News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for January, 2012

Gardening tips for February

Be my Valentine this month with this beautiful ‘My Valentine’ hybrid tea rose.  With large red blooms and long, strong stems, ‘My Valentine’ epitomises Valentine’s Day and will make an eye catching cut display for inside your home later in the year.

Be 'My Valentine' with this beautiful rose from Grosvenor

Be 'My Valentine' with this beautiful rose

So, to February.  Where shall we start with the garden this month?  One of the easiest ways to get started is by sowing seeds – you can start by sowing indoors even when it is freezing cold outside.  Alternatively, choose from a range of seedlings and plug plants which are just one step further on from sowing seeds and already beginning to establish from recent germination and to form roots.    Plant them straight into trays of compost so they have more room to develop.  Use good quality compost with slow release feed for best results.

Have you seen any Crocus or Snowdrops peeping through yet?  They really are the sign to watch for as we count the days to spring.  The pure white of a newly shooting Snowdrop against a frosty garden reminds us all that our gardens will soon be sprouting new flowers so make sure your borders are fully stocked with summer flowering bulbs now.    Leave room between each bulb so that each has chance to swell and feed them weekly.  Clump together the same bulbs for a good display in the coming months.

Always remember to discard faded flowers to encourage more new growth.

If you would like a lovely display of colour in your planted containers later in the spring, but really have no idea how to choose complimentary colours, take a look at our displays of bedding plants here at Grosvenor.  Grouped so that you can instantly which look good together, please ask us for help.  Or choose a pre-mixed range of bedding in packs of six.  Don’t worry, you can’t go wrong!

You can begin to prepare your edible garden by digging over any area where you plan to grow vegetables.  Use compost or soil conditioner and leave the surface as rough as possible to take advantage of any frost which will help improve the structure of the soil.

Prepare your vegetable patch now

Prepare your vegetable patch now

Tomatoes  are really the easiest starting point for anyone wishing to begin growing their own fruit and vegetables.  With so many varieties to choose from, choose a tasty option to suit the space you have available.  A grow bag or raised bed is the perfect way to get growing!

Generally one of the colder months in the year, you do need to make sure your tender plants and fruits are protected from frost so make sure you have that all-important fleece to hand.  If you manage to keep frost damage at bay, your fruits will swell beautifully in the summer.

The roots of fruit trees and bushes should be fed now with slow release plant food or granules.  A few handfuls will keep your plants fed throughout the season.  You should also dig the food into the top layer of soil and mulch with compost to retain moisture and even suppress weeds.

If we continue to enjoy mild weather for this time of year, you could sow your broad beans, parsnips and peas but always remember to just be careful and cover with fleece or a cloche so that any germinating seeds are protected.

Don’t forget that birds and wildlife really do need our help all year round but especially during the colder months.  Our range of bird feeds, fat balls, feeders and tables will make sure you have everything you need to encourage birds to your garden.  Always remember to keep your bird baths topped up with fresh water and never let it freeze!

Our January Plant of the Month - Primula

Our Plant of the Month this January is the Primula.  Versatile, evergreen or herbaceous perennials, the Primula has flowers of a beautiful, sunny, deep yellow in springtime with green foliage for interest all year round, even during the colder bouts this month.

More than 500 species exist in the Primula genus, including Cowslip and Polyanthus.  One of the most well known is Primula vulgaris meaning ‘prima’ (or ‘first’) and ‘rosa’ (or ‘rose’), therefore symbolising the ‘first rose’ or spring has sprung.

Most Primulas offer delightful splashes of colour in gardens throughout the spring but if we continue to enjoy a mild winter, you may see the Primula over these months too.

Available in a wide selection of colours including brights and pastels from blue to pink, purple to red and white to yellow  - whatever your preference and colour scheme, you are sure to find the perfect shade for your garden or planted container.

Easy to grow, the Primula is unfussy about soil type or its location and will be equally at home on a sunny patio or in a shaded border.  If you use it to add colour to a pot, make sure you water it frequently so it

Our Plant of the Month in January - the Primula

Our Plant of the Month in January - the Primula

does not dry out and use a multi-purpose compost.  And of course, always remember to deadhead any plant regularly to encourage new growth and longer flowering.

Grosvenor helps family on BBC One’s ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’ programme

Members of the team at Grosvenor Garden Centre on Wrexham Road in Belgrave, near Chester have supported a family featured on the popular BBC One series ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’.

Donating £1200 worth of plants and a teak garden bench to the family, the team spent two days at the project planting raised beds and hard landscaping.

The Grosvenor team helps family

The Grosvenor team helps family

“We were thrilled to help transform the home of the family in Dolgarrog,” commented Pete Davies, Plant Manager at Grosvenor.

“Support of the local community is very important to us here at Grosvenor and our involvement in the programme was not only a great experience for us, we were able to add the finishing touches to the newly created garden in this much needed new home.” Pete continued.

Football table winner!

Congratulations to Mark Hogan from Chester whose name was pulled of the hat to win a Jaques football table worth £199.
“My family and I called into the Garden Centre before Christmas to choose new lights for our Christmas tree and decided to enter the competition to win the football table.  I was delighted to win such a fantastic prize, especially as I picked it up on my birthday!” said Mark.

Mark Hogan, winner of Jaques football table

Mark Hogan, winner of Jaques football table

Well done Mark and we hope you enjoy many years of table football!

Here comes 2012!

Here comes 2012 – a brand new year of gardening and enjoying the great outdoors.  Happy New Year!

We all have great ideas for our gardens this year with Karl, our bedding expert, planning a Jubilee garden of red, white and blue and Roland adding a rockery filled with alpines.

So what are your plans?  A completely new look or more colour, or even a larger space for growing your own?  Whatever you plan to do, we can inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space.

The weather may not be kind to us in January but you can still enjoy the fresh air by plotting your new schemes.  If you want a change in certain areas, now is the time to identify where you would like to improve your borders, for example, or choose which vegetables you want to grow.  That’s an easy one – start with your favourites!

Petunia Phantom
Petunia Phantom

So, for vibrant colour in your flower borders, why not plan your display now?  With seeds and bulbs to choose from, you can begin to prepare now.  What could be more satisfying than nurturing your seeds to established planted groups of colour?  Choose a mixture of colours and heights for the best displays.  Did you try any of our new varieties of plants last year?  If so, we would love to hear from you – how did you get on?  We introduced Petunia Phantom which proved very popular and this year we are going to add to our range with Starflame Primroses available from mid February and a new range of Nemesia Michelle Pink and Myrtle Blue from April.

Sweet Peas are an old favourite of Roland here at Grosvenor.  He says you can’t beat the colours or fragrance of the Sweet Pea.  Try ‘Prima Ballerina’ for gentle shades of pink, mauve and cream with each stem producing an average of four blooms so perfect for cutting and bringing indoors.

Sweet Pea Prima Ballerina

Sweet Pea Prima Ballerina

Watch out for our new seedlings which will arrive at the Garden Centre from mid February so if you want to cut out the first stage of encouraging seedlings from seeds, this is the option for you.  Make sure you use a recommended compost from our growing area which will give your seedlings the best start possible.

Don’t forget to protect your pots and containers for another couple of months by placing them close to the house or a sheltered wall.  And that all important fleece will still come in handy so make sure you have plenty ready for those frosty nights.

As you know, your lawn is the pinnacle of a beautiful garden and to ensure it stays in peak condition through the colder, slow growing months, you should have given it a good autumn feed.  Add a reminder to your 2012 calendar now that your lawn will need a feed in March to give it a boost before spring arrives.

Easy to grow tomatoes are a favourite with many beginner gardeners as they really are an easy starting point to a productive edible garden.  All you need to get started is a planter and seeds in your chosen variety – we have plenty to choose from!

Seeds of large onions should be sown in January to give them a long period of growth.

We would suggest that you start a gardening diary now so that you can keep notes throughout the year and monitor your successes and thoughts for improvements for 2013.

Indoors, your Christmas poinsettias should continue to thrive over the coming weeks but keep all houseplants away from heat and droughts.

And finally, encourage more birds to your garden by keeping your bird feeding station kits, feeders, trays and bird baths topped up with fresh food and water.  Make sure the water does not freeze over!