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

Your Gardening Resolutions for 2014

With a new year starting many people take up resolutions: become fitter, eat healthier and perhaps rekindle those friendships that have been allowed to drift.

Other people take this opportunity to plan the year ahead: when to take holidays, achievements to complete or learning a new skill.

As a gardener – though probably more a novice gardener than anything else – I like to plan ahead. My 2014 gardening resolution are to get a raised grow bed to start my own vegetable patch and plant flower bulbs, particularly wildlife and bee friendly bulbs.

We recently asked on Facebook what everyone else’s gardening plans for 2014 are and got some great answers:

  • Julia: To work towards being employed by a certain holiday company as a Garden Tour Guide which I will excel at and enthuse loads of keen gardening folk.
  • May: I will be rearranging my garden to help the wildlife to have more space, and for me to be able to handle now I am into my mid 70s. so a very busy year ahead . A happy new year to you to.x thanks for your spot on FB , keeps me sane in a world in turmoil.
  • Sarah: Planting up my new raised bed with loads of veg. Have already planted garlic in pots.
  • Gill: Make the best use of my new polytunnel. Do more weeding. Work out how to stop the rabbits and other wildlife eating everything I plant. Make our very small front garden into a space that is nice to be in.
  • Paul: To win all classes on allotments with giant veg tired of just winning 5 of the classes.
  • Karen: To put all my tools in one place so that I don’t have to spend ages searching for them
  • Peter: Rebuild the fence that got blown down last week.
  • Roddy: Trying to cram a prairie planting scheme into a tiny garden. I already have the rudbeckia, echinaceas and heleniums. I need to get some tall grasses and asters. Can anyone recommend an aster that isn’t too vigorous? I had one last year that just took over the whole garden…
  • Sue: A complete makeover. But with an acre of garden I will have my work cut out.
  • Sam: Make the very best of what ever the British weather has in store for us and enjoy the pleasures of gardening to the fullest!
  • Lisa: Hopefully finishing off the back garden that we started last year.

What are your plans for this year?

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Worried about Frost? Here’s the Solution!

Primrose Frost Protection

You’ve enjoyed your awningsgarden furniture and water features all summer, but now it’s time to protect them from the winter and the frost. We’ve got the solution for you!

Primrose Fountain Frost-Free Take our Fountain Frost-Free for example: Developed exclusively for Primrose, it is a safe, environmentally friendly way to protect your water feature, birdbath, pond and pump from freezing in temperatures to -6 degrees without compromising the safety of your children and pets. And when it’s really cold just use a water features cover!

For your plants, take a look at our range of over 30 frost protection items which includes fleece covers, warming cables and cloches.

Garden Furniture Covers at Primrose

Or our huge range of over 150 garden furniture covers which start from just £4.95, contain waterproof finishing and can be easily stored in their packaging when not in use.

Awning Storage Bags at Primrose

Our awning storage bags are made from waterproof, rot-proof polyester and is easy to sponge clean. Simply place the storage bag over the retracted awning and tie up at the back using the attached tie cords.

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Mr Digwell’s October Gardening Tips

Sometimes the November garden seems like July

Sometimes the November garden seems like July

The old coats are dusted off. Gardening in hats and coats, boots and string tied trousers. Hardly moving against the wind, spectacles splattered with fat raindrops that fly up the valley looking for someone to annoy. In and out of focus the last blooms of Autumn brighten us, feeling warm-hearted and wondering how on earth dahlias face the weather with such exuberant joy.

But cold fingers and cheeks make working in the November garden peevish. Snatched jobs, unfinished projects punctuated with promises of getting back on the job, later, tomorrow, when I have warmed up a bit, when it stops raining, maybe.

The opposite of November is April, when we are sowing and planting, and although it is cold in April, snowy cold, somehow it’s not so doom laden as November. But there is plenty to do, between the showers. At least April warms up, November gets darker and colder, and even though we are all glad of the clocks going back, we gardeners regret the sudden disappearance of the light.

Sowing and planting:

It is possible to sow and plant. Lettuce, radish, spinach, onions. Yes, you can sow onions in a cold greenhouse. You have to wait a while for germination, but by the time Spring arrives, they are well on the way to being transplanted.

Believe it or not you can sow peas now. Keep them under a cloche, more for protection from mice than anything else. They will germinate, and then stop growing when the temperature really drops, and burst into life in the Spring.

The cabbage variety ‘All Year Round’ can also be sown now with pretty much the same results. Now I have a trick with cabbage at this time of the year. I sow the same variety in pots of compost indoors. What you get is a plant that grows tall and doesn’t look much like a cabbage at all. But the leaves are edible, they still cook like cabbages, they still taste like cabbages. I tend to eat them in salads. They do just as well in the cold greenhouse.

And sometimes the November garden seems like November

And sometimes the November garden seems like November

You can still plant onion sets and garlic, particularly garlic. It rather reminds me of my grandmother, who used to call me ‘brass-neck’ quite a lot, can’t think why. But garlic comes in two forms, hardneck or softneck. Hardneck varieties have a thicker central stalk and bigger corms, softneck have smaller corms, more paper and more flavour.

Of all my favourite is Chesnock Wight, a hardneck. If you don’t manage to plant garlic this month, Solent Wight can be planted as late as January.

Jerusalem artichokes can be planted now. Treat them a little like potatoes, bury them at about 30 cm and they will pop up in Spring when the soil warms. Why November? They get the earliest start, and since they are very hardy, they are not bothered by frost, though I do plant them a little deeper than Spring planted tubers.

Actually it is a sunflower, not a relative of the globe artichoke at all. And they are said they are aphrodisiac in nature. The queen of Henry IV of France, Catherine de Medici was said to eat hardly anything else.

I rather envy pipe smokers. Well only inasmuch as it seems cosy, sitting in the shed on rainy, sleety days, puffing on a pipe, keeping the fingers warm. But there are plenty of things to be doing indoors in November.

Cleaning and disinfecting pots and utensils. Sharpening tools, especially spades and cutting tools. A good grindstone is one of your most important pieces of equipment. And get into the greenhouse, if you haven’t already, and clear out all the old compost filled pots with dead plants in them, shift the moss between the glass before the frost comes and freezes, expanding to cause a broken pane.

Clear your gutters, and add some bleach to your water butt. This will clear any algae or other nasties growing within, and will have all vanished away before you come to use it again.

Mr Digwell gardening cartoon logo

Paul Peacock studied botany at Leeds University, has been the editor of Home Farmer magazine, and now hosts the City Cottage online magazine. An experienced gardener himself, his expertise lies in the world of the edible garden. If it clucks, quacks or buzzes, Paul is keenly interested.

He is perhaps best known as Mr Digwell, the cartoon gardener featured in The Daily Mirror since the 1950s. As Mr Digwell he has just published his book, A Year in The Garden. You can also see more about him on our Mr Digwell information page.

See all of Mr Digwell’s posts.

Your October Garden

Nicotiana

Nicotiana look lovely, but keep them deadheaded for the best display at this time of the year.

How long will it last?

I don’t think it really matters. The still air, silvered light, some might think thin especially when it takes all day for the sun to appear over the trees, October is that cool evening at the end of the day, a time of rest and peace. And the best seat in the house is in the garden.

I love the October garden.

Yes, there are plenty of jobs to do, hedges and lawns to trim and cut, beds to clear, fruit to gather, but to sit amongst the insects sipping the very last drop of nectar from the nearly spent flowers, wings caught in the ethereal light is the nearest we get to a transport to another world.

The smell of far away burning fires reminds you that someone, somewhere, is doing some gardening.

The compost heap is a great place to start, largely because we have so much plant material about. Herbaceous borders we are clearing, cabbage roots, carrot tops, a million vegetables that have been pulled, preserved, stored or eaten.

New raised beds

New raised beds, and yes, I need to cut the grass before I cover with membrane.

I don’t compost potato vines or tomato vines because I might just infect the heap with fungal blight. I know the heap is supposed to be hot and this kills diseases, but you cannot always guarantee it’s uniformly hot etc. Besides, I worry about it. So I don’t compost it. What I do is burn it, and then the ashes go onto the compost heap.

Any really herbaceous material gets mixed with newspaper. This soaks up the liquid, particularly from material like grass clippings, that gets terribly wet. It’s good also to intersperse some woody material, anything that bulks out the material, and maintains a few air pockets.

Then, of course, it’s raining leaves! The paths, lawn, pavements and roads are increasingly covered with falling leaves. I sweep them into piles and give them a day to allow any wildlife to escape before popping them into a wire basket for a year to rot down. You get really wonderful seed compost from leaf mould.

The wire basket is important, being mostly wood, their rotting takes a great amount of air, even though it gets cold, it’s the air that does the job.

Autumn leaves

Leaves keep falling on me ‘ead! but they’ll soon be in the wire basket rotting down!

More than anything, October is garlic time. I am amazed how hardy garlic actually can get.

Planted in the teeth of the first gales of the year usually around the middle of the month, they sprout nicely and grow into pencil-sized plants that resist the worst of frosts, indeed they thrive on it, their best flavour coming from a good frosting.

Do buy good quality corms for planting in the UK. Avoid supermarket ones, which only work in very special circumstances. There are two types, hard-neck and soft-neck. Hard-neck garlic has a central stalk from which all the corms come. They are usually bigger, more robust in flavour, but there are fewer of them than soft-neck garlic which has no central stalk and smaller corms, but with more of them.

It is remarkable how summer bedding continues to do well deep into the month, and it is worth deadheading these plants, even if it is too late for replacement flowers. Something like a nicotiana throws out white and pink flowers, and looks lovely, so long as you remove the dead flowers. When there is a mixture of dead and new on the same plant, the garden looks as though the end of the year has come with neglect.

Do you need a low maintenance garden?

The very idea had always seemed to me to be spoiling my fun. After all, I like digging and weeding. But whereas age might not weary nor the years condemn, a heart attack certainly messes with your gardening plans. So for me, like so many, it’s time to make the garden easier to work with.

The starting of a hedge

The starting of a hedge, cotoneaster, mahonia, all we need now is the blackthorn.

This has started with raised beds. We pulled out, well I started but my son finished, a huge hypericum, and the spare land this triffid was taking we installed some raised beds.

We made them from decking plants, treated wood, cheap and easy to use, but if I didn’t have a son-in-law who was not only handy with wood, but strong enough to carry the beds into position, I would have bought them. They will make life so much easier.

My next purchase is about 50 sq metres of ground cover material. Not just the flimsy stuff, but the really heavy duty material. It will cover a significant part of the garden so I can cover with more beds, and then for making paths between the beds, which will then be covered with gravel.

Where I live there isn’t a lot of garden theft, but I do like to cover the paths with something that makes a noise to deter anyone walking on them, so they might just give up and go somewhere else if they are up to no good.

With this in mind, the bottom of the garden needs a little attention. Fortunately for us it runs into a farm where two of the nastiest dogs you could imaging are constantly on guard, but I am a little worried about these gorgons getting through into ours, and now we have become grandparents, we would feel a little safer with a good hedge. So we are planting a mixture of blackthorn (not just for the sloes but the two inch thorns!) some Mahonia japonica and various other nasties that will keep man and beast at bay.

It is remarkable how fast and stock proof this combination goes, and you can eat the fruits of both plants – actually, ask me for the recipe for mahonia lemonade sometime!

So, how long will it last, this balmy early Autumn? So long as there is a garden to look at, to potter about in, or simply to sit in the shed with a warm mug, peeping through the door, gardening’s a great life!

Mr Digwell gardening cartoon logo

Paul Peacock studied botany at Leeds University, has been the editor of Home Farmer magazine, and now hosts the City Cottage online magazine. An experienced gardener himself, his expertise lies in the world of the edible garden. If it clucks, quacks or buzzes, Paul is keenly interested.

He is perhaps best known as Mr Digwell, the cartoon gardener featured in The Daily Mirror since the 1950s. As Mr Digwell he has just published his book, A Year in The Garden. You can also see more about him on our Mr Digwell information page.

See all of Mr Digwell’s posts.