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Celebrating Homegrown Salad, All Year Round.

21 December 2017 - Posted by Niamh Mullally, in Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk, NewsLetter, Norfolk

Propagation Manager Niamh Mullally talks us through her passion for salad. Not only does it taste good but there are some amazing health benefits too. Get an overview of the more common ingredients and most unusual additions and trends, all lovingly grown on-site in the Edible Jungle. We may be in the depths of winter, but good salad is worth celebrating all year round.

I love leaves. For years I have been covertly stroking all types of foliage. In retrospect it was only a matter of time before the world of stunning edible leaves seduced me.

To whet my appetite, a good salad should please my eyes, be texturally complex, flavoursome and nutritious.

It's good for you... Lettuce has a high-water content but its also high in iron, vitamin C and K, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Its good for your skin, hair and helps you have a good night’s sleep.

A good green salad has more than just lettuce. Any delicious edible leaf can and should be added. Chard, kale, and pac choi don’t have to reach maturity to contribute to the balance of flavours. Radish leaf gives a hint of pepper and seasonal pea shoots add sweetness.

To show you just how fabulous our salad selection is, our volunteer Sue had a fun morning getting up close and personal with some of our home-grown produce.

Salad Leaves

Oriental leaves this time of year feature heavily in the mix; tatsoi, mibuna and komatsuna are always reliable croppers. Textures can be layered by addling frilly mustards, chop suey leaves (edible chrysanthemum leaves) and land cress.  

Edible flowers whilst not flavoursome necessarily, add to the overall look and raise the spirits especially in the winter months. Adding flowers to salads goes back to the 15th century on these shores, the Victorians stopped it (miserable bunch, they have a lot to answer for) but thankfully it’s now nearly mainstream again.

Edible Flowers

So, this month we want to celebrate the beauty of the humble salad. The pretty intricacy of the individual salad leaf is rarely appreciated.

These 45 salad ingredients have been grown from seed on our Suffolk site and are harvested daily for Café Jungle. They are grown in a polytunnel without the use of chemicals. Sue and I hope you will agree their beauty is indeed worth celebrating.  

Niamh Mullally

P.S. Keep an eye out for the next blog in January 2018, documenting the creation of the Jungle's kitchen garden. Next year is set to be a busy one!

Book your table at Cafe Jungle Suffolk on 01502 559103 and at Café Jungle Norfolk on 01603 857196

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Houseplants; Five of the best...

11 December 2017 - Posted by Uhi Millington, in Cafe Jungle, Nursery, Propagation, Suffolk, NewsLetter, Norfolk

This winter, both Cafe Jungle Norfolk and Suffolk and bursting at the seams with the most beautiful plants for the home. 

For the perfect Christmas gift, an alternative leafy number to the traditional Christmas tree, to add some extra oxygen to your home whilst you spend the cold days and nights snuggled up indoors, or simply as a treat to yourself; this fabulous five will make you very happy indeed.

Monstera deliciosa

Instantly recognisable by its huge, cut, glossy leaves and commonly known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, this is a long-term favourite and with good reason; it's so forgiving, even complete novices will struggle to fail. Monstera deliciosa is a climbing plant so will eventually need support; moss poles look superb and are ideal for this purpose. Monstera thrive in gentle sunlight and gloomy corners and requires watering weekly, the compost should be moist but not wet, and it can dry out between waterings. 

Ceropegia woodii

Call them String of Hearts, Rosary Plant or Hearts Entangled; whatever the name this charming vine is an absolute delight. The small, heart-shaped metallic leaves with silvery markings and purple undersides look as if they have been daintily threaded along strings which can trail up to 1.5m. What's more, its really easy to care for. They thrive in full to partial light and like to be doused with tepid water and left to completely dry out before the next watering, so no need to worry if you forget it for a while. They look fantastic in a hanging pot or on a high shelf.

Senecio Rowleyanus

Commonly known as String of Pearls, this curious but lovely trailing succulent is exactly as it sounds. Round succulent leaves shaped like peas descend on flexible stems which can reach lengths of 1m. They thrive in bright to medium light and they like to be kept just moist during the growing season with occasional watering in autumn and winter. Its an excellent specimen for a hanging pot near a window, where they will be the envy of everyone who passes by.

Chamaeodorea elegans

The Parlour palm has been a favourite in our homes for the last century. Don't be fooled by it's feathery looking foliage it is tough and robust and can get by on little care and attention, but still it will continue to be graceful and elegant. It's slow growing but will eventually get to 1m and likes a moderately light position but will also thrive in a dark corner, its the perfect housemate!

Sanseveria laurentii

Snake plant or Mother in laws tongue, this easy to care for houseplant is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and it is the perfect accessory in modern homes. Its clumps of long sword-shaped leaves are erect and sculptural. It can deal with cool temperatures and low light levels, requires little water and best of all it is generous. Sanseverias are one of the highest oxygenating plants to have in the home.


Find out more about Urban Jungle Norfolk and Suffolk. Contact us to check our stock and availability.

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Keep Your Tree For Longer This Christmas

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

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 Cafe Jungle, Nursery, NewsLetter, Suffolk, Norfolk

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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Edible Jungle - Get out there and get growing!

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

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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