Episode 51: Matthew Biggs
May I start with a side note? This week's episode sounds a little bit different - as it's half term and I have a relative staying who is sleeping in my office where I usually record the podcast, I headed out to the potting shed for the intro and Q&A. I hope you enjoy the early morning background noise of birds singing!
Matthew Biggs (@plantmadman on Twitter) is a legendary British gardener, writer and broadcaster, and delightfully for On The Ledge, he's also a big fan of indoor gardening too: he even wrote a book called What Houseplant Where with another legendary plantsman, Roy Lancaster. I ordered a copy which arrived a couple of days back after my interview with Matt, and having flicked through I'd say it's a useful addition to anyone's houseplant book collection.
I talk to Matt about finding the right spot for your houseplant, why Gloxinias are the Barbara Cartland of the houseplant world, and what we'll be getting up to on the Blooming Interiors stage at Gardeners' World Live on June 14 (scroll down for full details).
Here's a list of a few of the plants and people we mention, in case you didn't catch them:
- If you've never heard the BBC Radio programme Gardeners' Question Time, have a listen. This is their recent episode from Chelsea.
- Aphelandra squarrosa (zebra plant)
- Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns)
- The legendary Japanese plant hunter Matt mentions is Mikinori Ogisu - there isn't much in English on the net about him, but here's a piece by Roy Lancaster that gives him a mention.
- Here's the Chelsea piece I mention, including my recommendation for (outdoor) Euphorbias that was condemned by some readers.
- Here's a list of Matthew's gardening books of recent years.
Question of the week
Listener Mary Beaton is worried that her Phalaenopsis orchid has red edges to the leaves: I suspect that this is due to the plant getting a bit too much light, and suggest moving it to a north or east-facing window.
Moth orchids can also show leaf stress from too much light by turning yellow, although this can also be an indicator of overwatering, too. The rule with Phalaenopsis is - if in doubt, don't water! And don't fall for the old saw about watering with ice cubes as this can shock the plant. Room temperature water is far better.
On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats
I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham this month. The show is on for four days (June 14 to 17) but I am *only* appearing on Thursday June 14 on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here.
I am also 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!