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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jack Frost hates Peugeots?

Just went to get my delivery van to load up for an installation we are doing between Bournemouth and Poole this morning at a car showroom.

The windscreen of the Transit is completely clear, while the little Peugeot next door is solid ice.

Either Jack Frost is a Ford man like me, or it's something to do with the angle of the sun?


Friday, February 20, 2015

Pink plant pots

The most noticeable trend in pot colours (here I go again...) in the last five years or so has been for very brightly coloured pots.

By far the most popular choice, once you've crossed the "blimey, that's bright" threshold, is for variations of lime green, as previously discussed at length.

I've recently noticed that momentum is gathering behind very bright pinks.

I should point out, that while we may steer clients towards particular coloured pots, they usually have a good idea what kind of look they want to go for when we go to see them. Potential customers these days have frequently done their homework, and have a good idea what kind of planters they want us to supply them with. So to an extent these distinct trends are followed by us, rather than led.

So as a dedicated follower of fashion (as far as plants and planters go, anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to post some relevant pictures, just in case a clued up potential customer is browsing the web for information.  These were supplied to clients in Winchester, Chandler's Ford and Poole.


I've gone on often enough about it before, but I'll say it again. Because almost all our pots are handmade from glass fibre and hand painted to order, you can have any colour you want: if you can name it or provide a swatch for us to match, we can make it, and you can have one or a hundred from as little to rent as £7.00 a month with us looking after them.

If you like what you see, contact us.

If this sort of thing is not to your tastes, have a look through our huge library of images of planters that we've previously supplied. Not all pink!



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Is winter over?

I'm starting to think the image above depicts the only snow we're going to get this year. That was taken on Tuesday 3 February when we unexpectedly had an inch or two of snow.

I live about an hour's drive north of Stewarts; I got half way to work before seeing any snow. After helping to clear the car park, I then drove to Weybridge in Surrey to do a delivery (to our furthest away maintenance clients that we don't subcontract). The snow had more or less gone by the New Forest, then was only patchy from there all the way through Hampshire and Surrey.

Anyway, if winter is over that means spring is round the corner, and that means it's time for spring hanging baskets. As I've said before, these are my favourites of the year. Many clients just have summer baskets in May and and Winter ones at the end of September, but the enlightened few have an extra set in early March, as otherwise the winter ones can look seriously tired by May.

So the time to order them is now - contact us to place an order, we deliver at no extra cost anywhere in Dorset or Hampshire.


Quiet day at the office?

Just in case you're feeling guilty at having a quite day at work, here's a snap I took in one of our client's offices in Swindon the other day. It's not only you.

In an unused section of a large open plan office, someone appears to have set up some kind of crazy golf challenge.

Is the idea to get the ball into the tea cups?

Or is it some kind of slalom?

I really don't know!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Predator control

One of the issues that we occasionally have to deal with on the plants that we look after is the management of pests.

There are a couple of pests (e.g. Mealy Bug, Red Spider Mite) that are a problem for the plant but don't really bother our clients.

There is one that can be really annoying if not dealt with, and that's Sciarid Fly, otherwise known as Fungus Gnats, as these fly out of the plant pots and have a particularly annoying habit of flying in front of people's computer screens in their offices.

This occurs most commonly on newly-delivered plants, leading to the myth that the flies come from the new compost. This isn't in fact the case. They are all round us, but when they smell fresh moist compost they think "lunchtime!" and set up home in it.

For a long time we used to pre-treat the compost with a pesticide that stopped this occurring, but about two years ago it seemed to stop working, so now we use a combination of two predators.

"Predators?" I hear you say? Yes, that's right. Sadly it's not as visually exciting as you might think, involving no lions or tigers.

First line of defence is that the compost we buy is pre-treated with a fungal disease that attacks insects called MET52. This is very long-lasting, and basically makes any insect that lives in the soil go mouldy. However, we have found that this does not spread through the rootball of the plant in the pot, so sometimes we still get Sciarid Fly living in the untreated compost of the rootball.

Second line of defence, applied if a problem is detected, is a microscopic worm called Steinemema Feltiae. These come as a little pack of what looks like sawdust which is diluted heavily then watered into the affected soil (or can be sprayed on). The packs we buy will treat 50 square metres of soil surface, so we usually are supplying an enormous overdose. What you can see in the pic to the right is what they do to their prey, namely burrow inside the flies and eat them from the inside. Ewwwww!

However, anyone that has had Sciarid Fly in their office will probably think this is justice.

This process completely eradicates the fly problem in a matter of days, after which the worms, being starved of food, theoretically just die. In practice, just enough flies will keep arriving in the soil to keep a few worms in food, i.e. an equilibrium population is set up, meaning a major infestation never re-occurs.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Feature plant: Dracaena Florida Beauty

OK, so this plant gets chosen as feature plant this month, as I had to get a snap of this with my dodgy camera phone and show it to you.

Dracaena Godseffiana 'Florida Beauty' is a rare relation of one of my favourites: Dracaena Godseffiana Surculosa, which I've blogged about before.

Florida Beauty has much more pronouncedly variegated foliage, and seems a little stiffer in growth habit.

What the whole Godseffiana sub-family share is a habit of suddenly and abundantly flowering, as this one at an office in Winchester has done (the flowers are the little spiky things you can see in the pic).

When they start to go over they get very messy, so it gives me great joy to say I was only covering the site where this plant is, and next time it will be my colleague Roger's job to sweep up all the dead bits of flower.