At the Jardin des Plantes is a corridor filled with Cacti Today’s rainy day brings back memories of another. One where Josh and I ran huddled through the streets of Paris trying to keep from being drenched by September downpours. We failed in that but eventually made our soggy way into the botanical park that I really wanted to see — the Jardin des Plantes. Heads down, we jogged into the warmth of the glasshouses and started to dry off. I oohed and ahhed at the displays while he walked along patiently —

Vivid orange soap using all natural ingredients Though there are a lot of dyes that you can use to colour soap, it’s often roots, herbs, and seeds that create the most beautiful shades. Alkanet for purple, Woad for blue-green, and even Daffodils for yellow. Though I do use Calendula flowers to create orangey-specks and even a pinky-orange coloured soap I’d heard that you could get a vibrant orange by using annatto seeds. This Annatto Seed Soap recipe is how I’ve used them to create a beautiful pumpkin coloured soap. Annatto

A solution for keeping weeds down between raised beds Six years ago I watched as a fellow allotment gardener laid down chipped wood paths between their raised beds. I thought at the time that they looked nice but that there’s a chance the wood could make our already acidic soil more acidic. Years passed and not only did the paths keep the plot tidy, but it didn’t seem like the productivity of the raised beds were affected at all. Weeds and grass can get out of hand and in my endeavor to

Use a wood pallet to create a potting bench If you’re frugally minded then pallet wood, and pallets themselves, can be a versatile and useful material. I’ve used them to make strawberry planters, wooden trugs, and my boyfriend has even used them to create a stunning herringbone table. That got me to thinking — I actually need a potting bench in the greenhouse. Nothing fancy but something to keep trays of seedlings off of the ground. I got Josh back on the case. The surface is literally half of a pallet

Hundreds of Marble and Pearl sized tomatoes If you’ve not yet heard of ‘Red Currant‘ and ‘Yellow Currant‘ tomatoes then you’re in for a treat. These unusual heirloom plants are the ancestors of modern tomato varieties and produce literally hundreds of fruits the size of a marble or smaller. Found growing wild on a Peruvian beach in 1707,  their petite size makes them perfect for snacking and adding whole to recipes. Highlights Currant tomatoes grow in the same way as other cordon tomatoes If the side shoots are not pinched out

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