Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas Fast Approaching

There is something special about Christmas Eve in any retail shop, the atmosphere is fantastic! And here at Longacres today is no different. With Christmas day fast approaching both staff and customers are all in a festive mood!

From all of us here at Longacres we would like to wish you a Merry Christmas!

A Touch Of Spring In December

We still have Spring bulbs on sale, (even now in mid-December) and the best part is they are 50% off! It’s not too late to buy daffodils or tulips. In all the pre-Christmas bustle it feels like dipping your toes in spring as you imagine them in full flower. The garden soil is likely to be frosty and inhospitable so all you ‘late buyers’ can grow in a pot.

Get as big and deep a pot as possible and plant it up with good quality compost. Bulb compost works well as this provides nutrients to the bulbs that could help them in future years. Set the bulbs into the soil as deep as possible. Cover the surface with coarse gravel, pebbles or slate. (Use horticultural materials as builder’s grit and sand may contain salt.) This top-dressing stops earth being splashed up onto the foliage and also sets off the flowers.

These pots can be positioned near a window when the flowers appear so they can be enjoyed in comfort! Alternatively, position the pot in the garden where there is a dull or boring spot.

To make the most of your bargain buy, see if there are any sunny, well drained positions in the garden that are simply ‘empty-looking’ in spring. You can plant the bulbs out in these places when their foliage is dying down so you can enjoy them again the following year. The pot is available for use next year!

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Santa Grotto and The Joy It Brings

We have Santa’s Grotto here at Longacres, which has been lovingly built by our talented team of florists and seasonal staff. It was a lot of hard work but all the staff involved in putting together this project agree that is it completely worth it to see the look on the children’s faces as they are lead through the winter wonderland and sat down in the grotto with Santa.

We have had some fantastic feedback both in person and on our Facebook page about the experience and how much people’s children have enjoyed meeting Santa. We’d like to say a big thank you, it makes all the work all worth while to know that it has been such a hit!

If you’d like to come and have a look for yourself we have posted the opening times below.

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How to choose your perfect Christmas Tree

With Christmas just around the corner (16 days to go – have you started your Christmas shopping yet?), many families are shopping for Christmas trees. It’s a great family activity, as long you as you can all agree on the tree! At Longacres, we aim to help families find their perfect Christmas tree. Below are our tips on choosing trees for the festive season:

1. Make sure you have measured for both height and width

Before heading out to buy your tree, you should measure both ceiling height and width of the area where your Christmas tree will be spending the next few weeks. Some growers and sellers taper the trees by 80%. This means a tree that’s 10ft tall could be 8ft wide! It may fit the room vertically, but then take up far too much floor space. At Longacres we have a wide range of trees from the small 60cm (2ft) to the large 5.5m (18ft)!

2. Decorations, decorations, decorations…

Think about the decorations you’re going to use (including the toilet roll angel you made in primary school of course…) Some trees have fewer branches and shorter needles (easier to get decorations on, but it means they’ll also come off more easily) than others. Be confident that the branches of the tree you’re getting can carry the weight of all your decorations.

3. Pick the right type of tree for you

There are several types of Christmas tree available: Fir, Pine, Spruce, and Cypress. At Longacres, we offer a large selection of both Fir and Spruce trees (cut and potted).

Nordmann Fir is the most popular type of Christmas tree due to its beautiful needles. They aren’t sharp (they have a rounded tip) and they won’t drop easily when the tree needs watering.

Blue Spruce trees are popular for the striking blue-green foliage and pleasing symmetrical form. Similar to the Nordmann Fir, Blue Spruce doesn’t drop needles as much as others.

4. Making your tree last longer

It’s pretty simple to take good care of your tree and make it last all the way through the Christmas period. The most effective way to keep your tree fresh and prevent excessive needle loss is by using a Christmas tree stand which acts as a water reservoir. When you get your tree home, cut approximately half an inch from the base of the trunk before you put the tree in its stand. If possible, keep the tree away from radiators, TVs and other heat sources!

Don’t leave it until the last minute before buying your tree – it’s much more fun to choose from a huge range! Get in touch with us for more information on our Christmas trees.

3 Ground Rules for Healthy, Safe Gardening

There’s nothing like spending your Sunday morning getting your hands dirty – in a good way. Gardening is a great activity for reducing stress. You’re out in the sunshine and fresh air, getting your daily dose of exercise through gardening.

You want to do it safely, without back pain and insect bites. Follow these ground rules to enjoy gardening in good health.

Grow Basil and Rosemary Herbs

Get more from your patch of green by growing easy-to-plant, healthy basil and rosemary herbs in your garden. Basil is a highly fragrant plant packed with vitamins K and A. It’s essential oil has antibacterial properties, providing protection against unwanted bacterial growth. Basil herbs prefer sun and moist, well-drained soil combined with compost. Water them at least every other day and harvest leaves when the plants are about 10 inches tall.

Rosemary leaves have compounds that help improve memory, digestion and the immune system. Plant the herbs in the ground during warm periods or in pots you can move indoors during winter. Rosemary suits slightly alkaline soil and lots of sunshine. Keep the soil moist until its leaves are established, which may take one year.

Buy a Quality Pair of Gardening Gloves

Most people think infections aren’t a gardening hazard, but the soil in your garden might be contaminated with lead and other toxic chemicals from plumbing, or contaminants from parasites and pesticides. These substances make you susceptible to tetanus and E. coli bacteria.

The best defence against infection is wearing a quality pair of gardening gloves. Use thin and fitted gloves for tasks that require handiness and leather ones when you’re clearing out thorny bushes. If you get a nick or a cut, wash it thoroughly with warm water and soap to avoid infection.

Position Your Body Properly when Gardening

Position your body properly to avoid back pain later. Keep your back straight with your knees bent slightly and shoulders relaxed while standing. When lifting heavy items, keep your knees bent and back straight by squatting down and engaging the muscles in your buttocks and thighs.

When getting low, sit on a stool or kneel on a cushion, as long as it’s low enough to maintain a straight back. Use gardening tools with longer handles and plant a raised bed about 10 inches high to access the plants easier.

Gardening is only good for your health if you practice it safely. Avoid back pain, bites, and other common garden-work hazards by following these tips. Browse our website to start your journey towards healthier gardening.