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    Guest Post: Katie Gilbert of Bloombox on Urban Gardening

      Bloombox is a new service which aims to deliver pre selected boxes of beautiful plants to your door. BloomBox Club’s goal is to bring you a blooming and vibrant outdoor space all year round, along with an enthusiastic and inspired gardener to go with it, (that’s you!) We asked founder Katie Gilbert to tell us a bit more about Urban Gardening.   Katie-gilbert-of-bloombox-on-urban-gardening   "According to the anthem, we live in a ‘green and pleasant land’. As we make our daily commute across the capital, however, this utopian image of England seems a far cry from the reality, and our inner longing for a bit of greenery causes us to let out a little sigh. And it’s no wonder – just Google ‘Gardening for health’ and hundreds of articles and studies are thrown up extolling the virtues of green space, gardening and growing your own food. From improving physical fitness through regular low-impact exercise to the mental health benefits of nurturing plants to life in the open air, there is no downside to gardening: As per our Bloombox mantra – time spent outside is never wasted.   boombox urban gardening   And it doesn’t take acres of space. You only have to look at the efforts of the residents of the Barbican Estate in London to see how a brutalist monument can be softened with the addition of window boxes, grass and a fountain or two. The residents of this area in the City of London didn’t confine their urban garden project to their own private balcony spaces. They collaborated to turn the communal spaces from concrete hardscapes into beautiful areas with grass, shrubbery and water features that make it look like an entirely different place. It’s a credit to everyone involved that they have managed to take the principle of an urban garden and revitalise a place that was the epitome of urban living. So we've established that urban gardening is good for the soul - but what if you aren’t lucky enough to have Barbican-scale community spaces or an orchard on your doorstep? Most Londoners consider themselves fortunate if they have a small balcony upon which to enjoy the outdoors, while a space with room for cat-swinging is nothing short of extravagant in this dense city of ours. At BloomBox Club, we’re firm believers that you don’t need a lot of space to make a garden. Whether you have a balcony for a window box, a windowsill for a miniature greenhouse or a shared garden, however small, that you can contribute to, urban gardens can make the big city feel just a little bit smaller. Even a planter on your doorstep can give you a reason to pop outside for a few minutes each day and greets you with a smile as you come home.   bloombox urban gardening plants   And we’re not just talking plants here; you can use lighting, water, aggregates and wood to build a place you can enjoy all year round. The only limit is your imagination. People are making some amazing spaces from very little square-footage. However small your space is, you can turn it into something quite beautiful, relaxing and personal to you. Let’s not forget, the growing of plants is an incredibly life-affirming experience. Nurturing seeds and bulbs until they sprout forth and grow towards the sky, can increase the colour in your life and heighten the senses to the grey sprawl you can see from your window. With a modest outlay and a little patience, you can create your own tropical paradise, miniature oasis or micro farm, all from the comfort of your own home. There aren’t many pastimes that can boast those benefits and will really give you something to sing about."   bloombox at Grow London   Thanks Katie, we definitely agree here at Green&Blue. You can find Bloombox exhibiting at this years Grow London in Hampstead Heath (where you might also find a few pretty beepots gracing the stand) and also at RHS Hampton Court. You can find out all about Bloombox and how it works on their website here.

    Green&Blue visit Selfridges

      This weekend, Saturday May 21st, we are delighted that Gavin from the team will be popping up to Selfridges on Oxford street as part of their Selfridges summer living party. He will be there to talk about the bee brick and beepot which are sold through Selfridges, explaining how they work and how vital solitary bees are to our ecosystem.   gavin-christman-founder-of-green-and-blue   If you've got any questions for Gavin or would just like to say hello then do please pop by and make him feel welcome, it's a long old way from Cornwall! Hope to see as many of you there as possible.

    bee brick - key facts.

      We wanted to put together key information about the bee brick, mainly aimed at our lovely stockists who retail the bricks so that you can have the facts to hand for your customers, bee bricks look beautiful but it's what they can actually do which really makes them popular.   category-header-bee-in-flight-green-and-blue  

    • Solitary bees are responsible for a third of all food we eat because of the vital pollination they carry out.
    • Solitary bees don't produce honey or live in hives.
    • Because solitary bees have no queen or honey to protect they are non aggressive, so safe around children and pets.
    • Solitary bees face decline due to more intensive farming methods, disease, use of neonicotinoids and habitat loss.
    • Bee bricks create habitat for solitary bees, inspired by the natural way they nest.
    • Bee brick needs to be placed in a warm sunny spot facing south east or south west.
    • Bee brick contains cavities in which solitary bees can create their nests.
    • One female solitary bee will potentially use around 5-6 cavities, laying 5-7 eggs in each cavity.
    • Most common occupants of bee brick will be the red mason bee and the leaf cutter bee,
    • You should expect bees to emerge from the nests in early spring - from March onwards.
    • Males emerge first and after feeding await the females.
    • Females emerge and also feed and then mating takes place, fairly promptly!
    • Males die pretty quickly after mating.
    • Females begin the nesting process straight away.
    • Females will commonly reuse the same nesting site.
    • Bee bricks are made from concrete and so can be left out all year round and will not rot or deteriorate, like some wooden nests.
    • We recommend that you clean bee brick using a pipe cleaner once the cavities are definitely empty.
    • Bee bricks make great gifts, they looks beautiful and do something wonderful for nature and biodiversity.

    Our brand new look

    It's been a busy 2015 at Green&Blue as we've been through something of an epiphany! After ten years in business we felt we needed to really sit down and decide who we were as a company and how we communicated this.   kate-and-gavin   We knew we didn't want to completely change everything, we're very proud of the history we've built up over the last ten years, we wanted evolution not revolution, our working title! Finally after months of hard work we are delighted to reveal the new look packaging, our brand new website (which you may already have seen), we have a second brand new website for our commercial business, and we have beautiful new literature with each product too.   kateGavinGreeandblue   We hope you like the new look, we'd love to hear your thoughts and we can't wait to send you your next order in our beautiful new look. (Here's a cute picture of Green&Blue co-founders Kate and Gavin, revealing the new look to Team Green&Blue junior!