Current Issues, Events, Gardening Year, George, Hampton Court Flower Show, News, RHS

Once again it’s time to look forward to a new year, and we’ve found plenty of festivals, shows and exhibitions to get you excited. So without further ado, dive into our gardening events 2019 calendar and find your favourite.

2019 gardening calendar

January

26-28Big Garden Birdwatch – Get set for a weekend of spying the fabulous winged wildlife in your own back garden.

February

9 Feb-10 MarchKew Orchid Festival – Columbia is the theme for this year’s show, so expect vibrant displays and a ‘carnival of animals’.

March

3Forde Abbey Plant & Gardening Fair – Take in over 30 plant stalls offering stock and expertise, plus explore the abbey’s award-winning gardens.

April

12-14RHS Flower Show Cardiff –  Alongside expert talks and shopping, expect to see inspirational gardens from recent graduates and the new Blooming Borders competition.

25-28Harrogate Spring Flower Show – See the biggest floristry exhibition in the country as well as fabulous show gardens.

30 Apr-6 MayNational Gardening Week – Across the country, gardeners will be sharing their love of all things outdoors – get involved!

May

9-12RHS Malvern Spring Festival – The focus this year is on encouraging health and wellbeing, celebrating garden photography, and introducing indoor greenery.

21-25RHS Chelsea Flower Show – The most famous gardening event on the calendar, Chelsea is packed with global flower displays, fine dining with Raymond Blanc and the world’s most ambitious show gardens.

25 May-2 JunNational Children’s Gardening Week – Make gardening fun for the younger generation while supporting the charity Greenfingers.

31st May-2 JunGardening Scotland – The 20th anniversary of Edinburgh’s biggest garden celebration, packed with plants and fun for kids.

June

5-9RHS Chatsworth Flower Show – Ask floral experts your questions, shop outdoor living goodies and indulge in some afternoon tea, all in the grounds of the Chatsworth estate.

13-16Gardeners’ World Live – Your favourite magazine comes to life with talks from experts like Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don, alongside show gardens and shopping.

22-23Woburn Abbey Garden Show – Go to see private gardens, free tours, Q&As, live music and more at Woburn Abbey.

July

2-7RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival – Explore the new Global Impact Gardens, learn about garden wellbeing, take part in workshops and pick up some great gifts.

17-21RHS Flower Show Tatton Park – Be inspired by the Young Designer of the Year competition and discover vegetable growing expertise.

August

10-11The Great Comp Summer Show – Enjoy the 17th edition of this annual spectacular with some local jazz and Pimm’s on the lawn.

15-18Southport Flower Show – Visit the UK’s largest independent flower show, where the theme this year is ‘The Garden Party’.

September

13-15Harrogate Autumn Flower Show – Plan your garden with nursery displays, demonstrations, shopping and of course the giant vegetable competition!

28-29RHS Malvern Autumn Show – Close out the season with some retail therapy, gardening demos and plants at Malvern.

We hope this calendar has whet your appetite for the coming year. If so, get the dates in your diary and start booking tickets!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Awnings, Current Issues, Guest Posts, New Products, Watering

smart technology garden

When smart technology first arrived, many just thought it was something that controlled thermostats and helped save on HVAC costs.

Then it morphed into motion detectors, smart doorbells and security systems. As you know, smart technology applications continue to grow at a rapid pace, and if you want to keep your garden growing also, check out the latest innovations:

Smart irrigation

Whether you live in an apartment in Eugene, Oregon or a penthouse in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, we know you can get your plants to grow and keep your grass green by simply standing outside with the hose and watering by hand, but by using a smart app, you can control when you water and why you water.

A good smart system that is integrated with your sprinkler configuration can tell you when it is the best time to water. Those in hot climates know that random watering done during the heat of the day is wasteful since there is a lot of evaporation, and a smart app can pin down the correct times to give your plants a good drink. The best innovations can interface with the weather so that you don’t water when it is raining.

smart irrigation

Smart mower

Wouldn’t it be great to just sit on the lawn chair while you grass is being cut? This is now possible with robot lawn mowing systems, and of course, these can be controlled from your mobile device.

Here’s how it works; available for lawns of all shapes and sizes, robot lawn mowers are relatively easy to set up and program. They’re powered by rechargeable batteries, so you don’t have to keep buying fresh batteries. Plus, they’re super quiet, which means you can turn them on at any hour of the day without bothering the neighbors. You’ll use bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, and a mobile app to get them set up and get to work. Remember, if you have a large lawn, you’ll need to purchase a model that can handle larger areas and things that get in the way such as flower beds, trees, and bushes.

smart mower

Smart garden hub

These gizmos, such as GreenIQ, put it all together:

  • Soil temperature
  • Garden lights
  • Smoke alarms
  • Motion detectors
  • Personal weather stations

A smart garden hub will capture this information, interpret it, and allow your app to dictate plant watering cycles.

GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub, specifically, supports various Smart Home Integrations such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest, and Apple Watch and allows you to complete your Smart Home with a full Smart Garden experience.

The system factors in weather data from public weather stations or private like ones, Netatmo and Davis. It detects pipe leaks and clogs when connected to a flow meter. If you want your GreenIQ to factor in the soil moisture level, add a soil sensor to your system.

The possibilities are endless with smart garden hubs like GreenIQ!

Soil condition

Do you want to know your soil moisture content, fertilizer readings, temperature, light intensity, and what to do about it?

A soil sensor like Spiio can provide all of this information and your app can advise you of any corrective action that may be necessary.

With a good soil sensor and an integrated app, you will no longer have to guess about which fertilizer will adjust your lawn’s pH to the proper level for the type of plants you are growing.

smart soil

Smart awnings

Electric awnings have transformed the garden shade experience into something that can be managed with ease. You can extend your awning at the touch of a button and retract it the moment the conditions become too blustery. But now electric awnings have entered the modern age with the adoption of smart technology – you can set them up to be controlled from you mobile phone.

Camera

This is simple, but totally necessary if you go on vacation. A friend of ours was a great gardener but lived in the hot southwest and was afraid to go on vacation in July because three days without water would be a disaster for his garden.

One year, he had to leave for a wedding and primitively set up a mechanically timed DIY sprinkler system. It was set to go on twice a day. Our friend left for a week and hoped for the best. When he came home, he found out that while his concocted sprinkler system worked, it had also rained every day, and our guy came home to a flooded backyard.

With a simple camera, he could have seen from his mobile device that the sprinkler system needed to be turned off, and he could have asked his neighbor to help. Since he didn’t know what was going on, he had to clean up the mess.

The moral? Even if you don’t want to invest in a smart watering or gardening system, at least set up a smart camera so you can see what your yard looks like when you are gone, and subsequently take action where needed.

garden camera

RadbilSam Radbil is the lead writer for ABODO Apartments, an online real estate marketplace with available apartments from small towns like Eugene, Oregon to big cities like New York City. ABODO’s research and writing has been featured nationally in Curbed, Forbes, Realtor.com, HousingWire and more.

Current Issues, Jorge, News

Europe’s summer of extreme heat produces mixed fortunes for farmers with extensive sunlight hours producing the sweetest fruit in years, but benefiting heat-sensitive pests. The dearth of rain has caused grass to die and go into dormancy, making grazing impossible, while retarding fruit size growth, with apples significantly smaller than previous years. This puts growers into conflict with supermarkets, who demand perfectly shaped fruit, regardless of taste!

Apples & Other Fruit Trees

UK growers can draw on their experience of the drought of 1976, where it didn’t rain until September when predicting fruit volume. In that year fruit production was largely unaffected, although it was the following year’s crop that suffered. Trees this summer have all exhibited drought stress, which causes them to put more resources into fruiting at the expense of stem growth, on what new fruit buds are born. Indeed, temperatures above 25C can cause trees to stop growing altogether.

Last year severe frosts across much of the continent hampered apple production with output falling 21%. This year, farmers expect volumes to return to normal, although require rainfall for fruits to reach normal sizes. Luckily, as much of the fruit won’t be picked until September and October, any significant downpours can make the difference.

1997’s extensive dry spell led to the Sun newspaper inviting a Native American to perform a rain dance on the NFU deputy president Guy Smith’s Essex farm. Rain returned the following month, so perhaps he deserves to return.

Cherry trees are the major benefactor of this extended dry spell with cherries vulnerable to damage by rain and wind.

Soft Fruit and Other Greenhouse Fruits

With high temperatures equalling high demand, soft-fruit producers have have struggled to keep up, with shortfalls being made up by Dutch and Spanish producers. Fed by drip-feed systems, produce remain unaffected by drought, but growers do face challenges with maintaining the correct humidity, CO2 levels, flowering speed and vegetative/generative steering, which ensures the plant is putting resources into fruiting. Growers also have to try and control mites of all kind, whose population rockets in such conditions.  

Raspberries growers are the big winner with the longer season making up for a 20% shortfall, originating from this year’s harsh spring.

Industrywide

European growers had been hit hard with the closure of the Russian market in 2014, but are now set to benefit from U.S.’s trade wars, with China, joining India and Mexico, imposing substantial tariffs on US imports.

UK growers have the more pressing issue of dealing with a shortfall of seasonal labour, owing to rising incomes in south-eastern Europe, a weak pound and the perception that migrants are not welcome. Early estimates predict 60% of agriculture businesses are experiencing labour shortages, with one in eight in crisis. With much fruit picked by hand, there is the possibility fruit will end up rotting on the trees.

Labour shortfalls may accelerate the switch to automation with robotics specialist Fieldwork Robotics signing a collaboration agreement with Hall Hunter Partnership, supplier of Waitrose, M&S and Tesco. They are expected to start testing their prototype this year, which is complete with dedicated grippers, adaptable soft-arms and sensors and software that can identify supermarket-ready fruit.

Jorge at PrimroseJorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!

His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.

Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.

See all of Jorge’s posts.

Charlie, Gardening Year, Gazebos, Lighting, Marquees, New Products, Outdoor Heating, Solar Lighting

The great British weather. Nothing compares. Particularly not this year, with a freezing March and early April, going into the hottest early May bank holiday on record you can safely say the weather has been up and down this year. A part of this is the indian summer we experienced in late April and early May. But what exactly is an indian summer?

The phrase actually was actually coined in 1770 in what would become the United States of America and is not – as many assume – anything to do with India or the days of the British Raj, but is actually a term used to describe the weather by Native Americans to the settlers of New England. It was a phrase used by the settlers to describe the unseasonably warm weather in spring and autumn when otherwise the climate was very similar to what they were used to back in Europe.
In the UK the term did not actually get much usage until about the 1950’s – and is largely more associated with a warmer autumn than a warmer spring. Here’s hoping the term will get lots of usage this autumn.

But what can Primrose do to help you out with the indian summer we’re experiencing and the indian summer that, hopefully, lies ahead of us? Well, we don’t stock suncream, but have a great range of garden shade to keep the heat off your back. We’re especially proud of our new lines of canvas indian tents which are new in this season and sure to wow the neighbours – even if its a different sort of indian to the “indian summer”.




We also have a great range of lighting, which is perfect for elongating the warm evenings, especially as the nights begin to draw in again, but the temperature remains warm.

 

 

 

We also have a dizzying array of sail shades and awnings to suit almost any garden, and don’t forget to check out our range of water features to get the relaxing sound of trickling water in your garden even in the long, dry summer months.

All in all an indian summer is something to be celebrated. Many artists have used the term as a metaphor for prolonged good fortune and here at Primrose we certainly believe that good fortune with the weather is something to be cherished.

And if an indian summer doesn’t materialise, you can always create your own with our great range of outdoor heating solutions.

 

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly in online marketing.

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

To see the rest of Charlie’s posts, click here.