Decoration, Indoor, Stuart, Water Features

April’s a big month for events, with April Fool’s Day and Easter taking place in quick succession along with all the garden tasks that can be started now the weather’s warming up. With all that going on, it’s no wonder that it’s also Stress Awareness Month, a chance to increase public awareness about the causes and solutions to the stresses of the modern world.

This past year we’ve spent more time inside and cooped up than most of us have in our entire lives, and stress has been on the rise in these unprecedented times. We’re starting to move away from lockdown and being forced to stay indoors, but as life is likely to continue within your four walls, there are still things you can to do improve your indoor space to make sure it’s the most zen and relaxing place it can be.

Look after your plants

Lavender and Chamomile

Soothing Lavender and Chamomile

Taking care of plants can have a calming effect, regardless of the kind of plant you’re looking after. Take a few minutes each day to look them over and forget everything else that’s going in your life, watering and trimming where needed to take a break from the world for a spell. It can give you a chance to arrange your thoughts, as well as ensure that an upsetting wilting is out of the question. If you get yourself some smelly plants like lavender or chamomile you can also de-stress by taking a good sniff whenever you need a moment.

Don’t let it become a chore, just take it easy and keep your plants in easy view so they aren’t forgotten. If you’re going to put a plant on a high-ish shelf, make sure it’s a dangler so it catches your eye and you can enjoy the greenery.

Clear the air

Monstera Adonsii, Philodendron Scandens and Alocasia Zebrina

Monstera Adonsii, Philodendron Scandens and Alocasia Zebrina

We don’t mean getting into arguments with the people you live with about peeves and irritations, but rather improving your air quality indoors. Temporary stress can cause you to breathe more shallowly as you tense up in the moment, slightly lowering the oxygen in your bloodstream which your brain sees as more stress, compounding the problem. When just opening a window isn’t an option, a broad-leafed indoor plant with good access to sunshine can really increase the O2 and help you breathe easier when life gets you down, stopping those temporary moments from getting out of control.

Water feature white noise

Two Indoor Water Features

Two indoor water features

You’ll have heard that silence is golden, but just as good is a bit of constant, hushed sound for focussing the mind. White noise has been proven to help (the second sentence of that article is a belter), and to get some without getting a single-purpose noise box you can hark back to ancient Japanese tradition with a water feature for water-based sound-making. Though admittedly in that tradition they weren’t powered with electricity, and they were for scaring deer first before meditation and zen.

The sound of running water can help you relax, likely speaking to that animal part of our brains that knows you need water to live. Unfounded claims suggest it can also help reduce blood pressure, but we just think it’s nice to sit and listen to.

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.

Flowers, Plants, Stuart

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!

Mothers' Day

Mother’s Day has been and gone, but ahead of the big Sunday we asked some of our social followers what little bits of garden wisdom they’ve picked up from their mums. We’ve picked out some of our favourites: take a look to see if you might have something new to learn, or just see if yours is the advice shared!

Keep the weeds at bay and water your plants

Straight out of the gate @madden968‘s mum brings us a simple guide to garden maintenance. Keeping on top of your weeds is the best way to stop them getting out of hand: ‘a little, often’ instead of ‘a lot, right when you just want to get planting’. Set aside a bit of time each weekend or each fortnight to check for unwanted weeds, and get them out soon as you see them to keep them from taking root. And water your plants as often as their individual care guide suggests – there’s nothing sadder than a forgotten wilted plant!

Child watering Plants - Filip Urban

So easy a child can do it

Watering Cans

Add sand to the soil of raspberry plants

Raspberry plants hate soggy soils! They like good drainage and a bit of added sand – just like @yellow.kettle‘s mum likes to do – is a great way to do that, holding water without becoming waterlogged. We’re getting towards the end of when your raspberries can be planted, act fast if you want to use this tip and get them in the ground before March is done!

Raspberry plant

Sand: not pictured

Raspberry Canes

Weeds are just flowers growing in the wrong place

We’ve also heard the inverse of this, ‘anything’s a weed if it’s growing in the wrong place’, but this optimistic version comes from @xgeorgia’s mum and we like it this way. If you like the look of an unplanned flower but just not where it’s found itself, just get it out of there and replant it somewhere else. Daffodils, snapdragons and even roses can find themselves amongst displays and bushes they don’t belong and be considered weeds, but they don’t have to be destroyed if you’ve got another place you’d like to put them!

Pile of daisies - Micheile Henderson

One mum’s weed is another mum’s flower

Weeding Tools

Soak coriander seeds before planting

Soaking your coriander seeds (cilantro for our friends across the pond) like @taz_hassomeplants‘s mum leads to faster germination, though we’ll admit we found a test that suggests the end harvest is only ever-so-slightly better than unsoaked seeds. We’ll leave this one up to you, but it could be a fun experiment for the kids to get involved with if they like coriander!

Coriander and a red shiny metal thing

To soak or not to soak, that is the question. As is ‘why is the table in the image above not real’

Coriander Plants and Seeds

Garden together

@gaff_and_garden_
https://www.instagram.com/gaff_and_garden_faff/

This one’s a bit of a cheat tip, presumably via @gaff_and_garden_faff‘s mum though it might be straight from the source, but it’s still a good one. Many hands make light work, and nowhere is that more true than anywhere that involves manual labour. Split the jobs between the family during a day in the garden (there’s a good Sunday opportunity coming up…) and get it all done faster than you can say ‘Work faster and fetch Mum a lemonade’, all while everyone bonds together through shared effort and the joy of a job well done.

Mother and child in garden-type area

Everyone can chip in!

Feed everything with Miracle Gro

Last but not least, one to keep in your garden stores courtesy of @thelovedaygarden‘s mum. There’s no denying the power of Miracle Gro to feed up your flowers, plants and veg. As we head unstoppably towards peak planting season, there’s no better time to get some miracles into your garden. Mum knows best!

Gardener planting with miracle gro

Bosh

Miracle Gro

Have some Mother’s Day gardening tips of your own to share, or fancy giving any of these a go? Head to @Primrose.co.uk or use the hashtag #MyPrimroseGarden to let us know about it!

Watering Photo by Filip Urban on Unsplash
Flower  Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash
Mother/child Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

 

Garden Design, Gardening & Landscaping, Gary, Stuart

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021 (Monday 8th March), we’re taking a look at some visionary women who’ve had a huge impact on the modern garden. Read on if you’d like to learn more about some of the great women in gardening and some of the things they’ve brought to the horticultural world, from the British Isles’ past to fabulous present.

Gardening Greats from the Past

Gertrude Jekyll
1843 – 1921

Gertrude Jekyll ft. Begonia

Modern gardens have a lot to thank Gertrude Jekyll for. Her partnership with Edwin Lutyens lasted over 25 years and she was a key influence in Georgian garden design, while her simple approach championed colourful, easy to maintain borders and brought plants like the rose, begonia and hosta back into fashion. The way she used colour is still taught as a basic tenet of garden design today, and we can thank her for the trend of creating sections in a garden. You can still see some of her creations at Lindisfarne Castle or West Dean.

Norah Lindsay

1873 – 1948

Norah Lindsay x Cliveden

This Oxfordshire socialite made great strides in the world of gardening to become one of only a few female garden designers of her time. She was a pioneer of seasonal planting and creating gardens that would bloom all year round. The traditional country garden combination of mauve, pink and white were a signature of her design style. Her work and influence can be seen at the Blickling Estate in Norfolk, as well as at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, Chirk Castle in Wales and Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire amongst many other private country house gardens.

Margery Fish
1892-1969

East Lambrook

Image from Wikipedia by Ray Beer, CC BY-SA 2.0, Index

Our love affair with perennials and the traditional cottage garden can all be traced back to Margery Fish. Her design ideas became so popular that she released two books in the 1960s and had a column in Amateur Gardening magazine. Margery championed simple planting schemes, and the use of ground cover to save on labour. She was also one of the first to make extensive use of silver foliage. She was also a big fan of snowdrops and her gardens at East Lambrook have over 60 named varieties of the plant growing in them.

Vita Sackville-West
1892-1962

Vita Sackville-West and white Digitalis

Image from Wikipedia by DHRUVA SRINIVAS – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Index

A prolific fiction writer, poet and gardener, Vita Sackville-West is the brains behind the gardens of Sissinghurst Castle. A poet and writer, she was known for her art and flair. Her early career was dominated by multi-layered planting and bright colours, but her real influence on today’s design was her White Garden –  a blend of traditional colours and textures that is still very much in fashion.

Kitty Lloyd Jones
1898 – 1978

A White Astilbe, a flower from the bog garden

Born to a doctor in Swansea and the ninth of ten children, Kitty was among one of the first professional female horticulturalists. Before her, most female gardeners found work through social connections, but in 1924 she graduated with a degree in horticulture from the University of Reading – one of the first women to ever do so. Kitty gradually built up a network of clients. Her best-known work was the redesign of the gardens at Upton House where her impressive bog garden still survives today.

Gardening Greats from the Present

Ann-Marie Powell

@myrealgarden

An award-winning garden designer and writer, Ann-Marie Powell is a modern garden great who shares garden inspiration on Instagram as @myrealgarden, as well as on her own site. With her innovative ideas and designs bringing gardening greatness to the country’s aspiring gardeners, and all while being a Greenfingers charity patron, we think Ann-Marie is the bees knees!

Paula Sutton

@hillhousevintage

A fashionable city girl turned country lady, Paula Sutton has moved from the fast-paced world of London, modelling agencies and fashion magazines to the quieter climes of the English countryside, and now shares her interior and exterior designs and inspirations through her blog and on Instagram @hillhousevintage. We think her use of British design to suit all budgets crossed with her country house chic is one to watch out for, ideal for anyone who wants to bring the feeling of the UK’s great green spaces to their own back garden.

Tania Compton

@taniacompton

An accomplished landscape and garden designer, Tania Compton is a garden expert who followed up on 12 years as Garden Editor for House & Garden magazine with moving to Wiltshire, and 6 acres of clay-filled land that she transformed into romantic and naturalistic gardens. Her Spilsbury gardens are sometimes open to the public and at Longford Castle you can see her redesigned parterre. Or, if you have a spare £4m handy, you can buy Reddish House when it comes back on the market and own some Tania Compton gardens of your own!

Gardening Greats of the Future

Could these be some of the gardening greats of the future to feature in next year’s collection of female horticulturist visionaries?