Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, How To, Pest Advice

get greenhouse ready for spring

After a cold and icy winter, spring is finally on the horizon – but is your greenhouse ready? Have you ventured out to look since you tucked up your plants inside last autumn? Whether you have or not, it’s worth making sure you know how to get your greenhouse ready for spring. And don’t worry, because we’ve got all the tips you need!

1 – Spring clean

Now is the time to get your greenhouse clean and tidy. Start by having a clear out – throwing away any junk you no longer use and dead plants from the winter that are beyond recovery. Take everything else outside and give the greenhouse a good clean. Use soapy water to wash all the windows – dirty windows block light which is essential for heating the greenhouse as the days start to get longer. Then scrub down all the surfaces and pots to make sure they’re disinfected and pest-free. This should give your plants and seeds the healthiest environment for the new season.

For more information, see our greenhouse maintenance guide.

2 – Check for damage

While you’re cleaning out the greenhouse, have a look for any signs of damage from over the winter – cracked panels, warped frames and so on. Get them fixed now so you don’t have to worry and can use your greenhouse to its full potential.

greenhouse improvements

3 – Make improvements

Whether your greenhouse is a new addition to the garden or you’ve been using it for years, there are always ways you can maximise its performance. If you haven’t yet, consider adding ventilation to help regulate the temperature during the coming months – either louvres or automatic vent arms to open the windows when it gets too hot. Hanging some shading or using temporary spray on the windows will help cut down on the glare from summer sun. You could also invest in some heating to combat late spring frosts in our ever more changeable climate.

4 – Collect water

As we try to live more sustainably, collecting rainfall to use in your garden and greenhouse is essential. More than that, it’s beneficial for the potted plants growing inside the greenhouse. They prefer rainwater because it doesn’t contain the artificially added minerals that tap water does, as these build up in the soil over time and can become too harsh. Most plants also thrive on slightly acidic water, like that from the sky which has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, whereas mains water is usually alkaline. Luckily rainwater is easy to harvest through greenhouse guttering and water butts. Also, keep a watering can topped up inside the greenhouse so the water is at an ambient temperature, as in early spring it can be too cold if it comes straight from outside.

5 – Stock up

Make sure you’re ready for a flurry of spring planting by readying your supplies. Growbags will become essential throughout the growing season so stock up now. It will be too warm and exposed to keep them in the greenhouse, however, so store them somewhere cool and dark, like a shed.

6 – Pest control

Once your greenhouse is fresh and clean, it’s vital to ensure it stays pest-free throughout the spring and summer. A simple thing like keeping the door closed is an effective barrier against bugs coming in. You can also lay pellets out across the floor to keep any invading critters like slugs and snails in check.

spring greenhouse

7 – Get sowing

Now your greenhouse is ready, you can actually start to use it! Organise your tables and shelves for planting space, then crack on with early spring sowing. You can plant hardy seeds like peas, broad beans and sweet peas at this time of year in the greenhouse, so they’ll be ready to go outside when it’s a little warmer.

Hopefully this guide has helped you feel more confident about preparing your greenhouse for spring. If you have any other tips, please do let us know!

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.

Current Issues, Garden Design, Gardening Year, Gardens, Guest Posts

garden trends 2018

When spring and summer are on the horizon our attention turns to how much we’re looking forward to enjoying the garden on sunny days, and what we can do to make the most of our space. This is going to be a big year for gardeners, so put on your gloves, roll up your sleeves and get ready to get covered in grass stains. From completely restyling a huge back garden to enjoying your balcony or terrace, here are five of the best garden trends for 2018.

1. Growing your own

Growing your own has always been popular, but with a rapidly growing trend towards eating a more plant-based diet it’s destined to become even more so. Depending on the space you have you can be as ambitious as you like – the garden is your oyster. However, if space is of a premium, runner beans, tomatoes, herbs and hanging fruit plants can all be grown in small areas. There’s nothing more rewarding than tucking into the fruits (and veg) of your labour!

2. Dining al fresco

What better way to enjoy the fruits of your labour than outdoors? Al fresco dining is a wonderful way to enjoy the garden, in both the day and the evening; in the sun and even when the temperatures drop. Set aside an outside dining space, complete with furniture, cool lighting and either a fire pit, chimney or patio heater so you can enjoy it at all times.

3. Forest-inspired colours

If you’re really into the latest trends and colour is an important part of your garden theme, then natural is the way to go in 2018. And by natural we mean lush forest-inspired deep greens, woodland golds and browns, shades of berries and rustic reds. These are some of the shades included in Pantone’s Verdure palette for the coming year. You can of course impart your own personality with bright tones found in flowering shrubs and herbs, bold colours on your fence or some funky dining furniture. But keep a base of natural for an on-trend look and add a twist with other colours of your choosing.

4. The wonder of Wabi-sabi

Sticking with the natural theme, and it doesn’t come more natural than this, is the Japanese art of Wabi-sabi. This garden art form has been around for over 500 years and actually requires pretty minimal effort. It’s all about combining the slight nurturing of your garden with embracing the natural imperfections of your outside space: the moss on your brickwork and stones, those rusty gate handles and hinges, that overgrown shrubbery and those distressed pots. If the thought of getting covered in dirt isn’t for you, this trend is perfect.

planting cacti

5. Small-space gardening

It’s not always possible to create elaborate garden themes, particularly when you don’t actually have a garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still create a cool outside space. Whether it’s a balcony, tiny courtyard or even a windowsill, you can still get growing. Rather than looking down, look up! Use balconies and wrap them in climbing shrubs, buy vertical structures to grow flowers on and create a palette of outdoor tones in your window box. With a little space and a lot of imagination there’s plenty that can be done. With space being more at a premium than ever, small-space gardening has become a big thing.

Have fun implementing some of this year’s best garden trends into your outside space and enjoy!

Eleanor CainesEleanor is a freelance writer. She loves to write about everything from gardening to travels. Her favourite part of her outside space is the fairy garden she created with her daughter.

Current Issues, Gardening Year, Lotti, Wildlife


In the lonely mountain farm, My abundant catch I take. There is a hearth, and table, And friluftsliv for my thoughts.

– Henrik Ibsen

According to The World Happiness Report, Norway is the happiest country in the world. There’s a huge number of reasons for this, from their supportive welfare system to their high average income, but when you ask Norwegians why their country appears to be so content, there’s a very consistent answer: friluftsliv.

Friluftsliv (literally, “free air life” or “open air living”, and pronounced free-loofts-liv) is one of those scandinavian words which which is so unique to a language and culture that it becomes hard to describe in English. Like its Swedish predecessor Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), friluftsliv encompasses an idea which is both familiar yet near-impossible to put into words.

In short, friluftsliv describes a connection to nature, a strong desire to spend time outside and connect with the world around you. To describe Norway’s infatuation with the outdoors as a “way of life” is, really, disingenuous to the real meaning of Friluftsliv. Friluftsliv is a feeling, a sense of self. It goes far beyond a mere life choice and becomes more like a cultural identity.

free land

In 1957, Norway officially introduced Allemannsretten (the ‘all man’s right’) with the passing of the Outdoor Recreation Act. This right to roam means that in Norway you can go on skis or foot wherever you want provided you are within unfenced land – this means all land that isn’t privately owned (like a garden) or cultivated land being used to grow crops or rear animals. In the winter months, when Norway is transformed into a white blanket of snow, Allemannsretten is extended to fields and meadows. Not only can you go wherever you please, you can also set up camp and sleep everywhere except in lay-bys or cultivated fields so long as you remain over 150 meters from the nearest house. If you want to stay another night, you need to ask permission from the owner of the land (unless you’re in a remote area).

It’s well researched that spending more time outside is better for your overall mental and physical health, yet in the UK, lots of people avoid going outside unless they have to. Going outside is part of a chore, of a larger pattern. You need to walk to work, you need to take the dog out, you need to bike to the train station to visit your family. This isn’t friluftsliv – friluftsliv means going outside because you want to, because nature calls to you, not because you need to.

In the UK there are fewer wild spaces than ever, and it can often be difficult to “get lost” in nature in quite the same way as our Scandinavian neighbours. In the UK, where our population is fifteen times that of the Norway’s and our land mass smaller, there simply isn’t the space for rolling wilderness. If you’re very lucky, you might live near a patch of National Trust land which (save for the odd sheep) will be left as nature intended. So, if you don’t feel like emigrating to Norway, you’ll have to start looking for nature a little closer to home.


There’s a surprising number of wild spaces in the UK if you just know where to look – the lofty peak district, the rambling chilterns or the Cornish Heritage Coastline. There’s something very atmospheric about finding yourself alone in nature – be it the middle of a deep wood, atop a mountain doused in clouds or perched on a cliff watching the sea beat at the rock. Finding land which is completely untouched by humans can be difficult in the UK: you can see the annals of human history spelled out before you in the land itself in ancient stone circles or crumbling tin mines. Sometimes, despite our best intentions to run away from the effect of people on the world around us, it has an unerring way of following us. It shows us that humans have, for thousands of years, been wanderers. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

On my way to work I used to travel through a strange patch of wilderness on the outskirts of Wokingham; partly a dirt track through fields and partly through an actual wood. When you grow up in a busy town with only man-made outdoor spaces (which tend to be flat, grassy affairs), finding a wood feels almost like a miracle. On the way home after one particularly stressful day, I thought to myself there’ll always be another bus, and let myself get lost. At first I followed the little dirt paths and then I decided to forego the paths entirely and just wander whichever direction I felt like.

Wandering through the woods was freeing. I was there for no reason other than that I wanted to be there, crunching through the leaves and running my hands along trees older than my great-grandparents. I followed a robin hopping from branch to branch and spent a good ten minutes chasing down a strange noise which turned out to be an angry squirrel – something I’d never heard before. I walked past the same group of ramblers three or four times, who’d at first looked at me (dressed in my work clothes and unsensible shoes) like I’d gone mad, and then started to greet me with the rambler’s head nod. This is what friluftsliv feels like.


There’s a sense of freedom synonymous with Friluftsliv which is what makes it so appealing. A sense of disconnection from the rest of the world and contentment with being at one with nature. Our lives are driven by purpose – we have to do this, we must do that – and so when that falls away and the only purpose is to simply exist, it’s a lot easier to feel content.

No one’s asking that we all suddenly rise from our desks, leave our jobs and run away to live in the woods. Sure, it sounds like a great idea now, but soon enough the last phone will run out of battery and then we’ll all be stuck with nowhere to watch Game of Thrones. Whether you live in the middle of London or in the concrete jungle of Milton Keynes, there’s always a place to find a bit of nature. Every town or city will have a park somewhere, even if it’s just a small patch of land in between office blocks and rows of terraced houses. The thought of going outside and standing in the garden in the middle of winter doesn’t necessarily fill people with inspiration, but finding and supporting local wild spaces is easier than it seems.

In the harsh winter months it can be tempting to stay indoors and avoid the chilly bite of the cold air. But in Norway, where the temperature regular dips into the minus digits (currently standing at a brisk -7°C), spending time outside is simply the done thing. As the Norwegians say – there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing. So it’s time to swap those jeans for a pair of practical waterproof hiking trousers, the slippers for a sturdy pair of boots and get outside to get back in touch with nature.

Jenny at PrimroseLotti works with the Primrose Product Loading team, creating product descriptions and newsletter headers.

When not writing, Lotti enjoys watching (and over-analyzing) indie movies with a pint from the local craft brewery or cosplaying at London Comic Con.

Lotti is learning to roller skate, with limited success.

See all of Lotti’s posts.

Gardening, Gardening Year, Guest Posts, How To

We all would love a green, pristine lawn in the warmer months, but weeds and patchiness always seem to get in the way. The key to a great lawn, however, starts long before the spring. It takes preparation and using the winter months to your advantage can really aid your goal of having a lawn to be proud of. There are a few steps that you can take in the winter to get your lawn ready to grow this spring.

Green lawn


People are generally more prepared to fertilize their flowering plants than their grass, but your lawn can always use extra nutrients as well. This task can be done either in the late fall or the early winter. Fertilizing should be done before the first big freeze or when frost becomes apparent. As most weeds die during the winter months, fertilizing allows your grass the opportunity to absorb nutrients unopposed. And as it starts getting colder, your lawn will have already packed the nutrients into the soil which will continue to feed the roots as the winter progresses.

Rake your lawn

Raking leaves is no one’s idea of a fun time, but it is a very important thing to do to secure your lawn’s health. When you let your leaves lie where they fall on your yard, they can cause several different issues for your grass. Leaves block sunlight to your grass – which is still essential for its health, even in winter – and can hinder the process on water evaporating. If the ground stays too wet for too long, mould can develop and hurt your grass even further.

Either rake your leaves and remove them from your garden or use a mower to break them down into tinier pieces that can be useful to your soil. Leaves can make a great fertilizer so long as they’re broken down and useful to your grass.

Cut your grass shorter

Lawn experts warn against cutting your grass too short during the summer. It can cause stress to your grass, make it susceptible to burns from the heat, and allows weeds a chance to outgrow it.

In the winter, however, cutting your grass shorter than normal can be extremely beneficial. If your grass isn’t cut short enough, the grass can become matted down and potentially smother itself throughout the winter. Longer grass also attracts pests that can set up nests; those in turn will mess up your lawn as well. Cutting your grass shorter also helps to ward off weeds before they begin, especially if you live in a place where a good freeze can happen.

winter lawn

Don’t walk on the lawn too much

Making a snowman or having a snowball fight in the garden with your family can be extremely fun in the winter. However, those soggy conditions can put a lot of stress on your lawn. Excessive foot traffic – especially in soggy conditions – can compress your soil and ruin the integrity of your lawn.

Constantly walking on brown, short grass can make it have a hard time recovering in the spring. Grass is normally pretty resilient, but not when heavy foot traffic is involved as it slows its recovery. Have fun and go play out in the snow; just be wary of the traffic your lawn is getting and try to move to different areas every now and then.

Aerate your Lawn

Aerating is generally a practice that most experts recommend for the spring or fall. However, aerating helps the grassroots by allowing air, nutrients, and water to penetrate the soil more easily. In the winter, your soil struggles the most with this cycle. If your lawn looks matted and is retaining water, aerating might be a great option to prevent some issues.

The fall and winter make or break a great lawn in the spring. By preparing early and keeping an eye on your lawn during the winter, you can get a head start in turning heads with your lawn.

Valerie CoxValerie Cox is a contributing writer for BeautyLawn Spray. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, swimming, and playing with her puppy.