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Keep Your Tree For Longer This Christmas

01 December 2017 - Posted by Rachel, in NewsLetter, Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk

Ok, it's officially time to consider a very special houseplant purchase. This houseplant has just a few weeks to shine, to fill your home or workplace with beautiful seasonal scents, and to add the finishing touch to festivities. This is the guest of honour for all of your celebrations this Christmas.

Pick the perfect tree and look after your new housemate with Urban Jungle.

5 Steps to the Perfect Christmas Tree

1. Chose the right tree from the very beginning

Firs have softer tips to the needles, helping to make Christmas much safer for children and animals. You can check the freshness too – fir needles should snap whilst fresh pines will bend and not break. Gently tap the tree on the ground, if just a few needles fall it's perfect. There should be an even colour throughout too.

2. Think about your trees previous life

Buy from a local farm and save on pollution and miles whilst giving a fair portion of the farmers hard earned cash, back to where it belongs. Our Nordmann Firs were grown in Norfolk, just a few miles down the road.

3. A fresh cut really counts

You'll need to make a fresh cut of about an inch off the bottom of the trunk as soon as you can, just before setting into place. The tree will absorb more water this way which will help to keep the colour ad the needles.

4. Your tree likes a drink at Christmas too!

Nursery Manager Kerri tells us that your Christmas Tree is like a big bunch of flowers. Keep topping up the water throughout the season. This is really important - you might even need to top up 2 or 3 times in the first few days.

5. Keep it cool

Houses can get very warm this time of year and with log burners and real fires roaring too, your tree can easily lose its Christmas cheer. Try to keep your tree away from sources of heat as much as possible.

Trees at Urban Jungle are on sale now from £32.50, these are locally grown, premium quality, non-drop trees. We also have a beautiful range of decorations, baubles and gifts at Urban Jungle Suffolk.

Find out more 

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Gifts for your favourite people this Christmas

20 November 2017 - Posted by Rachel, in Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk

Christmas is a time for giving and Urban Jungle Suffolk has got you covered.

It's not an easy task to find that perfect gift for that perfect someone. You want to feel totally confident that you've nailed it, that your gift will bring maximum joy and very happy memories to all who receive them.

Well, look no further. We've collated the ideal shortlist of inspiration for all your loved ones this year – family, friends, colleagues and secret Santas; and even for the one that has it all (we all know one!).

The Cactus Lover

You'll find cactus mugs, vases, pens, broaches, pots, tea-towels, key rings, decorations, terrariums and even hundreds of the real things in our Suffolk Cactus House, or chock-a-block Café shelves in Norfolk. If you're buying for a cactus crazy friend, then make Urban Jungle your first stop.

The Bohemian

We're all about the Bohemian in the Jungle this year. You cant move for bold, bright colours, patterns and textures in the Café, displayed in our favourite maximalist way. With stocking fillers starting from just a few pounds, to sari bird-houses, baskets, candles and frames, you're bound to find something beautiful for the Bohemian in your life.

The Scent Obsessed

Café Jungle is already an assault on the senses with bright colours, gorgeous textures, funky beats and a mouth watering menu. And that's without the sensational smells.

St Eval scented candles are handmade on a working farm in Cornwall. The range at Urban Jungle includes Figgy Pudding, Lemon & Thyme and Apple & Elderflower, and they smell good enough to eat.

For those that might appreciate something a little more ethnic with well-being in mind, chose from our range of Indian inspired scents made with organic soy wax and pure cotton wick including Buri Nazar and rejuvenating Cutting Chai. After 12 hours of burning you are left with a beautiful coloured glass pot for keeping jewellery and trinkets.

If incense is the one, we stock indoor and giant outdoor hand-rolled Nag Champa joss sticks. Nag Champa is a sacred incense containing sandalwood and helps to purify the home and garden.

For the Home-maker

Whatever the style, Urban Jungle's home-wears will look fabulous in the home. All of our rugs, blankets and cushions are carefully sourced and in many cases home-made using upcycled materials. The same goes for the ornaments, candle-holders & terrariums, frames, baskets pots and other unique storage ideas. This season's themes include Bohemian, natural woods and fabrics, metallics, and industrial influences with, of-course plenty of leafy, exotic, plant-inspired treats for the home.

For the Green-fingered One

Available in Norfolk and Suffolk, houseplants really do make the perfect gift. Not only are you able to pick something truly unique from our range of exotics, succulents and cacti, they're super easy to look-after – some are almost 'indestructible' and, the health and well-being benefits are limitless. A houseplant in a beautiful pot is a gift that keeps on giving, keeping memories of your 2017 celebrations alive for years to come.

For someone that has everything

If you're at a total loose end, you've exhausted every option, and they either already have it or they 'might' already have it, then you really cant go wrong with a Gift Voucher. These can purchased at Norfolk, Suffolk and online and can be exchanged for outdoor plants or pots in the Nursery, houseplants, indoor pots, gifts and even lunch or afternoon tea in Café Jungle – who knows, they may even take you along with them!

For stretching out the celebrations...

Our handmade brass, star Advent Calendar is perfect for personalising for your children, siblings, parents or housemates this Christmas. Fill with twenty five trinkets, sweets, treats and mini plants for an extra special surprise everyday in the run up to Christmas.

Advent Calendar with Mini Gifts

Urban Jungle Nursery is open until 4pm or dusk November to February. Cafe Jungle is open from 10am until 4.30pm every day, and for late night shopping and dinning on Thursdays from 23rd November until Christmas. Book a table in Café Jungle on 01502 559103 or contact us here.

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

02 November 2017 - Posted by Rachel Bannon, in NewsLetter, Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk

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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Edible Jungle - Get out there and get growing!

27 October 2017 - Posted by Niamh Mullally, in NewsLetter, Norfolk, Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk

This month I am thrilled to be addressing a subject that I have become very passionate about in the last few years: all year-round harvests.

Here's the proof; it's not too late!
The Edible Jungle is progressing well with rapid growth in just a few weeks and Café Jungle will soon be harvesting regularly from the onsite polytunnel.
Most of these seedlings were sown late summer and into September. We are lucky enough to have a large indoor growing space and have made the most of every inch. Radicchios, salads, spring onions, turnip tops, chard, spinach, oriental greens, Chinese cabbages, radishes, and kale are loving their new Suffolk home.

Where do you start?
It’s definitely not too late for you to have a go at growing your own food. Fresh homegrown salad and nutritious greens can still be sown now, ready to harvest throughout the dark winter months.
Cleared and tidied borders are in fact new growing opportunities. Don’t accept bare soil, a little effort now will result in winter and spring colour and low maintenance food. It is really that simple.

Some varieties of hardy mustards are visually stunning, these seeds can be sown direct and will provide months of fully hardy, edible bursts of rich colour all winter long. Two of my favourites are the delicate beauties ‘Red Frills’ and ‘Red Lace’ which will germinate rapidly and can be snipped and added to salads daily.

Mustard ‘Red Lace’

If you have a tropical jungle style garden (and we sincerely hope you do) with some large leaved evergreen plants, then the meaty monsters Mustard ‘Red Giant’, ‘’Green in Snow’ and ‘Dragons Tongue’ are the varieties you should try.

Mustard ‘Red Giant’

They are simply astonishing, some growing to three feet high. By March your borders will be filled with sumptuous edible colour. The young peppery leaves can be added to salads and the more mature leaves can be lightly wilted as a winter green, great with pork dishes. The plants can then be cleared and added to compost piles to make way for spring growth.


‘Mizuna’ a tangy oriental green can also be mixed in with these mustard seeds, the resulting leaves have a rich green tone contrasting nicely with the rich red mustard tones. These leaves are equally good in salads or stir fries.

Where's best to sow them?
Containers with tired summer bedding can be cleared and the compost reused for winter crops. A liquid feed of left over tomato food or a seaweed based fertilizer mixed in before sowing the seeds or planting the seedlings will give enough nutrition to the soil until late spring/early summer.

Greenhouses and polytunnels don’t have to have empty spaces, planting direct into soil is obviously the ideal, but a concrete base still is a potential growing space. Purchasing a growbag or converting a bag of multi-purpose compost to one is an instant mini kitchen garden.

Some lettuce varieties can still be sown now, I recommend ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’, ‘Corn Salad’ and Endive ‘Pancalieri’. ‘Radichetta’ is an Italian variety with a bit more bite, cutting the stem will result in regrowth and the mature heads can also be pan fried like radicchio. ‘New Red Fire’ is a glossy red tinged large loose-leaf variety. Its exceptionally pretty.

Lettuce ‘New Red Fire’

These are all fully hardy and will happily grow outside without protection, however a windowsill will give rapid germination.

Scattering turnip seeds directly in a large container in a greenhouse will result in delicious highly nutritious greens that can be steamed or sautéed with bacon. I have successfully grown these all winter long, with successive sowings. Yum indeed.
Turnip Greens.

Next year Urban Jungle will be launching its own seed range including some of the best rare vegetables varieties I have had the pleasure of growing. Watch this space.

I hope I have inspired you to try to grow your own food this winter. Get outside and get growing!

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Norfolk Nursery's Trail of Terror

20 October 2017 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in Cafe Jungle, NewsLetter, Nursery, Norfolk

Norfolk Nursery of Nightmares...

This Halloween from Sunday 22nd to Tuesday 31st October we have some wonderfully weird and truly terrifying plants and creatures just waiting to be discovered. Walk the Trail of Terror in Costessey and keep one eye open for the scariest suspects and the most gruesome things growing around our Norfolk Nursery of Nightmares.

1. Nepenthes, otherwise known as Pitcher plants or Monkey cups

Watch out! These plants feast on flesh. Nepenthes are usually climbing and scrambling vines from the steamy jungles of Southeast Asia. They form pitchers at the end of tendrils which are designed to trap and digest any insects or small mammals that are unlucky enough to fall in, one genus has even been known to digest a whole rat.

But don't touch; they don't like it!


2. The Old Man in the Tree.

Legend has it that on a hot afternoon, after a morning of hard work in the Jungle, an old man leaned on the willow tree and took an afternoon nap. While he was sleeping the tree grew around him and he became trapped in its trunk, leaving only his face. If you listen carefully you can sometimes hear him snoring. You may even see him blink. All those who work at Urban Jungle now know not to fall asleep in the afternoon for fear that they'll be absorbed by the trees.

3. Spider plant, Chlorophytum comosum

A really easy to grow houseplant that will thrive even in your darkest and creepiest corners. It produces an abundance of baby spiders or 'spiderettes' on long dangling shoots. Don't worry if you forget to water, as these plants can cope with being treated mean. In fact they like to dry out from time to time and prefer to be tightly squeezed in their pots.


4. Agaves

Most Agaves live in hot and arid parts of the world, where they get hardly any water. To survive they have developed thick fleshy leaves which are able to store enough water to enable the plant to survive in the harshest of conditions.

But – how do they stop animals and insects from stealing their precious water supply? They have teeth! Some look like saw blades, others are like sharks teeth and some are needle sharp with hooks and long points. Look out! Don't let them spike you.


5. Cacti

Some look cute and fluffy but under that long silky fluff are mean little spikes. Some are warty and gnarly, and just plain ugly. Others have tiny needles which stick in your skin when you touch them. And some - well see for yourselves, are just covered in the biggest stiffest prickles you have ever seen! Like Agaves they come from hot and dry places and have developed a range of ways to protect themselves form being eaten. They're easy to grow and easy to care for, just give them plenty of light and not to much water and they can live longer than you.


6. Homolacladium platycladum – the 'Centipede' plant or 'Tape worm' plant.

Well, just yuk! This evergreen leafless plant comes from the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, and as you may have guessed by now it looks a little bit weird. Its leaves are made of segments, forming long ribbons, and just like the tape worm these ribbons can snap off and develop into new living organisms. If you are taken with this oddity you can grow it in full or part sun, outdoors during summer but it will need to be kept warm in a conservatory, or in in the house over winter.

7. Corokia cotoneaster– Wire netting plant.

These bizarre-looking shrubs have dark and twisted stems resembling wire wool, or the skeletal remains of plants that once lived. If you look closely you will see they are alive, they have downy metallic leaves in the shape of tiny arrowheads. They come from New Zealand where they grow in rugged terrain. Their felty leaves and tangled stems protect them from drying winds and from being eaten alive by passing birds and animals.


8. Imperata cylidrica rubra – Japanese Bloodgrass

This clump forming grass from Japan has creeping underground rhizomes which mass to form clumps. Its sword-shaped blades of grass pierce their way out of the ground to produce tips that look like they have been painted with the freshest reddest blood. The perfect plant for Halloween.


9. Pseudopanax ferox – Savage lancewood

This bizarre, horticultural oddity comes from New Zealand. We call it the 'Marmite plant' as our customers either love it or hate it. It spends the first few years of its life pretending to be an unappetising dead twig, to avoid being consumed alive by those pesky Antipodean herbivores. Once it grows up, and its head is above the reach of browsing animals, it produces a crown of lush leaves, and sends a metaphorical thumbed nose to the animals below.


10. Aeonium 'Voodoo'

What devilry is this? Prepare for this succulent creature to cast its spell on you. During the long dark winter, its fleshy leaves are a dull brown/green, but once the temperature rises, by some dark magic, its leaves transform to a bewitching dark purple/black. The forces of light and dark fight each other - the more the sun shines, the blacker the leaves become.

We hope you'll be brave enough to come and see these little terrors for yourselves. Can you find all 10?! 

Lots of these frightening residents are for sale and available to take home with you too. If you dare...

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