Monthly Archives: February 2014

Growing seed potatoes – a how-to guide from Longacres!

The first in our series of videos for 2014 – Jack Shilley explains how to plant seed potatoes so you can enjoy a fresh crop through the year! Products featured include:

First Early Seed Potatoes:
Main Crop Seed Potatoes:
Longacres Multipurpose Compost:
Miracle Gro Gro Sac 50L:
Potato Planting Bag (twin pack):

Shop in spring, think summer too!

It is (nearly!) spring and the garden centre is full of enticing plants; the fresh colours of spring are irresistible. Trolleys are loaded high with plants and expectations. Although it may seem strange, this is the ideal time to cast your thoughts forward to high and late summer, even autumn. Continuity of colour in the garden can be quite hard to achieve and there always seems to be a lull between spring and autumn flowers. The vast majority of shrubs have their floral show in spring. Very few flower later in the season. It is worth keeping a space for these later performers while planting in spring.

Three key types of plant come to mind: Buddlejas, Fuchsias and, of course, Hydrangeas. They may not be available for sale very early in the season, but you can plan ahead and leave a space for them in the garden. Using our Plant Finder you can take a look at the varieties we sell, find one to match your favourite colours and save it to your ‘My Plants’ list for later. Or print out the plant details as a reminder.

Plan for Buddleja: they like sunshine and well drained soil. They can be 2.5 metres high Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’;

or a miniature 1.2 metres like Buddleja ‘Buzz Ivory’;

They are loved by butterflies and have flowers in shades of white, pink, red and blue to mauve. They make an imposing feature in the garden.

Plan for Fuchsias: they like sun or part-shade and reasonable moisture levels. They are in flower for a couple of months. Most of them are around 50 cm in height and look good in containers. The magellanica forms can be much larger and make handsome specimens, for example Fuchsia magellanica ‘Thompsonii’;

Their flowers are generally in the pink, red and purple range.

Plan for Hydrangeas: they generally enjoy a shaded or partially shaded site and some moisture. They too flower for weeks and in many cases their faded flowers are interesting well into the autumn. Many of the older varieties of ‘macrophylla’ hybrids are 1.5 metres high. A range of smaller, showier forms are now becoming available. These may even have shiny black stems that give an exotic twist to their flowers. Hydrangeas have large flowers in shades of white, pink, mauve, red and blue. Their flowers come in two forms, the rounded ‘mopheads’ for example Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye’;

and the elegant, rather dome shaped ‘lacecaps’, for example Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Taube’;

They have a strong presence in the garden whilst in flower, and can be a major feature.

Then with your ‘My Plants’ shopping list started, there is an excellent excuse later in the season for another shopping trip to our Garden Centre to buy the plants you’ve chosen. Enjoy.

This Longacres Blog post contributed by Susan A. Tindall

Longacres Blog image - Daffodils

Signs of spring – blooming great bulbs!

February is a characteristically cold month, but this year the pattern of mild, wet and windy weather has continued – how miserable! There are however, an abundance of bulbs that are beginning to bloom like crazy and will provide your garden with a beautiful array of colour all spring. All the bulbs below are available, in the green, in store now!

Daffodil (Narcissus Species)

Daffodils are one of the most recognisable spring plants. With their showy, bright and sometimes fragrant blooms these are must have spring bulb! For a beautiful, multi bloom flowered daffodil go for ‘Tete-A-Tete’, perfect for containers. Or if you prefer something a little more showy how about ‘Rip Van Winkle’ with its unusual flower shape!

Top Tips for Daffodils

  • Plant in a sunny position for the best flowers, but daffodils will tolerate partial shade.
  • Make sure the soil is well-draining, but don’t allow to get dry!
  • Leave the flowers and foliage to die back naturally before cutting back to ground level.

Tulip (Tulipa Species)

Tulips are arguably the best of the spring bulbs for colour. Available in just about any shade imaginable, Tulips have a diverse use in the garden, they can be planted in the beds & borders or can be planted in containers, coming back each year to provide you with an extravagant display of spring blooms! For a dwarf tulip that’s perfect for containers choose ‘Red Riding Hood’ with stunning deep red flowers.

Top Tips for Tulips

  • Tulips need to be in a fully sunny spot to maximise flowering!
  • Ensure that your tulips are planted in nutrient rich, free draining compost.
  • Remove the flower after it has finished, but leave foliage to die back naturally.

Crocus (Crocus varieties)

Another beautiful spring bulb which heralds the change of seasons with a stunning show of small, deeply coloured, white, blue, purple or veined flowers. These bulbs are great for naturalising within lawns or underplanting larger trees or shrubs.

Top Tips for Crocus

  • A great bulb to plant in dappled shade or, preferably, in full sun.
  • Can be grown in most soil types as long as it is well draining.
  • Keep an eye out for squirrels or voles digging the bulbs up after planting!

Why not treat yourself to some stunning spring bulb colour! Mix some tulips in with your planting or spice up your lawn with some crocuses! Plenty that you can do to add some colour to your gardens.


Longacres Blog image - Daffodils



Longacres Blog - Tulip Pinocchio


Longacres Blog - Crocus