Clocks, Current Issues, Gardening, Gardening Year, Lotti

Beating SAD

Even though it looked like it was going to last forever, it seems like we’re finally entering the end of summer in the UK. Autumn officially begins in three days – the 23rd September – and with it comes crunchy leaves, cosy jumpers and as much pumpkin spice latte as you can drink. However with autumn comes long nights, cold days and dark mornings, along with the early onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for many people. Also known as the “winter blues”, SAD is similar to depression and brought on by different seasons – usually winter.

It’s no surprise that the winter leaves us feeling blue. Low levels of sunlight results in a lack of Vitamin D, which in turn affects the hormones melatonin and serotonin in the parts of your brain that control mood, sleep and appetite. If you’re affected by SAD, you might find yourself feeling unhappy, craving carbohydrate-rich foods and feeling more lethargic. Low levels of Vitamin D can play havoc with your circadian system (your body’s internal clock) leaving you feeling groggy during the day. On average, women and young people are more likely to experience SAD (although it’s reported that men often feel it more intensely). Where you live can also be a contributing factor. It’s not just the difference between Orkney and the Isle of Wight: those who live nearer the planet’s equator where the change between seasons is less pronounced are less likely to be affected by SAD than those who live further away.

SAD disorder

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to emigrate to the Maldives (which sit right above the equator). The best way to combat SAD is with the use of a SAD Lamp, designed to reproduce the UV rays produced by the sun. While these are often highly effective, they can be expensive and work best when used alongside other methods…So how can you combat the winter blues at home (and in your garden)?

You Are My Sunshine

It’s been proven time and time again that exposure to bright sunlight is directly related to the brain’s production rate of serotonin, also known as the “happy chemical”. Low levels of serotonin are directly related to a host of mental health conditions, from depression to chronic diseases like Parkinson’s.

The first step you can take is to start chasing the sun while you can. Lots of working adults will spend all day inside, and once the clocks change at the end of October, many of us will miss out on the crucial hours of daylight we experience while travelling to and from work. As the sun begins to set earlier and earlier, there’s one complaint that everyone will make: we’re leaving the house before the sun has risen and coming home long after the sun has set. Gone are sunlit commutes, or the chance to sit in the garden with a meal or a drink to unwind after a long day in the office.

In the UK, if you work longer than six hours a day you’ve got the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute break. If you’re at work during daylight hours, try to take a walk during your break – even if it’s just around the block or to the shop and back! Even on overcast days (which are going to get more common as autumn turns into winter), the UV rays from the sun can still reach you, helping to boost your Vitamin D levels. During winter it’s tempting to avoid the chill and stay inside, but talking a brisk walk every day can really help those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, so grab a coat and get outside!

Going outside

Let’s Go In The Garden

There’s a tradition for gardeners to “tuck in the garden” when the cold weather hits. This means tidying the garden, collecting seeds and laying mulch and fleeces in preparation for the spring, putting your garden (and your green thumbs) into hibernation. While it might be chilly outside, your garden can still thrive during the winter, and after all: there’s no bad weather, just unsuitable clothing!

Gardening in Winter

This winter, get yourself a pair of sturdy wellies, a thick coat and maybe even some heated clothing to really keep the cold off, and get out into the garden. There’s lots to do in the garden over winter, from pruning plants to simply having a thorough tidy.

Not all plants and flowers thrive best during the summer, and there’s a whole host of winter bloomers ready and waiting to fill your garden with colour even on the frostiest day. Winter Honeysuckle is a great shrub which blooms with delicate white flowers, and the impressive Midwinter Fire dogwood adds impressive reds and oranges to your beds and borders. A great tip is to plant winter plants and flowers in pots and planters and place them near to the house. On a dreary winter day, getting to the other end of the garden can feel like a herculean challenge, and pottering about just a few meters away from the warmth of the house is a lot easier. By keeping plants near the house, you can also enjoy their colour and scent for longer (even when you’re not outside). If you do have a lot of winter growers planted in the ground, you can cut and gather stems to display indoors to brighten up your home. One of the most rewarding winter gardening jobs is planting a bare-root tree ready for the spring. Bare root trees need to be planted between November and March, when the tree is dormant, so it can flourish when the weather starts to warm up.

Several studies have shown a link between gardening and better mental health. Gardening not only gets you outside, where you can absorb more sunlight, but is also good physical exercise – which is particularly important during the winter. By putting aside time for the garden between November and March you can help to give your mood a boost as well as getting the satisfaction of a well-tended garden.

The Great Indoors

Not everyone has a garden, and for many people getting outside can be too overwhelming when the sky’s dark and there’s a chill in the air. A great alternative is to bring the outdoors indoors and invest in a wide variety of houseplants. While there’s been less research on the impact houseplants can have on your health, there’s lots of studies that suggest they can positively impact both your physical and mental health.

gardening indoors

Houseplants have a great capacity to improve the quality of the air in your home. Air pollution levels are often higher indoors, especially during the winter (when ventilation is worse). Being indoors for long periods of time can result in something known as Sick Building Syndrome (yes, really!) which manifests as physical symptoms such as headaches, itchy skin and eyes, and a runny nose. These feelings can be exacerbated by poor ventilation and bad air quality. Houseplants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, improving the quality of the air around them. It’s also thought that plants can absorb and remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds): indoor contaminants emitted by furnishings, cleaning material and paints.

There’s a lot of easy-to-grow houseplants out there, and they’re great not just for your home but for your office or workplace too. Indoor plants have been found to help increase productivity, reduce levels of stress and improve general mood as well as helping to lower blood pressure and one study even reported a 25% drop in the occurrence of headaches after plants were introduced to an environment.

Filling your house with plants during the winter can be a great way to keep your mood boosted during the winter and stave off the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It can also help to really get hands-on with the growing process. Repot houseplants sold in too-small containers, keep a rigorous schedule for watering (especially if, like my houseplants, yours all have distinctly different watering needs) and prune them when necessary. Planting a window box is a great way to get really involved with indoor gardening, especially if you’re planting edibles. A kitchen herb garden means you can garden on a miniature scale, and there’s nothing so satisfying as knowing your hard work has paid off when you can add home-grown herbs to your meals. You can also grow a variety of veggies indoors over the winter, such as tomatoes, kale, chard, or mushrooms.

planting cacti

What Else?

Keeping on top of your planters, going for regular walks and filling your home with impressive houseplants is a great start, but over the winter it’s also important to make sure you’re eating healthily and taking multi-vitamins to help your body along during these colder months. Even low-impact exercise is a great way to naturally boost your body’s serotonin production, great for keeping the blues at bay.

If you’re struggling this winter, and can’t seem to boost your mood and find it affecting your day-to-day life, career, or your relationships you should visit your GP to discuss what options are available to you. Counselling and therapy are great options for people who need extra help over winter, and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and mindfulness can help us to examine the way we think and teach us how to allow negative thoughts to pass more peacefully. In some cases, your doctor might want to prescribe short-term antidepressants such as SSRIs, which are designed to increase your body’s serotonin production levels.

SAD effects around 6% of the UK population and 1 in 3 people report suffering from “winter blues” in some way. During short days, we simply can’t get enough of the vitamins needed for healthy serotonin production. It’s important to remember that if you’re suffering for the effects of SAD, you’re not alone, and try to appreciate the unique beauty that winter brings to your garden.

happy in garden

Jenny at PrimroseLotti 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.

See all of Lotti’s posts.

Amie, Clocks, How To, New Products, News

Garden clocks are often a focal point of someone’s garden. They not only look appealing, but serve a beneficial function. You know the one, where you are relaxing in the garden, drinks are flowing and the sun in shining, but you just lose track of time? Primrose and their new clock brand About Time™ have just launched four brand new clocks, which will look perfect in any garden.

Metal Garden Clock in a Antique Patina Finish

Wheel Metal Garden Clock in a Black Painted Finish

Decorative Garden Sun Clock in a Copper Finish

Mechanical Metal Garden Clock in a Rust Finish

Which one is your favourite?

We’d love to see and show off your photos of the above clocks too, and if we feature them on site, you will get a £5 voucher!

  • Email photos@primrose.co.uk
  • Tweet us @PrimroseUK
  • Facebook us @ facebook.com/Primrose.co.uk

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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.

Amie, Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Clocks, Events, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Sail Shades

Top Bank Holiday Gardening Products

With the bank holiday weekend just around the corner, and the sun set to shine down on us, we’ve highlighted a handful of products perfect for your garden this August.

Firefly­™ Black Lampshade Heater with Beech Wood Effect Stand
So you’re relaxing in your garden, but the sun is starting to set and you start to feel a bit cool. A perfect solution is a patio heater. Not only are they stylish and cheap to operate, but they will keep you and your guests warm long into the night.

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Banquet™ Jamaica Masonry Charcoal BBQ
There is nothing better than serving up sausages on a BBQ for your friends, family or even yourself. What better feature for your garden than a masonry charcoal BBQ, ready to deliver you a delightful, authentic taste.

Wheel Metal Garden Clock by About Time
A brand new addition to Primrose’ clock range, this stunning clock will be the perfect focal point for your guests who need to tell the time. It’s very easy to lose track of time when you’re having so much fun.

Kookaburra™ Shade Sail Frame
Need a break from the sun? Perhaps you have had enough of putting a hat on. A shade sail frame, along with a shade sail can be set up almost anywhere, and fit a range of shade sail shapes and sizes to create an idyllic shady area.

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Tortola Nautical Outdoor Garden Hammock
For when you want to just laze and imagine you’re basking in the tropics of Hawaii, hoist up a hammock and shut your eyes, imagining the ocean is behind you. Read a book, listen to some music or just watch the clouds pass.

Outdoor Rugs and Carpets
Spread out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with this gorgeous all-purpose rug. Great for relaxing upon, or setting up picnic with the family, you don’t have to worry about an outdoor rug getting ruined.

Bruce the Bull Recycled Steel Cooler
What better way to keep your drinks cool than with a recycled steel drinks cooler. Bruce the Bull is a best seller, and it’s easy to see why. Ample space for beers, wine or soft drinks, and a stylish design.

No matter what you get up to this bank holiday weekend, we’d love to know so send us in your photos in the following ways;

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.

Amie, Clocks, How To, Make over

If you’re stuck on which garden clock to buy, be sure to consider these factors when making your next purchase.

1. Size of your outdoor space

A garden ‘station clock‘ would be ideal if you need a clock for a porch, entrance or small external area. A popular choice is the Paddington clock, measuring 27cm, ideal for perching in cosy spots, whilst adding traditional elegance to your garden. Many station clocks, such as the Paddington are easily fixable using screws, as they come complete with a mountable bracket.

Station Clock

However, if you’ve a large garden or perhaps an open area such as a school yard, where you need a much bigger clock to fill the space, you should opt for a large clock so you can easily tell the time without having to get binoculars out. A big time clock measuring 90cm in diameter would stand out and look great in a large open space

2. Indoor or outdoor

Most garden clocks will be used for the garden and outdoor space, but they often make a great addition to your indoor space too. Skeleton clocks look superb in a living or dining room area, as they are simplistic in design and will work with most colour schemes thanks to their neutral colours. Small clocks also work well in most indoor spaces too.

Indoor Clock

The best clock for a garden would be waterproof, made from a resistant material such as metal. This way, no matter what weather conditions the skies throw at your clock, rest assured time will keep on ticking by.

3. Want to know the weather?

Many people are keen to know the temperature in their gardens; perhaps to protect plants from frost, or to record a peak summers day. One might just be curious as to what the day holds in store for them.

Thermometer Clock

As such, many clocks now feature thermometers measuring in Celsius and Fahrenheit, which is the ideal solution. Double sided clocks will often show both time and temperature on either side of their faces, whilst single sided clocks often have a small temperature gauge near the centre of the hands.

4. Forget to change the clocks twice a year?

Spring forward, fall back; we all know the phrase but we still often forget to change the time. Radio controlled clocks, which automatically provides the correct time by synchronising to a time code via radio transition, are an ideal solution.

Radio Clock

Varying in size and design, outdoor radio controlled clocks are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. They are slightly larger than small station clocks, yet still look elegant in any space.

5. Colour of your garden scheme

Many of you will have a colour of clock which would suit your garden perfectly. If you’ve a white winter wonderland patio, then a white clock would look perfect.

White Clock

Perhaps you’ve a vintage ambience, so a copper garden clock would be more suitable.

If you have no colour scheme going on (which is perfectly ok too, as you may be planting spontaneously or experimenting with your palette), then a black clock is a neutral colour, which will work and fit in any garden.

Bell Clock

Many clocks also feature additional design features, such as cuckoos, horse and bell, other animals, sundials and so forth. If you’ve a garden set up to focus on enticing birds to your garden, then a cockerel and bell clock would be the perfect fit.

Browse our range of outdoor clocks today!

 

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.