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, July 15, 2016

Feature Plant: Cordyline Chocolate Queen

I shouldn't really include a Cordyline as a feature plant for a couple of reasons:

1. I only did Cordylines as a feature plant last year
2. I don't actually possess any of these...yet!

I saw some in a box waiting to be put out for sale in Stewarts Garden Centre next door and had to get a picture.

The next trick is to contact my Dutch plant supplier on Monday when I place my order, and see if he can come up with any, because I think they are lovely. Can't really see it in my crappy phone photo but there's a really 'chocolate & cream' look to the new foliage.

The only catch - for us - is that it's in that intermediate size of plants that we struggle to find a home for, but I will try.

Worth pointing out here that, as this story makes plain, the garden centres and Interior Landscaping within Stewarts get their indoor plants from different suppliers (for good reason, but complicated to explain). So if you can't find what you are looking for in the shop, get in touch.


Unusual wildlife in our planters

Sadly deceased, but look at the size of this Stag Beetle I found on the edge of one of our outside planters at a site in Fareham (this site) the other week.

The pot rim is 7.5cm wide, so the beetle must be 6.5cm long!

Makes a change from spiders, which one of my wildly arachnophobic colleagues would be relieved about.


Thursday, July 07, 2016

Bonus feature plant: Ananas Champaca

Bonus 'feature plants' post, bonus because it's only a week since the last one.

But this plant came in on today's Dutch delivery and it's really cute.

OK, so it can't compete with the rainbow coloured tree in the last post, but the difference is this will grow in your office.

So what we have here is Ananas Champaca. Those of you with any rudimentary French, or eyes for that matter, will realise that this is a Pineapple plant, as the fruit is visible at the top of the central spike.

The reason this one is worthy of note is that Ananas, as supplied from Holland, are notoriously variable in size and style. Some are much bigger, most have no Pineapple sprouting out of the top, and most are quite incredibly spiky like this one.

I guess the skill comes in asking our Dutch supplier for the right type, a skill I don't possess, sadly.

So anyway, Ananas Champaca ticks all the boxes, being small, not spiky, and fruity. The colleague of mine that ordered them is going to put them in a large planted bed in a Leisure Centre in Bournemouth, where ironically it could have been any old shape and spikiness and not really mattered.

A bit of care advice as ever. Ananas like it hot, sunny and dry. So south facing windowsills and other hot dry locations.

Back in the old days, when I cut my teeth in this job in London, we used to use Ananas in places where the plants were prone to being damaged by members of the public; sadly a duty of care to our client's visitors precludes this nowadays, damned health & safety! But I still preserve happy memories of a certain client of mine where plants kept getting stolen from a certain area, so I put a particularly vicious Ananas in, and sure enough two weeks later one member of staff had a very obvious bandage on their hand....


Rainbow Eucalyptus - Is this tree real?

There's no reason related to Stewarts Interior Landscaping to publish this blog post, but I just had to. I guess it is a horticultural subject.

One of my staff was telling me about images of "Rainbow Eucalyptus" that she'd seen online somewhere. I googled it, assumed it was fake, checked Wikipedia, and apparently it's a real thing, Latin name "Eucalyptus Deglupta".

The bark goes through several colour stages as it matures and peels off, giving it this brilliant display of different colours.

The wood beneath, sadly, is plain coloured and rather prosaically (or perhaps ironically) is used in the manufacture of wood pulp for plain white paper.

But still... amazing!

I so want someone to cultivate small ones of these for use indoors so I can supply them to my clients!


Friday, July 01, 2016

Feature plant: Dracaena White Stripe

Michelle wasn't overly impressed about featuring in the previous blog post, so not only am I swiftly adding another post so she's not at the top of the page, but I've also let her choose this month's feature plant: the Dracaena White Stripe.

This is an oddity in a way, in that it's a very common plant, but one we use quite rarely.

There's a whole group of fairly similar looking white variegated Dracaenas like this (as previously blogged). At Stewarts, purely historically, we tend to favour Dracaena Ulysses, which is just a trace less high-contrast than D. White Stripe. This was a tendency I inherited when I started in 2002 and it's a hard habit to break. My previous firm in London used White Stripes, and I am trying to throw a few in the mix here.

As usual, here's a bit of info on the plant. Like all Dracaenas, they like to be kept warm. Being variegated, D. White Stripe does not like super-low light but it's pretty tolerant. As one of the Deremensis side of the family (the ones with soft stems the same colour as the foliage), they don't enjoy being handled or touched too much, so aren't a great choice for high-traffic areas.

Finally: why does Michelle like them so much? In her words: "they look classy, bold and they are smart". She also agrees with me that they look very effective in black or dark grey pots.  


Tool cupboard tidying frenzy

As I've explained before, we occasionally have a random quiet week, due to no one taking holiday, or just a gap between new installations.

This week is one of those, and by Thursday we were scratching round for jobs a bit. In two weeks we will be really busy again, but there's nothing we can bring forward.

I passingly mentioned that our locker full of tools and spare bits of hardware hadn't been properly cleared out since before I started... in 2002!

Bizarrely, my assistant Michelle more or less jumped at the chance to do this, before rather sheepishly announcing that she loves making things organised and tidy. I came back from doing something else to find that she'd spread all the odds and ends out in very neat rows on the table, and was busily sorting them in to containers.

She's slightly embarrassed about how happy she looks at doing this. Hey, everyone's got to have something they enjoy!

It was true, by the way:there were things in that locker I've never seen before. What can you spot in the photo?

4 door wedges
A hand drill (when's the last time anyone ever used one of those?)
6 plant food scoops
Half an outside tap