5 Tips on How to Make Your Sun Room the Best Room

The sun room is the ideal room for daytime relaxation; an unspoiled view of your beautiful garden, great natural lighting, and natural warmth only serve to soothe the mind and body. But what can be done to really make the most of a wonderful space such as a sun room? Here are some great tips for cultivating the most comfortable and clear space in your home.
Bring some of your beautiful garden into your sunroom, metaphorically break that barrier between you and the outside world! A few select potted plants and small trees, strategically placed in corners of your sun room towards your garden, will serve to blur the lines between outside and in, and provide a fresh, relaxing feel to the room in the same breath.
The Right Flooring
When considering how to go about decorating your sunroom, the flooring is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle. What goes down, and what lays on top, really pulls everything together. Light colours work best, reflecting instead of absorbing sunlight and consequently brightening the room yet more; studies show that lighter, cooler colours like blue and green are the best for projecting calm and harmony into a room. A rough-pile rug would add some texture, and provide a slip-free surface for any coffee tables or central furniture.
A Day Bed
Since much of your weekend relaxation will be taking place in this arena of light and colour, why not invest in a comfortable day-bed to take the weight off your legs? It would allow for stress-free napping, while adding to the room’s décor in whatever stylish design you choose. It would also double as a handy sofa/lounging space for family and guests alike – the perfect multi-use piece of furniture for your sunroom.
Art Features
Rather than seeking to clutter your sunroom with all sorts of furniture, keep storage to a minimum, seating a priority, and tactfully use some house-ward corner space to display some visual art – a sculpture or arrangement goes a long way to promoting relaxation and introspection, provides a talking point for when hosting guests, and in general another beautiful thing to take in as you sit.
A nice set of curtains would serve not only to block the sun out! Purple, being another relaxing colour, would provide an interesting frame to the outside world when undrawn - and implicitly also a beautiful feature for your walls – and when drawn, obscure your belongings from view and ostensibly prevent any opportunistic burglaries. Practical and aesthetically pleasing!

Hanging Basket Challenge

We have been challenged by Plant Me Now to create a hanging basket design for next year. Our normal approach to creating our baskets on the patio is to cram various bedding plants in left over from doing the pots without too much thought. So actually planning the basket has been a fun and different approach.

Our central plant in our basket design is Fuchsia Snowcap an upright variety that produces masses of semi-double red and white flowers all summer long.

This Fuchsia has an RHS award for garden merit and its easy to see why, with fantastic vivid flowers. In Fuchsia circles its a famous variety bred more than a hundred years ago and still very popular.

It is equally happy in cool shade or alternatively in sun so it works well as a basket plant. It can be kept alive for the following year if you over winter in a frost free place such as your greenhouse.

We have selected a number of plants from the Plant Me Now's fine selection of bedding plants.  Around our focal point we will plant petunias (Petunia Fanfare Royal Purple), Verbena (Aztec Burgandy and Estrella Pink Star)

Petunia Fanfare Royal Purple is a trailing Petunia with a naturally compact habit. This variety flowers early and produces masses of large brightly coloured flowers, that last all Summer long. Making it an outstanding patio performer, in baskets and containers. Verbena Estrella Pink Star is a upright/semi-trailing variety of Verbena that performs well in full sun or part shade and flowers from June to August.

To tone down the pink just a little and pick up on the white of the Fuchsia flowers we have also added a double white Calibrachoa - Can Can.

Softening the edge of the basket we have added Lysimachia nummularis Aurea which is a trailing lysimachia.

To care for your basket remember not to hang out side until all risk of frost has passed. Do remember to water every day and dont allow your basket to dry out. There are often many plants in a small space so it is important to give them lots of water. Feed them weekly with a general purpose fertiliser. If you dead-head the flowers after they have finished you will keep the basket looking good for a longer time.

Here is a sketch of our design

So there you have it, what do you think?


Things to Grow in the November Allotment

Although the weather is still reasonably mild, and lots of trees are still hanging on to their leaves, there are plenty of signs that winter is on its way now. The days are getting shorter and after the clock went back last weekend its dark in the evening too. Frosts will soon be a regular visitor... so it is easy to relax and imagine that there is little to grow at this time of year. Think again! There's actually lots of preparation and plants to get started in November. So what vegetables can be grown in November in the UK? 

Of course it is possible to start your garlic in the the Spring with some varieties being perfectly happy being planted in early spring, November is by far the best time. Garlic really does need a good dose of frost as this cold will encourage the bulbs to split into cloves. And whilst planting them you can think back to the sunnier times in June and July when you were harvesting them. 

For a guide to growing garlic, check out our handy guide on how to grow garlic. 

Onions & shallots
By now we are just about as late as we can go for planting onions or shallot sets in before Winter really gets going. Personally my favourites are the Japanese Sensyhu onions as these are nice and hardy as well as being pretty easy to raise (a perfect combination). 

Broad Beans 
Usually the advice is to sow your broad beans late Winter to Spring between February and May, so why would we be advising growing them in November? The reason is to extend the growing and therefore the cropping season. If one just relies on your Spring sowings then you would expect to be harvesting your produce between July and August. However by having an Autumn sowing as well you'll then be able to have an additional crop in June as well.

Exactly the same idea as with your broad beans, start some early and crop earlier as well potentially up to 6 weeks earlier.

Whatever you choose to grow enjoy it and keep warm!


3 Chances to Win our TD368 Plastic Garden Cupboard worth £59.88 each!

Filplastic shelving unit
In spring 2014 Filplastic introduced a range of plastic shelving & cupboards, perfect for outdoor use. We’re giving away 3 of our most popular plastic cupboards, the TD368.  The model has 4 adjustable shelves, and a compartment to store brushes or garden tools. It is lockable with a padlock (not supplied) and made from 100% recycled material. To see more about this model, plus the full range please visit

The cupboard retails at £39.95, plus delivery and VAT making a total of £59.88 per unit. We will deliver to the competition prize to anywhere on the UK mainland. The competition closing date is 21/11/14, winners will be notified

To be in with a chance simply tell us what you plan to store in your cupboard, should you be one of the 3 lucky winners.             

Extra entries can be made by sharing this competition on facebook via the Diligent Gardener Page.

Extending the season

With winter fast approaching, now is the time to do a little garden prepping. From storing summer furniture in the garage, to transplanting any delicate plants from the garden to pots and moving them indoors, there are a number of factors to consider.

Dealing with the cold frosty weather

Harsh weather, particularly frost, can trigger a freezing process to take place in the water in plant cells. When this happens, plants appear blackened, limp and distorted. Even hardy plants can be damaged by severe spells of cold weather.

In order to prevent this damage, it’s wise to choose plants suited to your local climate. If you have the room, transfer any smaller plants indoors. Asides from plants, harsh winter weather can also have an affect on the home’s exterior.

From loose roofing ties to broken garden fences and cars damaged by debris, storm damage isn’t uncommon today. If you don’t already have home insurance in place, now may be the time to enquire about a More Than home insurance quote.

In the case of accidental storm damage, you can turn to your insurance provider instead of having to deal with any unplanned damage alone.

Growing herbs indoors

Growing herbs indoors allows keen cooks to enjoy the pleasures of freshly picked herbs each and every season. The likes of coriander, basil, mint and wild bergamot will all come in handy when garnishing warming winter soups and creating tasty Christmas dinners.

When moving these plants indoors, it’s important to do so carefully. Begin by digging around the roots to avoid damaging them and place them in a pot that is big enough to allow them to breath.

If you have a conservatory, this is a great place to put herbs, tender perennials and immature annuals whilst the weather is a little on the cold side. Once spring arrives, simply return them back to their rightful place in the garden.

Brightening up the home

As well as growing plants indoors, flowers can add a great deal of warmth to the home’s interior come Christmas time. Opt for floral arrangements in red, orange, yellow and green.

A vase of hot-hued flowers will make a great table centrepiece this festive season.

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