Cold Hardy Spanish Moss? Try growing Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls'

It is undeniable that the pendulous hanging growth of Spanish moss - Tillandsia usneoides is evocative of the tropical and subtropical climates of central America. However if you want to replicat this effect in colder, northern European countries then unfortunately Spanish moss isn't going to survive. However if you are happy to squint a little you can achieve a strongly similar look by growing Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls'.

This wonder hanging plant cultivar makes for a great substituent albeit that it is not an epiphyte and will need to have its root system growing in a pot.

To find out more about this under-used yet tough-as-old-boots (at least in the south of England) herbaceous perennial then check out our video above. If you would like to support our YouTube channel then consider subscribing buy click onto the 'Subscribe' button and that way you will never miss a video.

How to Grow Englands Tallest Flower Spike - The Tree Echium 'Echium pini...

If you live in the warmer climates of southern and south-western corners of the United Kingdom and Ireland then you may well have noticed a very unusual and overly tall flowering plant that has been coming increasingly common in these parts. It is the Tree Echium - Echium pininana and despite being endemic to La Palma in the Canaries, it has begun to naturalise here in the warmest regions of our country.

The fact that Echium pininana is naturalising proves that conditions are great for growing this super-impressive plant in your own garden. However the further north you go the more difficult it will be for it to cope with the colder winters. Of course you can consider wrapping juvenile plants with horticultural fleece to protect the growing tip ensuring that the magnificent flowering spike in produced the following spring.

To find out more check out the above video and why not consider supporting our YouTube gardening channel by subscribing. That way you will never miss an episode.

How to grow bananas from seed without a day and night temperature heated...

Do you love the idea of growing banana plants from seed but don't have the specialist equipment to do so? Well most of the regions of the world were bananas naturally grow are usually tropical or at best Mediterranean or for a few special species warm temperate. So if you live in a northern European climate it will be possible to grow maybe a handful of species at a pinch and will a little helping hand but growing them from seed, well how would that work?

Well germinating bananas from seeds outside of their natural environment is a little bit of an art. You will need a heated propagator which can produce differing day and night temperatures. It sound more complicated than it is as you just need to connect it to a timer which switches off for 12 hours at a time.

But how would you replicate the germination conditions without a heated propagator? That can be achieved by timing germination with your local seasons. To find out more check out our video above where everything will be explained.

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HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS! We did the Monte Toboggan Run in Madeira

Hello there and welcome to another video from the 'Walking Talking Gardeners', however instead of our usually horticultural fare we thought we would show you something a little different. While we were checking out the various amazing gardens that Madeira has to offer we had the opportunity to take part in the Monte Toboggan Run. This was something I had wanted to do since I watched it on Blue peter as a child.

So why don't you join us as we step in to the rather rickety wooden frame of the taboggan and slide our way down to only halfway down to where we actually wanted to be!

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Echeveria 'Sea Monster' - How To Propagate and Pot Up

If, like me, you are a big fan of cacti and succulents then this video may be right up your street. I had a large specimen of Echeveria 'Sea Monster' and in my usual fashion became bored with it and left it outside over the winter to fend for itself. Of course with temperatures down to minus 6 degrees celsius the whole thing turned to mush - or so I thought. I cam across this little section of stem which was found growing through the bark chips which went down this early June!

So if you are interested in what became of this lucky survivor then why not check out our video. We also discuss a little more about the simple propagation techniques required to grow more of this wonderful cultivar for free.

If you like this kind of content then why not consider subscribing to our channel or pressing the 'Like 'button'. Don't forget you can also leave a comment,we would love to hear from you.

Free Tropical Cold Hardy Plants and How to Get Them

Walk around any garden center nowadays and you may be surprised at just how much regular plants cost - let alone anything a little out of the ordinary. So what if I told you that you could have tropical cold-hardy plants for free? Well you may not believe me, but believe me you should as you can easily propagate many tropical cold-hardy plants with very simple propagation techniques.

In this latest video myself and Lorna walk around our garden pointing out the plants of interest as well as discussing the propagation requirements of the easiest ones. In fact many of the plants you see here are already ones that we have propagated previously! Some require no skills at all!

So why not join us on what could be the first step to obtaining plants for free. Please leave a comment and remember that you can support our channel by pressing the 'LIKE' and SUBSCRIBE' button..

Super Easy Growing Citrus from Seeds

Everyone (who is as like-minded as me) loves the idea of having citrus plants in their garden. Why? Because they are exotic, aspirational and just absolutely gorgeous looking. There is also the 'I would love to grow my own lemon for gin and tonics' cliche to be considered. However citrus plants are expensive and if you are not confident in looking after them going forward this could constitute a financial risk that you may not be willing to take.

Be that as it may, growing citrus plants from seed is actually super easy and can be sown straight from the fruit once it is clear of pulp. There are a number of techniques that can be employed to grow citrus from seeds but in the accompanying video we will discuss the easiest and most straightforward method.

If you have an even easier method to growing citrus from seeds then why not leave a message in the comments section of the video, we would love to hear from you. And do for get that you can support our site by clicking the 'Like' and 'SUBSCRIBE' buttons.

How to dead-head Dahlias

There is often some confusion when it comes to dead-heading Dahlias as the spent blooms and the newly forming buds can look very similar. Also there seems to be a general habit of snapping off the heads of Dahlias and leaving unsightly stalks behind. So if you want to know the difference between an finished flower and a bud about to bloom and the best technique to remove the stalks then check out our video above on everything you need to know about dead-heading dahlias.

If you have any questions at all then don't forget to leave a message in the comments, we would love to hear from you. Also consider pressing the subscribe button so that you never miss an episode.

Best Plants for a Cold Hardy, Tropical Effect Garden

For many, having a tropical garden in the cold, rainy climate of England is little more than a fantasy. Why? Because tropical plants live in the tropics where the sun shines all year round with temperatures rarely dropping below 25 degrees Celsius. And of course that is true. However  just because you cannot grow genuine tropical plants due to your climate, this does not mean that you cannot grow similar looking plants that are cold hardy which will give you the same effect. Tropical forests are synonymous with tall specimens, large leaves and unusual architectural plant structures, so with a little research it is easy to pick out plant which match these criteria to bring the look of the tropics to your very own back garden. So which are the best plants for a cold hardy, tropical effect garden?

Luckily the choice is fairly limited which makes designing a cold tropical effect garden relatively simple and starts with knowing which are the two largest leaved plants you can grow here. They are the giant ornamental Rhubarb - Gunnera manicata and the rice-paper plant - Tetrapanax rex. Moving on from there you can check out Fatsia species and cultivars, hardy bananas, variegated spanish reed, Cannas, large leaved hostas and the range of hardy palms that are available. 

Another trick to add to the tropical effect is to mimic the colour palette of the tropics which means adding plenty of red flowering plants wit a lesser splattering of orange, hot pink and vibrant yellows.

To find out more about with are the best plants for a cold hardy, tropical effect garden then check out the above video. Don't forget to comment with your favourite cold hardy , tropical effect plants, and consider supporting out YouTube channel by pressing the 'Like' and 'SUBSCRIBE' buttons.

How to propagate Orchid cactus (Disocactus) from cuttings

Living in the UK you wouldn't think that it would be possible to find epiphytic orchid cacti hanging from a tree, but grow them here you can. In fact arguably the most attractive of them all - Disocactus × jenkinsonii (usually always miss-named as Disocactus ackermannii) is considered hardy in the UK and has be given the prestigious Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society! In reality, this is a hybrid between Disocactus phyllanthoides and Disocactus speciosus. It has a very complex taxonomic history and has been mistaken for Disocactus ackermannii for a long time.

It is extremely rare to see Orchid cacti (Disocactus species) for sale but assuming you come a cross a speciment it is very easy to take cutting to propagate you own specimen. Check out the video above where the surprisingly simple process of propagating Orchid cactus (Disocactus) is explained.

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Quinta Magnolia Gardens walk-through with horticultural commentary

The Portuguese island of Madeira, also known as the Garden Island - and for good reason, is a magnet for all those who are lovers of all things Horticultural. There are the tree main gardens that you really do not want to miss is you every come to visit :

Monte palace tropical gardens
Madeira Botanical gardens
Palheiro Gardens

However you you are staying on the island for a few days and want to looks at some other worthwhile hardens as well as walk amidst its colonial history then consider having a visit to Quinta magnolia gardens in the west of the Islands capitol Funchal, and only a ten minute walk away from Reid's Palace hotel..

Formally an Edwardian pleasure garden and until more recently the British Country Club', the facilities at Quinta Magnolia are now open to the public and the 40,000 square metres of mature trees, shrubs, flowers and lawns are now free to the public to visit and walk around.

So if you are considering visiting Quinta magnolia and what to have an idea as to what is there then why not join English Horticulturists Simon and Lorna as they walk through and discover what they find of interest.

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Hello and welcome to another video from the 'Walking Talking Gardeners' YouTube channel. In this feature we are walking around and discovering the wonders found in the cacti and succulent garden at the Madeira Botanical Garden, Funchal.

Interestingly this property was originally part of an estate belonging to the family of William Reid, founder of Reid's Hotel. However in 1960 it was opened to the paying public.

So why not take a walk along with English horticulturists Simon and Lorna as the discover for the the first time the plants and landscaping as one of madeira not-to-miss gardens.

If you would like to see more content like this? Then why not support out caneel by pressing the 'Like' and 'Subscribe' button. That way you will never miss any of our future videos.


You will probably recognise the extremely popular Yucca elephantipes from the houseplant department from your local supermarket or garden centre. However what you may know know is that the Yucca plant can also be grown outside as a full-size garden plant quire happily in the milder regions of the UK! So this would include London and the south of England, and southern Ireland.

Native to Mexico and Central America it is an evergreen shrub capable of growing  between  up to 8–12 metres however in the UK it is more likely to grow to 3-4 metres at most.

Growing Yucca elephantipes from cuttings is a lot easier than you think so why not check out our latest video to find out more? Don't forget that you can support our channel but pressing the 'Like' and 'Subscribe' buttons

TORTOISE BAD-BOYS INTRODUCTION: Say hello to Speedy and Gonzales

Hello and welcome to the YouTube channel 'Walking Talking Gardeners', and just to give you a heads up the video we are looking at today is a little different to our usual fair. Instead of looking at the world of plants and gardens my wife Lorna wanted to make a video on the two main loves of the life - her tortoises Speedy and Gonzales.

So sit back and enjoy Lorna introducing her two favourite beings and talking a little about what they eat and the differences between them.

If you would like to see more content like this then consider pressing the 'Like and 'Subscribe' buttons.

If you would like to ask Lorna a question about her tortoises then leave a note in the comments.

How to propagate Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) from pups

Hello there and welcome to another video from the 'Walking Talking Gardeners'. In this video horticulturist Simon will demonstrate how to propagate the Madagascan succulent Bryophyllum from pups. All you need is a modular seed tray, multipurpose compost and a small dibber or pencil.

Fortunately, propagating Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) from pups is super easy but check out the above video for all the information you will need for success.

Do forget to subscribe to your YouTube channel so that you won't miss out on any of out other content.

Palheiro Gardens, Madeira, walk-through with horticultural commentary - Part 2

Welcome back to the 'Walking talking Gardeners' YouTube channel. We recently posted Part 1 of our visit to Palheiro Gardens in Madeira. Well hold on to your pants as we have part 2 ready for you. Join English Horticulturists Simon and Lorna as the continue their walk around Palheiro Gardens on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

Palheiro gardens is open to the public and is one of the premier garden on the island next to Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and Madeira Botanical gardens. Once a private estate is now house a massive collection of plants from across the world planted in stunning Edwardian pleasure gardens.

If you don't want to miss out on future videos don't forget to click the like and subscribe buttons.


Tree ferns always looks fantastic when you come across some fresh stock at the local garden centre (sadly they tend to decline under the steward ship of the same garden centre staff), however once you have had them in the garden their quality can quickly begin to suffer. One of the biggest issues is as the crown rises with year on year growth it can also become narrower and the growth considerably weaker. Over time this will create a stunted plant, miles away from the handsome specimen it once was and really, with the right management, should still be. So how do you stop the crown of tree ferns from shrinking or narrowing at the crown?

English horticulturist takes a look at the problem and proposed a couple of ways of maintaining its original shape. Of course without the perfect growing conditions of its native habitat it will be extremely hard to maintain its original thick dense habit. However with good horticultural practice and a little trick up his sleeve, horticulturist Simon will give his tips to growing quality tre ferns in the above video.

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Yes it's true, you can grow a tropical garden in 6 months. However you will need to purchase the right plants at the right time and plant them in a position with conditions that will best suit their environmental needs. Ok, that can sound quite daunting but with the majority of cold hardy tropical plants require not much more that full sun and free draining soil. It is a lot easier than you might first think - there are of course some exceptions.

So welcome to English horticulturist Lorna's cold hardy tropical garden. Planted 6 months ago to when this video was taken, it is now a mature, lush corner of the garden filled with colour and architectural foliage. We have specifically chosen large-leaved specimens, brought in a few specimen plants from our old garden - just two in fact, the hardy banana Musa basjoo and the Tetrapanax 'Rex'. Most other plants are herbaceous plants we have propagated through division or late spring or summer flowering bulbs bought and stored from earlier on in the year.

We have added a few hardy palms -  Phoenix canariensis and Trachycarpus fortunei and Chamaerops humilis, along with ornamental grasses such as the black bamboo, variegated Arundo donax and rebra grass.

For new stock there is a good range of bulbs, Canna lilies, Dahlias, montbretia, Salvias and Coleus to capture that vibrant tropical palette

We like to try and stick to orange and red blooms to further enhance the tropical look. So why not join Lorna as she walks around this tropical effect border and explains some of the plants andr choices she has made.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Madeira, walk-through with horticultural c...

Hello and welcome to Part 2 of our walk around Monte Palace Tropical Garden on the Portuguese island of Madeira. If you have missed Part 1 then the link for that is below:

Monte Palace Tropical Gardens have been open to the public since 1991, and houses a huge exotic plant's collection, coming from around the world. It also includes one of the most important tile collections in Portugal originating from palaces, churches, chapels and private houses throughout the former Portuguese empire. The gardens are open everyday except for the 25th of December.

So why not join English horticulturists Simon and Lorna as the continue their walk around the gardens providing horticultural commentary on the stunning plants and landscaping they find.

Canna 'Cleopatra' Comin' Atcha! Plus description and cultivation.

Canna 'Cleopatra' is a gorgeous herbaceous plant which despite being introduced in 1895 has been seemingly missing from the plants beds of UK garden centres. Growing to approximately 1.2 metres tall, this bi-coloured ornamental specimen has the star quality to stand out amongst the regular collection of canna lilies. Its strange, haphazard chocolate/green leaf colourisation is due to it being an unstable colour hybrid. It is as though two distinctly different colour forms have been spliced together but rather than one dominating so that the hybrid reverts to just the one type, the variation is extremely stable! There is even a colour choice of red, yellow and even a mixture of the both. Remember to dead-head your spent booms to encourage more flowering.

Flowering from mid-summer to the autumn, it will perform best in organically rich, well drained soils. Canna 'Cleopatra' will tolerate a shady position but to get the best show of blooms position in full sun. However it will require watering during periods of drought. 

Regarding its cold tolerance, you can leave Cana 'Cleopatra' outside in the ground in zones 8-11, but for colder regions you would be best lifting the tubers after the first frost and potting them into a dry mulch to overwinter in an unheated frost-free environment.

As the buds begin to show in early spring you can lift and divide in order to produce new specimens. Canna 'Cleopatra' is relatively disease free although keep an eye out for Canna Leaf Roller and Canna Leaf Virus.

HOW TO WATER TREE FERNS - What the garden centres don't tell you!

With the effect of climate change affecting summer temperatures and rainfall in the UK, maintaining tree ferns in peak condition is becoming increasing difficult. The reason for this is simple. Tree ferns typically thrive in cloud forests, also called a water forest, characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover. The result of this is a something equivalent to 1 metres of rainfall per year. Now transfer this plant to the drought ridden summers of the United Kingdom and something has to give. You either need to provide your tree fern with the conditions it requires or you can watch it slowly disappear due to attrition!

In order to cope with the specialist conditions of the cloud forest tree ferns have evolved several ways to enhance these unique environmental conditions. The canopy has developed a funnel-shaped structure to drawn in as much moisture and rainfall to the crown,and the trunk itself is like a huge sponge full of woody, fibrous roots. To reduce the risk of the trunk drying out the old fronds remain on the tree but bend downwards to help retain moisture in the trunk. If you look careful you can even see an indented channel running along the centre of the fronds stipe to help direct water to the crown.

As you can imagine, watering tree ferns is a little more involved than simply watering the roots in the soil to check out the above video to find out exactly how you should be watering your tree ferns.

MONTE PALACE TROPICAL GARDENS: Review and walk-through with horticultural commentary - Part 1

Welcome to our very first garden walk-though video with English horticulturists Simon and Lorna. In this video we are discovering the delights of Monte Palace tropical gardens in the Portuguese island of Madeira. 

The story of Monte Palace gardens began in the 18th century when the English Consul Charles Murray, bought what was then  just farmland and transformed it into his private estate, then called 'Quinta do Prazer which is Portuguese for 'The Pleasure Estate'. 

In 1897, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues purchased Quinta do Prazer and, inspired by the palaces that he had seen in Germany, built a palace-like residence which was later converted into a Hotel known as the Monte Palace Hotel.

In 1943, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues passed away, leading to the closing of the hotel which, in the meantime, was taken over by a financial institution. Later, in 1987, it was sold on to entrepreneur José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo. He re-established the grounds to how you see them today.

So why not join English Horticulturists Simon and Lorna as they walk round for the first time pointing out the gorgeous and extraordinary plants and landscaping they find.

If you want to watch more on Monte Palace Tropical Gardens then why not check out Part 2 in the link below.

MADEIRA BOTANIC GARDENS: Review and walk-through with horticultural commentary - Part 1

Hello viewers and welcome to our review and walk-through of Madeira Botanic Gardens. Opened to the public in 1960. The area was previously part of an estate belonging to the family of William Reid, founder of Reid's Hotel. William Reid is arguably the islands most famous inhabitant after the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM.

The garden is divided into six areas which at the time of filming we were not aware of so there is good chance that we may have missed and important display. However, it is Lorna's philosophy that we do not research gardens beforehand so that we can give a genuine first-time reaction.

So why not join us as we ramble our way through Madeira Botanic Gardens commenting on anything that catches our eyes. If you have anything to add then please write to us in the comments. If you would like to see more of this kind of content then consider liking and subscribing.

We hope to see you again on one of our other garden visits.


Most of us are familiar with the rich, bright blooms of Bougainvillea cultivars, but on our recent visit to Madeira Botanical gardens we were surprised to come across this hugely long pagoda thickly covered in a selection of well-established Bougainvilleas. Not only was it impressive simple due its size and length, it provided welcome respite form the summer sun.

So why not join myself and Lorna as we make our way through this gorgeous example of hard and soft landscaping and listen to our ramblings as we go.

For context, size records for bougainvillea spectabilis are not really kept for this species  however one of the largest known girths for the Bougainvillea is in Madeira at 1.35m. Unfortunately that specimen can be found at the Passio Publico do Lido. Funchal and not here in the Botanical Gardens. Be that as it may this is still the largest stretch of specimens we have ever seen

Palheiro Gardens, Madeira, walk-through with horticultural commentary - Part 1

Situated about a 20 minute drive from the centre of Funchal, Madeira, Palheiro gardens are one of three top class gardens to be found on the island. Utilising one of the larger sections of relatively flat land on this dormant Vulcanic rock, the 1st Count of Carvalhal found it perfect for laying out pleasure gardens on a grand scale. 

Currently owned by the Blandy family, it is an excellent example of an English influenced Edwardian pleasure garden with a superb collection of trees Camellias, specimen trees and a selection of well-maintained compartmentalised themed gardens within the overall site.

So join English horticulturists Simon and Lorna as they make their way around the garden for the first time, pointing out interesting plants that catch their eye and discuss the relevant landscaping as they pass through.

Fell free to leave a comment, press the like button or even subscribe if you woild like to see more content like this.