Animals, Composting, Geoff, How To, Insects, Ponds, Spiders, Wildlife

wildlife friendly garden

Wildlife is often synonymous with countryside and rural areas but wherever you are situated, why not encourage some vibrant wildlife into your own garden? With spring now fully in motion, become one with Mother Nature and bring your garden to life with the following tips:

Long Grass
Although it is tempting to neaten up your lawn for the summer, by leaving sections of long grass in your garden you pave the way for butterflies and ladybirds to easily lay eggs and inhabit. Also, remember to allow dandelions to flower as these attract bees – just remember to cut them before they turn to seed heads or they will infest your entire garden!

Bird Boxes and Feeders
Bird boxes and feeders are a great way to attract different types of birds, some of which you may have never seen. Situate these in sheltered sites out of reach of predators, and be sure to put out protein-rich feed during the spring, while they are feeding their young and seed in the winter. Another good tip is to place your bird box or feeder near dense bushes allowing smaller birds such as blue tits to feed while providing cover from cats.

Insect Hotel
Most insects aren’t fancy; a pile of rocks or rotting wood will do just the job. A quiet space with plenty of leaves, twigs and anything they can hide under will be just the habitat for insects to thrive.  If you want to give them a luxurious safe haven, turn it into a project like our user Kingston has done with their fantastic bug garden! Alternatively, cutting bundles of drinking straws, hollow canes or plant stems and placing them in suitable areas works well when creating a living space for these critters.

Pond
All creatures in your garden need a source of water, so why not make a pond! If you need some tips on how to make one from scratch we suggest you take a read of our handy guide. For those of you without the space or time, you can simply bury a shallow bucket or stone basin, just be sure to leave some shrubs and twigs to allow frogs and similar creatures to get in and out. To be fully self-sufficient, you could even use rainwater collected in a water butt to fill up your pond.

Compost
It’s always good to keep a compost area or bin in your garden, not only for wildlife but also for the good of your plants. They are a great habitat for worms, woodlice, frogs and spiders which are all useful for the ecosystem in your garden – typically attracting larger animals such as birds and hedgehogs. Be sure to turn your compost every week to aerate your soil, a pitchfork or compost aerator will do the job. This gives your compost an influx of oxygen and speeds up the decomposition time.

Fruit Trees and Bushes
Fruit trees not only attract great wildlife but also provide you with fruit to grow and eat yourselves. During the spring time, fruit trees such as apple and pear trees flower, providing a sweet source of nutrients for many pollinating insects such as honeybees. Furthermore, once the fruit begins to fall in the autumn, this becomes great grub for birds and insects alike.

Weeds
Before you go and clear your entire garden, be mindful of long term benefits to some weeds. Plants such as buttercups, daisies and foxgloves flower over a long period of time and are a great source of pollen. These can grow in the harshest of growing conditions and attract many beneficial predators to your garden so consider leaving a section in your garden to keep pests such as aphids in check!

Like weeds, there may be some forms of wildlife that you’d prefer to keep out of your garden. Learn how to get rid of rats and other pests.

 

GeoffGeoff works within the Primrose marketing team, primarily on anything related to graphics and design.

He loves to keep up with the latest in music, film and technology whilst also creating his own original art and his ideal afternoon would be lounging in a sunny garden surrounded by good food, drink and company provided there is a football nearby.

While not an expert, his previous job involved landscaping so he’s got some limited experience when gardening.

See all of Geoff’s posts.

Alex, Current Issues, Decoration, Halloween, Heated Clothing, How To

It is Halloween again and for many of us this can be a scary time of year. I am not referring to the fear inflicted upon us by small children wearing strange costumes knocking on your door threatening to perform some sort of no doubt dastardly trick unless we immediately hand over confectionary items. No, not this doorstep intimidation racket or even the B list horror flicks that emigrate from their usual late night spot onto primetime viewing hours. It is the terror of the annual pumpkin carving ordeal.

Thankfully, we have some ideas for you. Some inspiration gathered from the great minds of the interweb. If that wasn’t enough we follow this up with a few handy tips to ensure you achieve pumpkin perfection this Halloween.
Here are 5 pumpkin designs we found particularly inspiring/amusing:

1. 

Pumpkin Pi
Pumpkin pi – For the intellectual carver

2.

Star wars pumpkin
Episode 8 – Attack of the pumpkin

3.

Sick Pumpkin
November 1st

4.

Weird baby pumpkin
This is just weird…

5.

Scary Turnip
Turnips are genuinely terrifying

Tips for Carving your Pumpkin:

  1. My number 1 tip is cheat – Download a template from the internet and trace it on to your pumpkin. No one has to know, there are so many great ones out there. Simply trace the template onto your pumpkin and carve carefully around the outline.
  2. Use the right tools – Don’t spend hours hacking away at your pumpkin with a desert spoon. Take a minute to plan ahead and utilise the best tools for the job. A sharp knife is a must. A hammer and chisel may be too far, but saying that there are those on the internet who swear by using power tools for this task.
  3. Clear the area – This task is always more difficult, dangerous and messier than you remember. Don’t start the dissection in your lounge on that new rug you got just last week. Lay down some newspaper, give yourself some space and make sure you’re in appropriate clothing and you will be much better off.
  4. Preservation – If you want your pumpkin to last a while and not go all mouldy and horrible there are a few techniques that will do the job. I’ve read about using Vaseline and similar products but apparently it can be a slippery, dangerous process with mixed results. You can use vinegar but surprisingly the most effective solution is to soak your pumpkin in 1 tsp. bleach/ gallon of water solution for around 8 hours. It may seem a bit excessive, and you will want to keep any children away during this phase, but the results can be great prolonging your pumpkin’s display time by up to 10 days!

Make sure you send in pictures of your finished article via our Facebook page. Points will be awarded for originality, design and overall effort. The winner stands to win one of our brand new Warmawear ™ hand warmers, perfect for the winter months, and of course will be awarded the prestigious accolade of Primrose Pumpkin of the Year 2015! Good luck!

AlexAlex works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

As a psychology graduate it is ironic that he understands plants better than people but a benefit for the purpose of writing this blog.

An enthusiastic gardener, all he needs now is a garden and he’ll be on the path to greatness. Alex’s special talents include superior planter knowledge and the ability to put a gardening twist on any current affairs story.

See all of Alex’s posts.

Flowers, Gardening, George, Grow Your Own, How To, Planters, Planting

There comes a time when most plants will outgrow their pots. You may notice the flowers beginning to wilt or roots poking through the bottom of the pot. This means it’s time for the plant to move.

Here are three easy steps to repot your plant, along with a few pictures from our own attempts with the office plants at Primrose!

1. Prepare the new pot
When you know your plant is ready for a bigger home, make sure it’s well watered – this will help to ease it out. Choose a new pot that’s bigger than the old one. Line the bottom of the pot with a layer of compost and dampen it with some water.

Plant For Repotting
The roots are showing so this plant’s ready to go!

2. Take the plant out
This can be the tricky bit. You have to be careful not to damage the plant, so try to keep your palm placed over the soil with your fingers round the stem as you ease the plant from the pot. Give the pot a tap on a table or step to dislodge the roots. You may even need to break the pot away if they’re really stuck!

Taking Plant Out
And after a little work, the plant should just slide out.

3. Put the plant in its new pot
If the roots are especially compressed, you may need to work them out a bit – just use your fingers to loosen them up. Then place the plant into the new pot. It should fit in easily, with some free space around. Add a bit more compost to fill the gaps and give it all a good water.

Plant In New Pot
All settled in its new home!

So that’s it – 3 simple steps and your plant is repotted!

We particularly recommend our Miracle-Gro compost – you’ll only need a little because it expands up to 3 times with water. If you’re looking for plant pots we have a great range, starting from just 99p! And of course, if it’s plants you’re after, we’ve got you covered.

For more, visit primrose.co.uk.

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.

Harriet, How To, Primrose Gardens

How to get started with Primrose Gardens

We all know the amount of hard work that goes into creating your dream garden, but did you know that there’s a very easy way to share the results?

In 5 minutes or less you can create your very own Primrose Gardens profile – it’s absolutely free and gives you a great space where your photos can be seen by friends, family, and even the world! Not only that, but you can easily browse, follow, and comment on other gardens, giving you a never ending source of outdoor inspiration. Want to get started? Here’s what to do!

 

Get started by making a profile

1. Make Your Profile

Simply go to gardens.primrose.co.uk and click ‘Start building a website for your garden’.

All you need is your name, email address, and a name for your garden. You can be really creative, but we’re happy with just your name too! A Primrose Gardens profile is free and once you’ve signed up you’re ready to get started with all of our features.

If you’ve already created a profile, just click ‘Login’.

 

Add some features to your profile

2. Create Some Features

Profiles on Primrose Gardens are split up into features – albums which helpfully organise the photos you want to show off.

We’ll give you a few examples when you sign up but these features can be called anything you like to best reflect your unique garden.

There’s no limit to the number of features you can have and you can order them on your profile however you like!

 

 

3. Get Uploading Your PhotosStart uploading some photos to your profile

Once you’ve completed the first two steps you can already start uploading!

There are two ways to do this:
– Upload straight from the website – just go to the feature you want the photos to go into, click the ‘Upload photos’ button and follow the instructions.
– Use our mobile app to snap photos and post them to your profile. Available for iOS & Android, it can also be used to post photos which you already have on your phone.

 

4. Explore and commentEasily browse and comment on other profiles

Now that your profile is taking shape, take a look around our garden community to see what other people are posting! Click ‘Recent Posts’ at the top of the page to see the latest uploads to the site.

If you see a garden which inspires you, let the owner know! Just click comment to communicate with other users – perhaps you’d like to get their tips on how they keep their flowerbeds flourishing, help them out with their garden queries, or just let them know you love their garden.

 

Share photos to social media platform of your choice5. Share with us!

Proud of your garden photos and want to show them off to the world?

Send us the link to your profile and we’ll share our favourites on our Facebook page. Keep an eye on our social media for competitions and your garden might even win a prize!

What are you waiting for? Get to gardens.primrose.co.uk to create your free profile now, and start sharing your hard work!


Harriet works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

She’s a big fan of reading, TV quiz shows, and is a highly experienced user of gardens (especially when it involves lounging outside on a sunny afternoon).

As a trivia lover whose favourite book when growing up was an illustrated factopedia (true story), she likes to write for the blog about interesting things she has found out whilst wandering the internet.

See all of Harriet’s posts.