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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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Tepache

06 June 2018 - Posted by Joe Enhari, in Suffolk, Cafe Jungle, NewsLetter

Tepache

Here at Urban Jungle, we are committed to delivering a great product, be it a plant, lunch, a beverage or two or a combination of all three. We're also incredibly conscious of waste, pioneering a ‘War on Plastic Pots’ in the Nursery and committing to good practice in any way we can. Tepache is a way for the Café to deliver on both fronts, providing a delicious and gut-healthy beverage, whilst using every piece of the raw product.

Pineapple Tepache

Tepache is a wonderful example of the age-old process of fermentation. Pre-Colombian indigenous Mexicans would have been enjoying this, albeit in a higher concentration of alcohol, hundreds of years ago. It’s comforting to think that we can uphold these ancient traditions in a practical and delicious way. I am currently plucking up the courage to ask our owner Liz if I can harvest some sap from the huge agaves we have, and see about some Pulque, but that’s a different story.

Tepache (Tay-paw-chay) starts life as a pineapple. The inner fruity goodness has been set aside for Chef Chloe and is destined for a special project; more on that another time. The rest I have chopped up a bit and put in a clip-top jar. The top will be used in an attempt to grow more…

Pineapple Tepache

I think it’s always nice to pop in little extras to our pickles and ferments. Things that marry together in ‘conventional cooking’, will often blend and combine in incredibly interesting ways when slowly fermenting together. In this case, ginger and cinnamon will add depth and a gentle spice to the finished brew.

Ginger and Cinamon

Now, all that's left is to make up a sweetened water to cover the pineapple, ginger and cinnamon. If you can use a raw cane sugar then do. In Mexico you would of course use piloncillo sugar cones; for a pinch used here, granulated will do just fine. Use a 1 cup measurement per 2 litres of water. Use a little hot water first to dissolve the sugars. Top up your jar and seal. ¡ahí está!

If you can bear to take your eyes off the beauty that will be your jar of almost Tepache, leave it for 4-7 days. The longer you leave it, the more of the sugar will be fermented and the fizzier, but tarter, it will be. Then bottle and enjoy over ice with sparkling water, or even with a nice cerveza. I’ve never had any long enough to test a use by date.

Tepache

Visit the Suffolk Cafe to find out more about our ferments and pickles, we're always experimenting and have some wonderful things on the shelf for you to try!


 
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Uhi's Spring Nursery update...

28 March 2018 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in Norfolk, Trade, Propagation, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk

Nursery Manager Uhi's Spring Update...

So far 2018 has certainly tested us. With gale force winds uprooting a polytunnel in Suffolk, to the 'Beast from the East' who just wont quit, we continue to dust ourselves down, and push forward with positivity. 

As you may know, we're planning to move our car park from the bottom end of the nursery in Norfolk, nearer to the Cafe. We are nearly there, the next stage of work is scheduled to commence really soon and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience it may cause. We've been assured that it will be completed quickly to keep disruption to a minimum.

Now to the important stuff  -  PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS

In typical Urban Jungle style, all the deliveries have arrived at once in Norfolk and Suffolk so it's been manic in the Jungle over the last 2 weeks, however we've made good process in setting up the Nursery for the busy season ahead. 

1Uhis spring update
Uhi putting out the deliveries of houseplants in Cafe Jungle

The Cafes are looking stunning. We've had a big delivery of house plants which have been expertly slotted into place to create that exotic, tropical feel that Urban Jungle has become renowned for over the last few years. There are house plants for every room, for light areas and dark corners, dry, and humid places. You can hang them from the ceiling, stand them on the floor, put them on the window sill, and if you're not sure, we can advise you of what plant will suit your chosen place, and how to care for it. Our staff are always more than happy to help.

Uhi houseplants
Uhi displaying our hanging indoor plants

Houseplants
Houseplants by the bridge in Cafe Jungle

The Tree Ferns arrived on Friday, and they're spectacular. This delivery is made up of beautiful chunky trunks ranging from 1ft to 7ft tall, packed with croziers, just waiting to unfurl. Tree ferns are also known as 'Manferns'. If you've ever moved one you'll know why - they certainly put hairs on your chest! 

Tree ferns
Mark and Ed dealing with the Tree Fern delivery

Tree ferns
Tree Ferns ~ Dicksonia antartica

A huge delivery of trees also arrived last week. We have Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' back in stock and the beautiful weeping version Cercis 'Ruby Falls' the glowing reddish purple leaves are going to look spectacular with the ferny acid green foliage of Metasoquia glyptostoides 'Gold Rush' and Gleditsia tricanthos 'Sunburst'. 

Japanese Cherry Prunus
Japanese Cherry - Prunus subhirtella

If you are in the market for instant drama how about an oriental touch? The billowing blossoms of Japanese Cherry - Prunus 'Accolade' are a profusion of soft pink semi double flowers. For a bit of Californian sunshine we've got 6 ft tall Ceanothus 'Trewithen Blue' a great choice for growing as a specimen tree or as a wall shrub with its abundance of sky blue flowers. These are also available for delivery from our online shop. 

Acers at our Pay Hut
Acers displayed at the Norfolk Pay Hut

And last but most definitely not least 'ACERS'. We have got our hands on some huge, mature trees. We can't wait for the colour explosion in the Nursery when the leaves break open in the next couple of weeks. If you don't have room for a huge Acer, don't worry we have smaller versions too.

There are too many plants in stock to list, so whether you are looking for large, small, or for spring, summer, autumn or all year round interest, fruits, flowers and foliage, we've got it covered. 

Jen Aloe Sansevaria
Nursery Assistant Jen, displaying Sansevaria and Aloe vera in the Cafe 

We're also extremely proud to launch the War On Plastic Pots this year. 1/5 of our propagated stock will be grown in terracotta pots that can be kept and reused, or returned for cashback. Just look out for the 'Terracotta Army' on the recycled labels. You can read the full article here. 

We're open as normal over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend at both our Norfolk and Suffolk Nurseries and Cafes.

See you soon!

Uhi 
UJ Norfolk Nursery Manager

Uhi's spring blog


 
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From the Edible Jungle to Cafe Jungle this Spring - Salmon Carpaccio

26 March 2018 - Posted by Niamh Mullally & Joe Enhari, in NewsLetter, Suffolk, Cafe Jungle, Propagation

Propagation Manager Niamh Mullally and Cafe Manager Joe Enhari have been working tirelessly on new dishes for the menu, utilising all of the fresh, spring produce from the Edible Jungle. This month's showstopper is Salmon Carpaccio with home-grown Castlefranco, and pickled blood orange and fennel. Follow this beautiful new dish on its journey from the Edible Jungle to your plate...

salmon carpaccio cafe jungle

Salmon Carpaccio with pickled blood orange and fennel, and Castlefranco all homegrown in the Edible Jungle


Niamh and propagation team edible jungle

Niamh and the propagation team at the Edible Jungle

From The Edible Jungle...

Propagation Manager, Niamh Mullally explains...

"Castlefranco radicchio is an invaluable winter crop with an interesting past. It dates back to the 18th century and got its nick name of 'Orchid lettuce' after a noble woman from Castelfranco, Northern Italy, wore a mature, freshly-harvested-head on her evening gown. A cross between a Trevino radicchio and an endive, it was so beautiful,the locals thought it was an exotic flower.

The flavour is subsequently milder than other winter radicchios. It’s a favourite of mine and incredibly easy to grow. The mature heads featured in new Cafe dish were sown in seed trays in August and transplanted in October. It’s not fussy, happy in semi-shade or full sun which is helpful, as these were used as under-planting between taller crops such as kale and chard in the Edible Jungle.

Castlefranco raddicio

Castlefranco raddiccio

A handy tip is to wait for the seedlings to take on a tinge of pink to the leaves, as this means they are starting to develop the more bitter taste of radicchio which is repellent to slugs.

Fennel

Fennel

The fennel being pickled by Cafe Manager Joe was grown inside the ‘Edible Jungle’ polytunnel over the winter months. Autumn sown, bulking fennel is my preference for this crop as it has a tendency to bolt in the summer months. Fennel is pretty straightforward to grow as long as you handle the transplanting with care - they hate root disturbance. Position in full sun and keep weed free."

Pea shoots

Pea shoots

Niamh has grown the above pea shoots inside the polytunnel, in a container without light. This method produces long tender pale stems that resemble bean sprouts but actually have a delicious strong pea flavour. A real delicacy and a favourite with every Chef.

To Cafe Jungle...

Joe Enhari Cafe Manager

Cafe Manager Joe with his new dish...

Café Manager Joe talks us through his dish...

"I'm a big advocate of using antiquated 'cooking' methods, such as pickling, curing and fermenting. The health benefits of natural fermentation have been rigorously explored in recent years. As a bonus it also reduces food waste, and allows us to eat 'out of season' in a responsible fashion.

My inspiration for the dish happened all at once when Niamh arrived, beaming, with the first crop of our produce. As luck would have it blood oranges are in season too. Fennel and citrus is like Rock and Roll. Salmon came to mind instantly. It's a fish with a bad rep' of late, the safe bet. Well, when cured with sumac and Suffolk sea salt it becomes a wonderfully textured, aromatic piece of fish. The home made buttermilk adds some acidity and helps with the rich salmon flavour. Finally the pea shoots and micro mustard bring tiny pops of fresh flavour, helping to balance the bold radicchio.

Joe Enhari Cafe Jungle menu 

The salmon sits on the plate with a sense of uniformity and purpose. The fennel and oranges have been fermenting for 12 days in a salt-brine, offering a wonderful umami tang to the crisp veggie. I tend to use the younger, brighter leaves of the Castlefranco and casually mingle them with the fennel, letting them fall onto the plate. The home made buttermilk and herbs complete the dish and give a pleasant aestheticism. It's rustic yet some-what refined and i'm enamoured with the complexity of colour and flavour.

salmon carpaccio cafe jungle

For me, this dish epitomises everything Niamh and I are trying to achieve for Café Jungle. Fresh, organically-grown produce, full of flavour and provenance, with zero food miles. The 'field-to-fork' collaboration sits proudly on the menu as a sign of things to come, a glimmer of spring and the bountiful harvests we'll be enjoying in the months ahead."

Notes on prep

  • Salmon - 2 day cure in Suffolk sea salt and summac
  • Fennel and orange, sliced thin, 12 days in a 4% brine
  • Radicchio, hand washed and dried, carefully selected.
  • Home made buttermilk with lemon and extra virgin olive oil

Cafe Jungle Suffolk is open for brunch from 10am everyday, serving lunches, light bites and cakes from Midday until 4pm. Cafe Jungle is opening every Saturday evening for dinner from 28th April. Book your table on 01502 559103. 

Follow Cafe Jungle Suffolk on social media and via our newsletter - sign up here.


 
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The Terracotta Army - War On Plastic

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

PRESS RELEASE

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

For press enquiries contact rachel.bannon@urbanjungle.uk.com

¹http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/today_in_your_garden/ethical_plastic.shtml

²http://www.pottoproduct.co.uk/


 
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