NOVEMBER and DECEMBER

With winter on our heels we're turning our hand to some indoor growing 🌱  Hands up if you've ever planted an avocado stone?   Sara has her hand up and so does Erika...

"When outdoor gardening is over one can have an exiting windowsill garden. It appears we are quite successful with this particularly keto friendly plant πŸ₯‘ "  Erika

Sara:  A challenge for the weeks ahead!  Who's up for growing an avocado plant from an avocado stone?  Here's what you need to do:  when you next eat an avocado, remove the stone
...give the stone a little rinse and soak it in a bowl of water for a few days
...remove the stone from the water and peel off the thin brown outer skin - this should be fairly easy to do after it's been soaked in water for a few days.
Next, take 3 wooden cocktail sticks and poke them into three of the sides of the stone.  This makes it easy to suspend the stone over water in a rinsed out glass jar or cup.   Make sure at least a third of the stone is fully immersed in cold water (see below) and pop the jar or cup on a bright shelf or windowsill.   Leave this in place for around 6-8 weeks, topping the water level up when necessary.  After 6-8 weeks you should see a long root appear from the base of the stone (see below).  But don't worry if you don't, it just means you need to wait a little longer for this to happen.  
When you see a long root appear (see above) you know it's time to carefully transfer the stone into a deep plant pot of soil, being very careful not to snap the root off.  Within a couple of weeks you should see a little green shoot 🌱 appear from the top of the stone, like the one below:

Make sure you place the plant pot in a light place inside the house.  A windowsill is ideal.  Keep the soil nice and moist (but not too wet) and within a few weeks more little leaves will appear.

I think it will be several years before our avocado plant bears any fruit (if it ever does in the UK climate!)  But that's not the point. The point of growing an avocado plant, I think, is the fun you have in watching it grow from stone to plant developing along the way.  It's a great talking point too!  Go on give it a bash and see how you get on!  We'd love to see your pics!  Happy growing everyone!  x

Just read about composting. It's usually Toby (Isabelle's dad) who is our Head - Compostier but I want now do better at composting too. 

With an abundance of autumn leaves underfoot, November is the perfect time to head to your nearest park or woodland to collect fallen leaves to make your own leaf mould.   Tree leaves compost more slowly than many other types of garden waste, this is because they contain a tough protein called lignin, which is rotted down by fungi rather than bacteria so it's a good idea to keep them out of the usual compost heap to avoid slowing things down.   I think the best way to make leaf mould is to sweep the leaves into a pile and put them in black plastic rubbish sacks.  

Sara, Daisy Garland Founder and CEO, gathering autumn leaves this morning with Flossie the office pooch πŸπŸ‚

Tie the tops of the sacks well before puncturing holes in the sacks with a garden fork. Then tuck the sacks away in a corner for 12-18 months to rot down.  Leaf mould is helps improve your soil and can be sprinkled liberally around your plants throughout the year.  

 

Getting outside in the fresh air gathering those beautiful autumn leaves is a fun activity the whole family can get involved in. So pull on those wellies and step outside for some free autumn fun! πŸπŸ‚

Earlier this year our Green Shoots 🌱 families turned their hands to growing cucamelons, with varying degrees of success.  Thomas found it easy to grow them in his greenhouse in Birmingham - pic below.    (Click here to meet some of our other cucamelon growers.)

Down south it seems we didn't seem to get enough sunshine at the right time - fingers crossed for better luck next year when we will Keep Calm and Grow On!  When emptying the soil from the pot where we grew our cucamelons, we discovered 5 healthy cucamelon tubers:

which Sara gently uprooted using her hands before replanting in a shallow bed of fresh compost to overwinter in her shed before planting out in the spring.   So please be sure to check your cucamelon soil before discarding it and for more info, please click here

SPRING BULB PLANTING

"November's the perfect time to pot up spring bulbs.  This year I'm going to try my hand at lasagne planting for seamless colour and interest throughout spring.  Recipe for my Bulb Lasagne:

  1. add a cup of rough gravel to the bottom of the pot to aid drainage
  2. fill a third of the pot with some good compost (I used Westlands all plant compost, below)
  3. carefully arrange tulip bulbs, ensuring the bulbs aren't touching and cover with an inch of compost
  4. add miniature daffodil bulbs (ensuring bulbs aren't touching).  Cover with an inch of compost
  5. add crocus bulbs adding a final inch of compost before gently firming with the palm of your hand
  6. top with pansy plugs for a blaze of winter colour, carefully adding a sprinkling of soil to firm them in before giving them a light watering

I'm looking forward to following their progress in the coming months and will be sure to keep you posted.  Meanwhile, click here for some some handy bulb planting tips from our friends at Thompson and Morgan."  SARA xx

A Green Shoots message to make your heart sing:  "Morning Green Shoots! 🌿  Another winter gardening that I discovered last year and immensely enjoyed was forcing hyacinths. It really is a very satisfying, interesting and joyful thing to do particularly during gloomy days in January. I didn't follow all of the rules and tips one can find online. I just bought a few packs of different colour hyacinth bulbs and kept them in the shed for a few weeks until green sprouts emerged. Then put them in to special vases with bulbs sitting 1cm above the water and they started to root. I indulged myself sourcing these lovely vintage, antique vases but you can pick some clear glass ones for a pound or two in charity shops. Children could observe rooting easier with the clear ones. Once flowers open up they could smell different scents from different colours (remember deep pinks smelling profoundly of Lilac!). It did help me fighting winter blues, hope it helps you too.πŸ’š  P.S. last years photo below."  Erika

With winter just around the corner we are thrilled to have launched our autumn Green Shoots project. Last week Jean (pic below) packaged up and dispatched to our participating families 65 insect hotels along with a super bug-watching magnifying glass.  The whole process was overseen by Flossie, the office pooch!
Bees and other pollinators need our help over winter and our Daisy insect hotels are just what they need to provide cosy accommodation for the chilly months to come.  (Pictured below is Sara's Insect hotel, handmade by the wonderful Paul Allerton, who along with his lovely wife, Janis, are long-time supporters of The Daisy Garland.)

Meet some of the excited children and young adults taking part in our Autumn Green Shoots Project 🌱 and hear what their families have to say...

"Thank you so much Chloe's very excited to get her insect home hanging up in the garden. It will be great for encouraging the bees and bugs to help her little green shoots xxx πŸ’œ 🌱 "
OH WOW!
πŸ’•GEORGE LOVED HIS INSECT HOTELπŸ’•
                πŸ¨πŸπŸ›πŸžπŸ•ΈπŸœπŸ©
Thank you all for sending this to him.
Another project all ready to go!
He can't wait to get it hung up in the garden.
It is very wet everywhere right now and the ground is like a quagmire.
I almost fell over yesterday putting the rubbish out.
I will send more photos when it is up.
"Thank you so much for Esme’s bug house. She absolutely loves it and it arrived just as her late caterpillar πŸ› from the veg patch hatched out. She loves the butterfly’s hairy body!β˜ΊοΈπŸ’œ "

"Thank you The Daisy Garland!  We’re already investigating little creatures!"

"Anna loves gifts and garden so she is very happy girl today whe she opened her #greenshoots parcel."

"Thank you so much for Poppy and Teddy's insect hotel. As you can see from their smiles, they were so excited to receive it and cannot wait to see who (what?!) moves in!"

"Jacob loves his insect hotel and has decorated it ready for the garden.Thank you Daisy Garland πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° "

"Thank you so much for Annabelle’s beautiful insect house! We are looking forward to seeing what insects we get! xx"

"Amelia was so happy to open her bug house after school, big thanks to The Daisy Garland πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°"

"They are so excited. Tried telling Es that it was sent for Xander, however she’s told him they are sharing it. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚"

"Thank you for our bug hotel. Amy has had a busy weekend getting it ready for the garden! πŸ˜ƒ"

"Cash was absolutely thrilled to receive his green shoots package in the post today, safe to say the girls were just as excited!  Cash is expecting great things as our garden backs onto farm land so we regularly have toads, frogs, newts and slow worms to name a few hanging around…. Now for the bugs! πŸ˜‚πŸ«£  Thank you so much πŸ’š it really is a pleasure to be involved in the green shoots project, even if we aren’t pro growers yet and slugs keep ruining our crops. Just having a go and getting dirty brings the kids so much joy! X"

"EDIT - Ellie took the bug hotel to bed 🀣🀣🀣"
"A parcel for Ellie arrived today and she was so excited to open it, I think we will have to explain to her several times that it needs to live outside as she won't let it go, haha! I can see it goin to bed with her tonight lol. Thank you Daisy Garland."

"Oran says thank you for his lovely insect hotel πŸ’œ "

"Tia is over the moon with her parcel which arrived today πŸ’œ Thank you so much πŸžπŸ›πŸ¦ŸπŸͺ²πŸœ xx

"A very big thank you from Gethin, he couldn’t wait to show his carers this evening and want to take his magnifying glass πŸ”Ž to school as they do bug hunts xxx"

"Thank you so so much for this, Bobby (below)  was SO happy! We’ve had such a hard month and this cheered us all up. Thanks so much!! xx"

"Thank you so much for Lily's insect Hotel & magnify glass. Revieved yesterday before rushing off to Brownies. Lily has already worked out where it's going & where her playground area for the bugs will be 😍"

"George is over the moon with his insect hotel..."

"Hope (below) has finally managed to do a bit of colouring on her bug hotel.
Thank you so much for including her - she absolutely loves it x #GreenShoots"

"Thank you so much for Ella’s bug house, she was so excited to open it when she got home!"

"Well, Jacob's bug hotel is in the garden ready for some guests. He's going to check it regularly and we will keep you updated. 🀞🀞
πŸ•·πŸœπŸžπŸ¦ŸπŸ› "

"Thanks so much for Freya’s insect hotel. She’s very chuffed indeed!"

"Thankyou so much for Arlo's bug house 🐜 πŸ› he can’t wait for some bugs to start living here."

"George (below) was absolutely thrilled to bits with his bug hotel and magnifying glass!! He’s gone straight out on a bug hunt! Thank you so much The Daisy Garland."

"Thank you so much The Daisy Garland for our lovely package  that kept Henry (and the dog πŸ˜‚ ) busy this weekend. After decorating his bug hotel he then set on planting his crocus’ and deciding the best position to hang it.  It's ended up possibly a little high πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but on a tree visible from the house and next to a little pond so we wait in anticipation … 🐜 πŸ› 🐞 🐝…. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ€žπŸ»  Such a lovely idea , thanks so much for being so thoughtful and bringing much joy on a wet December Sunday afternoon πŸ’œ"❀️

"Insects are the most important visible wildlife in your garden.  Value them accordingly."  Monty Don

The run up to Christmas is the perfect time to scout around local hedgerows and/or garden centres to gather lots of lovely winter foliage to make a festive garlands to decorate your home.  Here are some fabulous tips from Good Housekeeping and happiful.com to get you started.     
Sara recently attended a Christmas Wreath-making Workshop at Dutch Flowers, Totnes, and had lots of fun making this...
Here are some lovely ideas to make your winter garden a wellbeing oasis from Happiful.com

JANUARY 2024

Winter is a slow time in the garden so we thought it would be fun to have a Nature Table at home - a collection of interesting things - pine cones, rose hips, catkins etc - you might find in your garden or nearby park or hedgerow.  Would you like to join in and start a winter nature table? I'll be posting photos of what I've found in the coming weeks.  I wonder what you can find? We'd love to see, please send us your nature table photos.  

On a recent walk we discovered a little cluster of shiny red rose hips...

...and the first sighting of blossom made our hearts sing.

The most exciting find of all: tiny crocus buds in our Insect Hotel front garden. (Spring is just around the corner!)