Thursday, 10 October 2019

World Mental Health Day and Gardening

Gardening and Mental Health are fantastic partners:

No this isn't me jumping on a band wagon.

I take anti-depressants. I have done for around 12 years.
The reasons for my depression are a complicated jumble of chronic illness, the death of my mother, trying to self-build a house and renovate another, workplace bullying, and the classic: hormones.

After being brushed off by a doctor near our old house, we decided to transfer to the practice near our self-build. The 10 minute assessment appointment turned into an hour. I reeled off everything that was happening to me, I sobbed, she listened, she asked me some questions on a standard test to try to gauge my current state, and she decided I needed to give myself a break, she would get my medical issues fully investigated and while I was waiting for Consultant appointments and scans she wanted me to start taking an anti-depressant.

I broke down in tears again, not so much because I felt like a failure for needing anti-depressants (which is very common), but because she had heard me, really heard me.

We started on a very low dose of something to boost my serotonin fact the pharmacy printed label said 'take one daily to boost low mood'.

My GP checked back in with me a couple of weeks later, then again a couple of weeks later, and we agreed that though I'd noticed an improvement, it was very mild, perhaps we needed to increase the dose a bit.

Currently I'm prescribed 3 times the amount I was on when I started (which is still well below the maximum daily dosage), and for me it works. I feel balanced, my responses to stress, anxiety and sadness are much more in proportion - I now recognise just how bad I was back in 2007.

I think it is incredibly important that we talk about mental health and stop being afraid of anti-depressants. Talking openly to people at work, I've discovered quite a few people who have been prescribed them. Some only for a short time, and some much more long term like me.

I've seen people give up because the tablet prescribed didn't work, or gave them side-effects - to these people I say wait, speak to your GP about your concerns. There are a lot of options out there, just because one tablet hasn't helped doesn't mean a different one won't. I was lucky that my GP chose carefully for me. Also anti-depressants aren't like flipping a light switch, things take time to work and find balance. My husband was incredibly supportive which helped enormously.

I've seen people begin to feel better after taking anti-depressants for a short while, and stop taking them suddenly because they think they are 'cured'! Again, go to your GP, do not just stop taking anti-depressants, always do it with the support and guidance of your doctor, you can fall into very dark paces (metaphorically) when you go cold-turkey. A dear friend decided to take himself off his tablets suddenly, and became very ill. When I asked him why, he said he hated the idea of taking anti-depressants - like it labelled him in some way, we discussed it long and hard, I reminded him that some people (like me) have a chemical deficiency/imbalance and the tablets are there to support our body much like taking a vitamin. Think of it simply as a daily supplement and the demonising voices begin to fall away.

Soon after, with his GPs guidance, my friend got himself back onto his tablets and I made him swear never to take himself off them again without first consulting his doctor.

So can gardening really help?

Well it certainly helps me as part of my daily self-care 'routine', and millions of others swear by it too.
Not only are you moving muscles, breathing fresh air and hopefully picking up some much needed vitamin D (but do wear sunscreen!), you are also absorbing yourself in an activity that needs concentration, but shouldn't add to your stress if you do it right.

For example, deadheading flowers focuses your eyes and mind on finding those faded blooms, carefully tracing the stem back to the next flower or leaf node, and snipping it cleanly off with sharp secateurs or scissors. Each one removed is a success, and will reward you with more flowers in a few days/weeks.

Sowing seeds, potting on seedlings and planting them out can have similar powers to train the mind away from stress and anxious thoughts. If listening to birds singing (or neighbours arguing!) is stealing your focus, try bringing it back by listening to some of your favourite music, or maybe a mindfulness podcast if you find these helpful. Some actually find these things anxiety inducing, so do listen to yourself. If you are overwhelmed, stop and change how you are accomplishing your goal, but continue to aim for it.

Don't try undertaking a huge project like building a deck or digging a pond - now is not the time to put extra pressure on yourself. Choose small easy goals (like removing a single dead flower), prepare your tools and surroundings, and take deep steady breaths. If all you manage is that one flower head today, that's perfectly fine - remember that it is one more than you achieved yesterday, and allow yourself to smile when you do succeed.

Rebecca xx.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Plant of the Week 6 - Peony

Plant of the Week 6 - Peony

Hi Everyone!

I do hope you're all enjoying my 'Plant of the Week' YouTube video series. This week we are looking at the beautiful, blousey Peony.

Peony Plant Week YouTube video
Click the link below to watch the video

Click the link below and come along and find out some interesting, practical facts about these magnificent plants.

Rebecca xx

Monday, 20 May 2019

Sick Orchid Update - Has Nature's Gift worked?

It's Crunch Time!

I've had a request for an update video of my very poorly Phalaenopsis orchid.

Treating Orchid root rot
Orchid update - click the video at the bottom of this post

The story so far...

It was starting to struggle to stay hydrated, and only managed one flower this year, so I decided to repot. The roots were officially awful, rotten, mouldy and I ended up removing most of them, cleaning what was left with Isopropyl Alcohol and repotting in a clean pot with fresh medium watch that video here

Then I had a message from E-Coco Products UK, who had seen the vidoe and felt they had a product that might help cure the root rot. So I filmed another video which you can see here,

Three and a half months later, it's time to see if there is any hope for this orchid, are there any roots left in that soil?
Come and find out with me, keep your fingers crossed!

Rebecca xx

Thursday, 16 May 2019

RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Visiting an RHS Show for the First Time

Hi everyone,
Last week I got the opportunity to travel across the country to visit the RHS Malvern Spring Festival - think Chelsea Flower Show, but a fraction earlier and a lot easier to get your purchases home from!

RHS Malvern Spring Festival YouTube video
Spoiler Alert - I bought a new Hosta

I was delighted to be invited by the lovely team from E-Coco Products to be their guest, get to meet and film them, and get loads of garden inspiration too!

Click the link below and come and join me in this week's YouTube video, see what I saw, and what I bought too ⌣

Rebecca xx

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Exploring Doddington Place Gardens on Easter Sunday

Visiting a Beautiful English Garden

It was a hot sunny Easter Sunday here in the UK - normally it snows at Easter, so we were already onto a winner!
We'd had Doddington Place Gardens, near Faversham in Kent, on our must visit list for several years, and finally we decided today was the day.
I went equipped with my filming gear and made a video for my YouTube channel, and here are a few photographic highlights for you.

Rebecca xx
Tulip bakeri Lilac WonderRock Garden Doddington Place Kent
Tulip bakeri 'Lilac Wonder' in the Rock Garden

Rock Garden Sunken Garden Doddington Place
Ornate brickwork separates the Rock Garden from the Sunken Garden

Doddington Place South Terrace Topiary Secret Garden
The South Terrace captivated me

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Easy Easter Decorations with plants

Easy Easter Decorating with Flowers

Hi Everyone,

This week's video is a celebration of Easter and Spring.
I've used a 2nd hand tea set, some adorable little viola and poached egg colour primula, teamed with neutral linen napkins folded into bunny rabbit shapes, and my Gisella Graham Chicken doorstop.

Cute Easter Tea Party DIY Decor flowers plants
Time for a cute Easter Tea Party
These easy decoration ideas are inexpensive and so easy to do. Use all of them for a fun Easter Tea Party, or pick elements for a cute shabby chic table setting. Check out my YouTube video below for how I put it all together.

planting flowers shabby chic containers
Viola in a china sugar bowl with pretty tea time treats

Bunny napkins pretty Spring flowers shappy chic tea party
Napkins folded into bunnies with viola and primula plants
Rebecca xx

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Brand New YouTube Series Starts Today!!

Plant of the Week video- part 1

Well I've been uploading videos to YouTube, at the weekend, for the last 18 months now, and today is the day I launch a new midweek series called "Plant of the Week"

Pumpkin Becki Plant Week midweek YouTube video series

I'll be sharing facts about a different plant every week, some that I grow in my own garden, and some I will have to go searching for. There'll be ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit, fungi and trees too

So please join me, 7pm GMT today, and if you have any plants you'd like me to talk about in future videos, be sure to leave me a comment here, or on the Plant of the Week videos on YouTube 💜

Rebecca xx

Monday, 18 March 2019

Two Tier DIY Fairy Garden - Part 2 of 2

A Fairy Tale Ending in the Garden

Hi everyone!

My epic Fairy Garden build is complete. I'm so proud of how it turned out, and I really want to share the video with you, plus some bonus photographs.

Materials and supplier lists are in the description bar of each video so do go and check those out too.

Garden arch handmade miniature
You enter the garden through an ornate bronze archway

Fairy Garden path patio plants miniature decorations
The two bowls side by side create a flowing Fairy Garden

Handmade miniature garden screen Fairy Garden border
The handmade woven-panel screen provides a backdrop to the garden border

If you watch Part 1 of 2 you'll see me talk about the arch, screen, fence and cottage that I hand made specifically for this garden. Part 2 shows it all coming together, the creation of the patio and paths, and discusses all the plants I use.

Rebecca xx

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Daisy's 2nd birthday - Time for a Guinea Pig Party!

What a transformation

Who'd have thought two years ago that my little wisp of fluff, Daisy Doo would turn into such a magnificent creature. 

When we first saw her, we had no idea quite how her crazy coat would grow, or what a wonderful peacekeeper she would grow up to be, we just knew we needed her to be part of our lives.

Daisy baby guinea pig 8 weeks old
Daisy when she first arrived with us at 8 weeks old

Daisy baby guinea pig eating
She was so small she was dwarfed by even the tiniest of bowls

Daisy baby guinea pig surrogate mum
She clung to Molly Mumma, who was such a gentle spirit

You're a super-special girl Daisy Doo, and we love you bucketloads.

Come and join Daisy and the herd at Daisy's 2nd birthday party

Rebecca xx

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Surprise Orchid Update 2019 - Nature's Gift vs Root Fungus

Root Fungus on Phalaenopsis Orchid

In this week's video we are asking one of life's biggest questions...well, maybe. Could Nature's Gift from E-Coco Products solve my root fungus problems. I don't know, but they've sent it to me to try, so I'm prepared to unpot this poor orchid all over again.

Come and see what's going on in the surprise update video.
Rebecca xx

**Disclaimer - this is not a Paid For promotion, or Sponsored post in any way, the product was sent to me to try, with no expectation that I would make content about it.**

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Back to Basics - Sowing Seeds for Square Foot Gardening - Leeks

Sowing Seeds for the Square Foot Garden - Leeks

Hi everyone,

We'd be crazy to think that Winter is over and Spring is on the way, this week in the UK we're expecting sleet, snow and temperatures barely above freezing. However it is possible to get some seeds sown right now, lets get going with some leeks for the Square Foot Garden.

In this video we're sowing Sutton Seeds Leek Lyon Prizetaker. One packet contains on average 300 seeds for just £1.55 (that's less than 1 penny per leek!), as opposed to approximately £2.50 for 1 kilo of loose leeks from the supermarket, and money can't buy the fun involved in growing your own fruit and vegetables.

So here we go, the first in a back-to basics guide to grow your own.

Rebecca xx

Monday, 21 January 2019

My Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) collection 2019 update

My Orchids are looking beautiful - come and see

Hi everyone,
This week's video is an update of my lovely Phalaenopsis orchid collection. 9 out of 11 are flowering right now, but one of them is not doing so well, so I give it an emergency repotting after discovering mould on the root system!

Come and see how I get on,
Rebecca xx

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Meet the Hamsters Part 2 - Taming a hamster

Taming a Syrian Hamster - my technique

Hi everyone!

Well this week's video is a leap of faith for me, trying to tame my new Syrian hamster Charlie - I haven't tried to hold a hamster since I was a teenager - the fear of pain is real 😅

Be prepared for super-cute footage of both Charlie, and Bertie my Winter White Russian Dwarf hamster 😊🐹🐹

Rebecca xx

Monday, 7 January 2019

Hellebores - An important Winter job to do today

Hi there!
Despite the expression on my face, I was really pleased with this week's video. It was 2 degrees C and I was lying on the ground, but I was getting a really important garden job done - winter pruning my Hellebores.

Flick back through the blog posts and you'll see how much I love and treasure these wonderful winter/spring flowering perennials. They are usually the very first splash of colour for the year, they hold their heads shyly and have to be tilted skywards to be appreciated, they provide some of the first forage for early pollinators and they are very undemanding.

This is a really quick video, so strap in and enjoy 😊

Rebecca xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Planting a Terrarium - Tutorial

Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe it's 2019 already?

Today's video is focusing on terrariums and planting different sorts, open, closed, tropical, succulent. It's a long one, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Rebecca xx