10 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep… starting TONIGHT!!


Sleep-report

Can’t sleep? Constantly tired during the day? That was me 10 years ago. But since then I’ve read, researched, studied, spoken to experts and become an expert myself on how to sleep well.

If you have trouble falling asleep, wake up constantly throughout the night, or wake up in the early hours of the morning and can’t get back to sleep, you’ll want to read my 10 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep… Starting TONIGHT. It’s a free report, so grab yours now.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE PDF

Happy sleeping!

Plant Now: Pansies & Polyanthus


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These are the sprightly contenders for the winter garden, with their cheerful flower heads in  colourful hues. Select individual plants from the potted colour section at your local garden centre, or plant seedlings from punnets of six. Either way, stock up and mass plant. Nothing brightens a winter garden like pansies and polyanthus.

Plant them in sun or light shade in compost-enriched soil.

Pick the stems for small posies indoors.

Plant Now: Eryngium

 

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Sea holly (Eryngium planum) is a fashionable cut flower with its steel-blue pincushion blooms on stems up to 120cm high. The long-lasting flowers are superb in bouquets and vase arrangements. See the gorgeous bouquets here – the top wedding bouquet, which features over at Green Wedding Shoes, is predominantly green and white, with a subtle addition of purple eryngium. The boutonnieres (photo from the beautiful Rock My Wedding website) include olive leaves, lavender, statice and eryngium.

Eryngium is a hardy perennial, tolerant of salt winds and of poor soil so long as it’s free-draining. In fact, if the soil is overly fertile, the flowers tend to sprawl.

The thistle-like flowers appear in late summer/autumn for several months.

Seeds can be sown in trays now, but chill them in the fridge for 10-14 days before sowing to aid germination.

Plant now: Cowslip


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Cowslip (Primula veris) bears upright stems of bright yellow, nodding flowers in spring. It used to grow wild in fields in Britain, though it’s not commonly seen there now. In fact, it’s quite rare in the wild due to over-picking (it’s a medicinal plant) and extensive farming.

Seed can be sown now, but stratify at 4degC for three weeks before planting. Cowslip grows in average to heavy soils in part shade.

Seeds are available from Kings Seeds.

Plant Now: Poppies


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Love poppies? Sow seeds now (late summer/early autumn) for a fine summer display. Look for Oriental poppy seeds (available from garden retailers and online mail-order nurseries) and start the seed in pots or directly in the garden.

Poppy seeds are tiny, so some gardeners like to mix them with a little sand to ensure they spread out better. I can’t be bothered with that. You can simply pour them into the palm of your hand, pinch up a few and sow them where you want. You can thin them later if necessary to give individual plants room to grow. There’s no need to cover the seeds: simply press them into the soil and water.

Images: Top photo from Deerly Missed; bottom photo from My Pleasure.

Be in to win a Daltons prize pack!

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Send us your gardening question and be in the draw to win!

This month, we’re giving away: 1 x Daltons Mulch and Grow Pack, valued at over $100. The pack contains: 3 x Daltons Mulch and Grow (40L), 2 x Besgrow Coir Mulch (60L) and 2 x Daltons Nugget Bark (40L). PLUS a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back gardening gloves from Omni Products.

Even if you are the most hands-off gardener, the most important task to do during the summer months is apply mulch around plants, including those in pots. It’s vital in maintaining a healthy garden and hinders water evaporation, keeping the moisture in the soil. This is particularly important on exceptionally hot or windy days and prevents plants from wilting. Create a clean slate and remove all weeds before applying mulch.

DON’T post your comment below. Head over to my sister site, Sweet Living, to enter the draw. Click through here.

Hydrangeas and celosias


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There are lots of flowers in my cutting garden right now, including hydrangeas, celosias, carnations and lisianthus. Most are easy to grow; lisianthus not so much. They are prone to damping off, and flower initiation is often reliant on climate. I’ll write more on propagating lisianthus another time as there is a trick to getting them to grow well.

In the meantime, mix flowers and foliage from your garden to make a summer bouquet. This makes a lovely, unexpected gift to take to a friend when visiting.

Plant Now: Late summer flowers


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Dahlias, zinnias and rudbeckias flower throughout summer and autumn, right up to the first frosts. Plant seedlings or plants from your local garden centre for a non-stop floral display.

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum – pictured on the left) are great for the summer and autumn garden too – and, like dahlias, zinnias and rudbeckias – make great cut flowers. All enjoy full sun and free-draining soil.

Gold and magenta bouquet


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If you’re looking to have a gold theme for your wedding or celebration (a golden anniversary, perhaps), consider spray-painting your foliage gold. Back in the days when I completed my florist’s course we spent a session spraying foliage and seed heads gold and silver. It lasts exceptionally well, and looks beautiful complemented with a sparkling gold ribbon covering the base of the stems. The gold here pairs beautifully with magenta calla lilies.

Plant Now: Snail Vine


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The snail vine’s (Vigna caracalla) scented blooms look a bit like (pretty) snail shells, hence its common name. It’s a climbing perennial, ideal for pergolas and fences in full sun and well-drained soil. Dig in plenty of compost before planting.

These are easy to grow by seed – sow them now (late spring/early summer at latest) for a long summer and autumn display.

You can collect your own seeds from the plant, which form inside what look like pea pods, for sowing next year. Old growth can be cut back in winter.

Seeds are available from Kings Seeds and Egmont Seeds.

Image credits: Top photo from The Olde Barn; bottom photo by Janie News.