This week has seen the RHS Chelsea Flower Show enter its 104th year at its current Chelsea location, and it’s once again proved to be an absolute corker, with plenty of unique and stylish designs, an array of colourful flower arrangements and a competitive edge from the gardening community. If you have been fortunate enough to attend, you would have witnessed some wonderful displays , or perhaps you have been following the show on BBC.
Although there are still two days left (with the show finishing tomorrow), we’re here to highlight some of the best photos thus far from the show, with a small appearance from Prince William.
To kick start this collection is the winner of the ‘Best Show Garden’ award, with this lovely garden created by Andy Sturgeon. Inspired by geological events over a number of years, this garden took 10 months to design, and is a worthy winner. (Photo taken from RHS Facebook)
Another winning photo from Sarah Eberle (who has won more categories than any other designer at the show), winning ‘best Artisan Garden’. It resembles a tranquil garden area, that you could immerse yourself in on a warm summers evening. (Photo taken from RHS Facebook)
The Chelsea Barracks Garden, designed by Jo Thompson, is a modern day triumph incorporating elements of the Barracks site next door to the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. With roses being heavily featured , assumingly with their links to British heritage, the bronze sculpture pays tribute to the Barracks’ former residents. (Photo taken from RHS Instagram)
This wonderful sculpture has been designed by Rosy Hardy, and forms part of her Brewin Dolphin Garden, entitled ‘Forever Freefolk’. Inspired by Freefolk, Hampshire and the industry of high security paper-making, this is Rosy’s first time making her own show garden at the show. (Photo taken by Sarah Cuttle)
Perhaps one of those most British photos at the show this year, the Senri-Sentei Garage Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara is a simplistic design, featuring a Mini and a colourful rooftop shelter. Even the average Joe could take inspiration from this design.(Photo taken by Jack Taylor)
Our last photo for you is of the Royal couple Kate and William, observing the poppy (5000 of them) display surrounding the Royal Hospital in Chelsea on Tuesday. It is reported Kate said to Will ‘Babe, we’ve got loads of those’. Cute.(Photo taken by from express..co.uk)
Did you go to Chelsea this year? Did you follow the coverage on TV? Let us know!
Amie 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.
Winter is coming… and bringing the obligatory cold snaps to test your garden over the chilly season. No one wants the flowers that they tended so well over the summer to be ruined, which is why we’ve put together a simple guide on how to protect your plants against frost. Give the following tips a go, and be sure to let us know how you get on!
1. Move delicate plants inside
Anything that you know won’t survive the cold, like tropical species or houseplants, make sure they’re indoors from around November time until the spring.
2. Keep an eye on the weather reports
You’ll want to know when a frosty night is imminent so you can prepare your garden that evening. Forewarned is forearmed!
3. Water the night before a freeze
Cold winds and dry air will deplete moisture in plants, so keep them hydrated by topping the ground up with water the night before a cold snap. Water can act as an insulator inside the plants and moist soil stays warmer than dry.
4. Cover young plants
Another task to do before a frosty night is to protect delicate shoots of bulbs growing outside. Cover them with cloches if you’re prepared – or upturned buckets and plant pots will do in an emergency!
5. Use a fleece blanket for delicate trees and shrubs
If you know your tree won’t take well to a chilly night, keep it wrapped up warm in a fleece blanket or roll of fabric. Use a frame to avoid damaging the branches, and be sure to cover all the way to the ground to hold in maximum heat.
6. Build a cold frame
Shelter potted plants together in a cold frame. You can buy one ready-made or construct one out of bricks and an old window for a lid. Be sure to ventilate it to avoid the buildup of too much heat or moisture.
7. Lay down some mulch
Insulate budding plants and shrubs with a layer of mulch. This will trap in the heat well and provide them with nutrients.
8. Relocate plants inside a greenhouse
If you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse in your garden, it’s invaluable during frosty periods. You can simply move all your pots inside, or even plant within the greenhouse to be prepared for winter.
9. Watch out for morning light
After a frost, be careful not to expose you plants to strong sunlight straightaway. If they defrost too quickly, it can damage the cells inside.
Hopefully these quick tips will get your garden through the winter safely. Please share how you get on, and let us know if you have any more helpful advice.
George 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.
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 beacon 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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many theories but one I tend to lean towards is a combination of the improved aesthetics of the workplace, leading 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!
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.
Alex 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.
You can have a colourful garden with flowers blooming all year round – just use our simple guide!
Knowing what to plant, when to plant it and where it grows best can be a tricky business. But if you want a colourful garden for every season, all you really need to get dug in are the flowering times. So we’ve created this infographic as a handy visual guide for when flowers bloom. Simply pick the plants for each season that will suit the conditions best in your garden. Then you’ll be sure to have luscious planting whichever time of year!
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Geoff 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.