Amie, Animals, Bird Baths, Celebrations And Holidays, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Mothers' Day, Planters, Plants, Primrose.co.uk

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show off your eternal gratitude to the one woman in your life who will always be there for you. Thanks to Primrose, there’s more to this day than just flowers and chocolates. We’ve compiled a list of gifts for the special woman in your life, to suit a range of budgets. With next day delivery available too, you can even afford to leave it until the last minute.

Carbon steel Weed Fork
Does your mother enjoy gardening? Is she eager to get out into the garden once the sun breaks through? If so, we’ve a great low cost solution with our weed fork. With an ergonomic grip, carbon material (lightweight yet strong) and a 5 year warranty, you can’t go wrong. She’ll be back out in the garden in no time at all, and it’ll be thanks to you.

LED Candles
Whilst the clocks are set to turn back at the end of March, there is still plenty of darkening evenings ahead of us. Considered a safe alternative (great if there are children in the household), with up to 48 hours runtime, LED candles are great for setting a mood, using as a table centerpiece or placed in the bathroom whilst enjoying an evening bath.

Herb Garden Windowsill Planter
Considered the perfect gift for a loved one (one of our best sellers), this beautiful herb planter will sit happily upon any windowsill or shelf. This planter contains three seed herb sachets and a dash of compost too, so this gift is ready to go as soon as it’s unwrapped. Or if you want to place your own message on one, we have a personalised option available also.

Bird Bath
The perfect gift for those who have a delightful presence of wildlife in their gardens, bird baths not only look great in your garden, but they actually keep birds hydrated.  With minimal effort to set up (you just need to fill with water), you can sit back and watch the birds flock to your garden, surrounding with the cheeky chipmunks on the bird bath body.

Planter
Add a stylish touch to your garden with our 4 tier solar water feature / planter.  Powered by the Great British sunlight, this requires minimum maintenance, and is both environmentally friendly and safe to use. The water cascades down the tiers, and your mum is free to personalise it with her own flower choice. Being self-contained, there is also minimal set up effort and easily  moved around.

Statue
Why not push the boat out, and treat your mum to this extravagant ‘Mother and Child’ statue. It would be a great addition to any garden, and can symbolise your love for one another. Consisting of mostly bronze, this statue will be the envy of your neighbours, and your mum won’t hesitate to show it off, especially with this generous price tag..

So there you have it. Plenty of options to choose from if you wish to break away from the tradition of flowers and chocolates. Don’t forget the date – Sunday 6th March.

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.

Ben Thorton, Bulbs, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Planters, Planting, Plants

Often once it gets cold outside we stop gardening because it’s difficult to grow plants outside when the temperatures are low and the ground has frozen. Luckily you don’t need to just throw away gardening because you cannot do it outside, you can start an indoor garden and continue to get your gardening fix even in the dead of winter.

How to Grow Plants Indoors
Indoor gardening by definition is growing plants inside, whether it be in your house, some other building, a greenhouse, your basement or any other sheltered structure. This method of gardening usually is used to not only start plants earlier in the spring or extend their growth in the autumn, but also to grow your plants during the winter too. But any old indoor garden won’t do if you want to grow big, healthy plants, so that’s why I will give you some tips how to more successfully create and use an indoor garden.

1. Decide on the best place for your indoor garden

When you are thinking about setting up an indoor garden first you really need to think about where your garden will be. If you plan on creating the garden in your basement or in your garage you might want to think about some additional lighting for your garden. However if you situate your indoor garden in a room where there are big windows and plenty of light, or even set-up the garden on your windowsill, then you can get away with just the light that comes through the windows. Also when you’re choosing a place, think about how warm the room will be once the temperatures drop and how humid it will be in your planned indoor garden grow room, as too cold or too humid an environment will only stunt the growth of your plants.

2. Think about the growing medium of your indoor garden

Another important thing to think about once you have decided on where you will place your garden is in what growing medium you will plant your plants. You shouldn’t use soil found outside as it often is filled with different pests and weeds and doesn’t contain enough minerals to sustain the plants once they are indoors. That is why I recommend to either buy some kind of special potting soil or give your plants plenty of additional minerals, if you decide on using soil from outdoors.

3. Don’t forget to check on the plants regularly

When you are gardening outdoors often the plants get the minerals, the light and water they need from nature, but indoor gardening is a whole new ball game. You cannot forget to regularly check on your plants and see if they need more water, light or food (fertiliser). Often plants in different growing stages and in different conditions require different care so make sure that you keep up with what your plants need.

Quick tip: If you don’t want any pests to settle on your plants, rinse them under flowing water at least once a week, so the plant foliage is clean and you don’t have to use any pest control products to treat the plants.

4. Chose the right plants for your indoor garden

It is true that you can grow indoors virtually any plant as long as these plants don’t get too tall, as indoors you don’t have unlimited height. But there are certain plants that will grow better indoors. Plants that will thrive indoors are the ones that like warm environments and can grow even if there isn’t constant sunlight shining on them. For example tomatoes, beans, peas, any herbs like rosemary or peppermint, fruits like strawberries and grapes, and most flowers will be perfect for indoor growth. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot grow other plants in your indoor garden too. Just try it and if it doesn’t work out move on to next type of plant, because the beauty of gardening is trial and error and doing everything you possibly can to help your plants grow.

Benjamin ThortonBen Thorton is the owner and main editor of a website called www.t5fixtures.com. He is an avid gardening enthusiast and has many years of experience gardening indoors.

Awnings, Current Issues, Flowers, Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Herbs, How To, Planting, Plants, Weeding

Gardening in the Rain

Why on earth would you want to try gardening in the rain? It’s a perfectly reasonable question. But, daft as it may seem, there are a surprising number of benefits if you’re prepared to brave the elements. And as our wet summer becomes an even wetter autumn, getting outside on drizzly days will enable you to get a huge amount more done in the garden. Plus, cloudy weather makes for cooler air, which is always a relief for hardworking gardeners. The damp keeps away most insects and, of course, the rain waters your plants for you. So grab your coat, and get outside!

What Can You Do in the Rain?

  • Planting. One common concern that puts people off gardening when it’s wet is whether you can really plant in the rain. In actual fact, it’s fine – as long as there’s no standing water. Just use a pot, or place in the garden, that has good drainage. For new seedlings, planting in the rain can be of great benefit since you don’t have to worry about watering them.
  • Feeding. As well as sitting back and making the most of the rain watering your plants for you, you can take the opportunity to feed them too. Get out there with your fertiliser and sprinkle around the base of each plant. The rain will then help it to run straight into the roots for maximum uptake.
  • Harvesting. Some fruiting plants and vegetables love wet weather, and will produce lots of great crops for you to harvest. So while the season is rainy, it’s the perfect time for picking salad plants like lettuce and watercress, or herbs like mint.

What Can You Do After the Rain?

  • Weeding. Just after a good downpour is the perfect time to get your weeding done. Heavy rainfall means damp soil, which loosens up the weeds’ roots, making them much easier to extract. This is particularly useful for weeds which are notoriously difficult to remove, such as dandelions and those with taproots. Taproots are the thick, original root stems of weeds like creeping buttercup and wood sorrel. It’s much better to get taproots out while the soil is wet so that all the offshoot roots also slide from the earth, since if they break off they can regrow into new plants.
  • Edging. If you’ve ever tried to neaten up the borders of your lawn, you’ll know it can be a challenge to dig a crisp edge in the turf. Garden edging – usually plastic or metal strips – are the best solution for maintaining a trim border, and just after a rainy day is the best time to install it. Just like with weeding, the damp soil is your friend here. It’s much easier to shape with a spade or trowel, and the edging pins will sink into the ground much more freely.
  • Tidying. Though rain is of course essential to a healthy garden, it can also leave a few problems in its wake. When you go outside after a downpour, look for anything that’s been washed out of place, particularly soil or fertiliser. Make sure you turn the compost heap too, if it’s an open one, to help with the air circulation and prevent it getting waterlogged.

Snail in Rain

How Can You Prepare Your Garden for the Rain?

Not all parts of your garden are going to appreciate a real British deluge, so it’s best to be prepared. If you’ve just planted seeds they may be vulnerable, but simply covering them with a plastic cloche or sheeting should shelter them from the worst of the weather. If you have fragile plants in pots, an easy alternative is just to bring them inside while the weather is bad.

What to Wear for Gardening When It Rains

Gardening can be mucky, and never more so than when it’s pouring outside. But don’t let that put you off – with the right clothing you can easily stay warm and dry. Obviously a raincoat is a must. But it’s also worth investing in a pair of waterproof trousers if you’re going to be outdoors for a while, as normal materials will quickly become soaked through and weigh you down. You’ll want something to cover your head, but a waterproof hat is actually better than a hood for gardening since it allows for more flexible neck movement as you’re working outside. For your feet, walking boots are generally more practical than wellies. They’re lighter and don’t restrict your ankles, which makes it much easier for trampling through undergrowth and flowerbeds. Just make sure to check if your boots need spraying with a waterproofing agent first.

Useful Kit to Cope with the Showers

  • Greenhouse. Although more of an investment, a greenhouse will offer a permanent sheltered spot for gardening in a downpour. You’ll be able to get on with repotting and planting seeds whenever the weather decides to turn. It can also be a useful area to have for unexpected rainfall, as you can shift delicate plants undercover in an instant without having to worry about causing a mess indoors.
  • Garden track. One of the best ways to deal with the muddy ground rainfall causes is some garden track. This is a plastic roll out path that provides a solid surface to ensure you don’t slip over on the wet lawn, and is especially useful for stopping wheelbarrows sinking into sodden earth.
  • Garden shade. Sometimes you may just want to relax in your garden without the risk of sudden rain spoiling your day. Having an awning or shade sail installed is a great way to cover your furniture or guests when you’re entertaining outside. No more events ruined by bad weather!

So I hope some of these ideas have inspired you to not be downcast the next time the clouds appear on your gardening day. As we’ve seen, there are always a few bits and pieces you can crack on with in the wet weather, and even some benefits that the rain brings. It’s a garden essential. And if all else fails, stay inside, put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of tea. After all, you were out working hard in the garden all summer…

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, Current Issues, Herbs, How To, News, Plants

Office Plants
Dramatic Introduction

There once was a time, many moons ago, when humankind led a much simpler existence. The struggles of modern life, in comparison, seem menial to that of the Neolithic man. Survival would be an outside bet as a response if you were to ask the average British 21 year old to list their top 10 priorities at present. Yet, I can’t help thinking that this would have been a more liberated state of existence. An existence more in tune with nature with a more focused sense of priorities; no need to despair at the lack of interactions on your latest social media post, no anxiety caused by the ability of an “every 7 minute” bus service to be late by more than half an hour, no burning desire to photograph every meal ever laid before you to show people you hardly know so that they can hardly care.

So, I decided to investigate the primordial aspects of the human psyche, searching deeper and exploring the development of the mind over the millennia. Here, I studied a plethora of cognitive schemas and emotional structures crafted over millions of years of evolution and ignoring trends developed over decades of increasing mind pollution. I chose to explore one of the most primal aspects of the human consciousness: Our relationship with nature. I was interested in how it affects us consciously and subconsciously, and how we can implement this knowledge in the modern world.

After many, many minutes of research I came to the conclusion that our relationship with nature was indeed an intense and deep -rooted one. A relationship forged during the dawn of our species’ time on earth when nature ruled this planet and we were simply its newest guests. It treated us well. Like any good host it provided us with anything and everything we could ever need and asked for little in return, except respect. Unfortunately it seems this relationship has wilted over time. It turns out we might not have been the best guests. A greedy race we became, taking without gratitude and losing touch with the force that provided both the fuel and the catalyst for our meteoric expansion.

As I continued, I grew saddened by this decline in what was once such a beautiful, synergetic relationship. It seemed that in losing this link, we had become resigned to losing a part of ourselves as if it was an inevitable part of evolution towards a society that existed online, in clouds on servers as our reality became more virtual and less… natural. But then, just as I was about to close all my Chrome tabs in despair and give up on the human race, out of the corner of my eye a shining beacoOffice Plant Psychologyn of hope punctuated the cold, grey background. In this moment, my despair evaporated and I realised there was a chance yet. A single symbol reminded me that this link was not eternally forsaken, that deep down this relationship still had life. I am, of course, talking about the humble office plant.

 

The Research

Now the dramatic intro is complete I can get onto the science. Plants in the office may seem to many at best a nice touch, but research is emerging to support the hypothesis that they may actually be having a more profound impact than we have recognised in workplaces around the globe. The benefits provided by a shade more greenery in the office are being picked up upon by researchers as they seem align with two of the most fundamental aims of occupational psychology: Reducing stress and increasing productivity.

Occupational Psychology

As a science, occupational psychology grew rapidly over the 20th century with an increase in the gradient of that development towards the end of the century and carrying on into the start of the 21st. Companies realised the potential benefits to come from this research and ploughed millions into projects to gain those extra few percent increases in productivity. The field has evolved massively since its conception with an increasing understanding of stress and its relationship with productivity with the modern day focus shifted towards reducing stress and increasing employee well-being.

Field Studies

So, the growing body of research to suggest that plants in the workplace both reduce stress and increase productivity is music to the ears of occupational psychologists across the world. One of the most convincing studies to date was produced by the team of researchers from the UK, Australia and The Netherlands who carried out a field study comprised of three experiments in two large commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands. They found that enriching a “lean office environment” with greenery led to an increase in productivity by 15%. Lead researcher Marlon Nieuwenhuis noted that the results of this first long term study carried out in “real life conditions” “closely align with previously conducted laboratory studies”. He continues to discuss how “at odds” these findings were to the current political and economic zeitgeist as well as with modern “lean” management techniques and office design.

There are a number of previous laboratory studies into the area as Mr Nieuwenhuis mentioned and the majority note the stress relieving, therapeutic affect that plants can have on a workforce. A similar study carried out in Washington found a 12% decrease in stress levels of computer programmers, notoriously stressed individuals, when just a few plants were added to their office. Despite this, a causal link between the two, as with so many cases in psychology, is difficult to ascertain for certain.

 

My Theory

There are many theories but one I tend to lean towards is a combination of the improved aesthetics of the workplace, leadiWorkplace plantsng to temporary,
interspersed, mood elevation, with the effect created by plants on the physical environment. The second half of that may be overlooked by some but research from Washington found that transpiration by plants leads to an increase in air humidity to a level matching most closely that  shown to be found most comfortable to the average person. In addition, this process improves air quality and can reduce the ambient temperature as much as three degrees generally leading to more comfortable working conditions. If the wellbeing of your employees wasn’t enough to persuade you to invest in a few plants, think of the money you can save on your utility bills!

 

Final Thoughts…

Finally, there is data to show that an attractive workplace can help attract and retain the best employees in today’s competitive workplace market. It follows that if you have office full of competent employees, your stress levels and productivity are likely to be lower and higher respectively. With that I end my case. I hope, at very least, I have convinced you to get up an hour or so earlier, take a slight diversion to the nearest garden centre on the way to work tomorrow morning and fill a wheelbarrow full of shrubs and perhaps small fruiting trees and make your office a better place.

AlexAlex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

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.

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