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A Warm Welcome to Our New Boxing Hares...

A Warm Welcome to Our New Boxing Hares... 

Whilst GFC were at the Chelsea Flower Show, there is no doubt that there were many other sculptures and stands which caught our eye. However, it was the striking boxing Hares crafted by ‘Steel Sculptures’ that really won us over! Its powerful stature and incredible detail made it hard to resist; so, now we are going to include it in our wide range of products! In order to welcome our newest additions to the GFC family, here is a little introduction and background for the inspiration behind the magnificent boxing Hares!

Background...

It is argued that the brown Hare was introduced by the Romans to Britain, or even earlier between the 5th to the 3rd centuries BC. However, it is interesting to note that the Hare could have been treated with more care than other animals, as studies have found their bodies were buried without being slaughtered. This demonstrates how valued the Hare was within society, as they were regarded to be too special to consume. Fundamentally, brown hares are notoriously known to have an enthusiastic nature, and as such they channel this energy through fighting, or boxing as we might recognise, with each other. This is predominantly done within the mating March month which sees them leap around the air and box with each other. This ultimately coins the nickname ‘Mad March Hares’ due to this erratic behaviour. The Hare is an exceptional animal, with their strong exterior and passion to survive any threat that may challenge them. Unfortunately, the sightings of hares have decreased over the years and are now rarely seen in open spaces.

Inspiration...

In an artistic light, hares are popularly used to portray different emotions. Due to their prominent stature, they provide an amazing scale for artists and sculptors to illustrate their artistic vision. The image of boxing hares has been used in a variety of paintings and sculptures for centuries due to their cultural history in literature, art, music, religion and fairy tales as well as media and advertising. The Hare itself has a variety of representations within myths and folklore which inspires many artworks and creative media. For instance, the Hare is widely considered to be sensitive and ambitious, with the added implications of being fit and full of virtue. On the other hand, the Hare does possess an element of greed and selfishness, and in some cases even deception and dishonesty. But, by having this mixture of qualities, it is what makes the Hare a favourited animal for artists, writers and creative designers to use within their work.

With our new boxing Hares’ sculpture, ingeniously crafted by Paul Richardson, they are an amazing example of how the brown Hare is used in an artistically humours point of view. These hares are fitted with comical boxing gloves and expressions, with their dominating physique dressed in boxing shorts and shoes. As well as this, the hares are encased within a large boxing ring, highlighting the similarity to a real-life boxing match scenario. Additionally, the whole presentation of the sculpture is a gesture towards our outrageous human nature of quarrelling with world leaders and the political division this causes. Paul’s ingenuity to demonstrate this political conflict is portrayed through the boxing belts on the hares, with the word ‘hare’ written in English to represent the U.S.A on one, and the other written in Russian. The subtlety of this detail is what makes the sculpture so unique and appealing for us to showcase within our showroom!

Famous Faces...

As you may well know, the Chelsea Flower Show is a place where many celebrities and famous faces gather to view all the sculptures and gardens on display. And it seems that at the show, Paul’s boxing hares certainly received a lot of star-studded attention! Dave Meyers from the Hairy Bikers made a great impression of the boxing hares with a great fighting face which would be hard to beat! There were also visits from broadcaster Ben Fogle, athlete Linford Christie and young-up-coming boxer Jordan Thompson!

So, why not come down to our showroom where you can see the boxing hares for yourself! Be sure to tag us in our socials and remember to give us your best boxing face!

 

 

 

 

 

Our RHS Chelsea Flower Show Highlights...

Well, it is safe to say that this year’s Chelsea Flower Show was a massive success for us and all who were involved! From fabulous flourishes to tasty treats, it has been a beautiful way to welcome the autumnal season for us all. If you saw our last post, you can see how much work and effort went into producing our fantastic GFC stand for you all to visit in the last few days of the gorgeous September sunshine! So now that the show has come to an end, here is a rundown of what happened with our week at Chelsea!

Our Best Sellers

Thanks to Jonny and the team, our best products were displayed beautifully for you all to view and visit! It goes without saying that our Kangaroo and Koala Chairs have been the hot topic of conversation on our stand and back in our showroom. As you can see, it seems that many visitors were very comfortable when trying them out! As well as our bestselling Kangaroo and Koala chairs, our Life range also had a lot of popular attention, particularly with our Soho and Timber sets! Many visitors were stricken by the beautiful charcoal finish on the aluminium frame, as well as the sleek engineering that makes this one of our most modern and stylish ranges.

What is more, our magnificent Madrid Corner Sofa Set, which was nestled under our marvellous Galaxy Gazebo, also became extremely popular with many visitors on the stand. With the contrasting gazebo wall panel engraved with a delicate leaf pattern made especially for Chelsea, it became one of the most sought-after products of the show! Additionally, our Mustique Dining Set had many watchful eyes on our stand, with its stylish teak frame and slick stone table taking a lot of attention throughout the show.

However, it is our stunning Pergolux gazebo that not only made its Chelsea debut, but it was the first time we have had it on display at any of our shows! With our brand-new leaflets flying off the stand, it was a huge thrill to showcase our Pergolux Range in person with you all for the first time at Chelsea!

Famous Faces and Special Guests

As many of you know, the Chelsea Flower Show is notorious for celebrities to come and mix with the crowds to see the spectacular gardens and stands on display. In fact, at the GFC stand, we had a fair few famous faces come to visit, as well as having a few snapshots of our fantastic furniture! TV Presenter Nicki Chapman, who you might know from presenting the Chelsea Flower Show on the BBC, came to our stand and had a nice sit down in our Fiji Apple Day Bed! What is more, singer Alexandra Burke paid us a visit and had a friendly chat with our amazing staff on the stand. And it would not be the Chelsea Flower Show without having a visit from some Chelsea Pensioners who you can probably tell really liked our Kangaroo Chairs!

Our Brilliant Staff

It is needless to say that our success at Chelsea would not have been possible without our fabulous staff working tirelessly each day to make your experience with us one to remember. Each morning without fail, they would arrive at our stand bright and early, passing the huge queues of eager visitors ready to take a look at all the fantastic stands and gardens on display. Through meeting and speaking to thousands of people every day about our fabulous range of products, for Jon, Chris, Annetta, Nathalie and Oliver, it was an exceptional experience that they will never forget!

We hope you all had a chance to visit us at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, even though it was a little later than expected! If you have any pictures of you visiting our stand, don’t forget to tag us to share your experience!

Until next year Chelsea!

GFC At The RHS Chelsea Flower Show...

For the first time in 108 years, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is to be held in September due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. However, it is a notion welcomed by many attending the show this year as it is a chance to showcase a variety of plants and produce that are prevalent within the autumnal months! Not only will the show be exhibiting some of the finest garden displays to welcome the autumnal season, but it will also be a celebration of the NHS, demonstrated through a beautiful array of show gardens! Additionally, there will be a couple of new show gardens to view this year, with the balcony and container gardens making their first appearance to showcase the developing landscape of city living.

With GFC, it is also a chance for us to celebrate our history and origin of the company. This year, we have adapted our stand to commemorate the history of our place of residence. Once a milking parlour for over 70 years, it was transformed to become our showroom where thousands of people come to view our exceptional products all year round. Our plants, which we have carefully selected, are going to be beautifully presented within milk churns and milking instruments to represent the original function of our now famous showroom! We are also going to be intertwining our renowned furniture within our stand through our Fiji weave wall panels, complimented by our living wall ivy to bring a piece of GFC to Chelsea! It goes without saying that our showroom is packed full of history which we are excited to demonstrate with you all within our stand!

However, you may be wondering how we are going to get our stand looking spotless and sparkling for you all to enjoy at Chelsea! Well, our brilliant installations team at GFC have given us exclusive access to the stand construction which they have been building throughout the days running up to the main event. So, let us have a look at the day-by-day transformation of the GFC stand!

DAY 1

Jonny and his brilliant team arrive the week before with our fantastic products ready to be built and displayed. As you can see, it is going to be a big job for this patch of mud and grass to be transformed to become our amazing stand when we welcome all our visitors! 

And so, the work begins! The team starts to unload the truck to get underway with laying the foundations for our stand. It is going to be a lot of work, but the results will be worth it in the end!

DAY 2

And in true British style, the rain has begun! However, a little bit of wet weather does not stop the team from getting the important work done! Now that the foundations are in place, it is time for the floor decking to cover the mud and rain as our stand starts to take shape!

Our celebrated products are now starting to be unpacked and built to make their Chelsea debut! But after a bit of a miserable (and wet) day, you can see the stand is coming together beautifully! Even though there is a bit more work to do, it is satisfying to see the great progress the team are making (even if their socks might be a bit damp)!

DAY 3

With the floor almost complete, the team get to work on building our brilliant products for the stand! Here, you can see our Pergolux Garden Room with motorised roof is under construction and will certainly take centre stage! Our renowned Galaxy Gazebos have also started to take shape, with our highly sought-after Fiji and Meteor products beginning to be placed around the stand.

At the end of Day 3, you can see how hard the team have worked to transform our stand from a wet patch of mud and grass to a brilliant display of our magnificent products ready for you all to enjoy! There is still a long way to go, but the progress is second to none! 

DAY 4

Our Fiji wall panels are now in place with our brand-new sign! Soon they will be filled with our fabulous selection of plants for you all to see! Not only will our wall panels be placed around the stand to display our beautiful flowers, but it will also be complementing our fantastic range of rattan furniture!

As the day draws to a close, we can see the furniture is starting to be assembled and it is looking fantastic! The Fiji Apple Day Bed and Fiji Range will be making their mark on the stand, as well as our cosy Kangaroo and Koala chairs making their return with some brand-new colours!

DAY 5

With the show creeping around the corner, the stand is coming together wonderfully! Our Pergolux Gazebo has had the glass doors fitted, with our Paris Sofa suite taking residence underneath the LED motorised roof! If you notice in the corner, you can make out our milking instruments which are starting to be assembled ready for the plants to arrive.

Our stand has completely transformed in a matter of days! All our products are now being positioned and finalised to make sure you can all see what GFC has to offer! As well as our Rattan furniture range, we are going to be displaying our LIFE range including our Soho Corner Lounge Unit which is ready to be unwrapped very soon!

 

DAY 6

As the team continue to work hard on the stand construction, the planters from ‘Sadie May Studios’ have now arrived to start preparing the stand with our beautiful selection of plants! The wall ivy and the Fiji wall panels look exquisite next to our fabulous sign and are certainly going to be even more sublime in person!

And what is more, our Galaxy Gazebo has been fitted with a unique wall panel made just for Chelsea! The sophisticated and clean-cut panel is engraved with an elegant leaf pattern to complete our Gazebo for the show, with our Madrid Lounge Set residing underneath. With the final preparations underway, it is soon time to unveil our stand to the public in a matter of days!

DAY 7

With the show only a day away, our stand is now being prepped with the final touches! Our furniture looks fabulous next to our newly planted milk churns and milking instruments to showcase our GFC history! What is more, our stunning Pergolux and Galaxy Gazebo are now complete for the opening of the show!

It goes without saying that our stand has transformed into a magnificent display of our staple products and become a beautiful representation of our history. The team has worked tirelessly to make our Chelsea return, and what a magnificent job they have done to ensure our return is bigger than ever before!

SHOW DAY!

And just like magic, the stand is ready and raring to go for you all to visit! It is remarkable how our team have managed to renovate just a patch of mud into an incredible display of all our products!

As you can see, we have already had some excited first visitors taking a seat in our fabulous Kangaroo Chairs, as well as a couple of dazzling disco dancers posing in front of our magnificent plant display! It is safe to say that GFC has arrived at the Chelsea Flower Show in tremendous style!

Our Plant Selection...

This year with the show taking place in the September, many stands and gardens have had to adapt their plant selection to fit in with the autumnal season. So, here is a run-down of all our plants that are going to be making an appearance in our display!

Trees:

Betula Utilis Jacqumontii

Originating from the Himalayas, this silver birch tree will be making a special appearance to our selection of plants for the show. The white bark has a delicate glistening exterior, as well as its striking dark oval green leaves making it an important addition to our stand!

Shrubs:

Hydrangea Paniculata Limelight 

Commonly present in China and Japan, the Hydrangea Paniculata Limelight can thrive throughout the year, even in the winter months! With the show now taking place in September, it is a chance to showcase certain plants that are capable to survive the colder weather.

Viburnum Tinus

A popular choice for hedging, the Viburnum Tinus is a beautiful plant that flourishes with pink and white flowers, along with a dark black fruit which can be made into jam!

Prunus Ceracifera Nigra

Recognised as ‘Black Cherry Plum’, this elegant plant is popular for its rich shrubbery and striking black stems. Starting off with a delicate pink blossom in the spring, it begins to transition into a bronze shade for the autumnal months.

Perennials:

Salvia Love and Wishes

From May to October, this stunning foliage is perfect to keep the colder months colourful! The dark stems and rich purple flowers are pleasing to look at, with the additional advantage of being able to grow in containers perfect for your patio!  

Nepeta Six Hills Giant 

Part of the Catmint family, Nepeta Six Hills Giant is a beautifully aromatic herb that is perfect for summer. Its elusive purple pigment attracts many wildlife and contains a pungent lemony scent.

Rosmarinus Prostrates

Native in the Mediterranean, prostrate rosemary is a very easy herb to look after in any garden setting. In the spring and summer, the shrub grows small blue/purple flowers which can be used in your cooking! Preferably grown in the autumn months, it is a perfect plant to showcase at this year’s show!  

Hedera Helix

Widely recognised as English Ivory, Hendra Helix is fast-growing evergreen which is commonly used as a climbing vine. Once established on your fence, the climbing vine can grow up to 80 feet!

Sedum Purple Emperor 

Grown for its colourful foliage, the ‘Purple Emperor’ is a striking perennial made up of pink/brown flowers and luscious stems. As the flowers fade in the autumn months, the foliage will last throughout the winter and keep pollinators attracted!

Heuchera Obsidian  

Native to North America, this perennial tends to grow with polished burgundy/black leaves which become darker with age. In the summer, their creamy white flowers begin to blossom which compliments the other foliage beautifully. They flourish within the shade, so it is perfect for those rainy autumn days! 

Heucherella Sweet Tea

More of a compact perennial, Heucherella Sweet Tea is formed of delicate burnt orange leaves which deepen towards the summer season. In the spring and early summer, the leaves are complimented with small white flowers along the stems.

Echinacea White Swan

This upright perennial is formed with strong stems and striking white daisy-like flowers. Its orange-green centre makes this plant marvellous to look at, as well as providing a powerful nectar for pollinators!

Echinacea Green Jewel

This herbaceous perennial is grown with a distinctive green centre and drooping petals which are popular with butterflies! Flourishing in the summer, these flowers can survive through to the autumn to keep your garden full of colour in the darker months!

Rudbeckia Prairie Glow

Commonly known as ‘black-eyed-susans’, this striking burnt orange flower is perfect for the autumn season. The contrasting yellow tips slightly curve to form a stunning narrowed disk allowing the shape and colours of this flower to be perfect for any garden!

Agapanthus Moonlight Star

Noticeable for its dark violet flowers, this evergreen perennial is a beautiful addition to our stand to showcase the plants that are prominent in the autumn season. These are usually grown within large containers which can ultimately be moved during the winter months, so they stay fresh all year round!

Stipa Pony Tails

More commonly known as ‘Mexican Feathers Grass’, these are decorated with a silver/green flower which makes this perennial a very attractive version of grass! These are a stunning addition to any foliage or floral display to add some volume to your garden!

Carex Frosted Curls

This evergreen perennial is commonly seen within the grasses of New Zealand and is favoured for its unique foliage. The slender glistening leaves allows this plant to create a ‘mop-head’ shape and are also a great way to add a foundation to your display!

Verbena Bonariensis

This fragrant perennial is a stunning shade of lavender purple which blooms from mid-summer to the beginning of winter. Significantly, this perennial reproduces through seeds and self-seeds. In American horticulture, it is also known as ‘Purpletop’ and ‘South American Vervain’.

Liriope Muscari

Deriving from East Asia, the Liriope muscari is a grass-like evergreen foliage which produces lavender/purple flowers and seeded berries in the autumnal months. By being extremely tolerable of drought, it is fitting to place these under any trees and shrubs and especially thrives in well-drained soil in restricted or complete shade! 

Molinia Karl Forester

Regularly found by marshlands and riverbanks, Molinia Karl Forester is a delicate grass-like plant which can thrive in many weather conditions. As we are approaching the autumnal season, this perennial will be transforming into a soft golden brown for our display! 

We are exceptionally excited and thrilled to be able to see you all again at the Chelsea Flower Show, and especially eager to bring the history of GFC to our stand! Please share your Chelsea experience with us on our socials and make sure to tag us when visiting our incredible stand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Your Glast-home-bury... | Event Series : Part Two

Despite the cancellation of Glastonbury, we are still hoping our beloved festivals will persevere. However, in the event festivals are once again postponed, we feel it is only safe to prepare for a DIY Glast-home-bury experience.  The second part of our ‘Garden Hosting Series’ features how to host your own ‘Festival’. Although this may struggle to compete with Glastonbury, we think you will still have a memory as joyful and precious as attending the real deal! Creating your own Glast-home-bury experience does come at a cost, however we think you will soon forgive yourself once you see the joy it brings...

To create your very own outdoor cinema you will need to combine last week’s DIY Cinema with some new additions…

THE LINE UP - 

Every festival has those quirky encouraging activities in-between performances – from breakdancing dance offs, the best hat award, food eating contests to my favourite, sock wrestling. Putting together a real ‘schedule’ or line-up of the day, which includes live or revisited concerts playing in-between, banquet eating, activities and a ‘closing ceremony’ will really help bring the festival together. We suggest hula hooping. 'giant' cardboard noughts and crosses, DIY ribbon dancing and sack racing! 

Tip - We recommend even replicating one of your favourite festivals printed schedule.

GET CREATIVE - 

It would not be a festival without the glowing guidance of festoon lighting or the copious amounts of colourful bunting! With the addition of festoon lights, bunting, and perhaps even festival flags, your garden will be transformed into a glowing wonderland. A creative flair will also save you some pennies when it comes to decorating on a big scale. With just some cheap hula hoops or embroidery hoops you can create some quirky and lightweight ribbon chandeliers. Using the same reels of ribbon, you can also create a 'ribbon tent' with just some long sticks, pillows, and throws. This 'tent' can also act as the glamping campsite!...

Tip - Using old glass jars with candles inside will also work!

DINING ALFRESCO - 

Choose your location of the ‘dining hall’ and get decorating! A festival food tent is something other worldly, so grab some ambient lighting, flowers, bunting, an outdoor stove, hot plate, or warm up the BBQ and set the scene! Although you may want to replicate some festival classics such as breakfast burritos or mac and cheese, cooking is optional and ordering from a local street food restaurant or picking up some ready-made goods will suffice. Using natural decorations such as flowers, wood, feathers, and candle lit jars adds to the outdoor festival aesthetic. The use of an old wheelbarrow or bucket can also assist in keeping those cherished refreshments cool. For a fully immersive experience, we love the idea of including a ‘festival’ style menu along with name place holders.

MOVIE TIME -

In our previous post to this series, we assisted you through creating your own immersive outdoor cinema experience, which will now come to some good use! Grab a projector, speaker, white sheet, pillows, and snacks to create your very own outdoor cinema. A ‘show time' of certain movies can also be included in your schedule.

Tip - Use DIY signage posts throughout the ‘site’ to mark areas, such as ‘Cinema’. You can do this with some wood or cardboard and a lick of paint!

SET THE STAGE - 

Although a no live band may be off the cards, you can still include the addition of a ‘stage’. Using some old pallets, or LED tiles, you can create a ‘stage’ area where the kids are free to ‘perform’. Creating a ‘backstage’ area with a prop station including bought or DIY prop creations may also provide some amusement and creativity. An outfit competition springs to mind... 

KEEPING TOASTY - 

Those who have witnessed the rolling fog during the early hours at festivals will know that even during the height of summer the air can become glacial. Therefore blankets, heaters and firepits will be needed. Place your blankets in a 'help yourself' basket for an authentic festival feel. If you crave the roaring glow of an open fire at festivals, we have a range of firepits which may just do the job. If you opt for an ambient firepit, a quick check of the wind direction and distance from any of the surrounding ‘areas’ goes without saying – We wouldn’t want you to fail the festival safety inspection!... 

Tip - Set up a 'smores' station including jars of marshmallows, crackers and chocolate, plus skewers, for a delicous and toasted snack! 

PLAY THE ROLE -

So, as festival tradition goes, grab your most colourful outfits, glitter up and throw on anything that lights up – it’s time to take a trip to Glast-home-bury! If you are truly committed to the experience, you can even hold a fancy-dress ceremony at the beginning of the festival. To do this, make sure to pick a theme, set some criteria and choose a time frame to allow for costum making beforehand. Creating a 'glitter' or 'face paint' station may also come in handy for the forgetful...

Tip – You can purchase or create your personalised tickets and wristbands. Create a ticketing and security area at the ‘entrance’ for a real experience of festival delight!  

We hope you have all the success with your Glast-home-bury!

Please feel free to send us any pictures of your set ups.

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

Creating An Outdoor Cinema At Home... | Event Series : Part One

Even though most of the entertainment doors have now opened, as a nation we are coming up with more and more inventive ways of how to stay entertained within the safety of our home.  As a result, we'll be putting together a short series on hosting events at home - from building an outdoor cinema to creating your very own glast-home-bury!

I have recently noticed there seems to be a viral trend of people setting up their own outdoor cinemas. And I have to say, they are quite impressive set ups! So, we thought we would put together a simple guide on how to create your very own outdoor cinema - complete with the essential ticket checking and rustling snacks. Whether it's just for us adults or for the whole family, this activity can be enjoyed by all…

THE TECHNICAL STUFF…

To create your very own outdoor cinema, you will need either a projector or television screen. Although you may think that projectors can be pricey, in fact there are many decent projectors on the market today with a very small price tag; some even starting from £30! Given that you can use the projector time and time again, you can always see this as an investment!

Once you have the projector, you will need a 'screen'. You will also need a speaker if your projector does not come with (non-robotic) one built in. Obviously, all projectors are different so be sure to read the features carefully when choosing your projector, as some can be wireless, others can be HDMI only and whilst some may have speakers included, others may not. For the screen, a simple white sheet attached to two stakes or strung across a hardy clothing line will suffice. Once you have the screen and projector sorted, you will need to ensure the audio, whether built in to the project or not, works effectively too. As stated, this depends on which projector you have chosen.

TIP: Its important to take into consideration the device you stream the film from. If this is a laptop or iPad, you may need to have an extension cable leading out of the house to keep it charged up... Just the little things people tend to forget! 

Hopefully now you will have the technical stuff down so we can move onto the fun part…

SEATING AND COMFORTS –

Image not our own.

 

One of the most memorable parts of a trip to the cinema is the hit or miss cinema seats… One visit you can be placed right in front of someone who decides your seat is their personal footrest, the next visit you can find you are the only viewers for miles – well for rows! Having a cinema at home however, you can have guaranteed comfort and the best views. 

Choosing the seating and the comforts that go with the movie is almost as important as the movie itself. Now, the obvious choice would be an outdoor lounger or day bed. Some may already have one, for those who do not, do not fret as we have plenty available! Personally, we think buying an outdoor day bed is completely justified for an event like this!... For those who are looking for something with a dual purpose of perhaps both dining and lounging, we also have a large range of luxury outdoors sofas. Take our Timber Corner Sofa… It is big enough for the whole family to sink into, yet it can also accommodate for your alfresco dining needs…

However, placing an outdoor blanket down with some cushions is completely acceptable too! Foldable or inflatable seating would be a great alternative also. 

FOOD AND DRINKS –

Whilst some of us may go just for the movie, others go for the butter drenched popcorn and Tango Ice-blasts. To be a real cinema experience, the incorporation of rustling packets is a necessity. Microwave or hob butter popcorn, M&M’s and Pick’n’Mix, are luckily all available at your local supermarket - Tango Ice blasts not so much. 

However, we also suggest introducing other food items to really elevate the experience. Finger food which requires little or no preparation like miniature pizzas, burgers and French fries would go down a treat! You can even produce a fitting paper menu and give them out to your ‘customers’ – any leftovers can be snacked on later!

TIP: We suggest serving these with cinema style food accessories, like miniature popcorn boxes, napkins, and paper straws to really add to the cinema feel. You can purchase these at various places online.

LIGHTING –

We have all been there, stumbling down the dimly lit cinema steps trying to locate where the stairs stop and the path to the exit starts…

The addition of ‘aisle’ or overhead lighting is also advisable – they have these in the cinema for a reason! Using fairy or string lights work perfectly, however the use of candles and re-used glass jars is as affective. Our string lights are the perfect lighting for this occasion and may even give you slight ‘festival’ feelings by adding some extra ambience.

HEATERS, FIRE PITS AND CANDLES –

Being outdoors during the nights of spring and summer in UK can still be glacial. Therefore blankets, heaters and firepits will be needed. We have a range of heaters and firepits which may just do the job. If you opt for an ambient firepit, a quick check of the wind direction and distance from the ‘screen’ goes without saying.

TIP: We all know we can become a mosquito magnet outside at night, by introducing the use of citronella candles you can save your skin from the invasive pests.

PLAY THE ROLE -

With the addition of fake ‘tickets’, an ‘usher’ and an introduction before the beginning of the film may help transform the evening.

Tip – Use free online templates to create your personalised tickets. Use a holepunch for ticket stamping for a more immersive experience.

PERMANENT OUTDOOR CINEMA –

If you find the night a success or you are already looking for a permanent outdoor cinema room or area, our gazebos and screenhouses are the perfect canopy. In fact, we even advertise the Galaxy Gazebo as this due to their very practical screens which can be using to project upon! You can find all of our gazebos and screenhouses online. If you would like to see them in person, you can also visit our showroom in Warwickshire.

Now you have got everything sorted, here comes the hardest part… Choosing the movie! We would advise choosing your movie wisely – but if you really have trouble deciding, making the movie night a regular occurrence could help with the issue!...

We hope you have all the success with your outdoor cinema night, or shall I say, nights!

Please feel free to send us any pictures of your outdoor cinema set ups.

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

Getting your garden ready for a summer party...

Getting your garden ready for a summer party...

With restrictions lifting, we are now able to have those necessary reunions with our loved ones. If you’re planning on hosting a garden party for your reunion, you will need to know what necessary preparations to make – and that is where we can help!

We have put together a detailed guide to help you get your garden ready for a summer party, from the practical side to the fun…

TIDYING AND ORGANIZING

The first thing we all think of when we decide to host is the dreaded task of tidying and organizing. The basic tasks needed to tidy the garden is the usual - mowing, feeding the lawn, watering the plants, and de-weeding. However, when preparing your garden for a party, you will need to pop your creative hat on.

Getting creative with your garden beds by giving them a freshen up with some new plants or sowing some seeds of your own, can really help transform the garden. We recommend strong scent filled plants like jasmine, rosemary and lavender which smell divine in the evening.



CREATING A COCKTAIL GARDEN...

Impress your guests by plucking fresh herbs and edible flowers from your impressive edible cocktail garden. A planter full of fresh herbs and edible flowers which can be used on the day for cocktails and food, really shows you have pulled out all the stops for a great party. We suggest planting these edible plants in a container or planter with helpful labels and placing this in clear view right by your bar or BBQ. If you are wondering what plants are best –you can find helpful guides online. A few ideas are lavender, spearmint, lemon verbena, Cuban mint, and thyme. We have a variety of planters which would be perfect for this – like our rub a dub tub planter’s...

Featured: Our Rub A Dub Dub Planters.

It will surprise you just how many different concoctions you can now make with your new bar planter!

SEATING

Outdoor seating is important and there are many different forms of it – bar, dining, and sofas. Of course, when you think of a party you think of the bar and dining area firstly. Creating a pronounced bar or dining area can help the event seem less thrown together by dividing up the garden into unique ‘zones’ during the party. Of course, if you do invest in an outdoor bar, this can also provide extra seating. Like our up-cycled Tuk Tuk Bar – perfect for a Mediterranean style garden.

Featured: Our Up-cycled Tuk Tuk Bar With Stools.

However, you also need an area where guests can relax and unwind. Having an outdoor sofa unit or suite is the perfect option. Our furniture is designed for comfort – and not just for one event but for an entire lifetime. For those with larger families or groups of friends, we recommend our spacious corner units such as the Fitzroy Corner Unit or Nevada  Corner Unit which offer enough space to socially distance.

Tip: Adding extra comforts such as scatter cushions, outdoor rugs and blankets can also help ensure that your guests are as comfortable as possible!

SHELTER

Come rain or shine, with any gathering you need to make sure some sort of shelter is accessible. Making sure to do your research on which type of shelter is best for the area is as important as the item you purchase. Deciding on whether you want the shelter as a permanent or semi-permanent structure is also important.

If you are thinking more semi-permanent, you can choose to have a cantilever  – which you can easily fold down when not in use. Using a pop-up gazebo or event shelter will also have the same effect, they may just take a bit longer to put up and takedown.

Tip: As shelters are not always designed for extreme bouts of weather, we advise implementing extra supports such as extra guy lines or fence/ground anchors where possible!

Featured: Our Royal LED Cantilever Parasol - With Built In LED's.

If you are looking for something more permanent, gazebos or screen-houses are practical and multi-purpose; with our screen-houses, some customers have even used them for their hot tubs!

WARMTH

Whether you’re one for toasting a marshmallow or one for simply basking in the warmth  (or both!), we all love to congregate around a comfy fire once the night draws in. So we recommend having a dedicated fire-pit area tucked away in the garden with separate seating – to also help with segregating the individual areas. During cold summer nights, it's much appreciated by guests too...

Our range of fire pits includes an up-cycled VW Van inspired fire pit, classic fire bowls and the famous Chesney BBQ Heaters.   Psst… we have even got log stores too – like our love heart shaped wood rack.

Featured: Chesney Terrace Gourmet Heater.

Tip: If you are looking for a source of warmth and a glow without the hazard, you can also use outdoor heaters for the same effect! Shop our heaters here.

LIGHTING

When the sun goes down, but you are having far too much fun to part ways, darkness can begin to get in the way. Strategically placing some decorative lighting throughout the garden can not only become very practical when dusk approaches, but it can also help to create a certain ambience to the evening atmosphere.

We recommend lighting up pathways with garden stakes, hanging rope lights above the social areas, and using larger lights around the main social areas. Using Eco-friendly lighting is always best, but remember to charge them under the direct sun well before the party.

Tip: As the light will attract critters, try to invest in some citronella candles as they act as extra lighting and a pest deterrent!



DRINKS COOLER

During the warm summer period, any event requires cool beverages. And being an outdoor gathering, what is better suited to the occasion than an outdoor drinks cooler? We have all seen the rather drab looking drinks coolers in the local supermarket. But did you know you can have a drinks cooler which also doubles up as a decoration? Our range of outdoor coolers is made to not only be practical but also fun and entertaining. Our range consists of anything from a turtle inspired cooler to a Motorbike Cooler!

Featured: King Of The Road Cooler.

GARDEN DECORATIONS

Now, the final step of the party preparations- the decorations. Whether permanent or only semi-permanent, introducing some decorations into the garden can make for talking points and add to the overall look. For a semi-permanent approach, paper hanging lanterns, bunting, and even using flowers or scented herbs is a great approach to quickly transforming the garden – assuming the weather is on your side of course!

However, we would advise that investing in more permanent decorations in the garden is more practical due to their long-lasting nature plus they generally tend to look more expensive and finished. Our garden ornaments are built to last, even when left outside all year long. So they can deliver that extra wow factor at your party, time and time again. You can find ornaments such as the likes of Percy The Flamingo or his friends within our ornaments range. Who knows, you may even build a collection!

Featured: Butterfly Stakes Set Of 10.

So, you are all set! Now it's time to kick back and relax with a nice cold beverage before the mad rush of your guest’s arrival. Good luck! We hope you will have a memorable and safe reunion with your family and friends.

If you have found this guide helpful, we would love to see your snaps – you can send these to us through our social media pages as linked below!

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Blog Written By: Lucy Canoel

Blog Published By: The Garden Furniture Centre

A Ken Dodd themed Garden Exhibit.

A Ken Dodd garden and a Diddy Man Picnic …


Our most recent outing to Tatton Park was very successful and as usual we took an interest in the garden exhibits. One that particularly caught our eye was the Lazy Days exhibit from Preston City Council designed by Alan Rampling and Brian McNeill with Ken Dodd and his zany world as the theme.



Ken Dodds whacky style of humour and song offers the perfect theme for this very colourfully planted garden exhibit that resembles a picnic basket.

A Diddy Man snoozing in a Picnic Basket


The garden also captures some wider but related themes with a Diddy Man taking a snooze in the picnic basket and a sign post to Knotty Ash, the now famous town outside Liverpool where Dodd was born.

‘How tickled I am!’ – a few facts about the comedian with a famous greeting …

In the 1960’s Ken Dodds popularity was such that he rivalled The Beatles as a household name and, as a matter of fact his record have sold millions of copies worldwide as well.

The world and characters associated with his 3 feet tall Diddy Men who worked in The Jam Butty Mines of Knotty Ash and played a large part in helping Dodd, during his earlier years as a stand-up comic, to give his home town the notoriety it now has.

Ken Dodd themed garden at Tatton Park


You may or may not know that the term ‘diddy’ is northern slang for little.

In terms of his recording career, Ken Dodd has had 19 singles in the UK Top 40, including the song Tears that topped the UK charts for 5 weeks in 1965 and sold well over a million copies.

A failed accountant!  

Ken Dodds reputation was slightly marred in 1989 when he was charged with tax evasion, the trial lasted three weeks but the comedian was eventually acquitted.

And, in typical Ken Dodd style he turned this negative into a positive and incorporated it into his act. In fact, immediately after the trial he had a long running show at the London Palladium from Easter to Christmas.

And finally, we guess all there’s left to say is goodbye and, ‘lots and lots of happiness!’

Kenneth Arthur Dodd

How to Get Your Floristry Display Seen at the RHS Flower Show Chelsea

If you have an interest in flowers then the RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year competition should be on your radar and demand further attention.

Are floral displays part of your business, or an area of your study, if so  here's an opportunity to get one of your displays featured at one of the most prestigious events in the country.

Why not consoder entering the Chelsea Florist of the Year competition. Now is the time to book your spot in one of the heats that are happening up and down the country in preparation for the 2013 competition.

Floral Display

RHS Flower Show Chelsea 2013


The floristry competition has 2 categories that is split into different age groups

Entry Category 1. - Ages 16 to 25

Entry Category 2.  - Ages 26 and over

Entrants are accepted from florist business owners and their employees, freelance florists and tutors or students at any recognised college.

The Chelsea Florist of the Year competition is being run in conjunction with the British Florist Association and the winners will have their displays presented at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013.

The Flower Show Competition Venues


Although local events have already begun in one area there's still time for you to get involved. The next date regional date is taking place at Covent Garden in London on Wednesday 7th November 2012.

Future dates and locations as follows:

Regional Dates for RHS Florist Competition 2013

For more information and entry details please visit the following websites:

RHS - http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2012/All-Coverage/Articles/Features/RHS-Chelsea-Florist-of-the-Year-2013

Bristish Florist Association - http://www.britishfloristassociation.org/home.htm?id=121

The Chelsea Flower Show


The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual event sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society. This year, as usual, the event takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London and runs from the 24th to the 28th May. The Chelsea Flower Show is the ultimate event in the gardening calendar and tickets are fast selling out. This year there are 17 fabulous show gardens, including the M&G garden, designed by the award winning landscape artist Bunny Guinness, along with gardens from as diverse contributors as B&Q, The Daily Telegraph, Cancer Research UK and the Green Poem Garden. The Urban Garden offers a new, interactive show that provides some great ideas for those with small, inner city gardens.  The new addition of the Artisan Garden category is the result of what happens when designers use sustainably resourced and natural materials. Don’t miss the SkyShades Garden, which is billed as the ‘ultimate, home-based, wild life haven.’

The display at the Great Pavilion this year takes on a global atmosphere with displays that are inspired by places as diverse as South America, Rwanda and the Himalayas. If you love gardens and gardening then this is a sight not to be missed as many of the plants that are exhibited cannot be seen anywhere else in Britain. The Rwandan display is presented by Birmingham City Council. Closer to home the peony growers of Kelways will be recreating the Peony Valley, which is the nursery’s own display field based in Somerset, as a celebration of 160 years in the horticultural business. Look out for a wonderful display of Japanese tree peonies at this year’s show.

If you plan on visiting the Chelsea Flower Show this year, there are still some tickets available, for members and non-members on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th May, but you will need to hurry. You can order the show’s catalogue when you book your tickets, if you can’t attend the show you can still order the show catalogue either online or by telephoning 0844 338 7528 or 0844 338 7505 for show catalogues only.

Web Link:


www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-CHelsea-Flower-Show/2010/
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