News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for May, 2011

Grosvenor Gardening Tips for June

Your garden should be looking beautiful now and bursting with colour and fresh fruit and vegetables.  Don’t despair if you have not prepared as much as you would have liked – this month we give you our top tips for catching up so your garden looks like you have spent months working hard in the garden.

Verbena Aztec Wild Rose
Verbena Aztec Wild Rose

Tender bedding plants are perfect for adding instant colour.  Look for geraniums, petunias and verbena for example – all will create a glorious display of colour very quickly and easily.  They should flower throughout the summer months but treat your borders to a good feed before you plant to give your new bedding plants a great start.  Easy to care for, bedding plants can literally be left alone for most of their flowering period.  Dead head when necessary and water if you have not seen any rain recently – otherwise, they are good to go!

If you are a beginner gardener and looking to create a beautiful garden and not much idea of where to start, we are here to help.  Try a moisture control plant food for an environmentally friendly method of keeping your plants full of moisture, yet without using copious amounts of water.  Easy to use, the granules should simply be sprinkled onto the soil and they will absorb up to 400% of their own weight in water!

Deadhead camellias and rhododendrons once they have finished flowering.  This will stop seed pods developing and the stem will benefit from new growth ready for bearing next year’s flowers.

Ericaceous plants (those that prefer acidic to lime soil) will need to be fed and watered well this month to encourage new buds.  Always remember to use any product either early in the morning or later in the evening when honey bees are less active.  As you are probably aware, bees are in decline and yet they really are the gardener’s friend.  Bees pollinate one third of the crops we eat and they need flowers bursting with pollen and nectar throughout the summer to survive. So, plant more colour in your garden and help to save the honey bee too!  Bees love the evergreen or deciduous Ceanothus which is available as a shrub or small tree. 

Houseplants love spending time outdoors too!  Place them in a sheltered spot and continue to water and feed regularly – particularly if we enjoy a dry spell. 

Continue to mow your lawn weekly now, weather permitting and feed regularly too to keep your grass in great condition.  Don’t forget to use a good lawn weedkiller too.  We have plenty of options to choose from, so please ask for help.

You can enjoy delicious homegrown produce from your Edible Garden now.  You should find they are growing quickly so remember to water regularly. 

French and runner beans can be sown now and until the end of next month but the sooner the better.  Now that the frosts are over, tender vegetables can be planted out now too.  Choose courgettes, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, sweet peppers and tomatoes to get you started.  Make sure your soil has been prepared fully first with organic matter to give them the best possible bed in which to thrive.

Keep an eye on your early potatoes which should be ready for harvesting later this month. 

And summer fruits such as raspberries and strawberries can be picked and enjoyed now – delicious on their own, with cream or a beautiful addition to a pavlova.   

To add style and comfort to your garden, we have a fantastic selection of high quality garden furniture and a better than ever range of barbecues, accessories and chimeneas to keep you warm well into the evening.  And throughout June we have 10% off everything in our Weber range of barbecues and accessories so make the most of this fantastic offer and choose your new barbecue, perfect for alfresco dining!

Awards announced at RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

If you have been avidly watching the reports from RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, or lucky enough to visit yourself, you will have been waiting with great excitement as the award wins have been announced this morning.

Much coveted Best Show Garden award went to The Daily Telegraph with their striking garden designed by Cleve West.  Cleve has used both modern and traditional materials to highlight how both old and new can work together to create a space for the future.  Clever planting has mixed yews and perennials with some self-seeding varieties which should search out cracks and fissures in the strong cobbled pathways, rocks and dry stone walling.  

Best Urban Garden went to The Winds of Change by Stockton Drilling Ltd and Hae-woo-so (Emptying One’s Mind) was judged the Best Artisan Garden.

And a category that has been much anticipated within our Plant team has been the Plant of the Year award – which has gone to Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants for their simply stunning Anemone ‘Wild Swan’. 
Our Congratulations go to all of the award winners at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011.

If you are feeling inspired and determined already to visit Chelsea next year, don’t forget RHS Flower Show Tatton Park from 20th until 24th July.  We will see you there!

Celebrate National Vegetarian Week with us!

We are once again supporting National Vegetarian Week this week (23rd – 29th May) by celebrating and promoting the benefits of a meat-free diet.

Grosvenor celebrates National Vegetarian Week with Cafe Manager, Helen Eastop and Chef, Craig Hunter.

Grosvenor celebrates National Vegetarian Week with Cafe Manager, Helen Eastop and Chef, Craig Hunter.

The Café specialises in fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients all year round and National Vegetarian Week has presented Chefs, Eddie Currie and Craig Hunter and the kitchen team at Grosvenor, with the perfect opportunity to source delicious new ingredients to encourage visitors to try their meat-free selection.

A member of the Taste Cheshire accreditation scheme, the Cafe has created a range of vegetarian dishes including Sweet and Sour Stir Fried Noodles with Sesame Seed and Coriander and Roasted Red Pepper Lasagne with Courgettes, Spinach and Pesto together with Roasted Portabello Mushroom stuffed with Ratatouille and topped with Parmesan Herb Crumble. 

“Our menu is constantly updated and refreshed to incorporate the seasonality of our ingredients and our vegetarian dishes always prove highly popular.  We are therefore pleased to once again support National Vegetarian Week by creating a range of speciality meat-free dishes using wholesome ingredients such as aubergine, sweet potato and a varied selection of herbs for everyone to enjoy meat-free this week,” commented Helen Eastop, Café Manager.

“The benefits of a vegetarian diet are renowned – both from an environmental and health aspect - and by adding tasty meat-free alternatives to our menu, we are able to raise awareness of a meat-free lifestyle,” Helen continued.

Celebrate British Sandwich Week here at Grosvenor!

This week we are celebrating British Sandwich Week (15th – 21st May) with fantastic new sandwich fillings!


From shredded barbecue chicken to smoked duck with cashews and horseradish, we are enjoying tucking into delicious new flavours every day this week.


Here in the Café at Grosvenor, we find that our succulent Gloucester Old Spot ham is our best seller, cooked with bay leaf, thyme and a hint of rosemary.  Mmmmm!  We have also seen traditional sandwich fillings such as cheese, egg and ham surge in popularity over the last few months too.  All sandwiches are served on their own or with seasonal salad leaves and our best selling chutney, Tracklements’ Garden chutney or Piccalilli - both are available to try in our Café and buy in our food department.


Freshly made here on the premises every day, we create tasty sandwiches for you to enjoy in the Café or take away.  Made using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients we can find, you can also choose your own filling and we will make it for you there and then at our sandwich bar.  And if there are any particular sandwich flavours you would like to see added to our regular selection, please just let us know!


Either way, help us to celebrate British Sandwich Week this week here in the Café and, at the end of the month, you can also join us for National Vegetarian Week too (23rd – 29th May) when we will have even more delicious vegetarian options available throughout the week!



Wistful Wisteria

Not only does Wisteria evoke romance and images of flower-adorned walls with a princess trapped in a turret awaiting her saviour who is of course, a dashing knight in shining armour; it can add character and create a sense of mystery in modern homes too as lilac and white blooms clamber up ‘boring’ brick walls. 


One of life’s little mysteries is why the Wisteria sinensis variety produces beautiful flowers before its leaves appear and has anti-clockwise turning stems.  The stems of the Wisteria floribunda variety, however, turn clockwise and it’s blooms and leaves appear at the same time!


Not only is it a climber, this plant is more versatile than you think as it is perfectly happy growing in pots and containers and you can train it to grow as a standard too.


Add colour and interest to your patio, trellis or walls with our great selection of Wisteria.  Seed grown Wisteria tends to take longer to flower than plants grafted from established Wisteria and it is most at home in moist, well drained soil in sun or part shade too.  It is very thirsty so always remember to give it plenty of water.  An added bonus is that it is hardy and covered by our excellent five year hardy plant guarantee for extra peace of mind.


Did you know your Wisteria could easily outlive you with the oldest known living Wisteria in the UK aged around 200 years old!  This Wisteria has long been established at Fuller’s Brewery in Chiswick, London.

Growing your own? Visit Grosvenor.

Are you growing your own fruit and veg?  If you need advice on what to plant, how to look after it and when to harvest come in and speak to our Green Team, or email us

There’s still time to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, sweetcorn and more.  All you need to get started is a window box, hanging basket or if you’re lucky enough an allotment!

For growing advice, the best plants, compost and feed visit the team at Grosvenor Garden Centre, Wrexham Road, Belgrave, Chester CH4 9EB.

Meet author, Marita Phillips, at Grosvenor this Sunday

Visit Grosvenor on Sunday 8th May at 11.30am to meet Marita Phillips, author of newly released children’s book, ‘The Dream Dealer’.

Marita will be reading from and signing copies of, ‘The Dream Dealer’, the reality meets fantasy novel aimed at children aged 9 to 13. 

  Meet the author, Marita Phillips, at Grosvenor on Sunday 8th May

Appealing to boys, girls and adults too, “the story is about a boy’s search for his mother, the pressures of the playground and a charismatic stranger who arrives at school selling ice dreams but who is on his own dark mission,” said Marita.

See Marita Phillips, author of The Dream Dealer at Grosvenor on Sunday 8th May

Sister to the Duchess of Westminster, Marita has chosen to launch her book in Chester.  She wrote the libretto for the opera ‘The Poet and the Tsar’ based on the lives of their great great great grandfathers, the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. 

Marita also spent many years writing lyrics for artists such as Art Garfunkel and Demis Roussos and wrote two musicals for children including the original story, ‘The Dream Dealer’ before being encouraged by a peer within children’s theatre to write the book.

“Our book department is popular with both adults and children and we are delighted that Marita has chosen the Garden Centre as part of her book launch programme,” commented Emma Roberts, Buyer. 

See Marita at Grosvenor on Wrexham Road, Belgrave, Chester CH4 9EB on Sunday 8th May, reading at 11.30am and signing until 1pm.

For more information on ‘The Dream Dealer’ visit