Tag Archives: product review

Parrot Pot – A Connected Plant Care Device (Product Review)

I was very excited when I received an email about the new Parrot Pot – a plant pot with an inbuilt self-watering and regulating system that you connect to through a mobile app. I love new technology and seeing how the internet can help with everyday functions.

I was kindly sent one to review, here’s how I got on…

Just planted, but I’d forgotten to add the base!

It arrived nicely packaged but was quite a bit bigger than I’d been expected – the pot itself is about 32cm high when stood in its base but I suppose it needs to be that tall to house its 2.2-litre water reservoir.

The instructions were all pretty simple to follow and I soon had my plant potted and downloaded the app. Again, it was all nice and simple – I was guided through the set-up, I actually didn’t know the type of plant so I wasn’t able to make use of the installed directory – I believe that if matched with one of those it provides plant-specific care based on the data it has. The pot connected to the app without any issues.

After the first few days of set-up, it was great to see how the plant was being watered regularly and how the soil moisture was changing – the plant I’d used was quite a bushy headed one which meant it was difficult to water from above – part of the reason I’d chosen it for the pot, I’d clearly been under-watering it as it quite quickly used up the first 2 litres from the reservoir.

Plant is noticeably thriving

I’ve had it set up about a week now and I have to say that my plant is looking better than ever, it’s started spreading and growing down over the sides of the pot – it’s clearly very happy. It’s been super interesting monitoring progress through the app. There are graphs of watering, sunshine and temperature if you really want to geek out. I’ve had a couple of instances when the app has told me system maintenance was required and the app simply tests the water jets and then asked me to tamp down the soil and then it was all back to normal, not sure if this is because the plant is overhanging and partially covering the sensor. This morning I noticed some leakage on the window sill – the base which catches run-off from watering was full, not sure if this is a design flaw or because the plant has been over-watered, maybe because we don’t know what type of plant it is so that it can adjust to the plant’s specific requirements.

Getting geeky with graphs

So what do I think? I like it, I really love the technology and can see this having a place in the modern home. My only concern would be the price – it’s retailing at £129.99, although it’s currently on offer at £79.99. I have a LOT of plants indoors and most of them weren’t expensive purchases, just a few ££ each, so to pay that kind of money for enough pots to look after my plants would be seriously prohibitive. I’m sure because this is new technology, like all things, ways will be found to bring down the manufacture costs and once that’s been achieved (it’d need to be by quite some amount for me to purchase one, unfortunately), then I can see it as a much more viable product for the home. I guess if you had really rare or exotic plants then this could be a good investment. The pots have been built to be used indoors or outdoors so it could be worthwhile for more expensive outdoor plants that might benefit from regular watering and monitoring.

PS if anyone knows what type of plant this is please do let me know and I can update the app!

I’m really excited to see how this kind of technology develops.

You can find out more about Parrot Pot here on their website.

 

GTech Cordless Strimmer – Product Review

The lovely people at Gtech recently sent us a cordless strimmer to review, and typically, it’s rained ever since. Thankfully we had a break this past weekend so finally got to road-test it, let’s just say it had it’s work cut out – here’s how S got on with it.

Assembling the strimmer out of the box was very easy – there were only a couple of pieces which clicked together easily, and which didn’t even require instructions.  My first impression was how light it was.  The battery had been charging before this point and even after pushing that into place at the head of the handle it made no difference to the weight and feel of it.  The cutting blades were also amazingly easy to fit – no cartridges needing plastic wire threaded through here – instead, just a small plastic blade which you pop into the head.

 

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Yes, that’s really how bad it got!

 

So, with that, I was very keen to try it out.  I was wanting to level out a small patch of lawn, which had got very long and thick (20+ centimetres in bits).  Starting it up was easy, with the safety switches not requiring you to change your grip on the handle at all.  It performed very well, there was plenty of power and, because it is so light, was very easy to precisely cut through to the right length.

 

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S in full strimming action

 

While using it the blade pinged off a couple of times (and had to search for it in the long grass), but that was due to getting too close to a rock on the border.  However, there is no worry at all about the blade getting broken and jammed in the rotating head – it just can’t happen.  I got through a couple of blades, although did not do too much experimenting with how much life you can get from one use.  The plastic did not have a particular cutting edge as such – and could be inserted either side up – but did get a little rough and flattened round the edges, possibly from hitting the stones and rocks. But, again, it was easy to pop another one in and so much better than some which use plastic wire.

The plastic did not have a particular cutting edge as such – and could be inserted either side up – but did get a little rough and flattened round the edges, possibly from hitting the stones and rocks. But, again, it was easy to pop another one in and so much better than some which use plastic wire.

 

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That looks better!!!!

 

I used it for about 45 minutes in total until the battery was used up, but that was plenty of time to do several passes over the surface, cutting down to the right level, and through some pretty thick and long grass.  I didn’t try out the option to rotate the head for edging.  That wasn’t quite so straightforward to push the sides in to allow the rotation.

In conclusion, I’ll be using this each time, since it is so light, easy to use and handle and makes doing the chore much more appealing!

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 To find out more about GTech’s range of cordless garden equipment you can check out their website here

Self-watering Hanging Basket – Review

I’ve been looking at various slow-watering watering methods on Pinterest recently, many involve sticking a plastic bottle with pierced holes into the soil – a nice, thrifty idea, however, a bottle can take up quite a bit of room so when Stewart Gardens asked if I’d like to trial one of their self-watering hanging baskets I was keen to see how it works.

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It’s actually really simple and very clever – there’s a plastic disc that sits above the bottom of the basket with a fibre mat, that dips into the well below that continually sucks up moisture from below into the soil. The water is added via a tube inserted into the plastic disc.

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It’s good design in action, the watering tube takes up very little room and the basket is a decent size. You only need to fill the water reserve every 7-10 days – ideal if it’s hot weather and you’re planning on going away, or just to save precious watering time during more clement weather.

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I’ve potted mine up with a beautiful Heliotrope in the centre surrounded by white Surfinia. It looks ok just now but once the Surfinia starts to grow and trail I’m hoping this will a quite lovely display.

I’ll definitely be getting some more of these, so much better than the others I’ve tried so far and at £5.99 a bit of a bargain too.

www.stewart-garden.co.uk

@stewartgarden