specialised, automated terrariums.  I loved the older BiOrbAir terrarium models, but I have been so impressed with the new 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium model, and the fantastic improvements that have been made to this new, updated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds.  

I am so very lucky to have a beautiful, new BiOrbAir terrarium!

I decided to plant up this very special terrarium with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar, to highlight and raise awareness of the fragility of this very special place on Earth, and showcase the beauty of Madagascar’s plants.  Many of the orchids that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth.

The simplicity and beauty of white flowers are enjoyed and appreciated by many of us.  I have received many requests to plant up a terrarium with white flowered, miniature, epiphytic orchids, so I have now emptied and re-planted my specialised, automated, BiOrbAir terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb, with a variety of white-flowering orchids, to showcase how beautiful a single colour planting scheme for terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, or bottle gardens can be.

Apart from your plants, everything else you need to plant up your BiOrbAir terrarium is included when you buy your BiOrbAir – it all arrives together in one wonderful, ginormous box!

I find my BiOrbAir terrariums easy to look after and care for.  I love growing miniature orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  Here is a guide to the regular, general terrarium maintenance, and plant care that I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums.

Why Peat Free?

I have always loved our natural world.  I have always wished to protect every important habitat for plants, animals, and nature, all over the world.  I am passionate about protecting the rainforests and the many other wonderful, precious environments and habitats that exist on Earth, including peat bogs.  Peat bogs are amazing environments, covering just 2-3% of the planet’s surface.  

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.  

The Royal Bank of Canada Garden was designed by Hugo Bugg and built by Landscape Associates & Himalayan Landscaping.  

In his design for The Royal Bank of Canada Garden, Hugo Bugg celebrates water, not just as a commodity, but as a sacred entity for the world to savour, respect, celebrate and rejoice in.  Hugo was inspired by the plants growing in Dibeen, an endangered pine mediterranean habitat in Jordan.  

Gardening With Less Water – Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques – Use Up To 90% Less Water In Your Garden
By David A. Bainbridge
ISBN: 978-1-61212-582-4
Published by Storey Publishing

The author of Gardening With Less Water, David A. Bainbridge, has taken inspiration from a number of different irrigation techniques and methods that were used in ancient times; these historic techniques have formed the basis for David’s own research into the irrigation methods which feature in his book.