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.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Plant care advice: varying your watering throughout the year

Apologies for the wordy post that follows: it's a no-brainer that your indoor plants will drink more in the summer than in the winter.

I say that but it's amazing how many clients who buy plants from us on a supply only basis go on to harm them by incorrectly watering them.

On delivery they will have asked me, "how much do I water this then?"

I will have replied, "the most important thing to do is test the moisture of the soil every time you water. If it's still wet don't water it. You'll also find it will use different amounts of water through the year. But at this time of year I'd say about half a can full of water a week."

What they will have heard is, "Blah blah blah blah half a can full of water a week."

Apart from the money, this is why we like to look after the plants we sell ourselves.

Anyway, I digress. The difference between summer and winter water consumption varies a lot, by as much as a factor of four I'd estimate. It's due to a number of factors, one of which I'll come back to below. Most important are hours and intensity of light, and temperature.

Light can be hard to judge. Some plants in a position away from a window in a dark room will actually get more light in the winter than the summer if the low position of the sun in winter gets to them.

Also very important is the size of container that the plant is in. When training new staff, I teach them to assess the water needs of the plant and the pot separately. Think about it: a pot of soil with no plant in on a sunny windowsill would dry out quite rapidly without a plant in, so you have to add enough water to account for that drying out then think about the plant's needs.

But the factor that really made me think about posting this is the effect of central heating. Most inexperienced technicians get caught out by a sudden upswing in the amount of water a plant needs at this time of year; it happened to me in the late nineties when I was a new technician at Heathrow Airport. Even though the building might be on thermostatic control all year, the same temperature achieved by heating produces drier air than that achieved by it being warm weather. Consequently, when the heating starts to kick in, the plants get thirstier.

This also highlights the big difference between how much office plants and house plants drink. Offices tend to be at a constant temperature, whereas houses tend to get cold in between times that the heating's on (I know mine does anyway!). The effect of this is that plants at home tend to drink a lot less.

Again, apologies that this post has got a bit wordy; I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff like this and I have to get it off my chest somewhere!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Curvy pot that reminds me of...

So I was at our trusty glass fibre container suppliers the other day, where they have various old pots scattered about for use as resprays (we make no secret of that fact that we can do you a good deal on second-hand plant pots if you are budget conscious).

Many of these pots come from other companies, including this orange monstrosity, which I now know to be called a 'Swan', having perused the relevant supplier catalogue.

Now here at Stewarts, we love our Curvy and S-shaped pots. But in my opinion, this is the ugliest plant pot I have ever seen. However it takes all sorts, and I'm happy to hear from people who like it telling me I'm wrong.

It doesn't remind me of a swan at all. In fact I spent the journey back from Somerset mulling over what exactly it did remind me of, before it came to me in a flash: it's a Triffid!

Now all it needs is a poisonous spike to pop out of the top and sting passers by and we have the finished product. I can see that going down very well in some of our shopping centre contracts.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Time to order your Christmas tree

Depressing thought though it might be, now is the time to order your office's Christmas tree from Stewarts.

We only have a limited capacity and stock, so it's advisable to get your order in early, particularly if you have a specific delivery week in mind.

You can order live or artificial, decorated or undecorated, decorations in your choice of colours, and all picked up from your office between New Year and Twelfth Night.

If you want to be my friend, order an artificial one. I much prefer them, apart from anything else I think the finished product (like this one from last year) looks much better when installed.

To request a price list call the office on 01202 882 463 or use the contact page on the website.

Or even just email me a the link below and I'll pass the message to Debra, our tame elf.


Good PR or Jonathan doing what he enjoys?

As loyal readers will be aware, it's not that long ago that our delivery van was re-liveried in the new Stewarts corporate style. 

This week - as occasionally happens as my workload is very erratic - I'm at a bit of a loose end, so I thought I should devote a whole day to giving the Transit a really good clean. The first experience of Stewarts Interior Landscaping for a new client will be us driving up to your door in our vehicle to deliver and install your plant displays, so it helps to make a good impression.  

That's my excuse anyway. Another theory is that I just like washing vans.

The upshot of this is a van as shiny as the one shown. Anyone who has polished and waxed their car will know it's quite hard work and time consuming, now try doing the roof of a van this big from a stepladder!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Winter is here!

Excuse the dramatic headline; winter isn't here really. It would be a tough case to make as it's 24 deg C today.

However it is time to order winter hanging baskets. Summer baskets only last until the first frost, winter ones are put in at the start of October, and last until either late February (if you have spring baskets) or late May.

If you want an order form, get in touch with us using the contact page, or email me directly using the link below.


Roger tests our new platform ladder

In a previous post about five months ago, I talked about our big new platform ladder.

Because we've had such a busy summer I haven't been able to go through pictures I've taken and meant to use, but having had a safety training course this week I was reminded that I had this picture of Roger, one of our maintenance technicians, testing it out.

In the previous post, despite my protestation that it is a higher ladder, it doesn't look it, and this was Roger's opinion. So here he is seeing just how high he can go, though he does look like he's about to give a speech, too.

Apart from the fact ladders are meant to be used for short periods only, you are meant to have three rungs above your feet at all times, so you can see that this platform ladder is a much safer way to work at height.