Plant of the Month 9/12 – Trees

Hello lovely people!

Super apologies for the long wait between posts, things in life have been busy and also it’s been so wet recently, I’ve barely had any time outside. Boo!

We managed to find some sun last weekend and got out for a walk at Leigh Woods which is just 5 mins down the road from us. A beautiful woodland, great for summer picnics and dog walks! It was on this walk that I decided I would break the rules a little and celebrate a whole family for my ‘plant of the month’.

You can’t go through the autumn months without noticing the changing colours all around. The beautiful chilly mornings, with the low sun shining through tones of copper.

Yes, you got it. Trees are my celebrated plant for October and I am not picky. I love all trees, but I think my favourite might be the traditional Oak. There is something wonderful about seeing a huge, grand, old oak on a woodland walk and thinking, I wonder what you have seen in your long life? Imagine, some of the big Oaks you can see around the UK have been around for nearly 1000 years. Most for hundreds. How much change they must have seen and lived through in that amount of time is incredible.

I am not very knowledgeable about trees generally, Andrew knows a lot about them and points things out to me on our walks and teaches me new things. But I have an appreciation for them and a huge respect for how intricate and important they are. Aside from the obvious, which is that they provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe, they are important eco systems. They are homes for many insects, animals and birds.

There are so many more things they do, things you could never imagine. I think when you look at a huge tree, you almost forget that it’s a living thing. The intricate science which happens within them is outstanding.

Andrew is currently reading a fantastic book about them called, “The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate” by Peter Wohlleben. It talks about how they can communicate with one another, how they live in a society and how they communicate within themselves.

All trees have something fascinating about them, some make good habitats, some great building materials, some a unique way of spreading their seeds. Like I said, I am not knowledgeable about trees, so I cannot teach you about them. But I urge you to go out and learn, particularly at this colourful time of the year. Go, enjoy them and maybe find a small one you can plant in your garden at home. I did, and it’s my favourite plant in the garden.

Happy Autumn folks! Happy exploring! 🍂

Plant of the Month 8/12 – Viola

Now when I started out on this plant adventure I was a bit snobby about bedding plants. I’m not really sure why, but I suppose the bedding plants I always had in mind where plants I remember grandparents having in hanging baskets and I guess they feel a bit old fashioned to me. I don’t know, maybe I thought I was too trendy for bedding plants.

Turns out, I’m not. When the summer is ending and you walk around the garden centre with less and less colour jumping out at you, you realise that most of the remaining colour you can see is in the bedding plant section.

I filled my lovely new flower beds with annuals which are now either dead or dying back and I was craving some colour in there still. So I went for it… I bought some bedding plants. Viola to be exact, and boy, do I love them!

I bought these purple & white guys and then some striking black ones. I am entertained by the fact they look like tiny angry faces and y’know, it was Viola’s in Alice in Wonderland wasn’t it? The scene where Alice is small and all the flowers sing to her, I’m sure I remember little Viola’s in that.

Aside from their funny little face-like petals, they are cheap and cheerful too. I think I only paid a few quid for a tray of 6 plants and there were loads of colours to choose from! A bargain really if you ask me! I think you could find any colour you would wish for.

I don’t really have much else to say on these, I mean bedding plants are bedding plants. There are lots of different types, and they really help to inject a bit of colour to your outdoor patch. Also I guess I have to also say that I am no longer a bedding snob… I will actively seek it out in the future!

 

Amy x

Plant of the Month 7/12 – Dahlia

Dahlia are beautiful and they come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. They look good in pots (if you can tolerate the bugs… keep reading) and in a flower bed or on an allotment.

Lots of people think they are a bit dated, kinda blousey. I guess they do remind me of an 80’s blouse or something. But their bold, kitsch appearance is what I love about them.

True if you maybe over do it and go all Dahlia, your garden could resemble your nan’s… But if you dot them around your garden with some other plants they really inject a bit of colour and drama. They look especially nice up against a plain wall or fence.

So… I was starting to feel that I would never be pleased enough with my first ever Dahlias to be naming them a plant of the month. Oh how things change, because here they are!

They started out well as seedlings, but the ones which started to flower in my garden were covered in aphids, which lead to the plant pots being full of ants. Then some of the plants had gotten too heavy and had flopped over in the wind. Also, the slugs liked them. Cue grumpy gardener!

I had tried so hard to keep the ones in the garden pesticide free and using organic methods only, but after a bit of straight talking from Dad I accepted defeat and used some non-organic methods to get rid of the bugs.

I am now pleased to say that they are doing fantastically at the moment and they look beautiful. They add a real burst of colour into the yarden and I love them.

Now… on the other end of the scale… The Dahlia who live at the allotment.

They have given me no problems, not one. I guess, as they live on the open plot they get a bit more of a breeze which makes it harder for aphids to cling on. It’s less sheltered there too so they get full sun!

These guys are in full bloom next to my cosmos and they look fantastic too. I popped up the plot this afternoon to have a quick check before a weekend of camping and I was hit by an explosion of colour!

So there you have it. My 7th plant of this year. The wonderful, versatile, colourful Dahlia. I think there must be a version out there for everyone. Aside from the aphids and occasional slugs, they are pretty easy to look after, and let’s face it they’re a classic.

Thanks for reading.

Amy x

 

 

Week in Words 3/7 – Plant of the Month 6/12 – Sunflower

Ok so today’s post is a bit of a cheat because I was due a plant of the month post, but I figured I didn’t say this week had to ONLY be about the garden renovation, so… My blog, my rules!

This month I am honouring the beautiful SUNFLOWER, and my goodness isn’t it bea-u-tiful!!

These sun worshipping giants come in many varieties and all are super easy to grow and look amazing when they are in full flower.

The seeds can be sown from March to May (some varieties can be later) and can be grown pretty much anywhere. If you have limited space like a small garden or balcony, they can be grown in pots. They like a nice spot along a wall or even on an allotment. Mine are currently being supported by canes, they will flop if their long stems don’t have anything to grow against, so a bamboo cane in the ground, trellis or wall is perfect!

Because they are sun lovers, they will turn to face the sun – so if you are sat in the garden with them all day you will see that they move from East to West as the sun rotates around our great planet. Most flowers show “heliotropism” (a tendency to move with the sun) but the larger size of the sunflower makes it a little more obvious to see! This does mean however that they don’t love shade, you make sure you find them somewhere the sun reaches 🙂

They don’t all come in giant size either, my sunflower babies are about 4ft tall and thats as big as they will get, you can also get dwarf varieties which grow up to about 12 inches. So there is really a sunflower for any space.

These beauties are also HEAVENLY for Bees – yes! SAVE THE BEES! So if you are looking for a wildlife friendly plant, the sunflower is the one for you!

Finally, if you are health savvy, sunflower seeds can be dried and eaten as a tasty snack… Also can be used in baking and other recipes. Did you know that sunflower seeds are nearly 25% protein… Whaat!? You will know the seeds are nearly ready when the flower heads start to droop. This means the seeds are ripening, when the disk on the back of the flower head darkens to a brown/black, the seeds are ready to harvest. All you have to do then, is beat the pesky birds and squirrels to them!

So if you aren’t interested in how stunning sunflowers are (weirdo) at least you can eat them.

So go on – grow some sunflowers of your own, get your kids involved, grow loads! They are stunning, easy peasy to grow, edible (partially) and good for our wildlife! Winning!

Chat tomorrow  🙂 xx

Plant of the Month 5/12 – Cosmos

Yes, Cosmos are my plant of the month for June! In particular my little ones which are now flowering on the allotment, Sensation Mixed.

Cosmos are part of the Asteraceae family, which includes daisies. They come in a variety of colours and sizes, so there is a variation for everyone!

My Sensation Mixed are fairly small annuals and form pink and white flowers.

I grew them from seed back in February in my propagator and now I am getting actual flowers which I can cut for display in the house!

This variety are half hardy so they aren’t too needy and they seem to have been easy enough to grow. I mean, I’m a novice and I have a good strong crop of them!

I urge everyone to grow some Cosmos! They are stunning and bloomin’ easy to grow! They make cute little displays for the dining table and make you feel super proud that you grew something that lovely!

Do it! Get some Cosmos seeds and grow them 🙂

Amy x

 

My Plant of the Month 4/12 – Allium

Ooh yes, one of my absolute favourites! The Allium, specifically the purple variety.

The Allium was one of the first flowers I really noticed when I was working on BBC’s Gardeners’ World last year. It caught my attention in a big way!

I was lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Monty’s garden, where I watched these beauties bloom. I just love them!

They are really striking when planted amongst low growing plants, I particularly like their pairing with grasses, as the foliage at the base of the Alliums dies back quite quickly. So if they are surrounded by low level plants like grasses then they disguise the dying foliage. Smart!

I am growing a few in my tatty flower bed at the moment, which I planted out as bulbs in the autumn. They have started to flower now and by the end of the month they will form their striking purple ball of individual flowers! 


Even when the flower wither away, they leave a ghostly skeleton behind which is also beautiful.

They are fairly hardy, good for pots and flower beds, make wonderful cut flower displays and pretty easy to grow! What’s not to like?!

There you have it – my plant of the month! Happy May!

 

Amy x

My Plant of the Month 3/12 – Snake’s head Fritillary

Merry April 1st everyone! Spring is finally here!

My plant of this month is my favourite plant of all time, it just so happens to flower in April. It is the Snake’s head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) which part of the Liliaceae family.

This delicate flower has a stunning checkerboard pattern on its petals and droops downwards towards the soil. They grow best in full sun or partial shade and in a variety of soil types.

I first saw this plant around a year ago whilst working on Gardeners’ World and I have loved it ever since.

I have tried to grow it in my garden this year, but it was smothered by other plants and weeds, so hasn’t been overly successful. I only have one or two who have survived my mad weed-removing rampage.

But I popped along to B&Q today though for a new hose pipe and they had loads of Snake’s heads in flower… I had to take a couple of photos!


For more info on the beautiful Fritillaria meleagris, pop along to the RHS website for all the info you will need, and tips on how to grow them in your own garden.

Mucho love – Amy x

My Plant of the Month 2/12 – Daffodils

My plant to celebrate this month is probably of no surprise to you all. It is the Daffodil (Narcissus). They are literally popping up everywhere, filling our green spaces with bursts of sun-like yellow.

I have been seeing them in all shapes and sizes on my route to work. The ones in the photos above are in front of Bristol Cathedral and look stunning. They really have been brightening my grey, wet mornings!

We even have some popping up in our planter by the front door… Even though I was sure it was empty when we moved in.

They typically flower from January through until May, so the best is yet to come. If you want some in your garden or window box next year, then plant them up in September and October.

For more info on growing these little rays of sunshine, then have a look on the RHS website for all the info you need.

I would love to see your photos of your ‘plant of the month’ – whatever it may be. So please comment below or send them to me on my Facebook page or by email.

Amy x