The UK’s leading gardening pr agency heads to the UK’s leading gardening show!

As experts in gardening and lifestyle pr, a key event in our diary each year is the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s always a great show but this year’s show is set to be more exciting than ever for us!

In November last year we were appointed by Hillier to handle the public relations for its 2017 show garden. Hillier is the most successful exhibitor in Chelsea Flower Show history, and this year sees them seeking to continue its winning streak by winning its 72nd consecutive gold medal.

Plans have been well underway for the past few months and now the show is just 29 days away things are really ramping up!

We’ve left the garden design in the expert hands of the Hillier team and its lead designer Sarah Eberle, and instead we are focussing on how we can involve people in the show garden. We were keen to open up the Chelsea experience to as many people as possible, not just visitors to the show but also those not fortunate enough to visit. Our answer? The Memory Tree.

We came up with the concept of the Memory Tree as part of our pitching last summer and, thankfully, Hillier loved the idea!

In a nutshell, visitors to the Hillier stand will be asked to write down their favourite gardening memory, they will then be given a copper plant tag upon which they sign their name. The plant tag will then be hung on the Memory Tree, a Davidia involucrata (also known as the Pocket Handerchief Tree).

Memory Tree - davidia involucrata

By the end of the show we hope to have a book packed full of gardening memories and a tree covered with tags glistening in the sunlight – it should be quite the show stopper!

We’re inviting famous faces visiting the show to take part, and gardening legend, Alan Titchmarsh, has agreed to be the first person to place a tag on the tree. After the show, the celebrity tags will be auctioned to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Trust.

Alan Titchmarsh

Those unable to attend the show are still able to partake with the Memory Tree as people are encouraged to share their gardening memory via Twitter using the #HillierChelsea17 hashtag.

What’s your favourite gardening memory? We’d love to hear from you!

Holly

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Why is the bee population in decline and what can we do to help?

There are more than 200 different species of bee found in the UK – and it is no secret that their population numbers are declining.

beees

Different types of bee include bumblebees, honey bees and solitary/masonry bees. All of them play a key role in the pollination of commercial fruit, nut and vegetable crops across the world. Without bees, these crops would have to be pollinated through other (very costly) means, ultimately increasing the price of our supermarket fruit and vegetables.

The plight of bees is largely due to changes in the UK’s countryside and agriculture over recent decades. Areas which were once covered with wildflower meadows have now been destroyed to make way for more agricultural activity.

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Bees, especially bumblebees, pollinate wildflowers, allowing the flowers to reproduce and produce seeds. The wildflowers themselves are the start of a very complex food chain that helps to sustain birds, mammals and other insects – if the bumblebee population declines so will the wildflowers – and vice versa – affecting thousands of other species of wildlife.

Fortunately, efforts are now being made to help farmers provide bees with areas rich in flowers and nesting sites. If you’re a farmer or landowner, find out how you can help here.

Gardening for bees

We can all make a difference to encourage bees into our garden – even if you’re a beginner gardener or have a small garden, it doesn’t matter, just planting one flower can help!

lavender bees

The RHS’s website has a great list of wild and garden plants that bees love. Generally, bees are most attracted to purple flowers because that colour is most visible to them. It is also important to make sure the flowers you choose are not too narrow or tunnel-like, otherwise the bee will not be able to get to the centre.

The use of pesticides can be harmful to bees – it is better to use biological control or non-pesticide, organic treatments where possible.

dandelions

Flowers which we consider to be weeds such as dandelions are actually firm favourites amongst bees, so leaving one or two in your garden won’t hurt!

Insect Insect Hotel Bee Hotel Bees Wild Bees

You can also make a nesting site in your garden. This is particularly beneficial to masonry bees who like to nest alone in small holes and tunnels. Small tubes placed around the garden or holes drilled into pieces of wood are great ways to create a home.

Share with us how you’re helping bees in your garden!

Georgina

Exploring the beautiful gardens at Thrive

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Thrive gardens in Reading.

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Since 1978 the charity has been helping change the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health through gardening, and I found the scale of the work undertaken at Beech Hill in Reading truly remarkable.

I saw the Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project which is set in a Victorian walled garden next to Thrive’s head office.  It features five small gardens, known as the Garden Gallery, for people with specific disabilities.

Each garden has a name:

  • Hearts and Minds Garden – created for stroke survivors or people with heart disease
  • Out of Sight – created for people who have a visual impairment
  • The Journey – created for people recovering from a mental illness, particularly depression.  I found this garden a beautiful and inviting place to sit and relax
  • IMG_7060The Unexpected Gardener – a stylish garden for older people

unxpected gardener

  • Just for Fun garden – created for children and young people with special educational needs

Run by volunteers, the Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project enables disabled gardeners to develop their skills using a variety of plants and has areas for growing herbs, fruit and vegetables.  The site also includes a glasshouse and polytunnels, a bee border, a tree nursery, a large wildlife pond and a shop selling plants grown at the project.

Thrive therapists work with more than 100 disabled people each year ranging in age from 14 to 70 years.  The charity also runs gardening programmes in London, Birmingham and Gateshead helping people who want to garden at home, on an allotment or in a community setting.

The work the charity do is amazing, giving confidence and independence to all those that attend through gardening.

Aroonaa

Paskett PR become graffiti artists!

Graffiti tends to have a negative effect on communities, and is a blight on city centres across the country, with people seeing it as serious form of vandalism, which can cost councils huge amounts of money to remove.

There is, however, a new style of graffiti that has been popping up, transforming walls into stunning, green pieces of art. It’s called Moss Graffiti, or Green Graffiti, and it uses moss to create ecologically sound public art, which can be easily removed by spraying with lime juice.

After seeing some beautiful examples, we decided to have a go ourselves and here’s how we did it!

Ingredients

  • Two handfuls of moss (kindly donated by Holly from her shed roof)
  • Two cups of natural yogurt
  • Two cups of water (you can use beer, but, sadly, our office is lacking in that department)
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar

Step One

We washed the moss to remove as much soil possible from the roots – an interesting thing to be caught doing in the communal kitchen!

Step Two

The moss was broken into tiny pieces. It’s recommended that a blender is used to get the moss as broken down as possible, but none of us was willing to sacrifice our blenders to the cause, so we spent a considerable amount of time ripping the moss to shreds.IMG_2933

Step Three

We added the yoghurt, water and sugar, and stirred with a big stick that we remembered was behind the bookcase.

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Step Four

We disembarked into the Friar Gate Studios courtyard and began to paint our design, which I had drawn with chalk on the wall.IMG_7098

Step Five

We wait.

Step Six

We wait some more. And keep the design spritzed with water to encourage it to grow…

We’ll keep you posted on how the Moss Graffiti comes along and ‘the big reveal’ when it’s lush and green; why not try some of your own?

Fay

A workman can blame his tools and still retain dignity

I know the old saying about a poor workman blaming his tools but, when the lawn is growing like blazes, you’ve just spend a couple of hundred pounds having your mower serviced and it conks-out less than half way through its first cut, I seriously think the saying does not apply.

It’s a tractor mower that works hard.   Our garden is on quite a slope and for ten years I’ve been driving it up and down for approximately three hours each weekend.  So, over a 40 week growing season, that’s 50 solid days of mowing – and sometimes I mow twice a week during the real heart of the growing season or we are having guests!

All fondness for the machine quickly evaporated, however, when, without warning, it simply stopped.  I checked the belts and all of the usual suspects for interfering with normal service, but all appeared to be working properly.  This was around 12.30pm on Sunday so not help was available.    Throughout the afternoon I kept returning to see if it had developed a guilty conscience – it had not!

Despite extending my vocabulary into rarely used territory, that mean, little red tractor did not budge.   In the end I wheeled out the trusty 30” Atco Royale, took off the grass collecting box, and walked behind it for, what seemed like hours.    My wife had to admit that the striping achieved with the old machine did look terrific and much better than that produced by the rotary cut with the tractor – but it was jolly hard work!

I was up at the crack of dawn and out again to see if that conscience had been pricked – but it hadn’t.  So I called up the man who had just serviced it.   In his defence he was out within half an hour and as confused about its lack of mobility as I.  We pushed and shoved it off the lawn and up into his van.

A couple of hours later he reappeared and still seemed confused as to why it broke down.  He thought it was something from the coil shorting out so he isolated that piece of kit.  I now have a shiny new silver button on the dash-board of the little red tractor.   It starts with the usual key but now, to turn the engine off, I simply push the button.

To test it thoroughly, I cut the lawn again.  And do you know what?  My wife simply said it looked far better with the Atco.  There’s gratitude for you.

Graham