This project has been made possible through funds raised and donated by our Daisy Garland fundraisers and supporters.  We are enormously grateful to each and every one of them.


You might imagine that you would need ample space to make growing your own fruit and vegetables worthwhile, when in fact even the tiniest sunny corner or windowsill is enough to make a good start.  With a little imagination, time and effort, you can transform almost any space into a productive plot.

Containers are another way of turning almost any outside space into a flourishing edible garden.  You can grow almost any fruit and vegetables in pots on sunny patios, roof terraces and balconies, as long as they are protected from strong winds and you can keep them well watered and fed.  

Even small window boxes and hanging baskets can provide good crops of salads, herbs, cherry tomatoes and strawberries if well cared for.  Try experimenting with crops in pots,  from pears to potatoes, french beans to figs, and look out for special dwarf varieties that have been bred to suit container growing.  Top tip:  Put used tea bags in the bottom of hanging baskets to aid water retention.

Taking cuttings from herbs is a cost-effective way of adding flavour and scent to your garden. I bought a small bag of fresh mint recently from our local supermarket to make Tzatziki.  I kept a couple of sprigs back to root in a jar of water on the kitchen shelf.  Barely a week has gone by and look what's happened...

I'll give it another couple of days before I pot it up in some compost and hopefully in a few weeks I'll see some new little green shoots appear 🌱  I'll be sure to keep you posted!  SARA x  PS  Mind where you put mint because it can run riot in the garden so is best grown in a large pot or tub, which can of course be sunk into the soil to contain the roots.

Let's see what some of our Green Shoots 🌱 children are up to this summer...

Paige is growing an array of keto-friendly fruit and veg in her amazing garden and we are hugely grateful to her mum for sending us these fabulous video clips.  Click on each of the links and allow Paige to talk you through what she's growing...

Annabel (below) has been incredibly busy creating beautiful hanging baskets for some of her little seedlings... 

Sophie's mum tells us: "We're planting summer seeds today. Sophie loves the planting but not the sweeping up afterwards! "

Amy's seedlings are just coming through (below) 🌱  How exciting!

Daniel's mum, Rosalind reports: "mixed progress!"

Keep Calm and Garden On, Daniel!  You're doing great! 🌱


Mum, Nikki tells us: "Cucamelons in their final growing place... πŸ€žπŸŒ± β˜€οΈ πŸ’¦ "

Daisy Garland Cucamelon seedlings (below) basking in the late summer sun...

Sara's seedlings (below) are doing well too.  Runner beans, sunflowers (still leggy!), courgette and tomatoes are all ready to be potted on/planted out...  

Tia (below) has been planting some more seeds with her Grandad and Odin the dog...

Tia is under the care of a Daisy Garland Ketogenic Dietitian.  The ketogenic diet has transformed Tia's life...

The Daisy Garland Green Shoots project has been specially designed to inspire children and young adults with complex epilepsy to get outside and practice a bit of green therapy by sowing seeds and growing nutritious low-carb vegetables and edible flowers, which can be enjoyed on the ketogenic diet.  Click here for more information about the ketogenic diet.

This weekend will find me on our allotment planting seeds directly into the warm soil.  Here are some of the veggie seeds I'll be planting tomorrow:

Top tip:  Sow radishes in small quantities every 10 days to ensure a continuous supply.

Last Christmas, one of our fabulous mums, Kat Ricketts, sent us a gorgeous floral seed advent calendar.  I've already planted some and they're doing really well, but to prolong the growing season I'm going to plant the rest of the seeds.  Here's what I'll be sowing tomorrow:

Lots of great seed sowing ideas from our friends at Thompson and Morgan can be found here

"The seeds have arrived today, thankyou very much, I shall be planting everything up this week. Between yourself and my mother I may turn into a Gardener yet πŸ™‚ xx"

Sara's runner beans are in! 🌱

A productive day on our allotment...

... and just look at those poppies ❀️  they're certainly keeping the bumblebees busy 🐝

Sara, Founder and CEO of The Daisy Garland, and her husband David (below) have had allotment plots for over 30 years, first in London and now here in Devon.  Sara tells us: "Having an allotment is hugely rewarding, but it's lots of hard work too!  We grow a variety of fruit and veg - including plums, rhubarb, blackcurrants, gooseberries, blueberries, apples, runner beans, french beans, chard, kale, salad veggies, herbs... and this year for the very first time, Cucamelons!   The taste of your own homegrown produce is unlike anything you can buy.  Packed with flavour and nutrients, freshly picked fruit and veg can be on your plate and ready to eat within minutes of picking.   Anything we pick that's suitable for home freezing goes straight into the freezer for later use.  We're still enjoying last year's blackcurrants and broad beans..."

Last year 9 out of 10 councils reported an increase in demand for allotments, according to the Association for Pubic Service Excellence (APSE), a non-profit organisation that works with local councils. Demand grew during the Covid pandemic when people were confined to their local areas.  In August 2020 the allotment society reported that 40% of councils had experienced a "significant uplift" in applications. More than 30,000 people were on waiting lists for allotments in London in 2020, according to Imperial College London with an average waiting time of between 4 and 5 years. 

The cost of living crisis and higher food prices is adding to that interest.   The age range of people applying for allotments is also changing.  It's not just for retired people any more.  A lot of young families want them.  Overall, people want food that is not full of chemicals, they want a but of fun and exercise and they want their food without air miles.  

How to get an allotment:  You can apply to your local authority via the government website.   Normally you will not be allocated a plot straight away, but your name will be added to a waiting list.  The average annual rent for an allotment is £70.   Some allotment sites are managed by private landlords, or you can also find space to grow your own food through  where outdoor spaces, including private gardens, are offered for rent of up to about £40 a month.  

 "2 of my 5 courgettes in the bee garden with the strawberries and one bumble bee. Francesca."

Did you know there are actually 24 species of bumblebee in the UK?  They can be found from the south coast to the Shetlands, zipping from flower to flower...

Busy in their gardens this weekend, lots of our Green Shoots 🌱 families have been in touch telling us:

"I've planted up a few more things and finding I really enjoy watching and listening to the bee's dance all around my flowers. The stocks seeds started to show this morning and I swear a few more appeared while I was at work as well. Hopefully my courgette seeds will be next, fingers crossed. xx"

"My sunflower seeds started to show this morning, so far 4 out of 6 pots have popped through, it's all very exciting, some of my green peas may be starting but not sure if the seed has just come uncovered x"

"Sunflower race πŸ˜„ "

"Whoop whoop 3 courgettes (below)"

"Jacob showing off his plants. We have runner beans, beetroot, raddish, tomatoes and cucamelon. Also a wheelbarrow full of stocks. Sunflowers are growing and we have a blackcurrant bush. This weather has been amazing. Start to harvest some soon hopefully."

"We are growing some strawberries which are doing well. Also working on some wild flowers and a bit of everything in the other garden."

"After some torrential thunderstorms and flooding last night, plants seen to be recovering.
Courgette, pumpkin, runner beans and tomatoes (from my uncle) are all thriving in our new mini greenhouse.  Salad and radish are coming on well, clearly loving the heat.  Cucamelon, Stocks and calendula a little slower but making progress 🌱"

Poppy's tomatoes (pic 1 below) are sprouting in all directions and her courgettes (pic 2) are about to burst into flower.  Well done Poppy!

"Anna (below) is having lots of success with Tomatoes and courgettes..."

"This is our sunflower πŸŒ» Its starting to get very tall! X"

"This is our runner beans. xx"

"Green shoots 🌱 and the start of a clobazam [anticonvulsant medication] wean. It's a good day."

"Our cucamelons (below) have been coming along."

"First cucamelon flower yippee πŸ‘πŸ‘"

"Loving the Green Shoots project.  Experimenting with lots of different plants..."

"George (below) is so excited to be growing tomatoes and courgettes with The Daisy Garland Green Shoots project 🌱"

Lily has been a very busy bee 🐝

"Miss Tilly (below) is a very keen Gardener!"

Experimenting with herbs can be fun as this mum tells us:  "Little experiment with the herbs from my green shoots garden, fresh homemade butter with lemon thyme (below) in one, sage in another. My kitchen smells amazing right now. Sunday diner will be interesting tomorrow..."

"Tia (below) is impressed with her mustard x"

Annabel has been busy making daisy chains today...

"Today is Teddy’s 1st birthday πŸ₯°πŸ§ΈπŸ’™ We spent it in the garden and had lots of fun planting his special “Teddy bear” sunflowers seeds 🧸🌻 We can’t wait to watch them grow! Thankyou so much to Sara and the Daisy Garland πŸ’œ x x x"

"Watering his plants (below), the sunflowers are catching him up! We have flowers on the tomatoes and courgettes so hopefully we will see some of those soon. He’s already sampled the salad leaves, we are remaining hopeful for the beans but something else has been enjoying those πŸ› xxx"

"Annabelle and I planted our courgettes out and have been enjoying our first strawberries of the season. She loves it down at the allotment and usually falls asleep listening to the birds!"

"Tomatoes (below) coming through... now I need to find someone to look after them when we go away on holiday as Sophie is so proud of them."  Well done Sophie! Your tomatoes look AM-A-ZING!! πŸ…πŸŒ±πŸ…  

For tips on keeping plants watered whilst on holiday please click HERE 

Move over Monty Don, Thomas is hot on your heals with his green fingered expertise!  Wowee!!! Just look at these Cucamelons!  Thomas tells us: 

"First photo are the Cucamelons climbing up the support, getting quite high now!"

"Below is the chili peppers and bell peppers that are just starting to flower now."
"Third picture (below) is a crowded patio but up the middle I put the potatoes growing in the big grow bags, to get a bit more sun last week when it was really sunny. So will dig up those in the next week or so and hopefully (fingers crossed) there are some lovely new potatoes waiting for me. Never grown potatoes before and I’m doing them in big bags so it’s a bit of an unknown if they have worked, the plants look good on the surface so I’m sure there will be some! Will let you know."

Thomas your garden is amazing - please keep those pics coming 🌱

"Very proud of my cucumber 😊 "

"Courgettes are going to need bigger pots."

"My tomato plant has really enjoyed the recent weather 😁 "

"🌱🌿Chloe (below) enjoying what she loves best tending to her little green shoots in and out of her little greenhouse - great mindfulness. All coming on well and she's planted out her sweetcorn in her veg patch she built with the help of Woody. She's willing her cucumelons to grow bigger they are still tiny. πŸŒ±πŸ’œ"

"I have a potential fruit bud on my aubergine x my sunflowers are being eaten alive by I assume slugs and snails πŸŒ so have bought some netting x"

"My courgette has flowers x"

"The power of string (and a bamboo cane)!"

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.  They also contain good amounts of folate (vitamin B9) and potassium.  Strawberries are very rich in antioxidants and plant compounds, which may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control.

"Fresh out the garden strawberries (below) for supper"

"I had to plant the runner beans (below) in the dark as Izzie likes to pull them up! Now they’re growing well.."

"It’s one of Izzie’s favourite places to sit. Maybe her chatter is helping them to grow too! πŸŒ±"

Well done Sophie! your tomatoes are looking fabulous!

There is nothing more rewarding than picking and eating your own homegrown vegetables.  Anna's Dad, Jan, tells us:

"Anna's first harvest. And lunch "fish and chips" - courgette chips and smoked salmon."

Anna, that looks like one fabulous plate of super-healthy keto food!  Enjoy! πŸŽ‰

Terrific tomato plants (below) Lily! 

Thank you Kelly for sending these lovely pics of Cash and his Green Shoots 🌱πŸ₯•  

Kelly tells us: "Cash (below) accidentally pulled up a carrot when weeding πŸ˜‚ he’s so chuffed that his green shoots project is going so well! ❀️ "

We already picked one courgette. Hoping this weekend for another one.


Tia's mum, Chloe, has some exciting news to share: "Tia has learnt something new today (she's weight baring on her own with us just holding her hips so she doesn't hurt them as she's not used to standing πŸ’œ) and what better way to show how big her sunflower is growing by standing next to it 🌻 "   Onwards and upwards! 

Our lovely Daisy Garland Ketogenic Nutritionist, Judy, has been growing Cucamelons too, with some promising results...  Keep Calm and Grow On, Judy 🌱

Stop Press!!  Our very first-sighting of a Cucamelon!  Well done Alex!  πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Cucamelons are part of the cucumber family.  They are sometimes known as Mouse Melon, Mexican Melon or Sandita  (which means little watermelon in Spanish) This one-inch fruit looks like a mini watermelon, has the crunch of a cucumber, and a rather delicious tangy lime flavour. Cucamelons grow to about 1.25 inches long and 0.8 inches wide.  They can be eaten raw and are yummy in salads.

Cucamelons are packed with fibre and nutrients, including powerful antioxidants, and are considered a superfood because of their many health benefits.  They are difficult to find in your local grocery store, so we are very excited to be growing them with you as part of our Daisy Garland Green Shoots Project 🌱  

Daisy Garland Nutritionist, Judy, has a fab Cucamelon and Radish Salad recipe to share.  To download the recipe click here

There's nothing more uplifting than pressing your nose into a bunch of freshly picked sweet peas.  The silky feel of their petals and gentle perfume lifts your spirits and makes your heart sing.  And of course the more you pick them, the more flowers they will grow!  

Mum, Helen, tells us:  "Gethin’s sweet peas are starting to flower 🌸 xxx"

Julie sent us this gorgeous picture of her daughter, Amy telling us: "First harvest of the season! πŸ˜€ "

For tips on sowing, growing and caring for Sweet Peas, please click here

Watering:  now the warm weather's arrived don't forget to keep a close eye on your little Green Shoots 🌱 making sure they have enough water to keep the soil moist, but not too much or they will rot.  Use your instinct to strike a balance!  The best time to water is early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun goes down so as not to scotch the leaves.  Top water-saving tips:  collect rainwater in a butt (ideally connected to a roof; save and use 'grey water' - the water used to wash vegetables, bath water, dish water (the soapy water will help kill aphids).  

For tips on keeping your plants watered whilst on holiday please click HERE

Happy Growing Everyone 🌱  SARA X

Time to transplant our Daisy Garland Cucamelons.  They look quite big growing in the small pot...

... but tiny when transplanted in their new home 🌱

Some fab pics below from Lily's mum, Vanessa, telling us:  "Daisy Garland Green Shoots project! 🌱 Lily's Cucamelons growing nicely (pic below 1st two rows at front).   We have sunflowers coming (pic 2) . First sweet peas are in bloom. Some with sunflowers & some growing with runner beans (pic 3). πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

Francesca tells us: "Sunflower race continues (below), mummy and daddy are still last 🀣"

Some georgous pics below from Erika telling us:  

"Joining Daisy Garland's green fingers and sharing some allotment therapy πŸ’š"  

Let's take you on a tour and see if we can guess what Erika's growing on her allotment...

Beautiful Beefsteak Tomatoes πŸ…

A glorious display of artichokes πŸ’œ

Peas 🌱

Courgettes πŸ₯’

The image below, snapped by Sara at the weekend.  Blackberry season is on its way!! 

"Hands up if you can remember your nature table at primary school?  (My hand's firmly up πŸ™‹‍♀️)   I loved our nature table πŸ’šSo much so, I've recreated my own 'nature table' - a shelf above the kitchen sink.  Not only does this little shelf lift my spirits, it also grounds me - a great reminder to flip out of (human)'doing' mode into (human)'being' mode.  I'm sure Gillian, our fabulous Daisy Garland Mindfulness Tutor, would be proud to hear me say this!  SARA X"

Our Daisy Garland Mindfulness Courses recommence in September.  If you live in the UK and your child has difficult to control epilepsy, please get in touch with [email protected] for more information.  

Let’s get composting!!

What to do with all those veggie peelings and fruit stalks?    
I know!  
Let’s get composting!

Children love it when things grow in the garden and composting is a great activity for children to get involved in. It teaches them lots about organic recycling and waste reduction.  And by explaining that the compost is the food that the plants eat to grow big and strong is a very good place to start.  Compost provides the necessary nutrients in the soil and also encourages bio diversity in the garden.  
Peppa Pig explains the concept of composting here
For more tips about Composting with The Daisy Garland, please click HERE

There are few things as satisfying as eating delicious fruit and veg you've grown yourself.  You'll never have tasted anything as fresh and full of flavour, and you'll find it impossible to go back to 'cotton wool' tomatoes and limp lettuce.

 This improved taste is all down to how little time home-grown produce spends journeying between the ground and your plate; there's no chance of it losing its juicy freshness or for its sugars to be converted into dull-tasting starch.  How can something that's flown half-way across the world to get to a supermarket compare with veg that has only travelled ten yards to your cooking pot or plate?  

Growing your own produce also allows you to control its cultivation.  If you don't want to eat chemical residues, then this is your opportunity to avoid them.  You can also experiment with delicious and unusual varieties that would never be found in a supermarket.  (Cucamelons spring to mind here!)

It's been fabulous catching up with some of our Green Shoots families this week and I hope like me their words and pictures will inspire you...  SARA x

Having never gardened in the past Kay is becoming a keen grower benefitting hugely from our Green Shoots project.  Kay tells us:  Hope everyone's Green Shoots are surviving this wind. Its bordering on tornado here! I have been and checked my garden and officially have my first flower from the stock seeds sent. My courgette seems to have grown a good couple inches overnight as well."

"Daren't leave it outside any longer in case something starts nibbling (my other courgette plant has no leaves left 😭), but my first, full sized, made it to maturity, grown by me courgette, this will be going on lunch tomorrow, let's hope it tastes as good as it looks!"

"More from our allotment (our green gym!) The greenhouse began its rewards. The heirloom Italian beef tomatoes are superb! The simple vine ones give plenty of joy too. Cant wait to try still ripping cherry chillies (Italian variety too). It appears we will have few beet and few carrots after all. Its not a small pleasure, its a pure delight to be able to pick up your own grown edibles! Erika"

Lily, what gorgeous sweet peas!  The beauty of sweet peas is the more you pick the more the flowers keep coming.

Claire sent us some fabulous pics of her garden telling us: "In some of our garden we use the marigolds as pest control, and someone in our house likes to eat them too!  Apparently they have a peppery taste πŸ˜›"

Marigold petals look pretty sprinkled on salads and are so good for you. They're high in Lutein, an important Vitamin for maintaining eye health. It's also said growing Marigolds alongside potatoes prevents eel worm attacking your crop. 

Hands up those of you who remember Mr Bloom's Nursery? πŸ™‹‍♀️  Simmone told us: "I wanted to share these really cute stakes and these characters we made from Mr Blooms Nursery."

Grandma Lynn tells us:  "Jacob (below) picked his first Daisy Garland Green Shoots tomato today. Plenty of green ones, just need some sun."

Keto mum Julie, has set our tums rumbling here at The Daisy Garland.  Here's why...  "Our courgettes are growing very slowly. But fortunately we have a green fingered friend who has a surplus and gave us one of her large courgettes and a recipe with it! So we all had stuffed courgette last night. Stuffing was lamb mince, onion, garlic, passata, peppers, tomatoes, egg, mint and rice. Amy had the same but without the rice. Very tasty!"
What a whopper!


Everything in Thomas's greenhouse is coming up trumps.  This is what he told us recently:  "My Cucamelons have fruited, they are still quite small so will wait for them to fatten up a bit more and give them a try! I dug up some of my new potatoes last night (see below) and will be having them tonight, the ones I had last week were amazing. Just melt in your mouth, so good."

"Cucamelons below and some of the other bits I have been growing. I have green and purple bell peppers starting to grow quite well now, some chilli peppers and cherry tomatoes."  

Sara replied: Thomas we have cucamelon envy!  Ours have yet to climb and flower!

Green Peppers



Green Chillis 

Drumroll... πŸ₯πŸ₯πŸ₯  Wow!!! just look at those purple Bell Peppers 😍 

We received a surprise package in the post from Thomas this morning.  Squeals of delight could be heard from Daisy Garland HQ.  What was inside the package? I hear you ask.  11 perfect little home-grown Cucamelons from Thomas!  And my goodness how delicious they were (think firm cucumber with a spritz of lime zest)  Thomas, you are so kind and we would like to say a big Daisy thank you from all of us πŸ’š

 πŸ‘‹ Thomas, as you can see from the pic below, our Cucamelons plants are still struggling to make headway.  With a little more sunshine we're feeling hopeful that we might see some flowers, and perhaps (much crossing of fingers) some little fruits too.  We'll be sure to keep you posted!

Gethin, just look at those Green Shoots! Wow, you're one super duper gardener!  

Teddy (below) is our youngest Green Shoots gardener and nothing makes us happier than receiving regular pics and updates from his lovely mummy, Lauren, who tells us,  "Teddy admiring his Teddybear sunflowers 🌻 But something is finding their leaves as tasty as he finds his hands πŸ™ŠπŸ₯° x x x"

"It's looking like a good year for apples and pears...."  SARA X

Conference pears

Bramley cooking apples

A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.  



Growing your own carrots can be a real eye-opener.  You'll be amazed at the fantastically sweet, strong flavour of some varieties.  What's more, they're now available in a startling array of colours (although sometimes at the expense of flavour and texture.  

Cash has produced a bumper crop of carrots this year and his mum, Kelly, telling us:  

"Got back from holiday to carrots πŸ₯• πŸŽ‰
Unfortunately the slugs have got to everything else πŸ₯Ί
But Cash is super happy at how well these have grown!"

B's pumpkin is looking fabulous! πŸ’š   

Top Tip:  Always lift pumpkins off damp soil to help prevent rotting.

George (below) is having lots of fun tending to his Cucamelon seedlings 🌱

"Naomi’s green shoots have started coming through (below) πŸ₯° thank you Daisy Garland!"  Kelly

"Amy was given a little flower press for her birthday this year so she chose to press some of the stocks she grew with The Daisy Garland.   I'm pretty impressed with her first attempt!"

A splash of colour from Sara and David's allotment to brighten your weekend...

"While the Sunday roast was in the oven we dashed up to the allotment to see what veg was ready to pick.  Having almost doubled in size over the last week - it's amazing what a couple of days of sunshine can do - we picked a whole selection: kale, runner beans, french beans, rainbow chard, beetroot, courgette, reddish and 2 different types of lettuce.   You could almost hear them singing with health and vitality!  Free from chemical residues and with zero air miles attached, these veggies went from ground to plate in just under an hour and tasted absolutely delicious.  (I'm making bubble and squeak with the leftovers tonight!)"   SARA X

"The hedgerows are groaning with blackberries at this time of year and who can resist picking them?  Not me!  Low in carbs, high in fibre and packed with Vitamin C, Manganese and Vitamin K, blackberries make a tasty, nutritious snack for those following the ketogenic diet.  Yummy served with yoghurt or a big dollop of clotted cream!"   SARA X

Eating berry fruits like blackberries may improve brain health and help prevent memory loss caused by ageing, according to a review of research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.  The review concluded that antioxidants in berry fruits help fight free radicals and alter how brain neurons communicate. This may help reduce brain inflammation, which can lead to cognitive and motor issues common with ageing. 

Eating berry fruits like blackberries may improve brain health and help prevent memory loss caused by ageing, according to a review of research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.  The review concluded that antioxidants in berry fruits help f

Cost Saving Tip:  "Back in June, I bought a packet of mint from our local supermarket.  I didn't use it all so popped 2 sprigs in a jam jar to root before planting it in the garden where it's spread nicely.   We've now got mint on hand whenever we need it.  It will die back in the winter, but should produce new shoots next spring.  Watch this space!"  SARA X

Teddy's Tremendous Tommies! πŸ…

"Amelia’s sunflowers are getting huge. Just waiting for the flower to come out now. Fruit & veg coming along slowly but we’re getting the hang of it πŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒ xx"  Wow! and well done Amelia!  

Mum, Nikki, tells us:  "First harvest of cucamelons delicious πŸ˜‹ a mix of sharp, crunchy and slightly sweet. We all loved them. Thank you so much can’t wait for next ones to grow. They’re on their way, lots more flowers."

Sara's reply:  A huge well done!   You obviously have the perfect Cucamelon growing conditions where you are.  Here in the soggy South West we're still waiting for ours to flower! 

My pickings (below) this week! It might feed the two of us for one meal - Judy

"Super-impressed with my sunflower which measures 7+ feet and is still growing..."  Jean

Earlier in the year we saw Gethin taking care of his little sunflower seedlings...

All that nurturing is paying off Gethin πŸ’š

 Well done Gethin we think your sunflower is bloomin' lovely 🌻

Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.   Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Watch this space for more updates coming soon!