Episode 34: Isabel Hardman

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In her day job, Isabel Hardman is immersed in the serious world of politics - she's assistant editor at the Spectator - but she's also a botany nut. That's why she set up the #wildflowerhour weekly chat on Twitter, and the subsequent podcast, the Wildflower Half Hour. I chat to her about why houseplants bring her contentment, why living next to Kew gardens is a nightmare, and why I am responsible for her growing houseplant addiction. 

We mention Ficus binnendiijkii 'Alii', the narrow-leaved fig; Philodendron 'Pink Princess'; Ficus benjamina, the weeping fig; Philodendron scandens, the heartleaf philodendron. Isabel also mentions the book Pineapple, King of Fruits by Fran Beauman. Her planty Twitter account is here.

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On The Ledge live show and houseplant chats 

I am going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!

Question of the week

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I answer my aunty Carol's question about her non-flowering Saintpaulia, and a related question from @Joon123 who wants to know what Gesneriads are, how you pronounce the name and how to care for these plants.

If you want to find out more about the gesneriad family, which includes Achimenes, Sinningia, Streptocarpus and of course Saintpaulia, aka the African Violet, visit The Gesneriad Society and gesneriads.info. The North Wales nursery Dibleys sells a wonderful range of these plants including Streptocarpus, Chirita (akak Primulina) and Kohleria.

The pic on the left is one of my favourite Gesneriads, Primulina 'Chastity'. 

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Credits

This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, and An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna, both licensed under Creative Commons, and Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies.

Jane Perrone