Plant Now: Pansies


I truly love pansies. At least, I love the soft pink and deep purple pansies of this world. In pots or in the garden, they provide a modicum or mass of beautiful colour. Plant some up in small pots and hang them on gates and fences for a pretty display.

Sow seeds now for autumn and winter colour. Sow them in trays or pots for planting out when big enough.

Pansy ‘Ultima Purple Lace’, in the forth image from the top, has deep-purple velvety flowers with a fine silver lace edge. It’s a knock-out in the garden, ideal for beds or container growing, and even picking for small posies. Seeds are available from Egmont Seeds.

The second image is from Garten Zauber; the third image is from Jackson Pottery; the bottom image is from here.

Learn all you need to know about herbs


I’m offering my ONLINE HERB WORKSHOP again. And the good thing is, you can do it in your own time. There are no time pressures. No restraints. And you have total access to me throughout the course. You’ll learn:

  • Which herbs are best for stress, anxiety and sleep problems (and which don’t work at all)
  • How to make your own natural herbal beauty products, cleaning products and perfumes.
  • The effect of cooking with herbs – and what vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are lost during cooking.
  • How to grow, propagate, harvest and preserve your own herbs.
  • How to grow herbs for flowers


What people have said about the course:

Hi Jane!

I had to drop a line and tell you how much I love this magazine!  It’s the most beautiful and inspiring read I’ve had for a while! The content is very high standard and the recipes!…can’t wait to try those magnificent cakes! Thanks as well for the first module of the Herb Course – I’m just going through it again and revising now – so well written and referenced – what a great way to start learning – fabulous value!
– Poppy

I thoroughly enjoyed Module 4 and can see I will this one too. Thank you so much for making these available online.
– Bev

Module 6 is brilliant! Very informative and helpful – and the table of 25 Herbs to Propagate is just what I’ve been looking for. I’ve started planning a herb collection so this is so useful in terms of choosing what I’ll be planting. I also never thought of planting cumin or cardamom, but I will now, as I use those spices all the time! Keep up the great work, Jane – and thanks again!
– P

I’m really enjoying the modules. They’re really interesting and easy to read.
– Stef

There are six modules to this course, and one module is sent once a week. But you do not have to complete the module in a week. You can read it any time you like. If you don’t want to read it until next year, that’s fine!



Plant Now: Borage


Borage (Borago officinalis) seeds can still be sown for their small intense blue flowers. Bees go potty for the flowers, so keep it close to plants that need pollinating. Sow seeds directly in the ground, in sun or part shade.

Borage is great for the vase – a star on its own or for setting off the other flowers.

Image from Valdirose blog.

Christmas crown


Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a safe and happy holiday. Best wishes for a happy New Year! A Christmas crown from Walk in Love.

Table wreath


A beautiful table wreath for any occasion, though with its pinecones and berries it makes a gorgeous centrepiece for the Christmas table. From The Real Flower Company.

Online herb workshop


Love herbs? Expand your herbal knowledge. Learn about herbs for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic purposes. 

After I launched my herb lecture series earlier this year, I’ve had numerous folk from around the country and overseas asking for an online herbal workshop.

So… here it is!

Online herb workshop

You’ll learn about:

  • Herbs for stress and sleep (which herbs work and which don’t – read about herbs and sleep here)
  • Herbs for beauty (make your own face and body creams, oils, perfumes, etc)
  • Herbs for common ailments (make salves, tinctures, etc)
  • Herbs for cleaning (make your own natural cleaners)
  • Cooking with herbs (plus make herb mixes, and preserve your herbs)
  • How to grow and propagate your own herbs

Includes information on stevia (the ‘sugar herb’ to use in place of sugar) plus recipes using stevia.

The details

This is a 6-week online herb workshop. But here’s the thing. You can do it at your own pace at any time – you don’t have to complete it within the 6 weeks. And don’t worry. There’s no exam. It’s just a whole lot of darn fine information on everything herbal.

Who am I?

I am Editor of Sweet Living magazine; Editor of HerbNews (the quarterly magazine for the NZ Herb Federation); Herb columnist for NZ Gardener magazine; and Weekly gardening columnist for Waikato Times, Southland Times, Manawatu Standard, Taranaki Daily News, Nelson Mail, Marlborough Express and Timaru Herald. And I frequently give talks and run workshops across the country.

Do you want in?


Read more here 


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!
  • A weekly shopping list for each week’s menu.
  • Exclusive information from expert nutritionists.
  • A monthly podcast/webinar offering nutritional advice.
  • Exclusive member giveaways.
  • Surprise perks and breathtaking goodies you won’t want to miss.
  • 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.