Daisy Love

Daisy Love!

Daisies aren’t as rich in uses as dandelions but shouldn’t be ignored. The daisy family of plants includes many healing herbs such as chamomile and feverfew. The common daisy has been the subject of many myths and legends over the centuries and has been part of the landscape for as long as records can be traced.

In the 14th century, with daisies as the main ingredient, an ointment was used to cure wounds, and the daisy was considered to be a cure for all aches and pains for many years.

In Medieval times it was thought that seeping daisies in wine and drinking for 21 days would cure liver problems – this seems a little counter-productive now, but you never know!

The leaves of a daisy can be eaten and have been grown as a pot herb, but the sap inside the leaf is very bitter and is not widely eaten these days.

A tisane made from daisy flowers, drunk regularly, is said to help cure:

-coughs
-arthritis
-headaches
-muscle pains
-mouth ulcers

The flower essence may also be valuable in treating symptoms of shock and calming the nervous system. A few daisies infused with your favourite herbal tea can calm the system and encourage a good night’s sleep.

Daisies symbolize innocence, gentleness and purity and have been adored by children for pretty much always.

Leave them to grow in the lawn and make daisy chains this summer 🙂

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. Please don’t self-medicate unless you check with your GP first or you really know what you’re doing! This post isn’t a medical cure, but simply an overview of a pretty flower and it’s history.

Pink Loveliness

clematisThese beautiful clematis flowers bloomed after just a couple of days of Cornish sunshine. I couldn’t remember what they were called – and I call myself a gardener, tut tut!
My daughter suggested pink loveliness 🙂 which I think suits them much better than the real name which, according to a gardener friend, is actually
‘Clematis Montana Rubens’
It may be too late to plant this year but if you’re planning a pretty garden next year, these must be worth considering. I had a quick look online at Thompson & Morgan’s website – they have a huge selection of clematis and other flowers. Here’s the link if you feel like admiring the beautiful blooms 🙂 Thompson & Morgan

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today

Linda x

Lazy Cook got Tasty!

Lazy Cook got Tasty! pinterest

I am a lazy cook. My excuse is that after cooking for a family of six for years, I’m slightly allergic to kitchens… but really? Actually I used to love to bake, which is probably why I’ve been binge watching the Great British Bake Off on Netflix… ho hum….

So, down to business. I’ve very recently re-located to a beautiful house in Cornwall and sharing it with my grown up son who’s been cooking for the super rich in the south of France for years and puts my lazy dinners to shame! But the best part of this new home is that I have a garden … pure bliss … and I can start growing herbs again.

Herbs can cover a multitude of sins and bring super tastes to an otherwise bland meal. When I lived in France and grew plenty of herbs (and fruit and vegetables) I got away with my lazy cooking skills and now I’m learning from a top chef I can’t wait for my plants to get going.

So, if you’re longing for tingling taste buds and nutritious and delicious dinners, get some herbs growing now. Herbs can be grown on a windowsill or in a bright spot in the house as long as you remember to water them. The house I lived in before this one was painfully dark, damp, cold and oh dear I’m not going there. I was grateful for the roof over my head but that’s about all!

There are a few herby downloads over on this page that you can be immersed in within minutes .. oh, and also I’ve put together an overview of everyday herbs (FREE!) if you would like to check out which herbs to grow before you start.

Happy Eating!

Linda x

P.S. If you grab the Free everyday herbs download I’ll send you an extra surprise gift 🙂

Gardening for Health

healthyhomehobby-pinterest

“In the past few months I’ve been kind of ‘on the road’ but settling nicely into my new house now and thought it was about time I started blogging again! Maybe I’ll write about my exploits another day but for now, having my own garden, but still feeling a bit overweight and sluggish, has inspired and reminded me of all the wonderful health benefits of gardening and a quick article came pouring out 🙂 ………”

 

If you are trying to lose weight and busy counting calories every day. And if you are stressing because you can’t get to the gym, or don’t want to be forking out for gym fees, take heart…. there’s a revolutionary new way to lose weight without the struggle and you’ll tone up your body too.

Actually, it isn’t revolutionary at all, but simply a natural way of life that probably kept our ancestors from being overweight and will benefit you and your descendants for generations to come… yep – get out in the garden!

Gardening For Health on a regular basis:

Weather permitting, you should aim to get into the garden for at least 30 minutes every day, even if you ‘re just pottering or planning next season’s flower display. Regular gardening actually burns about the same amount of calories as cycling. It also provides you and your family with food, herbs for medicinal, cosmetic or culinary preparations, and flowers to brighten up your home and keep that ‘feel-good’ feeling right through the year.

The healthiest foods are organic fresh fruit and vegetables and you can eat just about as many as you can without fear of putting on weight. Fruit and veg are high in vitamin and mineral content and most have barely a trace of fat, if any.

*************************************

Grow your own organic vegetables to make the finest meals for your family….Gardening for health at it’s best!

gardeningforhealth

Thompson and Morgan (UK) are online award winning suppliers of seeds and other products and they have some great pictures to drool over!

Gardening for health with Thompson and Morgan UK 

Gardening For Health continued…

Raw foods are great for the digestion and the chewing reflex. Chewing for longer makes us feel fuller and so we don’t feel the need to supplement our diet with a bag of crisps or other snacks.

A bar of chocolate takes very little time to bite, chew and swallow, so when it’s gone we look around for more. A plate of salad will take ages to chew and swallow, satisfying the chewing and all digestive needs so we feel much fuller. If you ever thought salad doesnt fill you up and is only good for rabbits (?!) think again! It’s full of vitamins and minerals so will feed your body with the fuel it requires, it contains so few calories they are hardly worth counting and it will fill you up.

The vitamins in fresh fruit and vegetables are, in their raw state, the best fuel for your body. Tomatoes are an exception to this rule.

Cooked tomatoes are said to be better for you than raw, but the difference is minimal so don’t feel you have to have cooked tomatoes with your salad! When you’re gardening for health, you don’t have to be too fussy – the vitamins and minerals are there for the taking 🙂

Mix in a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds for the natural oils, and even more healthy vitamins.

If you have the time stroll around the garden in the morning before breakfast and pick a few veggies to eat on your walk round. Chew on a few mange tout, or sugar snap peas and you’ll probably find by the time you go back in the house for breakfast, you’ll only need a yoghurt or a small bowl of cereal to keep you going for the whole morning.

Don’t get hung up with fad diets or crazy exercise routines. Although, having said that, a short exercise routine every day does benefit you in that it will give you more energy and help tone those dodgy bits :-). And a balanced low fat (and low sugar) diet should be enough to maintain your weight or lose a few pounds if you need to.

If you do need to lose a fair amount of weight simply reduce your portions, drink lots of water and be aware of what you’re eating – fresh raw vegetables straight from your garden will satisfy that snacking habit anytime.

NB: Don’t overdo things in the garden. Remember gardening for health not backache!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x
P.S. This quick download will help you get the most from your crops. Ten everyday vegetables are included with healthy reasons and a few easy recipes for every veggie!

Growing EverydayVegetables

 

Growing Everyday Vegetables
Choose from your favourite supplier

Amazon USAmazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

Enjoy!

 

Growing Apples & Pears

GrowingApplesandPears-pinterest

I’ve been having a bit of a tec-detox recently but now it’s that time again – Spring just around the corner bringing with it some blue skies and sunshine we hope. Many plants are getting ready for their growing season so, depending on your regional climate, some trees and shrubs can be planted now – in milder climates you could even be planting out your garlic cloves or onion sets around.

If you have a little backyard space, start your own organic fruit crops this year. How about apples and pears? There are many different varieties available. Do a little research in your area and see which types local growers are having success with – or ask at your local garden centre.

tandmfruit

If you are in the UK and prefer to buy online, Thompson & Morgan has this wonderful collection of fruit trees on special offer at the moment saving nearly £20.

Fruit Tree Collection

 

Here’s an extract from one of my growing guides – Apples and Pears – I’ll P.S. the details

Choosing your plants

Apples:
From sweet soft varieties through to large hard cooking apples, the choice is huge. Choose a variety you like to eat! Many hybrid varieties are designed to be trained on a fence or similar structure.
Always check on pollination requirements as you may need to buy more than one tree. Often apple trees are sold as one or two year old plants. Apples will produce fruit from its third year of growth and in the right conditions will produce fruit for decades.

Pears:
Varieties of pears sold in supermarkets are usually limited to one or two but there are many varieties you could grow at home.
Conference pears are self-pollinating but will produce more fruit if pollinated by another variety. Check on pollination requirements before buying.
Pear trees are usually sold as two or three year old plants. They don’t produce fruit until their fifth year of growth but can go on to produce fruit for sixty years!

Checklist for both apple and pear tree buying:
-Check pollination requirements
-Look at planting and pruning instructions
-Make sure the bark and roots are healthy and undamaged before buying
-Consider the potential size of your tree.

Apples and pears can be bought as ‘cordons’ that stay small but crop well. They are ideal for a small space and can be grown successfully against a south facing wall or fence.
Small bush varieties are suitable for a slightly larger garden and if you have an acre or two, you could always go for the full-sized versions!

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

P.S. This growing guide will help you get the most from your apple and pear trees.

ApplesandPears

 

‘How to Grow Apples & Pears’

Amazon USAmazon UKiTunesKoboPayhipBarnes & Noble

 

 

Herbal Rescue

herbalrescue-pinterest

 

Companion planting helps with maintenance in a garden. Certain plants grow well together and will get along happily without you having to do much. Herbs deter many pests because of their strong scent, and other useful components.

 
Here are a few examples of herbs with their good and bad companions…

Basil:

-Good with tomatoes, peppers and asparagus
-Avoid growing near sage
-Repels many insects, including mosquitoes and flies
-Attracts butterflies
-Grown with chamomile, the essential oil will be stronger
Borage:

-Good with almost anything, especially strawberries and squash plants
-A magic herb. Welcome everywhere in the garden.
-Repels insects
-Attracts honeybees
Chives:

-Good with apples, brassicas (cabbage, broccoli etc;) and carrots
-Avoid growing near peas and beans
-Repels carrot fly and aphids
Dill:

-Good with cabbages, lettuce and cucumbers
-Avoid growing with carrots and tomatoes
-Repels spider mite and aphids
-Attracts wasps and honeybees
-Same family as fennel and is one of the few plants that will grow with fennel. Fennel should be planted away from most other plants in the garden, although it does attract ladybirds.
Garlic:

-Good with cucumbers, apples and pears, lettuce and peas
-Will grow happily with most plants
-Repels aphids, ants and rabbits
Lovage:

-Another magic herb, good to grow with almost anything
-Lovage doesn’t like to grow too close to rhubarb
-Attracts wasps and ground beetles (good bugs)
-Lovage, like borage, is said to improve the health of most plants.
Oregano:

-Good to grow alongside many plants, including tomatoes and peppers
-Repels aphids
-Allow to spread around pepper plants for extra humidity
Mint:

-Good to grow with brassicas (including all kale varieties and cabbages.)
-Repels cabbage fly and ants
-All mint varieties have similar properties
Nasturtium:

-Good to grow with many plants including squashes, tomatoes, beans and some brassicas,
-Avoid planting near cauliflower or radish
-Said to be one of the best herbs for attracting predatory insects
-Repels aphids, cucumber beetle and white fly
Rosemary:

-Particularly good to grow with beans, as well as carrots, cabbage and sage
-Repels the bean beetle
-Perfect companion herb for deterring many bean bugs
Sage:

-Similar to rosemary, good with beans, carrots and cabbage
-Avoid growing basil near to sage. The basil probably won’t thrive.
-Attracts honeybees
-Repels black flea beetle, carrot fly and cabbage fly

website-herb garden

 

Text taken from The Herb Garden

Choose your favourite supplier:

Amazon US, Amazon UK, iTunes, Kobo, Payhip, Barnes & Noble,

 

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

 

Grow your own Beans

Although green beans have been cultivated for home use since the 16th century, string-less varieties weren’t really known until the turn of the 20th century. Most hybrids we buy now are string-less unless left too long on the plant.

Delicious green bean types include:
Runner Beans
French Beans
Broad Beans
And there are plenty of varieties of each.
Some bean plants grow as a small bush, others need to climb. Make sure you know what type you are growing as you may need to put up a structure if you have a climbing variety.

If you are in the UK, Thompson & Morgan have a whole range of beans to grow at home, including this variety:

beanstandm

 

Dwarf Bean ‘Delinel’

 

 

Healthy Reasons
Green beans are a good source of vitamins A and C, and Folate. They should be cooked before eating to remove any toxins in the skin.
Beans are also high in protein and dietary fibre.

Try this quick and delicious recipe. All quantities are approximate. Go with your instincts!

Green Beans with garlic and basil
Ingredients:
1lb (450g or 2½ cups) of green beans, washed and cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Black pepper

Method:
1. Cook beans in boiling water, or steam, until just tender. Drain well
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok
3. Cook garlic for a minute then add beans, basil and black pepper
4. Stir thoroughly and heat through gently for a few minutes.
5. Serve immediately

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. Recipe and intro from How to Grow Beans

Beans

 

Download from your favourite supplier

Amazon US , Amazon UK , iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

 

 

Diet Pots

dietpots-pinterest

Diet Pots
The most important step to having a healthy body is to eat healthy food. What better way than to grow your own diet in a pot. Many fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers can be grown in pots on a balcony or a patio and some can even be grown successfully on a windowsill.

Use decorative and imaginative containers for your plants. As long as they are well-drained and deep enough to accommodate the roots of your plants, almost anything goes!

The following nine fruits, veggies and herbs represent good sources of all the healthy vitamins you can grow yourself.

carrot

 

Carrots: (Vitamin A)

Carrots are a root vegetable and traditionally grown in deeply dug soil to allow space for the roots to develop. However, there are many new varieties available these days that will grow in shallower soil or in pots. Grow carrots in a deep trough-like container. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on seed packets, as each variety has different needs. Keep watered and weed-free and you will be able to grow vitamin A literally on your own doorstep!

potatoes2

 

Potatoes: (Vitamin B1)

Potatoes can be grown in purpose designed containers or old car tyres. A good harvest is possible without the trenching, earthing up and digging so often associated with growing potatoes. And of course, there is nothing as tasty as a home-grown potato. Forget the butter and grated cheese and enjoy spuds in all their natural glory. Purpose built potato barrels can be found at most good garden centres and are well worth a go if you have a little outside space.

garlic2

 

Garlic: (Vitamin B2)

Garlic is an ideal crop to grow in containers although they shouldn’t be too shallow. Garlic cloves can be planted fairly early in the year and a few bulbs will go a long way. Use a good organic potting compost and make sure the pots or containers are well-drained. Water regularly but don’t let them become water-logged or the cloves will rot before they start to develop. Wait until the leaves start dying back before pulling and using the bulbs, although if you have quite a few growing, use as you need them.

mushroom

 

Mushrooms: (Vitamin B6)

Mushrooms are ideal container foods. Large garden centres and suppliers often have a choice of mushroom kits available, so if you like mushrooms try out different varieties. Always follow the manufacturer’s growing recommendations when you buy your kit to get the most from your mushrooms! Mushrooms contain a number of B vitamins and are a useful ingredient in a healthy diet.

pepper

 

Peppers: (Vitamin C)

Peppers are a great container plant, especially chilli peppers. The plants are attractive and look great in even the most modern décor. Sweet peppers will grow well in containers, but should always have enough light and water to develop the fruits. In a short growing season, peppers grown outdoors don’t always fully ripen, so with a little extra light and warmth, peppers grown in pots can often produce better crops. Use a good potting compost and make sure the pots or containers are well-drained.

blueberry

 

Blueberries: (Vitamin E)

Blueberries are particular about the ph level in the soil but make a superb container plant. Keep the growing recommendations that come with your plant when you buy it, as it should have pruning suggestions, as well as advice on keeping your plant healthy. Generally blueberries like a sunny position with a little light shade if necessary. Tap water tends to make the soil less acidic and as blueberries prefer the soil to be on the acid side, you may have to adjust the ph balance every now and then.

parsely2

 

Parsley: (Niacin – vitamin B3)

If you are growing garlic in containers, then parsley is a must-have! It helps freshen the breath and is also packed with goodness. Parsley is a heavy feeder taking many nutrients up into the plant itself. Grow in well drained pots or containers and feed with an organic food every now and then. Parsley is a biennial plant and will produce flowers and seed during its second year of growth. Collect the seed if you can, to sow the following year. Finely chop parsley and add it to your dishes rather than using it only as a decorative garnish.

spinach2

 

Spinach: (Folate)

Most leafy green vegetables provide a healthy dose of folate and spinach can be grown in containers or large pots as well as in the veggie plot. Again, make sure the pots or containers are well-drained. Fill with a good potting compost. There are many different varieties of spinach available. Check on the seed packet whether there are any notes about growing in containers before you buy. Some varieties just simply do better out in the open. Spinach can be used as soon as the baby leaves are a couple of inches long, although never strip a plant completely. Grow a few plants and take a few leaves off of each one at a time.

broccoli

 

Broccoli: (Pantothenic acid – B5)

Broccoli is one of the more popular super-foods and is packed with healthy minerals and vitamins. It likes the sun, so if you are growing in pots they should be positioned on a sunny balcony or patio. Grow in deep well-drained containers and use a good potting compost. Broccoli won’t thrive if left to dry out, and containers tend to dry out quite quickly so water regularly, but don’t let the pots become water-logged. Plants shouldn’t be grown too close together as they will need space to develop. There are mini-versions of broccoli seed available. Always buy your seeds from a reputable supplier.

There are so many fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be grown in pots, experimenting will naturally help you eat the best possible food on the planet and in turn, create the healthy body you deserve. Check out this quick downloadable guide for more healthy growing ideas…

gardenvitaminscover2

 

Garden Vitamins

Amazon US, Amazon UK, iTunes , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble,

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

“Creating Butterfly Gardens”

Butterfly Gardens-pin

“Creating Butterfly Gardens”

Butterfly gardens are featuring more and more in regular backyard gardens. Growing beautiful flowers to attract butterflies is an added bonus. Scroll down the page to see what I mean!

There are well over 100,000 species of butterfly in the world.

Human behaviour is affecting the quality of butterfly life and there are a number of species on the endangered list. A good enough reason to create butterfly gardens – an environment for butterflies to visit.

The decision to create a butterfly garden shouldn’t be taken too lightly, however. There are a number of factors to be considered to make a success of any themed wildlife garden, butterfly gardens included.

-If you hope to attract butterflies to your garden, insect eating birds have to be discouraged. That means no nesting boxes, bird tables or even berry bushes nearby. If you’ve been growing fruit, your whole gardening system may have to be changed!

-Butterfly gardens can be created in window-boxes, back yards, suburban gardens or even greenhouses and conservatories. BUT the spot must be in as much sun as possible ( 5-6 hours a day ) and fairly well sheltered from the wind or cold air currents.

-Butterfly gardens need water. Create a ‘butterfly’ puddle by sinking a shallow bucket with a broad diameter in the soil. Fill the bucket with a mixture of soil and sand, and pour water over until the sand stops absorbing it. This will provide the butterflies with a nice watering place. Top up regularly with water. You may even manage to drown a few slugs – always a help with vegetable gardening 🙂

-There are two types of plants butterflies need. Nectar producing and larval food plants. If you provide larval food plants, you will undoubtedly attract more butterflies to your garden, BUT the baby caterpillars will polish off the greenery and you will need to replant regularly. Growing cabbages to eat may be a thing of the past!

-Create butterfly gardens in quiet positions – where humans are not forever passing by is ideal. A little shade is okay. Butterflies are cold-blooded creatures and can sometimes overdo their sunbathing. Shade is often welcome! Although shy of humans, butterflies will be happy to join you when you’re gardening.

-Choose your spot and analyze your soil if possible. Decide on nectar or larval food plants or both. Plan the layout of your plants, placing larval food plants in a more sheltered position and get planting! Growing beautiful flowers will be a pleasure even without the butterflies.

NB: On a more general note:Fill a warm sheltered spot with herbs, wildflowers and nectar-rich plants and the butterflies will love you!

Which flowers should you plant?

Butterflies will obtain nectar from many flowers, usually single petal types. Each species has a different shaped proboscis. This dictates which plants they can extract nectar from. Growing the right flowers is important for the butterfly population..

In general, sun loving brightly coloured flowers will attract all butterflies.

tandm-butterflygarden

 

Butterfly Mix – This beautiful collection is available from Thompson & Morgan UK If you type butterfly mix into the search box on their homepage, you’ll find a few butterfly garden choices.

 

Here’s a short list of easily obtainable nectar producing plants.. There are many many more, BUT beware of introducing non-indigenous plants to your garden, it can mess up the local butterfly community. Butterfly gardens must be for the butterflies after all!

*Aster

*Buddlea

*Clover

*Geranium

*Honeysuckle

*Marigold

*Mint

*Pinks

*Sweet William

*Zinnias

These are a few general Larval Food Plants

*Asters

*Cabbage

*Daisy

*Lilac

*Nettles

Which species feed on which plants will very much depend on your particular region. Try and attract certain species to your butterfly gardens, but avoid the exotic trap. Keeping to local wildlife culture will encourage lots of butterflies to your garden.

Happy Gardening!
Linda x

 

 

40 million years of flowers

sunflowers-pin

Did you know that sunflowers have been around for 40 million years? (humans are only about 100,000 years old) Reasons to grow a few this year:

**the seeds are nutritious. Sunflower seeds are bought widely, so why not grow them? Make sure you are growing an edible seed variety. There are hybrids that may not be suitable for eating.

**they attract good bugs to your garden. Bright yellow flowers will attract pollinators which will help your other crops.

**kids love them, especially the really tall ones!

**birds feed on them. Grow a few near the house and watch the birds in the autumn. A natural, and very low maintenance, bird feeder.

**they look great!

NB: Only the seeds are edible. The flowers and other parts of the plant should NOT be consumed.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x