Stirling News

An update on the Provost’s Park revamp as the initial landscaping works start to take shape and bring Vialii’s design to life.

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Christmas Gifts for Gardeners 2013

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to Christmas and what to buy our loved ones. Is it just us or does it get harder every year to think up innovative and interesting gifts to buy? Well, to make life a little easier for you we have pulled together a list of interesting Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013 so that you can give the gardener in your life something they will truly love…

Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013

Merry Christmas from all at Vialii

Gardening Voucher

At Vialii we can offer gardening vouchers to suit your budget. They are available for both our Maintenance and Design and Landscaping businesses and to whatever value you wish. So if you want to surprise your parents by getting them a voucher to have their garden tidied or their grass cut for the year or give a loved-one a voucher for a garden design please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

The perfect gift for the person who has everything. Gardening vouchers from any value

The perfect gift for the person who has everything. Gardening vouchers from any value

Bird feeder

Do you know someone who loves wildlife but their garden and style isn’t suited to a traditional bird table? Well how about treating them to this wonderful bird feeder by Eva Solo.

Bird feeder. From around £40

Bird feeder. From around £40

Teeny Tiny Gardening

The aptly named Teeny Tiny Gardening book is filled with lots of wonderful, inventive ideas how to garden in teeny tiny spaces. We are going to find some teeny tiny spaces just to try out some of these projects. A brilliant book for a quirky friend with a love for gardening, no matter where they live.

The teeny tiny book filled with big ideas. From around £10

The teeny tiny book filled with big ideas. From around £10

Wheely good design

The clever people at Water & Oil have come up with brilliant design for a wheelbarrow. It is heavy duty with non corrosive stainless steel fixings along with handy rugged grips. There are also no bolt/rivet stress points securing the barrow like in other wheelbarrows. It comes in six colours so there will be one to suit your loved one.

We choose the pink colourway! From around £70

We choose the pink colourway! From around £70

Water good idea

Another design-led product, this time by Alessi for All Modern. Available in three colours, this “diva” watering can is aptly named with it’s dramatic pose.

The "Diva" watering can. From around £28

The “Diva” watering can. From around £28

Having a ball

Garden furniture can be so much more than a wooden table and chairs and these Boom Ball Chairs by Finn Stone add a splash of colour and fun to the garden without the need to worry about the weather. They are made from recycled plastic and are durable in all weathers (even Scottish weather!) and are available in 18 colours, even a spotty version! They are also available in a smaller size for children. Yes please!

The Boom Ball Chairs. From around £135

The Boom Ball Chairs. From around £135

No butts, this is lovely

Even something as utilitarian as a water butt is getting the design treatment these days. There’s no need to hide your water butt round the back of your garden shed if you have one of these beauties from the Pure collection by Elho. Although it isn’t big it would be a good choice for someone with a small, contemporary garden.

The Pure Raindrop waterbutt. From around £200.

The Pure Raindrop waterbutt. From around £200.

So, there you go, some wonderful, design-led Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013. Hope we have helped with your lists. We have certainly added a few things to our own Wish Lists! If you see other gardening products that you think are worthy of a mention, send us the link and we will have a look.

Merry Christmas from all at Vialii

(All prices and suppliers correct at the time of the blog being posted. Apologies if any of these change but it’s outwith our control.)

Fir Trade!

I am soooo excited. You may have noticed Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas and is making lots of appearances at garden centres, shopping centres and even on trains! There is only five weeks to go so you better get your letters written and brush up on your good behaviour. One of my favourite things about Christmas is the tree, especially trying to climb it! There are lots of questions about whether a real or artificial tree is better for the environment, which variety of real Christmas tree to get, how to stop the needles falling off etc. So as usual, I’m at hand to answer all your questions as well as give you a little Christmas Tree decoration project to do…

 

Daddy and I with a real Christmas tree

Daddy and I with a real Christmas tree

Real or Artificial?

Now whilst some may claim that an artificial tree is better for the environment as you re-use it every year, there is still a huge impact on the environment by making it in the first place. Most are made from PVC which, from an environmental perspective, is a pretty horrible material. When you are fed up with your artificial tree and you throw it out, it will likely linger in land-fill for CENTURIES – not a great legacy to leave behind! Also, there is the carbon footprint to consider as most of the trees are made in the Far East and have to be shipped over here.

At Vialii, we believe that a real Christmas tree is much more environmentally friendly as long as you buy it local to where it was grown and that there is a re-planting commitment for all trees that are felled. Plus they smell lovely! A good quality, freshly cut tree can last up to 6 weeks if well looked after so don’t worry that you can’t put your tree up as early as the fakers! If I’m not convincing enough, consider this…A study in 2009 (Ellipsos) concluded that a 7-foot cut tree’s impact on climate is 60 percent less than a 7-foot artificial tree used for six years.

Living Christmas Tree

You can buy a live tree (with roots) but you can only have it indoors for a very short time and you will need to keep it in a cool place as it will come out of its dormant phase (in other words wake up!) and may not survive when you plant it back outdoors in the cold. If you are putting a live tree back outside you will need to acclimatise it back into the cold. If you find a supplier of cut trees who will plant lots more trees for every one they sell we think that’s the best compromise.

fir tree

What is the best type of real Christmas tree to buy?

OK, now that we have convinced you to get real, which variety should you opt for? Here are a few of the most common Christmas trees you will find for sale and some of their key features:

Nordmann Fir – the King of the Christmas Tree accounting for a huge 80% of UK sales. It has lovely deep green foliage on the top and blue underneath. It has lovely symmetry and shape and is less likely to drop its needles.

Norway Spruce – another popular choice and one which has a lovely smell. This one can be more likely to drop its needles so watch out and don’t buy it too early.

If you can find it, the Noble Fir is a great choice for needle loss, branch firmness, scent and the softness of the needles.

Fraser Fir – this one has a pyramid shape and soft needles which can be more family friendly. It has flat green needles and can be narrow making it a good choice to smaller spaces.

Top tips for looking after your real Christmas tree:

Now that I have helped you choose your Christmas tree, here is a fun project to make your own Christmas tree decoration…

Hand Print Santa Decoration

You will need:

To make:

1. Ask your grown up to help you draw round your hand on some white card then cut it out. This will be the beard.

 

Draw round your hand on a piece of white card

Draw round your hand
on a piece of white card

2. Cut out an oval shaped face from the pink card (or use more of the white card and paint it pink or glue on some pink paper).

 Here I am gluing some pink paper to my Santa's head


Here I am gluing some pink
paper to my Santa’s head

3. Cut a hat shape from the red card (or use white card and glue on your red fabric/paper). Glue some cotton wool along the bottom of the hat and a cotton wool pom pom to the top.

 Make your santa hat. I added some red tissue paper to mine and cotton wool.


Make your santa hat. I added some red
tissue paper to mine and cotton wool.

4. Glue your cut-out hand (the beard) to the bottom of the face and glue the hat to the top of the face. Glue the googly eyes onto the face and attach the ribbon so that you can hang it on your tree.

I love a googly eye!

I love a googly eye!

5. Hang your beautiful hand-made decoration on your tree. Lovely for Christmas and a wonderful keep-sake.

Our Santa Hand Christmas tree decoratio

Our Santa Hand Christmas tree decoratio

Remember, don’t be naughty…I’d love to see pictures of your Christmas trees and your own hand made decorations so please send them to me.

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx

Thank you to Parents.com for the inspiration behind this decoration

Bridge of Allan Times

Our article on the re-design of Provost’s Park in Bridge of Allan.

BofA Times Winter 2013