Plant Now: Chamomile


Who’s for a chamomile tea? Yes? You’re in good company, because chamomile is one of the most popular medicinal herbs worldwide. It’s well known for its gentle healing properties; our ancestors used it to treat everything from fevers and feebleness to headaches and humbugs. In between they employed chamomile’s curative properties for colds, menstrual cramps, mild infections, digestive disorders, liver and gallbladder complaints, and inflammation of the skin.

Chamomile has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, but it’s best known for its use as a mild sedative. For frazzled nerves, a cup of chamomile tea is just the thing.

The flowers are pretty too. They look equally lovely in a modern garden as they do a cottage garden. Mine are positioned in my white garden at the front of the house (a cottage) by the picket fence (white). Yep, I’m a bit cliche like that.

If you’re planting chamomile (German chamomile, Matricaria recutita – an annual) this season, position it in full sun in well-drained soil. And then you can snip off the flowerheads and dry them to make your own chamomile tea.

Plant Now: Clematis


Clematis plants are in shops now, so it’s a great opportunity to see them in bloom before picking out a variety to plant. Depending on which variety you grow (spring flowering, summer flowering or autumn flowering), you can have a clematis in bloom for most of the year.

Flowers may be small (as little as 2.5cm) or large (up to 25cm in diameter), single or double. They prefer a moist, well-drained soil that’s neutral to slightly alkaline in pH. They need plenty of water and regular, balanced feeding. When planting, mix a handful of bonemeal into the soil.

Clematis make great cut flowers. Pick when the blooms have just opened and remove all foliage.

Photo credits: The top images comes from Snippet & Ink; the second image is from Grey Likes Wedding.

Break out of the weeknight recipe rut


OK, this is not about flowers, but I wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to over at Sweet Living. I’ve launched my Weeknight Menus + Shopping Lists membership for those of you struggling to think up what to cook every night. It takes the pain out of dinner preparation.

So what do you get?

  • Time-saving, delicious meal plans for every weeknight of the year – for 1 whole year!
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  • Exclusive information from expert nutritionists.
  • A monthly podcast/webinar offering nutritional advice.
  • Exclusive member giveaways.
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  • 10 bonus cooking ebooks
  • Access to our members-only Facebook community, where you can hang out with like-minded people, have fun, get support, and share ideas, tips and recipes.
  • Your sanity back!

But HURRY! I’ve got a very special offer that closes in less than 24 hours!


Plant Now: Campanula


Looking for a haze of blue for your garden? Plant Campanula lactiflora. It’s a stunner, with stems up to 1.5m high. Great for picking, it bears panicles of bell-shaped flowers from midsummer to autumn. In cooler areas plant in full sun; in the warmer north partial shade is best. Protect young plants from slugs and snails.

The top image, via HGTV Gardens, also shows the David Austin rose ‘Golden Celebration’. Bottom two images via the Frustrated Gardener.

Spring gorgeousness


I’m absolutely loving this bouquet by Cathy Martin Flowers. It’s topped with hellebores, jasmine, sweet peas and tuberose. Divine.

Image via The Swish List.

Plant Now: Statice

Ordinarily I’m no fan of statice (Limonium), but in certain circumstances this papery flower can look quite classy. Here, in both these bouquets, they stand out, in the top bouquet with its blooms grouped in vibrant hues, and in the second bouquet because the buds stand in a loose and airy fashion above the rest of the flowers. In the bottom image, again, the closed flowers provide a beautiful, airy table display.

There are two types of statice. The top two images feature the annual statice (Limonium sinuatum) and the bottom two images showcase the perennial statice (Limonium latifolium). The latter, also called sea lavender, grows well in sandy, salty and windy conditions, producing a cloud of small lavender blooms on stems up to 90cm high. The annual statice is the one we see most often in garden centres (and all seed companies sell this one), and it’s a cinch to grow. Flowers can be displayed fresh or dry.

Seeds for the perennial statice are available from Kings Seeds.

Image credits: the top image is via Tumblr; the second image from the bottom is from The Flower Lab; the bottom image is from Wedding Chicks.

Sweet Living magazine Issue 11

Sweet Living magazine

Have you had a chance to read my online magazine, Sweet Living, yet? It’s free, and the latest issue just hit the cybershelves. You can check it out here.

Happy reading!

Plant Now: Achillea ‘Double Pearl’


Achillea ‘Double Pearl’ produces clusters of pure white, pompom flowers over a long period during summer. The flowers are great for picking, with stems growing up to 75cm high. Like gypsophila, they can be used as a filler in vases or bouquets. Vase life is around 5-8 days.

Sow seeds in trays, before planting in a sunny position in the garden. You can get seeds from Kings Seeds.

Top image is from Australian Seed.

Beautiful centrepiece


I love this arrangement. It’s so beautifully soft and feminine. And it incorporates some of my favourite blooms, including moth orchids (phalaenopsis) and Japanese anemones.

I feel a little bad though. I copied this image a while back and now I can’t remember where I took it from. Eek. Sorry if it’s yours. If it’s any consolation, I think it’s beautiful!

Win a Daltons Premium Strawberry Pack


Go in the draw to win a Daltons Premium Strawberry Pack!

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