Flowers, George, Planting, Plants

Laburnum

You may have heard of laburnum and some of the horror stories that surround this infamous tree. It’s been common in back gardens and schoolyards for decades, so can it really be that bad? We set out to investigate what makes laburnum so feared, how deadly it really is and whether we need to get out those chainsaws or not.

What is laburnum?

Laburnum are deciduous trees native to southern Europe. There are two kinds – common laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) and alpine laburnum (Laburnum alpinum). The trees have beautiful hanging yellow flowers in spring, which gives rise to their nickname ‘the golden chain tree’. The fruit develops into a dangling pod and its wood has historically been used in carpentry, including bagpipes at one stage. Laburnum are often planted as ornamental trees in gardens and parks, which is a significant factor in their notoriety.

Poisonous laburnum

How is it poisonous?

All parts of the common laburnum are poisonous – the bark, roots, leaves and especially the seed pods. They contain the alkaloid toxin cytisine. Consumption of this can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, frothing at the mouth, convulsions and even death through paralysis.

The laburnum hysteria

It’s because these ornamental trees were often planted around gardens and school playgrounds that they started to cause panic. Children would play with and eat the seed pods, which look similar to regular peas. Many kids started to get sick as a result and in the 1970s, 3000 hospital admissions a year were put down to laburnum poisoning. But many of these were reactionary and the children’s stomachs were pumped before they could even be tested for poisoning or symptoms begin to show.

As recently as 2007, children were taken to hospital after a primary school playground was extended into an area with overhanging laburnum branches. Fifteen children had to be admitted after they were caught playing with the seed pods.

Laburnum hysteria

Many parents have cut down laburnums in their gardens as a result of nationwide hysteria since the 70s and there is a deep-rooted suspicion of these trees.

How to deal with laburnum

But do we need to reach for an axe at the first sign of a chain tree? Many experts say this is an overreaction (and we often leave many more poisonous plants in their wake). If you’re worried about young children around laburnum, it’s best to chop off the lower branches so the kids can’t reach any dangling seed pods. You could also erect a fence around the base of the tree to keep stray hands at bay.

Other poisonous plants to watch out for

Laburnum may not be the only potential killer lurking in your back garden. Keep an eye out for these fatal flora:

  • Yew is one of the most poisonous common garden trees. Animals get sick if they chew the bark, yet all parts of the tree are poisonous. Dead branches are supposedly even more toxic.
  • Deadly nightshade is perhaps the most infamous perennial. It was introduced by the Romans and actually used cosmetically for its toxic effect that makes the pupils dilate.
  • Hemlock is an extremely poisonous flowering plant often found near streams and unkempt areas. Eating just six fresh leaves can result in fatal paralysis. Hemlock has even been used to administer the death penalty, killing Socrates.

Hemlock

How worried should we be?

It’s easy to get caught up in the panic around toxic trees like laburnum. But the reality is this plant is very rarely fatal. Of course it’s worth taking precautions if you have young children around and are worried about them taking a fancy to the poisonous seed pods. For everyone else, these trees offer little chance of harm, but plenty of beauty. If you’d like to brighten up your garden with some golden blossom then check out the laburnums we have on offer at Primrose.

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.

Amie, Barbecues, Events, Gardening, Gazebos, How To, Marquees, Media, News, Outdoor Heating, Primrose.co.uk, Solar Lighting

Over 200,000 revellers will descend upon Worthy Farm for the annual Glastonbury Festival today. Whilst they will be rocking out to the likes of Ed Sheeran, it is also inevitable that they will encounter a lot of rain and mud too. Yes I know, we’re in a heatwave, but it’s Glastonbury – it ALWAYS rains. Not to mention the fact they will be unable to shower for almost a week, will be slogging it on a camping mat and will be void of all the amenities you appreciate with every day life.

So, how do you enjoy Glastonbury without actually slogging it with the masses? Well bring Glastonbury to your garden of course! Whether you’re listening on the radio or watching on the TV, you can easily recreate that feeling of being there.

We’ve a few products to make your ‘Glastonbury Garden’ even better.

Gazebos
Recreate that feeling of being in a tent, but with a lot more space and freedom. I’d recommend the yellow party tent; it’s funky colours will help create that festive vibe. The majority of our gazebos are waterproof too, so you don’t have to worry about getting soaked!

Outdoor Rugs
Relax in comfort with a vibrant outdoor rug. Not only are they 100% waterproof, but they’re also really easy to clean thanks to their polypropylene material. You can sprawl out, and use these as a picnic blanket if you wish also (or even as a place for your pets to lay and join you).

BBQs
When you’re at a festival, chances are you’ll either be eating beans off a small stove, throwing gone-off burgers onto a disposable BBQ or will simply divulge in a liquid-only diet. However, now you have the opportunity to cook up a fresh feast, and eat like royalty in comparison to the campers.

Outdoor Heating
Leading on from the delight off freshly cooked, warm food, why not keep yourself warm too in the cool evenings? Avoid layering up and wrapping yourself in blankets, and opt for a heater or firepit instead. It will provide you and your guests with ultimate warmth throughout the evening, and no longer will you have to worry about the cold British weather. If you opt for a firepit, you can recreate that festival feeling of sitting round a campfire, singing to your hearts content too!

Solar Lighting
Add an enchanting glow to your Glastonbury Garden set up with solar lighting. Whether you want to stake them into the ground, or hang them up on your gazebo (or nearby trees), you can create a beautiful scene which will help guide you back your bed when it’s getting dark.

Bean Bags
Perfect for lounging around in your garden, why not sit back and relax whilst you enjoy the sound of  Barry Gibb or Stormze. Why stand up on your feet all day, draining yourself at the main stage when you can sit back and crack open a cold one. No more sore feet. No uncomfy bottoms.

Image result for Outdoor Mighty Bean Bag Aqua(photo credit to bigfire.co.uk)

So there you have it. Enjoy Glastonbury this year without the hustle and bustle of leaving your garden! And if you are planning on going to Glastonbury, let us know how you get on!

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 burger reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

 

Geoff Stonebanks, Pest Advice

Slug Killer

 

When you open your garden to the public, it’s important to  me to ensure that all my blooms and foliage look the best they possibly can. With planting so tightly packed to achieve the look I want, it’s very easy for slugs and snails to hide away amongst the foliage unnoticed. Now, I have to admit, I’m not one of those gardeners who is out there with a torch at night, picking the snails off and then driving them  miles away to deposit them.  I need to get rid of them without that hassle. We have a gorgeous little Jack Russell, Albert, so it’s equally as important to find something that is not going to harm him, as he loves to spend time in the garden as well.

 

Slug

 

A few years ago, I discovered a great product that works well for me, Advanced Slug Killer. This slug killer really is  amazing. It’s an innovative blue pellet containing a naturally occurring active ingredient Ferric Phosphate. Once attracted to and consuming the bait pellet, slugs cease to feed, and crawl into a dark secluded place or under the ground to die which eliminates the problems of unsightly slime trails and slug bodies to clear away. All this combines to make Advanced Slug Killer just about the best anti-slug product I’ve found in my  years of gardening. On moist soil or in humid conditions, the pellets absorb some of the moisture and begin to swell. The granules do not decay after a few swellings, also slugs much prefer the moister texture making them an attractive meal instead of my lovely flowers.

Geoff Stonebanks

 

I don’t grow organically or grow vegetables, but the pellets can be used as a bait for the control of slugs on bare ground and around all edible and non-edible crops grown outdoors, in the greenhouse or under other permanent or temporary cover.  More importantly, I find it remains effective after exposure to rain, watering and sunlight too. So, whether you open your garden up or not, if you have a problem with slugs and snails what not give it a go? I always check the garden daily and apply the pellets at first sign of plant damage, putting out  late evening or early morning when slugs are most active.

Read more of my garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

Geoff Stonebanks lives inGeoff Stonebanks Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex and spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, Driftwood, he has raised over £76,000 for various charities in 7 years, £40,000 of that for Macmillan. The garden, which first opened to the public in 2009 has featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World, Good Morning Britain and in many national and local media publications. In his spare time, Geoff is also the National Garden Scheme’s Social Media & Publicity Chair as well as an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex.

Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Decoration, Events, Garden Furniture, Outdoor Heating, Zoe

Garden Party

 

Summer has slowly approached us in the UK, and even with the interruptions of rainy showers, it’s not enough to dampen our spirit. We’re sure you have something to celebrate this summer, whether it be: a wedding or engagement, a birthday party, a new home, a new baby or simply because you want to have a party!

So why not take your party outside, we have thought of everything you will need to have a garden party no matter the weather.

Gazebo

A gazebo is an absolute must if you are planning a garden party this summer. A gazebo protects you from all of the unpredictable wind, rain or scorching sun. If you have little ones around it’s a great place to protect them from the harmful rays or equally you can run for shelter if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

If you are thinking of a garden party on a grander scale, it may be worth considering purchasing a marquee that can hold a lot more people than the standard gazebo. Many people consider renting marquees, but there are plenty of reasonably priced luxury options that will allow you to re-use it again and again!

For events such as weddings or large scale celebrations, marquees offer a place to put your dance floor or a place to seat your guests for a dinner.

 

Marquee

 

Outdoor Lighting

No doubt your garden party will last until the sun goes down, and when that happens you can illuminate your garden with an array of outdoor lighting. You can create a magical atmosphere with the addition of lights and be sure to wow your guests.

A popular option now for outdoor lighting is those that are solar powered. These lights will generate their power via the sun during the day, and have a pleasant glow when it gets dark. These are fantastic for saving money on your energy bills and are great for the environment. What’s not to love?

BBQ

Is there anything better than being in the sunshine with friends whilst smelling your lunch being grilled on the BBQ? We don’t think so.

Rather than buying disposable BBQs time and time again, why not spend the extra and buy a permanent one that will last you for many summers to come? Disposable BBQs can’t be recycled or composted so the investment is much better for the environment, and with the huge amount of styles now available, a stylish BBQ can be a great feature in your garden.

BBQ

 

 

Garden Furniture

Of course it’s important to consider where your guests will sit at the garden party! Depending on how formal your party is there are a variety of options you can consider from benches, dining sets and even bean bags to create the perfect place for everyone to sit back and relax.

You also might want to consider a quirky drinks cooler that will get your guests talking, our recycled steel cooler can be used as a outdoor ornament for the rest of the year.

Outdoor Heaters

 

Let’s not kid ourselves, if you’re having a garden party in Britain it will no doubt turn to the chilly side at some point. There’s no need to move the party inside though, if you have an outdoor heater to keep you warm you can still party through the night.

Nowadays you have the option of a gas or electric heater depending on what your requirements are. Both have their advantages; take a read of our breakdown of Gas vs Electric Powered Heaters to help you make your mind up what will be best for your need.

 

Outdoor Heater

 

We hope you have a great time at your garden party, send in your photographs of your Primrose products to photos@primrose.co.uk and you could win £5 worth of vouchers if they’re used!

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.

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