We all want to give the perfect Christmas gift; but how do you choose the gift they’ll love? The options can be overwhelming in the search for that special something so here at Primrose, we’ve made things simple. Whether you’re shopping for wildlife lovers, dedicated home growers or social entertainers, you can find the perfect gift at Primrose.
For Wildlife Lovers
As a nation of animal enthusiasts, our gardens can be havens for wildlife. Welcome all varieties of birds, insects and small mammals into the garden with a selection of our houses and feeders.
A wonder to watch and a great way of increasing the variety of garden flowers. A bee or butterfly house will bring important pollinating insects into the garden and these pretty houses can sit discreetly in any space.
Nothing beats the presence of birds in a garden. The UK has a wide variety of birds that are beautiful to see and fun to watch. You can encourage great diversity into the garden with the Christmas gift of a bird feeder or table.
A wildlife-friendly garden can attract a whole host of animals from squirrels, rabbits and hedgehogs. Encourage these furry friends into the garden with houses and feeders so you can enjoy watching their antics year-round.
We love seeing how our customer’s gardens take shape throughout the year and how the sense of achievement from cultivating a garden brings so much joy.
Great gardeners deserve great tools. From handheld trowels and forks to more specialised bulb planters and weed removers, a garden can really take shape having the right tool for the right job.
Garden planters are ideal for gathering together favourite blooms and we think our fuss-free, frost-resistant, fibrecotta planters can make a great Christmas gift.
Give a gift that will keep on growing! A Christmas gift that will last for years and provide endless moments of joy, trees can transform a garden and we have a variety of species that can be gifted for any garden space.
Our gardens are the settings of wonderful moments; times we’ll treasure throughout our lives. At the centre of those moments will be one person organising it all and for them, we have a range of gifts they can be proud to display.
Extend the time spent with friends and family when the nights draw in with our range of lighting solutions. Fairy lights can add magic to any space when hung about a gazebo or strung through the trees, whilst lanterns can add a warm glow to keep everyone comfy on the sofas.
A fire pit can bring out the best of an evening – it means time spent gathered together, time spent swapping stories and jokes, time spent enjoying the warmth of a glowing fire, maybe toasting a marshmallow or two. A centrepiece befitting any keen host we have a range to suit every garden space.
For the evenings you wish can go on and on, keep everyone cosy and content with our winter blankets and throws. So whether it’s snuggling up warm with a loved one or setting down with a good book, give the gift of a relaxing evening this Christmas.
Many of our water features are supplied without a plug. While it might seem counterintuitive this is actually done to make installation easier. Many people prefer to install their water feature by threading the cable through an external wall and from there into the mains electricity supply, to do this the plug must be removed – so for simplicity’s sake we often opt to supply without a plug to make this process easier, especially in the case of larger water features. While it is still possible to plug your water feature in conventionally using an extension cord, even this, with an outside feature, has to involve a fully weather resistant plug casing or box for the connection for safety reasons. Primrose supply such boxes from Dribox which offer a good solution. Please Note: Primrose always recommends getting a qualified electrician to do any electrical work that may be needed when installing a water feature.
How Much Water Does a Water Feature Use? How Often Should I Top It Up?
Another running cost associated with water features is water usage, especially if you are on a metered supply. However – all our water features are either designed for pond use or self contained, which means none of them need to be connected to a mains water supply. While they will need topping up occasionally with fresh water, especially in hot weather when the water evaporates quickly, the water use associated with most of our water features is minimal. Please Note: With all water features containing a pump it is important to keep the water feature topped up when running – this is because the pump must remain submerged when switched on. If the pump emerges from the water due to evaporation, this has the potential to cause damage to the pump and reduce its lifespan.
How Much Electricity Does a Water Feature Use? Can It Be Left On?
How much will running a water feature set you back?The amount of electricity a water feature uses is generally dependent on the pump type and size, specifically the wattage of the pump attached to the water feature. On most of our product pages for water features we have the wattage indicated under the specifications. To calculate how much a water feature will cost to run per hour, simply enter your pence per kWh electricity rate, found on your electricity bill, and times it by the wattage on the product page. For example if we take one of our larger water features, the Stone Effect Regal Three Tier Fountain we can see it has has a Pump Wattage of 12W, so times that by the average UK electricity rate of roughly 13p per kWh and we get a cost of 0.16 pence per hour, or 3.7 pence a day if left running constantly. This translates to less than a fan or electric heater, so it doesn’t cost as much as you might think to have the sound of running water going constantly. Of course, if you opt for a water feature from our solar range, you won’t have to worry about running costs at all!
What Steps Should I Take to Care for My Water Feature in Winter?
Please see this guide for tips on protecting your water feature against frost in winter.
When Will a Solar Water Feature Run and Not Run?
Solar water features are great in that they are entirely self contained, however due to their reliance on the sun’s rays, there are certain situation where they won’t run, for example on overcast days or at night. You can extend the period time a solar water feature will function by purchasing one with a battery back up, this can store up to three hours of pump life in the battery, however it is important to note that in order to charge the battery the features must be left in prolonged sunlight for a period of time, so even solar water features with a battery backup may not have much life in the winter months.
Charlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.
When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.
It’s Christmastime: you and your family are gathered in the front room, a log fire gently heating a pan of aromatic roasting chestnuts. Ancient Auntie Annabelle is playing some old tune on a grand piano decked with red, orange and yellow flowers and an indeterminate number of children bound around in their Sunday best, teasing a small dog wearing an oversized blue ribbon.
It’s the perfect picture of festive bliss.
Until, that is, the Christmas tree sets on fire.
One hour, a ruined tree, several disappointed children and some very burnt chestnuts later, the fire has been put out and the soggy remains of what was once a mighty spruce now lie steaming on the rug.
Having a Christmas tree in the 1850s was a dangerous business. Illuminated with candles, households with a tree ran the very real danger of it setting alight. The felled evergreen, drying out more and more every day, was perfect kindling. To prevent this, most families would only light their trees for half an hour or so at a time and would ensure that buckets of sand or water were close to hand at all times should the worst happen.
The Christmas tree has been a popular staple of household festivities for hundreds of years, and the illuminated tree was (and still is) an icon of the wintry season. Like trees, candles have played a key role in Christmas and solstice celebrations for just as long. For Christians, the candles represented Jesus Christ as the light of the world and they were particularly popular in early modern Germany. One of the earliest recorded use of candles to celebrate Christmas was in the middle ages where a lit candle represented the star of Bethlehem, shining the way to the baby Jesus. The candle was also an important aspect of advent, starting with German Lutherans who lit Advent wreaths on each Sunday leading to Christmas day. For Pagan communities, a burning candle represented the light of spring during the long winter solstice. Candles are also a key part of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations.
It made sense, then, to combine the tree and candles for a real Christmas treat. Despite the obvious dangers, people insisted on keeping the tradition alive, leading to a group of insurers in the US refusing to pay for damages caused by Christmas tree fires, stating that policyholders “knew the risks” of having them in their homes. The Christmas tree, complete with lights and garlands, was found all around the world – particularly in the homes of the rich or influential.
In the 1880s, electricity was beginning to make its way into homes and businesses around the UK and the US. With this, came the widespread distribution of electric lights; a safer way to illuminate buildings. In the UK in 1881, the Savoy Theatre was the first building in the world to be lit only using electric lights, and the next year its owner Richard D’Oyly Carte took it one step further by illuminating the principle fairies in that year’s production of the opera Iolanthe. Each fairy sported her own miniature electric light designed by Joseph Swan, the pioneer of the incandescent light bulb, which some claim led to the use of the phrase “fairy lights”.
It wasn’t until the Christmas of 1882 that electric lights made their way onto the Christmas tree. They were introduced by Edward Hibberd Johnson, a partner of Thomas Edison who had demonstrated his electrical light’s power two years previously in an impressive outdoor Christmas display. Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white and blue lights (which were described as being around the same size as an “English walnut”) which he strung around his own Christmas tree that he displayed in his Fifth Avenue home. His tree was even mounted on a rotating pinebox, spinning around to show off Johnson’s innovative idea. At first, the lights were seen as little more than a publicity stunt, until a reporter from Detroit picked up the story and Johnson was flung into the limelight.
While electric tree lights had suddenly burst onto the scene, they were still far too expensive for the average homeowner. The miniature lights needed to be wired individually by hand, and so would often need professional electricians to install. This could cost up to $300 per tree – that’s around $9000 today! The first electrically illuminated Christmas tree made its way into the White House in 1895 with President Grover Cleveland, whose tree had over 100 multi-coloured lights. The first commercially available string lights were manufactured by General Electric in 1903, but at $12 for three festoons (with a grand total of 24 bulbs) it was too much for most shoppers.
The cost of Christmas lights wasn’t the only thing preventing them from being embraced by typical consumers. By 1925 only half of homes in America were powered by electricity and while the first stages of the National Grid were opened in the UK in 1930 only 1 in 3 houses had electricity by 1933. The expense, relative scarcity and lingering mistrust of electricity meant that it wasn’t feasible for families to replace dangerous wax candles with strings of electric bulbs.
While General Electric introduced the first string lights to the market, it was a teenager named Albert Sadacca in 1917 who really popularised them. The story goes that after a devastating house fire caused by candles hung on a tree in New York, Albert (aged only 15) repurposed the novelty lighting that his parents sold to be used on Christmas trees, swapping out the white bulbs for brightly coloured ones. His family’s company was just one of fifteen selling Christmas lights, and in 1925 they formed the NOMA Electric Company, which quickly became the largest manufacturer of Christmas lights.
As Christmas lights became more popular, manufacturers began to experiment more with different colours and shapes, pathing the way for novelty Christmas lighting. Bulbs shaped like popular figures, flowers and fruit were also sold alongside “matchless stars”, which were common during the Great Depression. Now-iconic bubble lights were particularly popular in the 1940s after WW2, which contained (an often carcinogenic) liquid that boiled and bubbled at a low temperature to create a flickering effect.
Today, Christmas lights (and fairy lights of all kinds) come in hundreds of different shapes and sizes, and thanks to improvements in waterproofing can be hung all over your house as well as your tree. You can string miniature Rudolfs from your fireplace and deck your halls with giant LED snowmen. Traditional filament or wired bulbs have been replaced with LEDs, which are safer, longer lasting and more energy efficient. If string lights aren’t your thing, you can even get laser projectors! Check out our range of garden lighting to see if you can add some extra twinkle to your garden this year.
Lotti works with the Primrose Product Loading team, creating product descriptions and newsletter headers.
When not writing, Lotti enjoys watching (and over-analyzing) indie movies with a pint from the local craft brewery or cosplaying at London Comic Con.
Lotti is learning to roller skate, with limited success.
Nothing welcomes guests to your home at Christmas quite like an elaborate homemade Christmas wreath on the door. Not only that, but you can make the creation of the wreath an event in itself. Why not invite family and friends over and make it into its own event. Cracking out the mince pies and mulled wine and turning up the Christmas tunes will be sure to inspire you.
The thought of creating your own Christmas wreath from scratch may seem like an overwhelming task at first. We assure you it is a lot easy than you think! Plus, making your own door decoration will be sure to put you in the mood for a great Christmas. To find out how to make your a Christmas wreath this festive season, read on…
The materials you can use for the creation of your Christmas wreath are endless, depending on the style you are going for. We are going for a traditional Christmas wreath to keep things simple. To make your Christmas wreath homegrown as well as homemade, why not venture into your garden and pick your materials straight from there? This will save you money, time and is kind to the planet as you are reusing and repurposing what you already have!
What You Will Need
A wreath ring – you can buy these from your local craft shop. They are available in different materials, such as metal, oasis floral foam, vine and polystyrene. You may even be able to find a moss wreath ring if you pop into your local florist. An oasis floral foam ring is the easiest to use as you will not have to wrap all your materials in florist wire.
Florist wire – you will need some florist wire to tie around your wreath ring, and add any extra decorative accessories to your wreath.
Foliage – the most traditional foliage for a Christmas wreath is spruce. You can take this out your back garden if you have a spruce tree, or when you buy your Christmas tree see if they have any stray branches you can take with you. Other alternatives are Pinus, birch, holly and eucalyptus.
Fresh cut flowers – the choice of these is really up to you and depends on the colour scheme you want to go for.
Decorative accessories – adding some extras to your Christmas wreath, such as berries, pine cones, twigs, cinnamon sticks and dried fruit such as oranges and limes, will be sure to give it the professional touch.
Scissors– you will obviously need a good quality pair of scissors to trim down your foliage and cut your florist wire.
Making Your Wreath
First things first, arrange your workspace. Make sure you have enough space for all your foliage and flowers, plus accessories. Place a basket nearby so you can discard any unwanted leaves etc. to be put in the compost later.
If you are using an Oasis ring, soak it in water for about a minute. This should be long enough for the foam to absorb the water completely. Place the wreath in front of you on your work surface.
Next is to create a loop using florist wire and tie it around your wreath, ensuring it is secure. Remember that where you place the loop will be the top of your wreath design.
Following this, it’s time to arrange your foliage. Take pieces of your foliage and remove the needles or leaves from the bottom inch of each sprig. Place each sprig into the oasis at a slight angle, ensuring they all face in the same direction. Continue until no more oasis is visible. If you are using a metal, vine or foam ring, foliage and flowers will need to be secured with florist wire.
It’s now time to add your chosen flowers. Use your scissors to cut the stems at an angle. This increases their surface area allowing for greater water absorption. Place the flower stems in the oasis, making sure they are evenly spread around the wreath. Try clustering flowers together, as this creates more visual impact.
Next it is time to get your creative juices flowing and add your decorative accessories. Place twigs and berries still attached to their branches directly into the oasis. Wrap other decorative items, such as pine cones, cinnamon sticks and dried fruit, in florist wire first, then be place into the oasis.
Displaying Your Christmas Wreath
And you are done! It wasn’t nearly as hard as you thought, was it? All that is left to do now is display your homemade Christmas wreath on your front door or garden gate. To increase the longevity of your wreath, regularly mist it with water. If you are expecting an especially frosty night, place your wreath in your garden shed or garage.
If you have inspired to create even more Christmas displays after learning how to make a Christmas wreath, check out our tips on creating floral arrangements.
Megan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.