This week I want take a look at that inbetween space for plants - the balcony. It’s not quite indoors, but not really outdoors either - the spot where houseplants and herbs, bamboo and begonias meet. And who better to talk to than Alice Vincent, who describes herself as ‘gingerly treading the unlikely tightrope between plants and pop culture’ - she write about urban gardening for the Telegraph and is also the author of book How To Grow Stuff, and on Instagram where she’s known as @noughticulture. We discuss the difficulties of heaving compost several floors up, the delights of growing on balconies, and squirm our way through a chat about that most evil of pests, the vine weevil.Read More
Ethnobotanist James Wong is wonderfully ubiquitous these days, from his TV appearances on Countryfile and Gardeners' Question Time, to numerous books - the latest one is called How To Eat Better - and of course his column for the Observer magazine. His homepage is here if you want to find out more, and he's on Twitter as @botanygeek.
Despite his packed plant CV, it's our shared love of houseplants that always dominates conversation whenever I get the chance to catch up with James in between his globetrotting exploits. He's got some really thought-provoking things to say about why we grow the houseplants we do - think of the ubiquitous spider plant and umbrella plant - and where houseplant horticulture may be headed next.Read More
Have you ever wondered how one particular type of plant seems to come out of obscurity to become the must-have houseplant of the moment?
Although photographs of aloes, echeverias and agaves are now plastered all over Instagram, it wasn't always this way. My guest this week is The Succulent Guy, Robin Stockwell, the man credited with making succulents sexy.
I talk to Robin about his legendary - and enormous - globe of succulents, why you shouldn’t get an Agave mixed up with an Aloe, and why there’s transatlantic difference of opinion about size among Sempervivum breeders.Read More
This week's show takes a confessional turn from the start when I admit I have NOT ONE PLANT in my bathroom. It's mainly because I lack a windowsill in there, but this really is no excuse.
I clearly need some houseplant inspiration, so I start out by talking to plantsman Robbie Blackhall-Miles about the plants that fill his two bathrooms, from angel wing begonias to epiphytic blueberries (yes really...)
Then I find out more about Tillandsias or air plants from Graham Sigsworth nursery Crafty Plants in Lancashire, England.Read More
Conservatories have got an image problem... gardener Anne Wareham got so fed up with hers she had it knocked down and rebuilt. Jane Perrone talks to Anne about how she planned her new conservatory, and her cunning an thrifty solution to the issue of shelving.Read More
On The Ledge goes back to basics this week: I interview writer and gardener Katherine Price, who is on Twitter as @wildsuburban, about her new book Get Plants: How to Bring Green Into Your Life, published by Kew - it's out today, in fact! We major on succulents, covering how to pronounce "kalanchoe", the symbolism of the sempervivum and how to get in tune with your plants. There's a full list of the plants we mention below, plus details of our question of the week.Read More
I spent two days at the Chelsea flower show, and managed to meet a few fellow houseplant fans, and grab interviews with some of the experts displaying their plants. What a treat!Read More
Chillies are probably one of the most popular edibles to grow on the windowsill: they're fun, fairly easy to grow and offer the excitement of a fiery harvest. This week's show talks to a newbie chilli grower who has taken the pursuit of chilli greatness almost as seriously as he takes his job as an Apache helicopter pilot, and chilli expert David Floyd, author of chilli guide book 101 Chillies To Try Before You Die.Read More
This week I find out what yellowing leaves mean in a houseplant, confess to sawing a peace lily in half and get the lowdown on plant pests from Veronica Peerless, whose new book How Not To Kill Your Houseplant (£9.99 from DK) is out now. This week's question comes from @allotmentalice who wants to know "how do you keep a Ficus from throwing a wobbly every few weeks and dropping all its leaves"?Read More
In this episode we find out about all the gross things office workers do to their plants with horticulturist Lou Nicholls; tap the expertise of Christopher Satch, plant scientist at The Sill in New York, and find out whether there's science to back up the widely-held belief that plants in the office make us happy.Read More
This week we move from the enclosed world of the terrariums of last week's show to the weird, wild world of Monstera deliciosa, aka the Swiss cheese plant or split leaf philodendron.
My first guest, the legendary organic gardener Bob Flowerdew, explains how Monstera grows in the wild and what its fruit (yes fruit) tastes like (scroll down for a picture...) while author and historian Ethne Clarke consider's the swiss cheese plant's role as an iconic plant in interior design since the 1950s onward. We also answer a question about a poorly venus flytrap and find out what to do when your Swiss cheese plant reaches the ceiling.Read More
In the last decade, miniature worlds under glass have gone from zero to hero: time was when a terrarium was a dusty bottle on your nan’s nicknack table - now you see them everywhere, from coffee shops to office reception desks.
In this very first episode of her my podcast, On The Ledge, I find how these clever little contraptions were invented, what you can grow in them and how to get your very first terrarium set up.Read More