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well I wish my grandfather was alive today to tell me, you need put into darkness for I think a couple of months before you want it to flower,its not easy ,good luck.
I have successfully got a cutting to grow, I took a woody small bit of the stem and with a leaf and pinned it into the earth in a pot and left a shade spot and watered and did not disturb it and now its ready to plant.
looks like mould caused may be hot one moment cold and damp the next and lack of ventilation if they were indoors.
my grandfather grew beautiful poinsettia s and my daughter did too! you have to let dry right out and resist the temptation to water and coming into season they need warmth and when you see new leaves (after watering a little not often at all) you need to give them darkness for most of the day until the leaves turn red. I am trying at the moment but I am not good at neglect of watering! good luck !
try growing Acorns or hazel nuts ,my kids grew hundreds and the squirrel plants a lot too! there easy and fun. I still have the one my daughter grew 30 years ago and my neighbour too!
You need to visit gardens that are open to the public or parks for Ideas and inspiration . Books too will give you an idea what you can grow and how. Make a plan on paper and consider what effect you want and the type of flowers you like. Borders are best if they have a wide and depth to it and a good mix of heights plus background (is it fence or wall at the back).Ford Abbey for me was a real inspiration which I hope to adopt on a smaller scale.
It is chilly down here and there is an air of Autumn and the flowers are dying back. The blackberries and sloes are ripe ,goodbye summer!
I think a lavender or rosemary ,
a meal made from things I have grown in my garden or if I feel lazy a meal ordered from the take- away or treat at the local pub.
peppery lovely in a salad of mixed leaves .