Simple Herb and Garlic Roast Potatoes

Nothing says crowd-pleaser like a dish of crispy roast potatoes. With the holiday season on the horizon, these tasty, rosemary roast potatoes are the perfect dish for bringing the family together for an unforgettable meal.


Servings: 5

Time: 1 hour


You will need:

  • Large pot
  • Small saucepan
  • Roasting oven dish
  • 13 Maris Piper potatoes (Red, Russet or Yukon Gold also work)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp – garlic cloves, crushed. 
  • 1 tbsp – freshly chopped rosemary 
  • 1 tbsp – freshly chopped parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed chilli flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat

    Preheat oven to 220°C.

  2. Bring to a boil

    Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in salt, baking soda, and potatoes, and stir.

  3. Boil Potatoes

    Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes after returning to a boil. Check the potatoes are cooked by piercing the potatoes with a fork. If they are easily pierced, they’re done.

  4. Fry up the herbs

    Combine olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 2-3 minutes.

  5. Coat the potatoes

    Strain the oil over the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix.
    Shake the pot that the potatoes are in to loosen the outer layer of the potatoes. This will ensure extra crispiness.

  6. Roast

    Transfer potatoes to a large baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes.

  7. Finishing touches

    Once your potatoes have browned and are nice and crisp, they’re ready to take out of the oven. Transfer to a bowl and season with more rosemary, salt and pepper.


Tips

  • What are the best potatoes for roasting?

You can use ANY kind of potato for roasting! From white potatoes, red potatoes, baby potatoes, russets, to roasted sweet potatoes, whichever potato you choose will make for delicious roasties.

  • What goes with roast potatoes?

Roast potatoes are a staple side dish for many meals. These mouth-watering rosemary roast potatoes pair perfectly with a roast joint (beef, lamb), roast chicken, grilled fish, as well as roasted vegetables.

Check out some of out other recipes!

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

It’s incredible the difference a few care steps can make to your fresh flowers. Fresh flowers are the perfect way to bring life and colour into the home, but sadly they don’t last forever. Discover how to keep your flowers looking fresh and lively for weeks with our simple cut flower tips.

Before you put your flowers in a vase:

  • Remove the foliage around the bottom of the stems. If any foliage that lies in the vase water can cause fungus and make your flowers wilt quicker.
  • Cut the bottom of your flower stems at a 35 degree angle. This will stop your flower stems from lying flat against the bottom of the vase, which will keep your cut flowers fresher for longer.

After your flowers are in a vase:

  • Keep your vase filled with water! All flower and foliage stems should be submerged. Flowers stay fresher, longer when they can get a drink!
  • If your flowers came in a basket or other container with foam, add fresh water every day.
  • Immediately remove dead or wilting leaves and stems from fresh flower arrangements.
  • Watch your water. When it gets cloudy it’s time to change it out.
  • First remove any dead or dying flowers from the arrangement.

For certain varieties:

  • Tulips grow a few inches after they are cut and will continue to grow toward the closest light source.
  • Hyacinths should not be cut down off the bulb. They actually last longer if left on the bulb.
  • Do not put Daffodils in a vase with other flowers. They secrete a substance that kills other flowers when in the same vase.

The Most Iconic Flowers in Film

Watch Big Fish | Prime Video
Big Fish, 2003

Flowers in film take on brand new meanings. From representing love, innocence or rage, flowers have taken an important supporting role in films for decades. Keep reading to discover some of the most iconic floral moments in cinema.

City Lights
City Lights, 1931

The story of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp and how he falls in love with a blind flower girl. Throughout the film we see the Tramp with a flower that he received from the Flower Girl on the street. The flower symbolizes beauty and the Tramp’s love for the Flower Girl.

The Wizard of Oz
Image
The Wizard of Oz, 1939

The classic movie The Wizard of Oz was the first Hollywood film released in Technicolour. There’s no end to the displays of beautiful flowers shown throughout the film, however one of the most vibrant scenes of the film is when Dorothy is found sleeping in a large field of scarlet poppies, which have long been used to represent sleep and peace throughout history.

Vertigo
Vertigo - Flower Shop — Reel SF
Vertigo, 1959

Flowers are a recurring motif in Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo. At the beginning of the movie, Madeleine enters a magnificent florist and buys a beautiful and delicate bunch of nosegay flowers. The bouquet appears again several times, most notably when Madeleine stands at the edge of San Francisco Bay, plucking petals from the flowers and tossing them into the water. The destruction of the bouquet mirrors Madeleine’s fixation on self-destruction.

Big Fish
Big Fish, 2004

The mesmerising daffodil field in the 2003 iconic film, Big Fish, is one of the most iconic use of flowers in film. Upon opening the window to Edward Bloom standing in a sea of sunshine-yellow daffodils, Sandra realises that every flower was planted for her.

Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, 2010

From roses, iris, daisies, pansies, tulips and sweetpeas, there is no shortage of flowers in Alice in Wonderland. When Alice chases the White Rabbit, she runs into a flower garden where she meets a large group of beautiful flowers. The Flowers of Wonderland who live near the White Rabbit’s House are sentient beings who love to sing. 

How to Plant Bare Root Fruit Trees

Apple Tree

Enjoy bountiful harvests year after the year by growing your own fruit trees. From large apple trees to patio pot pear trees, anyone can grow their own fruit. Since the proper planting is critical for long-term success, discover when and how to plant bare root fruit trees below.

When to Plant Fruit Trees

The best time to plant bare-root fruit trees is towards the end of winter or the first half of spring, once the ground is no longer frozen so it can be easily dug but before new growth starts.

How to Plant Fruit Trees

For optimal growth, it is essential that fruit trees are planted correctly. Follow our step-by-step planting tips below.

Upon delivery

Open the packaging and put your hand inside the bag. If the roots feel damp you need to do nothing for the time being. Keep them in the bag and check them daily – if they feel as if they are drying out take the trees out and dunk the roots in a bucket of water for a few minutes and then put them back in the bag. Until planting, store the trees in their bags in a cool place out of the sun and wind.

Steps for Planting
  1. Dig a hole about a spade’s depth and around 3ft (1m) wide. A square hole is better than a round one as it encourages the roots to push out into the surrounding ground.
  2. Add a few inches of compost and work it into the base of the hole using a garden fork. Make sure to mix the compost in amongst the regular soil.
  3. Place the tree in the centre of the hole and a cane across the hole so you can check that this line is level with the soil around your hole as trees shouldn’t be planted deeper or shallower than they were first grown.
  4. Remove the tree and put in a thick wooden stake a couple of inches from the centre of the hole and on the side where the prevailing wind comes from. Hammer this firmly into the ground.
  5. Place the tree back in the hole close to the stake and start to shovel the soil-and-compost mix back around the roots. Gently firm this in, being careful not to damage the roots. When it’s half full, pull the tree up an inch and then let it drop again as this helps the soil to fill in around the roots.
  6. Fix the tree to the stake with the tie, leaving enough room for the tree trunk to grow but not so much that it wobbles about. Also add a protective tube around the trunk if animals are a problem.
  7. Water the soil well to stop the roots drying out and to further settle the soil around them.

Check out some of our other blogs!

When is it too late to plant Tulips?

Bright, bold, and colourful, Tulips are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs that gardeners plant in autumn. Many gardeners may think that you need to get all your bulbs in the ground by October, but this isn’t the case! If you haven’t finished your tulip planting yet, don’t worry, keep reading to find out how long you can plant tulip bulbs.

Why you shouldn’t plant Tulips too early

Tulip bulbs are always so eager to get growing. If you plant them too soon, they’ll send their leaves up right away. This will only freeze them in the winter.

When should you plant Tulips?

Wait to plant tulip bulbs until mid-autumn, up until 6 weeks before a ground-freezing frost is expected. Sometimes, even December (or even later) works best if you live in mild winter areas.

What if i don’t plant them by Christmas?

If you missed planting your bulbs during autumn/early winter and you’ve got a pack of tulips or daffodils laying around in January or February, plant them and take your chances. Here are our top tips for winter bulb planting:

  • Clear away snow and loosen soil, if possible.
  • If the ground is totally frozen, scatter fertilizer sparingly and over a larger range than normal.
  • Place bulbs on top of the soil. Do not press them in, as this will damage the bulb base, where roots form.
  • Cover with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or finished compost (go for the thicker layer if planting during the height of winter).
  • Renew mulch covering often with a fresh 2 inch layer.

Check out some of our other blogs!

Autumn Wreath Challenge – WIN a £100 mystery plant prize!

With leaves turning, autumn flowers blooming and fruit ready for harvest, there’s so much to love about autumn, and why not show us how much you love autumn by making a wreath!

This November we’re throwing an Autumn Wreath Challenge! Hunt around the garden for berries/shrubbery or pinecones to create your very own autumn wreath. Send us your photos and you could be in for the chance of winning £100’s worth of mystery plants!

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • Send us a photo of your beautiful autumn wreaths on social or via email.
  • On Dec 1st, one winner will be selected and WIN our £100 mystery selection of plants & bulbs!

HOW TO ENTER

You can show us your wreaths via our social media channels:

Or EMAIL your photos to [email protected] (images must be under 5mb – please include your name & address)

CHALLENGE ENDS ON NOV 30TH

Q: What can I make a wreath with?

  • Berries
  • Pine tree branches
  • Pinecones/acorns
  • Ribbon
  • Cut flowers
  • Leaves (e.g. holly, maple, ferns)
  • Fairy lights (solar for outdoors)
  • Branches

Terms and Conditions:

  • Send your entries to us by email at [email protected] or share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
  • All Autumn Wreath Challenge entries need to be sent in by November 30th.
  • In entering the competition, you agree to allow us to use your image entries in further promotions, on social media.
  • Entrants agree that their names may or may not be published with their entry. No other details will be shared with any third parties.

Follow us on Instagram for wreath making tips!

How to be Safe on Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes night is back again! With many of us celebrating bonfire night at home this year, here are some helpful tips and tricks for keeping you, your loved ones, and the local wildlife safe during the celebrations.

Keep Water Nearby

If you’re throwing a garden firework display this year, make sure you keep a bucket of water nearby. Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding. Never go back to a lit firework, even if it fails to go off.

Distance is Essential

When lighting fireworks, light them at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back. When watching your beautiful sparkly displays, always keep a safe distance (around 5-8 meters). Then grab a blanket, kick back and watch the fireworks show.

Wildlife Safety

If you’re making a bonfire this November, try and make your bonfires on the same day you’ll be lighting them to avoid small wildlife making their home inside them. It is important to check bonfires for any sleeping wildlife before lighting!

Also, animals are a lot more sensitive to big flashes and loud bangs than we are. So make sure to keep your pets away from the display to keep them as comfortable and calm as possible.

Be Safe With Sparklers

Though great fun for kids and adults alike, a few simple safety tips can keep sparklers fun. Always wear gloves with sparklers, preferably leather ones. Hold it at arm’s length when lit and always use in a clear space away from others. 

Now you know what precautions you need to make, here are some ideas on how to celebrate bonfire night this year:

  • Make some traditional bonfire night treats (treacle toffee cake, toffee apples, smores)
  • Play some board games indoors
  • Light some sparklers in the garden

Check out some of our other blogs!

The Big Pumpkin Hunt – Winner’s List

October is coming to an end and now it’s time to announce the winners of our Big Pumpkin Hunt. We sent you all scouring across our website to find our first set of 5 hidden Halloween pumpkins, and we had so many eagle-eyed customers managed that managed to spot them! So, we set a harder challenge of locating 10 NEW pumpkins around the site, and now we have our winners for both rounds.

Before we announce the winner’s, we’d like to thank all of our customers who got involved with this competition. We had so many entries, but here are the customers who spotted our pumpkins first:

Our 1st winner was…

Kira.P. – Kira won our amazing £100 voucher prize to spend in our online shop.

Our 2nd Winner is…

Diana (a.k.a Good Life Garden) – Diana is the winner of our HUGE £150 J.Parker’s voucher.

Here are the pages the pumpkins were hidden on:

Keep an eye out for our new competition coming this November!

How Gardening Helps the Environment

Whatever the size, our gardens can help the environment in lots of ways. To help reduce the human impact on the environment and the world we live in, here are some fantastic environmental gardening tips to bring into your outdoor space.

Helps tackle pollution

Planting particular trees has been shown to improve local air quality. Garden trees do a great job trapping pollution particles, absorbing toxic gases and producing oxygen; this helps to mitigate the harmful air pollution that’s released from the engines of our cars and machines. The best trees to plant to help reduce pollution are maples including ornamental acers, silver birch, alder and conifers. Acers are a great choice for those with little outdoor space, as dwarf varieties are perfect for patios and pots.

Reduces noise pollution

Since many homes in the UK are close to busy roads, we have a few methods for soundproofing your garden and reducing unwanted noise pollution. Planting shrubs is one of the effective ways to lessen the noise in your garden. For instance, shrubs like Hollies and Junipers have thick branches at ground level, which can help reduce traffic noise. Once these shrubs reach maturity, they will create a barrier to stop noise travelling.

Why not try encouraging wildlife into your outdoor space? Plant pollinator-friendly plants and you’ll be joined by an abundance of pleasant, natural sound — which is a great distraction from external noise.

Protects natural habitats

Birds and squirrels need a natural habitat in which they can thrive — and the garden can be the perfect place for them. Planting trees and hedging is an easy environmental gardening technique to create natural homes for all the small local mammals. Fragrant flowers like spring-flowering Muscari or Roses also attract butterflies and bees, which are great pollinators who benefit the environment.

Reduces urban “heat islands”

As cities grow, natural greenery is replaced with concrete. These building materials become impermeable and dry, which causes cities to heat up, creating “heat islands”. Since gardens in London are 26% smaller than the national average, according to the Office of National Statistics, many city dwellers need to be practical when it comes to gardening. A rooftop garden can have amazing environmental and social benefits. Green roofs provide shade, remove heat from the air, and reduce temperatures of the roof surface. Using green roofs in built-up environments with limited vegetation can moderate the heat island effect, particularly during the day. 

Check out some of our other blogs!

Spiced Caramel & Pear Tart Recipe

Looking for the perfect autumnal recipe for your harvested pears? This delicious, spiced caramel and pear tart recipe is the perfect comfort food to keep you warm this autumn.


Servings: 10

Time: 1 1/2 hours


You will need:

  • 9-inch tart pan

For the base:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the pears:

For the caramel:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Make the base

    Heat oven to 200°C. Brush 1 sheet of puff pastry dough with melted butter, then gently press into a 9-inch tart pan, letting ends extend over edges of pan. Fold in edges of dough, slightly pinching sides to form crust.

  2. Arrange the Pears

    Arrange pear slices in decorative circles on the prepared crust. Sprinkle top with sugar, spices and cubes of butter.
    Bake 45 minutes until crust is deep golden brown and pear topping is cooked. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack; leave oven on.

  3. Make the Caramel

    While your tart is baking, in small saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar until dissolved. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, carefully swirling pan, until sugar begins to caramelize and turn amber in colour. Remove from heat; stir in butter and salt until combined. Stir in heavy cream. Continue to cook sauce for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and smooth. Remove from heat.

  4. Decorate and serve

    Carefully and quickly brush top of tart with caramel sauce. Be sure to brush both crust and pear topping. Bake the tart for another 10 minutes until caramel is melted and just begins to bubble.
    Return tart to cooling rack. Let it cool before slicing.


Tips

  • When should you pick pears?

It’s best to pick pears when they are mature but not fully ripe and let them ripen in the home. Simply, cup the fruit in your hand, tilt horizontally, and it should come away easily. You can then leave them indoors at room temperature for a week to ripen.

  • How do I store fruit tarts?

This pear tart is best served the day it is made; cool or room temperature storage is fine that day, but be sure to refrigerate the leftovers.

Check out some of our other recipes: