Gardening Projects

The Christmas Plant

Plum Poinsettia a change from the usual red poinsettia popular as the christmas plant

Plum Poinsettia

Christmas is nearly here and my yearly project is coming to fruition and looking very good. Every year I provide family and friends with the Christmas pot plant poinsettia on the understanding that they are returned to me by end of March.  That is when I cut them down and start the regrowth cycle. Over the years some of my poinsettias have re-bloomed 4 or 5 times.  I love Poinsettias, my father always bought one for my mother every year on Christmas Eve but she certainly did not have green fingers it was normally dead by the middle of January but it is one of my endearing memories of my dad wandering into the home, slightly tipsy carrying a poinsettia. These great plants originate from Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Aztecs who called the plant Cuetlaxochitl, they considered it a symbol of purity. The poinsettia bracts ( coloured leaves) also made the reddish – purple dye.  there are number of colours available now alongside the traditional red. I am waiting to find a Plum poinsettia, for myself.   So if you are lucky enough to have a ponsettia plant this Christmas here are my tips for looking after it.

  • Water poinsettias sparingly as overwatering can damage plants. As a rule of thumb, only water when the surface of the compost has begun to dry out. The flowering life of plants is extended by humidity, so mist plants regularly.
  • Feed monthly with a low nitrogen, high potassium fertiliser.

For those of you who want to try and keep your plant for another year, look in in my blog posts in April or have a look here.


Gardening in small spaces

Container Gardening

Cooks garden

Small space?  Beginner at Gardening? Fearing failure? Then container gardening is for you.  A cooks garden is a good choice for a beginner. Think herbs. What better use of a small space than to grow your own herbs? They are expensive to buy and quickly need replacing, so let’s grow our own. The most popular herbs for container use are

  • Basil,
  • Rosemary,
  • Thyme,
  • Parsley,
  • Oregano,
  • Lemongrass,
  • Assortments of mint,
  • Coriander ( Cilantro)

There is nothing more wonderful then just popping outside and cutting a bunch of your own herbs.  The scent is amazing. Take a look at this interesting video on herb pots which also suggests herbs for the non cooks among us… Don’t forget that most herbs can be frozen so you can have a winter supply of your favourites, take a look at Away to Garden, really useful blog.

Some pointers for when you start thinking about container gardening,

Use big pots! The bigger the better I find, obviously you have to take account of the space you have available but bigger pot equates to bigger yield. Use your imagination, on one of my balconies I had a collection of old mop buckets in a variety of colours, beg borrowed and stolen from family and friends. Loved it, so bright and cheerful, like a rainbow! Let me know what you use?

Use your imagination when it comes to containers.

containers provide imagination in gardening

Use your imagination when it comes to containers

As mentioned before think about what sunlight your plants will get and where you can position the pots.

How easy it is to get water to them?

Get informed; there are numerous websites and books out there for the beginner, the more you know the better your crops. I recommend McGee and Stuckeys” The Bountiful Container” full of interesting ideas and ‘how to’s’.

So don’t sit there reading go fill a pot and share with me what you are growing.


Gardening in small spaces

Gardening in Small Spaces

Did you know that it is possible for you to grow your own vegetable garden in small apartments and cramped quarters? You do not need a giant backyard to have your own plants, after all!

If you are thinking of planning your own small-space garden, you have to make sure that you do it in a systematic manner. First of all, you should figure out how much space you have. This, you can do by finalizing the area in which you are going to garden and physically measuring the same. If you do not have enough horizontal space, find out if you have vertical space- and put your plants in a tall container, or use climbers! The area you have chosen must get enough sun. You should also figure out if the area you have chosen has soil (and if so, what type) or if you have to get it from somewhere else.


It should be possible for you to transport some water to the area where your garden is going to go up. You can choose to have a garden for decorative purposes (to make the house look better, or to cover up something ugly you have to keep in the house). You could also create your own kitchen garden, if you are not looking for something decorative.

Once you have figured out the purpose of the garden, and where it is going to go, you will be able to design your own small-space garden with absolute ease!