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 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 d├ęcor. 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 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!

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

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 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.