Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Decoration, Gary, Lighting

One of the best parts about the run-up to Christmas is decorating the house and garden.  Nothing beats the festive feeling you get from a dressed-up space, and the rights lights can really add some atmosphere. We have put together a guide for choosing the right outdoor and indoor Christmas lights for you. 

Shop our full range of Christmas Lights Here 

Before buying there are a few things to consider that will affect both where you put your lights, and if they are actually suitable for your space. 

Suitability for the garden

Always remember to check the product carefully before buying, especially if you are decorating the outside of your house. Whilst most of our lights are suitable for indoor and outdoor use, indoor-only lights are not built to withstand wet and cold conditions, and some of the bulbs in outdoor only lights are not always safety tested for use on indoor furnishings. 

Power 

Your lights power source is also an important consideration when creating a lighting display. :

Mains powered  The most reliable lights in winter, they allow you more control over when your lights are on. You may need to consider buying protection for your leads and cables to avoid exposing any electrics to the winter weather

Battery-powered These lights are a great option for smaller gardens, balconies or areas that cannot easily be connected to mains power. Just remember to keep a good store of the correct batteries to keep the display lit.

Light Types 

Using a combination of different lights in your display is the best way to keep things interesting. We sell a variety of different light types:

String 

These lights are the most common and versatile. You can wrap them around a tree or use them to border windows or guttering. String lights come in multiple variations: 

Straight line

lights are the most popular choice because of their versatility. The basic forms of these lights are great for decorating trees or fences whilst the more decorative  look great day or night. 

Icicle

Lights follow the same basic design of other string lights, but instead, the lights hang. These lights often look like hanging lightbulbs, but we also offer some more inventive options. These lights are great for hanging across fences or from porches and trees. 

 

Silhouettes & statues 

Add a statement piece to your display with a lighting arrangement that is hard to miss. These lights make a perfect centrepiece, or a great starting point to build a display around.  

Projectors

Create a vibrant backdrop to your display by using a projector to create moving or static images on any flat surface. Kids will love watching these projectors and they are perfect for blank spaces that are unsuitable for lights or other decorations. 

Stake 

The main feature of a stake light is the pointed end that lets you drive it into your lawn, borders or plant pots. The freestanding lights are great for lining pathways or adding colour accents to smaller spaces like balconies or courtyards. 

Storage 

It’s fun to plan a Christmas display and create something wonderful, but once Christmas is over, and the display comes down, what do you do with all your lights and decorations? We are familiar with the annual journey into the attic or back of the cupboard to fetch out a box of tangled wires and tinsel. Avoid hours of untangling and replacing light bulbs by putting your decorations in a handy storage bag

Shop the Christmas range now and tag us in your Christmas light creations on Instagram @primrose.co.uk   

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.

Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Gary, How To, Plants

Autumn leaves waiting to be raked

The September heat is fading, and Autumn is in full swing. As it gets colder, the trees begin to change and nature becomes gold for a few months. We have put together a list of the essential gardening jobs for October to help you make the most out of the transitional season in your garden.

General 

  • Mulch the borders with compost if not done in the spring to boost the quality of your soil and help it retain water and nutrients during the colder months. 
  • Continue to tidy borders of weeds and leaves. These will become slippery over winter, but will also be harder to remove once the soil freezes.
  • Apply autumn lawn feed. These specialised feeds help to fortify your lawn from frost and icy conditions. 
  • Cut back perennials that have died down. 
  • Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf. By doing this now you encourage root growth instead of leaf growth which allows your grass to survive the winter, and cuts down on and mowing in the cold

Animals 

  • Refill Feeders regularly This well help late migratory birds on their way, but also provide a constant food source for wintering birds. See our range of bird feeds here.  
  • Install insect hotels. This is the easiest time of year to find the raw materials you need to build an insect hotel. By doing it now you’ll also have it ready for the Insects try to get away from the cold. 

Plants 

  • Remove fallen leaves from roses to prevent blackspot – a fungal disease that can spread quickly to your whole rosegarden. 
  • Pot up your herbs and take them inside, either to a frost-free greenhouse or windowsill.
  • Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into a greenhouse or conservatory
  • Bring potted tropical plants inside, including bananas, pineapple lilies (eucomis) and brugmansias.

Produce 

  • Begin planting garlic for a good summer harvest.  
  • Apply fleece to late season crops when frost is forecast
  • Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts

Greenhouse

  • Clean out the greenhouse to get rid of debris that can harbor overwintering pests
  • Attach guttering to the greenhouse and install a water butt, to make good use of autumn rain. You can reuse this water elsewhere in the garden, it also discourages water from freezing on the greenhouse
  • Wash greenhouse glazing to let in as much of the weaker autumn daylight as possible. This will keep your plants healthy as well as warm during the cold winter months.

It’s a busy time of the gardening year, but putting in some hard work now will give you great results in spring. Let us know what your up to on social media

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.

Garden Design, Gardening, Gary, New Products, Planters

There are a lot of different planters out there, with styles to match every garden design and climate. With so much choice it can be hard to know what to buy; a stone planter may look nice but might be too heavy, a zinc planter may give you the sleek look you want, but not be strong enough. If you are looking for a catch-all planter material we would recommend you consider Fibrecotta. 

Fibrecotta Planter in Garden
Fibrecotta Planter in Garden

 

What is it ?

Fibrecotta is a compound material made from layering cellulose fiber and clay with fiberglass. Once shaped, the finished material is then set, rather than fired. This manufacturing process leaves very little waste when compared to other materials and because it is set rather than fired it is more environmentally friendly.

Why Fibrecotta?

Lightweight –  Fibrecotta is a lightweight material that lets you easily position even large planters wherever you want in your garden.

Durable  – Because of their fiberglass content, Fibrecotta is a strong material that can cope with everything the weather can throw at it. Importantly, it is frost resistant so you can leave the planter out all year. It will also not corrode with the natural acids and alkalis in the soil.

Easy drainage – Like it’s heavier cousin, Terracotta, Fibrestone is porous, meaning that water will naturally filter through the planter providing you with drainage without having to drill holes.    

Good for soil – the porous walls of this planter not only allow for easier drainage, but they have a great effect on the soil too. As the water drains it takes the soils naturally present minerals with it helping your plant to thrive

Ages naturally – The passing of minerals through the planter means that it ages at the same rate as Terracotta. If you are looking for a planter that matures alongside your garden, Fibrecotta is the ideal choice. 

There are many benefits to planters made of this material. Not only is durable, lightweight and good for your plants, but it comes in many shapes and colours. Sound like the type of planter for you? Shop the range now at primrose.co.uk.

Set of terracotta coloured Fibrecotta planters from Primrose.co.uk

 

Gary at PrimroseGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.

Decoration, Garden Furniture, Gary, How To

wood treatment

We spend a lot of time and money making our gardens look great. Wooden furniture and fittings are some of the most versatile and popular methods of garden decoration in the UK, but like any natural product, a little maintenance is needed to ensure that all your time and effort hasn’t been put to waste.

What happens if I don’t look after my wood?

Wooden furniture can last for years if looked after properly, but like any natural product, its quality can be affected by the weather. Most people will first see the decline in quality in the spring when they begin to use their outside spaces again and assume that the damage was done during the winter. Whilst the winter weather does cause most of the damage, it’s only because of conditions in the summer; a long, hot season of bright sunshine and occasional high humidity and showers can cause a lot of strain on the fibres in the wood. This strain makes it more likely that a combination of water and cold in the winter will cause either mould or mildew to form, which causes weaknesses and rot in the wood.

How often should I treat wood?

Treating your wooden products should be a priority, and depending on your local conditions and wood type this may need to be done from once every 3 months, to once every 12 months. Failure to do this may lead to decay and damage caused by exposure to rain and the elements.

Wood Stain

Preservation – the basic method

The key to wood preservation is the prevention of water getting into the wood. There are a few key steps in achieving this and this method can be applied to furniture, fence panels, sheds and exterior wooden window frames. These steps can be undertaken at any point in the year and should be done in as dry conditions as possible.

Step 1 – Clean your surface: Over the summer, your furniture will naturally accumulate a layer of dirt and residue. This detritus not only looks bad, but it can be a carrier of moulds and spores that can seep into and destroy the wood. To do this, simply wipe down your furniture with a damp cloth and some soapy water. Be thorough and get into all cracks and crevices, particularly screw holes and hinges. Larger items like fence panels and sheds may be cleaned with a pressure washer – but always check if this method is suitable first.

Step 2 – Wax and varnish: To treat wood you will require treatment products specific to the material, be that teak, oak, pine or wicker. Apply it thoroughly, making sure you apply it to all sides of the furniture, over and under. Check with the manufacturer if you are unsure. Make sure the surface you are trying to treat is dry before applying your treatment product and follow the product’s instructions.

Step 3 – Dry and cover: Once your furniture is clean and protected, allow it to dry, and find an appropriate place to let it sit over the winter.

  • Sheds and garages are ideal places to put small items of wooden furniture as they are generally drier than the outdoor alternative.
  • For those items too big for a shed, consider investing in a cover to keep them dry over the winter.
  • Remove soft furnishings and cushions from the furniture and store these inside.

These are the basic steps that need to be taken to protect the wooden furnishings in your garden. Some other things you can do include putting pieces of wooden furniture on a pallet to allow for the circulation of air and reduced risk of standing groundwater and making sure that any covers are secured with bricks or pegs so they won’t become uncovered by strong winds. If you take these steps every year you will be extending the life of your wooden furniture by about half. Some types of wood can be bought pre-treated, however, this does not mean that they do not need any further treatment once bought, and different types of treatment will require different levels of upkeep.

Untreated fence

  • Untreated wood – Untreated wood is the most susceptible to rot, fungi, and general weathering and should be treated as soon as possible with the method above.
  • Dip treated & paint stained – Protection may begin to fade after 6-12 months and may offer little or no more protection against the weather than it originally did when purchased. This kind of wood can be treated at any time of the year and treatment should be reapplied about once a year.
  • Pressure treated – If your wood has been pressure treated (a premium wood preservation technique), it will have longer lasting protection than a wood treated with a base layer preservative. Pressure treatment forces the preservatives into the lumber through the use of a vacuum. However, pressure treated wood is not waterproof; a weather-proofing top coat or base layer preservative is recommended every 12 months to fully protect timber through the winter months. However, it may not be best to treat pressure-treated timber straight away, as it needs to weathered (this should take 2-3 months).

Wood treatment is an often overlooked part of annual garden maintenance, but neglecting it can often lead to higher expenses in the future as you will more than likely have to replace damaged wood in a few years. The steps outlined here are the basics of preserving your furniture or wooden buildings. Some wooden products may require extra protection, and it is best to always check any instructions that came with the item. Either way looking after the wood in your garden properly and at the right time will mean when it comes to it, you will be able to spend long sunny days relaxing in your pristine garden.

Gary ClarkeGary works in the Primrose product loading team, writing product descriptions and other copy. With seven years as a professional chef under his belt, he can usually be found experimenting in the kitchen or sat reading a book.

See all of Gary’s posts.