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Ali Matthews – The Love Gardening Shop Owner

Love gardening shop vegetable box

My name is Ali Matthews and I am passionate about gardening and growing things. 

I decided in 2021 during the Covid Lockdown to set up a website and Ecommerce Store which is all about my love of gardening.  I design lots of different products that you can buy that either have lovely pictures of flowers, or that have slogans about gardening and gardeners.

I also blog about many different aspects of gardening and I hope that you can learn from my helpful hints and tips.  Some people tell you that it takes a lifetime to build a garden, but I am the person who can prove that this is just a myth.  I have moved many times and each time brought an overgrown or deserted garden back to live full of flowers, vegetables, bees and butterflies.  I also try to always have a pond of some kind, as this is the best way to encourage all kinds of wildlife, from the bees and birds that drink from it, to frogs, toads, damselflies and dragonflies.

My gardens usually consist of cottage garden plants which all spill over into each other and vegetable plots that grow a large selection of different things for me to eat and to share with friends.

I hope that you will enjoy my products which range from T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, leggings, bags, mugs, tea towels, blankets, pillows to children’s clothes.  If you are looking for something specific and can’t find it, e.g. you would love a T-shirt with a picture of a foxglove on, email me on and I will do my best to accommodate your request.

Looking forward to sharing my love of gardening and over 40 years of knowledge with you. 

With warmest wishes.


Ali Matthews

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Gardening tips to avoid fungus

Many of us would like to be able to invest a large amount of money for landscaping and gardening to improve our home.  In fact, with gardening being one of the most popular pastimes nowadays, many of us do spent quite a lot of money on our gardens.

However, if we failed to prune the plants and trees that needed it at the correct time, then your highly invested landscape will not look as it is supposed to.  So now is the time to learn gardening tips for better maintenance of your garden and lawn.

The following gardening tips to help you improve your garden: –

Gardening tips for pruning

As we discussed in the introduction, pruning plays an important role in garden maintenance. If you commit any mistake whilst pruning, don’t become disillusioned because it looks like a bad haircut, it is going to grow again and will be fine.

 Avoid watering in the evening

During summer, you may experience high humidity and very little rain, which may result in lot of problems in your garden.  However, only watering the surface of very dry plants can in fact cause them more damage than good.  If you are going to water, it is better if you only water every couple of days, but give them enough water to really benefit them.  Watering is always best done early in the morning wherever possible.  If you do have to water in the evening, try not to do it when it has been quite wet and warm as this will only encourage slugs and snails, who will in turn eat your plants.      

Get rid of Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is the common fungus that mostly affects your ornamental plants. This will create white film on the leaves of the plants in your garden.  Even other ornamental plants such as Sand Cherry and Dogwoods are also now getting affected with this fungus.  Efficient gardening is necessary to curtail the growth of this fungus.  The easiest way to prevent this by spraying general fungicide onto the affected areas.   If you don’t like using fungicide, the only remedy is to cut off any infected parts and make sure that you burn them or completely remove them from your garden by taking to the household green waste centre.

Prevention of Pythium Blight

If you’re in the north and have perennial Rye grass, then this can suffer with a serious fungal problem.   A fungus called Pythium Blight infects grass, if your lawn wet in the night because this fungus loves to grow in high humid condition mostly, in the night. Unfortunately there is not a lot that you can do to control the weather, so try to not water in the evenings.

Pythium blight can easily be seen in the early morning. You can easily identify the fungus on the top of the lawn as white cotton candy. You can easily notice this fungus mainly along driveways and walks, where the soil is moist. Pythium blight can easily be controlled by watering in the day at the earliest possible time.

Fire Blight

Fire Blight, another fungus prefers to grow well during summer rather than any other season. This fungus prefers to attack Pyracantha, Cotoneasters, Crabapple trees, and Apple trees. The presence of Fire Blight can easily be visualized once the any one of the branches of the plant turns red and dies. This Fire Blight can be prevented a little by pruning the affected branch and removing it from the main plant as far as possible.

It is also important that the cut branches should be burnt since Fire Blight is contagious and also wash or dip the projected shears by using alcohol in order to prevent the spread of the deadly fungus to other parts of the branch.

Shotgun fungus

A little gem like fungus, which prefers to grow in mulch and tends to swell, has been termed as “Shotgun Fungus”. This fungus can fly up to 8 feet in the air and will spatter your house with tiny brown specks and once they stick to your house or windows, they stick like glue. Most of us suspect the spiders and aliens for this tiny brown speck. You can’t prevent this fungus, but can do something by keeping the mulch loose so air can circulate inside to keep this fungus out.  Although mulch is great, don’t allow them to get packed, try to remove it at least once in a year and also rake it flat as if it will look like you’ve just mulched.

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Indoor Gardening

As autumn has well and truly arrived, it is time to think about how you can still enjoy gardening, when you can’t always get outside.

Years ago, indoor gardening did not have many options compared to the amount of plants and flowers that you can now buy.  If you visit your local garden centre, or even your local shop or supermarket, there is a fabulous range of different plants that you can grow on your windowsill or in the smallest of places.

Growing plants indoors has a range of benefits, apart from the obvious one that they make your home look more attractive and can brighten up even the dullest corner.  Plants also have a really good influence on your home environment.  Plants don’t only remove carbon dioxide from the air; they also remove many poisonous toxins and pollutants as well.  Looking after plants and watching them bloom or grow also has a good effect on your wellbeing.  Therefore, indoor gardening will result in beautiful decoration in your house as well as cleaner air. 

When picking out plants for indoor gardening, make sure the plants are adaptable and will be able to thrive in the conditions and setting in your house.  Consider how much time you will be able to spend caring for the plants, how much light your house offers, and also how much money you want to spend on your indoor garden.  If you are on a low budget, start with seeds or cuttings.  If you have a little more money to dish out you can buy a plant that is already grown.  Another thing to consider is if you want a plant that can be displayed all year or just for a season.  

Herb gardens are a good thing for indoor gardening; they are both attractive and edible.  They will grow pretty quick and you won’t have to wait a long time to see results.  Some popular herbs, especially for cooking, are chives, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano.

When indoor gardening, consider the amount of experience you have before choosing a plant.  There are some plants that are stronger and harder to kill and therefore better for a novice gardener.  Examples are Fatsia, Cyperus, Scandens, Popular Succulents, Coleus, and Bromeliads.

Some things, such as the basic rules of maintaining plants, are different in indoor gardening than in a regular outdoor setting.  Since plants won’t get the sunlight they do outdoors, lighting is essential.  You need to know exactly how much light your plants need and pick plants that only need medium to low light, such as ferns or Philodendrons, unless you plan to supply artificial lighting.  If you buy a plant already grown, wherever you get it probably has better lighting than your house so you will need to “condition” your plant and gradually reduce the light it receives.  Once you get the plant inside, make sure and rotate the plant to encourage upright growth.

Just because you are indoor gardening, don’t think the plants don’t have to have water; they still do.  How often you water, once again, depends on what type of plant you have.  Make sure the water can drain out of the bottom of the pot and try to use water that is about the same as the temperature of the room.  Also pay attention to temperature in your house in order to ensure healthy plants.  A 10-15 degree range won’t hurt any plants, but rapid changes could cause damage.

Indoor gardening is not all that difficult; in fact, it is pretty much the same as outdoor.  There are even some advantages to indoor gardening.  For example, you won’t have to worry as much about bugs and insects bothering your plants.  You also won’t have to worry about wind or frost wreaking havoc on your garden.

So give it a go and maybe you will be successful in making your home look more attractive and growing some new flowers or plants.

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Autumn or Fall Gardening

Many gardeners do not even consider gardening in autumn or the fall, because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance.  On the contrary, gardening in autumn will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished.  Vegetables produced from autumn gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.

What you choose to grow during you autumn gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants.  Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas.  However, there are some plants that will stop growing towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash and cucumbers.  If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well.  Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts.  Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by frost the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.

When autumn gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives.  Most seed packages will be labelled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity.  You may want to go after your seeds for autumn gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer.  If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.

In order to know exactly when the best time to start autumn gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area.  One of the best ways to tell this is by researching on the internet, or by gardening books or magazines.  They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong.  You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.

To get your soil ready for autumn gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds.  Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden.  Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any.  Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours.  Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.

Many gardeners will run from autumn gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce.  Autumn gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time and may even give you fresh food on your table for Christmas.

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About Love Gardening Shop

My name is Ali Matthews and thank you for visiting my Love Gardening Shop.

I have always been totally passionate about gardening since being a small child.  Both of my grandparents loved gardening and my fondest memories of being at their house, was helping my grandfather pick his vegetables and loganberries and then enjoying watching my grandmother turn them into wonderful tasty meals.

Both of my parents also loved gardening and were brave enough to buy a plot of land and build their own house.  The soil was dreadful clay, so it was a backbreaking job turning this into a beautiful garden.  After a couple of years, they then bought the wood next door, so we were lucky enough to grow up with not only a grass tennis court, but also a productive orchard and wonderful old deciduous trees in our garden. 

Maybe this was where I inherited my bravery in not only buying and renovating houses, but of turning a wild wasteland into a ‘Beatrix Potter; style garden of my own.  I have moved many times and always seemed to inherit gardens which were unloved and needed love and attention.

I have just completed a complete house renovation and also have totally restored and completely redesigned an acre of garden which now has fruit trees, vegetable plots, fruit and a cottage garden full of colour and scents as well as bees and butterflies.  I have grown a majority of my plants and vegetables from seed and love to watch something grow from a tiny little thing, into something that gives me so much pleasure as well as feeding the wildlife and myself. 

It gives me great pleasure to now have a business which is about something so near to my heart as gardening and I hope that through my website and my Love Dogs Shop Facebook page you will share stories and pictures of your gardens and what they mean to you.