Fathers' Day, Gardening, Pest Advice, Stuart

Dad’s Top Gardening Tips

It’s Father’s Day, we’re a gardening specialist, so naturally we’re going to do a blog post about Dad’s best gardening tips.

We’ve reached out to our Instagram followers, we’ve reached out to our colleagues, and now we’ve collected our Primrose community’s fathers’ tips right here so you can learn something new – or want to find out who in our team had fathers with sadistic gardening styles.

Don’t poison slugs – prep them for predators

A Slug
Uh-oh

If you find you’re collecting slugs on your plants, don’t poison them or salt them – put them in a copper tape or wool pellet pen and let the birds and hedgehogs go crazy for them. It’s a bug buffet!

Plant 3 runner beans per cane

Runner beans

This one comes from @allotment_in_the_shire  with a touch of folksy wisdom. One’s for you, one’s for the slugs (or the bug buffet), and one’s for adverse weather. It’s like saving for a rainy day, except with beans instead of rubbish pennies.

Patience, patience and plenty of watering

Ornate clock in the garden
Patience-reminding ornate clocks optional

Even though it’s father’s day making this handle a bit off-brand, this tip came from @allmumstalk . Patience is a virtue, and that’s as true in the garden as it is when one of the kids drops a brick on your foot. Gardening is done on the plants’ time rather than yours, but they still need your attention – don’t let them dry out!

 Always garden with a beer in hand

Garden beer
As if he isn’t drinking straight from the bottle

It’s a little bit stereotypical, but what are dads for if not being totally predictable and unpredictable in equal measure. Socka, sandals, a brazen disregard for the possibilities of skin cancer, and a beer in hand – gardening glory. Bonus points if you also fall asleep in your chair while doing this, then afterwards claim you weren’t asleep.

From the same dad, ‘plant lots of purple plants to attract bees’. One of these tips is much more useful than the other, but the beer thing’s more eye-catching.

Don’t touch that thorny rose

Someone holding a rose
“What did I *just* say? Go wash your hands.”

The other half of the tip, ‘I can’t have blood on my plants’, might be situation-specific, but the importance of avoiding rose-based sepsis can’t be understated. Pre-Alexander Fleming that kind of thing could spell the end of your [gardening] days, but you should still take care around spiky things to save a trip to the doc’s. Thanks for the pearl of wisdom Dad.

Slug Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash
Garden clock photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Garden beer photo by Jon Parry on Unsplash
Rose photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash

Events, Stuart

Virtual Cocktail Making with Kocktail and Primrose

Kocktail‘s mission is to bring fresh cocktails to our homes, ideal for these covid times where we’re kept from/wary of socialising at the bar. It’s a mission we at Primrose could get behind, and one we thought tied in nicely with our new luxury Primrose Living range.

Comfy chairs, crisp cocktails and conversation, all from the comfort of our own homes. Read on for some cocktail-making tips and a secret little discount at the end – perfect ahead of Father’s Day (20th June) if your dad likes to tipple!

The Set-Up

Our Kocktail boxes arrived on the morning of the event, perfect for preserving the fresh ingredients contained within. I took a sneak peek ahead of the evening, which meant I had plenty of time to gather/make ice, lime juice and a shaker together with four glasses for each of the bottles in the box.

Strange though it felt to set up cocktail stuff in the ‘office’, I was more than ready to get tasting come  5 o’clock.

4 Kocktail bottles in a row
Four 5 o’clock cocktails calling

The Event

An exclusive guest list kept the strain on our home routers to an acceptable level, with four colleagues from Primrose, the presenters and cocktail experts from Kocktail, and eight guest bloggers and writers from the world of home interior and garden design. After some brief introductions it was on to the main event and our first cocktail: The Sunflower.

Sunflower

Sunflower cocktail bottle by Kocktail
The photographer’s double-parked

A smooth summery Sunflower started off the evening to a fruity start, packing a punch with its equal parts Hepple gin, Cointreau, lemon juice and elderflower liqueur. And a dash of absinthe for good measure.

Not having a bar jigger for the measures didn’t hold us back, as  all we had to do was vigorously shake the Kocktail bottle our Sunflowers came in. That got the lemon juice well and truly mixed in, which paired well with the lemon wheel provided in a foil pack for freshness.

Starting with an absinthe-containing cocktail certainly set the tone for the rest of the evening! Next up: the Banana Cognac.

Banana Cognac

A banana cognac by Kocktail
Iceberg ahead – or a tiny glass

BaCognanac to its friends, the banana cognac was a smooth follow-up to the Sunflower, reminiscent of a late-night closer to the Sunflower’s early-evening flavours. You could picture sitting in a dusky bar while drinking it, though the banana chip makes it more modern and metro than 20’s-style private-eye musing.

George was the man taking us through how to make these fruity masterpieces, carefully crafting and pouring measures while taking us through some of the backstory and reasoning for the ingredients. Andrew then took us through the cocktails’ origins and inspirations, which you can find on their website should you want to know more about Kocktail’s cocktails and what they’re about!

Suitably inspired, it was onto the last Kocktail of the evening (4 cocktails might have been a bit much to put away in one go on a Thursday!): the Spicy Flamingo.

Spicy Flamingo

Spicy flamingo in a bottle next to a glass filled with same
Spicy fruity salty goodness

Ideal for a summer evening, with a hint coming from the chilli salt reminiscent of the finest Mexican foods. Picture a fruity tequila shot, add some watermelon and you’re on the right lines, then rim the glass with fire and you’re good to go!

Coupled with a chat about the greatness of Primrose Living, that last fiery glass brought our little event to a close. We saved the Andalusia Calling for another sunny evening, filled as it was with lemon and peach – perfect for a weekend tipple!

Not only did we have another cocktail to enjoy, but Kocktail left us with a little treat to share – use code PRIMROSE30 to get 30% off you next Kocktail order, great as a gift or to treat yourself to cocktails at home!

Want to get involved in our next event? Reach out to @Primrose.co.uk on Instagram to let us know why you want to be on the guest list!

Gardening, Planting, Plants, Stuart

What to plant in May

April’s been a good month for planting, but May’s where it’s at for summer planting preparation. We’ve already gone through May’s gardening jobs, but here we’re going to go into a bit more detail about what you need to get into the ground this month.

Flowers

A selection of summer flowers - zinnia, candytuft and nigella
Zinnia, Candytuft and Nigella

Almost all of these May-planting plants are available as annuals or perennials, so you can take your pick on a repeated colour theme or mix it up year after year. As there’s quite a few, we’ve split them out into warming hues through to cooler shades.

Discover our selection of summer bedding plants

Summer heat

Three summer flowers - nasturtium, snapdragon and poppiesNasturtiums, snapdragons and Californian poppies

Reds, yellows, oranges – like the rising or setting sun, these flowers will warm up any pot, planter or bed.

Zinnias are great for pollinators and are characterised with an explosion of colour, while antirrhinum (snapdragons) feature beautiful colour blends. Nasturtiums are the hottest of the lot with their bright shades, and Californian poppies have the occasional purple in there to mix it up.

Cooler days

Three summer flowers - verbeneas annual and perennial, and cosmos
Annual and Perennial Verbenas, and Cosmos

Heading towards pinks, purples and whites, these plants are a mix of evergreens, annuals and perennials.

Candytuft will stick around all year, though the pink and white flowers will only be about for the summer. Cosmos are annual and super easy to grow, bringing a daisy-like charm to your garden, while verbenas come in both perennial and annual varieties – the former leans purple and the latter runs from red through pinks and purples to white.

Summertime blues

Three summer flowers - scabiosa, nigella and cornflowers
Scabiosa, Nigella and Cornflowers

Ending on cool blues, purples and whites, these guys might suggest summer shade or a wander about the countryside.

Scabiosas can be reminiscent of thistles as they grow, bursting into lavender-like blooms through to September. Cornflowers are the origin of the well-known blue and a cottage garden favourite, and their hardy nature makes them nice and easy to grow. To finish, nigellas or ‘Love in a Mist’ are guaranteed to add character to your garden with their unique and striking flowers.

Shop our full range of flower seeds

Vegetables

peas, carrots and cabbage
Peas, colourful carrots and cabbage

There’s plenty of vegetable and herbs to get stuck into in May, handily grouped to make them easier to remember. It also means there’s a lot of similar pests to watch out for as they grow, so you may want to invest in a cover or netting for your precious plants.

Brassicas

brussels, cauliflower and broccoli
Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts

May’s prime time to plant some bold-as brassicas, healthy cruciferous vegetables to fill up your plate later in the summer. All of the following brassicas are planted 40cm apart or further, and are harvestable when you like the look of them.

Did you know these were all originally the same plant (wild cabbage), cultivated over hundreds of years to have wildly different characteristics? For broccoli and cauliflower they focused on the flower buds at the top, brussel sprouts were little bumpy bits halfway up the stem (leaf buds), and cabbages are an extreme version of those.

That’s why they taste similar, and have similar growing conditions. And also why some people don’t like the taste of any of them. Fun!

Browse all brassicas

Root vegetables

beetroot, carrot, turnip
Beetroot, carrots and turnips

It’s a mixture of strong colours and whites in May root vegetables, leaning towards the sweeter side of things. Think ‘roastable’ and ‘salads’.

Beetroots are a great source of fiber and finger-staining colour, preferring a bit of shade as they grow before harvesting June to December. Carrots are either good for your eyes or part of an urban myth relating to radar, but either way you plant them in full sun and harvest all the way up to October.

For parsnips, keep them in the sun but earth up the crown if it appears above the soil, and for turnips put them in the sun and harvest after a month. For swedes, do pretty much exactly the same as turnips, but don’t confuse the two or your scottish friends will never forgive you.

#NeepsAreSwedes

Rummage through all root vegetables

Herbs

dill, coriander and chives
Chives, coriander and dill

Prep your herb garden in May to pack your summer with flavour. To remember which ones to plant, here’s a rhyme:

It’s time for chives to thrive,
Get ready for a coriander wonder.
Prepare a parsley party

Dill‘s here too

Dill likes to grow further apart that other herbs (30cm or so), while the others can go in a pot in sun or partial shade. Rule of thumb for harvesting is pretty much the same as the brassicas – when you like how they look, have at it. And just eat the leaves, not any flowers – dill can get a bit floral.

Have a look at herbs

Other

radish, chard, spring onion
Radish, rainbow chard and spring onion

It’s still spring, so spring onions are appropriately named for when to plant them – drill them 1.5cm deep and 5cm apart when they’ve sprouted a bit. Peas and beans go well in the sun, 10cm apart and sheltered from the wind, and remember to give them sticks to grow up.

Radishes are great for summer spiciness, so plant them now in a similar way to spring onions, ready to harvest after a couple of months. Rainbow chard rounds off the list, harvestable from June to December if planted now (15-30cm apart).

Shop our full range of vegetable seeds

A top tip for May

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Gardening, RHS, Stuart

Get your Vitamin G with Primrose during RHS Gardening Week

Gardening’s the best. Fresh air, sometimes dirty hands and (usually) a beautiful reward for a job well done. For this year’s RHS Gardening Week the society’s leaning into that good feeling, highlighting the links between gardening and wellbeing so everyone can feel good about getting outdoors.

If you’re keen to join in on getting some vitamin G, take a look at these key pieces of the working-outdoors puzzle that we’ve pulled together for you.

Tools out

Hand holding a trowel

Getting your hands dirty is all well and good, but starting with tools is better. Get down with a trowel, work with a fork and upgrade your spade, all to make that garden work a little easier. That way, you’ll enjoy it even more.

Physical health is tied to overall wellbeing, so breaking a sweat with a bit of physical labour is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Your hard work will make you breathe in that lovely fresh air even more deeply, so it’s a win-win-win for your mind, body and soul.

Take a look at some tools

Raise your game

Hard gardening work’s no good if you’ve nowhere to put the plants. Share your own wellbeing with your upcoming veggies and spare them from low level weeds, errant footsteps and creeping cold with a raised bed.

You can even get beds that don’t touch the ground, great for all those vegetables that dream of leaving the earth behind – and sparing yourself a bit of bending over.

Better veg means better health, reducing your risk of heart disease, and it also means less buying from the shops so less food waste. Plants love them, we love them, and we think you will too.

Head to Beds

Screen with joy

Willow hurdles behind plants

If your current garden-containing efforts are an of-fence to your eyes, feel better about your space with some fancy fency hurdles. Made from natural willow, these are an attractive and durable element to add to your garden to hide your compost bins or create a calming corner.

Willow used to be good for headaches, and while we can’t (and won’t) claim that these hurdles somehow still contain that power we can say that a good-looking garden space can help with stress.

Shop Hurdles