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Get Funkia down with the Hostas

02 June 2016 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in NewsLetter

It seems to be a brilliant year for Hostas, or Funkias, the glorious name they used to be known by. Perhaps it's the cool, dull moist weather we've been experiencing, that's made our Hostas the best they have ever looked, but it's also no doubt the care and attention that Lynn, our in-house Hosta freak, has lavished upon them, keeping them ship shape and orderly.

Lovely Lynn, our in-house ‘Hosta Goddess’

We have over 20 varieties in stock this year ranging from the robust little Hosta ‘Mouse Ears’ to the gargantuan  Hostas ‘Blue Mammoth’ (1m x 1.5m), ‘Empress Wu’ (1.3m x 2m) and ‘T. Rex’ (90cm x 2m)

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'
Hosta 'Blue Mammoth'

Hosta 'Empress Wu'
Hosta 'T. Rex'

It's no secret that Hostas are a tasty snack to slugs and snails, but don’t be deterred; they add so much to a planting scheme especially in shade or near water, and the way that the rain drops collect in the leaves is just magical.

Personally, I don’t protect my own Hostas at all, and they are rarely attacked, but if in doubt there are several ways to keep pests at bay without harming pets or wildlife. Organic and animal safe slug pellets, and pellets made from sheep's wool are readily available, or try baked eggs shells, sharp sand, grease bands, nematodes, copper wire, slug pubs, half a grapefruit, grit etc. etc.
As a general rule the bigger and thicker the leaves the less palatable they are, and don’t forget some slugs are the good guys and will feast on your foes – so get to know your slugs and let them do the work for you.

We have added some new Hostas to our range this year: ‘Sum of All’ gets even bigger than ‘Sum and Substance’ reaching a massive 1m x 1.2m. Hosta ‘Monster Ears’ has glossy thick leathery rounded leaves that are reminiscent of ‘Shreck’, and Hosta ‘June’ - ‘wow’, it's practically luminous!

Hosta 'Sum of All'
Hosta 'Monster Ears'

Hosta 'June'

Did we mention the seemingly endless range of leaf variations and variegations? Shapes, sizes and colours.

Hosta 'Dream Weaver'
Hosta 'Antioch'
Hosta 'Cliffords Forest fire'

Come and see for yourselves, give a Hosta a home.

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Plants with extremely bad behaviour

02 April 2016 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in NewsLetter

It's big, it’s bad and it is beautiful. Puya chilensis is a ground dwelling bromeliad originating from arid Chilean hillsides. It is a rosette forming evergreen perennial bearing very impressive flowers on stems up to 3m long.

Picture By Megan Hansen [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr
But this plant has a very grisly habit and is commonly known as the sheep eating plant (its not exclusive, it will feed on other animals too).

It gets its meals by trapping unsuspecting animals in its multiple curved spines; the animals slowly starve to death and the plant absorbs the nutrients released by the rotting carcass.

We don’t currently stock this plant at Urban Jungle – just as well as I don’t think the nursery dogs and cats would be safe, however we do have some smaller cousins such as Puya ferruginea which reaches up to 1m and Puya mirabilis which spreads to 75cm.

If you are taken with this Puya but not keen its rather unpleasant habit, we have an impressive collection of Kniphofias this year for all the drama without the danger!!

Kniphofia 'Jenny Bloom'
Kniphofia northiae
Kniphofia 'Shining Sceptre' Bloom

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The New Layout

11 March 2016 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in NewsLetter

‘Let’s move the lines’, ‘and make a new display area’. ‘It will be quick and easy’ we said………………

A sixteen seater table, a 40 foot container of plants and one or two heated discussions later our seriously big idea is looking seriously good.

Those of you who have been to Urban Jungle recently will have noticed we have been a bit busy. Those of you who haven’t visited us yet this year may be a little disorientated when you next come. The trees at the top end of the nursery have moved - they are behind the cedar greenhouse now – and we have nearly finished sorting them out. - But why did we give ourselves so much work?

We decided to make the most of a lovely sunny area, in the prime position in the nursery and create an absolutely ‘MAHOUSIVE’ display area to showcase our most spectacular plants, and we have created a big new outdoor seating area for our café customers, big enough to take bookings for parties of up to 16 people.

First came the table.

If only we had some chairs!

The weather has not been kind!

We have had a run of snowy Sundays, a lot of rain, and a lot of soaking wet staff.

The big plants arrived from Spain

A massive thank-you to David for giving up his time to help us.

Nearly there!!

If you want to know what the finished project looks like you will have to come and see for yourselves from Saturday the 12th of March – but don’t leave it too long – you know how we like to change things!!!

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Christmas Trees

30 November 2015 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in NewsLetter

A potted history of the origin of the Christmas tree
Did you know that evergreens symbolised the return of the sun, the triumph of life over death and everlasting life, and it was widely believed evergreens would keep away illness, evil spirits, ghosts and witches?
Throughout history trees that remained green all winter have had a special meaning. The ancient Egyptians filled their homes with palm leaves and rushes to symbolise the return of the Sun God Ra, Celts decorated their temples with evergreen boughs to symbolise everlasting life, and the Romans decorated their homes with evergreens during the Solstice to celebrate the return of Saturn, the God of Agriculture.
The tradition of bringing evergreens into the home is long and far reaching but the Christmas tree tradition we are familiar with today began in Germany during the 16th century, and was made popular in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. Today in the UK around 8 million Christmas trees are sold each year, in America this figure raises to a staggering 35 – 40 million trees!

Christmas Tree selection at Urban jungle
We have 3 varieties of Christmas trees for sale at the Urban Jungle all between 5 and 7 feet. They have been selected for their own special attributes, and each variety is quite different to the next, but all the trees have been chosen because they are not prickly and will retain their needles until, and maybe long after you have finished with them.

Nordman fir (Abies nordmanniana)
The Nordman fir is a very traditional cone shaped tree with a mild pine fragrance. It is full and fat with very densely packed branches. The needles are thick, dark green, very soft, long and super glossy with a very slightly cascading effect.
It is the smallest tree we have in stock at 5ft and ideal for either standing on the floor or raised on a stand.

Fraser  fir (Abies Fraseri)
If you don’t want to compromise on height but space is a bit limited the Fraser fir is the tree for you. It is narrow and columnar, the tiers of branches are very close together and it has a strong pine fragrance. The branches slope upwards which makes it perfect for decorating.  What makes this tree really special is the two tone colours, the needles are plentiful, short, soft, slightly curled and a soft glossy green on the upper sides – but the undersides are a very festive silver!!

Noble fir (Abies procera)
If you are looking for something a bit different, then the noble fir is truly noble.  It is stately, elegant and regal. The branches are formed around the trunk in very distinct tiers of very tactile, dense, soft glaucous blue green up-curved needles, and it has a very pleasant scent.

Choosing the perfect tree
At Urban Jungle you can inspect every single tree (if you really want to)! Every tree is on display and un-netted, we will even get them out and hold them for you so you can have a good look round. With our trees you know exactly what you are getting.
When you have chosen your tree we will do the heavy work while you relax with a coffee in our warm, snug little café. We will net your tree and put it in your car for you – sorry, decorating service not included!

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Tetrapanax 'Rex'

18 June 2015 - Posted by Lizzy Browne, in NewsLetter

Reading through a 2010 edition of the RHS Garden magazine I came across an article that said Tetrapanax wasn't hardy and could be substituted with Fatsia. This is a photo of Chris (who is normal size) undertaking a bit of gardening today under Tetrapanax 'Rex' that have been outside for a few winters including the 2010 Apocalypse. Just as well plants don't read gardening magazines.

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