Cat boxes. Picture; Mr Fothergill's

Gardening smiley collectables for kids

Mr Fothergill’s adds new faces to children’s growing kits

Seedsman Mr Fothergill’s is adding to its children’s Munakuppi grow kit range with four new smiley face characters and four cool cats, creating a series of 14 ceramic planters for bedroom windowsills, kitchens and offices.

Each is supplied with two packets of seed and a soil pellet, so you can grow long locks of rye grass or a short back and sides of fresh basil. Simply sow, water and watch the green hair grow.

The easy-grow varieties can be sown year round, making them ideal gifts for birthdays and Christmas. They also prove popular as desk ornaments and make great secret Santa presents.

The basil can be used fresh in the kitchen, while cats love rye grass, as it aids their digestion – perfect for indoor moggies that don’t have access to fresh grass. If there are no cats to keep growth in check, the rye grass hair can be tied into bunches or trimmed into style.

Unlike traditional grass heads, these ceramic characters can be used again and again. There is enough seed supplied with each character to replant and continue the fun many times over. When all seed is gone, you can add your own or use the ceramic pots as an egg cup.

Each character is supplied with simple sowing instructions and growing tips. Available now, price £3.95, at good garden centre or visit www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.

Knife and Holster. Picture; Darlac

Gardening tools from Darlac for Christmas

Cutting-edge tools make pruning easy

Having the right tools for the job makes gardening easier and much more pleasurable – what could be better than a Christmas gift from Darlac?

Their garden tools are great quality at down-to-earth prices – here’s a look at the range:

DP1850 Topiary Shear: Awarded Best Buy by one of the top gardening magazines. It’s ideal for trimming topiary and for retaining intricate shapes. They are designed for left or right-hand use. Their sleek modern appearance offers individual razor sharp replaceable blades which are coated to prevent rust. Price around £21.

DP332 Compound Action Pruner: If you have weak wrists or hands, this is the tool for you. Voted ‘Best Buy’ and ‘Best on Test’ by two leading gardening magazines. it has a unique lever action, providing greater cutting power while its carbon steel razor sharp blades produce a nice clean cut. A perfect size for smaller hands, there’s now a larger version – Compound Action Pruner Plus (DP333). Price around £14.99 & £17.99.

DP349 Pruning Lock Knife and DP1144 Expert Knife Pouch: The knife has a traditional wooden handle and an SK5 carbon steel blade, which locks. Price £11.99. The Expert Knife Pouch is beautifully crafted in quality leather. Price £9.

DP102 Tungsten and Diamond Sharpener: The Tungsten Sharpener is suitable for sharpening a host of garden tools, including heavy items such as axes or rotary mower blades. The Diamond Sharpener will keep fine blades such as pruners, loppers and knives razor sharp. Price £14.99.

For more information, visit www.darlac.com.

Mr Plant Geek's Virtual Botanical T-shirts

Mr Plant Geek’s Virtual Garden T-shirts

Wear your horticulture on your chest

Mr Plant Geek (aka Michael Perry) has his own range of funny (and rude) gardening-based T-shirts which are real winners in my humble opinion.

So, it’s nice to see two new additions to the range – contemporary and cybernetic prints of the lily and Opuntia (prickly pear) cactus.

The lily was chosen because it is so important in literature and culture in so many regions of the world – and because of its awe-inspiring beauty.

The Opuntia got the nod due to its diversity – it’s the most culinary species of cactus and was named after the Ancient Greek city of Opus.

All T-shirts come in a choice of white or black, with the design in pink or green, sizes S-5XL, price £18.99.

To order or for more information, visit www.shop.spreadshirt.co.uk/mrplantgeek/

3m Hexagonal Gazebo by Forest Garden

Forest Garden’s new range of gazebos

Enjoy outdoor living all year round

Gazebos not only look good but allow you to enjoy the great outdoors all year round.

Forest Garden has launched its new Round Timber Gazebo Collection, manufactured at its Worcestershire Sawmill division by M&M Timber, they will stand the test of time and weather.

The range was launched at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and is available through Forest Garden and M&M Timber.  The new collection includes the Hexagonal Garden Gazebo range which is available in four sizes – from the compact and elegant 3m to the spacious 4.7m; a Premium Oval Gazebo which is available in two sizes – 5.1m and 6m; and a Square 3.5m Garden gazebo which provides the perfect setting for a hot tub or spa.

The collection includes the Hexagonal Garden Gazebo range, available in four sizes, from the compact 3m to the spacious 4.7m; a Premium Oval Gazebo in 5.1m and 6m sizes; and a Square 3.5m Garden Gazebo which provides the perfect setting for a hot tub.

There are three options for the roof – Traditional Timber, New England Cedar or Country Thatch.  Each gazebo includes optional accessories such as bench seats, tables, cushions, and curtains.

No planning permission

All gazebos are hand-made from kiln dried, pressure treated, round timber and have a smooth sanded finish.  They are delivered and installed on site by qualified professional fitters. Normally no planning permission is required, just a suitable base prior to installation.

Nicola Simpson, head of marketing for Forest Garden said: “We have designed a fantastic new collection of gazebos introducing new elements to the structures from the cross-beam fittings to the hard-wearing accessories.

“The gazebos are hand built using high-quality Radiata pine timber which delivers a durable robust long-life solution for outdoor buildings.

“The kiln-dried timbers are pressure treated with Tanalith E wood preservative to stand the test of all weather conditions.  With no planning permission required, the gazebos offer a fantastic additional covered area.”

For more information visit www.forestgarden.co.uk or www.mmtimber.co.uk.

Deluxe Vitopod Double Layer Lights

New Vitopod heated propagator with lights

Award-winning propagator shines out

Deluxe Vitopod Triple Layer with Lights. Picture; Greenhouse Sensation

Want to start sowing early? Here’s a new bit of kit that will help you on your way to earlier and bigger crops.

The multi award-winning Vitopod heated propagator now features a light kit which neatly and securely holds two lights above the propagator, overcoming the difficulty of attaching lights to greenhouse or polytunnel frames.

(I can vouch for this, securing my grow light in a desk Continue reading “New Vitopod heated propagator with lights”

Double Wheelie Bin Hide

How to hide ugly wheelie bins

Enhance your garden by covering up bins

Sick of your wheelie bins ruining your otherwise pristine garden design?

We have three – ordinary, gardening and recycling – and while I support recycling, etc, they are far from attractive.

However, Forest Garden, which manufactures timber garden products, has come to the rescue of ‘bin blight’ with a simple, stylish and practical solution.

Accessible storage solution

The company’s Double Wheelie Bin Hide is an attractive and accessible storage solution that also provides great shelter for the bins. With an easy opening bi-fold roof for each wheelie bin, the lids can be easily accessed to open fully, without having to pull the bins out.

“Previous surveys have proved that wheelie bins supplied to households by local authorities have been dubbed unsightly, spoiling the appearance of homes and they need hiding away from view,” said Nicola Simpson, head of marketing for Forest Garden.

“Homeowners do feel strongly about the negative impact they are having on the appearance of their properties. Our simple but effective storage solution will help to address this growing problem.”

Forest’s Double Wheelie Bin Hide measures 122(h) x 146(w) x 92(d)cm and retails at £249.99. The timber is pressure treated and it comes with a 15-year anti-rot guarantee.

For more information about Forest Garden visit www.forestgarden.co.uk.