Flowers, Gardening & Landscaping, Outdoor Living, Stuart

In our last post we talked about how you can turn your indoor spaces into zones free from stress. Now that we can meet up outside, it seems fitting to share our tips on getting that same calm feeling outdoors.

A Soothing Garden Oasis

man in yoga-like pose in front of tropical waterfall

Waterfalls optional

If you’ve got any garden space, whether green or paved or big or small, you can turn it into a stress-free oasis. Make sure your furniture (if you don’t prefer sitting on the floor) isn’t wobbly so you can rest undistracted, and surround yourself with some flowery colour and scents.

Lavender (mentioned in our indoor stress awareness post) is just as good outdoors as in, with the added benefit of bringing in healthy pollinators to watch and while away the hours with.

Three roses in a row...ses

Begging to be sniffed

April’s also prime rose-growing time, and it’s easier to come up from hard times smelling of roses if you’ve been sitting amongst them. Pots, flowerbeds and arbours can all be used to fill your air with rosy scents, with the added benefit (if you’ve got enough of them) of hiding you away from the world for a spell.

An oasis is best when it’s just for you after all! If you’re interested in not being overlooked in your garden, check out our guide.

Put Your Feet Up

Person with feet up on wooden bench, branch in corner

Though maybe not higher than your head

Comfortable furniture is key if you’re after the fresh air and de-stressing power of the outdoors. Recliner chairs, footstools and comfy cushions are all great ways to increase your outdoor comfort, but you’ll also need to consider where they go.

Keep your furniture off slopes so you don’t have to worry about sliding off, and stay away from wind traps (corners of fencing and walls) unless you live for the wind in your hair. Alternatively, a picnic blanket or similar will do the job if you’ve got a squishy lawn.

Baby on a blanket

Just like this

However you like to take a load off your feet, it doesn’t take much to do it outside in the sun.

Fountains and Features

Two water fountains, one steel and one faux wood

Sort of like a babbling brook, if brooks were steel and polyresin

Just like with de-stressing indoors, water features can bring a soothing constant to your garden space. A lot of outdoor water features are self-contained so you don’t need to dig a hole for them to go in, or if breaking a sweat helps you de-stress you can dig a pond and get a water feature in the pool.

The main thing to consider for a de-stressing feature is to think about sound or the visuals. If sound works best for you, look for a feature that drops the water some distance to get a splashing sound. If it’s the visual, you may want a feature with lights or a calm cascade.

man stood in front of a waterfall again

Waterfalls stil optional

However you prefer to keep the stresses of the world at bay, April’s the month to take stock of all those things that get you down to see where they can be overcome. The Stress Management Society has lots of tips and advice to help wherever you may be struggling, so check them out if you’d like more information on stress – its causes, effects, and how to help deal with it all.

Oasis Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Feet Photo by Ales Maze on Unsplash
Baby Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash 

Flowers, Plants, Stuart

Which Rose Is Right For My Garden?

It can be a surprise to some – there’s more than one kind of rose. There’s climbing roses, ramblers, shrubs, miniatures, grands and more, without even getting into all the different colours and flower styles. But which one is right for you and your garden? Read on for a handy guide to making your choice!

Choose your growing type

Three rose tiles - Climbing, ground cover and patio

Start broad, and think about what you’re picturing in your head when thinking of your new rose. Is it a beautiful shrub/bush, standing front and centre in a flowerbed, or is it a delicate climbing dangler bringing colour to an arbour or arch? Maybe you just want to stand it in a pot, proud and solitary.

For the first, you’ll want a shrub or bush rose, while for the second climbing or climber rose are the words to search for. If you want to go for a pot, look for patio or miniature roses. You can also get ground cover roses to keep weeds at bay or cover up unsightly parts of your garden, and for abundant flora it’s floribunda that you want.

You’ll find your colour and fragrance choices after you’ve made your decision on the growing type, as each type has a veritable colour wheel of options available and a perfumer’s selection of scents.

Sensational scents

Three fragrant roses

Colours vs smell is a tricky debate to get involved in, but generally you’ll have to choose which is more important to you before deciding what you’re looking for. Not every colour will be available in every fragrance, and some fragrances will be specific to certain colours or shapes. Do you even want to smell them, or are you in the market for a burst of colour? Either way, common rose scents include:

  • Rose (rosewater/Turkish delight specifically)
  • Lemons
  • Elderflower
  • ‘Fruity’
  • Tea leaves
  • Anise – labelled ‘myrrh’ to confuse people

As a rough principle, the fragrance tends to match the colour – lemon/elderflower are often on yellow or white roses, and fruity/rosy scents are frequently on pink and purple roses. There is some crossover, but don’t be disappointed if you can’t find the exact colour/smell combo you want.

Pick of the petals

Three different rose types, based on flower type

Not all roses are created equal, at least in the sense that they don’t all look the same.  In cartoons and media you’ll probably see a high-centred rose, where there’s a closely-formed centre surrounded by more open petals, while in rose gardens that are stuffed full of varieties you’ll see more cupped and globular blooms where there’s lots of petals in either a cup or ball shape.

Wild in gardens you might find flat blooms with just a few big petals (like the rose used for the red part of the Tudor Rose), and its polar opposite is the rosette bloom which has so many petals you can really stick your nose in. Like with fragrance, you won’t necessarily find every colour in every shape, but there’s a lot more crossover so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

When it comes to the colours, it’s very straightforward. Unlike all the other rose elements, it’s a case of say what you see – even though there’s all sorts of names like ‘Absolutely Fabulous‘ and ‘Zephirine Drouhin‘, they’ll still be called (respectively) ‘yellow‘ or ‘pink‘ in the description so you can find what you’re looking for. You might read that that certain colours have meaning, and we’re here to tell you to follow your heart. If you want a red rose, a yellow one, or an unusually purple one, just go for it – all it means is you can pick a good rose.

Extra features

Three Disease-Resistant Roses

Some roses are ‘disease-resistant‘, which means you can go a little easier on thinking about where to plant them or what was in the bed before. That’s not to say that every other rose is a precious flower that’ll wilt if you look at it wrong, but these ones just have slightly better immune systems. That way you can sit back and smell the roses without worrying about what’s going on below the soil surface.

To help you get started, take a look at our rose collection and refine by whatever characteristic takes your fancy. You’re sure to find what you need at primrose.co.uk!

Flowers, Gardening, How To, Plants

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Able to be filled with a mix of plants throughout the year, hanging baskets are a wonderful tool for ornamenting the outside of your home. Unlike plants growing in the beds of a garden, they are less likely to suffer from harsh weather, soil problems, or worrisome pests. However, with so many varieties available, you may feel unsure on which plants to buy. Why not read on for a helpful guide on choosing the best hanging basket plants? 

How many plants per hanging basket?

We believe that five plants per 30cm basket is best, as it allows plenty of space for each plant to grow (which is necessary for a bountiful arrangement). You can add more plants if you wish, but for summer baskets especially, it is good to cultivate your plants early on. As such, more space is always better. Popular summertime plants such as Fuchsias and Geraniums can also be quite vigorous, so will take up greater space. 

How long do hanging baskets last?

Hanging baskets are typically made to last for a single season. However, particular varieties, such as Pansies belonging to the ‘Cool Wave’ series, will flower ceaselessly from autumn to summer. Nonetheless, you may want to switch up your baskets to achieve looks that are unique to each season. This guide will therefore suggest the best hanging basket plants for both summer and winter. 

The Best Hanging Basket Plants for Summer

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Petunia Surfinia

Sporting pretty, often dual-toned blooms, Petunia Surfinias are a favourite for adorning driveways and patio spaces with a graceful display. Despite their unfortunate introduction to botany in the 1500s (where they were considered demonic!), Petunias have become one of the most popular bedding plants around. 

Unlike regular Petunias, Petunia Surfinias don’t need to be deadheaded, so are perfect for the less attentive gardener. Thirsty plants, they should be watered when the top two inches of soil becomes dry to the touch. In very warm weather, don’t be afraid to water them twice a day.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Begonia x tuberhybrida

Highly floriferous, Tuberous Begonias are treasured by gardeners for their rose-like blooms. Their generous flowering period (spanning from June to October) also makes them invaluable for sustaining floral interest when gardens quieten down for the colder months. 

Flourishing in cooler conditions, and tolerant of a little more shade, Tuberous Begonias are well suited for the English climate. One of our favourite varieties is Solenia ‘Orange’, as it has sturdy branches that withstand strong winds, which will neither be weighed down by their abundant flowers. Aside from having orange flowers that are fitting for autumn, this variety is also resistant to mildew.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Fuchsia

Discovered by Charles Plumier in the late 1600s, Fuchsias will always make striking additions to pots and flower beds. When planted in a hanging basket, their trailing bell-shaped flowers create bold vertical interest, but for the most prolific display, why not combine them with Petunias or Pelargoniums?

Flowering repeatedly until autumn, Fuchsia ‘Annabel’ will add a distinct touch to your garden with its blush-white flowers. 

The Best Hanging Basket Plants for Winter

The-Best-Hanging-Basket-Plants

Primula ‘Woodland Rose’

With heart-shaped petals gathered around a vibrant yellow centre, Primula ‘Woodland Rose’ is reminiscent of the classic Primrose. Flowering in January and February, it is a great plant for incorporating some romantic colour into your winter garden. It pairs particularly well with white Viola varieties, and harmonises beautifully with the unique foliage of Cineraria ‘Silver Dust’. To keep your Primrose flourishing, remove any spent flowers and dead leaves that appear.

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Pansies

Admired by gardeners for their intricately marked blooms that resemble a face, Pansies are a great way to add charm to your garden. With a low growing habit, Pansies also make manageable hanging basket plants. Nevertheless, their flowering period (lasting as long as eight months) is arguably their most noteworthy quality. Why not embrace some fiery tones with Pansy ‘Fire’? Or alternatively create a cooler theme with Pansy ‘Marina’?

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

Cyclamen

With unique, butterfly-like blooms, that stand atop their silver variegated leaves, Cyclamen are a classic winter plant. Their upright habit proves a welcome change from the trailing blooms of Geraniums, Fuchsias, and Petunias. As such, they are ideal for neater schemes. Why not plant Cyclamen with Ivy to enjoy a basket filled with handsome foliage?

When watering Cyclamen, you should take care to not water them from the top, as this can risk rotting. Instead, try to water at the base of the plant, which helps the water travel directly to their roots.

Hanging Basket Plants: Common Questions

The-best-hanging-basket-plants

How often should you water hanging baskets?

When the soil of your basket becomes dry to the touch, your plants are ready to be watered. Come summer when the weather warms up, you can comfortably water your hanging baskets once a day.

Can you plant bulbs in a hanging basket?

Dwarf bulb varieties (such as dwarf Narcissus) will complement your hanging baskets towards the end of the season. You could start off a winter basket with Cyclamen and Pansies, and plant your dwarf Narcissus bulbs underneath. As winter concludes, the Narcissus can take centre stage to mark the beginning of spring.

How do you stop hanging baskets from drying out?

To help your basket retain moisture, it should be no smaller than 30cm, and be lined with coco liner. Coco liners are excellent at retaining water, and are also environmentally friendly.

Can you use bin liners to line hanging baskets?

Yes, bin liners are suitable for a hanging basket. They aren’t as sightly as a coco liner, but if you poke some holes in, they will do the job.

 

 

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.