Amie, Current Issues, Gardening, How To, Plants, Ponds, Primrose.co.uk

The garden is our sanctuary, our area of peace, a place for personalisation, and with roughly 90% of households owning a garden, they’re a large part of Britain’s landscape. With over £4 billion spent annually on our gardens, they are unfortunately a prime target for thieves, with latest statistics showing roughly 1 in 7 households has an item stolen from their garden , and more gnomes (9.6% of thefts) being stolen than credit/ debit cards (8.2%). Only last month did someone have an elephant memorial (3ft brass ornament, chained and drilled to a post) stolen from their garden – it’s absurd the extreme lengths thieves go to.  Therefore, it’s more important than ever to prevent theft and we will show you some easy ways to do so.

Don’t put plants and ornaments in your front garden
One of the most common thefts are potted shrubs and trees from the front garden or door area, especially at night. Without a front gate or fence, it’s easy for passers-by to take them, and being fairly common, they’re even more tempting. So my advice is keep the plants and trees for your back garden, providing it’s secure. You can create a gorgeous front garden area without the need for plants (and gnomes).

Store valuable machinery and BBQs when not in use
It’s very easy for someone to enter your garden and remove an item, especially if not kept in a shed or outbuilding. For heavier items, it has been evident of people using machinery to remove such items. The best advice here is to simply lock all machinery and tools you have up, whether that be in your house or a shed. If possible, lock up the goods inside any outbuildings for extra precaution, and put a cover over them so potential passers-by can’t see what goods you’re storing.

Install security camera systems
Available for a reasonable low cost, CCTV and security systems are effective for two reasons; deterring and identifying. Many will be put off coming near your house if they saw a security system, with reports stating roughly 83% of burglars try to find out if there is a security system first. You could even be sneaky and put up a fake camera outside your house! If the unfortunate happens and you do experience a robbery, you have a greater chance of obtaining the thief with visual evidence.

Put up spikes (fence and thorny bushes)
Thieves like to climb over fences to enter the garden, especially if inaccessible from the front, so what better way to deter them than to give them a shock. Fence spikes are an easy, cheap solution which can be applied to fence tops, and are available in a number of colours (brown being a popular choice so it blends in with your fence).  Thorny bushes such as holly bushes are also a nuisance for thieves, but will require more time and maintenance.

Fence and Wall Spikes - Brown

Get to know your surroundings
This might seem a bit obvious (or perhaps inconvenient) but research the local area, especially if you are planning to move. Is there a high crime rate? Is it a hotspot for thefts? There are plenty of tools online to help research crime statistics and you can explore theft and crime in an area . Likewise, get to know your neighbours. If you are friendly with the locals in your area, they are more likely to keep an eye on your house.

Whilst the possibility of theft is ultimately low, it’s still better to safe than sorry. So follow these tips to ensure your garden is as safe as houses (excuse the terrible pun).

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Callum, Current Issues, Gardening

Thrive Logo

Gardening really is fantastically therapeutic as many of you all know, in fact a recent study found that 88% of gardeners chose mental wellbeing as a key benefit for spending time in the garden. Not only that, gardening can help rebuild a person’s strength after an accident or illness, and can provide a purposeful activity for someone coping with a difficult period in their life.

So when I came across the charity Thrive, I really was impressed with what they are doing. They are the leading charity in the UK using gardening to change the lives of disabled people. They have allotments in four locations across the UK, which in 2014/15 delivered 10,000 gardening sessions to 450 disadvantaged clients. 38 went on to achieve an accredited horticultural qualification which for many was their first ever qualification.

Allotment

You might not think it, but there are endless benefits to working in the garden with disabled people. It provides them with better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility. As stated at the start, it improves mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement. The opportunity to connect with others helps reduce feelings of isolation, acquiring new skills to lead a fuller and more independent life and just generally feeling better for being outside in touch with the ‘great outdoors’.

As well as the help they provide for disabled people, Thrive also assists the 50+ community. The Sow and Grow project started in 2010 and achieved great success. It is a free, eight week indoor gardening course for people over the age of 50 who are keen to make new friends, improve their general health and learn more about gardening. The results showed that almost three quarters of participants felt less isolated which is a big result considering loneliness is often cited as one of the biggest contributors to poor mental health.

sow and grow

As you can see this isn’t just about helping disabled people. As fantastic and standout as that is, this is about showing what benefits everyone can get from gardening and the improvements it can make to your mental health. Spread the word about Thrive and remember happy gardening!

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.

Amie, Animals, Current Issues, How To, Primrose.co.uk

Hedgehog awareness week runs from 1st – 7th May, so we’re giving you a heads up on everything you need to know to keep these animals alive in the British wild.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spur, Nature, Animal World, Cute

Hedgehogs are one of our favourite mammals, noticeable from their small, spiky bodies, roaming freely in our gardens. However, according to a recent report from BBC Gardener’s World magazine, almost half of us have never seen the cute, prickly critter. Even more worrying, only 29% have seen a hedgehog in the last year. Their presence is in decline, and is happening for a number of reasons, including changing environmental habitats, intensive agriculture and built up urban areas.  It would be a great shame to lose one of our favourite animals from the wild, but there are a few simple things you can do to help.

Make it easy for hedgehogs to roam between gardens 
One of the best things you can do to help hedgehogs is to allow free movement between gardens. By doing this, you make it easier for them to obtain food (did you know they travel up to a mile a night in search of food?). If you haven’t a fence in your garden, or you’re debating replacing them, look at fencing with gaps underneath. Else cut a hole in your fence roughly 13cm x 13cm, giving plenty of room for them to pass through. If you’re worried about your fence looking aesthetically unpleasing, simply place shrubbery or foliage near the hole to cover it up.

Build a habitat in your garden
Hedgehogs love twigs, leaves, bushes and foliage, which feature in many gardens, so why not make your own ‘hogitat’? Ensure there are no obstacles around the shrubbery, and ideally locate this in a corner of your garden, keeping the habitat warm and dry. This will not only provide a good place for hedgehogs to hibernate and nest in, but it will also be a hotspot for hedgehog grub to shelter such as slugs (meaning they are less likely to wonder the streets, crossing busy roads looking for food). You could even make your own DIY hedgehog box (similar to a rabbit hutch, but much smaller). Hedgehogs breed between April and September so this is a good time to provide warmth and shelter for them.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spiny, Animals, Leaf

Check any obstacles in your garden
Many gardens have features which can pose a danger to hedgehogs, so you need to rectify this. It’s all about applying common sense here. If you have a steep pond, then this is an instant death trap. Although hedgehogs can swim for short distances, they have difficulty exiting steep sides, so look to create a slope or place a log to allow for easy access. Or another solution is to place a netting over ponds to avoid falling in. If you had a bonfire in your garden, ensure this is fully dismantled and extinguished so it’s not disguised as a hibernaculum.

Warn off any predators that enter your garden 
Whilst hedgehogs feature a clever defensive mechanism in the way of their sharp hairs (known as quills) utilised through curling into a ball, there is still a danger posed to them by larger animals. Birds of prey such as hawks or owls, foxes and weasels are some of the more well-known predators that lurk in British gardens, and whilst deterring foxes (without affecting hedgehogs) isn’t straightforward, it’s very simple and cheap to place a bird decoy in your garden. Likewise, if you own a pet, try and ensure they don’t pose a threat to hedgehogs, by warding them off their habitats where possible.

Owls, Burrowing Owl, Casal, Nest, Hole, Bird Of Prey

Leave out extra food 
Whilst all the above gives the best possible chance of providing food and insects for hedgehogs, it’s useful to leave out supplementary food such as meat-based pet food, crushed peanuts, mealworms or raisins. Ensure any food you leave out is not only digestible, but is placed upon a pesticide free lawn (avoid slug killer, weedkiller etc).

Care for injured hedgehogs
If you see an injured hedgehog, then do what you can to assist. The safest way to pick up a hedgehog is underside first, to avoid being pricked. Bring the hedgehog inside, and place it in a box, wrapped up in a towel. This is less likely to frighten them, but will also allow them to keep warm. You can call your local hedgehog hospital or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society who will be happy to help. Many rescued hedgehogs fortunately are released back into the wild once they’re recovered.

Hedgehog, Mammals, Breeding, Animal

Follow our tips, share with your friends, and become an advocate for hedgehog conservation. With your help, we can create safe, hedgehog friendly communities, not just single garden habitats, which will give hedgehogs less chance of disappearing from our gardens.

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

To see the rest of Amie’s posts, click here.

Current Issues, Events, Gardening Year, George, Hampton Court Flower Show, News, RHS

Now that the Christmas madness is over, it’s time to settle down and turn to the year ahead. Whether you want to plan an outing or stock up on plants for your own garden, there are plenty of upcoming gardening events to suit you. We’ve put together a calendar of garden events in 2016 so every month this year can be packed full of horticultural days out!

Gardening Events 2016 Calendar

2016 Gardening Events

January

30-31 Big Garden Birdwatch – contribute to the RSPB’s annual survey by recording the birds you spot in your garden over an hour this weekend.

February

6 – 6 Mar Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens – visit the Princess of Wales Conservatory as it is transformed into a paradise of tropical Brazilian plants.
16 – 17 RHS London Early Spring Plant Fair – get your garden going with colourful winter and early spring flowers at Lawrence Hall.
26 – 27 RHS London Botanical Art Show – view the world’s best botanical masterpieces on display and meet the artists at Lindley Hall.

March

11 – 13 The Edible Garden Show – be inspired to grow and cook your own produce with this event at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
12 RHS On Tour at Wimbledon Farmers’ Market – pick up expert gardening advice and locally produced, quality food at this free event.

April

1 – 2 RHS London Spring Plant Extravaganza – find exciting new plants and see magnificent orchid displays from the experts at Lindley Hall.
15 – 17 RHS Show Cardiff – visit the stunning show gardens at Bute Park and Cardiff Castle, take part in family activities and browse many gardening product stalls.
21 – 24 Harrogate Spring Flower Show – take in the show gardens, live entertainment and displays in the plant pavilion before a bit of shopping.

May

5 – 8 RHS Malvern Spring Festival – explore gardening workshops, fabulous show gardens and family events in the stunning Malvern Hills.
24 – 28 RHS Chelsea Flower Show – visit the most famous gardening exhibit with world-class show gardens from upcoming and established designers to inspire and amaze.

June

3 – 4 RHS London Rose Show – admire displays by specialist rose growers and pick up tips on how to grow your own at Lawrence Hall.
3 – 5 Gardening Scotland – sample all that Scotland has to offer in gardening and outdoor living at the national gardening festival, held in the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh.
16 – 19 Gardeners’ World Live – hear talks from your favourite Gardeners’ World presenters, be inspired by a variety of show gardens and pick up gardening gifts at the NEC in Birmingham.
25 – 26 Woburn Abbey Garden Show – hone your gardening skills with advice from experts and browse a selection of wonderful plants from UK nurseries in the abbey gardens.

July

5 – 10 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – wander through a butterfly dome, let the kids enjoy space-themed activities and explore the show gardens.
20 – 24 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park – get ideas from the show gardens to inspire your designs and witness up-and-coming talent in industry competitions.

August

13 – 14 Great Comp Summer Show – enjoy a summer day out browsing local art, plants from nurseries and ornamental gardenware.

September

16 – 18 Harrogate Autumn Flower Show – join live talks and demonstrations, visit the show gardens for autumnal inspiration and be wowed by the giant vegetable competition.
24 – 25 Malvern Autumn Show – enjoy the best of the season’s country food with live demonstrations and stalls, view the floral displays and pick up gardening advice for winter from RHS experts.

October

4 – 5 RHS London Harvest Festival – celebrate autumn with live music, apple bobbing, seasonal food, giant vegetables and gardening advice.
28 – 29 RHS London Shades of Autumn Show – explore horticultural art and design reflecting the best of autumn colours, with planting ideas to brighten your own garden too.

November

12 – 13 RHS London Urban Garden Show – buy beautiful tropical plants and learn how to care for them all year round at this new event in Lindley Hall.

December

17 – 18 RHS London Christmas Show – grab a few last minute Christmas gifts at this new event at Lawrence Hall, featuring plants, seasonal food and gardening sundries.

So there are plenty of wonderful days out for gardening enthusiasts coming up in 2016. A lot of these events have discounts and offers for early booking, so now’s the time to check them out and buy your tickets. We hope you enjoy these outings and have a fantastic year!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

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