Competitions, Decoration, Garden Design, Make over, Zoe

As many of you know, during the summer we ran a care home competition in which the winner won £1000 cash to use towards renovating their communal garden. However, alongside the cash we also wanted to offer some practical advice on how they could transform their space in the best way. The care home discussed how they wanted to make their garden space a place where all the residents could go out and enjoy  the outdoors and wildlife, so our team of experts put their minds together to create the plan below.

Care Home Garden

Design Plan

As you can see from the above design, we wanted to create safe, smooth pathways for the residents to walk on compared to walking on the grass, and make it easier for wheelchair users to navigate. We suggested that the care home may also want to install railings alongside the path to provide extra support for those when walking in the garden.

The next important thing was to provide ample seating so the residents could relax and enjoy the garden comfortably. As you can see from the design, we have incorporated a number of wooden benches between the two central areas so that residents are able to sit and talk to each other, whilst also viewing the focus points.

Bird bath

On the left hand side we have a tiered water feature bird bath that will encourage the wild birds to come and bathe and drink from. This was a particular requirement from the care home, as they try and engage the residents in recognising the wildlife in the garden and discussing this as a group. The other benefit of having a water feature is the soothing sounds of trickling water. Alongside the noise of birds chirping, the calming sounds of water can soothe a busy mind.

It was also vitally important to include planters and raised beds in the design so those residents who were more able could still enjoy light gardening. The height of raised beds often helps those who are elderly or disabled because it puts less pressure on the back from bending down. A recent survey found that 79% of people believe access to a garden is essential for quality of life,  so we thought it would be great to have the residents engage with gardening in a positive way.

In terms of which plants would work in this area we thought something fragrant would help engage the senses. Plants such as lavender emit a calming scent, known to improve cognitive function in dementia sufferers  and also jasmine which is a natural remedy for relieving feelings of depression and stress. We believe the planting of these flowers would help to improve the residents’ wellbeing whilst enjoying the garden.

Lavender

On a summers day when the sun is shining, we also wanted to provide areas of cover for the residents so they do not suffer from sunburn. In the design you can notice our plan to install two sail shades in the different seating areas. These sail shades are also waterproof so provide cover in rainy weather if they get caught in the rain! Should the residents want to be in the garden in all weathers, they may also enjoy sitting whilst the evenings get darker enjoying the dim light from the solar fairy lights installed.

Next steps

The design process is still in progress, and we will be sure to update you with the latest changes in the development of the care home garden. Fill us in with any garden designs you are planning over the winter too by commenting below or tagging us on Facebook. We can’t wait to show you the finished result in summer 2018!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

Becky H, Grow Your Own, How To, Infographics

If you’ve found yourself with an abundance of apples this autumn, we suggest you make your very own apple cider this year to enjoy with friends and family. Because when life gives you apples, you should definitely use them to make cider!

We’ve made an infographic just for you that lists all the steps involved in making your very own apple cider, but of course this could be adapted to include pears. Let us know if you have tried making your own cider, we’d love to see how you got on in the comments section below or on Facebook!

How to make apple cider

Author

Becky Hughes is a designer at Primrose, and currently in her final year of Digital Media Design at Bournemouth University. When she’s not studying Becky enjoys keeping fit and gardening in her family home.

Composting, George, How To

At its heart, gardening is rooted in sustainability, from growing your own food to enhancing the local ecosystem. Most gardeners are used to finding thrifty solutions to dilemmas, patching things up with what’s lying around. But there’s always room to find new ways to make your garden greener. With that in mind, here are our tips for recycling in the garden.

recycling in the garden corks

1 – Corks

Break up old corks and use them to help drainage in plant pots. What better way to justify your drinking habit?

2 – Plastic bottles

Cut the ends off plastic drinks bottles and use them as cloches to protect your tender plants. Bottles come in plenty of sizes to fit all your flora.

3 – CDs

A classic grandmother’s trick! Hang up old CDs around your vegetable patch, so the reflecting sunlight will scare off birds.

fish tank

4 – Fish tank water

If you have an aquarium, save the water when you’re cleaning it out. It’s full of nutrients, so perfect for watering your plants.

5 – Compost bags

When you’ve emptied out a fresh load of compost, don’t throw away the bag! Reuse it as a sturdy container for transporting debris around the garden.

egg boxes

6 – Egg boxes

As well as being compostable, egg boxes are the perfect containers for chitting potatoes. Simply pop your potatoes in with the eyes upright.

7 – Lollipop sticks

Forget what you’ve planted where? Take a Sharpie to your used lollipop sticks and give them new life as plant markers.

8 – Windows

If you’re about to throw out unwanted window panes, consider repurposing them as lids for homemade cold frames.

recycling cardboard

9 – Cardboard

Delivery boxes, kids’ art projects… any bit of old cardboard will do for recycling. They make great insulation for plants or even compost.

10 – Tyres

The classic upcycling project – turn worn out car tyres into planters by stacking them up and filling with soil. Paint them for a colourful touch.

11 – Toilet roll tubes

These little cardboard tubes are perfect for seeding vegetables like carrots and peas. Fill and when they’re ready, transplant the tube into the ground, where it will gradually decompose.

seedlings in tubes

Hopefully these ideas will help you see what you can reuse, reduce and recycle in your garden. If you have any tips for the green-fingered community, 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.

Alex Briggs, Flowers, How To

Sure to bring a smile to just about any face, fresh flowers remain one of nature’s most beautiful gifts. Whether someone you know needs a day-brightener or you just want to add life, color and beauty to your home, a few tips for creating fresh flower arrangements can help you enhance your own little corner of the world.

Flower Arranging

1. Choose an Appropriate Vessel

Vessel is a good word because just thinking about the typical floral shop vase can be limiting. Simple glasses, bowls, urns and jars can do a beautiful and unique job of holding your arrangement. A good tip is to choose a vessel with a smaller opening and a wider base so that the stems have room to spread out, resulting in a fuller arrangement above. For example, if using a quart mason jar, choose a small-mouth version over a wide-mouth version.

If your vessel is not transparent, loosely ball up some chicken wire in the bottom before adding water and flowers. This allows for a more loosely gathered and natural look for your arrangement.

If your arrangement will be a table centerpiece, consider making it somewhat tall so that conversation can happen around it or short so that conversation can happen above it.

2. Select Flowers that Make You Smile

Picking up a bunch of flowers from a grocery store is fine, but picking something that you personally enjoy and find beautiful will make your arrangement extra special. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Fresh Market tend to have high quality and interesting floral options. You can select a mixed bunch or choose several smaller bunches that strike your fancy. Keep in mind the size of your vessel as you buy as well as variety of size and style of flower. A little really goes a long way, especially when you follow tip number three below.

Flower Arrangement

3. Search for Additional Flowers and Greenery

Why purchase greenery when you probably have some beautiful things in your own backyard? Of course, the time of year and location will play a factor, but magnolia, evergreen and many other varieties are beautiful all year round. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a yard with flowers and greenery, ask friends, neighbors or relatives if you can come and clip a few things from their yard for your arrangement. Most people will gladly allow you to do so. Be sure to clip a little more than you think you’ll need and to keep the stems fairly long. You can always cut them down if needed.

4. Remove All Leaves Below the Waterline

When you begin your arrangement, fill your vessel ¾ up with water and don’t allow any leaves to fall below that line. Doing so causes bacteria to form more quickly, shortening the life span of your arrangement. Feel free to put in the packet of cut flower food as well. Continue to add flowers and greenery to your arrangement, keeping in mind that you want different heights, types of flowers and multiple colors spread throughout the arrangement. If you don’t like the result, take everything out and start over again. Rather than getting frustrated, think of the process as a sort of therapy as you work with something beautiful that will be enjoyed by many.

5. Add a Signature Touch

Especially if you’re giving the flowers away, it’s nice to add a personal touch such as a lovely ribbon or handwritten card. Sometimes, you find a beautiful item that you would like to include in an arrangement such as a couple of sprigs of curly willow, some fall leaves or an ornamental butterfly. Even adding a brooch to the center of a ribbon or some sparkly sticks can show that you’ve contributed your own unique style to the arrangement.

Flowers are a gift of nature that have so much to offer, and learning to create more beautiful arrangements is within the reach of most people. The artistry of floral design is truly something to be enjoyed by its creator and shared with others.

Alex Briggs is a contributing writer for Park Avenue Floratique. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and hiking.

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