Theaters, Pond Filters, and Reading Rooms: Elements of a Thriving Botanical Garden

Expert gardeners know that any botanical garden has different features, but elements that make the gardens unique from one to another, depending on the purpose of the botanical garden. Many botanical gardens are associated with universities or museums for the purpose of conservation and experimentation. Others are for personal or community enjoyment. Whether your botanical garden is an educational project or merely a thing of beauty, here are a few excellent items to keep your botanical garden beautiful and growing for years to come.

Miltoniopsis benito que 'Eternity'
Theaters
A theater is a must-have element for a community garden. Hosting events, educational speakers, and even plays are the type of events that encourage the community to come to the garden and enjoy it, as well as potentially generate revenue for your garden. It doesn’t have to be a big theater. Simply install an open area with removable chairs and tables, surrounded by the beautiful orchids, foliage, and ponds in your botanical garden. Consider using stone or tile for the floor, or stained cement to keep a natural theme within the garden. Create enough space for several people to sit and watch, but also have enough space to accommodate a small, removable stage, or tables up front. Many gardens host events for individuals to learn a new skill – especially to do with gardening or nature. Events for adults might include flower arrangement, caring for exotic orchids, building a garden pond, or caring for bonsai trees. Children’s events are also a great way to draw the larger community in. Consider partnering with local schools in your theater to draw a larger crowd. You could teach basic gardening, classes on photosynthesis, or drawing and painting.

Ponds
A great botanical garden has plenty of ponds, bringing the fresh scent of water and the invigorating sound into the space. Ponds also create a serene and soothing visual experience, especially with exotic flowers that need more humidity and moisture to thrive. It’s important to keep water moving and to filter the water. Stagnant water in a controlled space can be a harbor for insects and bacteria if not properly filtered. Swallow Aquatics has many pond filters in a variety of sizes, which work well for botanical garden ponds. You’ll want to consider the size and capacity of your ponds when choosing a filter. Install and hide the filter behind water vegetation, so your garden can be both practical and beautiful. Every botanical garden needs ponds for visual as well as audio enhancement. Stones make a great surround for the pond to keep natural elements in your pond. Water flowers, koi fish, moss, and ducks are also great elements alongside your pond in your botanical garden.

Reading Rooms
Research libraries are a great place for botanical gardens. They tend to be places academics will go to study rare books or work on their dissertations. Create a space within your botanical garden where students and teachers can come to research and write. Botanical gardens tend to be inspiring places that generate new thoughts and create space for creative and innovative thoughts to happen. A reading room doesn’t have to be a difficult space to build. A library is typically separate from a book room to environmentally protect the books in it, but the reading room can be in more of an outdoor space with comfortable chairs, tables, and couches under an overhang that creates shade. You’ll want to provide outlets and wifi for patrons. To generate income, consider serving coffee or small snacks. The beautiful surroundings will inspire great thoughts.


Phalaenopsis Brother Janet

Phalaenopsis Brother Janet 
Phalaenopsis Brother Janet is a vigorous growing Phalaenopsis, this one was on display at the 2012 RHS Hampton Court Flower show.

Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile
Dendrobium nobile, also known as The Noble Dendrobium is native to southern Asia. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called shí hú. This particular orchid is one of the most widespread ornamental members of the family. Dendrobium nobile is a sympodial orchid which forms pseudobulbs. This orchid is an epiphyte and main plant produces little offsets which will continue the life of the plant after the original plant dies, each year. The flower bract is erect and during the flowering period it forms blooms on its sides along the whole length, generally opposite of the leaf axis. 

Dendrobium nobile have rather specific cultural requirements however they can still be grown and will produce flowers in the house or under glass. When those requirements are met, they will produce a profusion of sweet-scented, long lasting flowers usually in spring. Nobiles can be placed out side during the summer months however if there is any risk of frost, then you need to bring them back inside. They should be grown in part shade out of the direct sunlight however they do need reasonably bright conditions. 

During the summer you will need to water regulary, especially if kept outside but hold back on watering in the winter. As they like to be kept fairly pot bound then there will be little water held by any media you use (a general orchid potting mix is fine or sphagnum moss), hence the need to water regularly in the growing season. Dendrobium nobile do not like hot temperatures, to induce flowering the plant needs to be kept below about 15 Centrigrade (60f) at night, once flower buds form then the temperature can be increased slightly, with cooler conditions dont over water as this can cause rot. 

We took the above photo at Kew Gardens Tropical Extravaganza 2012.

Feeding Moth Orchids

As with all plants Orchids require nutrition, clearly with many thousand s of different species of orchids each will require their own particular form of care and attention, light levels, watering and nutrition will vary from species to species. For the purpose of this post I am only talking about the typical Phalaenopsis or more commonly known as moth, orchids because these are the most common orchids for beginners, widely available everywhere from DIY sheds, Ikea, garden centres and even small corner shops. Many People view orchids as some sort of exotic, tricky to grow plant, which is simply not true, or rather is not true of Moth Orchids. Orchids have traditionally been grown by specialty growers, producing flowers for the florist trade as well plants for the collectors. 

Phalaenopsis  'Las Palmas'

With any plant to get the best out you should consider their cultural requirements, Phalaenopsis orchids epiphytes, which essentially means they they grow on tree trunks, branches, rocks, and anywhere else they can get a hold. Their roots are mostly exposed to the air and as such Moth orchids do not grow up out of the soil like a typical terrestrial plant. 

The roots collect all the moisture and nutrients the orchid needs from the surrounding environment, for instance organic materials like rotten leaves, animal droppings, as well as mineral deposits in rainwater serve as to feed the orchid. 


For convenience, a slow release fertilizer with equal proportions of N-P-K (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K)) (14-14-14) used as directed, works well with Phalaenopsis. However, most serious growers prefer to use a liquid plant food, again with equal parts of N-P-K, appled at the recommended rate every second time you water.During blooming season you might consider a blooming plant formula with elevated phosphorus levels (i.e. 10-30-20). During winter months you can reduce liquid fertilizer applications to once a month.


If in doubt remember, Orchids will do far better with too little fertiliser than with too much.

Phalaenopsis Sin-Yuan Golden Beauty



This stunning yellow phalaenopsis hybrid invokes the lovely warm colours of autumn. This orchid is strictly known as Doritaenopsis Sin-Yuan Golden Beauty, Doritaenopsis being the correct name for a cross between Phalaenopsis and Doritis.

Winter Gardening & Your Orchids

Vanda Royal Blue
With the colds of winter just a couple of months away (and even closer depending on where you might live), gardening enthusiasts are working on their last opportunities for autumn planting. Indeed, there are actually plenty of nice flowers and vegetables you can plant in autumn to be ready to sprout and flower when the spring season comes along.

Autumn and winter gardening is in many cases not quite as pleasant as spring and summer time outside. Generally, a few extra preparations and accessories are needed. Things like:

  • New Gloves - Some experienced gardeners prefer to work without gloves when possible, but during the cooler seasons gloves become absolutely necessary. Cold and numb fingers just can't get the job done!

  • New Contacts - Spending more time than usual outside when it's cold can result in unforeseen eye irritation, dryness, etc. It's always worth a look at Acuvue for information on dealing with these kinds of conditions through new lenses.

  • Portable Heaters - Finally, if you're really intend on spending time out in the garden past when it gets cold, a portable, battery charged heater can be a great accessory.

But even if you take these steps and consider options like these for comfortable outdoor gardening, there are some plants that simply can't handle the winter seasons, and orchids are among those plants. According to Orchid Plant Care online, orchids require temperatures between 12 degrees and 27 degrees celsius to thrive, and in most places winter dips below this range, often for weeks or months at a time. So how can you help your outdoor orchids to survive? Well, that's simple: bring them inside! Here are a few quick tips on indoor orchid care during the winter.
  • Balance Light & Temperature - Orchids ideally require roughly 12 or more hours of natural sunlight every day, and this can be tough to manage indoors. Not to mention, keeping orchids too close to windows during the winter may keep their temperatures cool. There are two solutions to this problem: one is to simply keep orchids in the centre of the most well-lit room in your home and see how they do. The other is to look into purchasing an artificial light source for your indoor plants.

  • Water By Touch - Caring for a plant indoors, during the winter, is different than outside when it's warm out, so don't rely on a watering cycle or schedule. Instead, simply keep a close eye on your orchids, and water accordingly when the soil in the plant begins to feel noticeably dry.

  • Move The Air - Circulation is important for all living things, including your winter orchids. A fan (ideally a ceiling fan) or two, even on low speeds, can do a great deal to keep air circulating and fresh, which in turn will help your orchids stay healthy.
So there you have it! It's a bit more effort, but with proper care your orchids can thrive inside all winter long!

Awe-inspiring orchid gardens around the globe

Few plants in history have been the focus of as much passion as that engendered by orchids.  The delicacy and unique beauty of these exotic flowers, so unlike anything else in the botanical world, has obsessed collectors and won the hearts of romantics.  Although they can be difficult to keep in captivity, often requiring finely tuned conditions, they have been taken from the wild in huge numbers, driving several variants to the verge of extinction.  Now that laws protect them, the best way to see rare varieties is to visit long-established orchid gardens where careful husbandry has enabled them to thrive.  Spending time in these gardens is an unforgettable experience.
Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'
Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'

National orchid garden of Singapore
This lush and beautiful garden has been dedicated to cultivating orchids since 1928.  It features the world’s largest display of tropical orchids and some stunning colour-themed collections.  Rare species are kept in the orchidarium and the mist house contains a remarkable collection of specimens bred for their scent.  The garden is easily accessible by bus.

Atlanta botanical garden, USA
With the largest collection of orchids in America, this garden uses glasshouses to recreate the environments where exotic species flourish in the wild.  The cloud forest orchids in the Tropical High Elevation House are a must-see.  Spring is the best time to visit to see as many flowers as possible in bloom.

Bogar botanical garden, Indonesia
Founded by Dutch colonists near the capital city, Jakarta, these gardens include an orchid hose with over 3,000 species.  They’re known for successfully cultivating Grammatophyllum speciousum, the world’s largest orchid.  The gardens are so popular that it’s even possible to get a direct bus there from the airport. The collection contains many rare and fragile blooms.

Ko Samui orchid garden, Thailand
Orchid lovers planning a holiday should definitely consider hotels in Ko Samui, as many species of orchid grow wild in the area.  The orchid garden on the northern coast, near Bang Po village, may be smaller and simpler than some but has a beautiful collection of tropical blooms flourishing in their native habitat.
Ascocenda 'Fuchs Gold'
Göteborg botanical garden, Sweden
The biggest garden in Sweden, this beautiful park includes four glasshouses with over 1,500 species of orchid bred from specimens collected all over the world.  Each glasshouse is set to provide different environmental conditions and between them they showcase the adaptability of these fascinating plants.

Durban botanical gardens, South Africa
In the oldest surviving botanic gardens in all of Africa there is an 82-year-old orchid collection featuring more than 9,000 plants.  It’s just a short drive from the city, on the edge of the Berea Ridge, and it also features a garden for the blind, filled with fascinating textures and scents.
Vanda 'Thai Ruby'

For many people, a visit to an orchid garden marks the start of a passion that will stay with them for life.  Despite the popularity of tropical specimens, many beautiful species can survive well in colder climates and the staff at the gardens usually have helpful advice on how to choose them, so it could be time to think about starting a small orchid garden at home.

What are the best gloves to use for gardening?

If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll be well aware of the need for a good pair of gloves. You can get away without them for many tasks, but at some point or other, a bit of absent-minded pruning will have turned into something much more serious, at the end of which you’ll find your hands and lower arms scored with countless scratches. ‘I must remember to wear gardening gloves,’ you’ll think.

But which ones?
A pair of gloves can both help and hinder, so it pays to think about how you will use them so that you can make the right decision. In particular, fine, dextrous work will demand well-fitting gloves which aren’t too thick. Fortunately, modern materials mean that you can find this without having to compromise on protection and durability.

The right size
No matter which material you go for, ensure that your gloves are the correct size. The easiest way to check this is by putting a pair on and clenching your fists. You will easily feel whether they are too tight or too loose. If they are a good size, you should be able to avoid blisters even if you spend quite a long time working in them.

It’s also best to get gloves which go past your wrist. When reaching into shrubs or doing weeding, you can often pick up a lot of scratches around the wrist area. Having that extra bit of material will also prevent dirt from getting inside your gloves. You can even look for those with elastic around the wrist to provide extra protection in this regard.

The right material
This may depend on the task you are carrying out. In some cases, you’ll simply want a bit of protection and a straightforward pair of thick cotton gloves will be enough. At other times, you’ll want waterproof materials which will keep your hands dry when working with water or damp soil.

In some situations, it would be well worth investing in nitrile gloves or those with a nitrile coating. If you are dealing with pesticides, fertilisers, oils or acids, this material will provide your hands with good protection. Neoprene resists more oils and solvents than almost any other material and it also provides good protection from cuts and scratches.

No matter which material you go for, look at what is used on the palms and fingers to confirm that it will give you sufficient grip. Hard manual work involves great forces, so you don’t want tools slipping or you are liable to get blisters. Fortunately, many cotton gloves come with a thin nitrile coating which will provide this.

Conclusion
A good pair of gloves can be the difference between enjoying your time in the garden and finding you’ve sustained injuries. The right gloves can effectively provide you with the motivation to spend more time in the garden as well as the protection you need in order to do this. Different gloves offer different benefits and it may be worth investing in several pairs so as to ensure that you always have the right ones for any given task.
The Glove Club are manufacturers and suppliers of a wide variety of gloves to suit all purposes.


Miltoniopsis benito que 'Eternity'

Miltoniopsis benito que 'Eternity'

Win A stunning Orchid

We have a stunning Ochid and bowl available to win form Marks and Spencers, this is an easy orchid for msot people so you should have plenty of enjoyment from it.

This stylish twin stem multi-floral Phalaenopsis orchid will make a statement in any home. Allow it to cause a stir again and again by displaying by a window that doesn't get direct sun allowing it to bloom for many weeks. With care will reflower in future.



To Enter all you have to do is answer the following question.

What type of Orchid is pictured above.

a) Phalaenopsis 
b) Paphiopedilum 
c) Cymbidium

Remember we will need to be able to contact you if you do win, so whilst "anonymous replies" can be made to the blog if there isn't a way to contact you then these will sadly have be discounted please leave a twitter name for us to get hold of you if you enter this way.

Extra entries can be made by sharing this competition on Twitter (include #orchidgardens so we can see your extra entry) or by liking our page and sharing the competition from Facebook. 

An additional entry can be made by "following" this blog via Google Friend Connect

Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on 26 September 2013. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter. By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random from the correct entries and will be announced here on the blog. Please make sure we are able to contact you if you do win.

Dendrobium


Disa Orchids


The Disa genus of orchids consists of 169 terrestrial orchid species native to tropical and South Africa, Madagascar and along the Western Indian Ocean. Its members are primarily from South Africa, and it is most noted for the species Disa uniflora, a spectacular red orchid also known as "The Pride of Table Mountain." However, Disa bracteata also occurs near Perth, Australia. They were named after Disa, the heroine of a Swedish legend, by the botanist Carl Peter Thunberg. The plants grow from a fleshy tuberous root which is mostly used for the artificial sweetener maltodextrins and may attain a height of 90 cm. The flowers grow in racemes or solitary. The petals and the lip are small. The lip is nonresupinate, so the flower appears upside down compared to most orchids. The flowers consist essentially of the sepals. The flowers are colored in the whole range of red.

Vanda 'Thai Ruby'

Vanda 'Thai Ruby'

Ascocenda 'Fuchs Gold'

Ascocenda 'Fuchs Gold'

Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'

Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'
Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'

Automatic misting

We are all well aware that to get the best out of your orchids you need to provide the correct light, heat, ventilation and humidity. One of the best ways to control the last element is by the use of an automatic  misting system, which can be used to enhance the ventilation and shading, which can help to avoid greenhouse overheating disasters. For ideal growing conditions to ensure that your orchids will thrive, you really need a a dedicated and automatic solution. Greenhouse misting systems use evaporative cooling to cool your plants naturally. The science is easy: heat is actually used or consumed in the process of evaporation. In greenhouse misting systems, water is pressurized and sprayed through tiny nozzles, creating a micro-fine mist. This mist evaporates in the air, and up to 35 degrees of cooling is the result.

Provide needed moisture when temperatures rise
Ideal humidity levels for most growing environments are from between 50-70%. However for some species you may even need to get up towards 90-100% humidity. In the warm weather months, the heat sucks away the humidity your orchids so desperately need and they will begin to wilt. Unhealthy and poorly performing orchids are the result. Use greenhouse misting systems to maintain ideal humidity, while also providing needed cooling. Use a humidistat control to automatically provide greenhouse humidification when humidity levels drop.


Create the ideal climate for your plants...automatically! 
Use simple thermostats and controllers to automate your climate control system. Greenhouse misting systems should be activated as the heat rises and humidity falls. You can easily control both factors automatically, and as they say¡¦set it and forget it! Optimal climates should never again be an issue.

Using a Claber timer (such as the one illustrated from EasyWatering.co.uk you can ensure that you provide a set amount of water and misting at a set times of the day.

Grow plants that thrive! 
If you are able to maintain the optimal levels of temperature and humidity at all times for your orchids, the you can create an environment where they will grow and bloom perfectly. Combine cooling systems with proper ventilation and air circulation, and climate issues should never be a factor again. Now combine the ideal climate with correct medium and and nutrients and you should now be able to vastly improve your success in growing orchids..
Dendrobium rhabdoglossum

What about misting fans? 
These are an excellent alternative to greenhouse misting systems for creating an ideal growing environment. For ideal climates, you do need air circulation. Greenhouse misting fans combine the power of mist cooling with the air circulation of fans¡¦all in one little package. Choose from various sizes of "hang and use" fans. They are also controllable by internal humidistats and thermostats, so they can be the right solution if you desire different climates in different areas of the greenhouse. Greenhouse misting systems are an ideal solution.

Bringing the British beauty inside your home

All too often, many of the natural treasures that Britain has to offer are overlooked. The country’s temperate climate means that there is an abundance of natural elements available to decorate and bring a sense of calm into any home.

A fresh look for the interior

Many individuals find the natural world incredibly relaxing when compared to the one they normally inhabit, and they try to find ways to merge the two. Fresh flowers can instantly make a room seem alive and brighten up otherwise boring pieces of furniture. Place a large vase or bowl of flowers in the centre of a dining table for an immediate eye-catching centrepiece.

Fresh flowers should not be reserved solely for the reception rooms in a house. They can improve mood and help foster creativity, so place them liberally around the home. Cut flowers and houseplants can improve the atmosphere near computers and other hi-tech equipment, so why not place a good-sized plant next to the PC?

Eye-catching flower decorations do not always call for big bouquets or statement blooms. A well-placed bud vase with a single flower can have a subtle, yet powerful impact.

Houseplants generally require at least some maintenance, so fake flowers can work well as an alternative. Good quality silk flowers can look just as good as the real thing and require no looking after. The outdoor theme can be extended to include pots and planters; choose ones that look natural, such as wood or bamboo.



Go to almost any supermarket today and there is sure to be an assortment of potted orchids for sale. These long stemmed plants make a great modern-looking statement and will add elegance to any room. Orchids require humid conditions, so they thrive in the bathroom and kitchen. With so many colours and variations to choose from, make an orchid a standout attraction by matching it to the room’s décor. Thanks to their light weight, orchids do not have to be kept in pots on tables; instead, they can also be placed in large wall candlesticks. Some varieties are even small enough to be grown in teacups. Fortunately orchids do not require much maintenance. In fact the only real drawback is that they only flower once a year.




Other bits from nature

It is not just flowers and plants that can improve the living space. Other items from nature can have a significant effect on a room. For example, dried twigs or small logs with interestingly shaped roots can make pleasing ornaments, perfect for ‘naturalising’ pieces of modern furniture.

They may not to be to everyone’s taste, but taxidermy is currently a booming hobby and mounted antlers are making appearances, not just in vintage rooms, but in modern ones too.

Going to the seaside? Look out for shells that can act as ornaments or scallop and oyster shells that will not only look good, but also make handy bowls to put keys or mints in.

Stones also make an interesting display and oversize cut agates work particularly well alongside twigs and branches.

An update on the Patio

We have been planning a makeover of our top patio and with the new conservatory work nearing completion we need to think ahead. The area will have new planting, paving and fences so the furniture also needs to tie in with the new looks to the house and garden.

Garden furniture says a lot about the garden and we will have to live with the choice for quite some time so have been giving the selection quite a lot of thought.

I think we have finally made my mind up, following a couple of hours going through gardening magazines and searching on line. I must have looked at literally hundreds of different styles and colours, from the very modern and brightly coloured to much more traditional and even quite retro or old fashioned.

So... what were they key choices...

Metal
Metal garden furniture often has either an old fashioned Victorian feel or quite a bistro feel. Many of the modern bistro sets which sometimes have wooden seats as well as metal framed, I dont really like sitting on metal furniture on a hot day, especially if you are only wearing shorts!! Then of course there is the very modern metal ones, although these often have a price tag to match the great style.

Too old fashioned for me, but a great style for a Victorian theme.

I do like this style, but always find i get hot or cold legs when you sit on the metal seat. You can get this style with wooden seats which I prefer.


Quite a modern take on the bistro set, metal and wood. very summery!

Wicker
The vast majority of rattan or wicker garden furniture is not actually made from Rattan or wicker any more. Rattan is a natural product from a type of palm grown in the topics and Wicker is the act of weaving furniture often from wood or another natural product. Both are reasonably long lasting, but would not take well to continuous exposure to the British climate. Instead Rattan or Wicker style garden furniture is usually made in the same style from a plastic based alternative. This wont get affected the same way as a natural product would in the rain and winter period and lasts a lot longer and keeps its colour far better too!




I love the Wicker style, there can be quite a lot of variety from quite traditional Victorian conservatory furniture styles to very contemporary and modern looks.
Modern style Wicker furniture

Wooden
Hard wood furniture has had a big rise in popularity over the past few years as people moved away from the plastic sets of the 80s and 90s. There is a huge range of styles, designs and prices to meet most peoples budgets. Wooden furniture should be regularly treated, either with a specialist wood oil  or varnish from time to time to keep it at its best.
Traditional wooden garden set - perhaps more at home in a pub garden, not for me this style
Very stylish, this teak set looks amazing, although the price matches fantastic looks.

Fairly traditional and typical wooden patio set, you can get similar in most garden centres.

Plastic
Plastic furniture doesn't have to be the uninspiring cheap white chairs and tables from the past there are so many funky colours and styles available.

Simple and inexpensive but not for me!

Stylish Plastic furniture
How cool is this, bright colours and amazing shapes make plastic such a great material for garden furniture
With so many styles and shops to choose from it can be quite overwhelming when making a choice, after all you will have your furniture for a good number of years to come so you dont want to get it wrong.

I won't reveal which one I opted for but will share photos of the completed patio once it is done!

Vanda Royal Blue

Vanda Royal Blue
Vanda coerulea was first described in 1847 by John Lindley  from the description of a blue orchid found in the Khasia Hills of Assam by William Griffiths. It is a striking species with large, flat, vivid blue, long-lasting flowers. It is greatly prized by growers who have used it extensively in breeding to produce deep blue and purple hybrids.

The striking blue flowers of Vanda coerulea are its most recognisable characteristic, with blue pigmentation only seen elsewhere in this genus in V. coerulescens, V. tessellata, and V. testacea. The leaves are leathery and strap-like and attached to prominent leaf sheaths (part of leaf stalk that covers and rises up from the stem). The flowers are around 13 cm across and notable for their small lip (labellum), approximately 2 cm in length, an unusual characteristic for this genus, shared only with the similarly pigmented, closely related, but much smaller flowered, V. coerulescens. The flower spikes of V. coerulea are occasionally branched, and bear more flowers than is usual in this genus (20–30 per plant, on multiple flower spikes). All characteristics plus the species’ cold tolerance (due to the elevation of its native habitat) make it highly desirable to orchid hybridisers. Pink and white forms also occur in nature – the white forms being the most pure white flowers found in the genus.

Info: Kew Gardens

Garden Furniture Sale

Garden furniture has come on some way from the common garden bench and many luxury items are now for sale that wouldn’t look out of place adorning the poshest of outdoor areas.
With the advent of garden make-over shows and the myriad of lifestyle magazines on offer, the garden is fast becoming viewed as an extension of the home and another ‘room’ to furnish.

Whatever the size of the homeowner’s budget, it is rare that a garden is devoid of somewhere to sit and eat your charred sausages from another impromptu barbecue.

The quintessential table and chairs come in a variety of sizes, materials, quality and of course – price. But with frequent sales at garden centres and the like, the consumer can pick up a bargain or two along the way.
Perhaps one of the more unusual items becoming popular with garden lovers is the swinging chair which can be secured from a tree or purpose made suspension to offer a quiet and soothing retreat. This is a modern and somewhat safer means of relaxing than the hammock which caused hilarity (and injury!) throughout its heyday in the 80’s.

Many more affluent households are now constructing outdoor rooms which afford the occupant’s belongings complete shelter from the elements when not in use. This has given rise to a whole new brand of garden furniture complete with soft furnishings.

Chimineas are a popular way of staying warm after sun set and offer a more attractive heating solution than the standard and cumbersome patio heater. For those without the worry of children, fire pits are a great way to keep the chill off an evening and many garden furniture arrangements now point towards a source of heat like this.


So whilst Granddads of the past make do with an old wooden bench when supping their well-earned cuppa in between tending to their vegetable patch, the modern day garden dweller has a choice of luxury solutions in the Gardens and Homes Direct Garden Furniture range.

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2013

Last week the Hampton Court Flower show was held in London and we went along for a look. As well as plenty of general show gardens and exhibits there were also a number of orchids on display. This is a selection:





Vanda Royal Blue


Ascocenda Natcha 'Madarin'
Ascocenda 'Fuchs Gold'
Vanda 'Thai Ruby'