24 Mar 2012

Growing Sweet Peas

How To Grow Sweet Peas In A Wigwam Plant Pot

Sweet Peas

I have got a lovely little sweet pea support basket that doubles as a climber. It should work a treat. I have been wanting to grow sweet peas for a while but tripping over large canes and pots (as I used to have), put me off, then I saw this and thought it was very cute as well as practical. Sweet peas are annuals so won't come back year after year unless they are prevented from setting seed. These are a beautiful scented variety, Heirloom Bicolour Mixed (Grandiflora) and I think they will look really good on the patio table to become a wonderful centepiece full of glorious sweet pea flowers. If they grow up past the top of the wigwam I'll just layer the flowers round or transplant some of the plants to another container.

Sweet peas are so easy to grow, just start from seed in coir pellets, sow three seeds per pellet pot. Germination usually takes about 21 days depending on the temperature which should be about 20.c, once the sweet pea seedlings are about 3cm tall, pot up in larger pots and cover with multi-purpose compost. I started the sweet pea seedlings off in November and January under glass and then potted out in March, so what are you waiting for? If you haven't done this I'm sure you can cheat and buy some sweet pea plants from the garden centre. I love Haskins, mostly because the plants are not diseased and the cafe make the most amazing paninis.

19 Mar 2012

Spring Round-Up at Haskins: New Garden Furniture

Spring Round-up at Haskins: Garden Furniture

As Spring is just round the corner I felt it was time to get in the mood by window shopping for a vast array of garden furniture that I have no room for and that I probably can't afford. So I went with my shopaholic partner in crime/friend for our weekly jaunt at Haskins. We looked, we drooled, we had coffee and cake, what else is there to do when the kids are at school?

I have to apologise at my really dodgy camera skills, but this table and these chairs are sooo lovely. My dream set up would be this and a massive barbeque with lots of friends.

All weather wicker love seat

My favourite, this is soooo comfy and would look fab on my deck. We were loving the Cobble Cove throws and cushions and couldn't decide whether to go for the blue or purple.

I could live in this alone, just enclose myself in here with champers and a good book!

They also had some very cute seaside items, being a coastal chick I am always loving the nautical themes and really like the shabby chic frames and cute cushions. Oh well off on another school run .....

17 Mar 2012

A Thai Fairyland: Nong Nooch Gardens

Nong Nooch Gardens, Pattaya, superb Botanical garden design in Thailand,houses the worlds LARGEST palm collection, the largest variety of Orchids in Thailand and other tropical flora and fauna. It's also a theme park but don't let that put you off, these gardens are some of the most immaculate I have ever seen.

The Butterfly Garden uses deep red against fresh lime green to guide you through the rolling slopes of the gardens.

The contrasting coloured hedging and the bold cones and spheres add interest.

The French garden involves intricately carved geometric shapes and coloured box hedging.Inspired by numerous trips to Europe set against a backdrop of cultural temples. I do find it intriguing why Stonehenge would feature in this garden but hey, it's stunning nonetheless.

The Botanical Collection include:

The umbrella garden. Vibrant colours of the umbrellas are intermingled with giant ants.

A prickly selection of cacti.

The Grove Garden is full of topiary trees and whimsical fairytale features that really are make believe.

Floating flower beds and intricate flower displays, how do they manage to maintain it?

Beautiful selection of orchids, I love them hanging in their little pots, a new pic to add to my vertical gardening board on pinterest I think?

I wondered where all the flowerpots went, only joking I'm really so so jealous that someone not only had the forethought to do this but to actually create it is beyond impossible, WOW!!!!

Incredible hues from The Bromeliads Garden.

The Silver Garden or some say The Blue Garden, you say potato I say potata, haha maybe not the same thing but I would defo have some kind of fit over seeing these incredible palms and cyads.

Visits to the Nong Nooch Gardens, tickets are approx $15 per person and the park is open 8am -7pm which also includes shows.

After making it all the way to The Chelsea Flower Show 2011 in the UK, from the RHS,they won a gold medal for their 'Reflections of Asia' display. I feel very inspired to introduce a little more exoticism to my otherwise dreary English garden.

5 Mar 2012

Mother's Day: 10 Best Flower Bouquets

Some people think Valentine's and Mother's Day are overrated but hey who doesn't like a gift?

1. Mother's Day White Jug John Lewis.com

Roses, Ranunculus, Freesias and eucalyptus, who could say no. You can also re-use the jug again. I just love the free Cath Kidston mug that comes with it.

2. Interflora.co.uk, Featuring cerise carnations, cerise germini, 1 large-headed pink rose, green spray chrysanthemums and foliage presented in a clear glass vase with a lilac sisal collar. Plus free vase.

3. Featuring a twin stem Phalaenopsis Orchid, a 120g box of luxury chocolates and a 75cl bottle of Sparkling Rosé presented in a pink, woven gift basket and finished with ribbon. Also Interflora.
4. For those who don't really do flowers, how about this gorgeous weeping willow from Marks and Spencer

5. Very cute balloon and luxury champagne truffles come with this bouquet in a bag, from Next.
6. Try this mini vineyard from Not on the high street. It comes with a red and white grape vine - bonus!
7. Lovely windowbox from Plantabox, made from apple crates. You can also personalise it on the online order site.
8. I'm quite liking this one, it's a bit different, from Flowerbox.

9. Oh someone get me these please! I would just walk around with them all day, from The Real Flower Company, these Yves Piaget roses are divine, oh and are £115 and comes in it's own hatbox.

10. Are these the most expensive orchids? £250 for six orchids from Quintessentially Flowers.

Which ones would you like to recieve?

3 Mar 2012

Tiny Tomato Pizza Recipe: 100s and 100s Tomatoes

Most kids will eat pizza and most will manage some veg on the top. How about sprinkling some of the tiny tomatoes over the top, they are super sweet and taste so fresh.

You will need:
225g (80z) strong plain flour
1/2 tsp salt (I like fine sea salt)
1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
150ml (5 fl oz) warm water
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for greasing
150 ml (5 fl oz) passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or oregano, plus extra to garnish
200g (7oz) mozzarella cheese, drained and sliced
50g (1 3/4 oz) grated Cheddar cheese
125g (4 1/2 oz) tiny tomatoes

1. To make the pizza base, sieve flour, salt and place yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water and oil. Mix together to make a dough.
2. Place the dough on a flour dusted surface. Knead for 7-10 minutes until really smooth and elastic. This is called 'knocking out' as you need to knock out the air.
3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave it to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
4. For the sauce, pour the passata,tomato puree, sugar and chopped herbs in a small pan and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. Then leave to cool.
5. Use your fist to squash the dough and knock out any air bubbles. Then knead it on a lightly floured surface. Next roll it out to make a 30cm (12 inch) circle. If you don't need to cook it yet, just keep it wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge until you are ready.
6. Place the dough on a baking tray, then top with the tomato sauce, mozzarella, grated Cheddar and tiny tomatoes.

Cook at Gas 7/220c  425F, for 10-12 minutes or until golden. It looks good with another sprinkling of herbs before serving, try micro basil.

Tried this recipe or a similar one? Share your tips...

1 Mar 2012

How To Grow Tiny Tomatoes

If you are short of space you can grow an abundance of tomatoes with the '100s and 1000s' variety from Suttons. There are lots of varieties of tomatoes to choose from but this type is really easy to grow and produces a heavy crop.

1. Sprinkle seeds onto potting compost. Cover with more compost. Sow more seeds than you need to give the best chance of germination.

2. Keep the seeds in a warm place. When the seedlings start to push through the compost, move the plants to a sunny position.

3. Use a container such as a hanging basket or make your own by converting a bucket and making drainage holes in the base.

4. Fill with compost and make holes to place two to three plants.

5. Firm the plants in and make sure all the roots are covered.

6. Put the plants in a sunny spot and keep well watered.

Top Tip: When fruit begin to appear, feed with tomato fertiliser. Available at all good garden centres.

Try making a yummy tomato pizza with the 100s and 1000s.