This month, hope springs eternal as we see early crocus and snowdrops begin to make an appearance,giving us the push we need to start planning our summer gardens.
With a mass of summer flowering bulbs just waiting to be chosen ready for a colourful summer garden, a visit to Grosvenor Garden Centre is a must this month. Would you prefer a vibrant theme or softer, pastel shades to enjoy this year, or would you like a complete change and a whole new look for your garden?
Whatever your preference, view your garden from every window and every angle now and use existing, established shrubs as a guide to identify where new colour, foliage or structure is required.
Whatever colour theme you choose and whatever the weather, you could begin your summer garden by sowing seeds indoors. Leave them on a windowsill to germinate and you will soon the shoots of seedlings poking through. Tender seeds will take longer to shoot and should not be planted outside until you are sure you will not see any more frosts. These types of seeds need warmth to help them get to this stage so care for them in a propagator or warm, indoor room and keep the temperature fairly constant and high.
You could of course, miss this stage completely and choose plug plants or already germinated seedlings. Whatever your preference, we are here to help so if you need help determining which option is best for you, please just ask.
Of course, February is the month of romance and what better way to romance your loved one than with a Fryer’s rose? Fryer’s Roses are grown in Knutsford and are the perfect gift idea all year round!
A red rose is synonymous with love and passion and has long been associated with St Valentine’s Day but there are so many beautiful shades and scents to choose from, why not choose a longer lasting Valentine gift than a freshly cut bouquet and treat your loved one to a climber, rambler, patio or standard instead?
This beautiful rose, ‘Let there be love’, is a floribunda with an irresistible beauty and adorable soft pink blooms. Several are produced together on trusses on strong stems and is easy to grow too!
See www.fryers.co.uk for a fantastic choice – or visit Grosvenor and choose from our selection here. We can of course, order your choice for you if it is not currently in stock here at Grosvenor.
Avoid pruning your established rose bushes this month but watch for any signs of disease and discard infected foliage or stems to keep further infection at bay.
February is the time to ‘chit’ seed potatoes (‘chitting’ is how the shoots are formed). You do not need much space to do this and you can enjoy homegrown potatoes from simply growing them in a large pot or gro-sac on a small patio! Obviously, the more space you have available, the more varieties you can try and of course, the more homegrown vegetables you can enjoy on your plate! Simply choose your favourite variety of potato, remove the netting and place the tubers in the bottom of a seed tray. Move to a cool, light, frost-free position and leave.
After the snows of January, check your brassicas are still intact and protected by netting.
Towards the end of February, plant out shallots and garlic cloves in a sunny position. One of our top tips is to snip off the end of any dead stems close to the onion bulbs as the birds will find it harder to pull them out.
This month, encourage growth on your fruit trees and fruit bushes. If they are already providing you with good crops, feed with a balanced plant food such as Miracle-Gro Fruit and Vegetable Plant Food for an even better crop.
Make sure your outdoor pots are always well watered – particularly if they are in sheltered spots – and deadhead winter flowering plants such as pansies for continued blooms.
Finally, February is the last chance to put up nest boxes before the tits start looking for somewhere to live. Why not celebrate National Nest Box Week (14th - 21st February) and treat the birds to a new box or haven?
It is always important to keep birds supplied with plenty of food and fresh water but even more so while it is still colder weather. Our range of seeds, mixes, nest boxes and feeders is vast so please indulge the birds in your garden to much needed nutrition on your next visit to us here at Grosvenor.
Well it really is chilly out there and the snow is still falling here in Chester! Always remember that your bedding and tender plants will need to be protected from the snow so keep plenty of fleece to hand.
It is tempting to think that nothing can be done in the garden during the snow flurries, but brush off any snow-laden branches to avoid damage. It is surprising how heavy snow can be!
Stay safe and be prepared with a car full of handy items such as a spade, snow shovel, boots and warm clothing and use salt or grit to keep your driveway and paths clear at home.
And finally, it is easy to have a ‘bah humbug’ attitude towards snow but deep inside, are you still a child at heart? If so, find a hilly area nearby and take advantage of the few sledges we have left and get out there and enjoy it while it lasts!
December sweeps in with freezing cold weather and the country recovering from floods. Winter has well and truly arrived!
But what could be better than a saunter around the garden in the crisp air surrounded by frost-laden branches and leaves to truly bring home the meaning of Christmas?
And once you are back indoors warming up with a hot toddy and a cosy fire, you can survey your garden and plan for 2013 – a great excuse to add a gardening diary to your list for Santa!
Spend December digging up old plants that may be past their best and plant new additions in their place. Rejuvenate the border with different heights of foliage and opt for new colours to try.
Keep that all important fleece handy for colder nights and give your new tender plants the best chance possible with a layer of mulch on their roots.
A Christmas planted container filled with winter flowering blooms such as pansies, heathers, Skimmia Rubella and ‘the Christmas Rose’ itself, Helleborus Niger you will have flowers to admire throughout the festive period. A perfect gift idea too!
Houseplants synonymous with Christmas are, of course, the much-loved cyclamen and poinsettia. Add instant festive vibrancy to any room with a number of these striking plants. They do need plenty of light but are easy to look after and everyone loves to receive one as a gift – so your Christmas shopping is taken care of too!
The orchid is becoming increasingly popular all year round but with such an array of beauty, you cannot go wrong with an orchid as a treat to yourself, a gift from Santa (if you have been good!) or to brighten up any indoor space.
A fresh wreath is a ‘must-have’ on your front door and naturally, a sprig of mistletoe too to welcome guests across your threshold with the spirit of Christmas.
There is nothing like the fragrant scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree to immediately put you in the festive mood. Or have you cared for your own tree and are now ready to bring the outside in?
The most popular choice amongst our customers here at Grosvenor and with low needle drop is the Nordman, closely followed by the Fraser Fir - highly scented, it will immediately fill your home with a delightful festive aroma. Or why not opt for the Noble Fir with a matt, blue colour. We also offer a range of container grown Nordman, Noble and Spruce trees that can be transferred to the garden after Christmas.
We all know how cold it is at the moment but please do remember that the birds in your garden need a steady supply of fresh water so please make sure your bird bath does not freeze over. And keep any bird feeders fully stocked with seeds and nuts. Plants with berries are also a great way to provide birds with a tasty morsel and your Berberis, Holly and Viburnum will not only produce berries, they also provide a fantastic hedged nesting place for birds.
Harvest your homegrown winter vegetables for delicious accompaniments to your Christmas dinner. Remember to leave parsnips lying on top of the soil to sweeten before bringing inside. And your festive meal would not be the same without Brussels sprouts! Love them or hate them, they really are a must have at Christmas time.
And finally, Merry Christmas from everyone here at Grosvenor Garden Centre!
The clocks have ‘fallen back’ and we are now counting down to the festive season with a vengeance. If you are feeling anything like us, you will be wondering where 2012 disappeared to!
But this time of year is one of our favourites here at Grosvenor Garden Centre as we put the finishing touches to our Christmas displays and Santa’s Living Room miraculously appears ready for heartwarming events including Storytime with Santa.
But, back to business as we turn our attention to your garden. Sunny, wintery days highlight the changing of the seasons as the leaves fall and a bite can be felt in the air. So make the most of dry days and give your garden a bit of tender loving care with most areas needing attention before the colder weather sets in.
Look after your lawn by making sure it is rid of fallen leaves – these can be added to the compost heap to rot over the coming months. If you have not already done so, treat your garden to a treatment to kill moss and bolster the grass to better survive the weather ahead. If your lawn is still growing, continue mowing fortnightly.
Throughout the winter months, protect your plants from the harshest of weathers. Add a deep layer of compost (5cms) to protect the rootage of your outdoor plants for a little added protection.
Perennials (this means plants that should appear again every year) can be divided now to boost growth and flowering ability next year.
It is also time to finish off your planting for new colour next spring with plants such as wallflowers, winter pansies and violas to be ready in the ground. Tulip bulbs should establish well if you plant them now before the soil has chance to cool down.
November and December are such popular months for houseplants that they really do spring to mind as the perfect Christmas gift idea – and indeed, a gift for any time of year. Phalaenopsis Orchids are one of our most popular choices, available in all colours from the palest white to the deepest crimsons and purples. And they are really easy to care for too – it is a misconception that they can be hard to look after as they thrive from neglect! Not too much though!
The popularity of Hyacinths knows no bounds so simply add your prepared bulbs to a small amount of water (1cm deep) in a specially-designed glass vase and wait for leaves and buds to appear from the tops of the bulbs.
Christmas Cactus and Cyclamen should be watered and fed regularly for best results. There is no need to move them – if they are happy where they are, keep them there. Your Cactus in particular could become miserable and drop its buds if it has been moved around.
Homegrown winter vegetables really come into their own this month as you begin to harvest early Brussels sprouts, leeks and parsnips. Pull your parsnips up and place carefully on the top of the soil ready for early frosts to develop natural carbohydrates into sugar for that delicious sweet taste.
Dig over any areas you would like to use as an extension to your Edible Garden now. Use compost to prepare the area thoroughly and give it a boost with a soil conditioner too.
Many fruits can be planted this month from apples to blackcurrants and pears to red fruits such as raspberries and redcurrants (don’t forget to make your own delicious jams when they ripen!). Again, your soil would benefit from a conditioning treatment before you plant out these fruits to encourage rootage to spread out and into the treated soil.
Any remaining tree fruits such as apples and pears should now be picked so that you can begin the pruning stage. Dead wood and branches that have not borne any fruit can be discarded. Any stems should be halved and emerging side shoots should be pruned to three leaf joints to encourage new fruit spurs to form over the coming years.
Finally, as thoughts turn once again to the winter season, it is important to make sure the areas in your garden that need protecting, are protected, especially tender, non-hardy plants. Always keep a good quantity of fleece on standby ready for the frosty nights.
If you have any queries on any of these tips or the terms used, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’re here to help!
Our car park is becoming home to a Big Top today as the Circus comes to town!
We could not believe it when the Big Top started to go up this morning - it is huge! Due to the volume of heavy rain Chester received last week, the Racecourse were unable to accommodate the Circus so it had to find a new home very quickly! Two very special performances will take place tomorrow as 1500 ticketholders raise funds for Claire House Children’s Hospice and more than 250 disabled and disadvantaged children from Dorin Park Special School and Dee Banks Special School and their parents experience a Show they will never forget!
So, please help us to spread the word so that all the children and ticketholders are aware of the change of venue! Now taking place here at Grosvenor Garden Centre on Wrexham Road, Belgrave, Chester CH4 9EB!
Thank you for your help!
Autumn has arrived and it is time to tidy your garden as cooler nights and even more rain encourages summer flowers to die back and the leaves on the trees begin to turn coppery before they fall.
There is much to do in your garden this month with new seeds to sow, bulbs and bedding to plant in your borders so use the month of October to make plans and ensure your garden receives a bit of TLC before the winter months set in.
The first step is to discard all remaining summer flowers from your borders and create space for new spring bulbs and winter flowering bedding. Start this early as our usual autumn weather should ensure the soil remains warmer at the beginning of October than as we head towards the end of the month. This will encourage stronger new roots from both bedding and bulbs which will give them all a greater chance of producing a good display.
Enrich your borders with compost after removing all the summer bedding. If you are using homemade compost, choose lower layers from the compost heap as this has had longer to rot down and amalgamate to improve the structure and drainage of your soil.
For alternatives to homemade compost, simply call in and choose a soil conditioner or farmyard manure will do the trick just as well.
When we see the first frosts, take a look at your dahlias and canna lilies as the leaves will begin to turn soft, brown and limp. This is their way of telling you that their season is over and the tubers need to be dug up ready for storage over the winter. Make sure you dry each tuber thoroughly, removing any soil and then wrap them in newspaper. You may find it easier to cut off the stem 15cm above the tuber to completely destroy any rot. Place your tubers upside down in a cardboard box before packing away around three or four days later. Choose a cool, protected area to store your tubers over the winter.
You can sow grass seed this month but remember to prepare your lawn in advance and choose the correct mixture. Autumn is a good month to sow a new lawn or replenish your existing one. Use a glyphosate-based weedkiller to kill broadleaved weeds and perennial grasses. Leave the lawn for two to three weeks after you have treated it to ensure the roots have been killed, before levelling the surface and enriching your lawn soil for a thicker, lusher lawn.
Your baskets and containers should continue to be used through the winter with winter flowering bedding, fresh compost and a good, slow-release plant food. Choose plants with good leaf texture and easy to flower plants.
Compact shrubs such as hebe, skimmia and euonymus will provide a focal point or try heucheras for good leaf colour. Ivy can provide a trail of interest but why not look for something slightly more unusual, such as Carex comans or new edging plants including tumbling pansies and violas that will trail over the edges of your pots and continue to flower. Don’t forget, we have plenty of ready-made pots and baskets so if you want to add colour to your autumn and winter garden, all you need to do is remember to water regularly and feed occasionally!
Some tomatoes did not have a good season this year and it is now time to pick off any green or ripe tomatoes for the last time this year. Ripen on a windowsill or use as an ingredient in a delicious chutney. Cut back the stems of the tomato plants to ground level and allow the compost in your growing bags to dry out ready to be used for storage of other homegrown crops.
Before the first frost cut and dry off any butternut squash or marrows for winter storage. If the skins are already hard, they can be placed directly in a frost-free area to store. Otherwise, leave them for a few days on a sunny windowsill to continue to mature.
Harvest all your remaining carrots and potatoes so that they are not lost to slugs and snails. Check them for any signs of pest damage before washing and storing only those that remain perfect.
Watch your brassica plants for late attacks of aphids, whitefly and caterpillars. Discard any yellowing or decaying leaves from vegetables to improve air circulation.
Continue to pick apples as they ripen and finish picking the last of the autumn raspberries from this year’s canes. Instead of taking out these fruited canes completely, try cutting them down to half their length so that they produce an early crop next year.
You can plant garlic cloves now, which should then be ripe and ready for eating by the middle of next summer.
Finally, enjoy the hiatus of October before the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest next month!
We all know it has been the wettest summer for 100 years with heavy rains and flooding but autumn, nature’s natural time for planting, is just around the corner.
September is the time where you stroll around your garden, take stock of which plants have thrived and plan changes and new introductions for 2013. Plant new varieties of plants, trees and shrubs in your garden and borders this month for great reward next year.
Here at Grosvenor Garden Centre, we have many varieties of shrubs to choose from for spring and summer colour interest, together with hebes and buddleia for instant autumn flowers and acers for bright foliage in the autumn.
You should take cuttings from your tender bedding plants such as geraniums and osteospermum early this month and, using a seed and cutting compost, they should begin to root in as little as a few weeks’ time. Pot them on individually before the cold weather sets in and store on a warm windowsill over the winter.
Spring flowering bulbs are a key method of introducing colour into your borders and pots and we have a wide selection in the Garden Centre now for you to choose your favourites – and maybe something new for your garden.
Crocus, daffodils and narcissi need to be planted by the end of this month to encourage new roots in the autumn. Remember to keep a gardener’s diary or mark up each area so you know which bulbs you have planted where. Consider their flowering period too so you can intersperse with newer varieties.
Plant up pots with a selection of bulbs and finish with autumn and spring bedding such as pansies, violas and wallflowers for a fantastic display of colour. Layer the bulbs in deep pots to ensure a long lasting display. Begin with a layer of compost followed by a layer of daffodils and cover with more compost. Then move onto a layer of tulip bulbs and then complete your final layer with miniature daffodils or early crocus. Cover with more compost and then plant bedding such as violas or winter pansies. You could include Asiatic or oriental lilies.
Remove perennial weeds from your garden this month by using a glyphosate-based weedkiller which will kill the roots of the weeds too. If you need help choosing from our large range of weedkillers, simply ask us – we’re here to help and our team is extremely knowledgeable on this subject.
Prepared hyacinths will soon be available and to make sure they flower in time for Christmas, you simply need to place them in special hyacinth glasses so that they are just above water level. You will soon be able to see roots developing.
Although we are now at the end of the summer, we all hope for a few final warm days before the autumn takes hold. Continue to water your pots and hanging baskets so that your plants and evergreen shrubs do not dry out. You should pay particular attention to camellias and rhododendrons and any other ericaceous shrubs. This is due to the fact that if roots become dry, they may lose all the buds for next year’s flowering. Use collected rainwater for these plants rather than tap water – is your water butt in place? Additional nutrients fed to these plants in autumn will also cause buds to drop so any spring flowering shrubs should only be fed in the spring and summer.
An important job this month in the garden is to prepare your lawn for winter. Rake any thatch up so that rainwater can seep through and keep the soil moist. Spike the area to let air into the roots and improve drainage.
You also need to strengthen the grass roots, thicken the lawn and control any lawn moss so to improve the colour and strength of your lawn now, apply a dressing of autumn lawn treatment to the area. You may find that this treatment will stimulate enough to cover any bare patches but if no, apply grass seed to these areas.
You should continue to mow the lawn but if you can, gradually raise the blades so that the cut is left around 50% longer than the summer cut.
Seed potatoes are available here at Grosvenor Garden Centre now so it is the perfect time to plant them this month ready for harvesting for Christmas! What better meal to enjoy homegrown potatoes than with your Christmas dinner?
Certain varieties of apple may take longer to ripen after the wet summer but you can check if yours are ready by cupping the fruit in your hand and lifting it, twisting slightly at the same time. If it comes away easily, you can enjoy the fruit now. If not, try again weekly until they ripen. If they begin to fall, you will not enjoy them at their eating best but will be delicious in home baking or cooking. Store certain varieties such as Egremont Russet, Cox’s Orange Pippin and Golden Delicious for eating later.
Your edible garden harvests should now include vegetables such as French and runner beans, beetroot, courgette, cucumber and butternut squash. A veritable feast on a plate! You may have found your sweetcorn is taking longer than normal this year to mature, but this is a common problem so you could try feeding a soluble plant food on the foliage weekly until they ripen for cooking.
If you have not yet started your own edible garden, never fear – you can begin now by sowing lettuce and salad leaves including Chinese cabbage, chard and spring cabbage too.
Finally, the summer may have been a disappointment but we should remain hopeful for a much better summer to enjoy in our gardens next year! Plant now and create a beautiful display for 2013.
Schools have finished for the summer and we hope to have at least a few sunny days to enjoy the great outdoors this month so why not take the opportunity to share your gardening knowledge with the younger members of the family and introduce them to the fabulous world of gardening?
Encouraging children to sow seeds and care for their own plants or a small area of the garden really will give them something to share with their friends and talk about after the holidays – and will provide you with the perfect excuse to drag them away from the television and games console for some all-important fresh air!
This holiday month is usually when most of us head to the sun or at least a couple of weeks away from the home and garden. You don’t need to worry that all your hard work in the garden will be undone as long as you prepare before you go. The main point to remember is to arrange for your planted containers to continue to receive enough water regularly and unless you can ask a neighbour, a watering system will be your best bet.
Remember to dead head all your flowering plants on your return. By deadheading all your bedding, baskets, pots and planted containers, you will revive your garden to boost growth and encourage fresh buds for the remainder of the flowering season.
Your garden will be full of colour now especially with your late flowering perennials such as Michaelmas Daisy and Dahlias. These should continue to enhance your garden with glorious colour until the first frosts arrive.
Colour will also be offered from shrubs including Buddleia, Rose of Sharon and Hibiscus. The Buddleia in particular will attract a variety of butterflies to your garden to enjoy the nectar.
You can also get a head start on your autumn garden this month by planting bulbs such as Amaryllis Belladonna, Colchicums and Madonna Lily. Other lilies will be planted later in the year.
Evergreen hedges should be clipped into shape this month.
It is time to take cuttings from your favourite summer flowering plants this month. Berberis, Cotoneasters and Escallonias are ready now and some evergreens too.
Your lawn will still need to be mown regularly and keep an eye on potential weeds. Towards the end of the month, your lawn will benefit from a feed and aerate ready for the autumn.
Your Edible Garden will be supplying your dinner table with fresh potatoes – which varieties did you choose? If you have not grown your own potatoes before, you will be amazed at the difference in taste of the more unusual varieties. Beans, such as broad beans, climbing French and runner beans.
Sunday lunch will taste much better if you have grown your own vegetables and this month your plate should be bursting with a variety ready for harvesting just now. You should have potatoes, broad beans, climbing French and runner beans, will all be ready for harvesting together with courgettes too. Of course, you will have plenty of salads to choose from and delicious, tasty tomatoes. Mmmm! In fact, if you sow more salad leaves now and continue to do so every couple of weeks or so, your Edible Garden should provide you with salads throughout the autumn.
Make sure you pick over your vegetables every few days to encourage a bountiful crop and pick your soft fruits as they ripen. Watch for greedy birds and wasps who are both inclined to steal the juicy fruits!
Finally, autumn is approaching and the days are already getting shorter so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good spell of sunshine to end the summer and help us enjoy our gardens that little bit longer.
Commonly flowering from mid-summer to late autumn, our Plant of the Month, the Phlox is one of life’s treasures. From such a traditional, well loved species, many Phlox plants are perfect for use in your rockery.
A less structured plant than some, the Phlox suits the wilder form of a cottage garden and compliments herbaceous or mixed border planting arrangements.
Sweetly scented flowers of white ranging to pink, purple and blue hues, the Phlox is just as good for indoor flower arrangements and is a great attractant of bees and those all important beneficial insects.
Prepare your soil well before planting with a rotted compost or manure and choose a sunny spot preferably although it can thrive in a partly shaded location. The Phlox has the added benefit of being fully hardy too – and therefore covered by our five year hardy plant guarantee!
As an upright, tall plant, the Phlox paniculata (a perennial border Phlox) in particular will need to be supported by a stake especially when planted alongside other herbaceous perennials.
As always, keep your Phlox looking its best by deadheading any faded blooms regularly. This will encourage new growth and extend the length of time the plant will flower.
Once flowering has finished for the year which could be towards the end of autumn, cut each stem right back to the base of the plant. Make a note in your diary to add well rotted manure at the first signs of spring for good growth next year too.
There are plenty of species and cultivars to choose from in the Phlox family so take your pick from plants best suited to pots and containers, to those perfect for the rock garden alongside alpines or as edging plants.
Visit us here at Grosvenor Garden Centre this weekend and honour the tastiest produce from the region at our new Real Food Festival.
On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July from 10am until 4pm, the Festival offers visitors the chance to see many of the popular favourites from the Centre’s monthly Farmers’ Market. Held in conjunction with Celyn Farmers’ Market, the stallholders and artisan producers from around the region will be happy to talk to visitors about their farming and cooking methods while visitors taste their freshly made, home-grown and home-baked goods before buying to enjoy at home.
Delicious produce will be available throughout the weekend including vegetarian sweet and savoury foods, breads, pork and fresh vegetables, cheeses, sauces and preserves, duck eggs, cakes and pies.
“Our monthly Farmers’ Market, held on the second Friday of each month here at the Centre, proves extremely popular and our annual Real Food Festivals are always well attended. Next weekend will see a combination of many of our favourites from our monthly Market located within our plant area and tastings in our diverse food department all weekend too,” commented Dave Maguire, Grosvenor’s Food Department Manager.
“We are delighted to once again host the Festival to celebrate the excellent produce available from Cheshire and North Wales and offer everyone the chance to save food miles and support local produce,” Dave concluded.
For more information or to exhibit, please call Grosvenor Garden Centre Customer Services on 01244 625200.