Book review: Emeralds by Karen Platt

Book Review. The Two Fingered Gardener

“Emeralds” written by Karen Platt


Every year has a colour associated with it and the colour for 2017 is green. So, what better way to celebrate this than a review of a book that is totally dedicated to green flowers and foliage plants. Emeralds by Karen Platt is just such a book. The only book of its kind, to be wholly based by colour, it really is an outstanding book. Over one thousand green flowers from the exotic orchid to the more common annuals that can be grown from seed, all in one book! An incredible amount of work must have gone into this book and I for one found it wholly awe inspiring.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a lover of lots of green in my garden. I have a love of bright bold colour and have never really considered green as a major need in my garden. However, reading this book has challenged my opinion making me realise that actually green foliage plants can add major structure and interest all year round. I have found this book a useful reference book that is fabulous to dip in and out of with beautiful glossy photos creating a stunning book to help you pick out some great plants. It even has a wonderful section towards the back based on design called “designs on green” which includes hand drawn design ideas based on a green plant theme. This is excellent if you’re stuck for ideas or just need a bit of inspiration. Ideas include themes such as work and play with an office space and family space. The ideas are extensive and there’s something for everyone. It provides a good platform to add your own individual style.


Each species includes useful descriptive advice on such things as leaf and flower shape, eventual size and the type of overall structure. There are also really informative lists for most varieties available. Particularly useful if you have a space in mind but no idea how to use it. There are brief handy planting tips and the book is alphabetised making it easy to locate the plant of choice. I particularly like the way it is divided into foliage and flowers plants. No endless trawling through pages and pages to find some inspiration or something unusual to revamp an unloved corner.

Supplier information can be found at the back of the book. A superb addition to any book. There is nothing more annoying to find a plant you really love then have no idea where on earth to find it. I really love the way Karen has laid out the entire book, it just works. It flows well and looks the bees’ knees. Not only is it informative, its inspiring and challenges your design and planting schemes. If like me you love a good garden that you can pick up, learn something then possibly change your perception on your own garden and the plant choices you make then I would absolutely recommend this book to any gardener. Whether an old pro or complete novice there is something for everyone.



If you wish to purchase this wonderful book it can be found at:


The author has also kindly offered a reader offer of 50% off when bought directly from the above website. Offer code: 50OFF

Happy reading.


Pro-seeder by The Good life supplied by Mr Fothergills seeds Ltd

Seed sowing has always been one of my pet hates and absolute loves all rolled into one. Having two fingers makes this one of the hardest and most frustrating jobs of the year for me yet it also signifies the beginning of the gardening year. Even if the weather is abysmal, as it usually is in this country in February you can still get your garden fix with a bit of seed sowing. The anticipation of the tiny seeds producing something amazing never ceases to impress me. Nature at its very best.

Then you open a packet of seeds and they are so minuscule you can hardly see them. I cannot hold the seeds in my hand, nor can I easily pick them up. In the past I have ended up just sort of throwing them at a seed tray and hoping for the best. Obviously then you get clumps of seedlings all together and you end up losing half your  when it comes to thinning out. Not any more with this brilliant product that I was sent to trial. The pro seeder is designed specifically for individual precise sowing. Seeds of any shape and size can be sown accurately in trays and pots.


How does it work?

The design is simplicity itself. The bulb shaped rubber section is squeezed gently to release the air then you place the nozzle end close or directly onto the seed and release the bulb section so that the air sucks up the seed and holds it securely while you transfer the seed into the tray or pot, gently squeeze and the seed is released onto the compost. You know where the seed is, exactly where you want it! Repeat this process until all your seeds are sown, a job well done. No more over seeding or wastage at thinning time. This really is a very handy tool that produces professional sowings every time.

The product comes with three different sized nozzle attachments for different sized seeds. They just push securely onto the end of the nozzle. There are also cleaning wires to clear out the attachment needles should they become clogged after lots of use. There is a handy chart included that suggests which attachment is best for the chosen seed. The seeds can be emptied into the storage cap, found under the bulb section containing the attachment needles or onto a sheet of white paper ready to be sucked up. I found the white paper easier, especially for really tiny seeds as they showed up more clearly therefore easier to suck up.

I found this product very easy to use. It doesn’t require any strength is your hands to squeeze or release the bulb section, it is lightweight with no fiddly bits. The packaging was great as it was straightforward to open, no scissors or annoying plastic to try and rip off. The Cap on the bottom was easy to pull off and although the needles are small they are simple to push on and off. Really the only thing you need to remember is to squeeze the air out of the bulb away from the seeds otherwise you end up puffing the seeds all over that place. I did this on the first use and although it made me giggle I soon learnt to do it properly.

I would give this product 10 out 10 and I don’t do that often, so it must be good. Yes it is time consuming but you get great results every time. It is actually quite relaxing to use, I found myself completely engrossed in the task at hand and actually thoroughly enjoyed sowing seeds for the first time ever!

So an all-round great seed sower that I will be using every time I sow seeds from now on. A well thought out product that does exactly what it was designed to do. No fuss no mess no waste. Neatly sown seeds time after time. A wise investment for any gardener seeking an easy fuss free way to get those seeds growing.

Follow the link below to buy this product.