Category

Inspiration

Category

This is the ultimate guide to growing your favourite happy hour cocktails within the comfort of your own home – so that you’ll have the herbs you need at hand for whenever you feel like it’s about thyme for a beverage!

 

Home Growing

When it comes to growing herbs indoors, hydroponics is one of the best methods. This is because hydroponic herbs grow more rapidly from seedlings, are able to grow bigger volumes in a smaller containers,  and are known for having a heightened aroma which means – more taste!

Hydroponics will result in your herbs growing 25% to 50% faster than in soil, in a controlled environment where you won’t even have to bother with keeping them hydrated. No soil messiness and herbs all year round – it’s just mint to be!

 

Herb Cocktails

We’ve put together some of our favourite herb-y concoctions for you to give a go – they’re kind of a big dill.

 

Mojito

This absolute classic includes one of our all time favourite herbs and is super easy to make.

 

You will need:

 

Crushed ice – 1 cup

Soda – 50ml

Mint Leaves – 10, plus a few more for garnish

Fresh lime juice – 2 tablespoons

White rum – ¼ cup

Fine sugar – 2 tablespoons

 

  1. Stir together the sugar and lime juice until all is dissolved.
  2. Add the ¼ of the cup of crushed ice.
  3. Tear the mint leaves in half and add them into the glass.
  4. Stir, then add the white rum, rest of the ice and soda.
  5. Stir once again, and add the extra mint for garnish!

 

Dill or No Dill

 

This dill-icious cocktail may be slightly less well known, but is guaranteed to tickle your tastebuds!

You will need:

 

Gin – 50ml

Elderflower syrup or cordial – 15ml

Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

Cucumber juice – 30ml

Dill – 2 sprigs, 1 to garnish

Salt – 1 pinch

 

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Sprain into a serving glass.
  3. Add extra sprig of dill to garnish!

 

Rosemary Gin Fizz

This recipe takes no time at all which may or may not make it even more addictive…

 

You will need:

 

Rosemary – 3 sprigs

Juice of 1 small lemon

Honey – ½ teaspoon

Gin – 35ml

Soda – 90ml

 

  1. Muddle together the honey, lemon juice and rosemary in a small drinking glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice, pour in the gin and then top with the soda.
  3. Give it a swirl and you’re done!

 

Once you’re set up with your indoor herbs and alcohol, let the world of alcoholic herb-y beverages be your oyster! You’ll constantly be saying “chive never been so tipsy”! 😜

 

 

What is Hydroponics?

Indoor Herb Gardening for Beginners

Are you a bit of a lazy gardener and prefer to make your garden look beautiful without the back-aching work? Although this might sound too good to be true, we can give you a hand with our guide to the top ten low maintenance flowers, no ifs or buds. 😉

Our top ten low maintenance flowers

Coreopsis

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers coreopsis

If you’re looking to throw some last-minute colour into garden, then consider throwing some coreopsis seeds into a sunny patch of soil and water until germination. That’s it! Just make sure to water them occasionally (or rely on our good old British weather to do that for you) and remove dead heads by trimming them from time to time.

🌼Our top tip is to dig up your plantings every third year to thin the roots out and to calm the fast spreading of the plant down.🌼

Hosta plants

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers hosta leaves

These plants do sprout fragrant flowers in the late summer, but you can munch on young hosta leaves throughout the other seasons!

🌼Our top tip is to boil, fry in tempura, or eat the leaves raw – they have a very similar flavour to lettuce and asparagus!🌼

The hosta plant is very easy to grow, and it prefers well-drained soils filled with organic matter (such as compost). As there are so many different varieties of the hosta plant, we suggest checking the shade of the leaf to determine how much sunlight it needs – the darker the foliage, the more shade they can handle!

To keep your plant growing healthily, fertilise it every now and then, but other than that you can just leaf it alone and let it get on with it! 🙂

Sedum (hylotelephium telephium)

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers Hylotelephium telephium

Not only is it a mouthful of a name, but the Sedum flower can grow up to 50cm tall and up to 30cm wide! This plant is such low maintenance that you can even just lay the stem on top of the soil and you’ll see that over time it will send roots out itself!

🌼Our top tip is to hand out detached leaves to your family and friends, they can put it in their soil at home and watch how the plant begins to grow! It’s almost too easy…🌼

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers Hylotelephium telephium daylilies

These flowers are so easy to look after, that gardeners say that they thrive from neglect (that’s clearly why it’s a part of our low maintenance flowers selection 😉 )

They need at least 6 hours of sun every day, so make sure you find a sunny spot in your garden.

The plants tolerate drought, so water them when you can but don’t worry too much if you forget a few times. Once they are up and growing, consider removing the seed pods, because if you leave them in it can delay the following year’s bloom. Fortunately, the leaves grow to be so thick that they tend to shade out surrounding weeds – what great self defense!

🌼There are so many varieties of daylilies that we recommend swapping and sharing your cuttings with families and friends to mix up some colours!🌼

Cosmos bipinnatus

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers cosmos bipinnatus Garden Cosmos

These lovely flowers attack the birds, bees and butterflies to your garden and they can grow easily in both beds and containers! To start growing them, place your seed or plant transplant about a quarter of inch deep into the soil. Fortunately, they like soil which isn’t too rich, so you don’t have to worry about using fertiliser. They are a very low maintenance type of flower, but if you get connected and really want to look after them, then we suggest removing all the dead and faded flowers and growing them next to a fence so that they get extra support.

🌼If you’re planting the seeds when it’s cold, be aware that they can take up to 7 weeks to start blooming! To speed up this process, consider growing your cosmos indoors first and moving them outside when they are 5 inches tall.🌼

Butterfly weed

thehandymano mano mano low maintenance flowers asclepias plant butterfly weed

If you’re not the biggest fan of butterflies then perhaps stay away from these low maintenance flowers! Orange butterfly weed can add a bright burst of colour into any garden, especially butterfly gardens (which, if you hadn’t guessed, this plant is perfect for!). Oddly enough, this beautiful flower grows just like a weed! It produces itself readily and it’s usually best not to interrupt it at all (cue cheers from you lazy gardeners out there 😉 ) because it grows by reseeding.

🌼Ideally, plant your flower in their permanent location, but if you do need to move them then make sure that their roots are no longer than 4 inches to avoid disrupting the plant!🌼

Cleome hassleriana

the handy mano mano spider flower cleaome flower low maintenance

The crazy clusters and long petals seem to bloom forever and this spider plant can almost do just that by ripening the lower seeds and forming new buds above! Plant them directly outdoors, don’t worry if it’s a bit cold, and watch it grow until about six inches high then consider thinning it before it positively takes your whole garden and/or neighbourhood. If you leave the plant completely alone for a year, then you may have trouble taking out the plants if you ever want to trim them, therefore, make sure you keep an eye on them to check that they’re not growing out of control (too much 😉 )

🌼Due to the height of the plant, we suggest putting them in the background or as tall borders🌼

Sempervivum

the handy mano mano spider flower cleaome flower low maintenance smpervivum

Okay, not quite a ‘flower’ so we’re pollen your leg a little, but more of a flower shaped lovely plant! Sempervivum care and maintenance is almost none existent, and you can grow them on a rockery, on a vertical wall or even on driftwood (if you really want to). They are relatively easy to plant, and they are likely to look different from their offsets, meaning that you can end up with some quirky and exciting combinations!

🌼If the plants don’t germinate in 4-5 weeks then leave the pots in the fridge for an extra 2-4 weeks before taking them outside again🌼

Pasque Flower

the handy mano mano spider flower cleaome flower low maintenance pasque

Perfect for growing in rock gardens, these flowers look beautiful all year around and are covered in soft, silvery hairs. You just have to water them quite a bit at the start to help them develop a good root system – you can also remove dead flowers to really prolong the watering process. Sow seeds indoors in trays and water often, allowing the soil to dry out in between irrigations as they hate being water-logged (don’t we all)!

🌼These plants also have long roots so make sure to choose your spot wisely before planting otherwise you’ll be wrestling it later!🌼

Have these low maintenance flowers left you with green fingers? Try out our other expert articles!

How to Make Organic Compost

Indoor Herb Gardening for Beginners

As the weather gets warmer everyone is starting to consider whether their garden is in top shape for the upcoming long summer evenings! Whether you’re preparing for an afternoon read in your garden, a family barbecue, or a home wedding – we’ve got you covered with our garden design ideas! (Don’t wet your plants, yet 😉 )

We’ve organised it into three sections: small; medium and big sized gardens to break it up and suggested what furniture you might want to focus on this year. Got any other tips for us? Start a conversation with us on Twitter!

Garden Design Ideas – Small Garden

garden design ideas thehandymano mano mano small gardens

The key to any garden is a dining set! You can get them in a wide range of sizes and colours, meaning that regardless of how small your small garden is – you can easily find a table to squeeze into the corner to enjoy an early breakfast or a late supper with friends. Another top tip to create more space is to choose invest in potted plants which you can move around when you want to use your table. This also allows you to change up the look of your garden easily – if you’re a fan of cooking then consider growing your own herb garden in separate pots, this will also give it a great boost of colour! If you’re unsure on what planters to buy, why not create your own? This article shows how you can create a unique planter with almost anything and save a few pennies, too!

Another staple accessory which can be enjoyed even in small gardens is a garden pouffe. They also come in many sizes and colours so you can choose one that fits perfectly with your garden design and many are inflatable meaning that you can get rid of them during those rainy days or when not in use. Who knew that comfort could be so easy?

Our top garden design idea for small gardens is to use old mirrors to make the garden look bigger, and decorate with outdoor lights to give a cosy atmosphere later in the evening.

Garden Design Ideas – Medium Garden

garden design ideas thehandymano mano mano medium gardens

If you have a bit more leg room in your garden, then consider investing in a hammock or swing seat to spend lazy afternoons on. if you already have trees in your garden then you’re in luck because you can either buy a new hammock to put up, or you can build your own with the help of this article. However, you can still swing into spring by finding a hammock with a stand which you can take out of your garage with ease every year.

You could also look into getting a new garden bench. Benches can be as simple or as complex as you like, and they are often easy to paint over with your preferred colour. Or, if you can cope with the splinters then why not get creative and make your own out of pallets?

Our top garden tip for medium gardens is to plan where you’ll plant your flowers accordingly so that they don’t grow over your new furniture (unless you want them to, of course!)

Garden Design Ideas – Big Garden

garden design ideas thehandymano mano mano big gardens

Do you have lots of room in your garden and no idea what to do with it? Fortunately, the more space you have then the more options you have on how to fill it!

Firstly, you could look into getting a permanent or temporary gazebo for summer evenings. If you’ve never bought a gazebo before, then worry not because we’ve already sorted you out with a buying guide. If you choose to get a permanent gazebo, then you’ll be able to enjoy the additional space all year round which could be an option if you wish you could spend more time in your garden.

However, if you’ve got green fingers then look into investing in a greenhouse to protect your fruit and veg when the British weather is turning against you. You can even choose to design the inside of your greenhouse by using floor tiles of your choice to personalise it.

If you’re only looking for something short term during the hot season, then perhaps a DIY swimming pool or DIY pond could be for you! These DIY projects cost less than £100 to make, can put your DIY skills to the test and force the whole family into the garden over the weekend!

Our top garden design idea for bigger gardens is to plan your seasonal flowers in time so that your whole garden is blossoming by the time spring comes round!

 

DIY Pallet Chair

 

National Gardening Week – Top 10 Edible Flowers

 

Beauty is often in the eye of the bee-holder 😉 That’s why we have scoured the internet to find the top 8 weird flowers which you can give to literally any-budy.

That way, you can say that you rose above the orchid situation…(okay, we’ll stop now)

Weird flower 1: Dracule Simia (Monkey Face Orchid)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia)

It’s easy to see why this flower has been given this name! Although, unfortunately there’s no monkeying around finding it because you’ll only be able to spot it in the cloud forest of Peru and the southeastern Ecuador. Even then, you’ll have to climb for more than 3000 feet just to small its ripe-orange like scent.

Weird flower 2: Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers bee orchidCould this little guy bee any happier? You can find him widespread across Europe, the Middle East; and even North Africa. The colouring and the shape of the flowers mimic the look and smell of a female bee which entices male bees towards it!

Weird flower 3: Devils Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Devils Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)Also known as Monkey’s Hand or Monkey’s Paw, this unsettling flower can be found in Mexico where Ancient Aztecs held it in a very religious regard! Despite its evil looking appearance, the plant produces earthy tasting fruit which has been used as traditional medicine to treat heart diseases and conditions for many years.

Weird flower 4: Subterranean Plant (Hydnora africana)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Subterranean Plant (Hydnora africana)Where do we even begin with this one?! This South African subterranean plan is clearly one of the most bizarre looking plants on earth. Looking like something from a horror film, it also lets out a disgusting smell and can take up to a year to ‘blossom’. The plant is often infused in face wash as an acne treatment, if you dare go near it in the first place…

Weird flower 5: Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana majorThis elegant little flower has its unique, cute shape to help increase pollination. You can only find it in Australia, though! It depends heavily on a vegetative fungus that only grows in Australia.

Weird flower 6: Psychotria elata

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria elata)Pucker up for this plant! The bright red bits that resemble the lips are bracts, not petals! They stay in this red state for only a few days before opening to further reveal the small yellow and white flowers within. Native to Columbia, Costa Rica and Panama, the plant is currently on the endangered list due to its popularity with collectors and due to deforestation.

Weird flower 7: Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)This funky looking orchid is native to the Mediterranean regions and resembles tiny little hanging naked men. This flower is actually used to product the drink Salep (a turkish winter drink) and is also used as an antidiarrheal, antflatulant and aphrodisiac. Who would have thought?

Weird flower 8: Snake Gourd Flower (Trichosanthes cucumerina)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Snake Gourd Flower (Trichosanthes cucumerina)We thought that we would end our collection on a nice note with this gorgeous flower! It’s actually a very beautiful vegetable which originated in India before being cultivated around the world. Despite its terrible taste, it is commonly used as a tomato substitute in cooking! Not just a pretty face, eh?

Here are some less horrifying articles about gardening:

When it rains : Gardening Advice

How to Prune Roses and Geraniums

Growing vegetables doesn’t have to be difficult and it can save you a lot of money in the long run! A small vegetable garden can offer you the opportunity to reduce the amount of pesticides used in your food and can be an excuse to get the children outside. This article is aimed at beginners who want to start a vegetable garden but have no idea where to begin! We’re rooting for you! View our large selection of seeds here.

Don’t pick a sorry site!

the handy mano manomano gardening tips gardener outside digging vegetable

Realistically, the more sunlight the plants receive, the better! Plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, so make sure you choose a spot which won’t be shaded over due to trees, walls or buildings. It’s also good to keep your site away from large trees because they can compete eachother for water and nutrients. If you’re very new to gardening, why not start off in a pot and move that around until you feel comfortable choosing a patch in the soil.

Lay it all out!

the handy mano manomano gardening tips raised bed grow vegetable garden

The most common way to grow a vegetable garden is using a raised rectangular wooden frame. The raised beds help the soil warm quicker in the sun which lengthens the growing season! Plants that are started in cold soils may grow slowly and develop poorly. Remember to make sure that your raised bed isn’t too big though, as you still need to water the center of it! Design your vegetable garden in a way that makes plants get progressively taller from the south edge to the north. You can also see what vegetables are good to grow together, the list is endless but we recommend growing spinach, garlic chives and sweet basil together and tomatoes, oregano and bell peppers together.

Not mushroom for every vegetable?

the handy mano manomano gardening tips raised bed grow vegetable bell pepper

Start small! We recommend that you start your vegetable garden with this staple selection.

Bell peppers: Green peppers will eventually turn red, orange and yellow the longer they spend on the vine! They also resist the most garden pests, meaning that you’ll get a large variety just from one vegetable. We suggest putting two or three matchsticks in every hole that you plant the seeds in too with a teaspoon of fertiliser to give them a bit of sulphur which they love.

Cucumbers: Make sure that you have fertile soil which is warm and moist and not soggy! Fortunately, cucumbers grow fast and don’t demand a lot of care, just make sure that you keep their soil consistently moist!

Green beans: There are two types of green beans to plant – bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans spread out horizontally while pole beans climb vertically. Plant each seed around 2 – 5cm deep and about 2 to 4 inches apart. A standard wood much also works great with green beans as it can prevent the soil from getting too cool or warm whilst retaining enough moisture.

Watermelon: To get a jumpstart with watermelons, cover the planting area with black plastic and start growing the seeds indoors for 2-3 weeks before moving them into the garden. However, watermelons can take up a lot of space! If you are starting with a small vegetable garden and want to grow various vegetbles, then perhaps leave watermelons until you’re more experienced!

Do you have any tips for starting a vegetable garden? Start a conversation with us on Twitter!

National Gardening Week – Top 10 Edible Flowers