Stewarts Office Plants

We supply many businesses across the South, from Sussex and Surrey, through Hampshire and Dorset to Wiltshire and Somerset. For more information about the services we offer visit our home page, or contact us here. In this blog you'll find news, interesting snippets, stories and pictures of our staff's adventures out on the road.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

One last funny post for 2018

Being a rather late convert to Dilbert cartoons I have a habit of clicking on his daily output. 

This one being rather topical I thought would be a good postscript to 2018:

Merry Christmas everyone!


GM Houseplant to combat pollution

Epipremnum Aureum in our greenhouse

This was one of those "did I just hear that?" moments while listening to Radio 4 on my commute in.

American scientists have apparently spliced some rabbit DNA into the Devil's Ivy houseplant (Epipremnum Aureum) to make it an effective remover of indoor pollutants.

Full article here

This raises as many questions as it answers: particularly, why the rabbit, and why Devil's Ivy?

A rabbit, yesterday
 I can probably answer the latter. Devil's Ivy is a very easy plant to keep and it has long been on the list of plants that are good natural air cleaners. I don't know the science behind this, but I suspect fairly thirsty plants with large leaves are generally best. My choice would probably have been the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), as that's usually top of the list of air cleaners. Though Devil's Ivy seems to be fashionable at the moment, which probably contributes to the choice, if I'm being cynical. 

As is customary, a little care advice. Epipremnum are an easy plant to care for. They come in sizes ranging from 12cm dia. pots to specimens grown up a mossy pole. Probably the most popular is the 'hang pots' like my image above, normally a 15cm pot with a hanger attached (though sadly we almost always detach the hanger and throw it in the plastic bin on arrival). 

Water-wise they are somewhere in the middle; what they do appreciate is a fair amount of feeding, as those trails grow at quite a rate. If they get too long, follow one almost back to the soil and cut the whole thing off. The only pest they really suffer with is mealy bug, which can be treated in the normal way. 

One thing: the roots are a little sensitive: take care when teasing them out of the pot, and once replanted it's wise to leave them for a few days to 'rest' before watering in, unlike every other plant I can think of!

As for the new GM ones, maybe a nice carrot to chew on now and then? 


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

New contender for world's biggest Boston fern?

Incontrovertible proof that someone is reading my blog!

Long term readers may recall that some six years ago I posted an image of an enormous Boston Fern that we adopted in a call centre in Havant. I rather playfully asked if it held the world record for the World's biggest Boston Fern.

A month ago, out of the blue, I was emailed by a gentleman called Edgar Fazenbaker who has sent me a couple of images of his fern which he says was at one point eight feet wide and six feet tall. It certainly looks it in the photos he sent me! 

If I ever legally possessed the World Record, Mr Fazenbaker, I relinquish it to you with a doff of my cap. The only slight question I have is whether this is specifically a Boston Fern (Nephrolepsis Exaltata Bostoniensis) as the foliage looks somewhat glossier. But I am nowhere near enough of a fern expert to sit in judgement. Perhaps six years hence someone else will email me and tell me.

As is customary, a little care advice. Boston Ferns are swamp/jungle floor plants from the tropics, so unsurprisingly it requires heat and humidity. Too much humidity, in fact, for most offices, which is why its popularity in my industry has waned as air conditioning has become more common. It also gets messy, with bits of leaves breaking of when touched. I still remember at my old firm in London caring for hanging baskets full of them over crisp linen table cloths in a high end Restaurant.

Kept wet enough, in a fairly bright location they will do OK. In fact I am happy to report that the one in the original post from 2012 is still going strong!


Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas in the new greenhouse

Slightly misleading post title, as all the signs are that we will not be over in our shiny new greenhouse this side of Christmas (still waiting for the electric supply to be sorted, amongst other things).

However, we are using all that lovely storage space to get all our client's artificial Christmas trees ready.

The obvious question you are going to ask is "can I order one" and the answer is a hard no; we started turning people away in early October. Our repeat customers almost fill up our order book straight away.

Our deliveries commence in about a week with four days of drop-offs to a local chain of car dealers with premises throughout Bournemouth, Poole and Salisbury. The last of the 70 trees we have sold is delivered Monday 10 December... then they all get collected in three manic days between New Year and Twelfth Night.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fame again!

Once again a Stewarts maintenance technician has managed to photobomb the Google Streetview image of one of our clients. Again in Poole, funnily enough.

Again I was using this image for the location notes for the client; the van is parked where we are meant to, so this forms a helpful guide for the staff!


Monday, September 24, 2018

A glimpse inside our new greenhouse

I took this photo as a celebration of the fact I'd just moved all these plant pots from the next bay along on my own. It took about two hours!

They don't look like a very big pile in this picture; there's probably a couple of hundred. Each of those very carefully stacked piles in the middle is four wide, two or three high and about ten long.

The space you are looking at will be our plants storage area. I moved the pots as the racking in the bay next door is arriving in two days.

I've just found out the plant benches (which go where these pots are now...) are arriving in about a week. So I'll have to move them again!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Feature plant: dead Dracaena Riki!

No sooner had I posted the previous feature plant article on the Dracaena Riki than one of my staff (Jo, who I blogged about the other day) sent me a photo of one of our plant displays in one of her clients between Bournemouth and Poole.

Thankfully the state of this plant is not an accurate testament of her maintenance skills, but one in a room that we have not been able to gain access to for approaching a year.

I said in my previous post that Dracaena Rikis need very little water, but even these have their limits!

Though if you look at the bottom left, even after all this time and the very hot summer we have had, there is a little bit of green leaf showing on the bottom left.


Feature plant: Dracaena Riki

The Dracaena family is not only a rich vein of plants for Stewarts to use in our maintenance contracts, but also a rich vein of feature plants for articles like this.

As I've said before, there are a lot of different types.

Dracaena Riki is a little different from the others; most Dracs have very soft foliage, whereas the Riki's leaves are strongly ridged and rather stiff.

This photo doesn't really do them justice, they have a rather lovely light/dark green variegation - close up below. They are very good performing plants... IF you can restrain your watering can! They seem to drink noticeably less than almost any other Dracaena, and if you do get them too wet the leaves will start tipping, and never stop.

So they aren't popular with all my maintenance staff, though those with a very light watering touch seem to love them.

Incidentally, this plant is in Stewarts' head office building in Christchurch. The pots are Pantone 703 coloured; that's the rose pink in the Stewarts flower logo.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

One very excited Stewarts technician

Jo is our newest maintenance technician, and as yet our attempts to crush her spirit by employing her at Stewarts have failed. Give me time...

Over the weekend she sent me this fantastic photo of her visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall. She reported back that it was most enjoyable seeing all the plants we use in such a natural-looking environment.

I think my favourite image was this bank of enormous Calathea Triostar (below). We do use these but they really like a bit more humidity than we can provide, so they aren't the easiest plant to care for in an office.