News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for February, 2011

Spring Forward to a Colourful and Home-Grown Garden!

Spring arrives in your garden with colour and a hope that winter is behind us!  March is the perfect time to rescue your garden and plan for summer.

Plant up pots of summer flowering bulbs and sow seeds of your favourite summer blooms and if there is one flower that you have always wanted to grow, 2011 is the time to give it a go!  Why wait?  With so many high quality plants to choose from, introduce something new to your garden this year. 

Why not redevelop one area of your garden to start with?  Here at Grosvenor we have our own Edible Garden to show you just how easy it can be to create your own productive space and you could do the same.  Grow your own is a very popular pastime and if you love your garden but have not yet ventured into the world of growing your own fruit and vegetables at home, why not plan an area of your garden and give it a go?  If you need any help, just let us know and we will be delighted to give you advice.

Begin with sowing tomato seeds for indoor varieties - they really are very easy as a starting point for you to experiment with as they are so simple to grow and care for.   Outdoor varieties should be sown later this month and then you can plant them out in June.  And this is the perfect time to mulch your vegetable patch if you are already well on your way to home-grown vegetables and fruit.

Compact vegetable varieties of crops can be planted in pots throughout this month and into April so if you do not have space in your garden for your own patch, pot-grown vegetables and herbs are still a wonderful addition to any backyard or hanging basket.

Early seed potatoes can be prepared now too.  Leave them to stand in a cool, bright position and you can start sowing crops outdoors including broad beans, lettuces, leeks, beetroot and radishes.  Ask for advice if you need more ideas.

After the harsh weather, your lawn needs some tender loving care.  Brush it briskly to remove any build up of debris that it may have collected over the winter months and then rake it so that the grass stands upright ready for its first light cut of the season.

Together with preparing your lawn for summer with a spring feed, you should also begin to feed your plants now with a slow-release fertiliser.

Keep your bedding plants looking good for as long as possible by continuing to deadhead and prune your shrubs and hedges now to allow more room for new growth.  Add a layer of compost to enhance your pot-grown shrubs.

Summer flowering clematis will benefit from a good pruning now and roses should be pruned too, giving you the perfect opportunity to remove dead and damaged stems.  Willows and hardy fucshias should also be pruned back hard this month.

If you do not already have a water butt, try to get one soon to reduce water wastage.  Used correctly, your collected rainwater can be used to water your garden throughout the summer.   

As the clocks go forward, we can all look forward to a spring full of colour in readiness for a long, hot summer.  Well, fingers crossed!

Top Tips for March:

1. Prune shrubs and hedges\
2. Invest in a water butt
3. Plan a vegetable patch in your garden for a healthier lifestyle
4. Clean your greenhouse
5. Prepare your lawn for summer
6. Divide perennials and share with friends and family.

Unprecented Acclaim for Grosvenor

Grosvenor is a record-breaking Garden Centre, having achieved Garden Centre of Excellence status for an 11th year in succession.

Following an annual audit from the UK Garden Centre Association which ensures that only the very best garden centres in the country receive this prestigious award, Grosvenor was delighted to be presented with the accolade at the annual Garden Centre Association Conference.

Members of the Garden Centre Association are located in the UK and Northern Ireland with only the centres who receive top marks named Garden Centres of Excellence.  This honour is attained for consistently excellent standards and providing customers with outstanding service, a high quality range of products and expert knowledge.

“Grosvenor is always a joy to visit and the fact that they have once again proved to be one of our highest scoring centres is testament to their expertise at providing an exceptional customer experience.  To receive the unique accolade of achieving this status for 11 years in a row is a remarkable achievement and I am delighted to congratulate Grosvenor on their great success,” commented Gillie Westwood, chief executive, Garden Centre Association.

“Everyone at Grosvenor is delighted to receive this award and recognition from such a highly respected organisation such as the GCA is the ultimate accolade,” stated Iain Wylie, managing director, Grosvenor.

“We look forward to continuing to evolve over the coming 12 months and working hard to ensure that the highest standards are maintained which will enable us to continue to offer an outstanding customer experience,” Iain concluded.

Love is in the air at Grosvenor!

This month celebrates the romance of Valentine’s Day and preparation for the summer months begins in earnest with early crocus, snowdrops and Dutch iris beginning to peep through and giving us fresh impetus to make the most from our gardens.

With the weather still chilly and wet, there should be periods of milder weather too which encourages growth.  But no matter what the weather, you can still prepare for the summer indoors by sowing seeds.

Sow your chosen seeds and leave them on your kitchen windowsill to germinate.  As the days begin to grow longer and the light increases, you should find that your hardy seeds will germinate quickly and become seedling plants within just a few weeks.  Other seeds are tender and will take longer to grow to flowering stage.  These include bedding geraniums, regal pelargoniums, bedding begonias, salvia and verbena and cannot be planted until the frosts are finished. Often called Half-Hardy Annuals, they need the warmth of indoor cultivation.  Keep them in a propagator or warm place and maintain a high temperature of 21 – 24C.

If you would prefer to choose ready germinated seedlings or opt for plug plants, here at Grosvenor we have everything you could possibly need with new selections arriving daily and we can help you make your choice. 
And what else epitomises a Valentine’s Day gift but the rose?  A red rose signifies passion, pink means perfect happiness and a white rose means eternal love.  We are sure most of us would appreciate any of these choices but instead of presenting a bouquet, why not choose a more enduring token of your affection by giving a rose bush or tree instead?  Here at Grosvenor, you can choose from a wide selection of rose at any time of year but Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to take a look. 

February is too early to pruning established roses but look for signs of disease and dispose of infected foliage, thereby lowering the chances of continued infection in the months to come.

Homegrown potatoes are grown and enjoyed by many gardeners now as you can buy a few tubers at once and you hardly need any space at all to grow them.  Even if you only have a small area outside such as a balcony or small patio, you can grow your potatoes in large pots or gro-sacs.  Choose your favourite varieties of seed potato now and remove the netting before the shoots have chance to grow through and snap off.  Put the tubers in the bottom of a seed tray and keep them in a cool, light position.  This is called ‘chitting’ and will encourage sturdy shoots for planting later.

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. 

Spring cabbages should be covered with fleece to encourage new growth and protect them from pigeons.  And you will find that by planting Jerusalem artichokes about 15ch deep and 45cm apart they will grow into 3m tall plants and provide a fantastic windbreak for more exposed areas of your garden.  And of course, they are delicious too!

Feed fruit trees and fruit bushes early to encourage growth.  If they are already offering you a good crop of fruit, try feeding with a balanced plant food such as Miracle-Gro Fruit and Vegetable Plant Food which should see an even better crop in comparison to unfed fruit plants.

Don’t forget to prolong the life of your winter pansies by dead heading regularly and feeding occasionally too as the weather becomes milder.

Finally, don’t forget the birds!  It is always important to keep them supplied with plenty of food 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 (and a tasty treat!) on your next visit to us here at Grosvenor.