Alice, Gardening, Gardening & Landscaping

Summer is the peak season for your garden; when the flowers bloom, the vegetables are ready to harvest, and the long lighter evenings pave the way for outdoor entertainment. Now the weather has taken a turn for the warmer, it’s time to think about what you want to bloom in your garden next season. Here are some ideas for upgrading and creating a summer garden.

creating a sumemr garden

Plan it out

Now it’s warm enough to head outside but the plants are yet to come into bloom, it’s a great time to revamp your garden and get started on any major projects so you can enjoy the results come summer. Could your garden do with a redesign? A new patio, decking, pond, or shift in layout? Could your fences, drainage system, paths or greenhouse do with a revamp? Do some research, browse Pinterest for inspiration, and either hire a professional or do it yourself. We stock a great range of patio paving, fencing, ponds, and greenhouses, to help out.

Living space

The bridge between your living room and garden is closing, as people are catching onto the trend of having furniture outdoors. Furniture designers are now producing lightweight and weatherproof garden furniture to offer a comfortable place to relax in your garden. You can use decking to provide a patio area; sofas, wicker chairs, and coffee tables to create a base; then get creative with planters, throws, cushions, lanterns and more to decorate. A fire pit can also make a bold focal point; these are also great for keeping warm during the evenings!

Alfresco dining

Get ready for those summer evenings by setting up a cooking station so you can impress your guests with delicious edibles. In addition to the classic BBQ, there is also the option of a chiminea, an outdoor fireplace that can function like a standard oven, or a pizza oven if you fancy cooking up something a little different! We also have a range of garden dining furniture, so you can alfresco dine in style!

Cosy canopies

Let’s face it, the British summer can be unpredictable, and there are likely to be as many rainy days as sunny ones. However, you don’t have to let the rain ruin your garden party. A canopy or pegola is a great solution for an unexpected downpour when you have friends over. They can also shield from the sun to provide a shady space. The Anthracite Veranda Garden Canopy Gazebo has a retractable roof that can be slid on and off depending on the weather.

A bouquet of colour

Now is the time to start planting the seeds of the flowers you wish to bloom come summer. These will fill your garden with glorious colour and impress guests, along with keeping bees and other pollinators happy. Flowers will make up your flowerbeds and borders, however you can also try container growing to add accents of colour to patios and decking. Our top picks include the Poppy “Ladybird” and the Sunflower “Sunburst”

Edible delights

One of the best parts about having a garden is the ability to grow tasty fresh fruits and vegetables. Now is the time to plan what you want to grow ready to harvest this summer and start planting the vegetable seeds. If you have the space, it’s a good idea to choose a range, including beans and peas for protein, dark green vegetables for iron, and sweet peppers and tomatoes for vitamin C. You don’t have to limit their placement to a vegetable plot or patch; coloured lettuces, kale, and rainbow chard look great planted in flowerbeds or borders, and vegetables can also be grown in containers on the patio. 

What are your plans for your garden this summer? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

 

Garden Furniture

Bistro Table

The bistro has humble beginnings on the streets of France but today its popularity is evident worldwide as a common feature of our gardens and high streets. Bistro tables and dining sets remain one of the easiest ways to bring a touch of Parisian style to your home or garden. Read up on the story of the Bistro and get some ideas to inspire your outdoor space below.

What makes a bistro table set?

Today there are many styles of bistro sets available. They range from the classic decorative metal sets to the more contemporary styles in wooden or rattan. But what makes the bistro style unique? The design stems from its origins on narrow Parisian streets.

Today we often see Bistro sets spilling onto pavements outside restaurants or cafes with people enjoying an alfresco meal or a coffee. The original tables were designed to be small enough for just two people to comfortably share whilst allowing plenty of space for people to pass by on the pavement.

Some common traits are found in the materials of Bistro tables with the original designs having marble tops and metal legs. The onset of the industrial revolution meant the faster production of iron which made it much easier to add decorative legs. Both table and chair design evolved further to be folded away for easy storage; this was ideal as it meant larger restaurants could seat more people, filling their outside spaces as much as possible.

The popularity of bistro’s through history meant that copies of designs sprung up everywhere once their success began to show. It’s hard to trace an “original” design but we can recognise them by these basic features.

History of Bistro

So how did bistro restaurants begin? The original bistros developed in the apartment basements of Paris. Landlords would open up their kitchens as a secondary source of income, selling cheap and hearty foods to the paying public.

The social aspect of bistros meant that places like the Cafe Procope in Paris (which still operates today) became integral meeting points for the artistic and literary figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Imagine Rousseau thinking on his social contract or Diderot compiling his Encyclopédie.

Often these set-ups would be organised outside buildings in the streets, facilitating the need for a smaller style of dining set to allow people to still pass by. This close proximity with the street made bistro’s synonymous with “people watching” as you couldn’t help but notice the rush of city life as it all passed by your table!

We’re not completely certain of where the word bistro comes from, but there are some stories which offer possible explanations. The most popular idea is that the word originated during the 1815 Russian Occupation of Paris, where Russian cossacks would cry “Bystra! Bystra!” to the restaurateurs. This roughly translates as “Hurry! Hurry!” which fits in with the developing style of the bistro as serving “fast food”. Whether this is true or not, we do know that the word Bistro entered both the French and Russian languages with the same meaning.

Another explanation is that the word originates from the French term “Bistreau” which translates as an innkeeper – more believable maybe, but certainly less romantic than Russian Cossacks in a hurry for their lunch.

What’s for Lunch?

Historically the food served at bistros reflected what was available locally or left over from landlords after serving their primary tenants. Menus were often made up with simple foods like soups, sandwiches, salads and crepes, served alongside coffee and wine and would likely change day to day depending on availability of ingredients.

Bistro Table With Coffee

This focus on food that’s simple, fast and relatively cheap has continued to the present day, though perhaps with a gentrified twist and a price tag to match in some chain stores…

How can I use a bistro set in my garden?

A bistro set is perfect for creating a dining space within a smaller section of your garden. If your outdoor space is a patio or balcony then these sets are ideal for adding a touch of style whilst saving on important floor space. Fold away chairs are perfect for dining on your own whilst having that extra seat available for guests and you can create a cosy space for yourself that’s perfect for morning breakfasts. What could be better than warm coffee and breakfast on the balcony, Parisian style.

Why not use a bistro set as an excuse to partition off a part of your garden and create a cosy dining area? To recreate that feeling of on-the-street closeness with life you could add interest around your table set. Perhaps a series of potted plants to add interest at differing heights? Or maybe position your set near some bird feeders so you can dine with the sound of birds singing each day and enjoy being closer to the wildlife in your garden. Maybe add some candles to the table and you’ve got a pleasant spot to spend a summer evening dining out or wrapped up with a good book.

From the streets of sixteenth-century Paris to your own back garden – a bistro set offers the perfect spot for hearty food and a good cup of coffee. With a style that’s made its way around the world bistro sets are an easy way to add a little Parisian style to your outdoor space.

Geoff Stonebanks, Pest Advice

Slug Killer

 

When you open your garden to the public, it’s important to  me to ensure that all my blooms and foliage look the best they possibly can. With planting so tightly packed to achieve the look I want, it’s very easy for slugs and snails to hide away amongst the foliage unnoticed. Now, I have to admit, I’m not one of those gardeners who is out there with a torch at night, picking the snails off and then driving them  miles away to deposit them.  I need to get rid of them without that hassle. We have a gorgeous little Jack Russell, Albert, so it’s equally as important to find something that is not going to harm him, as he loves to spend time in the garden as well.

 

Slug

 

A few years ago, I discovered a great product that works well for me, Advanced Slug Killer. This slug killer really is  amazing. It’s an innovative blue pellet containing a naturally occurring active ingredient Ferric Phosphate. Once attracted to and consuming the bait pellet, slugs cease to feed, and crawl into a dark secluded place or under the ground to die which eliminates the problems of unsightly slime trails and slug bodies to clear away. All this combines to make Advanced Slug Killer just about the best anti-slug product I’ve found in my  years of gardening. On moist soil or in humid conditions, the pellets absorb some of the moisture and begin to swell. The granules do not decay after a few swellings, also slugs much prefer the moister texture making them an attractive meal instead of my lovely flowers.

Geoff Stonebanks

 

I don’t grow organically or grow vegetables, but the pellets can be used as a bait for the control of slugs on bare ground and around all edible and non-edible crops grown outdoors, in the greenhouse or under other permanent or temporary cover.  More importantly, I find it remains effective after exposure to rain, watering and sunlight too. So, whether you open your garden up or not, if you have a problem with slugs and snails what not give it a go? I always check the garden daily and apply the pellets at first sign of plant damage, putting out  late evening or early morning when slugs are most active.

Read more of my garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

Geoff Stonebanks lives inGeoff Stonebanks Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex and spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, Driftwood, he has raised over £76,000 for various charities in 7 years, £40,000 of that for Macmillan. The garden, which first opened to the public in 2009 has featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World, Good Morning Britain and in many national and local media publications. In his spare time, Geoff is also the National Garden Scheme’s Social Media & Publicity Chair as well as an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex.

Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Decoration, Events, Garden Furniture, Outdoor Heating, Zoe

Garden Party

 

Summer has slowly approached us in the UK, and even with the interruptions of rainy showers, it’s not enough to dampen our spirit. We’re sure you have something to celebrate this summer, whether it be: a wedding or engagement, a birthday party, a new home, a new baby or simply because you want to have a party!

So why not take your party outside, we have thought of everything you will need to have a garden party no matter the weather.

Gazebo

A gazebo is an absolute must if you are planning a garden party this summer. A gazebo protects you from all of the unpredictable wind, rain or scorching sun. If you have little ones around it’s a great place to protect them from the harmful rays or equally you can run for shelter if the weather takes a turn for the worst.

If you are thinking of a garden party on a grander scale, it may be worth considering purchasing a marquee that can hold a lot more people than the standard gazebo. Many people consider renting marquees, but there are plenty of reasonably priced luxury options that will allow you to re-use it again and again!

For events such as weddings or large scale celebrations, marquees offer a place to put your dance floor or a place to seat your guests for a dinner.

 

Marquee

 

Outdoor Lighting

No doubt your garden party will last until the sun goes down, and when that happens you can illuminate your garden with an array of outdoor lighting. You can create a magical atmosphere with the addition of lights and be sure to wow your guests.

A popular option now for outdoor lighting is those that are solar powered. These lights will generate their power via the sun during the day, and have a pleasant glow when it gets dark. These are fantastic for saving money on your energy bills and are great for the environment. What’s not to love?

BBQ

Is there anything better than being in the sunshine with friends whilst smelling your lunch being grilled on the BBQ? We don’t think so.

Rather than buying disposable BBQs time and time again, why not spend the extra and buy a permanent one that will last you for many summers to come? Disposable BBQs can’t be recycled or composted so the investment is much better for the environment, and with the huge amount of styles now available, a stylish BBQ can be a great feature in your garden.

BBQ

 

 

Garden Furniture

Of course it’s important to consider where your guests will sit at the garden party! Depending on how formal your party is there are a variety of options you can consider from benches, dining sets and even bean bags to create the perfect place for everyone to sit back and relax.

You also might want to consider a quirky drinks cooler that will get your guests talking, our recycled steel cooler can be used as a outdoor ornament for the rest of the year.

Outdoor Heaters

 

Let’s not kid ourselves, if you’re having a garden party in Britain it will no doubt turn to the chilly side at some point. There’s no need to move the party inside though, if you have an outdoor heater to keep you warm you can still party through the night.

Nowadays you have the option of a gas or electric heater depending on what your requirements are. Both have their advantages; take a read of our breakdown of Gas vs Electric Powered Heaters to help you make your mind up what will be best for your need.

 

Outdoor Heater

 

We hope you have a great time at your garden party, send in your photographs of your Primrose products to photos@primrose.co.uk and you could win £5 worth of vouchers if they’re used!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.