Category Archives: petal’spottedpreserve

Petal’s shop is a-go!

petalshop

You can now be part of the Petal’s Potted brand, family and the green-fingered Kitchen garden adventure.

 

There is now a shop with all sorts of Petal branded goodies that you might want to invest in.

So without much ado, go and have a butchers.

 

Petals Potted Preserve

#Plantpottales: The Global Gardening paperback!

It would be amazing to get support other gardeners as we approach the new growing season here in the Northern Hemisphere. My own experiences have been documented both here on the blog and in the book.

‘Playing with Plant Pots: Tales from the allotment’ charts all of my discoveries, the positives and the pitfalls of growing my own fruit and vegetables on the allotment.

You can find the book in both paper back and in ebook forms. The links to the UK amazon and kindle sites are on the right hand side of the blog.

A reminder though, of where you might find the book:

 

The link for Barnes & Noble can be accessed here

Another thing that is really important to me, is supporting independent book stores Sadly, there isn’t one here in Birmingham, England! Or at least not one I can find anyway. I am determined to find one. That said, I am working with Serendipity Books and More in the US. At the moment, they are the only store in the USA that physically stocks and sells copies of the book plus some of the Petal’s Potted Preserve Merchandise.

So if you are in the US, would like to support not one by two small independent business and are trying to develop green fingers, why not check out the store without walls as developed by Serendipity Books and More.

 

serenditpy

Serendipity books and more: Plant Pot tales

Planthunter’s Competition! #12daysofChristmas

The lovely  Michael Perry (Thompson and Morgan’s eponympus planthunter) is running a #12daysofchristmas competition and there are Petal goodies at stake!

You can find full details on how to enter this competition on Michael Perry’s FB here.

This competition is only for 24 hours and open to UK entrants only.

So go, go find his page, and enter!!!!

petalswagcompMP

 

 

2015; Bollywood Gardener and beyond

As a year of two halves, 2015 has been somewhat interesting but different. The first half of the year involved having the best of intentions. Seeds were sown, I had half a plan as to what I wanted to achieve. No different to what I might have done in previous years, I was going to use all my knowledge and experience to make  things better, bigger and more efficient. Then came July, 2015 became incredibly busy and in the tail end; I am only just recovering from a very hectic six months.

Let’s take the first six months, where by the growing season is starting. Plans are afoot, the world is full of promise. We are hoping to have a good year.

Tomatoes, chillies and aubergine were the focus of the first three months. Makings sure that the seeds were sown, that these germinated and the plants pampered. Pampered, as so many valuable lessons had been learned as to how they might be successful. It was touch and go for a while in the early stages. Half baked chillies and tomatoes can be a very scaring and intimidating experience, when you let them be in a hot room or poly tunnel. There were even aphids and bugs that needed to be dealt with.

In July, I hosted a workshop during the annual conference of the Association of teachers of Psychology. I spoke about horticulture and mental health, the benefits that teachers might gain for both themselves and their students. I had asked my Psychology colleagues to sow sunflowers in the Spring and also encouraged conference delegates to do the same in giving them seeds that were kindly donated by the information point. It was also at this point, that I finished the Level 3 Certificate in Counselling studies.

Then came the summer, with lots and lots of growing!

No one year will be the same as the preceding or following. Yet this year felt different. There was just something palpably different that made growing more of a challenge ad something beyond me being busy with work and studies. Last year, I remember being ankle deep in tomatoes, green ones; but there were lots of them. This year,I had a foliage, and not a lot of fruits. Positioned in the poly tunnel, the crop was meant to do well. Even the chillies appeared to have struggled this year. Whilst the poly tunnel seemed to have been filled with triffids, there was a muted level of success. Aubergines did themselves no favours once again. I must say every year that I will not sow them. I finally have proof that I might be better off without them. Lovely plants, the occasional flower; but diddly squat fruit even if the poly tunnel was a bit damp and sweaty.

And note the gadget! The apple one. Having acquired all of those apples from a plot neighbour (they were not scrumped, I had consent!) that was an investment and a half. Saved me hours. The home brew kit is still waiting in the wings. untested this year, maybe it will be used in the growing seasons to come. There were a number of pickles and preserves. The preserving pan was rather busy this year, even though the produce was a bit hit and miss.

With the plot ticking along, and the blog growing. Something else also happened. I had been lucky enough to write guest blog posts for WRG, via the fabulous Michael Perry. This was and still is one of the most valuable writing experiences that I have ever had. This actually triggered something more complex and more challenging than I first realised. Over the summer, the winner of the Big Allotment Challenge Rob Smith had written a short book.  One of my fellow counselling students, L.A.Cotton, had also burst onto the young adult contemporary genre (She’s epic, tell her I sent you) with phenomenal success.

These three things combined spurred me to be courageous and write something myself. June and July were turning points, and I remembered sending a message to both my sisters; saying that I wanted to write an ebook, and I would try and get it out by Christmas. That was it, I was going to do it.

Having written as mentioned previously, the guest blogs for WRG , one of them was about the Indian Inspiration on the plot. I think Michael Perry used the words ‘Bollywood Gardener’ or something similar, and I adopted the hashtag! This inadvertently became the start of the book. I wrote in a way I can only describe as feverish. I have the same frame of mind when writing the blogs, to be honest; and it’s part of the blog life. The book however was different in that this was thousands of words and trying to bring the assorted elements of the blog together. There was a lot of things that I wanted to include in my budget of 25, 000 words. I had a notebook-my blog book actually, the one that I take to the plot-and a pen. Scribbling ensued, and it’s hard to read my writing anyway. So when it’s all in very hurried, that doesn’t help with typing.

What I ended up with was ‘Playing with Plant Pots: Tales from the allotment’. Plus it was well before Christmas!

 

With a bright yellow front cover, you cannot miss it!

I am going to be naturally very biased, and say that I like my book. However, that is genuine. I like to share it, because I do honestly believe in my book. You might, for example, have writers out there, who will promote their books; but not necessarily believe in their own work. You know if you don’t blow your own trumpet, it’s difficult to get others to do the same.

Standing in the kitchen, leafing through my own book was rather surreal. My name was on a book, that I had crafted. Then there was the few hours that it was at number one. A fellow independent writer informed me of that happening, and that made my day, I tell you! I am determined to get back to the slot.

Then there was the swag. The merchandise. Again, this sounds likes trumpeting! Petal, the horticultural Obbit, has always been the online avatar of the blog. A registered trademark, she’s face (other than mine!) of the blog and social media presence.

 

As you will have read, this year may have been different to others; but it has not been quiet. So much has gone one, it’s no wonder that the tail end of the year is slower and more reflective. If it had all been plain sailing, there would have been very little learned, very little documented in the blog, and very little left to reflect upon.

For now, my only plan is try and sow chillies at some point, and plant my fruit trees when they arrive. I haven’t really thought about anyhing beyond that.

I thank you, for having accompanied me on the 2015 journey; and look forward to the one starting in the new year.

Happy new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#12days of Christmas #petalspottedpreserve

With the 12 days of Christmas now underway, remember you can still can get lots of Petal’s Potted Preserve goodies. Whilst they may not be delivered by Santa Claus, the goodies are still available. 12 days of Christmas does go up to and including the 6th of January. The day that the three wise men got to deliver their own special gifts.

You can find full details on the page titled “petal’s merchandise’.

There is also a competition being carried out by the lovely Michael Perry; Petal will be participating. More details to follow!

 

#NABLOPOMO: Petal Power

 

 

I awoke this morning to read that Petal had landed in California. California is thousands of miles away from Birmingham, England so you can imagine the feeling.

She is also on her way to Massachusetts, with copies of the book.

Petal has found herself to now exist in a number of guises. She is now also occupied with Thompson and Morgan’s illustrious plant hunter Michael Perry. She’s in good hands there, there’s not a lot that one of the UK’s top 20 Horticulturalists doesn’t know about gardening.

Not only is Petal national, she has now gone international too. I think she is yet to land in Wales though, or make her way to Eire. There may have to be a map of Petal’s progress at some point.

There is one more item to be revealed and added to the range, but more on that in the future.

(For all questions about the  goodies, get in touch with horticultural ‘obbit via FB and twitter)

#NABLOPOMO: Beyond the book, Brand Petal

Not only can you get the book-available on Amazon as a paper and ebook-you can also get the book swag too. There is the canvas bags and tea towels for now. For the bags and tea towels, you just have to message via facebook, twitter and instagram. (And I will get back to you, about the logistics)

Last I checked, petal was on two continents. So it would be interesting to see how far she can go. I might joke about world domination, but at least that’s something to aim for. I never ever expected her to travel across the pond, but she did!

There are a few other things that are actually in the pipeline. I will update with those as soon as possible. You might, for example, want to have a cuppa with petal or haver cooking with you in the kitchen. Watch this space!

Brand petal is not a new idea, petal has been the avatar for the blog, the FB page and the preserves for over eighteen months. The blog, has after all been going now for a few years. It is only recently, that she has unfurled her wings and started to take off on a commercial level.

Petal’s potted preserve is an emerging small British Business, so all successes, no matter how small, are victories to be celebrated. Hopefully, we have lots of folks who can share in them.