P is for . . .

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Now that we’re all spending much more time indoors, it’s easy to appreciate the power of a good plant. Whether you’re outside tending to your garden or allotment, or inside watering your monstera, it’s hard to deny the soothing effect plants have on us. After all, plants can help lift your mood, reduce stress levels and make you feel calmer. Having flowering plants around your home has even been proven to make people feel happier. So, pull on those gardening gloves, grab your watering can and let’s head into the wonderful world of plants…

Grow your own

Markus Spiske Bk11Wzwb9F4 Unsplash

So, you want to grow your own vegetables, but you’re not sure where to start.

What do you need to do to prep? What veggies should you plant and when? What happens if the weather turns?

These are all pretty common questions, and there are lots of places you can go to find the answers. A few brilliant online guides we’ve found include:

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Grown Your Own monthly guide – A break down for each month of the year, including jobs to do for growing fruits and vegetables, problems or pests you might encounter at that time of year and general care advice for your plants.

Allotment-garden.org is also brimming with advice, including monthly vegetable sowing and harvesting charts, when to order the seeds you will need for later in the year, plus monthly breakdowns of general garden and greenhouse tasks.

We also have a brilliant range of gardening books in our catalogues to get you started click on the book covers to see more:

Or take a look at all our gardening books here

Plantation of poems

If you were given three random words could you use them to write a poem? During the first Lockdown, Courage Copse Creatives teamed up with Bideford Library to deliver a project that aimed to connect people with nature and literature, challenging novice and professional poets alike to create verses using three randomly generated words.

Sounds tricky, right? It was. But the results were breath-taking to behold.

Find out more about Plantation of Poems in the video below:

A social enterprise in the making

Art Club Exeter

Art Club Exeter does even more than it says on the tin. Set up and run by crafter Sophie and textile designer Zoe, this project may have started out as an afterschool club for children, but it’s expanded into something much bigger, catering for families and adults as well as children. Now, due to lockdown, it’s grown into something even more amazing.

During lockdown Art Club Exeter kept in touch with their art clubbers, giving out free art projects to keep people entertained and engaged while at home. This started the ball rolling, and soon they were providing free art packs for those in isolation via their social media channels and through local Community Builders. This scheme was so successful that they were awarded a Covid-19 grant from Devon County Council, allowing them to fund their art packs for a whole year.

So far, they’ve reached care homes, vulnerable children and provided packs for families through a local food bank, and their hope is to set up a social enterprise so they can reach even more people. Their packs are also available to download for free online.

So, what’s all this got to do with plants? Well, Art Club Exeter has a special focus on Botanical Art! In fact, Zoe is a textile designer specialising in floral print, and some of our absolute favourite activities of theirs revolve around plants and the natural world.

Head to their website to find out more and to browse their brilliant range of free art activities: Art club Exeter

Get your questions ready!

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Need a little help with your gardening? Maybe you have a specific problem or perhaps you need some general advice – well, never fear! Gardener’s Question Time is here!

This BBC Radio 4 show pitches your questions to a panel of horticultural experts and, boy, do they know their stuff.

Whether you have a burning question you’d like to send in, or you’re just in it for the tips and tricks they share, it’s definitely worth a listen for the green fingered (or perhaps, more importantly, not so green fingered!) among us.

Listen now: BBC Radio 4

Want to send in a question? (You never know, they might feature it on the show!) – contact Gardener’s Question Time here



Plants parents’ care guide.

Hutch House Plants

Let’s face it, it can be easy to treat our house plants like babies. You bring home a new one, nervous and excited, keen to make sure you tend it correctly and see it thrive. You monitor its needs carefully, despair when it wilts, and curse that it can’t just talk to you and tell you what it needs. Sound familiar to anyone?

Well, maybe we can help. Let us point you in the direction of a few great Instagram accounts and apps that might just help your little plant babies to flourish.

· @houseplantclub is a community for houseplant enthusiasts, and with over one million followers, the plant love is flourishing on their page.

· @houseplantjournal aka Darryl Cheng, has built an account that shows the power of a well-placed plant. But it’s not all about the aesthetic – Darryl also has plenty of tips and tricks to keep your plants happy and healthy.

· @thepottedjungle is another drool worthy Instagram that shows you how to style your home into a blissful green jungle and take care of your plants while you’re at it. (Bonus, this account also features several very cute fur babies on a regular basis).

· @succulentcity is the internet's largest cacti and succulent community with 380K followers. They provide tips, tricks, guides, and inspiration throughout their page and on their website.

· @picturethisai is handy little app – simply take a snap of a plant and upload the picture to instantly identify the type of plant and receive top care tips.

· @planta_app one for the more forgetful of plant parents, the Planta app allows you to easily set up watering and care reminders for all your plants.