News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for July, 2011

Gardening tips for August

This month we enjoy our last Bank Holiday before Christmas, so let’s make the most of the great outdoors before autumn arrives!

With another month to go before the children go back to school, why not introduce them to a great new hobby and get them away from the television and into the garden? Inspire them with their own vegetable patch or border to get them started and our Children’s Plant Workshops are here every Tuesday until 31st August too, so click here for more information.

If you are spending your holidays at home this year, you really want your garden to be at its beautiful best so you can relax and enjoy it. 

The pinnacle of a lovely garden is a lush lawn and what better way to spend August than by stretching out with the grass between your toes and enjoying delicious picnics?  To ensure your lawn is inviting, simply continue to trim it weekly and remember to collect the cuttings for the compost heap.  Strim or use shears on the edges for an instant, neater look and make sure the borders and lawn are weed-free.  Water and feed your lawn now too – weekly will be perfect. 

Your borders should still be abundant with colour as the weather, although warm, is also fairly wet so perfect for growth.  Combat this growth spurt by keeping on top of deadheading fading blooms and feeding bedding plants to encourage new flowers. 

Take cuttings of tender perennials too now such as Osteospermum and Argyranthemum and Felicia.  Cut off any stems and cut to about 8cm in length, making a long cut below a leaf joint.  Place the cuttings around the edge of a compost filled pot and cover with clear polythene. 

As soon as winter-flowering pansy seedlings and plants are big enough to move, prepare an area of soil and spray any annual weeds the day before you plant them out.

Colchicum byzantinum innocence

Colchicum byzantinum innocence

You can now plant crocus bulbs and meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) for flowering in the autumn and Camellias and Rhododendrons should be fed for the last time during August while the buds are still forming ready for a beautiful display next year.  Always ensure these plants receive plenty of water so that the new buds do not drop prematurely.  And stop feeding at the end of the month so that the buds do keep until next spring.

You will find that your weeds are still fast-growing and flowering too so should be easy to kill by using a glyphosate weedkiller.  Make sure you protect your plants so they are not damaged by the weedkiller and choose a day when the weather is settled and dry.

Treat your roses now so that they stay clear of pests such as black and greenfly and are protected from mildew, blackspot and rust.

Feed roses this month for a second flush of blooms

Feed roses this month for a second flush of blooms

Pots and planted containers on patios always look good – and are a great way of adding instant colour to an otherwise dull area.  Remember that regular watering and feeding of container plants and hanging baskets is essential.  A dousing is best – in the evening so that the heat of the day does not scorch the leaves when wet.

Protect from aphids and plan to grow on your plants now ready for colourful pots and baskets during the autumn and winter months.  Early planting will ensure that your containers are well established before they are displayed in your garden.  By mixing flowering and foliage plants, you will create interest for longer – use ornamental cabbage or variegated ivy for contrast.

Sunday lunch will taste much better if you have grown your own vegetables and this month your plate should be bursting with a variety ready for harvesting just now.  You should have potatoes, broad beans, climbing French and runner beans, courgettes to choose from - and plenty of salad ingredients too.  And who can resist that sense of achievement when you present such a wholesome feast to your family and friends?  And the taste?  Delicious!  

Harvest your vegetables carefully and choose from plants that constantly produce flowers such as courgettes and runner beans to encourage more vegetables.  Make sure you pick over the plants every two to three days for a maximum crop.   Dry shallots by leaving them on a windowsill or in a shed so that they ripen before you store them.  Why not pickle them ready for winter?

Sow salad leaves every couple of weeks now so that you have plenty of tasty leaves for enjoying throughout the autumn.  And hang your herbs in bunches in a cool, airy location or chop up and freeze in water in ice cube trays – delicious in a refreshing Pimms, or add to your potatoes during the winter months!

Prune your trained apples and pears to restrict new growth.  Pick your soft fruits as soon as they are ripe and make sure the birds don’t steal your produce!  Use netting to maintain your full crop.  Be aware that wasps are attracted to ripening soft fruits so make sure you are careful when picking fruit.

Finally, enjoy the last of the summer as it won’t be long before we are offering you gardening tips for the winter!

Grosvenor at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

We always look forward to RHS Flower Show Tatton Park here at Grosvenor.  With so many keen gardeners in one spot it really is the chance to showcase the best of the North West, and the rest of the UK, with a great day out in beautiful surroundings at Tatton Park.

And good weather is a bonus!

Inspirational displays can be found everywhere at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park.  From the pinnacle of the show gardens to the back to back gardens, the visionary gardens and the flower bed competitions to the floral marquees and the truly brilliant fresh fruit and vegetable displays! 

Know your Onions!

As we set up our marquee on Tuesday alongside Cheshire’s Gardens of Distinction we happened to walk into the floral marquee where a family group of exhibitors was creating the most delightful sculptures from their fruit and veg!  Not only talented at growing the most impressive produce, also extremely gifted at displaying their wares too! 

Creative fruit and veg

Creative fruit and veg

So, to the best of the best.  Which award wins did we agree with?

We were thrilled to see Grosvenor Estate win a Silver-Gilt award for their back to back garden, ‘Painting with Plants’.  Using bold and vibrant colours, the garden has been designed to reflect the work of French artist, Henri Matisse, and perfect planting recreates an artist’s palette.  We are loving the water feature too – selected from our range here at Grosvenor!

Grosvenor Estate's Silver-Gilt winning back to back garden, 'Painting with Plants'

Grosvenor Estate

Personal favourites from the show gardens were the ‘Blathanna Fiaine an Inbhir’ (Wild Flowers of Inver) garden with peace and tranquillity at its roots.  Designed by Stephen Dennis and Brett Landscaping around the natural landscape of Inver, Co Mayo, the rolling flow of the gardens surrounds an expanse of water with a beautiful bronze harp at its centre to represent the national symbol of Ireland.  The calmness and serenity that this show garden presented was very appealing – a sense of peace in an otherwise busy world.  Well done on a Silver Flora award!

Blathanna Fiaine an Inbhir

Blathanna Fiaine an Inbhir

Agree on the award for the Best Show Garden – ‘Save a Life, Drop the Knife’ designed by HMP Everthorpe was distinctive and really grabbed attention with clever planting to depict the horrors of knife crime and how much more harmonious life could be if we make the right decisions and turn from crime.  An ingenious design with a great message – deservedly the Best Show Garden.

Save a Life, Drop the Knife

Save a Life, Drop the Knife

There is plenty more to see at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park right up to and including this Sunday, 24th July, and this simple blog cannot convey the excitement and inspiring developments that are showcased so well at Tatton – a great advertisement for our region.

So don’t forget to say hello to our horticulturalists too – see them on Avenue C in the Cheshire Gardens of Distinction marquee!  And don’t forget our friends at Cheshire Wildlife Trust and Cheshire Life too – you could win one of our hampers bursting with goodies!

Gardening tips for July

Welcome to the first day of July!

July has to be one of the best months of the year for entertaining in your garden.  It’s midsummer, the days are long and (hopefully!) balmy and friends and family are in the holiday spirit!

And your lawn should be looking its best too.  You may find that we have a few days of very dry weather now so you need to combat this with a really good soaking of your lawn once a week rather than simply wetting it daily.  The deeper the water the more it will help the root system.

Water and feed for a luscious lawn

Use a good lawn feed at the same time to encourage a better colour and healthier grass for a lush appearance throughout the rest of the summer.  If you spot the odd stray weed, simply spray with a selective weedkiller a few days before the next cut is planned.

Always remember to keep on top of deadheading your flowering plants – both in baskets, pots or containers and in your borders too.  This will encourage the plant to produce even more blooms as it attempts to set seed.

Watering is vital now as we enjoy warmer weather and feed the leaves and around the roots fortnightly.  Always water in the evening and when the sun is not shining directly onto the plant to avoid leaf damage.  Why not try a hose end feeder which will automatically dilute liquid plant food so it can easily be sprayed over plants.  Call in to find out more.

Be aware of pesky ants, aphids and other pests this month.  We do have a comprehensive range of insecticides for the majority of pests that gardeners are likely to come across on a day to day basis.  Again, please do ask for our experts’ recommendations – the whole team is very knowledgeable and will be delighted to help.

Wow – didn’t our roses bloom early this year?  We saw many roses bloom as early as May and you can now encourage another display towards the end of the summer by making sure your roses have sufficient nutrients.  We have various feeds specifically for roses including slow release food and granules to produce the best blooms, perfume and colour from your roses.

Add slow release plant food to baskets, pots and containers

Add slow release plant food to baskets, pots and containers

Even though July is generally one of the balmiest of the year, be aware of high winds and ensure your tall perennials and plants are supported well with stakes to avoid damage and keep them upright.

This is a great month to take semi-ripe cuttings of geraniums as they will root more efficiently now than in the cooler days later in the year.  Snip cleanly just below a leaf joint and remove some of the lower leaves.  Add four or five cuttings around the perimeter of a 15cm diameter pot filled with a good compost such as a Multi-Purpose with added John Innes.  Put your pot in a warm, shaded position until the roots start to form over the next few weeks.

You can sow seeds now of winter pansies, wallflowers and forget-me-nots too so that you will have good seedlings to plant out at the end of the summer or beginning of autumn.

You can also add to your Edible Garden now by sowing vegetable seeds in containers or plant seedlings.  And you can continue to sow seeds of cut-and-come-again lettuce and salad leaves in containers or herb planters.  These will be delicious in salads later in the summer.

Homegrown carrots are a tasty treat

Homegrown carrots are a tasty treat

Begin to harvest courgettes, French beans and runner beans now.  You may find the runner beans need a little longer and if so, try misting with water to encourage them to set.

New varieties of potato such as Maris Bard or Swift should be ready for harvesting soon too. 

You should see bumper crops of fruits now too thanks to the fantastic weather we experienced in the spring.  Watch for branches that may need a bit of extra support under the weight of a heavy crop.

Remember that all fruits and vegetables need regular, extra feeding – not only your tomatoes! 
Finally, we would encourage you to make the most of July and really sit back and enjoy your garden.