Summer Time in my Garden – Wordless Wednesday

Rachel xx
Single Mother Ahoy Wordless Wednesday

Book Review: Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson

As soon as I saw the title of this book Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson, I knew I would love to read it. With Green Beans in the title I knew it would involve gardening of some sort, and I wasn’t wrong. 
I requested to read this book from NetGalley, due to the title only, before I even read the description. I am so glad I was successful. Due to it being an ebook, I’m afraid you will have to make do with another picture of my trusty Kindle! It is getting quite a few shots in these days.
        
Book Description

When Izzy Fraser’s long-term boyfriend walks out on her, she’s left in a bit of a pickle. Yes, she has the house of her dreams, but she now has a crippling mortgage to pay on her own.


So she takes matters into her own hands and, having always been a keen gardener, decides to set up Izzy’s Organics, delivering crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to local villagers.

Along the way she meets all sorts of characters, including the very handsome Erik and the very Grumpy Dan. But can Izzy sort the wheat from the chaff? And will her new business sow the seeds of change that she wants? 

The main character in this book is Izzy Fraser, she gets dumped by her cheating boyfriend and has to start making money to pay the mortgage on her gorgeous little house that she inherited from her Aunt. Izzy knows nothing about growing vegetables but she is very determined to start her own vegetable delivery box business, and somehow make her land pay for itself. 
Along the way Izzy has the help of her best friends Anna and Jess and the attention of Erik and Dan. There are lots of other characters in this book as well that you will grow to love. 
A beautifully written perfect summer holiday read that will leave you laughing and cringing in places for poor Izzy.
I have given Green Beans and Summer Dreams by Catherine Ferguson 5 out of 5 stars.
Publication date 19th May 2015
Rachel xx

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All opinions and views expressed are my own. Book cover image and Book Description taken from NetGalley .com for purpose of this review only.


 *I am a part of the Amazon Affiliate scheme so if you click on a link to Amazon and buy, I will receive a little bit back, so thanks if you do

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7 Hints and Tips on Caring for Orchids

Over the past few years orchids have become very popular for indoor plants. You can find them in almost every supermarket nowadays at various prices and in many different colours. The orchid below was given to me about 4 years ago when we just moved into our first house. It is still going strong by following a few a tips on how to care for your orchid.
Due to the popularity of my previous hints and tips posts (book reviewsphotography and caring for cacti) I have decided to continue the series, so here is another set of 7 hints and tips, this time on how to care for your orchids.
  1. Watering instructions – Water every 5-12 days depending on the temperature of the room, the type of orchid and the time of year. More frequent watering is required during summer months. Always check the watering instructions when you buy the orchid. Orchids prefer soft water.
  2. Support – When your orchid is in bloom support the stems with clips and sticks, which you can pick up from any good garden centres.
  3. Sunlight conditions – Orchids prefer bright indirect sunlight. North or east facing windows during summer and south facing in winter months.
  4. Trimming – Orchids have little nodes (triangular bumps) on the stem and each one is a potential flower bud. So when all the flowers die and fall off, trim the stem down to the lowest node and cut diagonally to stimulate new growth.
  5. Growing media – Orchids prefer moist well drained conditions. There are several types of growing media that can be used: fir bark, rocks, cork, sand and potting soil. Most of the orchids you buy at the supermarkets are grown on bark. Re potting should be done every other year to encourage growth. Remember to remove any dead roots and old compost.
  6. Leaf health – You can tell how healthy your orchid is by looking at the colour of the leaves and checking to see if they are getting enough light. They should be bright green rather than dark green, which tells you that the orchid is not getting enough sunlight if it’s too dark. Reddish green leaves is too much light. If the leaves develop black blotches it most likely has sunburn, through being in a hot sunny window. So move to a north facing window.
  7. Pests and disease – Orchids can be affected by mealybugs, scale and aphids. These can be washed off and treated with insecticidal soap, which again can be found at all good garden centres.

 

This stunning pink orchid I picked up at M&S at a reduced price.
I love how perfectly formed the flower heads are. The orchid is one of the most highly coveted ornamental plants, and in ancient Greece the orchid represents fertility, because in the ancient Greek language, orchid actually means testicles!
It’s also associated with beauty, love, luxury, strength and wisdom. They have very delicate and graceful flowers which shows perfect symmetry.
Different coloured orchids have different meanings:
  • Pink, like the one above represent happiness, innocence and joy.
  • Blue represents spirituality and meditation. They are also very rare.
  • White stand for beauty, elegance and innocence.
  • Yellow orchids represent friendship and new beginnings.
  • Purple symbolises royalty and respect.
  • Lavender coloured orchids represent grace and feminine beauty.
  • Green orchids represent health, nature, life and longevity.
  • Orange coloured orchids stand for boldness, pride and enthusiasm.
My favourite colour orchids are the pink ones and they represent happiness which is how I feel at the moment in my life. What would be your favourite colour orchid?
Rachel xx
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My #NationalGardeningWeek

At the weekend we decided to go for a potter around our local garden centres, which are B&Q and Homebase looking for inspiration for the garden. I have read on Twitter this week that it’s National Gardening Week so that’s given me the push to get outside in the lovely Cornish sun during my week off work!
Anyway the lovely lady on the door in B&Q gave us this copy of their new Enjoy Spring/Summer magazine, and as you know me by now I love a good freebie! It contains everything, from all your inside home furnishings to garden furniture and lawnmowers.

As we were walking around I was flicking through the pages and came across a really handy cut out and keep guide as to when to plant your veg seeds. I love anything like this and think it’s a fab idea to get organised especially for novice gardeners.

It is very clear and easy to understand with different coloured stripes so you know what to plant where. For example the red stripes tell you when to sow the seeds inside and the light orange colour stripe tells you when to sow outside.
On the next page is a quick easy month by month guide on what you should be doing in your garden on any particular month. Another handy guide to cut out and keep. 
Here’s a little tip! I have a gardening journal where i keep little cutouts and jot down notes. It’s very similar to a recipe one but on gardening instead. It is very easy to set one up with any blank notebook you can find, then you can pop clippings and leaflets in alongside your notes. I normally staple my leaflets and cut out articles to the pages so they wont fall out.
A few years back B&Q were giving away these wall charts shown below, and Its one of the most useful guides I own. Always keep and eye out in your local garden centres for freebies like these, it’s surprising what you can find! 
On Bank Holiday Monday my local Homebase were giving away little polystyrene containers of nine plants for a donation to Macmillan Cancer charity. This was an amazing idea so I was more than happy to donate. The ones I chose are in the photo below.
These are the beautiful Viola flowers I chose and they are perfect for my patio tubs. Gorgeous colours, perfect all summer long!

This is my dads veg plot where he has just planted carrots, beetroots, parsnips and lettuce, to keep in with #NationalGardeningWeek! I don’t have the garden space at my house for a veg plot, so I grow my produce in tubs on my patio, along side my fruit bushes and flowers.
I would love to hear if you have any gardening plans this week.
Rachel xx

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