News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester

Grosvenor

Archive for June, 2010

Grosvenor Shows Young Green Fingers How To Do It!!

What a brilliant day we had here at the garden centre yesterday (ignoring the England result of course!).  We reached the grand final of our Schools Growing Competition with 60 children and their families turning up for the judging.

Six finalists from each of the 10 participating primary schools from Cheshire and North Wales displayed their petunias for the grand final.  Grosvenor’s Schools Ambassador, John Nightingale together with Grosvenor’s Young Horticulturist of the Year, James Mabon, were on hand to judge the winners.  Having regularly visited each school, John had already chosen the six healthiest plants from each school for the grand final.

After much deliberation, Daniel Scott from Aldford Primary School was judged to have grown the most successful Denim Wave Petunia and was presented with a trug full of Grosvenor goodies and £100 vouchers for his school.

Two runners-up, Miranda Hayes and Lily Seager of Sychdyn Primary and Dodleston Church of England Primary schools respectively, were also presented with Grosvenor prizes and £75 and £50 vouchers for their schools.

“Our schools growing competition has once again proved extremely popular with all of the children who took part this year and I am delighted that we are able to demonstrate to such a large number of children just how rewarding nurturing plants can be,” commented John Nightingale.

Through regular visits to the schools, John was able to offer advice to the children together with all the equipment required to get growing, including compost, pots and the plug plants themselves. 

“It is always encouraging to us here at Grosvenor that this competition proves so popular year after year and thanks to the children’s hard work and enthusiasm and John’s hints and tips, I am sure the competition will awaken the interest of the gardeners of the future and we are already looking forward to next year’s competition,” stated Iain Wylie, Managing Director.

Each of the 60 finalists present also received a packet of free seeds as a reward for their efforts.

Enjoy July in the Garden with Grosvenor

The height of the summer season is upon us and one of the most enjoyable months when we can really sit out and enjoy our gardens late into the evenings.

July is also one of the busiest months in the gardening calendar and what a pleasure it is to get stuck in to those jobs with the heat of the summer sun on our backs. 

Lawn care is vital now as the increased amount of use it receives can be quite stressful so make sure you treat it to some tender, loving care with plenty of water.  This should be done early in the morning or late in the evening for the most benefit to your lawn as the moisture will not evaporate as easily.  Your lawn will also be much stronger if you feed it regularly, preferably with an organic feed, and mow it at least once a week now.  However, if the weather is very dry, avoid mowing and allow the grass to grow slightly longer to prevent stress.
 
Summer vegetables and salads are ready for harvesting from your Edible Garden so enjoy beetroot, summer cabbage, lettuce, melon, radishes, spring onions and delicious fresh peas now.  You can also continue to sow dwarf French beans during the early part of the month and more lettuce for a fresh supply right to the end of the season.

Pots and hanging baskets should be at their best now so continue to feed and deadhead regularly.  You can also plant late flowering plants now for colour in the autumn.  Amaryllis and autumn Crocuses are perfect.  Take cuttings of your patio plants now ready for next summer.

Houseplants would love a bit of sunshine now too!  Feed and water as necessary and place them outside while the weather stays warmer to give them a boost.

Finally, enjoy July!  Usually the warmest month of the year, it’s the perfect month to make the most of your garden.    
   
Top Tips for July
1.  Deadhead, feed and water bedding plants regularly
2.  Raise your pots off the ground so that they drain easier
3.  Prune your wisteria now to control growth and improve strength in the sideshoots 
4.  Prune spring shrubs once they have finished flowering
5.  Trim hedges if they are fast growing such as box or privet but as always, remember to watch for nesting birds.

There’s Plenty to do at Grosvenor…

There’s lots to do at Grosvenor all year round. Read on to find out more or why not keep checking our Events and What’s On Page for details of forthcoming events.

‘How To…’ Getting the ‘Wow’ factor with Fabulous Flowers - £8 including tea/coffee and cake Thursday 24th June 3pm - 6pm. Fill your garden with blooms to cut for the house or simply to enjoy where they grow. Learn which are the best flowers for fragrance and which ones to grow to attract bees and butterflies. How to prolong displays; how to support plants effortlessly and how to inject life into a fading border display as summer wanes. How to achieve the cottage garden feel in a modern plot. Booking is essential.

Grosvenor’s Real Food Festival, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th July, 10am – 4pm. Following the success of our Real Food Festival last year, we will once again be offering visitors the chance to meet the farmers and producers to taste their freshly made, homegrown and home baked goods in our Festival marquee.
For a flavour of real, natural and hearty food to take away and enjoy, more than 20 stalls of delicious, tasty produce will be available throughout the weekend including cider, handmade chocolates, jams, chutneys, preserves, Elwy Valley lamb, tractor-wheel pies and Cheshire Farm ice cream.
So visit Grosvenor’s Real Food Festival on 17th and 18th July - entrance is free and you can even enjoy sausages and burgers from our barbecue.

Grosvenor’s Farmers’ Market, Friday 9th July, from 10am. Don’t forget the second Friday of every month when Grosvenor holds its popular Farmers’ Market.  Choose from a wide variety of organic eggs, cheeses, meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly baked pies, pasties and cakes to name but a few – but be quick, many products regularly sell out!

Children’s Workshops, Tuesday 27th July and every Tuesday in August (except 31st), 10am – 11am. A perfect introduction for the gardeners of tomorrow – small classes for children aged 5 and over with fun, hands on instructions on how to plant seedlings and care for plants.  Children will even take home their plants from the Workshop and free seeds to sow at home.  Booking is advised with tickets available at £5.50 from Customer Services, to include a drink and freshly baked cookie.  Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Grosvenor Children's Plant Workshops

Plant Workshops at Grosvenor

Save the Bumble Bee!

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would have only four years of life left,” - Albert Einstein

This key message was depicted on the Bee Friendly Plants Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show last month highlighting the plight of the bee.  

And what a scary thought it is!  With some species extinct in Great Britain and more threatened, we need to act now to help save the bumble bee.

So what can we do to ensure the bumble bee does not disappear off the surface of the globe? 

Well, one of the most important things we can do as gardeners is to encourage bees to continue to forage by making sure we have plants, trees and shrubs rich in sweet smelling scents in our gardens.  Choose from Buddleia, Hosta, Iris, Jasminum Officinale, Lavender and Sedum to name but a few. 

A natural and vital aid to the pollinating process, bees can keep food costs down and prevent possible shortages of crops.  If they become extinct our lush, colourful landscapes would change beyond recognition as many rare wildflowers would simply disappear.  This would also cause other wildlife and insects to decline too as their preferred habitats cease to exist.
 
Visit us here at Grosvenor to see how to create your own bee and wildlife area in your garden.  And don’t forget we have delicious honey available in our food department too!

Visit www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk for details on how you can help prevent the decline of the bumble bee.  

Save the Bumble Bee!

Save the Bumble Bee!

 

Grosvenor Gardening Tips for June

We all feel as though summer has finally arrived this month and we can really enjoy our gardens.

June is a productive month and there are many jobs that need to be kept on top of so from mowing your lawn to feeding your plants, read on for more hints and tips to make the most of your garden this month.

For a lush, green lawn mow at least once a week and even more if the ground is moist.  All lawns need a feed, preferably organic, to keep it in optimum condition and keep feeding your lawn every month to six weeks until autumn.  To complete the neat and tidy look, don’t forget to trim the edges and water the lawn if we experience a particularly dry spell.

Lower the blades on your lawnmower as the lawn becomes used to being cut.  If we do have a dry spell (fingers crossed!), reduce stress on the grass by raising the blades again.

June is the perfect time to plant biennials, perennials and annuals including Sweet Williams, Chrysanthemums, Dianthus, Eryngiums and Impatiens, Lobelia and Digitalis – adding vibrancy and interest to your borders and containers.

All plants will grow vigorously now and so need to be fed regularly to ensure they receive the correct nutrients so they continue to flourish.   Plants both inside and out will really benefit from regular feeding.  And remember hanging baskets in particular should be watered thoroughly every evening.

Your edible garden should be producing bountiful crops of asparagus (delicious with homemade hollandaise sauce), beetroot, lettuce, pak choi and radish to name but a few, so make the most of your fresh fruit and vegetables for delicious summer herby salads.

With more of us holidaying at home, why not treat yourself to a new set of garden furniture?  Accompanied by a gas or charcoal barbecue, a warming chimenea and a set of solar lights, you can enjoy the ambience of your garden late into the evening and really make the most of the summer months.

While you are enjoying your garden, you will see adult birds gathering insects for their fledglings now.  You can also include nuts on the bird table and in the feeder but make sure they are chopped as whole nuts can be too large for baby birds to swallow.  Dry bread should be avoided as it will dehydrate the birds.  Look out for visiting birds including the willow warbler and chiffchaff which are in the midst of their breeding and may be using your thicker hedges.

Top Tips for June

1. Take cuttings of your favourite herbs and shrubs to give your garden new stock for the autumn
2. Trim hedges if they are fast growing such as box or privet but as always, remember to watch for nesting birds to avoid disturbance
3. Prune spring shrubs once they have finished flowering
4. If you have a pond in your garden, watch for the common newt hiding under large stones during the day.  Be careful not to disturb them though as they are nocturnal
5. Mow your lawn weekly and feed regularly.