It’s Here! Spring has Arrived!

On the 20th March the Spring equinox arrived! An equinox is when day and night are equal in length. So from Friday onwards the day is longer than the night! yippee! We will have much lighter evenings for those BBQ’s and drinks after work in the garden! The most important thing is that as Spring is here, Summer is just around the corner!
For a gardener like me this is a very exciting time of year, there is much to do in the garden to prepare for some wonderful growth, like making sure flowers are prepared to bloom to their maximum and fruit growing to their full potential. The first jobs to do are to tidy and weed the garden. Prepare any raised beds you may have by turning the soil and adding manure/rotted compost ready for planting.
Yesterday my husband and I spent a couple of hours weeding and tidying our 15m x 3m rectangular back garden. That might not sound too bad but I omitted the fact that its on a slope of approx. 45 degrees! I have lots of evergreens and shrubs planted on the slope but hope to eventually construct a rockery there also. There are 30 steps that lead down from the slope garden to our patio, this is where I have all my containers with various fruit bushes and flowers. Its a gorgeous sun trap in the afternoons.
The flowers below are some of my favourites. As you know from my previous gerberas in bloom post gerberas are my all time favourite flowers, primroses are next. They come in many different bright colours, blue being very striking. I had to post a photo of the beautiful daffodil as this time of year they are in abundance on hedges, roadsides and fields. I have no idea what the flower in the bottom right of the photo is called! Its very pretty and was taken by my good friend Caroline. If anyone knows what the flower is, please let us know in the comments!
I bought some little herb plants in Homebase to plant in a container I’ve had spare for a while. You can never have enough fresh herbs, perfect for cooking. I chose oregano because it’s smell reminds me of pizzas! chives and golden thyme, they will come in handy once they grow a bit more.
On my steps leading up to the top slope garden I have various tubs, a couple of these contain coloured heathers which brighten up the area. I bought these last summer as the top photo shows what they looked like then. As you can see now as we are in Spring they are beginning to bud into flowers as shown in the bottom photo. The colours on the heathers will eventually fade as they were dyed.
I would love to hear in the comments about any spring/summer plans you have for your gardens.
Rachel xx

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7 Hints and Tips on Caring for Cacti

I love cacti. They are such an easy houseplant to look after. It doesn’t matter if you forget about them, for a week or two. They will still be there when you do remember you have them. 
Here are my 7 simple Hints and Tips on caring for cacti.
These are my cacti and succulents that live in the kitchen. I have grown most of them from other plants over the past few years. I have accidently knocked some of the sprouting parts off at one time or another, and with those parts I have stuck them into a bit of cacti soil from the garden centre and off they grow! They have grown into the most weird unusual shapes.
Cactus
Here are 7 hints and tips on how to care for your cacti:
  1.  If they live inside like mine water them a little once week so they don’t dry out. 
  2.  Cacti prefer well drained soil with a mix of grit, phosphorous and nitrogen.
  3.  Repot them once year if they are getting too big for their pots and to replace the soil.
  4.  When repotting protect your hands! 
  5.  Use small sponge blocks to grip the cacti when removing from the  pot.
  6.  Place them in the sun, for 4-6 hours a day (mine live on the windowsill).
  7. You can then watch them grow and they might even flower occasionally for you! 
I love cacti as they are perfect indoor plants for busy people. There are many different, shapes, sizes and types out there for you to collect, It can get very addictive!. Every year when we go on holiday to see family up in Derbyshire I mostly always end up finding a different type of cactus in one of the gorgeous garden centres up there to bring back home with me. I am running out of windowsill space!
Do you have any Cacti in your house?
 If not do you have any other houseplants?

 

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Gerbera’s in bloom

My favorite flower is the Gerbera, this one I  have grown in my kitchen window. I think they are such a pretty flower and they come in many colors. It’s a very popular plant and can be used as a decorative plant for the garden or grown for cut flowers.They are often used for weddings as centre pieces and bridal bouquets due to the many colors in their species. They are easily cared for whether grown outside or in. Be careful not to grow them outside while there is still a risk of frost, they prefer milder to hotter temperatures. Gerbera’s really love hotter temperatures and so grow to their maximum potential, therefore growing in full sunlight is a great idea! Always remove dead flowers to encourage flower growth.
I love this quote from Jim Carrey on Twitter, so I thought I would share: 
Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up, and turn towards the light and that makes them beautiful ~ Jim Carrey
I think this quote is perfect for the Gerbera, they just amaze me how quickly they grow. The plant I have had in my kitchen window has been producing blooms since last July and with a little tlc it keeps giving back beautiful flowers. 
Rachel xx