Monday, 21 May 2018

My Garden Tour Video - May 2018

There's so much going on in the garden at the moment, that I thought it was an ideal time to do a garden tour video.

The early-mid Spring flowers have faded, and the late Spring ones are bursting into life everywhere I look; geraniums, ceanothus, alliums, irises, wallflowers, heuchera, hostas and so much more. This is a lush time, before the summer heat takes its toll.

Rebecca xx

Monday, 7 May 2018

Meet Stompy our new baby Tortoise

This week's video is all about my new baby tortoise Stompy, featured in the previous blog post.

Please take a moment to like, comment and subscribe to me here on Blogger, and also on YouTube, I'd really appreciate it.

Rebecca x

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Stompy the Greek Spur-Thigh Tortoise

My new pet - a baby Tortoise!

In my last blog post I mentioned some very strange plants that I'm trying to cultivate. The reason for these oddities is this little chap...

Stompy baby Greek Spur Thigh Tortoise
Stompy the Tortoise

Or's hard to tell at this age!

We've named him/her Stompy (for now at least), and for ease I'll refer to this creature in the masculine from now on (otherwise I'll drive myself bonkers!). To be honest, I wanted to call him Om after the Great God Om (Holy Horns) from Terry Pratchett's book "Small Gods", but I think that got vetoed 😒

Stompy's Particulars:

  • Stompy hatched in September 2017
  • He weighs 63 grams (I haven't measured him yet - but his plastron is roughly 6.5cm long)
Stompy baby Greek Spur Thigh Tortoise hand
Stompy is very dinky - and I have small hands!

  • He is a Testudo graeca graeca or Greek Spur-Thigh Tortoise (not to be confused with the African Spurred Tortoise Centrochelys sulcata, which grows enormous)
  • He was bred by a work colleague, who has owned the adults Tilly and Trevor for years and years. Tilly had laid eggs before 2017 but they were never fertile. Then in August 5 babies hatched from a clutch of 6 eggs, then Stompy and one other hatched in September from two more eggs laid a little later.
  • Stompy could live to be 100 years old, with the right care - I unfortunately will be long gone by then!

 Tortoise Habitat

There are approaching 300 species of tortoise and turtle in the world, 5 of them are known as Mediterranean, and they have all evolved to deal with slightly different environments.

The Greek Spur-Thigh Tortoise needs temperatures of around 20-35 degrees Centigrade during the day, the upper end being the all important basking temperature. UVA and UVB light sources are necessary for correct growth and metabolism, and a humidity level of around 40-50% is ideal.

While Stompy is so small, it's not safe for him to be left out in the garden to roam free, getting all his nutrients etc from nature, so we have to try to replicate his natural environment indoors.

The easiest and safest way to do this is by constructing or buying a Tortoise Table. Do not try to house your tortoise in a Vivarium, Terrarium or anything that the tortoise can see through. The first two are impossible to control environmentally, the latter will cause your tortoise to fret about the boundary line, constantly trying to get to what's beyond it.

Tortoise Table set up
Stompy's Tortoise Table

Research is King

I've spent months researching what Stompy will need to live a long healthy life, and while that doesn't make me an expert, it does mean I understand that Tortoise care is complicated and you can't take shortcuts. 

Initial cost is a big factor to bear in mind:

And then there's the cost of the tortoise itself. 
Expect to pay around £150 - £250 for a captive bred Tortoise with it's certificates. 

Admittedly once the initial set up is done, there will be less ongoing cost, but UVB bulbs need replacing every 6-9 month, substrate can be spot cleaned daily but needs totally replacing periodically, Vet bills must always be taken into account, and finding a good reptile/exotics Vet is harder than you might think, so do your homework, you need everything set up, tested and the basking temperature settled BEFORE you bring your tortoise home.

Stompy mini garden edible plants
Stompy in his mini garden


There are commercial tortoise diets on the market, but by growing the right plants, it is entirely feasible (and healthier) to never need to feed pre-prepared food to your tortoise. I have a several safe houseplants in the table; a Prayer Plant, a Boston Fern and a Spider Plant. I've also planted up six half sized seed trays with plants from my garden like violet, London Pride, hardy geranium, Couch Grass and plantain, plus I've sown seeds of cat grass, dandelion, harebell, zinnia, pansy, marigold and hollyhock, all of which are safe to feed. 

It's important to know that what you are feeding is safe for your tortoise to eat, that it hasn't been sprayed with pesticides, fed with chemical fertilizers. treated with slug pellets or been used as a bathroom for visiting dogs and cats.

You can download edible plant lists from The Tortoise Table, plus they have a really fantastic App that you can take with you on your mobile phone. 

I can't tell you how helpful The Tortoise Trust and The Tortoise Table websites are. There's a lot of conflicting advice out there, but if you start with these two sites you won't go far wrong.

So, please join me in welcoming Stompy to our family, we're captivated by him.

Rebecca xx

NB All prices quoted correct as of April 2018.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

I'm Growing Some Really Weird Plants!

Forget Carnivorous Plants, these are even weirder!

This week I've made a YouTube video all about some very odd plants I'm trying to cultivate. Don't be worried, they're just more likely to be the sort of thing a gardener would be pulling up, not planting in the garden...come and see what on earth I'm talking about...

Rebecca xx

Please remember to πŸ‘share and subscribe to me on YouTube, and to get notifications every time I upload videos, press the little πŸ”” button too 😍

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Spring 2018 has arrived at last

Spring is in full swing!

It's taken it's sweet time, fierce easterly winds brought in snow, ice and freezing temperatures in March, but finally, enevitably, Spring 2018 has arrived - thank goodness!!

Let's have a look at a few of the highlights so far...


Alpine Planter Arabis Armeria Thrift
New Alpine Planter
 This new planter is filled with two types of Arabis, one creeping and one upright, and wonderful softly spikey Armeria aka Thrift.

Spring Bulbs

Anemone coronaria blooming newly hatched ladybird
Anemone coronaria and ladybird

I can't believe I took this photo with my camera phone! No filters or fancy stuff, this is just how stunningly vivid anemones look...the newly hatched ladybird needs to learn about the art of camouflage though πŸ˜„

Narcissus Tete-a Tete have been beautiful this year, and I love the contrast with these early purple tulips, the pink hellebores and all the vibrant fresh foliage.

Spring bulb mixture Narcissus Tete a Tete purple tulips hellebores
Narcissus Tet-a Tete, Tulips and Hellebores


I've just refreshed my Sempervivum planters, they are doing really well, and have put on lots of growth as the days are getting longer and warmer. I love the tapestry of colours, sizes, textures and markings.

Mixed Sempervivum planted Strawberry Pot
A Mixture of Sempervivum in a Strawberry Pot

But as you'll see from the next photo, they also look really fabulous when one variety is planted en-mass (see the top right pot crammed with a cushion of wine red Semps)

More Sempervivums planted pots low bowls
More Sempervivum Planters

The Woodland Garden

Things are changing daily in the Woodland Garden, and whilst I love all my plants, there is something very special about Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa). I remember walking through woodland with my mother, and her pointing out these shining white, daisy-like flowers to me. She loved them, and the way they spread and bloom under deciduous trees.

My clumps are growing huge, and last Spring I took the opportunity to split off some pieces and replant them in other areas of the Woodland Garden.  I was delighted to see them flowering among the Primroses and Dog Violets too.

Wood Anemones blooming Woodland Garden
Wood Anemones glowing under the trees

On the Lawn

I scurrified the grass ready for it's first cut, and was surprised by this little beastie proudly sticking out from the turf...

Morel mushroom growing lawn Spring 2018
A Morel Mushroom

And the Morel of this story is...Sorry, that's a terrible joke 😁

Don't become plant blind, nature is amazing and ever-changing. It's so important that we appreciate its diversity, ingenuity and tenacity. Not just from an environmental or horticultural standpoint, but also to get our faces out of our smartphones and start experiencing real life.

What's going on in your garden right now? Let me know in the comments,
Rebecca xx

Monday, 9 April 2018

My Carnivorous Plant Collection and Repotting

Finally! A Carnivorous Plant video on my YouTube channel

I really needed to do some repotting of my Carnivorous plants, and seeing as it's Spring and they are beginning to come out of dormancy, I thought I'd bring you along for the ride.

Enjoy the video, and please remember to rate and share my videos, and subscribe to my YouTube channel too :)
Thank you
Rebecca xx

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Lambing time

A brand new YouTube video, just for you x

Hi there!

This week on YouTube I'm celebrating the real arrival of Spring with a video all about lambs...lots and lots of cuddly, bouncy lambs - prepare for cuteness overload!

If you haven't already subscribed to my YouTube channel please do, and remember to click the little πŸ”” (bell) icon to get notifications every time I upload πŸ˜‰

Rebecca xx