Children in the garden, Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, Nicole

Blossoming Flowers and Planting Veg

After nearly 2 weeks of blistering heat, the garden looks much more fresh and vibrant, the latest downpour bringing my recently sown grass seed to life looking so lush that I’m tempted to take the cutter out to it – but as yet it remains untouched.
White Clematis Flower
The sunshine brought out some hidden gems, a clematis montana long thought dead has emerged gracing my archway with one lovely white flower… Yes that’s right just ONE, although more buds are forming as I type so fingers crossed; I’m looking forward to seeing more soon!
Pink Bleeding Heart Flowers Dicentra
A dicentra planted out about one month ago has burst into flower, the beautiful pink hearts brightening up my latest attempt at a flower bed.
Nicole's Pond
My boys (aged 4 and 6) are ever helpful (adamant they can garden better than me) and have been enjoying eating some of their own home-grown veg — Little Gem lettuces and radishes (Cherry Belle/French Breakfast), planted out in little willow planters. These been thoroughly enjoyed, inspiring us to try something else, so, splashing out on no more than a fiver we’ve got: Carrot seeds parceba (a small fast growing variety suitable for containers), runner beans, and two varieties of dwarf French beans: one having purple pods that turn green once cooked, which will no doubt fascinate my boys and hopefully nurture their interest to garden even more.


Greenhouses, Guest Posts, Jackie, Water Features

A New Greenhouse, and an Edwardian Greenhouse Water Feature

Jackie's Greenhouse in GardenMy garden seems to belong to two eras: before and after the hurricane. Before the hurricane, I had a wonderful greenhouse. Twenty or so feet long and 15 feet wide (I sorry, but I belong to the pre-decimal era). It had a two foot, L-shaped raised bed, an inside water tank, electric light, and staging and it was made out of wood. The hurricane took the wood and glass off somewhere… What with children, parish council, and other commitments it never got replaced – until last year that is.
Jackie's Greenhouse
After two years of growing outdoor tomatoes and more half-hardy fuchsias than I could
accommodate indoors, it was time to reassess the situation. I’d saved a bit of money, so spent a few weeks drinking tea with friends who had greenhouses and inspecting theirs. Choosing the right greenhouse can be tricky: Aluminium or wood, and what size?

Surfing online for greenhouse providers, it soon became clear that what I needed was a wooden one. Price for price there wasn’t much in it, but the bonus of the wooden frame was that two very nice men came and erected it. Wood is easier to knock in nails or cup hooks too. Yes, these are important so that there’s something to fix tomato canes to, especially if grow bags are used.
Inside Jackie's Greenhouse
All I had to do is convince my husband to build a good solid base, just a bit bigger than the
greenhouse. The one I chose was 6 foot by 10 foot – mainly because I couldn’t afford a larger one.

We sited it with the door facing west – just because that was the way I would be approaching it –
on a good clear patch of the old orchard. I would have preferred to have the water butt at the front, but apparently the design meant that the guttering fell towards the back. The water butt is 125La larger one would have been much better.
Pond and Greenhouse
The greenhouse was in place by mid-September and, just before the frosts, it was not only packed to capacity with my fuchsias, but I also bought a couple of rolls of bubble wrap and fixed that to the inside with drawing pins – easy when it’s a wooden frame.
Jackie's new Waterfall water feature
But what has happened to the base of the old greenhouse? It’s still there. The raised bed has been dug out and lined. It is now filled with water and forms the top part of a waterfall acting as a filter for all the silt that gathers in the main pond. It has worked well, especially as I found an old quern stone as an outflow for the pumped water.

A raised bed sits in front to hide the rather ugly breeze blocks and there are a couple of water lilies gracing the water. Behind sits the oil tank, disguised by a reed screen up which grow clematis and roses. The water tumbles down over a waterfall into a larger pond inhabited by the few koi that have escaped the heron. It’s a fairly large pond of around 22,000 gallons and 4 foot deep with a ledge around part. The plan was to grow marginals – silly idea if one has koi, as they ate them!


Events, Insects, Joycelyn

Primrose celebrates National Insect Week

Today marks the start of National Insect Week, a whole week of events and awareness across the UK. Many insects are vital to the garden, so join us in celebrating British bugs!

We have a selection of bee and wildlife-friendly plants for you to choose from. Or, if you’re not so fond of our creepy crawly friends, repel them humanely and efficiently with an ultrasonic insect repeller.

Here are some fascinating facts…

– The heaviest UK insect is the great silver water beetle, weighing in at about 25-30g.

Fairy Fly Laying Eggs
A fairy fly laying eggs on a leaf.

– The smallest is the fairy-fly, an internal parasite of water beetle eggs, at 0.25mm.

– The Lundy cabbage flea beetle and the Lundy cabbage weevil live only along a strip 1½ miles long, 30 yards wide on the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel and nowhere else in the world. They feed on the Lundy Cabbage, a plant that only lives on that island.

– Painted Lady butterflies make their yearly migration from North Africa and the Mediterranean to the UK each spring.

– When threatened, Ladybirds bleed foul-tasting poisonous blood from their knees.

– When a ladybird emerges from its pupa, it doesn’t have spots — the spots appear as the exoskeleton hardens.

– Bombardier beetles can produce sprays of boiling phenolic liquid in the face of predators such as shrews.

– Earwigs don’t go in people’s ears. Instead, their name comes from either ‘ear-wing’ or ‘ear-bug’ – referring their shape which is like a human ear.

Twig Mimic Caterpillar
Can you find the caterpillars in these photos? source

– The complex folding mechanisms of an earwig’s hind wing have been copied to unfurl solar panels on space satellites.

– Insects are excellent at camouflage and mimicry – some caterpillars mimic twigs, and others mimic bird poo! Other harmless insects take advantage of our fears of bees and wasps, and colour themselves black & yellow to ward off enemies (even if they don’t actually sting!).

Joy PrimroseJoycelyn is a member of the Primrose marketing team.

She is a novice windowsill gardener but hopes to graduate to larger plants one day. She enjoys British food (despite its sometimes bad reputation) and British scenery.

At Primrose, when not tending to office plants, she deals with online advertising and social media.

See all of Joycelyn’s posts.