Flower & Food Festival

flowers, fruit, Grow Your Own, Houseplants, Other Gardens, Plants, Uncategorized, Vegetables

This is one of the highlights of my gardening year – Dundee’s Flower and Food Festival.

I go every year and really enjoy being in the midst of the best of what our area has to offer in terms of plants, produce and food.  There are displays of beautiful plants and flowers, from amateurs, dedicated growers and local businesses.  Not to mention the rows of fruit and veg and the amazing giant leeks, carrots and cabbages.  It feels like an exhibition built on the hours of love and joy which people have put into growing their favourite things.

I have a new-found appreciation for the people who enter these competitions.  You can’t accidentally grow three petal-perfect chrysanthemums or dahlias.  It’s impossible to grow a leek the size of a plank without putting in a great deal of time and effort to make it as large and perfect as it can be.  Maybe someday when I have more experience, and a great deal more time, I’ll consider trying my hand at a competition bloom, but for now I think I’ll continue to enjoy the flowers and veg I grow on my windowsill or on my plate…

Dahlia heaven at the Flower and Food Festival – so many beautiful blooms on display as part of the Scottish Dahlia and Chrysanthemum Society’s annual competition.

I was also very taken with some of the indoor plants on display – especially this frilly variety of coleus and these gorgeous swirly begonias.

The fruit and veg looked so healthy and colourful – you can tell the people who produced them just love growing!  #veggiegoals

Houseplants

Houseplants, Plants, Propagation, Uncategorized

Blame it on the winter weather, blame it on Instagram, blame it on Jane Perrone and her brilliant On the Ledge podcast… Actually I think I have only myself to blame – it was only a matter of time before my plant obsession came indoors…

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Yes, I have succumbed to the charms of houseplants.

I have resisted in the past as they honestly didn’t interest me that much; I have had a handful for a while which I have either been given or were picked up when I took pity on them in the bargain basement section of the local DIY store.  I have ignored them a lot, watering sporadically, allowing the dust to collect, and they’ve mostly survived, despite the neglect.  I’ve taken little interest in them in garden centres, plant fairs, books and magazines.

But something has changed in the past few weeks and I’m looking at houseplants with a fresh, and somewhat lustful, eye.

Monstera delisiosa Philodendron                                                                                                                                                      More

Monstera deliciosa – image courtesy of Pinterest

I mean, who couldn’t love a plant with the name Monstera deliciosa.

We had one of these, growing up in a bungalow in Northern Ireland in the 80s.  It’s also known as the Swiss Cheese Plant.  The leaves are whole when they begin to grow and then later develop the ‘swiss cheese’ holes.  I want one now for my own house – a really big one. I would put it in the dining room and polish its leaves lovingly.  See, my attitude to houseplants is definitely shifting…

Binge-listening to On The Ledge certainly hasn’t helped – Jane and her guests discuss various houseplant related issues and the podcast is full of top tips and helpful advice for getting the most out of indoor gardening.  I recently listened to Jane and James Wong enthuse about ‘Dr H’ and his House Plant Expert book – one of the many books in Dr Hessayon’s ‘Expert’ range.  The next day I was in town for a meeting and decided to kill some time in one of the local charity shops (I always make a beeline for the gardening books – there are always gardening books in charity shops).  What did I find?  The new (well, 1980s!), updated bumper edition of Dr Hessayon’s House Plant Expert, plus another excellent guide with lots of useful photos, written by Matt Biggs of GQT fame.  Both of these cost me just £5!

I’ve also invested in Alys Fowler’s ‘Plant Love’ , which I think I would be tempted to buy even if I wasn’t newly-obsessed with houseplants as it’s a really beautiful book.

I’m already loving learning about a whole new genre of plants, and as well as picking up a couple of waifs at B&Q (a sorry looking Guzmania and a yet-to-be-identified but healthy looking possible ficus) I’m also growing my own.  Yes, yet another way I can indulge my love of sowing and growing.  There’s a sowalong happening over at On The Ledge so I’m joining in by growing Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ and Sempervivum tectorum, otherwise known as houseleeks.

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Seeds of Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’

The pelargonium seeds are AMAZING.  They have twisty tails which wind and unwind according to the moisture of the soil, helping them to bury themselves into it and then germinate.  AMAZING.

And the joy of houseplants is that even when the weather is not great for gardening outside, you can still care for and take joy from your indoor plants.  Today has been a great example of this; we are currently in the grip of the Beast from the East – a Siberian snow storm which has dumped about a foot of snow on us and closed schools and workplaces.  Gardening is out of the question – but today I managed to get my hands dirty and do some propagation, sowing the Sempervivum seeds and splitting and re-potting a large Aloe vera.

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I commandeered the laundry room floor for some indoor gardening

Instagram is currently heaving with trendy photos of fashionable houseplants – it’s the New Thing in gardening.  Am I being brainwashed?  Possibly.  Am I jumping on the bandwagon?  Maybe.  Do I care?  No!  I’m looking forward to growing my collection of beautiful houseplants – glossy green foliage, strappy variegated leaves, delicate flowers and patterns – and taking my own trendy photos to post on Instagram!

#plantaddict #sorrynotsorry