News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for May, 2010

National Vegetarian Week

Following the popularity of Grosvenor’s support of National Vegetarian Week last year and the increasing recognition of its healthy and tasty array of vegetarian dishes, Grosvenor has once again supported National Vegetarian Week (24th – 30th May) by celebrating and promoting the benefits of a meat-free diet.

A member of the Taste Cheshire accreditation scheme, Grosvenor has created a range of delicious vegetarian dishes including Sweet and Sour Noodles and Roasted Vegetable Lasagne together with a varied and interesting selection of savoury tarts, quiches and soups to support this year’s event.

“We have seen an increased interest in our speciality vegetarian dishes during National Vegetarian Week and were once again pleased to support this annual event led by The Vegetarian Society to raise awareness of the benefits and tasty choices available for a meat-free diet,” commented Scott Whitelam, Café Manager.

Grosvenor’s menu is constantly updated and refreshed to incorporate the seasonality of its ingredients and vegetarian dishes always prove highly popular.

GrosvenorMan and Scott Whitelam, Cafe Manager

GrosvenorMan and Scott Whitelam, Cafe Manager

Schools Get Growing with Grosvenor!

Grosvenor has once again launched its annual Growing Competition for Schools to inspire young gardeners to get growing!

Grosvenor’s Schools’ Ambassador, John Nightingale, has now visited each of the eleven participating schools to deliver the plug plants, compost, pots and plenty of advice required to grow a prize winning Petunia.

Working within the community as much as possible to highlight the ease of nurturing and caring for plants from the moment they are planted, Grosvenor supports each child with visits to each school throughout the competition, culminating in a final judging of the top three plants in June.
Each of the eleven schools were keen to enter the competition with some marking it as a highlight in the school’s calendar!

“The children here look forward to taking part in Grosvenor’s competition each year,” stated Liz Richardson, Deputy Head at Barkers Lane Primary School in Wrexham.

With Petunias always a popular favourite and blue this year’s key colour choice, Grosvenor opted for the Denim Wave Petunia for children to grow as their competition entry.

“We have been hosting this competition for 11 years and each year it is wonderful to see such enthusiasm from the children involved.  They can hardly wait to get started on caring for their Petunia!” John commented.

With further visits to each school scheduled for the coming weeks, John will be on hand to offer more hints and tips to help the children make the most of their Petunia.

The grand final will take place at Grosvenor on Sunday 27th June where the winning Petunia grower and two runners-up will each receive a selection of gardening goodies from Grosvenor together with up to £100 Grosvenor vouchers for their schools.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show in review

We’re just back from RHS Chelsea Flower Show and what a great show it was!
There were some fantastic Show Gardens - one of our favourites was the Trailfinders Australian Garden with plenty of space for relaxing and enjoying life amidst wild jungle-themed planting.

We noticed many strong structures mixed with natural planting and a great deal of eco-friendly materials around the show.  And none more so than in the Eden Project’s Places of Change garden in line with their Growing for Life programme and their work within communities with the homeless and ex-offenders.  The largest ever show garden at Chelsea, what struck us about this garden was the clever re-use of old items that many of us would simply throw away - even washing machine bits and pieces were re-used as a ‘Wall of Small Views’!

Plants, as ever, are a vital component of any Chelsea Flower Show and the Great Pavilion did not disappoint.  Beautiful displays of Alliums, Dahlias and Delphiniums, Lavenders and Orchids alongside the most perfect fruits and vegetables – from strawberry baskets to the most unusual squashes!

Did you go to Chelsea?  If so, we would love to hear from you!  Did you have a favourite Show Garden?  Did you agree with the Daily Telegraph garden winning the ‘Best in Show’ award?  What was your favourite plant display?  Email to tell us more.

Bank Holiday

What beautiful weather we have had this weekend!  Long may it continue!  We think many of you were out and about and enjoying your gardens as it was very busy here at the garden centre.

We are surrounded by rolling countryside here at the garden centre with Cheshire in one direction and North Wales in another. And this month is the perfect time to remind ourselves how lucky we are to work in a garden centre!  The planteria is looking particularly vibrant with stunning colours everywhere to enhance your gardens - from the deep pinks and reds of azaleas, Berberis and Nemesia to lovely sunny yellows and oranges of Choisya and Laburnum and the ever popular purples and mauves of Ceanothus, Lavender and Lilacs.  And if hanging baskets and containers are more your style, we have now received our stunning Grosvenor 16″ hanging baskets that we know many of you look forward to seeing each year.

And this Bank Holiday is a great time to visit us here at Grosvenor.  Contrary to popular opinion, we are open not only for usual Sunday trading hours, but for the full day on Bank Holiday Monday from 8.30am until 6pm.  In fact, if you are an early riser and arrive between 8.30am and 9.30am, we will treat you to a free cup of tea or coffee!  And as an extra treat, we will give you 10% off everything except gift vouchers and stamps until 10am so come along and say hello!

Grosvenor Charity 2010

Grosvenor has announced Claire House as its nominated charity for 2010. 

Based in Bebington, Claire House provides respite, palliative and end of life care for children with life limiting and life threatening illnesses from Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man. 

Together with a Hospice to Home service offering specialist care in the home environment, Claire House provides much needed emotional and practical support for families at a time when they need it most.

“Through our work with the community and aid of many charities and ventures throughout each year, we are pleased to add our support to Claire House and hope to raise a significant amount of funds,” commented Iain Wylie, Managing Director.
“We are delighted that Grosvenor has chosen Claire House as its charity for this year.  Their support could not have come at a better time!  With more than 250 families currently registered with Claire House and many more in need of such support, every penny is vital in making sure we offer every child in the area the opportunity to take advantage of Claire House and its assistance,” said Laura Breen, Area Fundraiser.

Grosvenor Garden Centre Supporting Claire House Children's Hospice

Grosvenor Garden Centre Supporting Claire House

Grosvenor Gardening Tips for May

Summer is in the air this month and, aside from the odd late frost, we can all get stuck into jobs in the garden.

This is the time when we really look at it critically and begin to decide what is missing so with plenty of summer bedding plants to choose from, add colour to your life now. 

Chosen from the best growers and sourced from as local to Grosvenor as possible, we make sure our plants arrive in the best possible condition so you know you are getting excellent quality.  Add annuals like Thunbergia, Black-Eyed Susan vine with delightful yellow open flowers and you can still plant lobelia seeds now ready to flower between June and August.  And if you want a good climbing plant, you can’t beat clematis for a pretty display of colour. 

You can also begin to replace your spring flowers with colourful summer bedding in your potted containers.

Herbaceous or heavy flowering plants need to have their stems supported now during the heavy growth period and before they grow too tall. And for a great display of sweet peas, train them now with supports so that they are encouraged to climb.

Tulips and daffodils should be deadheaded and separated and spring flowering perennials cut back to encourage new growth now and better displays for the next year. 

Summer containers and hanging baskets need to be fed every couple of weeks and watered well to avoid drying out. 

Lawns will need weekly mowing and hoe out any weeds too.  Edges should be trimmed to give your lawn a neat and tidy finish.  And this will have the added benefit of preventing the lawn from spreading into the borders.  Your grass clippings can be added to the compost heap.  There are so many treatments available, if you have any problems with your lawn, please ask a member of the team for expert advice on your next visit to Grosvenor.

If you have a vegetable patch why not include an area for superfruits such as blueberries which are a great source of antioxidants to fight disease and infection?  They can also be grown easily in containers so if space is a problem, you can still benefit from a homegrown crop of these delicious versatile fruits.

To attract more wildlife to your garden, go for plants such as Alyssum, Broom and Hebes which are a real favourite with butterflies; bees love the Ceanothus and for both bees and butterflies try the Centaurea Cyanus.  To encourage more birds plant the Lunaria Annua (Honesty) with their white, pink or purple flowers in May and June. Don’t forget to check there are no nesting birds in your hedges before you clip them back.

Top Tips for May

1. Keep your lawn looking tidy and well mown
2. Cut back spring flowering perennials
3. Add supports to heavy plants to avoid damaged stems
4. Keep on top of weeds
5. Feed beds and borders for greater displays later in the summer.

High Sheriff Award for Enterprise

Grosvenor has continued its award winning success with a Highly Commended accreditation from the prestigious High Sheriff’s Award for Enterprise.

Judged on ambition, innovation, growth, enterprise, employee and management development, Grosvenor was presented the award in recognition of its strategic business plans and vision for the future, including how to improve the customer experience and continue to offer and develop its range of quality products and services.
Representatives from Grosvenor who attended the awards reception held at Chester University included Iain Wylie, managing director who commented,

“As a Garden Centre of Excellence for an unprecedented 10th consecutive year, we are thrilled to continue our award success and delighted that the judges have underpinned our efforts by awarding Grosvenor this highly prestigious honour which evaluates all areas of the business development.”

Development at the garden centre is also a strong indicator of Grosvenor’s continued plans for growth and improvement recognised by the judges.  These included a total refurbishment of the Café to incorporate a pinball queuing system and scope for additional seating to offer a total of 275 covers at one time.  A full re-branding exercise was also undertaken in 2009 incorporating new team uniforms designed to increase the sense of approachability, friendliness and welcome for visitors.

“We have many plans for the future which we feel will continue to enhance our offering and I would like to thank the judges and the High Sheriff for strengthening our efforts with this award and for the interest and enthusiasm the judges showed,” Iain concluded. 

And this, coupled with the intention to grow existing and create new relationships with local artisan producers, businesses and the community, together with the introduction of many new events, ensures Grosvenor remains focused on improving its service to both its customers and working environment for staff. 

At the heart of its ethos, Grosvenor intends to improve its impact on the environment and to this end has introduced many new initiatives including a Recycling Point, a range of fully degradable and recyclable packaging and many new eco-friendly ranges and was pleased to receive the Green City Town and Country Community Award for the second consecutive year.