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This May, we're celebrating all things Japanese!

18 April 2019 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Nursery, Cafe Jungle, Norfolk, Suffolk

This May, We're celebrating all things Japanese…

During the month of May at Urban Jungle, we're celebrating all things Japanese in our Nursery and Cafe, with plants and food carefully connected to the distinct and fascinating Japanese culture, promoting a feeling of zen and ikigai (finding your bliss).


1. Create your Japanese garden - including 7 Must-have Plants for Your Japanese Garden

Create Your Japanese Garden

At the centre of this month’s celebration is the Japanese garden and all it represents, that typically break all of the Urban Jungle rules of a big, bold, maximalist indoor and outdoor setting.

Read on to find out more about the many elements that make up a Japanese garden, why these will add something really special to your outdoor space, and the meaning behind them. 


2. A Japanese Dining Experience

Japanese Dining Experience

As part of the 2019 Beccles Food and Drink Festival's Fringe Events, on Friday 24th May, we will be hosting a Japanese banquet, celebrating this unique cuisine, enjoy 5 courses with an arrival drink.


3. Kokedama Workshops

Kokedama workshop

The beautiful Japanese garden art of Kokedama simply translates as Koke (moss) Dama (ball). Join our workshop and spend 90 minutes learning all about the history, origin and care whilst creating your very own delightful, dangling plant.

Suffolk - Thursday 2nd May, 6.30pm - Join us in the Jungle this May and create Japanese moss balls, with Sake and Sushi. 

Norfolk - Saturday 11th May, 10.30am - Join us in the Jungle this May and create Japanese moss balls, with tea and cake.

4. Bonsai Talk and Display

Bonsai talk and display

Visit the Jungle and enjoy the wonderful world of Bonsai as part of our Japanese themed month of May. The Japanese believe that miniature objects have mystical and magical powers concentrated within them, adding to the intriguing nature of Bonsai. 

Mick Hillocks from the Norfolk Bonsai Association will focus on outdoor specimens with Chinese elms, acers, cotoneaster and beech trees amongst others displayed and designed to inspire beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Norfolk - Sunday 5th May, Displays 10am-3pm, Talk 10.30am.

Suffolk - Saturday 18th May, Displays 10am-3pm, Talk 10.30am.

5. Drop in Origami Craft Workshop with Claree Fairee

origami drop in workshop

The ancient craft of Origami literally translated, means 'paper' 'folding', however we thing its more like paper magic...
Origami consists of folding a single sheet of square, coloured paper into a beautiful sculpture without using scissors, glue, tape or any markings at all!

During the May holidays, visit the Jungle and learn to create these wonderful masterpieces with Claree fairy. 

FREE for Nursery and Cafe customers, 10-midday

Now you have all the tools to create your Japanese space, indoors and outdoors. If you would like to find out more about our Japanese celebration, or attend any of our events get in touch with the team HERE. 


 
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Pumpkins are for life, not just for Halloween...

02 November 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk, NewsLetter, Norfolk

It's no secret that we just love autumn and everything it brings. Cosy coffees by the fire in Cafe Jungle, hot spiced soups and cassoulets amongst the exotics and exploring the rainbow of reds, oranges, browns and golds throughout the Norfolk and Suffolk Nurseries. Make no mistake though, the real star of the show at Urban Jungle is always the pumpkin.



Acorn, Butternut, Turks Turban, White, Cheese and Blue Hokkaido pumpkins, squashes and gourds have all made Autumn truly awesome this year at the Jungle.


DID YOU KNOW? Once upon a time, it was tradition to carve turnips and potatoes. Now, we're eternally grateful to Cinderella adding a touch of glamour to gourds in the 17th century fairy tale, allowing us to unashamedly celebrate the beauty of the pumpkin every October.

Save our pumpkins

 Our beautiful British pumpkins can contain up to 500 seeds and take around 5 months to grow, yet in the UK we are wasting around 18,000 tonnes each year. So here's 5 easy ways to make the most of these marvellous vegetables...

1 Grow your own...
Great fun to grow and easy to cultivate. Save your seeds for spring and grown your very own pumpkins. Find out how.

2 Seed snacks...
They're high in iron, and can be roasted to eat. Spread the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes to dry them out. Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and your favourite spices. Return to the oven and bake until crisp and golden. Tip | The flowers that grow on pumpkin vines are also edible.

3 Compost them...
Create the most nourishing soil with your Halloween pumpkin. If you already have a compost area just add as you would other vegetable scraps. If not, find a sunny spot at the bottom of the garden, cover with leaves and let the worms do the hard work.

4 Make soup!
Café Jungle's Squash and Nigella seed soup is a real favourite this time of year, and if you're making at home it can be easily frozen and enjoyed at another time.

5 Feed the birds...
Birds and small mammals love dried pumpkin seeds, just leave them out in your garden. Or you canLarge birds and small mammals will eat pumpkin seeds if you offer them in your yard. Collect seeds from your pumpkins, before composting them, and let the seeds dry.

6 Turn it into a planter...
Post-Halloween pumpkins make for a unique addition to your winter garden. Cut a large hole at the top and hollow out the 'brains'. Drill a small hole at the bottom for drainage and fill the pumpkin half full with potting soil. Add some seasonal flowers or herbs, water thoroughly and enjoy.

If you would like to try any of these ideas, pop down to the Jungle and pick up a pumpkin for free. We'd love to see what you get up to with them too, so feel free to share on our social media channels.



#SaveThePumpkins #PumpkinRescue

 
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Pumpkins

09 October 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Trade, Norfolk, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Propagation, Nursery, Cafe Jungle

Pumpkins

This year we've got lots of wonderful pumpkins for sale in the Jungle. We've carefully chosen to support local farm Algy's as our main pumpkin supplier, as being just down the road in Dereham the delivery miles are dramatically reduced. Algy's also use organic manure and each pumpkin is hand sown meaning that each and every one is completely unique.

We have small, medium, large, 'monsters' and white and warty ones too. Prices start from 1.50.

Pumpkins at Urban Jungle


Children's Pumpkin Event

Join us on the 25th and 26th October and Jazz up your Jungle Pumpkin. For £5, we'll provide the pumpkins, paints and accessories, and Claree Fairy will be on hand to help design and decorate beautiful pumpkin centrepieces for your home and garden.

Just drop in or book your space HERE.

Jazz up your Jungle Pumpkin Decorating Family




 
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Press Release – Urban Jungle Suffolk's first anniversary.

05 July 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Cafe Jungle, Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk

This summer, Urban Jungle at London Road, Beccles, will be hosting their first anniversary party, and there's plenty to celebrate. The independent Nursery and Cafe has overcome major setbacks and enjoyed great success all in the first 12 months. August 5th will mark the first of many, very special years at the site for the team and their customers.

“We've fallen in love with Suffolk - the charm of Beccles town, the cute villages, the beautiful coastline, the bountiful produce...we could go on. And we've still so much more to explore.”
Co-owner Liz Browne


After taking over the site last June, the team had just 6 weeks until opening, and since the launch, the changes and growth in the Nursery and Cafe have been non-stop. In late summer 2017, the plant propagation and Edible Jungle were set up in the adjoining field, supplying the Cafes at both Norfolk and Suffolk with fresh salad and vegetables throughout the winter. During this time, the Cafe saw a demand for something a little different from lunch menus in Suffolk, and continued to develop their ethos using the home-grown produce.

The Cafe at Urban Jungle's mission.
'To deliver a casual dining experience in a unique setting, serving beautiful, globally inspired dishes, connecting people, plants and food.'


Following the success of the new look menu, utilising home-grown produce, and the opening of the Cafe on Saturday nights, Urban Jungle was proud to be awarded 'Best Newcomer' at the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards in April.

Suffolk Best Newcommer

“We've come so far in the last year - the 2 acre field adjoining the Nursery is producing 80% of the plants for both nurseries. And not only ornamentals - the Kitchen Garden produces organically grown salads and vegetables in abundance for both Cafes. We're already pickling and preserving in earnest to see us through the winter.” Liz Browne


Liz and Niamh

Propagation Manager Niamh and Co-owner Liz

It hasn't been plain sailing. The 'Beast from the East' and the never-ending winter caused devastation in both the Costessey and Beccles Nurseries, resulting in their closure for the best part of a week in March. The weather meant that the gardening season was never really able to begin as it should. March and April are usually the busiest months for nurseries, but the terrible weather saw all but the most hardened gardeners staying warm indoors. The first half of the year has certainly been a worrying time for small independent nurseries such as Urban Jungle.

“The weather and the roadworks outside the Nursery have tested us to the limit but we thrive on challenges - they make us even more determined, and our customers' reactions to our Suffolk Nursery and Cafe have exceeded our expectations in their first year!” Liz Browne

Jungle Team

The propagation team

Although the major roadworks are continuing on London Road, the weather has improved for June and July, and co-owners Liz and Mal Browne are determined to push forward. There are big plans for the Nursery, many of which they hope to launch at the Summer Party, including the building of what will become a secluded 'Jungle Garden', perfect for private parties.

“Where has the year gone?! Can it really be just over a year ago that we picked up a jingly bunch of unfathomable keys, looked around the site, scratched our heads and thought 'right, where do we start?' It was a daunting prospect and we had just a couple of months to put our unique stamp on the premises. We were still frantically building, cleaning, placing stock, and gathering our brilliant new team right up to the minutes before opening the gates for the first time.

There have been quite literally blood, sweat and tears. We've suffered setbacks - mainly caused by the crazy weather, and major roadworks right outside our gate, but lots of love and laughter along the way too. It's been a triumph over adversity.” Liz Browne

The Summer Party will be held on Sunday 5th August. Between 12 and 7 we'll be serving up summer cocktails amongst the plants and cooking delicious food on fire, all to the sound of DJ Chilli's lush, Latin beats. From 10am, there'll be VIP Party Bags for the first 50 customers, craft stalls, Festival Glitter, new areas of the Nursery open and of course plants, plants and yet more beautiful plants.

Urban Jungle Summer Party

Register interest on the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/167665274087506


 
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Who needs flowers? Five of the fanciest indoor leaves at the Jungle...

07 June 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Cafe Jungle, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Norfolk


We're all about the leaves right now, and there's no need for flowers when they look this good.

Although it would be nice to think these leaves evolved to simply become more and more beautiful, they didn't. Its all about survival. Variegated leaves, and leaves with colour are actually camouflaging themselves. Although surprising, for their particular habitat this far outweighs the disadvantage of reduced photosynthesis. Against the sun-dappled floor of a forest or woodland, animals without colour vision, including insects and herbivores are not able to spot patterned or mottled leaves. The outline of leaves will be disrupted, making them much more difficult to find.

Thank goodness for nature, hey? Here's some of our favourites....


Aeschynanthus marmoratus

(Zebra Basket Vine)

Aeschynanthus marmoratus  Zebra Basket Vine

The Aeschynanthus marmoratus is an epiphyte, which means it uses other plants and trees to grow and spread, extracting moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. The leathery, pointed oval leaves grow in opposite pairs on the stems. The upper leaf surfaces are light green and speckled with swirls of lights green and the undersides are much lighter with deep burgundy spots. In the wild, in Thailand and Malaysia, some of the branch tips bear a cluster of tubular flowers that are pollinated by hummingbirds.

  • A perfect hanging houseplant

  • Likes bright, indirect light

  • Can tolerate some direct sunlight

  • Likes high humidity

  • Water regularly but do not allow the plant to sit in water


Alocasia amazonica (Alocasia polly)

(Elephant's Ear)

Alocasia polly elephants ear

Alocasia polly and Alocasia amazonica are both largely the same, except the ‘Polly’ variety stays a bit smaller. The leaves are completely unique and look particularly striking against a white, minimalist backdrop adding a magnificent jungle touch to a space, all on its own.

Although the name suggests otherwise, neither of these Alocasia varieties naturally originate from the Amazon rainforest. They were artificially created, though their ‘ancestors’ are naturally found in rainforests in Asia, which gives us a helpful guide to caring for this plant at home.

  • Bright but indirect sunlight

  • Well draining soil

  • Keep warm minimum of 16C / 60F (above 70 in summer will promote faster growth)

  • These plants don’t mind a slightly cramped environment - it’s usually not necessary to re-pot every year

  • Use a potting soil and add some perlite to ensure proper drainage


Maranta leuconeura erythrophylla

(Maranta fascinator, Prayer plant, herringbone plant, Tricolor)

Maranta leuconeura erythrophylla Maranta fascinator, Prayer plant, herringbone plant, Tricolor

One of the most intricately patterned leaves in nature, giving this houseplant its well earned place on the nations favourites. The Prayer Plant earned its name because of the way its leaves fold together at night, like hands closed in prayer, revealing beautiful deep-purple under-sides. The leaves unfold again in the morning light, sometimes making a rustling sound.

Prayer plants rarely bloom indoors, but sometimes grow tiny, white tubular flowers on long stems. We're not here to talk about flowers though, it's the magnificent leaves that are the real attraction.

  • Direct sun can dun the colour of the leaves and be fatal

  • Keep warm – minimum 16 degrees C

  • The love humidity, brown tips are a sign of not enough

  • Don't re-pot too often

  • Your plant will benefit from occasional pruning in autumn, which helps to give it a nice shape and promote new growth.


Diffenbachia

(Dumb Cane, Leopard Lily)

Diffenbachia  Dumb Cane, Leopard Lily

Dieffenbachias have the most beautiful mix of green, white, and yellow foliage. It's also quite versatile and will take some neglect and poor treatment. Though, not as hardy as the mother-in-law's tongue, but certainly not as difficult as the Alocasia or Calathea. The last big plus point is that it's also fantastic at regenerating.

The truth is though, that Dumb Canes are actually poisonous. If ingested it can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, swelling the tongue, and paralysing the vocal cords, silencing the victim – hence the name. So, avoid coming into contact with the sap and if you do, wash it off before you accidentally rub your eye, or somewhere equally unfortunate!

If you can see past this weakness, you're in for a real treat.

  • Overwatering is a common problem with many houseplants and the dieffenbachia houseplant is no exception.

  • Most varieties do best in a filtered light situation, where bright to moderate light shines through a sheer curtain or other filtering window cover.

  • Rotate the dieffenbachia houseplant regularly to provide adequate light to all sides of the plant

  • Most cultivars do fine with a low light environment; however, growth is slower, but the plant will remain healthy and attractive.

  • Browning bottom leaves on the Dieffenbachia is normal for the plant; Snip them off to keep the plant tidy.

Sansevieria trifasciata

(mother-in-law's tongue)

Sansevieria trifasciata  mother-in-law's tongue

Sanseviera are stemless, erect, rhizomatous, succulent perennials with evergreen, ovate or strap-shaped, leathery leaves often attractively marbled. While you’re enjoying this fantastic decorative plant, it’s working very hard. Mother-in-law’s tongue does everything it can to sort out the humidity in your home, so that your skin, eyes and airways can also enjoy the plant. It converts poisonous substances into oxygen. And it’s also incredibly strong and easy to care for.

It's simply perfect as a starter plant for beginners too, as it doesn't require much maintenance and grows quite quickly.

  • Grow under glass in bright, filtered light, avoiding full summer sun.

  • If you’d like the plant to be a bit darker, place it further from the window; Or, lighter in colour? Place it closer.

  • Do not water too frequently

  • The best way to look after this plant is to ignore it most of the time. It thrives on neglect.


Visit the Cafes at both Urban Jungle Norfolk and Suffolk to see our full range of houseplants. Our team of experts will happily guide you in choosing the most appropriate for you home, what ever the surroundings. Contact us to find out more.


 
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