Allotment, Composting, Gardening, Grow Your Own

Every garden can benefit from a compost heap. Good compost will help your flowers grow more vibrant and your veg produce more food   – its also a fantastic way to reduce your household waste. This guide will give you everything you need to be composting like a pro in no time. 

Step1 – Choose A Compost Bin

 

There are loads of different ones out there, so there will be something you’ll like. Just make sure you choose one that suits how you are going to use it.

Plastic – A good beginner option, most plastic compost bins come with lockable lids to keep pests out. However, they don’t get quite as good air circulation or heat distribution of other types. Great for the beginner or gardener who just wants to give their plants a boost.

Wooden – These open-topped bins give good air circulation and heat distribution which helps to kill pathogens. However, if not treated correctly, the wood will eventually rot and need to replace.

Compost tumblers – These bins speed the process up a bit and are a good choice for people who have reduced mobility. Put your materials in the bin and turn a few times a week. They won’t produce as much compost as other styles, but you will get it quicker.  

Wormeries – These are great for smaller or indoor spaces since the worms do all the work. The best option if you live in a flat or have limited space and still produce nutrient-rich compost. May not be the best option if you don’t like worms and they can give off a strong smell at times. 

Shop all compost bins.

 

Step 2 – Find the right place fo your compost bin.

You should put your compost bin in a dry, well-drained place that is easily accessible year-round. Put over bare soil rather than concrete or paving to let worms and other beneficial organisms into the pile. You should also remove any grass or plants and turn t 6 – 8 inches of soil below the bin with a fork. For a wormery, follow the manufacturer’s guidance on placement.  

Step 3 – Know what can and can’t be composted. 

Composting materials can be broken down into two types – Green and Brown. You need both to get good results.

Green  grass clippings, fresh manure, vegetable trimmings and most green plant cuttings

Brown – leaves, hay, straw and paper

We’ve put together an at-a-glance guide to what you can or can’t compost in your garden. Feel free to print it off and hang it up to give you a hand.  

Download here: Primrose Composting Guide

 

Step 4 – Start your compost.

Making compost is like layering a cake. Just make sure you moisten each layer with the mist setting of a garden hose or spray bottle. To get started: 

  1. Line your bin with around 4 inches of twigs, hay and straw (for smaller bins see the manufacturers instructions for guidance)
  2. Add the same sized layer of brown material and cover with a thin layer of soil. 
  3.  Add the same sized layer of green material and cover with a thin layer of soil.
  4. Keep adding alternating layers of green and brown material until the bin is full.
  5. Aerate your compost with a shovel or fork every three to four days.

Step 5 – Use your compost.

When your compost has turned dark with a crumbly texture and takes on an earthy aroma, it’s ready to use. Compost can take between three to six months to be ready, but the longer you leave it, the better it will be. 

Dig out your compost as you need it and give your plants and homegrown produce a good boost. 

 

We have everything you need to get started with a great compost heap, why not take a look now.

 

 

 

 

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Flowers, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, Plants

This year we’ve created a collection of Christmas gifts that will fuel a passion for gardening year-round. With over 140 fabulous gifts just a click away this year is all about treating the gardener in your life.  So, if they’re new to the game or an old hat you will find they’ll love. 

 Stocking fillers for everyone

Who doesn’t love a little something in their stocking? These small gifts are perfect little treats to open on Christmas Day.

Winter Warmers 

Keep your feet and hands warm for winter walks or gardening outdoors.

Battery operated heated gloves

£14.99 

Battery heated Socks

£29.00

Battery Heated Insoles

£9.99

Grow Your Own Seed Kits

 Ignite a passion for gardening this year with Plant Theory. Our eco-friendly and easy to grow seed kits are the ideal introduction to growing your own. 

Grow Your own Purple Veg Seed Kit 

£14.99

Grow Your Own Zesty Herb Seed Kit

£19.99

Grow Your Own Chilli Seed Kit

£14.99

 

Thoughtful Gifts For Friends and Family

Know someone who deserves a treat this Christmas? Why not gift them one of our wonderful hampers or Christmas baskets. 

Indulgent Hampers 

 Start as you mean to go on with silky chocolate treats, sweet chutneys and well-bodied wines – the best that Christmas has to offer. 

The Big Christmas Gift Hamper

£99.99

 

The Family Christmas Hamper

£49.99

 Red Wine and Treats Gift Hamper

£57.99

Hampers For Every Diet 

Packed with the tastiest gluten and sugar-free treats, these hampers cater for everyone. 

Gluten-Free Goodies Gift Hamper

£44.99

Diabetic Snacks Gift Hamper

£28.99 

Alcohol-Free Nibbles Gift Hamper

£29.99

Floral Gifts

Show someone you care with the gift of flowers this year.

Gaultheria Christmas Robin

£22.99

Large Christmas Flower Basket

£29.99

Gaultheria Christmas Reindeer

£22.99

Gifts for the garden

Know someone who can’t stay out of the garden? These are the ideal gifts for them.

‘Geisha Purple’ Evergreen Azalea

£17.99

Colour Changing Solar Light

£8.99

Pink Wellie Planter

£29.99

4 Seasons Mini Lemon Tree

£39.99

Shop all  gifts

Presents for new gardeners

Give your green-fingered friends a great start to their spring and a gift they will love year-round. 

Copper Plated Watering Can

£29.99

Copper Trowel

£33.99

Copper Dibber

£35.99

Decorative Dog Sprinkler

£13.99

Medium Gardening Glove

£13.99

6 Pocket Wall Planter

£11.9

Shop all garden tools 

Gifts for wildlife lovers

february garden birds

A wildlife-friendly garden can attract all sorts 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.

Birds 

Our fantastic bird care gifts bring life into your garden and help our feathered friends raise healthy chicks and thrive throughout the year. 

Small Bird Gift Box

£27.99

Natural Log Nesting Box

£25.99

Cottage Bird House

£29.99

 

Copper Peanut Feeder

£24.99

Cottage Bird House

£29.99

Copper Seed Feeder

£24.99

Shop all bird care

Hedgehogs

Give Hedgehogs a space to hibernate and shelter from harsh weather with a hog house.

Hedgehog House Care Pack 

£37.99

Wooden Hogitat

£63.99

Shop all hedgehog homes

Bees

These little pollinators are great for keeping your garden in good health, but their numbers have been in decline in recent years. Our nesting houses and conservation kits help to keep your garden lively by helping bees thrive. 

Bumblebee Nester

£44.99

Bee Care Gift Set

£49.99

Bee Nesting House 

£18.99

View all bee care

 Gifts for houseplant lovers

 

Houseplants bring life and colour to a home. They lift the mood, purify the air and create a calm atmosphere. Know someone who adores houseplants or who could do with a few more? Then our houseplant collection is a good place to start. 

For the lounge or dining room

These plants love light, need little care, and pack a visual punch.

Dieffenbachia ‘Reflector’

£14.99

Fatsia Japonica 

£29.99

Philodendron Scandens

£13.99

Satin Pothos 

£14.99

Calathea ‘Ornata’

£29.99

Bonsai Tea Tree in Buddha Pot

£20.00

Kitchen & bathroom

These tropical plants love humidity and bring bold colour and fascinating shapes into your kitchen or bathroom. 

Tropical Pitcher Plant

£29.99

Croton Colour Collection 

£14.99

Fern Starter Collection

£14.99

Ficus lyrata

£79.99

Croton ‘Pictum’

£5.99

Brake Fern

£5.99

For more great gift ideas visit our complete gift collection.

 

Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Noted for their sweetly scented blooms and exquisite foliage, Jasmine plants have been long adored by gardeners. Flourishing in both sun and part shade, Jasmine varieties can enshroud a trellis with a floral blanket, be pruned into a decorative hedge, and even be grown indoors. Despite such versatility however, Jasmine plants still warrant vigilant care. Whether you are considering getting a Jasmine plant, or already have one, this guide covers everything you need to know on Jasmine plant care. 

How to Plant Jasmine

Before you plant your Jasmine, you should seek a warm, sheltered site that receives full sun or part shade. Different species of Jasmine may prefer one or the other. For example, Winter Jasmine is better suited to a south east or north west aspect, while Summer Jasmine will thrive in a sunny south-facing aspect. 

If you are planting your Jasmine straight in your garden, opt for an area with moist, well-drained soil. If the soil appears too rich, add some grit to the planting hole to boost drainage. It is also important that your Jasmine is planted in fertile soil, so we advise you to supplement with compost or well-rotted manure. Taking no more than a handful, sprinkle some compost or manure in the planting hole. By doing this, your Jasmine’s roots can enjoy a steady supply of nutrients. 

A useful thing to know about Jasmine plant care is that an attentive, watchful approach is always best. Jasmine plants are low maintenance and typically don’t fall victim to pests and disease. However, it is essential that you establish their desired habit of growth early on. 

To train your Jasmine to climb up a wall or fence, angle a cane so that it’s leaning on a trellis. Once your Jasmine has reached a height that matches this structure, it can continue to climb upwards. This is caused by arising chemical changes which result in their stems intertwining with the trellis. 

If you are planting your Jasmine in a pot, a cane can again be used to promote a tall, upward habit. Depending on the look you wish to achieve, a compact, bushier look can be created by regular pruning. 

How to Care for Jasmine

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Once your Jasmine has been planted, you should apply a high-potash feed once a week in summer. This will encourage healthy foliage and flowers, and additionally mitigate any risks of pests and disease. Nevertheless, be cautious when feeding, as too much can result in overly lush growth (and a higher amount of nitrogen hinders blooming). Your Jasmine plant should also be watered regularly during its growing season, and come autumn, it is beneficial to mulch around the base of your Jasmine. This can be done with well-rotted manure, leaf mould, or compost.

A crucial part of Jasmine plant care is pruning; this promotes healthy growth and maintains a desirable shape. It also deters bothersome pests (particularly infestations that are caused by animals). 

It is best to prune right after your Jasmine has flowered, as this allows maximum time for the vines to establish new growth for the next year of flowering. As young Jasmine plants are shy bloomers, you should avoid pruning too drastically. Try to spare as much of your plant as possible (there’s no harm in letting your young Jasmine plant grow a little freely). We simply advise that you:

  • Remove any stems that appear diseased or dead (if older appearing stems are no longer showing signs of flowering, they can also be removed). 
  • You can also remove heavily tangled stems, and carefully separate lightly tangled stems to maintain manageability. 
  • Remove stems that are growing away from your desired direction, or shorten them to create a compact appearance. 

Jasmine Plant Care: Common Questions

A-guide-to-jasmine-plant-care

Does Jasmine need a trellis?

In order to climb, your Jasmine plant will need a supporting structure. This is most commonly a trellis. Jasmine plants cannot climb a wall, but when trained to a trellis, they can grow up to two metres in a single season! If you do not want your Jasmine to climb, it will happily grow in a pot. Why not have it as a house plant to enjoy the heavenly scent indoors?

Do Jasmine plants lose their leaves in winter?

Jasmine plants can either be deciduous, or semi-evergreen (if they are growing in milder climates). It is probable that your Jasmine plant will lose leaves at some point, and this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If your Jasmine’s leaves are beginning to dry up and fall off however, you are likely under-watering. 

Can I propagate my Jasmine plant? 

Yes, your Jasmine can propagated from hardwood cuttings taken in wintertime. To do so, collect 15cm cuttings from the stem tips of your Jasmine plant (each one should be cut below a leaf). You can also propagate your Jasmine by planting any seeds it produces. 

When should I plant my Jasmine?

You can begin growing Summer Jasmine in spring or autumn, and Winter Jasmine in autumn or winter. The care for both Summer and Winter Jasmine will be the same (but always factor in their differing flowering periods). 

Should I deadhead my Jasmine plant?

Yes, it is wise to remove any spent blooms from your Jasmine plant. The flowers can be pinched off, but why not use them for herbal tea making or fragrant floral arrangements? 

Is Winter Jasmine a Shrub?

Winter and Summer Jasmine are of a different species. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is classified as a winter flowering shrub, while Summer or Common Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) is recognised as a vine, and flowers from summer through to autumn.

Flowers, Gardening, Grow Your Own, How To, Plants

How-to-grow-sweet-peas

Highly versatile, and gracing gardens with their beautiful flowers and divinely rich scents, the Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is quite understandably a quintessential annual plant. For every garden, there is the perfect sweet pea; you can choose from flowers ranging from lilac to plum in colour, and can even opt for a dwarf variety if you don’t wish to provide support. Primed for the beginner gardener, read on to understand how to grow flourishing sweet peas.

How to Plant Sweet Peas

Sweet peas can be grown from seed in both autumn and spring; although if you are sowing them in autumn, it is wise to grow them in a location that is sheltered from the frost. 

As you would for most annual plants, sow your seeds in 9cm pots (or a tray if you prefer), and use a peat-free compost. We do believe that a tall pot is best, as their added depth is optimal for the roots.

Once sown, your sweet peas are best stored in either a greenhouse, warm windowsill, or cold frame. One aspect that gardeners find appealing about sweet peas is that they will germinate very easily. However, you can nick the seeds to provide an added boost. This is done by delicately making a cut on each seed. The cut should be shallow enough to resemble a light graze, but deep enough to allow the water to penetrate the seed. As long as you don’t harm the structures beneath the seed’s coating, you can nick with either a knife or nail file.

After any risk of frost has passed, your sweet peas can be safely planted in your garden. Nonetheless, we advise that you harden them off for up to two weeks to accustom them to the less predictable conditions. 

Depending on your preference, you may wish to pinch out your young sweet pea plants. Some believe that this can hinder the size of the bloom, while others are convinced that it allows for bushier growth and prolific flowering. If you are unsure, why not pinch out the tips of some sweet peas, and leave the rest to grow naturally?

How to Care for Sweet Peas

How-to-grow-sweet-peas

Come spring when the weather begins to warm up, any sweet peas grown from seed can now be grown outdoors. Whether you are planting in pots, or into your garden’s beds, we encourage you to use a rich, water retentive potting compost (ideally a mix of both rich potting and loam-based compost). Make sure you firm down the soil once your sweet peas have been planted, but be gentle, as you could otherwise prevent their roots from properly growing.

Do sweet peas need support?

Because of their vining habit, the majority of sweet pea plants will need support. Dwarf varieties, such those belonging to the ‘Cupid’ series, are an exception to this rule. Typically growing to no more than 30cm tall, they can be grown in low troughs, and even be used as a bedding plant. Why not plant them in a hanging basket for a floriferous display?

Before you plant out your sweet peas, you should have their support readily set up. You can support your sweet peas by making a wigwam out of bamboo canes. However, to allow for straight stems (which are desirable if you want cut flowers), you should have bamboo cane that is positioned at a 90 degree angle. 

As sweet peas grow vigorously, you should tie them to their support every few days. Using a piece of regular string, tie a double knot around the cane. From the remaining string, gently tie your sweet pea to the cane, and secure with another double knot. Try to rescind any side shoots that emerge, as this enables the plant to leverage greater energy into their stem. 

You should repeat these steps throughout their growing season, and provide plenty of generous waterings. 

Do sweet peas need full sun? 

To really thrive, sweet pea plants will need full sun or light dappled shade. Due to being perfect for pots, you’ll have more freedom in where they can be grown; better enabling you to provide a sunny site. 

Do I need to deadhead sweet peas?

To enhance the flowering of your sweet peas, you should remove any spent flowers. Try to do so before any pods of seeds have formed, as these will encourage the plant to conclude flowering. 

Using Sweet Peas as Cut Flowers

How-to-grow-sweet-peas

As long as you adopt the cordon method, your sweet pea plants will offer an abundance of cut blooms. Aside from being highly perfumed, their vibrant, frilly petals will look stunning in a bouquet or vase. As such, they’ll make pretty indoor accents, and thoughtful gifts for loved ones. 

To keep your sweet peas looking their best, you should replace the water in their vase once a day, and cut their stems once every two days. Why not begin growing a mix of varieties now to enjoy a colourful bouquet come summertime? 

Growing Sweet Peas: Common Questions

Before you begin growing your sweet pea plants, the following questions may spring to mind:

Do sweet peas self seed?

Annual plants, sweet peas will die after setting seed. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t keep the seeds they produce. Simply bring the pods indoors and collect the seeds. Allow them to dry for a few days, and transfer to an airtight container to keep moisture out. 

Do sweet peas grow peas?

Although their name implies this, the pods that sweet peas form are not the same as the pods you see on a runner bean for example. It is important to know that the seed pods on a sweet pea are poisonous so must not be consumed. 

Are sweet peas poisonous to dogs?

Sweet peas contain a chemical called ‘aminopropionitrile’, which eventually causes ‘lathyrism’ (a condition developed by ingesting seeds from the Lathyrus genus). The symptoms can affect humans and animals, so you should keep your sweet peas out of reach from children and pets. 

Are Sweet Peas available as a perennial?

Yes, typically in the form of plug plants, but many gardeners still prefer growing annuals because their flowers are more fragrant. The flowers of a perennial Sweet Pea have a scent that is much less noticeable.