Urban Jungle Newsletter > NewsLetter

The Terracotta Army - War On Plastic

20 March 2018 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in Suffolk, Norfolk, Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter


The 2018 War On Plastic Pots campaign will mark the start of a huge change in the way Plant Nurseries use plastic. Urban Jungle aims to convert their use of 1000's of plastic pots into terracotta.

The UK is drowning in hundreds of thousands of unwanted plastic garden pots, lots of which end up in our landfills. It's estimated that 500 million pots go into circulation every year¹ and together Co-owner Liz Browne and Propagation Manager Niamh Mullally, are leading their Terracotta Army in the War On Plastic Pots.

Liz and Niamh, Leaders of The Terracotta Army

From left to right; Propagation Manager Niamh Mullally, Co owner Elizabeth Browne. Plants; Fascularia, Aeoniums and Echiveria.

This year the Urban Jungle ethos and mission is to reduce their environmental impact by reusing and recycling where possible, and the 2018 War On Plastic Pots campaign will bring a sizeable reduction to the consumption and use of plastic pots within the Nursery.

Until recently, who didn't have a massive bale of carrier bags stuffed under the kitchen sink? Shops introduced a charge, and this was widely accepted by the general public as a good thing, massively reducing plastic bags ending up in landfill.

Now it's time to turn our attention to the 'pot mountain' behind the shed. They can languish behind the shed for years, with gardeners not quite knowing what to do with them, but feeling too guilty to throw them away, until the mountain gets too large, and they end up in the bin anyway, ready for landfill or incineration.

Like carrier bags, it's an environmental scandal. So this year we'll be introducing a range of plants grown and sold in terracotta pots. Our customers will be able to re-use the pot or return it to us on their next visit to receive a refund. We'll then re-use them ourselves. It's a small step, but hopefully one in the right direction.” Co-owner, Liz Browne.

Volunteer Michael Terracotta Army

Volunteer Michael potting up for the Terracotta Army

The price of the plants will increase by just a few pence and will be refunded upon return of the pot. No profit will be made on the wholesale price of these terracotta pots. The plants included in the campaign will include succulents, agaves and puya.

You only have to visit Urban Jungle's eclectic and vibrant cafes to realise that this is a business committed to reusing and recycling. We are extremely proud to be the first Plant Nursery to announce the War On Plastic Pots campaign.

Now 1/5 of our entire range of plants heading to our Norfolk and Suffolk nurseries will be grown and sold in terracotta pots. The propagation department will then reuse the returned pots each growing season. We anticipate that our like-minded customers will also be proud to be part of this movement, and join the Terracotta Army in 2018.” Niamh Mullally, Propagation Manager

'It’s estimated that we each own about 39 redundant plastic plant pots and over the UK it is suggested there are over 5 million languishing in sheds and garages.'²

Terracotta Pots

Thousands of terracotta pots, of varying sizes have arrived in the Jungle... 

The initiative begins this spring. Just look out for the recyclable plant labels in the Norfolk and Suffolk Nurseries.

In year one, the campaign will keep a close eye on the impact of the extra weight and surface area in lifting and transporting thousands of terracotta pots, in planning for further reductions to the use of plastic in 2019. Urban Jungle are already looking into alternative pot materials to combat some of the anticipated issues, such as bamboo.

Urban Jungle are also proud to recycle all of their cardboard, and compost all of their coffee within the Edible Jungle, which itself provides organically grown salad and vegetables for both the Norfolk and Suffolk Cafes with practically zero food miles.

#TerracottaArmy #TheWarOnPlastic

Both Urban Jungle, and Cafe Jungle Norfolk and Suffolk are open every day from 10am until 5pm (Kitchen closes at 4pm and Cafe closes at 4.30pm).

Urban Jungle Norfolk: Ringland Lane, Old Costessey, Norwich, Norfolk, NR85BG 01603 744997
Urban Jungle Suffolk: London Road, Weston, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8TT 01502 219110

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Mother's Day covered, at Urban Jungle

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

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 Suffolk, Norfolk, Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter

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.


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. 


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

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.


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?



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!


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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