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Kew Gardens rips off members with change in arrangements with partner gardens.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

With less than less than 3 months notice Kew Gardens changes it rules for members so you now have to pay to gain access to a kew  partnership gardens. Kew Garden are tell members that the free access to partnership gardens is still free as long you purchase a ticket for a friend.  Lots of people purchase Kew Gardens membership to visit Kews partnership gardens so they do not have to pay every time they enter.  Whilst Kew Gardens might be within the rights they have to change membership access to partner garden providing less than 3 months notice to people who have purchase 12 months membership seems I little unfair. But it support the Kew Gardens corporate culture in that members and visitors are seen as an inconvenience  and something that has to tolerated to gain access to massive amount of public assistance through Government hand outs and grant.

The Kew Gardens Email

We are writing to let you know about a change to a membership benefit. Free entry to our partner gardens is changing. From 1 June 2019, members of Kew and Wakehurst will be entitled to 2 for 1 access to partner gardens (listed below) when purchasing an adult or concession ticket*. This replaces the current arrangement where members of Kew and Wakehurst have free entry to partner gardens.


Our partner gardens are:

  • Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest
  • Westonbirt, The National Arboretum
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Benmore, Dawyck, Logan Botanic Gardens
  • Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum
  • Castle Howard Grounds
  • Ness Botanic Gardens
  • Holehird Gardens / Lakeland Horticultural Society
  • Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens


The Differences in Temporary and Permanent Greenhouses

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


There are different types of greenhouses. Some people mistakenly think that you can grow different varieties of crop in one greenhouse. The truth is, the type of greenhouse you choose will depend on a couple of factors:

  • What you plan to grow
  • Your situation

Different plants require different environments in order to grow and thrive. You can therefore opt for the type of greenhouse that most suits your needs depending on what you plan to do with it.

Types of Greenhouses

There are two types of greenhouses: permanent and temporary. The type you need will depend on whether you want to do a lot or relatively little with it.ary greenhouse does not require a hefty investment since you may not be able to do as much with it as you would with a permanent one.

Temporary Greenhouses

If you indulge in gardening more as a hobby than a business meant to bring in profits, the temporary greenhouse may be a good fit for you. They are best suited for:

  • Using it during the wintry seasons to protect delicate plants
  • Growing crops when the ground is covered in frost

When the conditions are back to being favourable for crops, you can dismantle your structure and pack it away for next time. Temporary greenhouses are not as big as the permanent ones as there is no need for them to be spacious.

Some of the structures may have frames made of steel or pole but the covering is film. They are easy and quick to put up and equally easy to dismantle. Manufacturers will advise you to have their covers removed before the high winds strike because they have no wind or snow loads.


  • Very affordable
  • Can be put up for temporary use when needed
  • They are portable

Temporary greenhouses are not built for harsh weather and they do not last very long.

Permanent Greenhouses

There are two great reasons for opting to go with the permanent greenhouse:

  • You want to make some money
  • You plan to grow crops that do well in your geographical location

These structures are pricier than their temporary counterparts but people tend to choose them because with good management, they will give better service. Moreover, you can grow a wider variety of crops including exotic ones and they have a lot more space.

The quality is also better because the frame is bolted together. Also, the material used such as glass or polycarbonate is a lot sturdier than film. A permanent greenhouse of good quality will have snow and wind load.

While a temporary greenhouse may not require a permit to install, many permanent ones do.


  • They are sturdier and therefore last much longer
  • They have more room and can accommodate more plants
  • They can be a means to earn extra money

The ground for installing a permanent greenhouse requires some preparation as a base or foundation is needed. You are well advised to let a professional handle the installation. The warranty ranges from one year to a limited lifetime warranty depending on the greenhouse.


Temporary greenhouses as well as varieties of the smaller permanent ones are easy to move. However, it is not advisable to move them often as that may make them weak. If you must move your small permanent greenhouse, disassemble it and mark each piece clearly for reassembly.


Pesticides in the garden – Try to avoid using pesticides if you can

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon


Any one that has a garden knows that you will always have unwanted visitors, from snails and slugs chomping on  fresh new growth to aphids and blackfly infesting our roses and vegetables. As we are becoming more aware of the long term effects of chemicals on the environment we need to start looking at different methods to control these pests,

Here are a few tips that may help.

Identify what the problem is, it’s far easier to find a solution if you know what you are dealing with.

Try to avoid using pesticides if you can.

There are lots of methods you can use to deter and get rid of pests in your garden,start with  good housekeeping, keeping your garden clean and tidy and allowing enough space for plants to grow in an area that is suited for them will give stronger plants that will be less likely to be attacked by pests, ensure that pruning, feeding and watering is carried out at the right times and that this done correctly, this will keep plants healthy, any pests can be removed by hand or even blasted off with the hose pipe (taking care not to damage the actual plant).

Use a biological control, this means introducing natural predators in your garden that will go after pests, these work really well for aphids, mealybug and slugs.

If you really need to use a pesticide, only use new products and only buy as much as you will need. Make sure you follow the instructions to minimise environmental damage and as with any chemical always store in its original container out of reach of children.

When using pesticides use correct equipment, don’t use more than recommended as it’s not going to work any faster and may cause damage to your plants and surrounding areas.  Don’t spray on windy days as the chemicals can be carried onto other plants and into water and this can be harmful to animals and birds.

When you have finished make sure you rinse everything thoroughly, do not dispose of this into the drain as it can affect the water supply, simply pour your rinsings onto the taea you treated.

You can dispose of old pesticides at a local recycling centre and empty well rinsed ready to use containers can be recycled, and concentrate containers  can be put in normal domestic waste.

Have a go with the non chemical treatment for pests and see what works best for you not only will you save money you will help to save the environment too.


How to select and care for houseplants

In CategoryLorna Sinnamon
ByLorna Sinnamon

House plants in the home not only add to the overall look and feel of your home they can also have many benefits that we might not realise.

Choosing plants.

There is a lot of choice in garden centres  and supermarkets so how can you choose the right plant for you and your space. Here are few questions to ask yourself when selecting a plant.


Do I want the plant to look good all year round?

Chose foliage plants if you are looking for a year round display, plants such as ferns and palms do well. If you are looking for something just to bring a little colour for a short period orchids and bromeliads are easily available.


How much time do I have to look after my plants?

If you live a busy 24/7 lifestyle easy care is a must, Mother in laws tongue and succulents are good choices.


Where will the plant be placed?

Think about what room it is for, somewhere with high humidity like a bathroom would suit a croton, where as a shady room would be ideal for the double z plant.


What do plants need?

Plants have 6 basic requirements, and if you get these all in balance then your plant will thrive.








If your plant starts to look poorly you should check you are getting these right first.


Plants for a specific purpose.

Purifying air,

Plants are natural air purifiers and can absorb chemicals from the air such as formaldehyde and benzene that are released from things like paint, cigarettes and solvents.

Some of the top air purifying plants are

Mother in laws tongue

Peace lily

Spider plants


Reduce stress

Many studies show that if you have plants on or near your desk at work can reduce stress and improve productivity, some have even shown that they can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory problems.


Aid sleep

Certain plants in your bedroom such as Jasmine and Lavender can have a gentle soothing effect at bedtime.


Improve mood and wellbeing

Plants stimulate all our senses with bright flowers, colourful foliage, beautiful scent and velvety leaves, a plant creates an inviting and welcoming space to be in, looking after nurturing your plants and watching them grow can be very rewarding.


Caring for your plants.

Watering there is no rule for watering  house plants, some like lots others like hardly any and this is where most people go wrong, you want to see your plant grow so you water and water and then end up with a dead plant, this is where it is important that you do a little research and look at how the plant would grow naturally and try to adapt your watering schedule accordingly, a desert plant like a cactus should not need more than a few spoons of water through the summer and virtually nothing over winter.


Feeding, It’s always good to give your plants a little boost especially over their growing period of spring and summer, but don’t over do it, too much can burn the plant as it will not be able to process the nutrients quick enough, every couple of weeks is usually enough but always follow the directions.


Position, make sure your plant is in the right position most houseplants dislike direct sunlight but they all require some natural light so rooms without windows and hallways can be challenging for plants. Think about temperature too, most house plants require an even constant temperature, central heating and air conditioning blasting on a plant can have a negative effect. Make sure your plants have enough space to grow if they are constantly being brushed by people and pets the leaves can become damaged and unsightly.

Cleaning and dusting, it is really important to keep your plants clean and dust free,plants have small pores on their leaves that they ‘breathe’ through so it’s important to keep these clear,  and is simply done with a damp lint free cloth, it’s an activity that is often neglected but very satisfying to do.


Growing Media, make sure that your plants are growing in the correct type of soil, a succulent such as a money plant will need a free draining compost and will rot away if planted in a water retaining multi purpose type compost, again a little research will help you find the right mix. Hydroponic ways of growing are becoming popular and this has a lot of benefits of being able to know the amount of water and nutrients your plants are receiving, as they are grown without soil they are much cleaner.


Now that you have been looking after your house plants and they are growing you could be faced with the problem that they are getting too big, it’s really easy to pot them on into larger pots, or you may want to think about dividing them up into smaller plants that you will be able to pass on to friends and family.

If you’re feeling adventurous you may want to start propagating your favourite house plants, Geraniums for example can be grown easily from cuttings that can be taken in spring and by summer you will have an established plant, Mother in laws tongue can be propagated by cutting off the tip and placing that in a  pot of loose compost, begonia rex, can be propagated by leaf cutting, with a tradescantia you can cut off the shoots and leave these in a glass of water for a couple of weeks until they sprout roots which can then be transplanted into pots, the spider plant and probably the easiest of all produces little plantlets than can be easily removed  placed in a pot and then grown on.


All you really need to get started with your house plants is a little knowledge, a little time for their care and some patience, remember there will be casualties along the way but that may be because they are just not suited to the environment and not through anything you are doing wrong, try again with a different plant.


How to Renovate Your Kitchen more effectively

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

A kitchen is an important space in a home or apartment. As food is an essential part of living, people spend a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting with new cuisines and recipes to satisfy their palate. Therefore, it deserves a makeover occasionally so that the enthusiasm for cooking remains alive. Here are a few steps with which you can completely change the look of your kitchen.

Change your worktop:

There are various different kinds of worktops out there that have their own features and perks. You could give your kitchen a complete makeover by changing the material of your worktop. A porcelain worktop is ideal for a kitchen, as it is stain and scratch resistant. It can withstand wine or even bleach spills and be completely unaffected. It is also easy to maintain, as it does not require resealing every few years.

Porcelain worktop is a hygienic choice, as it is resistant to bacteria and mildew, ensuring that your kitchen is always clean and bacteria-free. Neolith is an excellent choice for a kitchen worktop because it is resistant to UV rays, which makes it a hygienic material for a worktop. The thing that makes neolith worktops the right choice for a makeover of your kitchen is that the installation does not require the demolition of the previous worktop. In addition, it is heat resistant; no amount of blow-torching will leave any mark on the surface.

Change the colour scheme and the texture:

Changing the colour scheme of your kitchen will give it a completely transformed look and brighten up the cooking area. The choice of colours is important, as certain dark colours like blue and purple could darken your kitchen. Lighter shades add freshness and a cheerful vibe to your kitchen. Neolith comes in a variety of different patterns and finishes and helps bring out the colour and aura of the kitchen. Neolith Estatuario and Neolith Calacatta may look similar from afar but their patterns vary completely. The vein patterns running through both the tiles are different and add a level of sophistication to your worktop. Neolith Iron Copper has a dark brown tinge and gives a matured look to your worktop.

Replace hardware:

You could change the look of your kitchen by changing its hardware. Choose a different style of door knob or faucet to give your kitchen a new look. Small changes, such as a door or cabinet knob, could change the vibe of a kitchen into something new and attractive.

Change the lights:

The light scheme is an important part of interior designing and the selection of lights changes the look of the space drastically. Changing the lights will be the perfect way to give your kitchen a makeover. A bright kitchen tends to improve the aura of space, so changing the lights will make your kitchen warmer and more positive. It is important to blend the worktop with the colour scheme of the kitchen. Neolith Bianco Carrara imitates the Carrara marble, which is where it gets its name from. It adds a classy look to your kitchen and gives it a completely new look under the new lights.