Healthy Garden, Body and Soul

A new study published as an online journal on the Environmental Health Perspectives website has proven that natural environments are beneficial for human physical and mental health.

With growing concern for our next generation’s lifestyle, which shows a marked decline in outdoor activity, this finding will hopefully encourage healthier living through gardening and landscape design. Potentially seeing more design projects like the High line, a garden build on a disused rail line through New York.

 

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A group of scientists; Peter James, Jaime E. Hart, Rachel F. Banay, and Francine Laden researched the connection between residential greenness and mortality. Their results concluded that higher levels of green vegetation were associated with decreased mortality, suggesting regular proximity with vegetation might help people live longer. A research associate from the Harvard Chan School stated “We are surprised to observe such strong associations between increase exposure to greenness and lower mortality rates.” Harvard research shows a 27% reduction in the risk of a heart attack or stroke by doing active tasks in the home or garden. This study spanned over 12 years and nearly 4000 participants. The study also found that women living in areas of vegetation had lower risk of death via cancer or respiratory disease.

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As well as the physical benefits, greenery has shown a positive effect on mental health. These findings will hopefully create new policies and guidelines requiring city planners to incorporate more space for plants when designing or regenerating urban areas.  In addition to the health benefits identified, more green spaces in cities reduce air pollution, reduce noise pollution, increase social interaction, and provide greater opportunity for physical activity.

Another study carried out at Exeter University used images and MRI scans to demonstrate that images of natural landscapes activate an area in the brain associated with calm and medatation. Where as, images of cityscapes resulted in a delay in reaction as the brain tried to process the complexity of the images. It has been suggested by Professor Michael Depledge a former environmental scientist, that people living in urban areas could be suffering in the same way as animals kept in captivity.

To read more studies about human and environmental relationships, visit http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/.

To help get you started on creating your own healthy green patch, use Shoot  to select suitable plant that you will be able to maintain with monthly care list and newsletters with gardening inspiration and tips.

 

Upcoming RHS event

There are some great RHS events coming up in April and May.

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First off is the London Spring Plant Extravaganza featuring the RHS Orchid Show, held in the Lawrence Hall and Lindy Hall, London from the 1st to 2nd of April. Find out about plant growers favourites, get inspired by vast Spring planting displays and bring your purse along as you will have the chance to buy plants and sundries too.

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Next up is the first RHS Show of the year, from the 15th to 17th of April and held in Bute Park, the RHS Flower Show Cardiff  opens the year with a flurry. This year the RHS are celebrating the centenary of the birth of world-famous author Roald Dahl. The show is full of entertainment for all ages, with activities; learning to forage, building a den and visit the 58 nurseries with impressive displays of Daffodils (narcissus), Tulips (tulips) and many more .

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Then to top it all off, we have the excitement and suspense of the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show from the 24th to 28 of May. A great place to see new plants, trends, style and gain inspiration for your own garden design.  We will be updating articles and blogs from the show gardens, Artisan gardens and Fresh Gardens, so watch this space.

And remember if you do visit any of these events, please email or tweet us your photos.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pollen is coming, be prepared.

Spring has sprung and everything is waking. However, as flowers start to bloom, that ‘everything’ may include your hay fever!

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For those of you who like the outdoors, but suffer from pollen allergies, we want to help! As all doctors agree, prevention is better than a cure so understanding what kind of pollen you are allergic to is more than half the battle. If you can work out what triggers your hay fever, you can try to avoid it whilst still enjoying outdoor activities , especially gardening!

Since pollen is primarily carried by wind or insects, it is impossible to avoid it altogether. Airborne pollen is at its highest concentration in the morning as the temperature starts to warm and in the evening as the temperature cools. Warm, windy days are the worst for airborne pollen, but many allergy-suffering gardeners cannot stop working due to these conditions. In this situation, seeking medical advice and wearing personal protective equipment are the best ways to lessen allergy symptoms. Generally, different plant groups create more pollen during a specific time frame throughout the year. You may be able to identify what type of pollen you allergic by what time of year you have symptoms:

  • Tree pollen usually affects people from January to May
  • Grass pollen is released in May through to the end of the grass growing period (this is usually autumn).
  • Weed pollen season is late summer into autumn.

Easy ways to reduce your pollen contact:

  1. If you suffer from a tree pollen allergy, avoid planting trees or shrubs with catkins such as: alder (Alnus) , ash (Fraxinus) , beech (Fagus) , birch (Betula) , elm (Ulmus), ginkgo, hazel (Corylus) , mulberry (Morus) and oak (Quercus) . If you desperately want to plant one of these trees in your garden, check if it is dioecious so you can select a female plant that won’t produce pollen but will produce fruit.

  2. Choose plants that attract wildlife. Their pollen is generally collected by insects so it is less likely to be airborne. Plants like foxgloves (Digitalis), Campsis and other trumpet-shaped flowers are also good options.
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  3. Grass pollen sources include lawns, ornamental grasses, and meadows. Luckily, ornamental grasses such as Muhlenbergia, Stipa, Carex, and Miscanthus are low maintenance during the warmer months. Also, lawn grass pollen can be greatly reduced by frequent cutting.

For more information on allergic reactions, moulds, and more gardening tips for positive avoidance, please visit Allergy UK  

 

 

Mother’s Day Walk and Talk

A walk in an open space allows us to open our lungs and stretch our legs, see the beauty of gardens and the natural wilderness and also has a way of opening us up. Being surrounded by fresh air and lush green has a very positive effect on the brain, it calms the mind, boosts creative thinking and gives us a chance to reflect.

This Mother’s day weekend there are 20 NGS gardens open across the UK. Here are just 5 of the 20 for your to visit with your Mum and entire family:

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www.capelmanorgardens.co.uk.

Open on Saturday only: Capel Manor Gardens, Enfield, a great for all the family; there are 30 acre of gardens that surround the Georgian Manor House and Victorian Stables, model and historic gardens including a Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal garden. And for the little ones who are not yet the avid gardeners, there are animals to see and an evergreen maze and Jungle Gym to play in for hours of fun.

 

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Photo by Alan and Diana Guy of Kitemoor Cottage

Visit Kitemoor Cottage in Dorset to view the beautiful varieties and cultivars of the beloved Christmas Rose. Plants person Diana Guy invites you to walk amongst her 1/2 an acre garden filled with; an orchard,fruit and vegetable garden, mini meadow, naturalistic planting and cottage borders. Diana also has a large collection of Hellebores with the opportunity to purchase some too.

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www.swarthmoorhall.co.uk

Fingers crossed they have had a perfect winter and the crocus field is full! For a look at naturalistic bulb planting and a field full of colour, visit Swarthmoor Hall in Cumbria. They are happy taking admission by donations and also serve light refreshments in the Barn Cafe.

 

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www.boughtonhouse.org.uk

Boughton House is a great spot in Northamptonshire with fantastic vistas, newly created sensory and wildlife gardens and a wilderness woodland open for visitors to view the spring flowers. You may even see the emergence of their herbaceous borders that will tempt you back for more.

 

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www.kingjohnsnursery.co.uk

Close to the Sussex/Kent border, a Romantic garden for all seasons will open it’s gates for the first time this year. King John’s Lodge is 4 acres composed of a formal garden with water features, rose walk and wild garden and pond. Rustic bridge to shaded ivy garden, large herbaceous borders, old shrub roses and secret garden.

For more information on all of these gardens and more please visit the NSG find a garden.

And remember if you do visit, please email or tweet us your photos celebrating Mother’s day.

 

 

Giving back

Nicola Gammon, founder & CEO of Shoot, announced a personal commitment to give back by signing up to Founders Pledge.

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“I thought — what kind of legacy do I want to leave as a human being? It was an easy decision for me to give back to the community, and to donate to MassChallenge, an organisation that has helped me and my business so much.”  Nicola Gammon, Founder of  Shoot

Through Founders Pledge, a charity that was spun out of Founders Forum, entrepreneurs leverage their success and give back to society, committing to donate at least 2% of their personal proceeds (not equity) from a liquidity event to a social cause of their choice.

As of March 2, Founders Pledge has had 329 pledges across 249 businesses with $18.2b in aggregate valuations, making the total value of pledges around $70 million. Founders Pledge charges nothing, allowing pledgers complete control in selecting the recipients of their donation, and brings together their community with regular events.

Pledges have been signed already by a number of MassChallenge alumni, including Nicola Gammon (founder and CEO at Shoot) and James Roy Poulter (co-founder and CEO at Pronto), David Hellard at Zipcube.com and Danilo Leao at BovControl.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, MADE.com, and Founders Forum, also supported the announcement today and stressed the importance of giving and connecting the tech community to opportunities to give at all stages of their life cycles.

When you have 80 people together in a room who have ‘made’ it, there is not as much energy. Getting together with younger entrepreneurs and using our influence collectively for good with Founders Pledge, we can accomplish so much.” — Brent Hoberman, Founder of MADE.com

The Big Problem with Sudden Oak Death

Although this may seem like old news, Sudden oak death is something all gardeners should look out for.

It is not just our beautiful old oak trees that suffer from this pathogen but many other smaller trees and shrubs that you are likely to have in your garden. The plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum known as Sudden oak death also effects garden plants such as; Rhododendron, Viburnum, CamelliaCalluna, Erica, Hamamelis , Lonicera , SyringaTaxus and Laurel.

Symptoms vary depending on each plant, therefore is especially hard to identify. Our advice would be to visit the DEFRA site to see the list of symptoms and contact them directly if you need any further assistance in this matter. If you do find an issue please share it with us on Twitter.

 

RHS London Botanic Art Show

The RHS are very busy bees and have lots of spring time shows scheduled for 2016.

First off is The London Botanic Art Show from the 26th & 27th of February. Head to RHS Lindey Hall, London for an exhibition of botanical art from around the world.

 

b7b64f838364947910e36887efd112e2Botanical illustration by Louis van Houtte,Fuchsias, 1877

You can wander through the pop up exhibition spaces, talk with the artists, watch them in action, pick up tips for your own artistic works and even get creative with prints and pressed flowers.

For more information and to book tickets for this show visit the RHS

Are you attending The London Botanic Art Show? Please email or tweet us your photos of the event.

And watch this space for updates on upcoming events…

 

 

 

The New Multi Plant Add Is Here!

We are making Shoot even easier to use. We are proud to announce the new multi-plant add feature. Here is how to use it:

Login as usual, go to My Garden and click on My Garden Notebook. Then, select a garden and click ‘Add Plant’

You will be offered these options:

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Select ‘Add Multiple Plants’

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Before adding a list of plants, select which garden you would like with the drop down tab just above the ‘Add Plants’ button.

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Once you have added your list, check through for spelling mistakes and descriptive information such as ‘(dark red)’ seen highlighted above. Please correct spellings and erase any other information other than the plant name otherwise it will fail to match.

When complete, click ‘Add Plants’. You will see a pop up of to tell you how many plants were added to your selected garden.

You will receive an email similar to this to tell you which plants we could not match on:

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You then have the option to request a plant or using our advance search tool.

We have had great feedback on this new feature so far. Please do comment below or tweet us to tell us your thoughts. We would love to hear from you!

And if you are not a member yet, please sign-up to TRY SHOOT FREE.

An Historic Spring Time Adventure

Geoffrey & Etta Wyatt will be opening the gates of their parkland garden for all to see.

The magical place can be found in the South downs National Park with views towards Cissbury Ring and the sea.

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This spring time garden was designed by Oliver Wyatt in 1945, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and a snowdrop enthusiast who discovered and named two varieties of snowdrops; Galanthus Maidwell L and Maidwell C,  and these can both be found at Cissbury.

The garden boasts a wilderness filled with breathtaking drifts of Snowdrops, Daffodils and Bluebells, as well as a magnificent dawn redwood, holm oak hedge, many cedars and shrubbery.

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The garden is open to all on Saturday  27 February and Thursday 3 March from 10am – 4pm. Admission is just £4.00 per adult and children go for free.  Dogs welcome and home made tea is available.

For maps and more information visit NGS Cissbury

As a NGS garden, the proceeds go to charities such as; Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and many more.

 

Plant recipies from BBC

This week at Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC, Rachel de Thame is providing ‘planting recipies’. The first is what Rachel is calling ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ as seen in The Telegraph Garden. Rachel’s advice is to keep a simple palette of just a few plants and avoid over filling your garden with too many varieties.

Plants in the Nouvelle Cuisine recipe include: