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, Ponds, Primrose Gardens

Its that time again… Category of the week! I hope you all enjoyed last week’s flowers of the week. We had some excellent candidates and this week is more of the same. We have been loving all of your uploads and we hope you are enjoying the thriving community we have created. This week we are looking at the best ponds from across Primrose Gardens. Ponds often require inspiration to get as creative as possible so maybe some of these beautiful ponds will help inspire you.

A very picturesque pond in Lyndhurst's garden
A very picturesque pond in Lyndhurst’s Garden
A beautiful natural looking pond courtesy of The Kelly Wildlife's garden
A beautiful natural looking pond courtesy of The Kelly Wildlife’s garden
A quite stunning pond built over 25 years and now found in Lyndhurst's garden
A quite stunning pond built over 25 years and now found in Lyndhurst’s garden
A nice caged pond with some great background scenery seen in Stables Rest's garden
A nice caged pond with some great background scenery seen in Stables Rest’s garden
A well structured and nicely positioned pond in Happydays' garden
A well structured and nicely positioned pond in Happydays’ garden

Primrose Gardens allows you to create a beautiful pictorial record of your garden where you can show off your garden to family and friends to enjoy over the years. It’s also a community of garden enthusiasts and the perfect space to discuss tips and tricks, as well as getting plants identified!

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.

Charlie, Gardening, How To, Ponds

So, you’re the proud owner of a beautiful new pond, or perhaps you’ve just moved into some property with a pond already attached, in either case read on for some essential tips to keeping your pond looking its best.

It’s all about balance. What’s important about pond care is keeping the right balance in your pond. Too many plants and algae can choke the life out of a pond, and make it impossible for fish to live in it, too few plants and there won’t be enough oxygen for your pond to thrive.

You don't want your pond looking like this!
You don’t want your pond looking like this!

You can prevent this from happening by ensuring the correct balance is found between plant life and pond surface area. Algae thrive on sunlight, so if your pond catches too much it is possible your pond will suffer from a surge of algae growth. To prevent this, it is wise to cover the surface of your pond in floating plants, such as water lilies – ideally they should cover more than 50% of the surface area of your pond, particularly if your pond is in direct sunlight for most of the day. Another, complementary, solution is to use submerged oxygenating plants. These eat up the carbon dioxide and minerals that the algae need to live, so enough of these can prevent algae from growing in your pond. It also always helps to have a water feature of some kind in your pond, this helps to move the water around and oxygenate your pond.


Plant Care. Thankfully, aquatic plants usually don’t require too much maintenance, however it can be advisable to periodically dive them when they get too overgrown. This is best done in the spring or autumn.


Fish Care. The best thing you can do for your fish is to follow the helpful hints above to ensure that they have a sound environment to live in, as well as of course feeding them correctly. – a general rule is to only feed what your fish can eat in five minutes. There is no need to feed your fish when the water temperature gets too low, say about 4 degrees celsius, as your fish will naturally hibernate. Another big bonus when it comes to fish is that they will eat up many pests such as aphids that might otherwise  plague your pond.

Water Drainage. Another common problem with ponds is water drainage. Water can begin to drain from your pond for a variety of reasons, most of which occur at the building stage. The first thing to do is to check if your pond’s edges are level, as this can cause water to drain out. However if your pond is still losing water volume it is best to drain it and inspect the damage. Draining a pond can be time consuming, you’ll have to ensure fish and plants are kept safe in tanks while you drain the water and will need an electric pump for the job, this can be either bought or hired.

Don’t forget to check out our pond care in winter guide for the autumnal and winter months.

 

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

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

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

 

Animals, Composting, Geoff, How To, Insects, Ponds, Spiders, Wildlife

wildlife friendly garden

Wildlife is often synonymous with countryside and rural areas but wherever you are situated, why not encourage some vibrant wildlife into your own garden? With spring now fully in motion, become one with Mother Nature and bring your garden to life with the following tips:

Long Grass
Although it is tempting to neaten up your lawn for the summer, by leaving sections of long grass in your garden you pave the way for butterflies and ladybirds to easily lay eggs and inhabit. Also, remember to allow dandelions to flower as these attract bees – just remember to cut them before they turn to seed heads or they will infest your entire garden!

Bird Boxes and Feeders
Bird boxes and feeders are a great way to attract different types of birds, some of which you may have never seen. Situate these in sheltered sites out of reach of predators, and be sure to put out protein-rich feed during the spring, while they are feeding their young and seed in the winter. Another good tip is to place your bird box or feeder near dense bushes allowing smaller birds such as blue tits to feed while providing cover from cats.

Insect Hotel
Most insects aren’t fancy; a pile of rocks or rotting wood will do just the job. A quiet space with plenty of leaves, twigs and anything they can hide under will be just the habitat for insects to thrive.  If you want to give them a luxurious safe haven, turn it into a project like our user Kingston has done with their fantastic bug garden! Alternatively, cutting bundles of drinking straws, hollow canes or plant stems and placing them in suitable areas works well when creating a living space for these critters.

Pond
All creatures in your garden need a source of water, so why not make a pond! If you need some tips on how to make one from scratch we suggest you take a read of our handy guide. For those of you without the space or time, you can simply bury a shallow bucket or stone basin, just be sure to leave some shrubs and twigs to allow frogs and similar creatures to get in and out. To be fully self-sufficient, you could even use rainwater collected in a water butt to fill up your pond.

Compost
It’s always good to keep a compost area or bin in your garden, not only for wildlife but also for the good of your plants. They are a great habitat for worms, woodlice, frogs and spiders which are all useful for the ecosystem in your garden – typically attracting larger animals such as birds and hedgehogs. Be sure to turn your compost every week to aerate your soil, a pitchfork or compost aerator will do the job. This gives your compost an influx of oxygen and speeds up the decomposition time.

Fruit Trees and Bushes
Fruit trees not only attract great wildlife but also provide you with fruit to grow and eat yourselves. During the spring time, fruit trees such as apple and pear trees flower, providing a sweet source of nutrients for many pollinating insects such as honeybees. Furthermore, once the fruit begins to fall in the autumn, this becomes great grub for birds and insects alike.

Weeds
Before you go and clear your entire garden, be mindful of long term benefits to some weeds. Plants such as buttercups, daisies and foxgloves flower over a long period of time and are a great source of pollen. These can grow in the harshest of growing conditions and attract many beneficial predators to your garden so consider leaving a section in your garden to keep pests such as aphids in check!

Like weeds, there may be some forms of wildlife that you’d prefer to keep out of your garden. Learn how to get rid of rats and other pests.

 

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

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