Houseplant Survival Guide

Houseplant Survival Guide

Are your indoor plants looking sad? Here are some of our top tips to ensure they thrive all year around!

 

DOs

  • Keep the instructions
  • Under-watering if better than over-watering
  • Check your houseplants regularly for pests
  • Feed with suitable feed
  • Give them plenty of natural light

DON’Ts

  • Avoid draughty spots
  • Never put a houseplant on a windowsill
  • Avoid placing houseplants close to radiators or open fires

We hope these tips help!

Paskett PR

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We would like to wish all of our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! What a fantastic year we have had!

Here’s to a successful year of gardening!

Graham & the team

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Cotoneaster ‘John Waterer’

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

COTONEASTER ‘JOHN WATERER’

rsz_cotoneaster_john_waterer.jpg

If you are looking for a large shrub or small evergreen tree that looks good all year round, then look no further than Cotoneaster x watereri ‘John Waterer’. It’s fully hardy, fairly fast to establish and only grows to around 5m when grown as a tree, making it ideal for gardens or all sizes. Being evergreen, it very handy in a position where you want cover through the year. As a shrub it makes bushy growth, but I prefer to see it grown as a tree with a clear trunk and its arching branches that form a good-shaped head. The dark green, glossy foliage is a feature on its own and remains on the tree throughout the year. Although an evergreen, it can lose some foliage in a very cold winter, but fresh new leaves grow back in spring. In late spring large clusters of white flowers are produced, which the bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to. The plump berries that follow ripen to a rich red in autumn and remain on the tree through winter and for me this is when the tree is at its best. On a bright winter’s day, the berries shine like jewels, but equally, they brighten up the garden and add colour and interest on a dull day.   

Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

 

 

Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

Snow problem; vegetable patch preparation!

The first snow forecast of winter resulted in an early gardening start as I had to remove the small gauge netting from the roof of my vegetable cage to prevent the frame collapsing under the weight of the white stuff.

Dawn on a very frosty morning in Staffordshire found me unclipping the netting from the sides and then rolling it back.  It is a very large cage and it took two of us almost an hour to remove the netting.   I keep it in the greenhouse over winter and the winter sprouts and other greens are protected from the pigeons and pheasant by a two-inch square net roof.

I was glad to see a heavy frost as my leek crop is being damaged by the unseasonal warm weather and they are still growing and splitting.  I hope the cold will help them recover.

Graham Paskett

IT’S NATIONAL TREE WEEK SO…

IT’S NATIONAL TREE WEEK SO…

One of my aims this week is to complete the planting of my almost complete collection of native British trees in my Staffordshire garden.

There are 32 native British trees of which I have 14 already growing in my garden.  In 2017 I bought from Hillier 12 of the missing 18 and decided to pot them on to grow to a larger size and plant out now.   The first three, the Goat Willow (Salix caprea). The Crack Willow (Salix fragilis) and the Bay Willow (Salix pentandra) have already been planted in a very damp area of the garden.

So, to mark National Tree Week, the other nine will be going in before Saturday.  They are:

  • Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
  • Rowan Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Downy Birch (Betula pubescens)
  • Aspen (Populus tremula)
  • Wild or Gean Sherry (Prunus avium)
  • White Willow (Salix alba)
  • Field Maple (Acer campestre)
  • Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
  • Hazel (Corylus avellane)

We have got enough space for them but the ground is still pretty dry and I don’t want to have to spend December watering them.  So I shall be doing my own version of the rain dance!

The six missing trees are the Small Leaved Lime, Wych Elm, Sessile Oak, Ash, Black Poplar and the Midland Hawthorne.  If anyone know where I can obtain any of these – do please let me know via email grahampaskett.paskett.co.uk . It is terribly important to grow native British trees because they are an important genetic link to our history and the natural hosts to all wildlife and insects.

The challenge I am facing is trying to find labels that will identify these trees – including the ones already growing.  I really would like something with the Union Flag on it but, as yet, have failed to identify something that will last the life-time of the tree and be attractive.  It will also be interesting to find out whether the willows already planted actually help to dry out the land in which they now live.

Graham Paskett

October Plant of the Month by Martin Fish: Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

Plant of the Month by Martin Fish

Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’

Leycesteria formosa 'Golden Lanterns'

One of my favourite shrubs through October and November is Leycesteria formosa ‘Golden Lanterns’ which also goes under the common names of flowering nutmeg, golden pheasant bush or Himalayan honeysuckle.

The golden leaved form of this shrub is much more attractive than the green form and it provides colour and interest in the garden for much of the year. A deciduous shrub from China and the Himalayas, the new golden foliage in spring is tipped with deep red and provides a bright, cheery shrub all through the summer months.

In late summer pendant deep-red bracts and white flowers hang from the ends of the new growth and as we go into autumn red-purple berries develop. The berries hang on the plant all through the winter months and very often the attractive foliage remains on the plant until Christmas making this a really useful plant to brighten up dull days.

Leycesteria_formosa_Golden_Lanterns_1zz

For the best results, it should be planted in a sunny position in fertile well-drained soil. ‘Golden Lanterns’ will grow to around 5ft (1.5m), making it perfect for most gardens, but if it gets a little too large, it responds well to being pruned in spring. In fact, the shrub in my garden gets a good prune back each spring as I find the new growth has the best foliage colour and produces more berries.

Horticultural expert Martin Fish

Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.

We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.

You can find more about Martin at www.martinfish.com or find him on Twitter!

Striking the Right Balance Between Work and Life

National Work Life Week takes place in October – an initiative created by Working Families that gives employers the chance to showcase how they provide work life balance for their staff.

How can we as individuals take responsibility for our own work life balance? Here are some tips that you can implement into your day-to-day routine…

1. Don’t be afraid to speak up if work demands and expectations are becoming too much. If you are overloaded with tasks, it is okay to let your boss and colleagues know so that they can pitch in and help. Staying silent will leave you feeling isolated and worried, and could cause problems for your employer further down the line.

2. Prioritise urgent deadlines and try allocating a set amount of time to tasks, focus on these tasks and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by emails or phone calls. Completing them in a structured way will give you a deserved sense of achievement when ticked off your list.

3. Take a proper lunch break. A recent survey by Eggland’s Best found that fewer than half of British workers leave their desk at lunch time, and the average lunch break is 30 minutes or less. It is important to step away from your desk, and the office if you can, to pause and refresh ready for the afternoon.

4. Exercise is a great way to destress, as well as giving you an endorphin kick. Make time for hobbies, too, as focussing on something that you are passionate about is stimulating to the brain and helps to ward of feelings of anxiety.

5. Put down devices before you climb into bed. Many office workers will spend hours every day using screens, then watch TV at home, then browse their phone or tablet before finally closing their eyes to sleep. Try putting down your device at least 15 minutes before you go to bed – scrolling through social feeds right up until you switch off the light will keep your brain active, making it more difficult to drift off to sleep. (Apple’s iOS 12 update includes a feature that tells you how much time you have spent on your apps!)

6. Leave work at work. It isn’t always possible, but try and leave work at the office when you are finished for the day. Of course, during particularly busy periods, it’s necessary to check your emails whilst your out of the office, but not at the expense of your health. If you do have to work from home, try and do it in a dedicated area of the home and keep it there, away from areas where you relax and rest.

You can also read our 10 tips for a productive workday here.

Social Media is Very Good for Business

The recent wave of international bad publicity for the various social media platforms should not deter the business community from taking advantage of this exciting and constantly evolving tool. Well managed and responsibly created social media content is a positive communication in its own right and also forges strong links to other public relations and communications channels.

At Paskett Public Relations we provide both stand-alone social media support for clients as well as campaigns that are fully integrated into broader PR and marketing activity. Consumers and journalists alike view social media as an essential port of call when investigating brands, products and current affairs. Absence from this platform could result in lower sales than otherwise possible – the same is true for media coverage – if your company does not have a presence on social media then you are unable to fully share positive stories about your brand.

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Managing social media campaigns is time consuming.  Someone must be monitoring activity on a daily basis. This is where our specialist support pays dividends. In many cases supporting the social media output is simply an additional task for an already over-burdened marketing executive.

It can present challenges for businesses, but the opportunities provided by an effective social media strategy, spanning all the appropriate platforms, is key to enhancing brand reputation and value.  It is one of the marketing activities that has a direct influence on sales.

Here are our top five tips to boost the performance of social media activity:

  1. Identify the target audiences you wish to reach. The various platforms are used by specific groups of people of differing ages and interests;
  2. Make your content engaging and relevant to the audience. Put yourself in their shoes; would you be interested in that message?
  3. Take time to talk to people. Share and respond to comments, engage in conversations relevant to your product/business;
  4. Original content is vital; quality photography, videos, blogs and campaigns all contribute to your audience’s experience of your brand, whether they are a potential or existing customer and help boost your position in search results too;
  5. Remember, social media is not a vehicle for over-zealous sales pitches and should be about quality content and conversation.

For further information about Paskett PR, or to discuss how social media can help your business, please contact georginamackintosh@paskett.co.uk or call the office on 01332 258 335.

Another Year, Another Successful GLEE Show for our Clients

We’ve had a busy few days attending GLEE this week. Many of our clients had a presence there, so the preparation work had been well underway in the run-up to the show, organising editorial previews to give people a glimpse of what to expect this year, and arranging to meet journalists and bloggers at the show.

E.P. Barrus’ three key gardening brands, Wilkinson Sword, WOLF-Garten and Town & Country unveiled a staggering 150 new products at GLEE this year, including a number of great gifting opportunities and extensions to hugely popular lines to create more opportunities for retailers and stockists.

EP Barrus at Glee

All three brands could be found at one large stand, divided into clear sections – all the gardening tools and accessories you’ll need in one place.

Westland Horticulture also announced new innovative products to the market, including one of the most exciting breakthroughs in growing media for many years – New Horizon BIO3™ – a compost produced from three natural and sustainable ingredients that is indistinguishable in performance, appearance, smell and texture from 100% peat based products.

Westland at GLEE

Many of Westland’s leading brands, including Resolva, Unwins, Peckish and John Innes also announced new products, packaging and branding ahead of the 2019 season. Its new Deadfast Rodenticide range received ‘Best Garden Care’ New Product Award in the Chemicals, Fertilisers and Growing Media category.

Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse from Forest Garden

Our client Forest Garden partnered up with Thorndown Paints to display its extremely popular Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse painted in pastel Skylark Blue wood paint. ‘Grow your own’ continues to be a big trend, which was evident at this year’s show, but the emphasis continues to shift towards making gardening more accessible to those who do not have as much outside space as homeowners with large gardens or those with access to an allotment.

Our days were jam packed with appointments and catching up with journalists to show them around the stands. Now it’s back to the grindstone to follow up on all the enquiries to secure coverage and start raising awareness of all those new products!

For more information on any of the companies mentioned, please call the office on 01332 258335 or email hello@paskett.co.uk

Christmas Gift Ideas for Gardeners

Here’s our roundup of some of the best Christmas gardening gifts for your green-fingered loved ones.

Town & Country Bamboo Gloves – £5.99

townandco.com

Gardening gloves make a great stocking filler, and the Town & Country Bamboo Gloves are a brilliant environmentally friendly alternative. They are made from natural Bamboo fibres, have a luxuriously soft feel that is naturally hypoallergenic and feels as soft as brushed cotton. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, helping to reduce the bacteria that thrive in clothing and cause unpleasant odours. They are available in a range of colours, including raspberry, mint and navy. 

 

 

Lechuza Yula Planters – £9.99 to £19.99

www.lechuza.co.uk

The Yula range delivers fun with gardening all year round. All Yula products are designed to complement modern living and are available in a harmoniously coordinated colour way with two colour combinations (pistachio/white, and grey/white) and a semi-gloss finish. There are two planters in the range, with a matching watering can also available. The first is a plant bag complete with handle which sits alongside a 0.5 litre table planter. Yula planters utilise the Lechuza wick watering system that simplifies plant care. Simply place the wick in the base of the plant pot, put the pot in the Yula and leave to absorb.

WOLF-Garten Mini Hoe – £14.99

www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk

The 7cm Mini Hoe is a great gift for gardeners. It has three straight prongs on one side to loosen the soil for optimum nutrient supply and a blade on the other for smooth slicing through weeds.

It’s great for those with smaller gardens or lots of beds and pots to tend to; it’s all very compact and easy to store. As part of the WOLF-Garten multi-change® range, it comes complete with a small handle, but can also be used with all of the other handles in the range.

Wilkinson Sword Ultralight Hedge Shears – £29.99

www.wilkinsonsword-tools.co.uk

Weighing only 670gm, the Wilkinson Sword Ultralight Hedge Shears are 30% lighter than regular shears. Along with soft grip handles, they are designed for comfort and ease of use so are perfect for working higher up without getting tired arms!

Town & Country Charnwood Boots – £44.99

townandco.com

Keep feet warm and dry when exploring the great outdoors with the Charnwood boots from Town & Country. These plastic rubber shells boots offer protection from the elements and have a Thermolite lining and fleecy cushions insoles. These stylish boots are available in navy and aubergine, sizes four to eight.

The Posh Hedgehog House – £82.50

www.theposhshedcompany.co.uk

Sadly hedgehog numbers in the UK are in decline, but you can help them by giving them a new home this Christmas whilst giving an elegant gift to your loved one! The hand-crafted Hedgehog House has a handy pull-out tunnel and cedar roof and fits subtly into any corner of the garden.

Cobra BV6524V lithium-ion Battery Powered Leaf Blower – £74.99

www.cobragarden.co.uk

For gardeners who love their gadgets, the Cobra 24v leaf blower is a must!

It is extremely lightweight so is easy to grab to blast away leaves. It’s battery can give upto 20 minutes of run time without the need and hassle of finding and storing petrol, or the limitations of being electric.

 

Forest Garden Plant Ladder Display – £99.99

www.forestgarden.co.uk

For something a little different, the Forest Garden Plant Ladder Display gives a flexible, functional and decorative home to potted plants. Its five tiered staggered shelving lets you display a variety of plants in different sized pots, and, with a small footprint of just 1 metre wide and 56cm deep, it gives plenty of additional growing space in a small area!

 

 

 

Playhouse Company Hidey Hole – £1,755

www.theplayhousecompany.co.uk

Children can have their own secret hiding place with the Hobbit inspired Hidey Hole. Transport children into a magical land where the storytelling never ends with this quirky hideaway, which features a curved roof to make little ones feel like they’re hiding away underground in their own private space. The cedar shingle roof and sides blend into the natural environment, just like a den at the bottom of the garden – hide and seek has never been more fun!

 

For information on any of the above companies, please get in touch!

hello@paskett.co.uk      01332 258335