News and announcements from Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester


Archive for April, 2012

Team rewarded with National Diploma

Three members of the team at Grosvenor Garden Centre have been awarded a leading qualification within the horticultural industry.

James Mabon, Linda Jones and Rachel Roberts-Jones from Grosvenor each received the leading industry-recognised Diploma in Garden Retail following 12 months of interactive learning and workshops.

Iain Wylie, Managing Director (left, rear) with Wesley Haywood, Ops Manager (right, rear) and (from left) Rachel, James and Linda

Iain Wylie, Managing Director (left, rear) with Wesley Haywood, Ops Manager (right, rear) and (from left) Rachel, James and Linda

Administered by the Horticultural Trades Association, the Diploma is an established qualification and provides candidates with a broad understanding of horticulture and the Garden Centre retail environment.

“I feel I understand much more about horticulture and how to operate a successful garden centre since I completed this Diploma and I feel my contribution to Grosvenor is more valuable as my knowledge has increased,” commented Rachel.

“We have been pleased to support James, Rachel and Linda to undertake this qualification as it not only reinforces our commitment to horticulture and the careers of our individual team members, but also enhances the level of service Grosvenor offers its customers,” said Iain Wylie, managing director.

James and Rachel, both horticulturalists and Linda from the garden care department, were each encouraged to work with colleagues across all areas of the Garden Centre to learn from each other and increase awareness of best practice.  This enabled the trio to benefit from the knowledge of other departmental team members in areas they had not previously worked.
“Every member of the team here at Grosvenor is encouraged to undertake further training to aid their career progression and gain an additional understanding of the business. I am thrilled that three of the Grosvenor team have completed the Diploma in Garden Retail and would like to congratulate them on their success,” said Iain Wylie, managing director.

Grosvenor supports Parkinson’s Awareness Week

The Cafe at Grosvenor Garden Centre welcomed the Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Eleanor Johnson, to a coffee morning to raise awareness of the work of Parkinson’s UK.

Coinciding with Parkinson’s Awareness Week (16th-22nd April), the coffee morning provided the opportunity for visitors to support the Chester and District branch of Parkinson’s UK which incorporates Chester, Ellesmere Port and Flintshire.

Grosvenor supports Parkinson's Awareness Week

Grosvenor supports Parkinson's Awareness Week

The charity raises funds for research and support, providing information and friendship to people with Parkinson’s disease and their families and carers.

“We are extremely grateful to Grosvenor for providing us with a venue to raise funds for our theme of ‘Find a Cure’ during Parkinson’s Awareness Week this year.  Grosvenor’s support is extremely valuable and I would like to thank both the customers and staff for their support today,” commented Ann Edwards, Branch Chair.

“We aim to support as many people with Parkinson’s in the West Cheshire area as possible and the funds raised today will go some way towards providing sessions including therapy, yoga and aquarobics.  Encouragement from businesses such as Grosvenor is much appreciated in our quest to raise as much money as possible to make sure we help as many people as possible each year,” said Ann.

“Our ongoing links within the community are integral to our values here at Grosvenor.  It has been clear from the coffee morning today just how incredibly hard the support workers and volunteers work on behalf of Parkinson’s UK to play such an important role in aiding people with Parkinson’s and their families and we are pleased to have been able to offer our support during Parkinson’s Awareness Week,” said Iain Wylie, managing director.

Charles joins London Marathon for Claire House

One of Grosvenor’s team of horticulturists, Charles Ashley, from Llangollen, is hoping to raise more than £3000 for the centre’s current adopted charity, Claire House Children’s Hospice, by completing the London Marathon this Sunday (22nd April).

Charles is a regular ‘marathon man’ having completed many marathons including the London Marathon twice, the Chester Marathon last year and the Snowdonian Marathon 10 times through hail, ice, rain, thunder and freezing temperatures.  Charles is hoping his third attempt at the London Marathon this weekend will prove slightly easier!

Charles Ashley from Grosvenor will run the London Marathon

Charles Ashley from Grosvenor will run the London Marathon

With a rigid training programme of cycling, running and cross training, Charles regularly completes an average of 70 – 80 miles per week with some weeks covering as many as 110!  And his competitive spirit ensures he enters as many mountain races as possible around his work commitments at Grosvenor.

“I love a challenge and the London Marathon is definitely that!” said Charles,

As Fell Secretary and member of the Wrexham Athletic Club for the last 20 years, Charles has set the personal challenge of completing the London Marathon within four hours.

“Through support from customers and the team at Grosvenor, the funds I raise for Claire House will help to support the work of the hospice to provide respite, palliative and end of life care for children with life limiting and life threatening illnesses – and I would like to thank everyone for their support so far,” Charles concluded.

“Charles always goes ‘above and beyond’ for our nominated charity and we are very proud of his continued efforts to raise more funds on behalf of Claire House.  By joining the expected numbers of more than 30,000 on this gruelling course, Charles deserves as much support as possible and I am delighted that so many of our customers have already pledged their support,” said Iain Wylie, managing director.

If you would like to donate to Charles’ marathon efforts, please call into the Garden Centre or visit

Jack Wins the Hunt for Giant Cuddly Easter Bunny!

Congratulations to Jack Poole from Wrexham whose name has just been pulled out of the hat to win our giant cuddly Lindt bunny! Jack was amongst more than 200 entrants who successfully found all the Easter bunnies hiding around the Garden Centre this weekend. Well done Jack!

Dave & Mark from Grosvenor's Food Department with Jack Poole, Easter Bunny Hunt Competition Winner

Mark & Dave from Grosvenor's Food Department with Jack Poole, Easter Bunny Hunt Competition Winner

Our April Plant of the Month - Lavender

Lavender is one of our most popular plants.  Not only does this remarkable plant create a beautiful sight of small flowers with white, blue and purple hues, but it also offers a heady fragrance and has the amazing power to attract bees and butterflies!

Attract bees and butterflies into your garden with Lavender

Attract bees and butterflies into your garden with Lavender

You will be mightily rewarded with a bushy, spreading plant if you choose a warm and sunny spot with well drained soil as it will grow voraciously over a period of months.

Once established, your lavender should be able to resist disease and drought conditions but really does not like ‘wet’ conditions which will encourage roots to rot.  An alkaline or chalky soil bed will enhance the fragrance from your lavender – the stronger the scent, the better!

Use your lavender in a variety of ways around the garden: from spreading around bushes and shrubs to softening a border and is equally as effective planted with a group of plants such as roses or herbaceous perennials including Rubeckia, Echinacea and Phlox, or by itself.
Brighten up a planted container by including lavender but again, ensure that the growing media is well drained.

The benefits of lavender are well documented as it has a variety of uses from toiletry fragrances to essential oils and sleep aids.  It is even known for its health properties and can help relieve stress and pain, improve circulation and help to alleviate breathing problems – truly a wonder plant!

Gardening tips for April

What better way to enjoy Easter so early in the month than by making the most of your garden?

The beautiful weather we have experienced over the last few weeks has got everyone here at the Garden Centre fired up and raring to go in their gardens so spend Easter here at Grosvenor and transform your garden ready for summer.

The warmer weather will boost growth on all your established plants so make sure you remove any old flower heads to tidy the plant and encourage new buds.

Buddleia and hardy Fuschia will appreciate a fairly hard prune this month ready for renewed growth and plenty of colourful blooms late in the summer and into the autumn.  Do not get too excited and start trimming your deciduous climbers and shrubs at the same time though as this is more likely to remove many of the buds preparing to bloom than do them any good.  These include Forsythia and winter Jasmine.  Make sure they have finished flowering before you trim them back. In fact, we would suggest you use this time to concentrate on feeding most climbers, shrubs and trees instead this month.  A slow-release plant food would be especially beneficial and should only need one application to last throughout the season.

Sow hardy annual seeds now to create an easy-to-grow summer display.  Children love watching these small shoots appear! 

You can also plant out bulbs and tubers ready for summer flowers of dahlia, gladioli and lily varieties.  Make sure you prepare the soil first with a conditioner.
Watch for plant diseases such as mildew and blackspot on the newly forming leaves on roses and other flowering shrubs.  Treat them early, especially if you experienced such problems last year, as you may not realise there is a problem with blackspot in particular until the summer.

Any spring bulbs that you have enjoyed in pots over the last few weeks will be coming to an end now so once they have finished flowering, remove the full compost ball of root from the pot and plant it into the garden where they can continue to grow ready for another display next year. 

Grosvenor Garden Centre - Member of the Growing Media Initiative

Grosvenor Garden Centre - Member of the Growing Media Initiative

You may have seen that we are now full members of the Growing Media Initiative which is a scheme to reduce the use of peat in the UK’s horticultural industry.  Make sure you read the packets of any compost so you can see just how much peat is contained in your choice. 

Lawn care should be well underway now that we have seen the beginnings of the warmer weather and grass and weeds have begun to shoot up!  Your lawn will need regular trims now but will also benefit from a treatment to ensure it retains as many nutrients as possible which will be stripped with weekly cuts.   Look for a treatment that will not only work on broadleaved weeds, it will promote a lovely lush, green look for your garden, encourage stronger roots and absorb more moisture.

When you have spent the day in the garden mowing the lawn, weeding and tidying the borders and planting new plants, one final job will be to add decorative bark for that finishing touch.  It really will make such a difference as you put your feet up and enjoy your garden. 

Onions can be sown now...

Your Edible Garden should be ready and waiting for seeds to be sown and fruit and vegetables grown.  If you have not already sown summer cabbages, cauliflower, onions, parsnips and peas, they can be sown now.  Towards the end of the month, sow seeds such as Brussels sprouts, leeks and autumn cabbages in a seedbed to get them started before transplanting into your Edible Garden later.

Condition the soil before you sow your seeds, rake the matter into the soil and water the area beforehand. 

If you are already growing strawberries, you will see them start to flower now before they crop next month.  Do not forget to protect these tender flowers from frost. 

Lavender is our Plant of the Month this April and is one of our most popular plants with its diverse range of suitable locations and uses.  Read all about the Lavender here.  
Finally, use the lighter evenings and good weather to decide what you want from your garden this summer and plan ahead.  And don’t forget, if you need inspiration or simple help and advice, you know where we are.  We really are here to help.