Garden Tools, Gardening, Guest Posts

Copper Tools Collection

Origins

The first metal tools ever forged were likely made from copper. As a building material, copper was far softer than stone, but that made it far more malleable and easier to shape for different tasks. Copper was soon replaced by bronze, however, which is a far stronger material. Combined with the experimental designs created with copper, the bronze age gave rise to new forms of tools that could perform a number of different, specific roles.

Original smelters added arsenic to copper to create bronze, but the toxic fumes emitted by the arsenic during smelting affected the eyes, lungs and skin. Tin was the next point of interest; the bronze alloy created by a 90% copper – 10% tin composition was stronger and easier to cast than copper alone. When polished, bronze would also break out in a golden sheen that mimicked the look of a true golden tool. Tools and weapons created in copper soon became as much about prestige and status as practicality.

Copper Hand Tool

Viktor Schauberger

The most famous advocate for bronze tools was the biomimicry experimenter and naturalist, Viktor Schauberger. Born in Austria, Schauberger was a forester who rejected academic training to remain in the woods and mountains to run his own experiments. Although most of his inventions centred on different uses for water, his great exception was his copper tool project.

After years of experiments and observations, Schauberger concluded that cultivating soil with copper instruments would be more beneficial to the Earth and lead to healthier plant growth. Primarily, he believed that using metal tools, which decay and rust far quicker than copper or bronze, was incompatible with the process of plant growth. How could one justifying using a decaying tool to help make a plant grow? He also surmised that growth best occured in cool conditions – heat, he argued, was primarily used to decay or kill, rather than to invigorate. Iron tools, with a greater frictional resistance than copper and bronze, increases the temperature of the soil during use. Bronze, however, stays cool.

Finally, Schauberger concluded that iron, as a sparking metal, depleted the electrical charge of rising groundwater, leaving less for the plants. Copper and bronze are non-sparking metals, meaning that groundwater retained its electric charge as it rose. His observations may have seemed wild conjecture to some, but in the late 1940s, fourteen trials across eight crops proved his theories correct. Seven crops were cultivated with a traditional steel plough, and the other seven with a copper plough. Results were consistent across the board – crops cultivated by copper bore larger, healthier yields with fewer pests.

Copper Tools

If you wish to run your own garden experiment, Primrose has launched a range of beautiful copper tools that will surely stand the test of time. Although aesthetically pleasing, these tools are made from high-grade, work-hardened bronze that will make light work of your gardening tasks whilst helping cultivate the soil with beneficial copper trace elements.

Copper Weeder

 

Ross Bramble graduated from university with a degree in journalism, and now works in the product loading department at Primrose. Ross enjoys researching the history of our most innovative products and using this to write about the products on site.

Decoration, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, Geoff Stonebanks, How To, Planters, Plants

My multi-award winning garden, Driftwood, is located by the sea in Sussex, on the coast between Brighton and Eastbourne. Over the years it has seen 14500 visitors and raised £76000 for charity. Last year it featured on BBC Gardener’s World and was a finalist in Gardeners’ World Magazine, Garden of the Year Competition too. Every year it is a challenge to create a variety of garden rooms that looks a little different, so the many returning visitors see something new and fresh. In order to create a flexible and fairly easy to change garden, I’ve always used terracotta containers of all sizes. I’ve probably got a collection of over 150 now. I’ve never been keen on plastic ones, they just don’t look at home in the garden, whatever the colour. OK I hear you say, the advantage is that they are not as heavy as the real thing, but there really has never been any competition for me, despite the weight! Now roll on the years, I’m 64 this month and I’ve been forced to reconsider how I create a different look in the garden this year. I’ve been using a trolley in recently to move containers around , but even that has started to get more difficult, especially in a garden on a slope with several steps to negotiate.

driftwood garden

So, this year I decided I needed to try and ease the burden, by investigating some lightweight pots that still looked like terracotta. The obvious place to check on line was Primrose, as they seem to stock everything anyone could need for the garden, and I have purchased quite a few things from them over the years. 

Two areas of the garden that rely very heavily on the use of containers, are these central steps in the garden and the patio area at the back of the house, which resembles a wall of plants on either side, like corridor of plants!

On investigation, I found what looked like the perfect solution! The fibre clay containers seemed to fit the bill perfectly for the steps, as I needed to find ones that were the right size to sit perfectly on the brick steps. They look absolutely at home, even before they have been filled with annuals for the summer season. These containers are all 30 cm tall and will work well, creating the waterfall effect I need to achieve. Look at last years results to see what I aim to create.

Fibrecotta Troughs

On the other hand, at the back of the house, one of the features I had within the wall of flowers was an old Victorian wooden cart which sat under a large potted camellia. On moving it to tidy up last month, it disintegrated and I’m left with the 2 axles and a side panel. I therefore needed to fill a large space, so two fibre clay containers, the tall one 64 cm tall and the lower one 37 cm tall. They look amazing in the space already . Granted, these are so big they will probably never be moved but all the others are perfect for ease of movement each year as needed. I also needed 3 troughs to sit on tiered shelving as part of this area of the garden. The 3 from Primrose fitted perfectly, which will also make life a lot easier. Just imagine how they will look when we open the garden gate to our first visitors on the 11th June. The garden is open 14 times for public days this year but also by arrangement from 1st June until 3rd September. If you live around Sussex, or are planning holidaying in the area this year, why not come and visit the garden yourselves. Full details can be found at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk 

Look out for the next blog this Summer, so you can see what the containers look like when our visitors view them in the Summer.

Geoff StonebanksGeoff Stonebanks lives in 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.

Gardening, Geoff, Grow Your Own, How To, Infographics, Planters, Planting

Container planting is one of the most enduring forms of gardening. It offers the flexibility to adapt to any size of outdoor (or indoor) space you have, is simple enough for beginners, and is perfect for many decorative and edible plants.

So to celebrate, we’re publishing a series of infographics – simple step-by-step guides to get you into container gardening. We’re kicking off with the essential tips: how to plant in pots. And don’t forget, we offer all the pots and planters you’ll need to get growing!

How to plant in pots infographic

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Next up in the Complete Guide to Container Gardening is Part 2: How to Repot a Plant.

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.

Garden Design, Garden Screening, George, How To, Sail Shades

If you live in a city or terraced house, you know how difficult it can be to relax in your garden without the feeling you’re being overlooked by neighbouring windows or passers by. With summer fast approaching, now’s the time to prepare your outdoor space so that you can make the most of it without the fear of prying eyes. We’ve put together a list of garden privacy ideas that you can easily try out at home to stop your garden being overlooked – without compromising on the natural aesthetics and your outdoor designs.

Garden Privacy Screen

1. Garden privacy screens

Garden screening is a simple, quick and attractive way to shield off part of your garden. It’s great for terraced houses with low fences or wire dividers between gardens. Choose the type of screening that suits your taste – bamboo, willow or artificial to name a few – and attach it to an existing fence or trellis for a privacy boost. Creating a beautiful enclosed area to relax in has never been so easy!

 

 2. Hanging sail shadesSail Shade

Of course, often you won’t be exposed necessarily by the fences in your garden, but by overlooking windows from the houses next door. This is especially common in city streets, where the houses are packed so tightly together that it’s hard to find somewhere to sit in your garden where you don’t feel watched. Hoisting up a sail shade or two over you patio is an ingenious solution. The best part is you can easily just put them up for the summer months, when you want to sit outside under a little shelter from the sun – and any prying eyes.

 

Living Wall

3. Living wall

It’s a classic solution but one of the best: put up a border of trellis and allow some climbing plants to grow up it. This will create an attractive, organic barrier between you and any gaps where people can peep through into your garden. If you’re overlooked by any upstairs windows, then combining the trellis with a pergola over your patio, decking or seating area will give you a perfect private enclave once the plants have grown across. Clematis or ivy are good climbing vines to choose.

 

Hedge

4. Privacy planting

If you need a free standing barrier to shield off part of your patio, try making a wall out of tall planters. Choose any such pots in the style you like and fill them with big plants or trees for maximum shelter. Growing your own screening is another age old solution to the problem of being overlooked. Add height to your fences with an additional border of fast growing hedges like the evergreen yew. Or for an alternative that lets in a bit more light, plant some bamboo. Of course, bamboo can often spread out of control but clumping varieties are known for being more contained, or just plant the bamboo in containers.

 

Water Feature

5. Sound barriers

In the modern age of urban living, we are often so crammed that when you’re outside in the garden you end up hearing every word from your neighbours – and knowing they can hear you too. A great way to create some psychological shelter is by using a water fountain or two so the sound of their running water will mask your conversation as well as the noises from next door.

Let us know if you have any more suggestions for making your garden more private and we hope you find these tips helpful!

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.

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