With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, seasonal bulbs and flowers will be decorating many of our homes. One plant is a particularly popular purchase from our garden centre and florists at this time of the year, and that is of course the Poinsettia. David Hall offers some advice and a few tips on keeping your poinsettia in top condition.
For many people Christmas just wouldn't be complete without at least one poinsettia decorating their lounge or on a windowsill.
But although widely grown, this is one off the most misunderstood houseplants. For a start, the large colourful 'flowers' are in fact bracts or coloured leaves, the true flowers in the centre are tiny and insignificant.
A member of the euphorbia family and introduced from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the 1820s, the poinsettia in its native environment forms a shrub up to 10 feet tall.
They are very demanding, the poinsettia is the most delicate of plants and does not react well to any kind of stress or duress that it is exposed to.
You should only ever purchase your plants from a nursery or florist that keeps the plants in warm conditions. Plants bought from a supermarket or from the pavement will have been chilled and will almost certainly fail to flourish.
Don't think that Poinsettias only come in red! Although this is perhaps the most traditional colour, many different variations are available. These include white, pink and marbled varieties.
The true flowers in the centre of the plant should ideally be in bud or just opening to ensure a long display of colour. The plant should be placed in a warm and bright location and, most importantly not exposed to any kind of a draught.
Be very careful with watering. Wait until the compost is moderately dry and then water thoroughly with tepid water.
With a little tender care a poinsettia should reward you with many weeks of attractive festive foliage. However, the sad fate of most poinsettias at the end of the season is consignment to the bin, but with some care the plant can be kept for another show the following Christmas.
All you have to do is allow the plant to slowly dry out in the spring and prune back hard. Re-pot and place in a light location but out of direct sunlight where the temperature is about 16 - 17C.
Feed weekly, keep warm, and in November alternate between 12 hours of natural light and darkness. The bracts should then colour again but will probably never be as good as in the first year.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.