Seeking an Experienced Plants Communicator – £35k per annum

Primrose™ Pond in a Pot

One of the new Primrose developments – Pond in a Pot

An online garden retailer based in Reading is seeking to recruit a talented and experienced plants communicator to join our team.

Applicants need to be skilled and well versed with all flora. This is a great opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to join a company expanding their plants inventory. Established 12 years ago, the company is growing yet closely knit with a knowledgeable and friendly team.

Key responsibilities:

  • Able to hold one sided conversations with all types of plants.
  • Able to multitask – we have thousands of plants in stock ranging from spring planting bulbs, hedging and shrubs, bay trees, pond plants, exotic plants and fruit trees.
  • Able to speak using different dialects – some plants respond better to Scottish accents for example.
  • Able to react to changes needed, such as repotting plants into differently coloured planters if they indicate they don’t like the colour. You’ll need to have familiarity with our range of over 1000 planters to match the right pot to the plant.
  • Monitoring the success of the communications through monthly and ad hoc reporting.

Candidates ideally would be:

This is a great opportunity for anyone looking to take their plants knowledge to the next level and develop their career. Full support and on-the-job training provided.

Previous experience not required, but beneficial.

Pay will start at £35,000 – may be negotiable depending on experience

Please send your application or any queries to hello@primrose.co.uk.

Over 2600 Plants & Trees

The Circle of Life in Our Own Pond

Charlotte and son by pondWhen purchasing our new home, my husband and I had mixed feelings regarding the pond. It’s petite, measuring less than a metre in diameter; however our concerns were more significant in size. With two young children we were worried about the risk of drowning. My father had already filled in his large pond and although I share his concern I was reluctant to destroy this precious habitat. A body of water, no matter how small, is one of the best ways to support wildlife in the garden. As our pond is overgrown with iris roots it’s barely 2 inches deep and is surrounded with plants to deter children from venturing too close. Thus, it was permitted to remain intact. Obviously it remains a hazard, so youngsters are warned of the dangers and monitored around the water.

I had little idea how valuable this small pool would prove to be until one spring morning when my eye was drawn to something twinkling in it. Closer inspection revealed that during the night an amphibious visitor had gifted us a batch of frogspawn. I was so excited I almost fell in trying to get a better view.
Adult Frog in Pond
I called over my toddler who, whilst thrilled, seemed a little perplexed. As a biologist I’m fascinated by the creation of life and thus got a little carried away describing, in detail, the frog life cycle. Clearly this was too much for a two year old to comprehend but after some simplification we classified the new arrivals as ‘baby frog’s eggs’. The most baffling part was how the frogspawn had found its way into our pond since we’ve never seen a frog nearby. We clearly hadn’t looked closely enough. Careful removal of a few rocks revealed a beautiful adult specimen. I’m no expert so was unable to determine its’ sex but it I’d like to think it was the female who laid the batch, keeping watch over her brood.
Tiny tadpole from pond
Keen to use this exciting development as a learning opportunity, we spent the afternoon reading every frog-related book in the house and downloading illustrations of their life cycle. Since then we’ve monitored our ‘babies’ regularly, observing the changes, drawing them and discussing their development. We took care to ensure the pond did not dry out during this critical period, topping it up regularly from our water butt. It was wonderful to witness the minute black specks growing larger and taking on the characteristic tadpole form before finally hatching out. Once this significant step had been taken I could be found, almost daily, leaning precariously over the water, ‘fishing’ for tadpoles.
Tiny little frog on leaf
Containing the tadpoles briefly in a jamjar allowed us to observe their growth, progressively losing the tail and sprouting legs. Our weeks of surveillance came to fruition when one ‘fishing trip’ caught more than anticipated. I’m not sure who was more surprised when a miniscule froglet leapt from a lilypad into the pond! Gently scooping up the tiny but perfectly formed amphibian, I presented it to my children, whose faces lit up with delight.
Baby frog on hand
I’m amazed how many have survived adulthood in such a tiny pool. It’s proof that even a small body of water can attract and support wildlife in the garden. I’m delighted we took the decision to retain our pond as it’s proved beneficial not only to the resident amphibians, but also to my family, who’ve gained great pleasure and knowledge from it. We anticipate more exciting experiences next spring, as the circle of life continues, and hopefully our little froglets return to spawn the next generation.

– Charlotte

Window Gardening

Mini meadow for creepy crawlies‘Tis a strange thing, this gardening bug: I find myself constantly thinking about the garden and what needs done in it, what plants I could add to the collection, as well as spending hours pottering about when the weather gives me the chance to get outside. I’ve also found that I frequently stand at my window looking out to the garden contemplating which project to undertake next.

It was during one of these ‘window gardening’ sessions that I saw a little drama unfolding by the mini pond. As mentioned in previous blog posts, our mini pond is frequently used by the birds in our garden and yesterday must’ve been bathing day because they all wanted a go at the same time! The larger female blackbirds chased the little ones away every time they landed to have a drink/wash until eventually the blackbirds just gave up and carried on bathing regardless of the little onlookers.
Birds at mini pond
It was a complete delight to watch the blue tits flutter to and fro the archway with honeysuckle on it, to the escallonia then sneaking their way to the pond. I’m sure I spotted a little wren amongst them but unfortunately the zoom on my camera didn’t capture it in time. It seemed to be enjoying itself, getting lost amongst the tall plants in our mini meadow which is bursting into bloom. The house sparrows kept their distance from the drama sitting happily on the fence observing what was going on.

I was so engrossed watching all this happen that my husband ended up looking for me and finding me gazing out of the bedroom window onto the garden. He just walked away shaking his head. I reckon he needs to be bitten by the gardening bug too, but then again he does do the hard graft so maybe he has it a little. I was pleased to see that the seeds recently sown in the willow planters for veg have germinated so I’ll be thinning them out soon. I noticed one of the female blackbirds eyeing up my runner beans then making herself comfortable on our bench looking up to the window feigning complete innocence so if any of the runner beans vanish before I get the chance to pick any I’ve got a pretty good idea who the culprit could be.
Bird on bench in garden
Do you have any ‘window gardening’ sessions where you witness little dramas unfolding in the garden? I can guarantee that I’ll be having more and will be investing in a better camera to share what I find with you all.

Happy gardening!

Nicole :-)

“Pond”erings

Water Lily just openingAs I am a novice at water gardening, I’d like to hear from anyone with a pond.

In a moment of creativity I made a mini bog garden out of an inverted plastic dustbin lid that had been kicking around for years. I dug out just enough turf and soil from a corner of the lawn and pierced the lid with an awl, feeling sure there was a better way to do it, but it was a thing of the moment – it had to be done! The lid was placed in the hole so that the edges wouldn’t be visible or damage the mower. The soil and upturned turfs were put back in the lid and left to break down.

Soon after, I was given an old pre-formed pond liner from a neighbour who had graduated from goldfish to koi! I didn’t feel up to digging a hole myself, so sat it on a gravel bed surrounded by containers of different heights – giving access to anyone who might care to live in it. The ‘bog-garden’ is near-by.

Frogs came – and went! I think because I’d had trouble getting the water right. It became so pungent that any amphibian would turn its warty nose up at it.

The water was actually the melted snow that had settled in it after the winter of 2010. I topped it up from other rainwater containers and from the mains and installed a selection of oxygenating plants and barley straw. I had received so much conflicting advice: from using assorted chemicals to just allowing the water to ‘right’ itself. I wanted it to be as natural as possible. I ‘de-sludged’ it twice, bailing the bilge, and scooping out as much gunge as possible– a horrible smelly job – so this year I have installed a proper pond pump/filter and used an organic compound intended to break down decayed matter. The water is lovely now and I can see to the bottom!
Water Lily in Pond
The reward is my water lily open for the first time today. I’d almost forgotten it was there and I had to look twice at the tight pointy-egg of a bud, and visit it several times a day as it slowly opened – a beautiful diving nymph showing her set-albumen tutu and egg-yolk underskirt.

When a new plant flowers for the first time I just have to greet it (a sign of madness?). Like little children, new blooms deserve praise and encouragement for good behaviour. Well done Lily!

I’ve added half a dozen shubunkins to the pond as company for the only one to survive the winter. They are such pretty fish: deep red-orange, silver and black. They already wait around eight AM in the same spot for me – or maybe for their food!

And, although I was talking to my ‘man-who-can’ about a scheme for inserting the pond into the ground and extending the bog garden, we both agreed that this part of the garden looks just as if it was planned.

Victoria

Tips For Keeping Your Pond Healthy And Clean

Garden pond pump fountain

Now that the days are becoming longer and warmer and the winter is officially behind us, it’s a great time to make sure that your garden pond is healthy and clean. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:

Hoover up any dirt or debris with a handy pond vacuum – all you have to do is attach it to a hose, stick it under the water (making sure the bag is completely covered by water) and watch your pond become clean again. Pond vacs are an efficient and very easy to use pond tool, (not to mention affordable).

If the pond water is prone to algae and is tinged green, you can turn the water clear again by adding barley straw flakes which create an environment that is harder for algae to grow in and which, incidentally, are non-polluting and are safe for fish, wildlife and even children!

It is important to keep the water moving in the pond to prevent it becoming stagnant. A good pump will do the trick, although a handy way to keep oxygen levels up in the water is to use a pond aerator. Even pond fountains can help since they constantly turn over the water by drawing it up and then releasing it in a cool jet.