Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardening Year, Greenhouses, Plants, Scott, Uncategorized

January can be a quiet month for the garden. It may seem like everything is just waiting for the return of spring but there is plenty you can do now that will benefit the garden later in the year. For January gardening we suggest following these three P’s: Plan for the year ahead, Protect from the cold weather and Provide for the wildlife in your garden. Read on for our handy breakdown that incorporates all of these elements so you can prepare for success this year in the garden. 

General

frosted lawn

  • Compost: it’s the perfect time to begin a compost heap. You can utilise garden and kitchen waste (any organic plant matter) to make nutrient-rich compost year-round for your garden. One of the first things you can use is the Christmas tree! If you already have a compost heap now is a great time to make use of it as a mulch in your garden beds where the nutrients will benefit the soil later in the year. 
  • Tread carefully: your lawn will be very fragile this time of year. Frost can make grass brittle and prone to cracking resulting in yellow and brown patches in spring. A simple way of avoiding this is with garden tracking that puts less pressure on the lawn.
  • Repair: winter can be a devastating month at times with weather wreaking havoc on drains, fences and planters. Now is a good time to take note of the damage and think of fixes and solutions for when the warmer days begin.
  • Tidy up: it’s important to keep on top of the mess that can build up over winter. Fallen leaves can be cleared up and composted or left in a heap for wildlife.

Plants

summer bulbs

  • Inspect spring bulbs: take a look at stored bulbs and tubers to ensure they remain cool and dry. Keeping these stored correctly can be key to successful planting for spring. Having everything stored and ready also makes it much easier to plan for your garden designs and plant layouts.
  • Plant bare-root: now is an excellent time to plant bare-root trees and shrubs as this dormant winter period provides time for strong roots to establish; this is great preparation for the plant to grow strong healthy foliage in spring. 
  • Cut and compost: clear away decaying perennial plant stems and add them to the compost heap. This will help the plants focus on the healthy stems come spring. 
  • Prune: now is a great time to prune trees to shape. Pruning serves two mains functions: 1. It allows the tree’s energy to focus on the areas of growth we want to flourish and 2. Clearing the weight and density of a tree’s branches allows more light to reach the remainder of the tree. 
  • Water planters: plants need water all year round, not just when the sun is out and potted plants rely on us almost entirely for their water supply. Make sure you cut back on watering in winter but continue to water regularly to help keep roots healthy. Make sure you have good drainage and wait for the water to run through and out of the pot. 

Produce

soil cultivation

  • Prepare your soil: the sooner you can cultivate the soil in empty flower beds the better. This will give time for large clods of earth to break down and improve on the soil structure in preparation for growing success in spring. Try to work the soil when it is moist but not soaking wet as you’ll have great difficulty if anything becomes compacted and later dries out. Add compost to the soil to encourage extra nutrition and then cover with a good mulch or even a polythene cover which will help protect it from winter frosts and stop weeds from sprouting early. 
  • Prep potatoes: seed potatoes can be purchased in winter ready for planting in March. You can “chit” the potatoes as part of your January gardening plan which simply means encouraging them to sprout before planting; you can do this by storing them in a cool dry room for a few weeks. 
  • Force rhubarb: this means covering the crown of the plant to prevent light from getting to it. With an established rhubarb plant this can result in early growth that can be harvested when 20-30cm long. 
  • Apply organic fertiliser: a slow release of nutrients is perfect for assisting the slow return of life to plants and trees coming out of dormancy. Organic fertiliser will ensure this slow release as opposed to artificial fertilizers which provide quick shocks of nutrition which would do more harm and good at this point in the year.

Greenhouse

greenhouse

  • Temperature control: with the weather beginning to fluctuate January gardening in the greenhouse can be tricky. It’s best to judge each week or day as it comes. You’ll likely want to keep the greenhouse heated at night with a gas or electric heater, but during the day it may be warm enough to ventilate or even keep the door open. 
  • Clean the glass: you’ll want to make the most of what light you do get in winter and one f the easiest ways to do this is by giving the glass a good clean. For an extra helping hand you could also stick large bubble wrap onto the glass which will help to store and release some heat as well as concentrate the light. 
  • Move plants: overwintered plants can begin to be moved back outside once the sun starts to appear more frequently. It may be best to keep a layer of fleece or other winter protection like a cloche or cold frame with the plant so it can acclimatise gradually to the outside weather again. 
  • Plan ahead: now is a great time to organise the greenhouse with staging and shelves, making sure everything is accessible and ready for planting. 

Animals

bird feeder

  • Feed the birds: this is the hardest time of year for birds were finding food can be a daily struggle. Ensure you give the birds in your garden a hand by putting food out. If you can identify the birds in your garden you can feed specific foodstuffs to help them thrive. Some birds may like mealworms whilst others may only eat seeds or fatty foods. 
  • Provide shelter: giving homes to wildlife in your garden can be the difference between surviving the winter or not. Birdhouses, beehives, hedgehog homes and frog houses can be purchased for specific animals but you can also provide natural shelter with leaf piles, log piles and compost heaps. 
  • Maintain birdbaths: birds need water throughout the year to keep themselves clean and to drink. Make sure you top up your birdbath with fresh water often. An easy way to keep it from freezing over is by adding a small ball that can float on the top and agitate the water. 
  • Clean feeders and tables: keep your bird feeders and tables cleared from debris like leaves and branches so that food is easily accessible.  

 

Head over to the Primrose Instagram to show us how you’re getting on with your garden this month! Tagged photos may be featured on the Primrose feed.

Scott at PrimroseScott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Scott

Eco-friendly christmas

‘Tis the season to be wasteful. Or so it can seem, with millions of rolls of gift wrap thrown away every year. But change is upon us all and it begins with people like you. The little changes you make inspire us at Primrose to do better; did you know that we’ve started introducing more eco-friendly and recyclable packaging solutions, beginning with our new houseplant range? Growing awareness and some great television from David Attenborough has made us all realise a need to do better. We all need to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever we can and the Christmas season is no exception to that. Simple changes can help reduce Christmas waste and our guide below will give you all you need to start. 

Re-gift (wrap)

reduce reuse recycle

We tend to buy gift wrap throughout the year for every birthday that comes up. And what happens? We end up with scraps of leftovers that don’t quite make it around the oddly shaped vase we’ve bought for the newlyweds. Don’t throw those scraps away – save them! And any gifts you receive yourself, be sure to save the paper. Collect it all together and by the time Christmas rolls around you’ll have a collection of gift wrap that can be reused in a variety of ways. You can either wrap an entire gift or add decorative strips to plain paper. Gift bags are also perfect for holding onto as they rarely get spoilt and can be used again and again. 

Make it special

There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to standard paper gift wrap; material wraps are a great way of creating something special. Wrapping up a gift in a beautiful material such as linen, gives it an extra special touch and the wrapping becomes a gift in of itself! It’s also something that can be used again and again. Be sure to source material that’s 100% natural and plastic-free where possible. An alternative to this is using materials you already have – you can easily add a Christmassy flare to any gift by wrapping it in a Christmas tablecloth, teatowel – even a Christmas stocking could double up as the perfect wrap for a wine bottle! 

Get creative

eco-friendly gift wrap

You can avoid buying gift wrap by using readily available items. A newspaper may seem an unsightly idea but actually, a text-heavy monochrome print combined with a colourful ribbon or string can look wonderful under the tree. And just because you go simple on the gift wrap doesn’t mean you can’t splash out on the extras. Using printer paper to wrap smaller items, and decorating it with some natural flourishes like some holly or a sprig from your Christmas tree can look both traditional and thoughtful. You could even take a trip to your local art store, buy some stamps and get the kids involved with decorating some plain paper with some stylish patterns.

Shop sustainably  

If you want to do your bit for reducing waste but haven’t got the time for the ideas outlined above, then the best thing you can do is shop as ethically as possible. That means buying gift wrap that is plastic-free and fully recyclable. Simple brown craft paper is a cheap and recyclable product that’s eco-friendly and easy to dress up. You could even go the extra mile and shop from companies which support natural causes. The RSPB or the World Wildlife Fund are excellent charities to start with. 

Are you planning to get ahead with your Christmas wrapping this year? Why not tag us in an Instagram post showing us your eco-friendly ideas for gift wrapping! We may even feature you on the Primrose feed.

Scott at Primrose

Scott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Conservation, Current Issues, Organic, Scott, Sustainable Living

world soil dayWe’re experiencing a climate emergency. This message has finally found a voice in society and awareness of the issues facing our planet are beginning to be discussed with the attention they deserve. One of the most pressing but unreported of these is the condition of the Earth’s soil. You’ll know how important soil is to the health of your garden; the same is true for our nations soil and the soil of our planet. The 5th of December marks World Soil Day, an international project started by the United Nations to promote awareness and action over soil erosion. 

So what is soil erosion?

world soil day

When we think of the climate emergency we may think of large blocks of ice falling into the sea or freak weather showing on the news but soil erosion is an issue that is just as catastrophic whilst remaining widely unknown. Soil erosion is a wearing down of the most fertile layer of soil. This is the layer of soil that contains all the best nutrients and organic matter that’s suited for growing everything from forests to garden plants and vital crops. 

Isn’t soil erosion natural?

world soil day

Soil erosion is a natural process but it’s normally a slow one. As is so often the case in these stories, it’s the actions of humanity that have accelerated the issue to near breaking point. Intense farming, singular crop use, deforestation and expansive building of disruptive infrastructure are all things that have caused this process to accelerate. Dealing with the natural causes involved a shift in the way farms operate, due to human action, these shifts in behaviour need to happen on a global scale to help mitigate the damage.

How serious is the problem?

Time is running out to make such changes with the UN claiming we have less than 60 years before the planet runs out of fertile topsoil; a disaster considering this is where 95% of the world’s food is grown. Soil erosion is a silent symptom of the climate emergency but it can make its effects known via food shortages, lack of crop diversity, higher carbon levels in the atmosphere and accelerated climate catastrophe…  

What’s being done?

Word is beginning to spread and actions are being taken. The formation of Groundswell in 2015, the UK’s leading agricultural conservation event, is a sign of farmers recognising the problem and vowing to make a change in how they work that will benefit everyone. 

There are lots of practices that farms can introduce to regenerate their soil. Dropping the use of chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides, turning away from tilling machinery, planting more diverse crops and changing grazing practises can ALL contribute to healthier soil. The end result can be more nutrient-rich, varied and organic produce for us as consumers, farms that are more likely to stand the test of time and a healthier planet.  

organic produce

What can I do to help?

The best thing you can do to support the soil crisis is to be informed. Arm yourself with the know-how of what’s going on with our world’s soil and spread the word! This basic step will help you make more informed choices about where your food comes but also lend you a voice when it comes to communicating these ideas to those with the power to change them and stop bad practices causing soil erosion.  

soil

See our quick list below for ideas on how you can celebrate:

  1. Get out in the garden and test your own soil.
  2. Get a local school involved with a soil health workshop.
  3. Shop your local area for organic farms to try and locate fresh produce.
  4. Plan a sponsored run or walk to raise awareness of soil erosion and wider climate issues.
  5. Share this blog post and spread the word!

For more information on World Soil Day see this handy infographic from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations: Click here 

 

Scott at Primrose

Scott is a copywriter currently making content for the Primrose site and blog. When at his desk he’s thinking of new ways to describe a garden bench. Away from his desk he’s either looking at photos of dogs or worrying about the environment. He does nothing else, just those two things.

See all of Scott’s posts.

Christmas, Decoration, Fire Pits, Gardening, Planters, Scott, Trees, Wildlife

We all want to give the perfect Christmas gift; but how do you choose the gift they’ll love? The options can be overwhelming in the search for that special something so here at Primrose, we’ve made things simple. Whether you’re shopping for wildlife lovers, dedicated home growers or social entertainers, you can find the perfect gift at Primrose.

For Wildlife Lovers

As a nation of animal enthusiasts, our gardens can be havens for wildlife. Welcome all varieties of birds, insects and small mammals into the garden with a selection of our houses and feeders.

Christmas Gifts

 

A wonder to watch and a great way of increasing the variety of garden flowers. A bee or butterfly house will bring important pollinating insects into the garden and these pretty houses can sit discreetly in any space.

 

Christmas Gifts

 

Nothing beats the presence of birds in a garden. The UK has a wide variety of birds that are beautiful to see and fun to watch. You can encourage great diversity into the garden with the Christmas gift of a bird feeder or table.

 

Christmas Gifts

 

A wildlife-friendly garden can attract a whole host 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.

 

 

christmas gift guide

Wildlife World Bee Hyve

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christmas gift guide

Hedgehog Haus (Hogitat)

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christmas gift guide

Dovecote Cream Bird House

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For Jolly Gardeners

We love seeing how our customer’s gardens take shape throughout the year and how the sense of achievement from cultivating a garden brings so much joy.  

Christmas Gifts

 

Great gardeners deserve great tools. From handheld trowels and forks to more specialised bulb planters and weed removers, a garden can really take shape having the right tool for the right job. 

 

 

Christmas Gifts

 

Garden planters are ideal for gathering together favourite blooms and we think our fuss-free, frost-resistant, fibrecotta planters can make a great Christmas gift.

 

 

Christmas Gifts

 

Give a gift that will keep on growing! A Christmas gift that will last for years and provide endless moments of joy, trees can transform a garden and we have a variety of species that can be gifted for any garden space.

 

 

christmas gift guide

Dig For Victory Hand Trowel

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christmas gift guide

Kensington Framed Trough Planter

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christmas gift guide

Ornamental Trees

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For Social Entertainers

Our gardens are the settings of wonderful moments; times we’ll treasure throughout our lives. At the centre of those moments will be one person organising it all and for them, we have a range of gifts they can be proud to display.   

Christmas Gifts

Extend the time spent with friends and family when the nights draw in with our range of lighting solutions. Fairy lights can add magic to any space when hung about a gazebo or strung through the trees, whilst lanterns can add a warm glow to keep everyone comfy on the sofas. 

 

Christmas Gifts

 

A fire pit can bring out the best of an evening – it means time spent gathered together, time spent swapping stories and jokes, time spent enjoying the warmth of a glowing fire, maybe toasting a marshmallow or two. A centrepiece befitting any keen host we have a range to suit every garden space. 

Christmas Gifts

 

For the evenings you wish can go on and on, keep everyone cosy and content with our winter blankets and throws. So whether it’s snuggling up warm with a loved one or setting down with a good book, give the gift of a relaxing evening this Christmas.

 

 

christmas gift guide

White LED Fairy Lights

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christmas gift guide

Woodland Scene Fire Bowl

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christmas gift guide

Pink and Cream Throw

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