Everyone loves summer, don't they? It's a season giving long, warm days with sunshine and plenty of opportunities for sitting and dining outdoors. But what if summer is a time of sneezing, itching and torment? You might spend your leisure hours seeking respite from relentless sunshine because you crave to be cool. Your plants could be wilting and perhaps your colour seems to be fading away to burnt umber.Read more
The subject of health is a hot topic at all times, but particularly during pandemics such as coronavirus which has spread to every continent except for Antarctica. There’s no escaping the concern and during such times the media relays regular news updates together with advice. Businesses, in particular, are on high alert during times of epidemics. During the coronavirus episode, guidance was issued regarding preventative measures including hand-washing and self-isolating at the first signs of a potential problem. We all know about the 20-second cleansing routine and probably noticed that prices soared for supplies that were in demand, such as hand sanitisers – not to mention the toilet roll obsession! That particular problem and similar issues makes the world seem a smaller place. It seems that viruses have no regard for country boundaries. So, given that the bugs are around, is there anything else that we can all do to help safeguard our households?Read more
In early spring, from March onwards, there's a pop of colour under the hedgerows, in gardens and on sunny banks. Spring flowers emerge, despite wind, rain, sleet and ice. It’s what they do. The harbingers of better weather will appear, come what may. They are suited to just about all conditions, with the exception of complete flooding, and will raise their merry little faces – providing some much-needed cheer.
Let's start with the Primula family. They are one of the nation's best-loved spring flowers and certainly deserve to be. But do you know the difference between primrose, cowslip, oxslip, primula and polyanthus?Read more
The smallest room in the house needn’t be the most boring. In fact, many people feel that the bathroom and cloakroom are the most revered spaces of any home. Let's look at bathroom environments to see which plants can survive in rooms that sometimes get hot and steamy.Read more
The ground in winter can be saturated after many days and weeks of rain and most scientists predict that the extreme weather we tend to experience now in the UK will become ‘normal’. Call it climate change or just prolonged periods of ‘wet’, followed by extended times of ‘dry’, the results can be devastating for people living in low areas or around rivers. And, of course, for those using land for food production and other purposes.
But there are steps that can be taken to help alleviate the damage that results from flooding and even to prevent the events happening in the first place...Read more
At times of celebration with a loved one - maybe a birthday or Valentine’s Day, it's a great excuse to have fun thinking outside of the box. What you probably don’t want to buy for someone special is something that can be found everywhere. Not everyone is a lover of cut flowers, chocolates, wine, Champagne, teddy bears or underwear. So you might want to engage in a little imaginative thinking. But first, what's the heart symbol all about?Read more
As the garden prepares to slowly wake from its winter slumber, this is a great time to think about the coming growing season and prepare for all the excitement that is just around the corner. But just for the moment, depending on the weather, the best gift you can provide for your garden is to stay away. The compaction caused by winter boots on soggy lawns and beds does no favours for the structure of the soil. It’s possible to work by using boards on which to tread, or you can wait until conditions improve.Read more
We all know that schools are busy trying to keep up with their targets, admin and assessments. So how on earth are they able to offer ‘extras’ in the form of subjects such as gardening? The key to being able to enhance kids’ lives lies in the creative energy of teachers and staff. So, rather than treat the garden as an extra, why not make it part of everyday life? Here's how to do it:Read more
The fact that plants are good for us is fully acknowledged and embraced by most. But some plants are better than others. Some plants are harmful, and it's essential to know which are poisonous for children, adults and pets. It's important to be wise without being paranoid, because the benefits of plants certainly outweigh the dangers.
We now know that humans have an innate tendency to make connections with nature and this is beneficial to health and wellbeing. It’s known as the biophilia hypothesis and it makes perfect sense.
But will any old plant do the job?Read more