Raffia – From Madagascar to Scotland

Nutscene not only specialise in jute twines – but we also import a vast range of Raffia from Madagascar! But what is Raffia? Well the short answer is… Raffia is a natural wonder!

Raffia is a natural fibre and is commonly used in the UK in crafting projects, twines, ropes, shoes, hats and other textiles. The Fibre itself is created from the underside of the frond leaf. Also known as Raffia Palm, this native to Madagascar possesses large plume-like leaves that are utilised within a variety of industries and is a major part of the south Asian economy. The tree has been said to harness over 800 uses, with the leaves used in thatching, construction, mats, baskets, fans and hats! The tree is so valuable to this area that in Cambodia the tree is seen as a national symbol! Nutscene’s Raffia is created from the Palmyra Palm Tree and we have proudly supplied the nation with Raffia for over 25 years!

First and foremost, Raffia is created from sustainable sources. The Palmyra Palm Tree is part of the Borassus family, which consists of five giant fan palms which are native to the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and New Guinea. It is the stocks of the Palmyra leaves that create what we call Raffia. These stocks are essentially stripped to create a long, thin fibre which can then be dyed and woven into a textile! Pretty impressive for a palm tree stem!

Within the Island of Madagascar, the palms are harvested deep inside the forest. The colourful raffia that we all know actually starts life pale green in colour, but soon after harvest, dries out and turns beige in colour. The strands or fibres are then transported to a sorting warehouse where they are ‘sorted’ and broken down into category. Categories include: colour, length, width and texture.

This natural Raffia is the put into ‘Raffia Hanks’, spools or balls and subsequently dyed to the relevant colour before they are dispatched. The Raffia process is one that is time consuming, though the local expertise and knowledge ensure only the finest Raffia is exported from the Island. This resource is sustainable as strict laws limit the harvest period of Raffia, ensuring that it can only be harvested from June to October each year. This ensures that the plant can re-grow to its full strength prior to it undertaking any damage. Under these ideal tropical growing conditions, the plants grow at an extensive rate, though the local populace treat the tree with the utmost respect as it is a major contributor to their economy.

As well as being a popular crafting accessory, Raffia is also useful in and around the garden as the natural fibres are very gentle when tying back plants and can be utilised as an alternative to conventional jute twines. The natural fibres are very soft and pliable, yet incredibly strong, durable and easy to manipulate! It is for these reasons that Raffia is largely used in the textile industry and is a first choice for many flower and vegetable growers! Raffia is subsequently used for agricultural purposes and feature prominently in vineyards, gardens and florists.

Raffia is also a first choice for many aspiring crafters. The attributes that are associated with Raffia are that of a strong, durable, flexible yet soft binding material. Furthermore, Raffia is also utilised by companies for packaging purposes. The fibre is extremely popular and is often used as filler in boutique goods such as fine whiskies, oils, jams, wines or even soaps! The rustic look of the product provides high aesthetic value to boutique goods and preservatives. It really can help enhance the packaging and look of your goods! Additionally, Raffia is also a favourite in gift-wrapping!

Nutscene Raffia – More than one use…

Our Raffia’s are used for a variety of purposes – some a little stranger than others! When Nutscene recently attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we came across a trio of ladies who disclosed that they actually were rather partial to eating Raffia! Or at least they were when they were in school! But nonetheless, we certainly do not endorse nor recommend the consumption of Raffia – a natural product or not! In all the years that we have sold our Raffia, we have never heard of anyone eating it – it’s quite remarkable that we simultaneously bumped into 3 ladies who all had this rather strange guilty pleasure! For more on Nutscene’s Raffia visit: https://nutscene.com/products/nutscene-raffia

BRING A SPLASH OF COLOUR TO JULY

Warwickshire based Hawkesmill Nurseries have over 40 years experience of growing stunning flower varieties which provide bright displays and encourage seasonal sales.  These beautiful blooms below will bring a splash of colour to your July deliveries!  All of these varieties are supplied with large lock-in labels and a colour bed card.

The Crocosmia selection of late flowering perennials are abundant in their 3 litre pots and very popular.  Six of the best varieties are on offer including, ‘Babylon’, ‘Carmine Brilliant’, ‘Colombus’, ‘Emberglow’, ‘George Davison’ and ‘masonorum’.

Brand new for 2017 is Helenium ‘Short ‘n’ Sassy’, this compact formed variety has rich bright orange and gold flowers.  This super, colourful beauty blooms over a long flowering season and is supplied in 3 litre pots.

Another new stunner for this year is Lobelia ‘Starship Scarlet’, striking is the word for this variety!  Scarlet red flowers contrast above ruby red foliage to bring a blooming intergalactic sensation to the garden.

Who doesn’t love a Rudbeckia?  And Hawkesmills brand new ‘Goldsturm’ is a late summer/ autumn cut above the rest!  The masses of gorgeous yellow, daisy like flowers would be a golden asset to any plantaria.  Provided in 3 litre pots.

For a touch of blue hue mystery, Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ is just the ticket.  The long flowering form of this variety is full of blue-purple flowers and fragrant foliage. The bees and butterflies just love it too!

www.hawkesmillnurseries.co.uk

Hawkesmill Are Double Winners At The National Plant Show

The Hawkesmill Nurseries team are proud to announce that their brand new and exclusive Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ and also their Viola ‘Bridie’, which is from the Victorian Viola range, have both won silver at the HTA National Plant Show in the New Plants Awards ‘Herbaceous Perennials’ category.

The Warwickshire based family business, who offer retailers a wide selection of plants such as perennials, alpines, grasses and wildflowers, have chosen to offer these amazing plants this year to compliment their extensive herbaceous collections.

Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ is a pink form of the immensely popular Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and is exclusive to Hawkesmill Nurseries.  Available from June and throughout the summer in bud and flower, this stunner is supplied in 3 litre pots. Attractive to bees and butterflies, ‘Pink Lips’ also has a superb aromatic foliage and a height and spread of 90 x 60 cm.

Viola ‘Bridie’ is one of the superb flowers from the Victorian Viola range, ‘Bridie’ will be available from Hawkesmill Nurseries in 2018. The range has a rainbow of colour options, with many varieties also being scented.  This abundant collection of flowers has superb ‘staying power’ from April through to September, and as hardy perennials, they will continue to flower year after year.

Richard Evans, Sales Director said ” We are so pleased to have won awards again this year after having won a gold last year for the amazing Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. We feel that both the winning Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ and Viola ‘Bridie’, are not only beautiful, but also have many added benefits for the end consumer. Once again the time at the National Plant Show has been exceptional for our team and we look forward to next years show!”

Hawkesmill Nurseries is a family run business with over 40 years growing experience – providing quality seasonal plants to Retail Nurseries, Garden Centres and also more recently to Landscapers and Garden Designers too.  They are based in the heart of the country having their own satellite nurseries all within a 25 mile radius of the main production and dispatch site.

Garden Retailers can contact Hawkesmill Nurseries for more information about their plants, as well as general availability on 01676 532334 or by emailing sales@hawkesmillnurseries.co.uk

More NEW products from Peckish – Unlock your bird care sales

The full range of 40+ new products from Peckish for 2017-18 have been announced, offering retailers the chance to unlock their bird care sales.

Product offerings include the exclusive Secret Garden range, appealing to ‘romantic’ gardeners, a new festive themed product that’s sure to be a Christmas hit, and an extended range of Peckish Natural Balance for entry level consumers. The range includes:

Secret Garden Range

Bird lovers will be invited to seek solace from the outside world in the Secret Garden, a new range from bird care brand, Peckish. The Secret Garden will come alive in-store with point of sale, designed to bring to life the decorative range.

 Secret Garden Leaf Bird Feeder – A single decorative leaf feeder with an antique finish and a strong, stable ground spike. Designed to be staked into a bed or border, ideal for feeding mealworms and suet pellet treats.

 Secret Garden Bird Bath – An extra wide bird bath with an antique finish, decorative leaf design twisting around the stem and a sturdy wide base.

 Secret Garden Dining Station – With a decorative leaf design, 10 hooks for hanging feeders, a mesh food tray and a strong, stable base fork. Also available is a new patio stand to use with all our dining station range.

 Secret Garden Feeder Range – A range of decorative feeders made from durable metal. Prevent mess and waste with seed tray included on the seed and nyjer feeder. They also feature attractive design details, such as leaf motifs. Available in seed, peanut, nyjer and energy ball formats.

 Secret Garden Squirrel Proof Seed and Peanut Feeders – Featuring screw top lid and a tough metal cage to prevent squirrels and large birds feeding.
NEW in the Daily Goodness range

Daily Goodness Nuggets Easy Feeder – An exciting new addition to the No 1* ready to use range, pre-filled with our Peckish Daily Goodness Nuggets. Simply unwrap and hang out for birds. Once they’ve been eaten, refill with more nuggets. (*source GFK)

NEW in the Natural Balance range

An extended range of entry level products. Made from 100% natural ingredients, the 8 seed blend is enriched with sunflower seeds to attract a wide variety of garden birds.

 Natural Balance Seed Mix – The popular seed mix is now available in smaller 1.7kg and 4kg packs, alongside the existing 12.75kg bulk bag.

 Natural Balance Energy Balls – High energy and enriched with sunflowers, available in a 6- pack, 25 pack refill and an extra value 50-pack tub.
Festive Mince Pie Flavour Suet Cake

Winter Warmer Festive Suet Cake with Festive Mince Pie flavour and aroma to attract birds – and shoppers! High in fat and enriched with our Calvita vitamin and mineral supplement. The 300g suet cake is ideally positioned as a stocking filler and the 8 pack box with free feeder is the perfect Christmas present.

Rachael Dickinson, Senior Marketing Manager for Peckish said: “All of our new products will be supported by new POS, encouraging new consumers into the category and offering numerous link-sell opportunities. The Peckish brand has something to appeal to everyone, from newcomers to seasoned bird lovers. We’ve even got this year’s must-have Christmas item in the form of the Peckish Winter Warmer Festive Suet Cake, which smells like mince pies and will make a great addition to any bird lovers Christmas stocking!”

For further information on our new ranges and Peckish please contact your rep or visit our website at www.peckishbirdfood.com

‘Nibbling’ The NEW Gooseberry

Lubera have found the perfect name for their brand NEW gooseberry ….’Nibbling’.  Nothing better describes what you will want to do, and indeed we guarantee you will end up not being able to resist doing, when you see these red, jewel-like berries dangling temptingly in front of you!

This year, Lubera’s very large gooseberry cultivation program has reached 10 years of breeding work. The goal was to improve the mildew resistance on the one hand, to increase the quality of the fruit on the other hand, and, finally, to produce less thorns…the fruits of the new variety ‘Nibbling’ are large, medium red to bright dark red, aromatic and deliciously fruity in taste.

Gooseberry Crispa’Nibbling‘ is the aromatic tip of our gooseberry range together with the new Crispa ‘Darling’ variety and the yellow equivalent Crispa ‘Goldling‘.  All of these three varieties also have a better tolerance level against mildew!

‘Nibbling’ ripens a bit earlier, stays longer on the bush, and are a continually source of snacking heaven, the fruits are rounder, darker and slightly larger. Together with the ability to have slightly less thorns, it is a great variety for growing in containers. ‘Nibbling’ is a cross between ‘Redeva’ and ‘Hinnonmäki Yellow’.

Maturity: very early, before Crispa ‘Darling’. However, the fruits remain 3 – 4 weeks on the shrub, then turn a warm, dark red colour and they get sweeter. One can be snack on them for a very long time. It is ideal for growing in containers
Fruits: Slightly larger and rounder than the quite oval ‘Darling’ fruits. Sometimes a neck is formed on the stalk side, which makes the gooseberries look like small figs. The shell is fine, not hard; it can be well eaten, the fine hairiness is not felt
Flavour: ‘Nibbling’ can be eaten very early when the fruits are pinkish red with white stripe; later they get darker, sweeter, more intense, but without the “soapy” aftertaste, which some overripe gooseberries have. Actually these fruits hardly ever get overripe
Growth/health: In trials over the last five years, ‘Nibbling’ is one of the most robust varieties. It has a round, vital, balanced habit, which is ideal for growing in pots.
Yield: ‘Nibbling’ has a significantly higher yield than ‘Darling’. And there has been no loss of yield in the testing period throughout the past five years
Cost: A strong plant in 5 litre pot £15.90

SARAH RAVEN RACES AHEAD IN 4,000 METRE DASH!

Since its launch in 2012, the Sarah Raven flower collections, in partnership with Johnsons Seeds, have sold over 4,000 metres of seed, in over 700 retail outlets. Helen Clayton, Johnsons Brand Manager comments “These beautiful flower collections remain very popular with customers, showing there is still great interest in growing flowers for cutting and for attracting wildlife into gardens.”

The ‘Cut Flowers & Beautiful Gardens’ and ‘Brilliant for Bees & Butterflies’ ranges were launched following resurging interest in cut flower growing and gardening for wildlife. Whilst both collections have proved popular with retailers and customers alike, the cut flower collection has seen an increase in sales over the last couple of seasons, headed up by Ammi majus, the best-selling cut flower variety.

The collections each carry 47 choice varieties, selected by Sarah from flowers she has grown herself in her gardens at Perch Hill Farm. Each variety being a strong garden performer that can be direct sown where they are to flower, bringing high rewards with minimal maintenance.

New for the 2018 season, customers will be able to enter a competition to win a place on one of Sarah Raven’s flower gardening courses at Perch Hill Farm. Runners up will also receive a Wild Flowers book, signed by Sarah herself. Look out for the new on-stand point of sale highlighting the competition, in stores from August 2017.

NEW-LOOK LITTLE GARDENERS RANGE HELPS GROW SALES

With re-designed packaging and a stylish new wooden display, the new-look Johnsons Little Gardeners range, launched in the 2017 season, has enjoyed a boost in sales, with an increase of 19% in orders against the previous season. Helen Clayton, Brand Manager for Johnsons says “We are really pleased the updated display has created such an impact and proved to be so popular with our retailers and their customers. The message which comes across loud and clear on the stand is “Learn – Grow – Fun” and every product in our Little Gardeners range encompasses these three elements.”

The National Curriculum guidelines outline that children in key stage 1 & 2 (five – 11 years) should be able to identify common plants and flowers, understand what plants need to germinate, grow, thrive, understand plant reproduction and how the seasonal changes affect plants and vegetables. Each product in the Little Gardeners range includes facts that cover these topics as well as giving something for children to grow, encouraging them to get their hands dirty and being actively involved in the garden.

Aimed at helping parents and grandparents to inspire and engage the next generation of gardeners, the Little Gardeners selection includes easy-to-grow flower and vegetable seeds, Seed Starter Pots, My First Growing Game, Complete Grow Kits, My First Mini Greenhouse, Indoor Cress Garden and Flower Mixes. All come with comprehensive, easy-to-follow instructions to ensure success.

Little Gardeners even has its own website (www.little-gardeners.co.uk), which combines fun and facts with easy-to-navigate areas such as the Fun Zone, Little Gardeners’ Academy, plus a Meet the Gang page.

Come on you reds – Tesco launches indoor tomato plant that keeps on producing

It’s a dream shared by many people – growing your own tasty fruit and vegetables, but not everybody has a garden or the required space to do so.

Now a new unique and super-productive indoor tomato plant is being launched by Tesco aimed at helping people living in urban areas without gardens. The mini tomato plant has been naturally developed over the last five years by produce experts who have bred together varieties to come up with one that is small, compact and most importantly very productive.

By following the care instructions the small, but powerful plants can each produce up to 150 delicious tomatoes with minimal fuss.

Tesco herb and vegetable buyer Phoebe Burgess said:

“We hope this remarkable little powerhouse of a plant will help all those people eager to grow their own vegetables but don’t have a garden or adequate growing space to do so. “It really is the gift that keeps on giving and will help bring not only an abundance of delicious tasting tomatoes but a lot of fun in producing one of the UK’s favourite salad foods. “Tomatoes are among the most popular fruit and vegetables to grow at home, but as even the most green-fingered of Brits know, the success of garden growing is often down to the weather, which in the UK can be quite unpredictable. “The beauty of the mini tomato plant is that it’s so small it can fit on a small, sunlit window sill and doesn’t grow much over one foot tall.”

The popularity of fresh growing herbs and vegetable plants is on the increase in the UK with demand rising by nearly 10 per cent at Tesco in the last year.

Added Phoebe Burgess: “Picked off the plant when perfectly ripe, the bite-sized tomatoes are juicy with a classic sweet flavour.

“The plant already comes with about 10 tomatoes growing on it but my tip is that when the yellow flowers of the plant start to open, tickle them with your fingers to replicate pollination which will then encourage further production.”

The mini tomatoes are ideal as a healthy lunchbox snacking food, and are perfect in fresh summer salads or delicious pasta sauces.

The Mini Tomato Plant goes on sale this week priced at £4 and will be available in more than 300 Tesco stores across the UK.

Mr Fothergill’s Launches David Domoney Seeds for Grow-Your-Own Newcomers

Following the success of continued partnerships with the likes of the RHS, RSPB, Sarah Raven and Jekka McVicar, Mr Fothergill’s has teamed up with celebrity gardener David Domoney for 2018, with the launch of David Domoney’s Get Growing seed range.

Aimed at newcomers to grow-your-own, the collection includes 66 of the most popular vegetable varieties and 10 easy to use seed mats and tapes. Packet backs offer simple, jargon-free instructions and a QR code links to further ‘on the spot’ advice from David.

Packet fronts employ easy reference icons designed to sell the simplicity of the products. In store, the stand-alone range is displayed A to Z, and uniquely includes smaller pea and bean packets more suited to smaller scale growing and beginner gardeners than traditional pea and bean packaging.

The targeted range joins Mr Fothergill’s growing portfolio of retail seed concepts aimed at specific consumer groups and skill levels. Segmented ranging has increased market share for the Suffolk seed firm in recent years, and this looks set to continue with further launches and product development in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond.

Mr Fothergill’s Retail Marketing manager, Ian Cross, said: “Beginner gardeners can be overwhelmed when faced with the full Mr Fothergill’s retail range for the first time. The David Domoney Get Growing range offers tried and tested vegetable varieties, backed by a trusted face of gardening. Newcomers can now make a quick and informed buying decision from a honed offering that is just for them. We’re increasingly seeing targeted ranges hitting the right spot with consumers, and our retail customers are seeing stronger sales as a result.”

David Domoney adds: “I am delighted to be working with the team at Mr Fothergill’s. Growing seeds is such great fun, and I want my range to encourage many more budding gardeners to get growing from seed. Whether garden experts or first-timers connecting with a plant, the moment seed germinates is a special experience that everyone should enjoy.”

The David Domoney seed range joins an RHS endorsed AGM collection and a premium Optigrow treated seed range as the key Mr Fothergill’s launches for the 2018.

Visit www.mr-fothergills-trade.com to build your retail seed offering for the season ahead.

Bosch Cordless mini-saw with NanoBlade technology.

After 5 years of research and development, Bosch Home and Garden introduce the new EasyCut 12. This is the world’s first cordless mini saw of its kind. The highly innovative product has been shortlisted for the RHS product of the year.

The EasyCut 12 is unique due to the Nano blade technology; the world’s first saw blade with a Micro chain with 44 teeth for a 65mm cutting depth, the blade alone as over 40 patents!

The Nano blades come lubricated so you don’t have to worry as the Nano blades are 100% maintenance free. This save time, so you are free to perform multi-functional sawing such as plunge cuts and free hand cuts, as well as sawing in 2 directions. The versatile functionality of the Easycut 12 allows cutting both indoors & outdoors such as in the Garden for tasks such as effortless pruning of trees and bushes.

Additionally, the EasyCut 12 is easy to use because the innovative Nano Blade technology ensures vibration free sawing! So you can be assured that the Easycut 12 will give you superior control and high levels of precision when cutting, this especially for when a straight cut is needed. Also, equipped with Bosch SDS, enables you to change the Nano blade without the need for additional tools such as bolts and Allen keys!

Equipped with Lithium-ion technology, you can be confident for no memory effect and no self-discharge. Its low weight of just 900 grams, and its’ outstanding ergonomic design ensures sawing is effortless for working with wood and plastic. The 12 V battery gives you maximum freedom of movement and enables you to achieve high precision at all times when working in the garden or when performing demanding applications. Complex projects are also no problem with the EasyCut 12 because its battery offers more runtime per battery charge thanks to the Bosch Syneon Chip. Thanks to the Syneon Chip, the Easycut 12 always provides optimum power and maximum endurance in demanding tasks such as when sawing dense wood.

The Easycut 12 is the latest member of our 12 Volt power for ALL family, which has wide range of products to suit your DIY and Garden needs from drills, sanders, to grass trimmers. This means that you can grow your existing tool collection by buying baretools. You can use your 12V battery from the Easycut 12 on a range of 12V Bosch home and garden tools which can save you money.