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The UK has enjoyed 3 days straight of some much-welcome sun, and there is a renewed sense of optimism as spring approaches. Now is a great time to head out into the garden and plan a colourful and lively space for the summer months ahead. We’ve collected a list of some of the essential March gardening jobs to help spark some inspiration and creativity.

FLOWER GARDEN JOBS

Grow sweet peas in the garden in March
(C) Gemma Evans
  • Now that the soil has warmed up enough to be workable, this is a great time to mulch your garden beds. One of the top March gardening jobs, mulching helps to introduce new nutrients into the soil and discourage weeds. Before getting started, make sure that your bed has been thoroughly weeded. Dig a layer organic matter at least 5 cm deep into the soil. Ensure that you leave a gap around the stem of any plants.
  • By the last week of March you should be able to plant out any young plants that you have hardened off. When planting, gently tease out some roots to encourage the plant to get established.  If the ground is already moist you don’t need to water it in, but do give it a drink of water before you remove it from the pot.
  • March is the month to plant any summer flowering bulbs you have bought. Double-check that bulbs have sufficient drainage when planting, if not they may rot. Alliums, Begonias and Gladioli are all excellent summer flowering bulbs that bring a splash of colour wherever they are placed.
  • Tending to your roses is best done in late winter before new growth has started appearing. Although pruning techniques vary between different types of roses, these are some basic guidelines. Always wear gloves to protect against thorns and keep your secateurs sharp. Make sure to leave 5mm above a bud and angle angle the cut away from the bud. For this type of pruning you are looking to cut out dead, diseased, and spindly stems.

VEGETABLE PATCH JOBS

Essential gardening jobs in March
(C) Eugenia Romanova
  • If you are raring to go and want to plant seeds out as soon as possible, then take this opportunity to start warming up the soil. Cover your beds with sheets of black plastic or cloches to give it a head start. This covering technique can also be used to encourage an early crop of strawberries or rhubarb.
  • Once the soil reaches 6°C you can start sowing your first lines of seeds outside. For these initial seeds it is best to start with broad beans or sweet peas. Help your your sweet peas by soaking them overnight before you plant them. It is possible to start growing some salad now, but plants tend to grow better when the ground has been warmed up.
  • Shallots and onion sets can be planted out in suitably warm soil. Plant them in a warm, sunny area. If you are buying any bulbs from the garden centre, avoid ones that are already shooting as these are likely to bolt during summer.
  • Now that the weather is warming up, slugs are starting to come out in force. Take this opportunity to prevent slugs from invading and eating up your young plants. There are a variety of slug deterrents and pellets widely available, but you can also use a more natural approach. Beer traps can draw slugs away from your seedlings, or you can remove them by hand and dispose of them at your discretion. Alternatively, slugs do not enjoy crawling over broken eggshells or copper, these materials can be placed as a barrier around plants.

GREENHOUSE JOBS

(C) Curro Mali
  • This is a good time to turn your attention to potted plants and give them a pot upgrade. Move plants into larger pots, and give them a generous amount of compost. As you are potting out the plants, tease out the roots out to encourage them to get established.
  • While repotting plants, take the time to check for vine weevils. At this time of year the larvae start to hatch and become active, so taking action now can prevent a more serious infestation later on. Examine the rootball of plants as you repot, looking out for small maggots that are a white-ish, creamy colour with an orange head.
  • Starts seeds for celery, celeriac, french beans and cauliflower ready to be planted out later on. You can also try growing plant plugs to get a large number of plants for relatively low cost. If you haven’t managed to get yours seeds going in time, plant plugs are a good alternative.

Source:  ww.rhs.org.uk

Did you enjoy this article on essential March gardening jobs? Why not read our article on caring for your Monstera, or Swiss Cheese, Plant or even our guide on choosing a parasol or gazebo!

Are you gardening this month? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Indoor plant care tips by By Ester Casanovas

Monsteras are super trendy right now: we see them daily in Instagram posts, Pinterest, clothing, prints, paintings, and of course, in everyday life au naturel.
Its beautiful leaves are reminiscent of its origins in the jungle. Here are a few tips on how to care for two of the most common varieties of this elegant and in vogue plant: the Monstera deliciosa and the Monstera adansonii

Monstera deliciosa

In the Eighties it was not unusual to see a Monstera everywhere, indoors, and in terraces and patios. My mother had hers in the patio where it received a lot of direct sunlight and watering was controlled, as the plant was placed under a roof that prevented it from getting wet when it rained. There! I just gave you two excellent clues as to the light and watering needs of this plant. But first things first:

Indoor plant care tips: Swiss Cheese Plant

Light

Monstera plants love light, but not direct sunlight. Their ideal location is a bright room or a corner in the terrace with only a few hours of sunshine every day.

These plants prefer warm temperatures and a humid environment. In the Mediterranean region they can be left outside all year round, as they withstand minimum temperatures of 5ºC. In colder areas, they are usually grown indoors.

Substrate

It is essential that the substrate have good drainage. We can mix a universal substrate with some perlite, which will prevent waterlogging and rotting of the roots.  Every two years it can be transplanted to a larger pot, renewing part of the substrate and removing dead roots.

The Monstera deliciosa is a plant that can grow very tall, and its leaves can reach 30-40 cm wide. If you grow it indoors and don’t have a lot of space, do not transplant it immediately to a larger pot. The more space it has to develop, the bigger it will grow.

Watering

This is an undemanding plant in terms of watering, even though how often you water it will depend (as it always does) on the average temperature and the size of the pot. If the plant is in a small pot, it will require watering 1 or 2 times per week in the summer, and once every 10-15 days in the winter. Make sure that the substrate is dry before you water it. For this you can use a moisture meter or just dig your finger into the soil to assess its moisture.

If it is growing in very dry conditions, the plant will appreciate it if during the summer you regularly mist it with water. Another option is to give it a good shower in your bathtub once in a while, which will provide the perfect opportunity to clean its beautiful leaves.

Fertiliser

It is recommended that you fertilise it every 15 days with a fertiliser specific for green plants. You can use a liquid fertiliser or fertiliser nails, which are inserted into the substrate. They dissolve slowly and gradually, providing the plant with all the nutrients it needs.

Usually, fertilising is suspended during the winter, to then start again in the spring.

The leaves of the Monstera and their development

Swiss cheese holes

We love this plant precisely because of the beauty of its leaves. And there are a few things to keep in mind regarding its exquisite leaves:

  • Some of the new leaves of your Monstera plant might not show its characteristic swiss cheese holes. These only appear when the leaf is fully developed. Be patient and wait for the leaves to fully grow.
  • Clean the leaves with a cloth dampened in water. Or, as we mentioned above, give it a good shower in your bathtub with your shower hose or head.
  • If you manage to store rainwater, mist the plant with it to prevent small white dots from appearing on the leaves. These specks are lime, which leaves a residue when the water drops dry. If you can’t store rainwater, then you might want to use weak mineralisation bottled water. 
  • If the tips of the leaves turn brown, it could be due to overwatering. Make sure the substrate is completely dry before watering again.
  • But if they also have a yellowish tone, it could be due to overwatering or lack of fertiliser. Think carefully about which of the two options it could be.
  • Bear in mind that the leaves and the stems of the Monstera are toxic to humans and pets, but only if ingested.

Monstera plants are climbers. Air roots will grow along its stems, allowing you to easily guide it as well as propagate it.

In order to guide it, take a coconut fibre climbing pole and carefully tie the stems of the plant to it with garden wire or twine. Do not press the plant stems against the pole: put them next to it so that the air roots can start to grow and support themselves.

Allow the air roots to grow new plants

You can use the air roots of the Monstera to propagate it and grow new plants. All you have to do is cut one of them and put it in water.

Monstera adansonii or Swiss Cheese Plant

This variety is usually grown indoors as it is less tolerant of the cold. It prefers locations with higher humidity and without drafts.

Since I have limited space in my flat, I decided to grow a Monstera adansonii. Although it has grown quite a bit, it is still much smaller than its “delicious” sibling. I have put it on top of the cabinet and let it hang down.

This specific variety grows leaves with small openings that gradually become huge eyes as the leaf grows. This characteristic, as well as its reduced size, makes it totally different from the Monstera deliciosa, with fully opened leaves in the form of ribs (which is why it is sometimes also known as “Adam’s Rib”).

Did you enjoy this article on caring for your Monsteras? Why not read our article on identifying what’s wrong with your plants or even our guide on creating a living wall

Are you loving your indoor plants this winter? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

By Ester Casanovas

Ester is the author of the Spanish website PicaronaBlog. A self-taught vegetable gardener, she teaches urban gardening workshops, collaborates in specialised media and in 2014 published her first introductory manual: “Hortelanos de ciudad”.

We all love spending time outdoors in the spring and summer, when we get to enjoy our terrace, patio or balcony full of flowers and colour. The chillier days do not mean that we have to stop growing flowers outdoors or enjoy our winter garden. Here are 4 outdoor plants that we can easily grow in the colder months.

Winter garden: Cyclamen

Cyclamen thrives in winter gardens
Cyclamen thrives in the winter

Cyclamen are bulbous winter plants which bloom in cold temperatures. You can buy the bulbs and then plant them, or you can save some time and buy them in flower pots. They come in regular and miniature sizes, and the new hybrids offer amazing colours for your garden.

  • Light and temperature: they thrive in bright locations without direct sunshine. Avoid keeping them indoors, as your heating at home can affect them. Put them in a cold room, or better yet, just simply enjoy them outdoors.
  • Watering: Overwatering can rot the bulb, so the best way to water them is by immersion once a week. Submerge the pot in a bucket of water during 10 minutes, and then let it drain well before putting it back in its place.
  • Fertiliser: use a fertiliser for flower plants at the beginning of the blooming period, not before. Fertilise it regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer, in order to enjoy its beautiful flowers for many months.
  • Remove any wilted flowers regularly to encourage new blooms, which can continue well into spring.

Winter garden: Calluna

Calluna plants
Calluna plants

Calluna “duo” tins are pots in which two calluna plants of different colours have been planted. The end result is a beautiful and harmonious combination of both.

Calluna is a type of heather available in shades ranging from pale pink to fuchsia. It combines very well with other plants, making it ideal for multi-coloured arrangements in pots, planters and flower beds.

  • Light and temperature: it prefers bright locations without direct sunshine, as it could affect its flowering. It is ideal for balconies which do not get much light in the winter.
  • Watering: calluna is a plant that needs constant moisture, so you might need to water it between 3 and 4 times a week. However, make sure that you avoid waterlogging, as it can cause fungi to appear.
  • Fertiliser: use a fertiliser specific for flowering plants, rich in phosphorus and potassium, so that it can cope with low temperatures.

Winter garden: Primroses

Primroses work well with other plants
Primroses work well with other plants

Primroses are short plants and are therefore perfect for combinations with other plants, such as bulbous ones.

In areas with mild winters, primroses can be transplanted in winter. In colder areas, we will have to wait until the arrival of spring, which is the reason why in some languages, another name for the primrose is spring.

  • Light and temperature: it cannot withstand frost or direct sunshine. Primroses flower better in bright spots in the shade.
  • Watering: they prefer the substrate to be always moist, so we will have to adjust our watering schedule to the type of substrate used. Avoid getting the flowers wet as much as possible.
  • Fertiliser: as with the previously mentioned plants, we will use a fertiliser for flowering plants, following the manufacturer’s recommendations on the packaging as to how much and how often to add (usually it is added every 15 days) to the soil.

Winter garden: Ornamental cabbage

Ornamental cabbage can be a good addition to your winter garden
Ornamental cabbage can be a good addition to your winter garden

Packets of ornamental cabbage seeds include a mix of different colours. You can plant the seeds at the end of the summer, or if you prefer, you can buy already germinated plants in the autumn and winter.

We are indeed including cabbages in our list, yes! These ornamental varieties are rustic, beautiful and great for combining with other plants. They come in pink, red, yellow and white, offering great and beautiful colour contrast. And better yet, they require minimal care.

  • Light and temperature: just like the cabbages grown in the vegetable patch, these ornamental cabbages adore sunshine and can easily withstand low temperatures.
  • Watering: they need to be watered regularly to keep the soil moist, which must never completely dry in-between waterings.

Fertiliser: ornamental cabbage is beautiful because of the contrasting colours of its leaves, but it is not a flowering plant. We will therefore use a universal fertiliser or an organic one such as manure, worm castings or compost.

Snail traps can help protect your winter garden
Snail traps can help protect your winter garden

Snail traps are both environmentally friendly and very effective. They are buried at ground level and filled with beer. Yes, you heard that right! Snails do love the smell of beer and it attracts them inside.

One more thing to finish this post about winter plants. When they are grown in the ground, they tend to attract both snails and slugs. If you grow them on a terrace or balcony, you won’t have a problem with this pest, but in the garden it is almost a must to use repellents or snail traps.

Do you want to tell us which outdoor plants you grow in the winter? Which are your favourites and why? Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us? We would love to read your comments.

Did you enjoy this article on which outdoor plants to grow in the winter? Why not read our article on identifying what’s wrong with your plants or even our December home and garden checklist!

Are you working on your garden this winter? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

It is no secret that in our busy lives we have little time to actually do what we want. And if reading is what you love to do, you have come to the right place, because we are going to show you how to create your own reading nook at home with ManoMano. It will be cosy and bespoke to fit your personal taste.

In order to create this reading nook, you might want to know about the niksen trend and think about how you can adapt it to your own space.

The idea behind the Dutch trend known as niksen, or the art of doing nothing, is to help us disconnect and relax our minds, in order to regain both our physical and emotional balance. In a nutshell, to be happier. We can start putting into practice this relaxation technique right in our homes, carefully creating the ideal space and environment to find our moments of peace. Your own reading corner at home is actually the perfect way to get started.

In this blog we offer you these tips and tricks to create your corner according to the niksen philosophy.

Reading nook design ideas
Reading nook design ideas (C) Avery Klein

Choose where to have your reading nook

Your own personal spot

Find an area in your home that is quiet and with beautiful views of the outside, or simply a spot where you feel extra comfy. Light some candles and put on some of your favourite music.

Don’t use any old furniture

A chaise longue, a nice sofa, or a comfy armchair in a soft colour will be perfect for putting into practice the niksen technique. It is essential that you choose a soft and comfortable seat, so that you can truly relax and let your mind flow. Put your feet up on a footrest for extra comfort.

Reading nook decorating ideas
Reading nook decorating ideas (C) Kam Idris

1. Lounge chair with footstool – £255.99

2. Grey rocking chair – £119.99  

3. Velvet chaise lounge – £479.00

View more products

A minimalist space

Our reading corner should not be heavily decorated, but rather, the complete opposite. It is very important to keep it tidy. There must be enough storage space to keep things stored away and out of sight, leaving the corner neat and tidy. One option is to install a bookshelf with drawers with enough space for both our favourite books, as well as other objects. The idea is to have a space as free of clutter as possible.

Ensure your reading nook has shelving
Ensure your reading nook has shelving (C) Yehleen Gaffney

Key elements of your reading nook:

The importance of colour and material

Choose either plain or lightly patterned fabrics, as well as warm, calm tones: neutrals, greys, sand, whites… or any other colour that makes you feel calm. Use nice and warm fabrics. Wood and natural fibres are good choices for conveying a sense of calmness.

Lighting is key

Warm lights with dimmer control, a pendant lamp or a double wall lamp are perfect for creating a peaceful atmosphere.

Lighting is key to a cosy corner
Lighting is key to a cosy corner (C) Alexandra Gorn

4. Hanging wooden pendant light – £104.90 

5. Boho bamboo pendant light – £199.90   

6. X2 retro wooden wall sconces – £38.94  

7. Hanging rope lamp – £65.97

View more products

Best plants for a relaxing reading nook

It is a good idea to include a good amount of green. Plants tend to have relaxing properties, they help reduce stress levels and clear up the mind. Put a kentia in a corner or small pots with your favourite plant. The idea is to create a space that fills you with well-being and calmness. After all of these tips and tricks, all that is left to do is pick up a good book and snuggle under your favourite blanket. It won’t take long before you begin to feel all the benefits that just a few minutes of relaxation every day can provide.

Add your favourite plants to your reading nook
Add your favourite plants to your reading nook (C) Andrea Davis

Did you enjoy this article on how to create a cosy reading nook? Why not read our tutorial on making an alcove seat and shelves or even our guide on how to install a pendant light!

Are you making your own relaxing reading nook? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

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