Urban Jungle


Guest Blog; Create an Urban Jungle with these Tropical Houseplants

09 March 2018 - Posted by Lucy Loves Ya

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly obsessed with plants. You only have to read my last post about planters for evidence.

Well, I was pretty well over the moon when Urban Jungle opened it’s second centre, even nearer to me, because it’s such a clever venture full of exotic plants and colourful homeware – and omg the food is pretty delicious. I think it’s also so important to give a big shout out for local businesses that are offering something totally unique and felt a post was in order plus I am going to talk through some recommendations for tropical houseplant buying thanks to Nick, one of their team who passed on some wisdom :)


snake plant

There are so many options if you’re choosing a plant and they all have slightly different needs. Although surprisingly low maintenance considering they’re not in their original habitat. The one above is a Snake plant (Latin name Sanseveria ) Super easy to care for as it’s from the succulent family. Only needs watering once or twice a month. It’s great for the home, especially bedrooms as it’s an air purifier.

There are different types including these (left and right) which are very cool because you can plait them. Okay that’s just my weird reason but they are pretty quirky aren’t they? With mine, I water it every few months and it’s happy with that.


Fiddle Leaf Fig

This plant is known as the Fiddle Leaf Fig or Ficus. It originates from tropic rainforests of Western Africa.

It needs decent light but not overly bright and not to be moved around as it doesn’t like change. The leaves at the bottom sometimes die off so you need to remove them and they do grow back. Don’t over water the plant – keep the top soil moist.


lily plant

Natal Lily Plant aka Clivia Miniata. I took this one home this time. How could I not ? It’s a South African woodland plant that grows the most amazing orange flowers. It has a flowering rest period around Autumn when it needs to have a cooler environment other than that it prefers a warmer temperature. The leaves are also really pretty and they don’t die off. Again don’t over water – let it become 50% dry before watering again.


cycas revoluta sago palm

Top left is the Sago Palm or Cycas Revoluta. This is one of my favourites because it’s base resembles a pineapple. These are excellent for conservatories. They can get huge so be warned ;)

From Japan, they can live inside or out and are slow growing.

Bottom right is a Corn Plant – Draceana Massangeana Fragrans originally from Madagascar  – you can’t see the trunk of it in this photo but it looks like a little tree. It’s a very popular houseplant because it’s so it doesn’t ask much and perfect for the beginner. You can put it anywhere in the home. It does grow larger so be aware of that. It’s a great foliage plant.


Mistletoe Cactus

I adore the Mistletoe Cacti ( Rhipsalis ) it is really versatile as it works in a hanging basket or in a pot and just does it’s thing ! Doesn’t need much watering and when you do add some water at the bottom in a little plate so it takes what it needs. Ideally put it in a bright room but not direct sunlight.


Lipstick Plant

Another lovely hanging plant is the Mona Lisa – in Latin: Aeschynathus. Also known as Lipstick Plant. They love warn temperatures and humidity. Ideal for bathrooms and I guess a kitchen. I would pop this on a shelf. Another plant that likes some water in a plate under the pot.


Pothos Plant

I can vouch for the Pothos plant as we have one in our living room and it’s a great feature with it’s shiny, marbled leaves. Very low maintenance and really hardy, it’s perfect for a busy home. I water the pothos about once a week and keep the top inch moist. In the Summer apparently a little but of plant feed is helpful.


air plants

You may have seen Air Plants ( Tillandsia ) on Pinterest being used in all sorts of random ways as it doesn’t need soil so sometimes people hang them from shelves or attach to mirrors. They look great tucked in to sand with succulents. They just need a little bit of mist spray and they’re good to go.

I hope my tips are helpful. It’s such a joy to visit Urban Jungle and I wanted to share it with you. It is situated just outside of Beccles and they are also based in Costessey near Norwich. There are loads and loads of outdoor plants too. I feel like I’m on holiday there with the palm trees and giant Cacti to greet you.


Cafe Jungle Suffolk

Sitting amongst the greenery and vibrant colours to eat your meals makes each table feel like you have lots of privacy and the music is always nice and chilled.

Do you have any favourite places to visit locally ? Let me know …

Lucy x

Visit Lucy's website and read the blog here.



 
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Mother's Day covered, at Urban Jungle

24 February 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in NewsLetter, Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk

This Mother's Day, look no further than Urban Jungle for some wonderful gifts and experiences...

1. Afternoon Tea
Enjoy stacks of tasty bruschetta and beautiful cakes & sweet treats with unlimited tea and coffee for £16.50 or with a glass of Prosecco for £19.95. Afternoon teas are available after 3pm on Mother's Day in Suffolk (and every day if a gift voucher is the present you're after). Contact us to book your table 24 hours in advance, here. 

afternoon tea suffolk

2. Plants for Women's Wellbeing
Tickets are now available for a very special 'girls night' in the Suffolk Jungle on 14th June. You'll arrive to a beautiful botanical cocktail, and special gift before learning how plants can help you through key life stages and heal illnesses with Ellen-Mary. Find out more and book your place here. 

Plants for womens wellbeing mothers day


 3. Plants, pots, and more plants and pots!
The indoor and outdoor plants, pots and planters make a great selection of ready-to-go gifts that require no wrapping or extra fuss. Bring your mum for a day out and she'll be able to chose her own houseplant, plant for the garden and pot combination or pop in and pick up something ready, in time for the 11th March. Urban Jungle Suffolk also has a range of unique gifts and beautiful things for the home if a plant isn't quite what you're looking for. 

hyacinth mothers day plants

Of course, there are always gift vouchers and these are available to buy in the Nursery or Cafe, or online here.

Happy Mother's Day :)

 
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What to do in the garden - March

24 February 2018 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Norfolk

Norfolk Nursery Manager Uhi Millington is offering her top tips for what to do in the garden now. Be mindful though, the temperature is still very temperamental, so you may want to hold off on unwrapping bananas and tree ferns for a few more weeks.

1. Uncover bananas (weather permitting)

When the temperatures rise and banana plants are still wrapped in their winter layers, they can start to grow and push their way out of their protection. They can also sweat, which can lead to fungal infections or rot. We unwrap our bananas around mid March (but watch out, this winter has been full of surprises!). In spring we give them a good layer of organic matter and/or fertiliser to encourage them to grow really big. You can find out more about Musas and Enstetes here, and browse the range available online.

Uhi top tips


2. Look after your tree ferns.

Tree ferns can be unwrapped when the danger of very cold nights has passed. It is not necessary to remove the old fronds, some people prefer to leave them on. If you do want to remove them, wait until they have become completely brown and crispy and you can see the new croziers emerging. Tree ferns will be available to buy in the Nursery and online soon. You can find out more about Dicksonia antartica here. 

Tree ferns


3. Cut back Miscanthus species

Cut back your Miscanthus grass to about 6 inches from ground level (do it now!), before they spring into active growth. If you're not ultra-tidy, you can chop or break up the stems a bit and scatter them on the garden to rot down. This will incorporate important nutrients and fibrous matter back into the soil. View the range of grasses, including Miscanthus, available online here.

Miscanthus


4. Prune roses

If you haven't already pruned your roses now is a great time. Wait until frosty nights have passed, and don't cut when wet, as this leaves the plant vulnerable to infection. Cut back stems to outwards facing buds, not forgetting to angle your cut away from the bud so water doesn't collect around it. View the range of roses available to online here.

Roses pruned


5. Plant bamboo

Its a brilliant time to plant bamboos. They're not fussy about temperature and will benefit from being planted into moist soil. Bamboos grow rapidly and require a lot of water, so in the first 6 months after planting you will need to provide plenty of water, especially if we have dry spells. If you're planting in pots you'll need to be especially vigilant. From April, the new shoots will start to emerge, growing rapidly day-by-day. View the range of bamboo available online here. 

Bamboo


If you have any more questions of would like to make an enquiry, contact us. 


 
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Plants for Women's Wellbeing

14 February 2018 - Posted by Ellen Mary Gardening, in NewsLetter, Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk

I’m really excited to announce my Plants for Wellbeing talks coming up this year! Plants and nature has an astounding ability to heal and help us all with our health, so I have devised a series of talks called 'Grow Your Own Health' and I'm kicking off with Plants for Women’s Wellbeing, addressing common female health issues & life stages.

Yes that's right we will be talking boobs, bums and bellies along with much more! No topic is off limits ladies.

Many of the natural solutions I have experienced myself with the use of plants from my own garden. Plus, there will be a few surprises as well!

Whilst I totally use conventional medicine when needed, I know how well natural medicine can help us along the way as a complimentary approach and it's all the more satisfying when you've grown it in your own garden. So there will be a few gardening tips as well.

Expect a few giggles, a drink & a goody bag at all of my talks.

Come along to Urban Jungle Suffolk on Thursday 14th June from 6pm, have a fun night & learn how your garden plants can help you in more ways than you could imagine!

See you there!
 
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The Kitchen Garden Diaries; Top tips for creating your very own

12 January 2018 - Posted by Niamh Mullally, in NewsLetter, Cafe Jungle, Propagation

Propagation Manager Niamh has put pen to paper and designed a wonderful new Kitchen Garden as part of the Edible Jungle in Suffolk. The Kitchen Garden will not only provide our Norfolk and Suffolk Cafés with the most unusual and exciting produce, it'll also become a beautiful new feature for you to visit this summer.

Niamh's collated all of her darkest secrets, hints and tips for creating your own Kitchen Garden in the first of her Kitchen Garden Diary entries. Shhhhhhhhhh.....


Niamh Mullally, Propagation Manager

Grow what you want to eat.

This sounds obvious, but if no one likes courgettes then don’t grow them! You must be motivated in all weathers to tend to this garden. If you must convince people to eat the produce or it gets left behind on the plate, then really…what’s the point? Look at what you put in your trolley when you shop. Imagine how good you will feel knowing there were no food miles involved in your seasonal meals.

Start sowing vegetables from seed.

There are several reasons why this is good practice. It’s the only way to ensure your seedlings are chemical free, it’s not difficult to achieve and it's much more affordable. The other bonus is that you will have seeds left over for successive sowing. I recommend Franchi seeds for this as the quantities are always generous. As a rule of thumb sow the second tray of seeds as the first is being planted out. Don’t ever discard any seeds packets, if you haven’t the room to plant the seedlings grow the seeds as micro veg in a seed tray, these can be snipped when needed and added to salads. Broad bean seeds can also be grown for the tips which are delicious wilted with new potatoes. Peas too can be grown for their shoots, but both need to be protected from the appetites of the hungry spring mice that can squeeze through the smallest gap.

Broad Bean Shoots

Broad Bean Shoots

Don’t be afraid of unusual varieties.

A bean is a bean. However, a basket of green, yellow, and purple beans is a joy to harvest and cook with. Salad doesn’t just mean lettuce. When you select your seeds think taste, colour, and texture. In the winter this can easily be achieved by including some spinach and oriental leaves. These will bolt in the summer so the young tender leaves of ‘burnet’, ‘pink stemmed radish’ and ‘magenta chard' will add flavour and extra dimension to salads. Round courgettes seem to have a smaller water content and are perfect for sauteing.

Coloured beans

Coloured beans

Feed your soil.

Do this in advance of planting. I prefer to use a sea weed based fertilizer, but bone meal or blood fish and bone works equally well. If you are hopeful for harvests all year round, this should be done twice a year. March and September.

Embrace the straight lines!

It becomes incredibly satisfying to watch the vegetables mature in an orderly fashion and helps you with calculations for future crops. Achieving this requires some self-control. Never, ever plant all your seedlings from the tray. Hold back 30% so that any casualties can always be easily replaced. Another good reason to sow your own seeds.

A border or bed is not necessarily a flat planting space.

Its design is in your hands. A vertical screen can be used for beans, sweet peas, and small pumpkins. The shade created by this combination can be incredibly useful in the summer months. Lettuce, spinach, and some herbs will relish this.

Under-plant.

Kale for instance has a planting space of 18 inches to two feet depending on the variety. Use this space wisely and have fun. Patterns of different tones of radicchio and lettuce are easy and are ideal as they thrive in semi shade and are low growing (remember don’t plant them all!), and will make you smile smugly when they mature.

Rainbow Chard and Endive

Under-planting Rainbow Chard with Endive Mix


Chard and Raddicio

Under-planting Chard with Radicchio

Incorporate soft and hard herbs into the design.

Parsley, basil, and coriander are good choices to start with. Rosemary grows well in a container that can be placed in the sunniest spot. Mint should only ever be grown in its own container so that you can control its tendency to become invasive. I always include a line of chives as these are bee friendly and perennial, the flowers can be used to make to a simple pink chive infused vinegar. All these herbs are easily grown from seed.

The planting distances are only a guide.

I have always planted a bit closer together than advised and have achieved bigger harvests as a result. It also means less weeds.

Incorporate flowers both ornamental and edibles.

Bees and butterflies will arrive, trust me you want this. The bonus of course is that you won’t have to make a dash to the local shop and pay for overpriced insipid bouquets when the need arises. Dahlias, sunflowers, nigella, and zinnias are all great cut flowers. The easiest and most reliable edible flowers are calendula ‘orange king’ and cornflower ‘blue boy’. Violas and pansies are essential for a continuous supply of edible flowers in the winter months. Sow these from seed every year, again ensuring they are chemical free.

Edible Flowers

Edible flowers

Learn the art of preserving gluts.

Pickling is a pretty simple process and the practice recently has leapt from its wartime ration like reputation to the ultimate in cool upcycling of home-grown gluts. Pickle bars are popping up in most cities. A pickled mild chilli for instance is a taste sensation, cutting through the heavy flavours of rich cheese and the inevitable fatty textures of some cured meats. Tomatoes can become chutney, ketchup or even be fermented. Radicchios and spring onions are also wonderful pickled and who doesn’t love a side dish of some home-made kimchi?

Kimchi

Kimchi

Be quirky.

Its your space and should reflect YOU. Don’t be afraid to incorporate your own personal idea of garden art. Whether it be a planted welly, an old mirror, or some home-made vintage bunting just have fun.

Invest in some evergreen architectural plants.

Artichokes or cardoons are easily grown in any soil and give height and structure. Angelica is a visually stunning plant but take care to remove its seedlings as it can become a thug. For the larger budget I would recommend a bay tree or two and for instant impact invest in a mature olive tree.

Olive trees

Olive trees

Install some seating.

This is where you will sink, feel proud and will reflect on your achievements. Put it in a shady sheltered spot so there will be no hurry to leave on a searing summer day. It will be a great place to sit and watch those happy butterflies.

Sketch it out.

If you have any unwanted rolls of wallpaper these are perfect turned inside-out to start mapping out your design. A roll of lining paper works too. Map out the beds with care, hopefully they will be overflowing with produce so the width of pathways is important to get right first time. A metre is the smallest width advisable, as you will need to be able to push a wheelbarrow around your plot.

Kitchen garden design

Suffolk Kitchen Garden Plan

Happy gardening!

Niamh

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the next instalment and visit the Cafés to sample some of the fabulous produce from the Edible Jungle already in use.


 
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