Feature

5 minutes with Millie Ross

Green Lifestyle online

We spoke to horticulturalist, garden designer, TV researcher and radio broadacaster Millie Ross about her new book on how to set up a great garden.

Millie Ross

Millie Ross has released a new book The Thrifty Garden on how to set up a great garden.

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Already a horticulturalist, garden designer, TV researcher and radio broadcaster, Millie Ross has now released a book. In The Thrifty Gardener, Millie sets out to prove that you don’t need rules, stuff or knowledge to have a great garden – just get out your back door and get involved!

The most enjoyable project was … most of the projects in the book were things that I was building in my garden or with mates; the solar shower was the solution for a friend while renovating her bathroom and the fire pit, well... it was the perfect excuse to have a party!

Re-using materials in the garden is important to me because… I reckon it is much more fun to see what is being chucked out and try to put it to good use. For gardeners, there are wasted resources all around us; old bins make spunky planters, sticks are great stakes and climbing frames, and lawn clippings and food waste can be converted into compost.

My advice to those with limited gardening space would be… to pick the plants that are right for the spot. In a small space, big bold leaves are best but on a balcony they can be damaged by exposure and wind. Try the velvet leaf succulent Kalanchoe beharensis, large leaf Jade (Crassula ovata) or giant Bird of Paradise (Strelizia nicholai). But the best plants for you are the ones you like!

The best way to fertilise these plants are… regular liquid feeds, like weed or manure tea are best for leafy crops and green growth, applied every two-three weeks through the growing season. Remember, the more diverse the materials that go IN to your compost, the more nutrients will come OUT!

My top tips for taming climbing plants are… to train them from day dot and make sure the support is fit for the life of the plant; there is nothing worse then having to cut a beautiful plant to the ground because the lattice is stuffed!