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Operation: The Med comes to Suffolk

09 May 2019 - Posted by Liz Browne, in Cafe Jungle, Trade, Norfolk, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Propagation, Nursery


Operation: The Med comes to Urban Jungle Suffolk


After 2 years here at our Beccles site in Suffolk it really is quite evident how different the Suffolk climate is. The light is more intense, the sky is bluer, the winter is milder, and it's definitely windier! We wanted to create a different feel to the Suffolk site, and the difference in micro-climate, subtle but important, gives us that opportunity. For those of you with zone envy, we're zone 7b in Beccles, whereas it's zone 7a at our Costessey branch. We're hoping that our Mediterranean-style gardens will provide a beautiful backdrop for our Cafe customers, and inspire our gardening customers to effectively use some of these plants in their own gardens.


The Brief...

To create a Mediterranean style garden to inspire our customers, showcase our range of plants and improve the experience for our outdoor diners. We believe our customers should be able to see and enjoy plants growing together in communities at our Nurseries - we don't just set out plants as rows of Nursery stock in pots. We want our cafe customers to feel embraced by a profusion of plants outside, just as they do inside the cafe. 


The Problems...

Here at the Beccles Nursery we have thick heavy clay. The drainage is terrible, and after rain, water often sits on the surface, especially in winter. In summer it becomes like concrete. There are few windows of opportunity in the year to actually get plants in the ground. Mediterranean plants tend to require really good drainage, especially in winter, and most would fail miserably here in a cold wet winter. 


Gardeners are used to shopping in nurseries and garden centres with rows and rows of neatly positioned plants that often provide little to no real inspiration or guidance on planting schemes.


The gardening public have very few opportunities to see Mediterranean-style planting in the UK, with plants that are carefully selected to withstand the UK winters.



The Solution...

To solve these problems at our Suffolk branch, we've created 5 large raised beds with Derbyshire stone, planted with architectural and colourful Mediterranean-style plants, with adjacent Cafe seating. The beds stretch 70m - the whole length of the nursery, and each bed can be viewed from all 4 sides.


But whilst the climate in Beccles and the surrounding area is conducive to growing many Mediterranean plants, the soil here unfortunately isn't - it's heavy clay that's cold and wet all winter and quickly turns to concrete in summer! So to address the soil problem we started with the boring sensible stuff by digging a drainage ditch the whole length of the nursery that will carry away excess water. Next we built the raised rockery beds, filled with well-draining soil mixed with plenty of grit.


We hope that the composition of plants within the borders provides enjoyment and inspiration to our customers. We've planted a range of species including many readily available, best-performing plants for a Suffolk garden, but also choice rarities that we hope to propagate and produce ourselves over the coming years. With Suffolk being one of the driest and sunniest counties in the UK, and the proximity to the coast of our Beccles Nursery,  it's not difficult to achieve a Mediterranean style garden - something that feels a little more exciting and exotic than a typical English garden.  


quarry stone 

The Derbyshire Quarry where we sourced the stone


quarry stone 

Once quarrying has finished the walls are left to nature and become home to a bounty of wildlife 




The Med comes to Suffolk 

Before the borders...





Beccles Landscaping  

Full landscaping plan - see the '5 display beds' just in front of the Cafe






The Med comes to Suffolk

Front Elevation and planting plan of the 5 Mediterranean Beds



Work Begins... 


        Beccles Landscaping 

Owner Liz on-site 'helping' our landscapers


The Med comes to Suffolk 

The stone begins to arrive - 50 tonnes in all


The Med comes to Suffolk 

Hard at it, placing the first stones. Brute strength and ingenuity required.


Borders 

Taking shape...


The Med comes to Suffolk 

Planting getting underway. Trying to stick to the planting plans as much as possible but allowing ourselves a little bit of artistic license.


The Med comes to Suffolk 

Nick and Dick finishing planting one of the gnarly olives.


A bit more background to the concept...


Visitors to our Costessey Nursery will probably have noticed that we've had an aversion to straight lines in the past. The Nursery has evolved over 2 decades, growing organically, with winding pathways, overhanging trees and shady areas, lots of planted areas of course, and an altogether jungly feel. In Beccles, we're ready to try something a little out of our comfort zone!


Costessey Nursery 

'The Labyrinth' at Urban Jungle Norfolk. With winding paths, cool shady areas it feels completely different to the med-style planting at Beccles.




June's Progress! The Med is taking shape...


We're at last planting out our treasures. This beauty in the foreground (below) is Grevillea 'Bronze Rambler'. Now, we're just left to be patient and watch the drama unfold. 


 

Grevillea 'Bronze Rambler' lapping up the sunshine and enjoying it's new home

Beds 3 and 4. Cupressus (pencil trees) frame the pathway, and baskets of Euphorbia myrsinites

waiting to be planted.

The Med comes to Suffolk

This lovely multi-trunked Chamaerops needed to be moved from another part of the nursery but it's settling well into the new bed. We removed lots of the lower leaves to give it a better chance of re-establishing.The Med comes to Suffolk

The Med comes to Suffolk

One of our new treasures - Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset'. One of the hardiest members of the Proteaceae family and infuriatingly difficult to get hold of.



At last we have a permanent home for all the treasures we've been collecting over the years, and will be propagating and producing over the coming years. Plants like Genista aetnensis (Mount Etna broom), 


The beds will take time to establish, but after only a couple of weeks we can see the growth on some of the plants. We're already getting a feel for the amazing impact in years to come. Why not visit the Nursery and see the progress, or join our Mediterranean dining experience on the 26th July - tickets and more information are available HERE. 


Tune into our social media for regular features on some of the plants we've used in our new borders. Next month we'll let you know about another of our current projects - The Jungle Garden.



 
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This May, we're celebrating all things Japanese!

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

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 Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk, NewsLetter

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 Cafe Jungle, Trade, Norfolk, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Propagation, Nursery

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 Suffolk, Cafe Jungle, Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter

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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