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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas tree: we managed it!

Following on from the picture in the last entry, in which I said a mere covering of snow wouldn't stop us delivering Christmas Trees, a couple more pics. First off, the big tree was meant to go on a big landscaping dept. pickup, but it was decided that these weren't up to the snowy conditions, so ever resourceful, we appropriated a colleague's 4x4 and strapped it to the roof of that.

Several hours later (the big trees are very labour-intensive) the 18' tree was upright and decorated. Photos don't really do them justice - bear in mind that the little black pot is over 3' wide!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It takes more than a bit of snow... stop Stewarts delivering a Christmas tree!

This is our delivery van this AM, which we'd fully loaded the night before for our biggest day of deliveries, so there's no backing down now.

If we survive, I may blog the results later.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quirky containers

Don't these look excellent? The plants are Sansevieria Laurentii (1m versions) and the containers
black curved fibreglass towers, 350mm wide x 900mm tall. They create a great screen, as well as a talking point! They were recently installed in new offices in Hook, near Basingstoke.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The tree - the next episode

Further to Jonathan's blog about the tree, needless to say, it was quickly snapped up! It now has pride of place in the middle of a large new air-conditioning showroom in Hedge End. The guys there told me they were looking for a very large tree for the middle of their showroom the week before, when I visited to discuss their possible requirements for plants. Neither of us thought something as beautiful as this tree would be available a few days later! I think you'll agree it looks great!

Monday, November 15, 2010

FREE big tree - you missed your chance...

On behalf of one of our clients, I am able to offer this 5-6m Ficus Benjamina tree for free - apart from transport costs. We've been looking after it since the eighties, and can vouch for its excellent health.
Fortunately the client has the logistics to load and transport the tree, providing you are within, say, an hour of Wimborne.
Stewarts' only involvement will be to give the tree a drastic prune if need be in order to enable it to be moved, and of course we would be happy to offer our maintenance service in its new home.
So if you are looking for a big tree at a bargain price (a new one this size would possibly fetch £10,000!) then email me and I'll pass your details onto my client to talk directly.

Artificial plants get a bath

Q. How do you clean artifical plants that are fifty feet above the ground in a shopping centre?

A. You take them all out, wash them and put them back again! Here's a picture of them being laid out to dry. Now, loyal reader, go to a Southampton shopping centre and see if you can find them in the flesh. Clue: look up.
On the plus side, it was pouring down with rain the day we did this, so we sprayed them with detergent then used the outside world as a 'rinse cycle'.
On the minus side, it means going in before everyone else wakes up (3:30 alarm call) twice instead of just once, but since we've been looking after this shopping centre, the artificial plants have looked a lot cleaner, as we are able to do a much more thorough job.
Another example of Stewarts' lateral thinking giving you cleaner, shinier plants!


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Christmas is coming

Christmas is fast approaching us now and the team are in full swing of organising all the orders for customers who have Christmas Tree Hire. All of our trees available are either live or artificial, the customers choice, and fully decorated with lights. These are delivered to clients' offices for their communal or reception areas. As part of the service they are also collected before the 12th night. For the customer this means no hassle, all our clients have to do is choose the colours they would prefer and when they would like it delivered (depending on available days) and that's it! We do the rest.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Purple, or blue?

We've just returned from Southampton, where we've installed a lovely pair of 3.2m branched Yuccas at a college.

The photo doesn't do their size justice (maybe because the photographer - me - is so tall). It also really doesn't do the pot colour justice. This pot - I promise - is 'Deep Purple' (aka BS 22D45) which is a dark violet purple, and looks it in the flesh.

But two different cameras have both taken pictures of it that have come out looking completely blue. I would call it Royal Blue (an in joke, as long time readers may note).

And they say the camera never lies....


Thursday, September 02, 2010


This plant is more commonly know as the weeping fig, and comes in many different cultivars, and it part of the rubber tree family.

It grows wild in the tropical forest of India, South East Asia and Northern Australia to about a height of 30 metres.

As an indoor plant it likes bright indirect sun conditions, but can tolerate a degree of shade, but it does not react very well to being moved or changes in temperature and will drop leaves like crazy, but it does adapt to its new climate.
It can be pruned to give a suitable shape for indoor landscaping and when young the flexible stems can be twisted or braided to make a very attractive feature.

In a report from NASA it showed that the Ficus is effective at filtering indoor toxins, so is ideal for indoor plant displays in office environments.

We use quite a few different varieties in our indoor plant contracts:

Ficus Gold King

Ficus Danielle

Ficus Starlight

Ficus benjamina braided

Friday, July 09, 2010

Summer colour for hire

We recently prepared these 3' troughs full of Geraniums, Impatiens New Guinea and Ivy for a short hire for a client. They are now beautifying our portacabin a treat, but we mustn't forget our commercial imperative, so...
They are for hire for short periods for events for as little as £10 each (including delivery and collection), depending where you are based and how many you hire.
Equally I am open to offers from people that want to buy them outright or hire them for the rest of summer.
As always we hire out the topiary Bay and Box that you can see behind at a similar rate.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Help make Stewarts' job easier

It's a little known fact that interior landscaping companies like Stewarts are not allowed to use any pesticides in their clients' premises. We are not allowed to use MAPP labelled substances (i.e. ones intended for professional use) and we are also not allowed to use things that are sold to the public in garden centres as they are labelled "for home and garden use only", even though they are considered safe for use at home.
So if a pest appears on one of our plants, we are less able to combat it than a member of the public. We are also not meant to use our leafshine products to control pests, but if using them as intended (to clean the plant) kills the bugs, that's legal. Daft, isn't it?

Now, you may be aware that the new government have launched a consultation into what laws the public would like repealing, and I have suggested the laws covering pesticide use by companies like us.

Follow this link and rate my suggestion!

Note, you will have to register on there first, but it takes two minutes.

Many thanks,


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Government cuts - don't lose the 'pot plants'!

I've been listening to various members of our new Government talking about the need for efficiency savings in government departments, and using 'pot plants' as a buzzword for where money can be saved. In fact one of David Laws' first acts was to cancel the plant contract for his department.

So I've taken it upon myself to write to the Prime Minister and explain to him that plants in offices have been shown to have such a beneficial effect on staff morale and specifically absenteeism that they are self-financing. So he might be wise to keep plants in his government's office buildings.

Don't believe me? This website is a mine of scientific research on the benefits of plants in the workplace.

Stewarts don't have any central government contracts, though at my last employer we did, and I can certainly recall some scope for efficiencies. My favourite was an eight storey building that had two TVs on each landing playing a rolling presentation about their environmental credentials, 24 hours a day.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lovely little Bonsai trees

Only because I found out that they existed, I bought us a tray of these gorgeous little Ficus Ginseng bonsai trees. For scale, this one is about 25cm tall. They really are lovely, and don't possess the usual bonsai characteristic of 'dropping dead' (most bonsai are miniature versions of outdoor trees, so hate being indoors, whereas this is a specific indoor bonsai tree). We can get Ficus Ginseng up to 1m high, indeed we've just installed some in a Japanese car showroom where they look very appropriate, but can't beat these midgets for cuteness.

The problem is, none of us can think of an appropriate place in an existing customer to plant them; they're very easy to care for, but they ideally need to be in a small pot in a sunny spot.

Like my sitting room windowsill, where I now have a matching pair I bought for myself in pearlescent red bowls.

Not that that's why I bought a whole tray of them with company money of course...


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer baskets... but not yet!

Not a picture of a hanging basket, but of a frost-covered plant, to illustrate the point that on the 12th of May we just had a hard frost. At one point on my morning commute, my van's dashboard said it was -1 deg C outside!

Why am I saying this? Because at this time of year, Stewarts are selling lots of summer bedding plants, and Stewarts Interior Landscaping are (despite the name) supplying lots of summer hanging baskets, and summer plants should not be put out until after the last frost. We come under a lot of pressure from clients to have the summer baskets as early as possible and I always refuse to deliver until the end of May. However, my reasoning that there may be a late frost is usually scoffed at. This year it would appear that my pessimism is justified.

So if you want lovely summer hanging baskets - when I'm good and ready to let you have them - get in touch!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Caryota Mitis

Caryota Mitis, commonly called the fishtail palm because of its very attractive ragged edged leaves which look like fish tails.

It comes from South East Asia, so it prefers a warm, humid
habitat and is more tolerant of a drier soil than overwatering, and although it can stand full sun it can also tolerate low light levels. It prefers to be slightly pot bound and grown indoors can reach about 6ft, as with all palms do not prune, only remove dead branches by cutting off at the stem.

This is a plant that we do not use for a lot of our office plant displays, as it does best in a warm high humid atmosphere, and not so well in offices with heating that could be switched off at night, or air conditioning which keeps a cooler atmosphere, and the Caryota tends to tip (leaves get brown around the edges and looks dry).

We recently installed one as part of a interior landscaping contract in a poolside area, where it looked absolutely stunning and hopefully should do well, as it was very warm and humid, not the ideal place to be doing a planting job and we could have done with a dip in the pool when we had finished!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Keeping our staff hanging on

Here's an interesting way to spend the last hour before the bank holiday weekend. We decided to buy two whole new sets of harness and fall arrest equipment for the handful of jobs that require us to work at height. So Tracey is testing whether our new harness and rope grab system works, when safely tied to a tree off camera to the left. Trying it all out was quite a giggle; hopefully we'll never give this equipment a chance to save our lives, but we never cut corners on safety for our staff.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


There are over 120 different varieties of Guzmanias, ranging in colour from white, yellow, orange, red and purple, with interesting names like Grand Prix, Jazz, Luna and on one particular order we placed recently for some orange ones, they came in with the name of Hasta la Vista, I would love to know how they came up with that one!!

We use them in our interior plant displays to add colour, but as the 'flower' part only last a few weeks, they have to be changed reqularly.

The guzmania is part of the Bromeliad family, and they originated from tropical areas in South America and were named in honour of a 18th centry spanish botanist.

They are fairly easy to look after, and like indirect light, not direct sunlight and watered sparingly especially in the winter months they need to be kept on the dry side.

According to a recent study, they can remove air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene, which is found in cigeratte smoke.

We also use them in a range of finishing touches arrangements we do, which are idea for reception desks and changed on a regular basis, and give a more cost effective alternative to weekly fresh flowers but still with visual impact.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Delta 30 Finishing Touch


How about this for a Finishing Touch? It stands 1.3M tall and really looks amazing, so eye-catching. At £18.75 a week, it stays with you for 4 weeks, thereafter we replace it with a completely new, fresh one, using a different colour container, with different colour flowering plants (3 of them in this arrangement) and sculptural materials.
If any of you would like to see a sample of any of our Finishing Touches, please give me a call or email and I'll bring one along for you to keep for a few days.


Orchid bowls

Another useful and money-saving idea: why not consider having one of these orchid bowls on your Reception desk in place of weekly fresh flowers? The idea is that you would keep the bowl for 4 weeks at a cost of £13.75 + VAT each week (flowers are very much more expensive) and then we bring you a completely new one, using a different colour orchid and a different colour bowl.
There are many more options to choose from too - for as little as £5.50 a week.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Money-saving ideas

Why not have another look at office plants now spring is here?
We've still got a lot of smart second-hand containers we'd like to re-use (Stewarts loves to recycle), just as they are, or re-sprayed to suit your office (or home!) colour scheme.

We can also save you money on Reception flowers by offering you some eye-catching displays like orchid bowls or Guzmania bowls, for lots less than weekly fresh flowers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How do I get this tree trunk out?

Folks, I'm in a bind here. We have these socket-shaped metal Christmas Tree stands into which we slot the bottom of a cut tree. Having been very busy since Xmas, I have been ignoring the fact that I have one sitting in the greenhouse with a stump of wood jammed solidly in. But I can't ignore it forever.

Any suggestions on how to remove it are welcome, it really is stuck good and proper!

Best idea so far has been set fire to it, burning the wood and leaving the metal. This is the calibre of ideas I have to work with...


Monday, March 01, 2010

Echinocactus grusonii - My unusual first choice

Hi my name is Kim and I work for Stewarts Interior Landscaping, we look after office plants. I work in the office, so know very little about the plants we use to make the offices environmentally pleasing, so I have been set the task of writing about the type of plants that we use and why.

My first choice is this very unusual plant, that we use only in a couple of Interior plant contracts, when they asked for something particularly sculptural with an unusual twist, of course they can only be used in a position where people cannot spike themselves.

This cactus originates from Mexico and can grow to a metre tall, and its common name is 'Mother- in-laws pillow' (best not to ask why!!)

It is an extremely prickly plant, and care has to be take when potting it up, the plant technicians draw straws to see who gets landed with the task! When it has been placed in a container (see picture), I think you will agree that it looks particularly striking. It does like a sunny position and does not like to be overwatered as they can rot.

It can produce flowers, but only after about 20 years, so you'll have to be patient!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Our coverage area

In our constant quest to take plants to the plantless, we have expanded our coverage area again. While our core area is Dorset and Hampshire and surrounding counties, we now include Bristol and Swindon within our remit. Once again my mastery of MS Paint comes in handy:

In fact because of where I live, you'll get a personal service from me in those areas. Apologies if you were hoping for someone better looking.

At present, other customers as far afield as Weybridge and Exeter use our maintenance service. We'd also be happy to hear from you wherever you are, as we can provide the plants then use one of our trusted subcontractors to do the maintenance.