News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for April, 2011

Grosvenor Gardening Tips for May

May is one of the busiest months in the garden so whilst the weather is beginning to get warmer and the days are longer, from bedding plants to summer seeds and vegetable plants, there is plenty to keep you busy.

Keep an eye out for late frosts but this is a great time to get planting tender bedding plants.  Be prepared just in case a frost is forecast and have fleece handy.  When planting out your bedding, give each plant a thorough watering in their tray or pot the night before so they have had a good drink prior to the trauma of movement!

We always advise you choose your plants carefully so they suit their new location.  In shady areas, choose Buzy Lizzies, fibrous rooted Begonias, Lobelia and Pansies as they will thrive without too much attention from the sun.  If you have a sunny spot that receives much heat from the sun, make sure you buy plants that are more tolerant to droughts.  Geraniums, Petunias and Verbena are great sun-worshippers!

Improve your flower beds before planting with a good quality soil improver to add structure and help retain water and nutrients to give your roots the healthiest conditions in which to thrive.

Use stakes for tall plants to add support and structure in your borders and tie up regularly as the stems continue to grow. 

Plant out tubers of Dahlias now and again, treat the soil with an improver first. 

Watch for buds appearing now on your summer flowering roses and shrubs.  An exciting time in any garden, just make sure that you are on top of your pest control as blackfly and greenfly search for a new place to breed and buds are the perfect solution!

Clematis look fabulous at this time of year but to keep yours in tip top condition, make sure you keep the soil at the roots moist and sun on the top.  Water occasionally and add mulch to the surface of the soil too. 

Feed your shrubs and climbers and water too – ideally in the evening when the heat of the sun is not strong enough to damage your plants.

You will see that your lawn grows extremely quickly now so weekly mowing is a must to keep your lawn looking luscious throughout the summer months.  Create your own compost and turn your green waste into rich compost by adding your vegetable peelings, cardboard or old pieces of newspaper.  If you don’t add waste such as this, your grass clippings will become slimy and smelly but add a sprinkling of garden soil for added richness and quick breakdown of the waste.

Don’t be afraid to use a weedkiller on your lawns for selective areas of rampant weeds such as clover, dandelions and daisies.  The weedkiller will rid your lawn of the weeds without harming your grass.  Treated grass clippings should be disposed of through your usual household waste and not added to your compost.  A spring fertiliser will be an effective lawn dressing now to make your grass even greener.

Hanging baskets add colour and interest to a stark backyard, terrace or patio and are a welcoming addition to your front door too.  Great waterfalls of colour make a wonderful statement and are easy to care for with an abundance of blooms likely to last through the coming months.  Choose complementary colours for a tonal display or a vibrant selection of multi-coloured plants for a bold statement.  
Simply water daily or use a moisture control compost which will absorb twice as much water as an ordinary multi-purpose compost. 

Patio pots and containers are just as easy to care for or window box planters and troughs if you are short of outdoor space.  The latter often have a water reservoir in the bottom of the container which will mean they can survive for around two weeks between waterings.

Make your patio more productive by growing your own fruits, salads and vegetables in containers or planters. Best crops to try are lettuce, tomatoes and salad leaves.  If your patio is a sun-trap, try aubergines, bell peppers and chilli peppers in pots too.

If you have a wider area to create or expand your Edible Garden, now is the time to sow a great variety of vegetable seeds.  Some are better grown in pots and transplanted later in the month, or if you want to miss that step out, choose varieties that are better sown directly into the soil.

Tender ones such as courgettes, French beans, outdoor cucumbers and runner beans or sweetcorn suffer when the weather is colder at night and could be killed if we get a late frost.  Sow first in pots and keep protected indoors until the end of the month when the seedlings can then be planted in your garden.

Hardier seeds that can be planted out straightaway include broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, radish and spinach.

Watch your potatoes begin to sprout this month but make sure they are protected from ground frosts by covering the leaves with a light dusting of soil.

Next month (June) we look forward to choosing new garden furniture, barbecues and chimeneas to help you relax and enjoy your garden well into the evening.  June is also the perfect time to plant biennials, perennials and annuals including Sweet Williams, Chrysanthemums, Dianthus, Eryngiums and Impatiens, Lobelia and Digitalis – adding even more vibrancy and interest to your borders and containers.

Grow, Grow, Grow with Grosvenor’s Annual Schools Competition

Grosvenor has launched its popular, annual Schools’ Growing Competition to inspire school children from 11 schools in the local area to get growing.

Grosvenor’s Schools’ Ambassador and horticulturalist, James Mabon, is visiting each of the 11 participating schools to deliver the plug plants, compost, pots and plenty of hints and tips required to grow a prize winning Petunia Hot Flame. 

With more than 30 children from each school participating, each child will take their plant home to nurture it before taking part in an individual school’s judging ceremony where James will decide the three best plants from each school. 

The final of the Schools’ Growing Competition will then take place on Sunday 12th June at 2pm at the Garden Centre when one winner and two runners-up will be chosen and presented with a trug full of gardening goodies and vouchers for their schools.

Grosvenor’s ongoing work within the community highlights the benefits and ease of nurturing and caring for plants and each school looks forward to taking part in the competition each year.  

“Here at Saighton C E Primary School, the children’s enthusiasm for planting and caring for their own plant is a delight to see and we all greatly look forward to taking part in Grosvenor’s competition each year,” stated Mrs Alex Gelling, teaching assistant.

With the Petunia always a popular choice, Grosvenor opted for the easy-to-grow favourite for children to grow as their competition entry.

“We should see some great blooms and plenty of fresh buds, good leaf health and an exceptional rounded form from the Petunias over the coming weeks and by the time the Grand Final takes place on 12th June, I am sure I will be spoilt for choice and choosing a winner will be a very difficult task indeed!” said James.

“We launched the Schools’ Growing Competition 12 years ago and we are delighted to have inspired children to grow plants for all these years.  The enthusiasm and interest from the children and schools never diminishes and is a delight to see every year,” said Iain Wylie, managing director.

“Our regular Children’s Plant Workshops held here at Grosvenor during school holidays have never been more popular with children as young as five showing a great interest in the magic of gardening and it really is a joy to see,” Iain continued.

For further information on Grosvenor’s Children’s Plant Workshops, click here and to book please call Customer Services on 01244 625200.

Let the bells ring out for this special rose

With only a few days to go, why not celebrate the Royal Wedding by adding a beautiful new deep red ‘Royal William’ rose to your garden this week?


 The Royal William rose at Grosvenor


This fragrant, hybrid tea rose offers the flush of large deep red blooms offset by glossy, dark green foliage tinged with red hues and will make a bold statement in any bed or border.  


The ‘Royal William’ flowers from summer right through to autumn and will be the perfect addition to any garden during this Royal Wedding year.


Not only is it hardy and so covered by our five year hardy plant guarantee for extra peace of mind, it is also highly disease resistant so a great starting point for the novice gardener.


Listen out for Pete Davies, one of our team of horticulturalists, who will be on Dee 106.3FM next Tuesday lunchtime with plenty of tips for keeping your roses in tip top shape! 

Jobs for the garden in April

With so many Bank Holidays coming up this month, now is the perfect opportunity to get out in the garden and get your hands dirty. 


Look for the signs that your garden is coming back to life after the winter as new growth and bulbs and shrubs begin to flower and weeds sprout.  Tackle these unsightly weeds first so that they do not take over your borders, becoming unwieldy and taking up much needed nutrients and space that your plants need to thrive.  Tackling weeds will also mean you have a clean and tidy border too!  There are different weedkillers available – including those that kill weeds from the roots to those especially designed to clear paths and driveways. 


Our plant of the month is the Rhododendron with its great blousy blooms.  Choose your location carefully as Rhododendrons perform best in a sheltered position but avoid too much shade.  A more exposed site will be fine as long as it is protected from winds.  An acid soil is a must and it should be moist but well-drained with added organic matter for best results.  Don’t give up if your soil is more alkaline though as rhododendrons can be grown as container plants too, or dwarf varieties look and behave well in a rockery.  Remember: when your Rhododendrons have finished flowering, snap off seed heads to encourage new shoots for next year.


If your soil is not acid and Rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants do not thrive easily, use ericaceous compost designed especially for such plants.  And feed every two weeks or so with specific plant food. 


Tender plants need planting in your borders now so that shoots appear after the last frost. 


Established shrubs, Roses and herbaceous perennials including Campanula and

Delphiniums need feeding now.  For maximum flowering, try a slow release granule feed which you can simply sprinkle around each plant and then work through the soil using a trowel.



If your Delphiniums have lost their sparkle, divide them into separate plants now so that each one has enough space to create a new root system to support large flowers.  Make sure each clump has strong roots and a number of new shoots preferably. 


Hardy annual seeds can be sown in garden soil as soon as the temperatures begin to rise.  These include Cornflowers, Pot Marigolds and Sweet Peas – or why not try a mixed collection of wildflowers including mixes to attract bees and butterflies.


Now let’s take a look at your Edible Garden which also needs attention this month.  It really is a busy time of year as there is much to be done to create a feast on a plate for the coming months.  There are plenty of seeds to choose from ripe for planting now including Beetroot, Broad Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Leeks, Onions and Spring Onions, Rocket, Spinach and Turnip.  This is the perfect opportunity to try something new and if there is a vegetable you are not familiar with, give it a grow!



If you have limited space in your garden for a vegetable patch, don’t forget your windowsill is all you need to get started.


Some seeds, particularly herbs, can be sown straight into compost or herb planters (and can then be grown on a windowsill) but some vegetables are best sown in pots or trays first - Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflowers and Cabbages for example.  They then need to be kept indoors on a windowsill or outside in a warm spot of your patio until they germinate.  When the seedlings have their first two leaves, transplant them into individual pots and get ready for planting outside next month. 


An easy way to add instant colour to your fences, walls and patios are by adding hanging baskets and planted containers.  Plant your own using a wide variety of seedlings or bedding plants and be adventurous!  Bold colours and themes look fantastic in pots and containers!  And add trailing plants for added interest too.


Finally, you can really begin to enjoy your garden again this month as the days are longer, the weather hints at becoming warmer and summer is only a stone’s throw away.