Celebrations And Holidays, Competitions, Current Issues, Decoration, Events, Flowers, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, Gardening Year, Hampton Court Flower Show, Liam, News, Planters, Planting, Plants, Ponds, RHS, Water Features

The Primrose team attended this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to catch up with and discuss the latest gardening trends as well as engage with some of the nation’s favourite horticultural festivities. We endured the sweltering heat and odd glass of champagne to hopefully bring you the inspiration for your perfect garden.

Tropical

On display at this year were a vibrant showcase of exotic landscapes seemingly plucked from some far-off jungle and dropped onto the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. However, tropical gardening is something which is growing in popularity in the UK and not just the odd palm tree.

Tropical plants are, in fact, surprisingly hardy and many of them can tough it out through a British winter. Creating a tropical aesthetic in your very own garden provides a sense of exotic escape in what can be an otherwise cold and stressful routine. More and more urban dwellers are looking to bamboos, ferns, sarracenias and zantedeschias to create these backyard get-aways.

Many of these tropical varieties are used to battling it out below the canopy for little light and nutrients and so can thrive even in the heart of the concrete jungle. For gardens everywhere tropical planting offers height, depth and an abundance of life. Water-features and lighting perfect the ambience offering various tones and sounds.

Prairie Planting

A major trend at this year’s show was Prairie Planting; the combination of wild flowers and grasses in a seemingly loose planting scheme. Pockets of meadow teeming with wildlife were a persistent feature offering a wholesome, wild but almost gentle beauty.

There are an abundance of prairie plants which are native to the UK all of which are hardy enough to thrive in poor soils in times of drought and frost. Therefore, they make a perfect low-maintenance garden with a more natural aesthetic. Eryngiums, Echinaceas, Achilleas and Salvias among others offer a rich pallet of colours while various grasses deliver height and texture.

The prairie garden is also a fantastic way for you to join the noble crusade of saving our native bee and butterfly populations. Already an incentive which is sweeping  the country, prairie patches are being planted in local initiatives to save our ecosystems. With some bordering and creative features thrown in prairie planting also helps make an award-winning garden too.

Reclaimed

Here is a trend which certainly taps into the prevalent vintage culture of today. Adding a certain character to outdoor spaces it creates a more relaxing atmosphere allowing the mind to wonder amongst the assortment of bizarre objects strewn across the flower beds.  Big concrete planters, weedy patios, even bits of recycled car parts and vintage furniture make an appearance.

Once the hardware is in the garden is certainly easier to manage than a pristine and strictly coordinated garden while keeping a sense of style and purpose. Ground covering and climbing plants are encouraged to grow over. One may find a bike wheel or an old Coca-Cola sign amongst the wild grasses. There is certainly space to let your imagination roam.

Rust was a consistently strong contender throughout the show along with prairie planting and the reclaimed aesthetic is a natural ally to both these features.

Jorge at PrimroseLiam works in the buying team at Primrose. He is passionate about studying other cultures, especially their history. A lover of sports his favourite pass-time is football, either playing or watching it! In the garden Liam is particularly interested in growing your own food.

See all of Liam’s posts.

Alex, Current Issues, Gardening Year, Plants

how to deal with frost

2017 has seen unprecedented weather challenges for growers. An extremely dry winter was followed by an unseasonably warm early spring. This encouraged plants to start throwing out shoots very early. We were then hit by very hard, very late frosts. To make it worse, the frosts were quite unexpected, coming during clear nights in late April off the back of good weather. The mercury plummeted to -6℃ in some rural areas and across the country, crops and gardens alike were hit hard.

Winemakers have suffered badly in the UK and across the continent. Up to 75% of some crops have been ruined by the cold snaps, with vineyards filled with huge candles to ward off the chill. In France, temperatures have dropped below -7℃, harming the new growths brought on by previous warm weather. Champagne may be in shorter supply this year, despite attempts to save crops with the down-draught from helicopters.

frosty vineyards

The frost was even more damaging as there was a lot of young, tender new growth triggered by the early warm weather which was particularly vulnerable. With many plants, the freeze decimated the new growth, killing it right back, and leaving plants looking very sorry for themselves indeed.

This is particularly bad for those of us expecting fruit crops this year, like the winemakers, who reported up to 50% of their crops may be lost and the rest delayed significantly. Strawberries, young tomato plants and other less hardy varieties that may have been moved out of the greenhouse too early on the back of the good weather, have also been wiped out throughout the country.

Late frost 2017

So what can we do to save our plants from the late frost?

  • Be prepared for unpredictable weather in the UK. Keep a close eye on the forecasts, with mild early springs followed by sudden chills the real killer.
  • Check out our tips for protecting plants against frost, including cloches, fleeces and greenhouses.
  • When moving plants outside after winter, do so carefully in stages to harden them off.
  • Choose some hardy plants like lavender and holly to keep some colour going in the garden whatever the weather throws at it.

AlexAlex works in the Primrose buying team, sourcing exciting new varieties of plants.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

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.

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