Amie, Animals, Competitions, Events, Gardening, News

Hasn’t the week flown by? It’s Friday, which means the working week for most of you is over, and the weekend is just around the corner. It’s also time for us to showcase your pictures from Primrose Gardens, with this week’s theme being ‘Animals in Your Garden’. We’ve seen some wonderful photos, and it’s been really tough narrowing the list down, but we’ve chosen our top six for you to enjoy!


The gorgeous pooch, Poppy – Oak Tree


Having a little play in the waterfeature – The Bailey’s Garden


Garden detour? – The Kelly’s Wildlife Garden


Admiring the June update – Church Road


Stunning close up – Teddie’s Garden


His favourite spot apparently – Teddie’s Garden

A great selection I’m sure you will agree, but which is your favourite? Just comment your favourite on our Facebook post!

We will announce our winner on Monday!

Next week’s theme will be ‘Light in the Garden’, so show off your patio lights, your LED water features or even your BBQs – we love to see your inspirational photos. Remember, everyone gets a £5 primrose.co.uk voucher when they sign up and upload five photos to Primrose Gardens (yes it’s that easy).

See you again same time next week!

 –

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.

 

 

Decoration, Garden Design, George, How To

Are Garden Mirrors Safe

We’ve already talked about the decorative potential of putting mirrors outdoors, as well as brightening up dark corners of the garden. But some readers expressed concern, asking ‘Are garden mirrors safe?’. Mirrors make a great decoration outside, and as long as they’re used sensibly they are completely safe. But of course, everyone would rather relax and enjoy their garden, free from worries about hazards around their family, children and wildlife. So we’re going to address any potential issues to ensure you use outdoor mirrors safely.

Which material is best?

Like regular indoor mirrors, external ones can be made from glass or plastic acrylic. The surface of glass is much harder than acrylic, which makes it less likely to scratch from passing animals or foliage. It is also a lot heavier, so better suited to fixing to an outside wall than a less secure surface where it could fall from. Always make sure it is fixed tightly as outdoors it will be exposed to much more intense wind and rain than in your average living room!

As acrylic is around 80% lighter than glass, it is much easier to fix to fence panels and other surfaces, as well as walls. It can be screwed or even glued to keep it firmly in place. The acrylic sheets our mirrors are cut from are 10 times stronger than glass, which prevents them shattering if knocked in the garden. This is well worth bearing in mind if you have small children running round.

Looking out for the birds

The top concern people have about putting mirrors outside is for birds flying into them. Clearly, this wouldn’t be a nice surprise for either party involved – but it happens a lot less than you might think. Some suggestions include sticking a bird image on the mirror, frosting the surface or allowing the material to weather without polishing over time. But ultimately, the best defense is in the placement of the mirror.

You know your garden best, so choose a spot where birds aren’t likely to be flying towards. Patio corners and within climbing plants and hedging are good places to start. Often these are points that will benefit most from the additional light mirrors will bring too.

Avoid direct sunlight

Another important point to bear in mind when hanging your outdoor mirror is to be careful about reflecting direct sunlight. Just as indoors you have to be wary vases and windows don’t set your sofa on fire, outdoors you need to make sure the mirror won’t focus the sun directly onto anything that would burn easily. Simply put the mirror in an area that’s more shady or at an angle to the most intense spots of sunlight.

Sit back and relax

From our experience, problems with garden mirrors are extremely rare but hopefully this post has alleviated any remaining worries. Just remember to position them sensibly, avoiding flight paths and direct sunlight, fix them firmly in place, and they should be perfectly safe. Now you can simply relax and enjoy the magical extra dimension and glow outdoor mirrors bring to your garden.

Plus, we’d love to see some pictures of them on Primrose Gardens!

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.

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.

Amie, Animals, Current Issues, How To, Primrose.co.uk

Hedgehog awareness week runs from 1st – 7th May, so we’re giving you a heads up on everything you need to know to keep these animals alive in the British wild.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spur, Nature, Animal World, Cute

Hedgehogs are one of our favourite mammals, noticeable from their small, spiky bodies, roaming freely in our gardens. However, according to a recent report from BBC Gardener’s World magazine, almost half of us have never seen the cute, prickly critter. Even more worrying, only 29% have seen a hedgehog in the last year. Their presence is in decline, and is happening for a number of reasons, including changing environmental habitats, intensive agriculture and built up urban areas.  It would be a great shame to lose one of our favourite animals from the wild, but there are a few simple things you can do to help.

Make it easy for hedgehogs to roam between gardens 
One of the best things you can do to help hedgehogs is to allow free movement between gardens. By doing this, you make it easier for them to obtain food (did you know they travel up to a mile a night in search of food?). If you haven’t a fence in your garden, or you’re debating replacing them, look at fencing with gaps underneath. Else cut a hole in your fence roughly 13cm x 13cm, giving plenty of room for them to pass through. If you’re worried about your fence looking aesthetically unpleasing, simply place shrubbery or foliage near the hole to cover it up.

Build a habitat in your garden
Hedgehogs love twigs, leaves, bushes and foliage, which feature in many gardens, so why not make your own ‘hogitat’? Ensure there are no obstacles around the shrubbery, and ideally locate this in a corner of your garden, keeping the habitat warm and dry. This will not only provide a good place for hedgehogs to hibernate and nest in, but it will also be a hotspot for hedgehog grub to shelter such as slugs (meaning they are less likely to wonder the streets, crossing busy roads looking for food). You could even make your own DIY hedgehog box (similar to a rabbit hutch, but much smaller). Hedgehogs breed between April and September so this is a good time to provide warmth and shelter for them.

Hedgehog, Garden, Spiny, Animals, Leaf

Check any obstacles in your garden
Many gardens have features which can pose a danger to hedgehogs, so you need to rectify this. It’s all about applying common sense here. If you have a steep pond, then this is an instant death trap. Although hedgehogs can swim for short distances, they have difficulty exiting steep sides, so look to create a slope or place a log to allow for easy access. Or another solution is to place a netting over ponds to avoid falling in. If you had a bonfire in your garden, ensure this is fully dismantled and extinguished so it’s not disguised as a hibernaculum.

Warn off any predators that enter your garden 
Whilst hedgehogs feature a clever defensive mechanism in the way of their sharp hairs (known as quills) utilised through curling into a ball, there is still a danger posed to them by larger animals. Birds of prey such as hawks or owls, foxes and weasels are some of the more well-known predators that lurk in British gardens, and whilst deterring foxes (without affecting hedgehogs) isn’t straightforward, it’s very simple and cheap to place a bird decoy in your garden. Likewise, if you own a pet, try and ensure they don’t pose a threat to hedgehogs, by warding them off their habitats where possible.

Owls, Burrowing Owl, Casal, Nest, Hole, Bird Of Prey

Leave out extra food 
Whilst all the above gives the best possible chance of providing food and insects for hedgehogs, it’s useful to leave out supplementary food such as meat-based pet food, crushed peanuts, mealworms or raisins. Ensure any food you leave out is not only digestible, but is placed upon a pesticide free lawn (avoid slug killer, weedkiller etc).

Care for injured hedgehogs
If you see an injured hedgehog, then do what you can to assist. The safest way to pick up a hedgehog is underside first, to avoid being pricked. Bring the hedgehog inside, and place it in a box, wrapped up in a towel. This is less likely to frighten them, but will also allow them to keep warm. You can call your local hedgehog hospital or the British Hedgehog Preservation Society who will be happy to help. Many rescued hedgehogs fortunately are released back into the wild once they’re recovered.

Hedgehog, Mammals, Breeding, Animal

Follow our tips, share with your friends, and become an advocate for hedgehog conservation. With your help, we can create safe, hedgehog friendly communities, not just single garden habitats, which will give hedgehogs less chance of disappearing from our gardens.

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.

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

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