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

Nutscene – Jute Products from the Field to the Factory

Nutscene Twine – I’m sure if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest you will have heard of us! For nearly 100 years we have manufactured the highest quality of garden twine, whilst always looking at the bigger picture and reinvesting into product development. After all, the world doesn’t stay still, irrespective of the fact that we still use the same machinery used in 1922!

Nutscene are a company of first’s. We have reinvented the twine industry over the years and we were the first to bring coloured twines to the market. We have introduced crafting twines, garden twines, baking twines and chunky twines. Furthermore, we continue to innovate our products to ensure the highest quality of user-experience for our clients – both trade and private. Innovations such as the Tin of Twine and the Reclaimed Mill Bobbin have changed the way the user interacts with the product and has ensured tangle-free convenience for gardeners across the nation.

Subsequently, a number of firms have attempted to emulate the Nutscene formula – attempting to put their own unique spin on our famous twines, but all have failed to stand the test of time and quality like Nutscene have, and somewhat ended up in a spin themselves! To this day, Nutscene continue to push forward, breaking boundaries! As we say… often copied, never equalled! 

 Our twines are world famous. We currently export to over 23 countries and we can proudly say that our product is both sustainable and vegan friendly. Yes – no wool or synthetics used here! The sheep can keep their coats! With more and more of us conscious about the welfare of animals, Nutscene can genuinely say that no animals are exploited nor used within the manufacturing process of our twines. It all comes from a rather special plant – JUTE! From plants for plants… 

The Jute Plant that we use is harvested in Bangladesh and we import the yarn and reprocess it to our own unique specifications. Jute is responsible for a significant portion of the Bangladeshi economy; Bangladesh is the largest exporter of raw jute in the world and the nation also provides the highest quality jute too! The mill that we are in partnership with employs around 5,000 people and they are continually praised nationally for their efforts in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), winning numerous awards regarding exportation and how their employees are treated and cared for. It is for these ethical beliefs that our partnership with this firm continues to blossom.

Raw jute is a plant that grows at a rapid pace. There literally is no better product on the  market to safely tie back your stems. There will be no contamination, bruising or damage to your plants with Nutscene twines. Soft, strong and lives fairly long – there is no substitute. That is our promise

Everyone these days talks about sustainability when describing their products, but few actually give reference as to how they are sustainable. Its almost become a buzz term whereby business owners feel they can exploit their clientele by talking about how they have addressed their ethical concerns. For example, animal products such as wool may appear sustainable, but the use of this in products is to the detriment and exploitation of the animal. Further research revealed that as the sheep get older, they produce less and less wool and are subsequently likely to be sent to the slaughter at a younger age. All this so we can profit from the natural resource of the sheep? Doesn’t seem fair… That is just one example – we are not saying that all sheep are treated in such a manner but what we are trying to say is that Nutscene products are friendly for vegans and those who feel strongly about animal welfare. By all means, excess wools should be utilised to provide clothing etc, but at the same time, animals should not be treated unfairly purely for human gain.

Nutscene are proud to disclose that the jute plant takes around 120 days to harvest after sowing. 120 days from being placed in the ground to harvest… wow! Now for a plant, that is lightening quick, especially if we consider the strength that the plant grows to in such a small space of time!

Jute is a natural resource and is available in Bangladesh all year round, growing especially fast during the monsoon season due to the increased rainfall. The Ganges River Delta is at the centre of jute production and it is here where ‘the golden fibre’ thrives, largely due to the perfect growing conditions for the plant. 

Additionally, by choosing to import raw jute, Nutscene contribute to the UK economy in the form of import taxation. This tax is fed back into the economy and is why the government encourage the importation/exportation of goods. Nutscene have been praised in their efforts in global trade, and we pledge to continue to venture further and further afield! After-all, how long is a piece of string…!? As long as you want it to be.

Right – enough of the formalities as what we here at Nutscene have, is a product steeped in history. The story of our brand dates back to 1922 when we patented the original Nutscene greentwist twine, somewhat the crown jewel of our quickly growing archive. At that stage, Nutscene were based in Dundee, a city renowned as the home of ‘jute, jam and journalism‘, but have since changed location to Forfar, a short ways up the A90. From here, we operate a medium sized factory and employ a local workforce that specialise in the reprocessing of the jute that we import. We employ 12 people who perform various duties within the factory and offices – from manufacturing to marketing, the whole team is involved in and plays a pivotal role in the legacy of a proud and prestigious company. From the field to the factory if you will! 

Its all the more impressive if you consider twine as an unlikely spin-off from the famous juteopolis movement in Dundee. Its quite incredible that the founders had the foresight to establish a business based on garden string, yet the business has since gone from strength to strength! Our ties to the Great British manufacturing industry are stronger than ever, especially as many skills are lost due to the emergence of new machinery and industrial technology. Nutscene continue to manufacture quality twines the original way, passing on skills that would otherwise be lost in the midst of time, all the wile ensuring that our products are priced fairly within the market. After all, we actually care about the welfare of the environment! 

The Future? So what shall it bring? If we go back 100 years and asked what the future would bring I think we would get a very different answer! Our twine products have been used in a variety of projects – from fashion to parcel packaging. Our product has also been utilised by 2017 New Gen award winner Nicholas Daley. Nicholas was so taken by Dundee’s jute industry, that he created his own fashion range – The Juteopolis collection, as part of his fashion label. This range has been critically acclaimed and has since been at the forefront of the London fashion scene. It bears special relevance to Nicholas due to family ties within the Dundee area.

Nonetheless, in order to move forwards, sometimes it’s necessary to have a glance in the rear-view. Nutscene are the last remaining jute processing company that was born in Dundee. We truly are the innovators and curators of twine. With our centenary on the horizon, there is no doubt that there soon will be a celebration of all things twine, but in the meantime, we will continue to travel the globe, spreading the word of the famous old Nutscene twine. Some things change – some things don’t. The quality of our product is one of those and it will never be compromised. We pledge to continue on as guardians of the slender stems.

Thousands descend on garden centres for Unwins Sweet Pea seeds

The Unwins Sweet Pea and Emma Bridgewater vase promotion has truly taken off, with over 8,000 claimants hitting the Unwins website in for the first 30 mins alone.

Garden centres stocking the promotion reported shoppers arriving at 9am on March 1 (the day the promotion started) to purchase seeds to allow them to claim a limited edition Emma Bridgewater sweet pea vase. The Emma Bridgewater vases were made bespoke for Unwins to celebrate its new Sweet Pea seed range and so are real collector items.

Due to the unprecedented demand, Westland is looking to extend the campaign and is calling for garden centres to make sure their Unwins Sweet Pea displays are at the front of stores to get maximum exposure over the coming weeks.

Andrew West, Head of Purchasing at Hillier Garden Centre Group, said: “In the first week of the promotion from March 1-7 we saw a 25% uplift in Unwins Sweet Pea unit sales over the previous week, which we can only attribute to the successful advertising of the promotion. One centre had a customer buy 50 packets in one go!”

On social media, shoppers were whipped into a frenzy. One fan said: “Got hubby to go into the garden centre only for him to be told by staff that shelves have been cleared by one woman who spent hundreds of pounds shortly after the store opened!” Another said: “Sweet Peas are my favourite! Will be planting seeds in our new garden when we move house and the bottle will live on my dresser!”

Amy Roberts, Brand Manager for Unwins, said: “The speed and impact of this promotion has been outstanding and clearly shows the effect and impact social media has in driving consumer uptake. Its purpose was to bring Unwins Seeds to a new consumer base and to push our Sweet Pea heritage into the minds of consumers. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve certainly done this.

“In fact, it’s been so successful that we are now looking into ways to extend it over the coming weeks, so there is still time for your centre to take part in the promotion. If you would like to engage in the promotion please contact your Westland Territory Manager.”

The Sensational Sweet Peas range was inspired by the prevalent period drama trend – made popular by the BBC drama Downton Abbey – an era which invoked grandeur, with elegant and romantic show-stopping colour. The collection includes old favourites and brand new varieties, including:

Sweet Pea Little Red Riding Hood – Enchanting blooms of light and deep red, this Sweet Pea has a beautiful heady fragrance and looks great in a cut flower display. Great in a vase!

Sweet Pea Maloy – Delicately-scented light and deep salmon pink. A lovely partner to dark and rich coloured varieties.

Sweet Pea Erewhon – Two-tone mauve-purple variety producing delicately-scented flowers from May to August. Excellent cut flower variety.

UNWINS – With over 100 years of experience, Unwins is famed for its Sweet Pea breeding. William Unwins sold his first Sweet Pea seeds in 1903, which he sold to flower markets in London. He was soon hybridising Sweet Peas and offered large flowered forms in a wide range of colours. By 1914 he had been joined in the business by his son Charles, who went on to become one of the leading Sweet Pea breeders of the 20th Century.

Fallen Fruits provides a fruitful offering this autumn

fallenfruitsWith harvest festival just around the corner, Fallen Fruits is providing garden centre and giftware retailers with a clever collection of fruit preparation products to help maximise profits this autumn.

With consumers keen to salvage the last of the summer’s yield, the company’s Berry Picker and Fruit Picker take the hassle out of the picking process. Whilst the Fruit Picker is ideal for freeing larger fruit from hard-to-reach branches, the fine- toothed Berry Picker is a great time saving gadget, enabling a user to collect a vast amount of fruit all in one go.

For those who find themselves with a glut of fresh produce, Fallen Fruits’ traditional Fruit Press is a quirky yet highly functional juice extractor. With a six litre capacity, the fruit press can be used with almost any sized fruit and makes for a great gift solution for those interested in home brewing or even kitchen gardens and allotment growing.

fallen-fruits-apple-press-2Alongside the collection of pickers and pressers, Fallen Fruits has expanded its range of Nature Print Napkins. Now including a trio of

autumn-themed prints, including a pheasant, duck and toadstool, the new napkins are ideal for mopping up the last of the summer harvest.

With RRPs ranging from £2.99 for a pack of 12 napkins to £119.99 for a fruit press, Fallen Fruits’ seasonal offerings enable retailers to make the most of the pre-Christmas sales period.

For more information about these and other Fallen Fruits products, contact the company on 01584 873377 or by emailing sales@fallenfruits.co.uk.

Fallen Fruits’ Flower Pouffes recognised at GIMA Awards

fallenfruitsFallen Fruits, the garden giftware company whose themed, designer collections are inspired by nature, is celebrating the success of its Flower Pouffes at this year’s GIMA Awards, held on the 14th July at Celtic Manor.  The Flower Pouffes follow on from the massive popularity of last season’s Fruit Pouffe launch.

These extremely comfortable summery pouffes are available in brightly coloured sunflower and gerbera designs as well as a super realistic tree trunk version, making them as eye-catching as they are practical for any outdoor space.

The inflatable pouffes feature handy removable, waterproof covers making them easy to clean and dry if the weather turns.  Retailing at £29.99, they are a fun, reasonably priced, addition to any garden.

Fallen Fruits managing director Michael Hall explains, “Garden accessories no longer have to be bland and boring, simply blending into their backgrounds.  Consumers are now looking for unique, fun and quirky items to brighten up their outdoor spaces.  This is why we have introduced the Outdoor Pouffe flower designs following up on the fruity theme, which everyone loved as well.

fallen fruits Flower Pouffes“They are a perfect proposition for any garden centre wanting to offer its consumers something a little bit different,” adds Michael.

For further information about this and other collections, garden retailers can contact Fallen Fruits on 01584 873377 or by emailing sales@fallenfruits.co.uk.


fallenfruitsGarden giftware company, Fallen Fruits has unveiled two new floral additions to its range of ever-popular Outdoor Pouffes.

Currently available as fruity segments of Watermelon, Orange and Kiwi, as well as the recently launched Tree Truck design, the new Gerbera Daisy and Sunflower Pouffes complement the existing range perfectly and offer a colourful solution to brightening up any outdoor space.

Retailing at £29.99, the Pouffes make for a fun, reasonably priced addition to any summer party and offer a great gift solution for garden lovers. Featuring a handy removable, waterproof cover, the inflatable Pouffes are easy to clean and dry as well as fold away for storage when not in use.

Commenting on the new additions to the range, Managing Director, Michael Hall said, “ One of our most popular product ranges to date, the punchy colours and practical design of the Outdoor Pouffes ensure that they are well loved by consumers and retailers alike. With the addition of the bright pink Gerbera and sunny yellow Sunflower, we are confident that these quirky Pouffes are set for yet another successful sales season.”

fallen fruits Flower PouffesPart of the Nature Print collection, the new Flower Pouffes will be on display at this years’ SOLEX. For more information about these and other 2 Fallen Fruits products, visit SOLEX stand 450 or contact the company on 01584 873377/ sales@fallenfruits.co.uk


fallenfruitsThis summer, Fallen Fruits is turning garden landscapes inside-out with a new range of funky Garden Carpets, which are set to exhibit at this year’s SOLEX.

Channelling the current trend for ‘outdoor rooms’, the new, weather resistant carpets take their inspiration from typical interior rug designs. Style conscious consumers can choose between contemporary tessellating patterns or an eye-catching Persian style for a quirky outdoor living space that won’t require a hoover!

fallen fruits Garden CarpetFor those who prefer a more ‘thick pile’ look, Fallen Fruits also offers artificial grass rugs in a choice of three bold colours- Blue, Brown or Pink – for a striking alternative to traditional artificial grass. Including UV proof holes to prevent water logging, these rugs offer an ultra-modern solution to brightening up small urban gardens and city spaces.

Commenting on the new garden rugs, Managing Director Michael Hall said, “ With modern homes and gardens becoming increasingly smaller, we all want to make the most of the space we have available. The new 2 garden carpets offer a great addition to any patio or outdoor sitting area for a really stylish, usable space and are already showing signs of demand amongst retailers for the coming season.“

These extraordinary Garden Carpets will be on display on stand 450 at the upcoming SOLEX and are sure to be a hit amongst visitors. Garden retailers can find out more about this range and other Fallen Fruits garden accessories by contacting 01584873377 / sales@fallenfruits.co.uk


fallenfruitsFallen Fruits is set to unveil the latest additions to its popular Fancy Flames collection at the upcoming SOLEX exhibition.

Incorporating everything from candles and tealights to Chimineas and firepits, the Fancy Flames collection brings together traditional and contemporary design influences to create a wide range of attractive products and accessories all united by living flames for stylish outdoor spaces.

FF245_02The most recent additions to the range include a traditional, heavy duty Dutch Oven and rustic Steel Fire Bowl, which makes for a bold centrepiece for any patio or BBQ area. Other new products include the innovative BBQ Table, which can be easily transformed from grill to funky bar- style table for the ultimate garden accessory this summer.

Commenting on the range, Managing Director, Michael Hall explained, “This collection has fantastic appeal for style-savvy consumers who just want to enjoy their outdoor space. The recent additions complement the existing range perfectly and provide great gift options for garden lovers, social butterflies and even keen campers. We are looking forward to unveiling the new products at this year’s SOLEX and are confident that they will be well received by garden centre retailers and other visitors to the exhibition.”

With RRPs ranging from £2.99 for a set of small citronella garden torches to £599 for an extra large wood store, the Fancy Flames collection offers retailers a comprehensive selection of products with which to maximise their consumer appeal.

Garden retailers can contact Fallen Fruits for more information about this and other collections by visiting SOLEX stand 450 or by contacting the company on 01584 873377 or emailing sales@fallenfruits.co.uk

Shortlisted for a national award at the Gift of the Year Awards

BentleyBentley Brushware is starting 2016 as we mean to go on, after being shortlisted for a national award at the Gift of the Year Awards.

After working in partnership with the National Trust to design and manufacture a collection of premium gardening tools in 2015, we have now created the ultimate gift sets for gardeners.

Featuring a hand fork and hand trowel, which are FSC certified, and a pair of soft cotton gardening gloves with dragonfly print, this impressive set has made the shortlist in the Garden and Outdoor Living category.

As well as being well-designed using 155 years of expertise, these high quality tools have been packaged attractively in a traditional brown box with string binding and gift label.

bentley gift of year shortlistedIn addition, purchasers have the added knowledge that by choosing this product they are helping to support the vital conservation work carried out by the National Trust.

Charles Bentley, Managing Director, comments: “We are delighted that this gift set has been shortlisted for a national award ahead of its launch. Last year we launched our National Trust gardening tools and following the positive response and success we have had with the collection, we have now developed a number of gift sets using selected products from this range. Careful attention has been paid to ensuring these sets are packaged in an attractive way that is also in keeping with the traditional image of the National Trust. We are very pleased to be starting the year on such a positive note and look forward to launching the product later in the year.”

To learn more about Gift of the year click here.

SMART Shop-in-Shop success at Glee

smart garden productsSmart Garden Products, 2015 Supplier of the Year, focussed on in-store solutions and merchandising displays to showcase their new products on their stand at Glee.

The recently launched Outside In Designs® Clocks and Lanterns collection was presented in a Shop-in-Shop environment. Slat wall displays and eye-catching floor standing units were complemented with shelf wobblers and ceiling hangers. These displays offer a complete merchandising solution for garden centres with high visual impact to stimulate customer interest.

The Outside In Shop-in-Shop received a fantastic response and these displays are already rolling out to garden centres to help generate Autumn and Christmas sales.

Also receiving a very positive reception were the new technical and decorative innovations in their market-leading Smart Solar lighting category. The new Super Bright range of high lumen garden lighting is merchandised on visually striking displays. New products included a motion activated bollard light, Pharos, which has a 5 lumen light on its standard setting and then magnifies to 50 lumens when the motion sensor is activated. Also included in this new range is the Bianca light, which is solar and battery powered, so delivering all year round lighting performance. During the summer months, the 3 lumen light is solar powered, but during the long winter nights, an alkaline battery provides the power.

smart garden outdoor inAn extended range of Décor products was showcased on decorative plinths and included new additions to the popular rattan animal range; a new collection of giant metal flowers; a selection of glass birds and metal animals and an illuminated wind spinner.

A new range of natural hanging baskets and cones in three new material types including banana leaf, willow and water hyacinth were merchandised in practical promotional dump bins as well as a dedicated metal display stand.

The promotional dump bins highlighted the charitable donation Smart Garden will be making to the Harambee Schools for Kenya Charity, which funds education projects for children in Kenya. For each natural hanging basket sold in 2016, Smart Garden will donate 50 pence to this worthwhile cause.

These new additions to Hanging Gardening range were also well received.

Also launched at Glee was the new Smart Garden Products Catalogue for 2015/16. The 136 page catalogue includes the entire product range for the coming season.