Monthly Archives: February 2015

Plan Bee: Helping the Bees for Gardening Success | Longacres Garden Centre

The population of bees across England is declining, and the government is pushing homeowners, gardeners, and landscapers to help save them by encouraging the buzzing insects into their gardens.

Helping the Pollinators

In a pronouncement by the government through Environment Secretary Liz Truss, gardeners and other concerned individuals are encouraged to help the struggling bee population by making their gardens more bee-friendly. As part of a National Pollinator Strategy (NPS), the 10-year-plan aims to stop or reduce the decline in bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects by ensuring gardens have more nectar and pollen available all year round.

Truss explains this involves more than just planting flowers. This also means letting wild flowers and plants, such as dandelions and nettles, grow on your lawn. Not mowing the lawn is something most people have no problem following, she jokingly adds.

In the Home

For homeowners who want to be a part of this initiative, it’s about growing your garden in a certain way. This means getting the right plants, decorations, and garden ornaments. The ideal approach is to have as many flowers for as long as possible, which may mean planting so you have blossoms throughout the year.

If your garden space permits, group the plants to make it easier for the bees to collect nectar and pollen more efficiently. We have a range of plants and other ornaments perfect for this. We also carry a selection of bug biomes ideal for bees, birds, and insects.

De-Bugging the Pollinator Decline

Another way to help the pollinators, which the NPS failed to mention, is to stay away from pesticides. You may not know it, but the plants you buy from other garden centres may inadvertently be pesticide-laden, which then harms bees and insects.

Neonicotinoids are present in many store-bought plants. This chemical is highly toxic to insects. Even when these do not kill bees outright, it can impair the insect’s sense of navigation and their immune systems.

When it comes to nurturing the garden, it’s still best to choose only organic composts and fertilisers, which we have in store.

Bees and other pollinating insects are essential for your garden’s success. A little quid pro quo by helping them survive will, in turn, help your garden thrive.

Browse through our store to find the right products, tools, and plants for a more bee-friendly garden and yard.

10% off Interior Oak Furniture at Longacres

Give your home a stylish new appearance with the addition of some stunning interior oak furniture! From bedside tables to full table and chair sets, we’ve got it all, and better yet – we are now offering 10% off the entire interior oak range!

Come and visit us at our Bagshot and Shepperton branches to view the range on our shop floors (full range at Bagshot). Alternatively you can click here to view the online range – just don’t forget to enter the following discount code* at checkout when buying online: oak10


Offer runs whilst stocks last. Make sure that you hurry though, because once they’re gone – they really are gone!

For any questions or enquiries regarding the range, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly seasonal team at

*In the event of error discount code may be withdrawn at any time.

Roses in Containers

Many of the roses that are presently fashionable are quite small, standing between 45cm and 80cm in height. They can easily be lost in a garden unless carefully placed, or grown as part of a group of like-coloured flowers so they can make an impact. It is often better to grow these roses in containers, which means the flowers are raised to a higher position, and the containers can be moved into prominent positions when the plant is at its best, either on the patio or positioned between other plants in a border. Roses and other plants can start their life with you in a container, but can be planted out in the garden at a later time.

Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'

Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’

Small, rather fragile roses that haven’t developed good root systems may best be grown on their own in a container. When a number of plants are grown in the same pot there is competition for the available resources – both water and nutrients – and the rose needs to have a good, established root system to effectively hold its own. In these cases it can be really attractive to have a group of several containers, preferably matching. The plants that you grow in them can complement or contrast with the flowers of the centrepiece – the rose. Good effects can be achieved by having a whole container filled with plants of a single colour. For example purple Petunias, red Verbena, bold golden Marigolds or the deep blue of delicate Nigella. You can also use companion plants that are grown for their foliage such as the woolly silvered, non-flowering Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ or the trailing silvered round leaves of a plant such as Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’. These colours combine well with pink roses. Other foliage plants can be utilised such as the intriguing rose and mahogany tints of Heuchera ‘Midnight Bayou’.

Diascia (Flying Colours Series) 'Flying Colours Deep Salmon'

Diascia (Flying Colours Series) ‘Flying Colours Deep Salmon’

Alternately a rose can be grown in the same container as other plants. For this option the container needs to be of a substantial size so that all the plants can thrive. It is usually more effective to choose small, dainty flowers to contrast with the often large and solid blooms of the rose. Suggestions include Nemesia that will flower all summer through and have alluring colours that will combine well with roses. The showy Nemesia ‘Sundrops’ with its clear orange flowers would go with yellow or peach shades. Or the small flowers of Felicia such as the blue, trailing Felicia amelloides ‘Santa Anita’ that can complement blue or contrast with other light tints. The solid, trailing Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea‘ with its yellow foliage and flowers makes a bold contrast to red roses. Finally, try the white Angelonia ‘Angelface ‘White’ with white roses, or the jolly salmon tints of Diascia such as Diascia (Flying Colours Series) ‘Flying Colours Deep Salmon’, for a lively interaction with yellow, purple, or peach roses.

Notes on rose care:
Put a slow release fertiliser in the container when planting and give the plants an additional feed in mid to late summer. Water very regularly, and when it is hot, be prepared to water twice daily.

Encourage gifts of good-sized matching containers – three make a good group!

This Longacres Blog post was contributed by Susan A. Tindall

A well tended lawn

Lawn Fertilising the Right Way | Longacres

Lawn Fertilisation: Are You Doing It Right?

Your lawn plays a key role in the overall appearance of your property, which is why regular maintenance is essential. Make your lawn live up to its full potential by watering, mowing, and more importantly, fertilising it frequently.

Fertilisers effectively keep the grass green but weeds can still grow. This is one of the most irritating problems that can occur with your lawn. With proper nourishment, you can naturally reduce the growth of weed by thickening the grass. In addition it strengthens the grass roots to absorb more water and lessen soggy puddles.

Use the correct equipment when applying

For large areas of lawn, use a rotary spreader for better results. Make sure the hopper is closed before you fill it. To avoid spilling and wasting fertilisers, place a tarp beneath the machine to easily gather anything that falls. Apply the fertiliser in a methodical manner to make sure that you cover all the areas.

If the lawn area is much smaller, it may be easier to use a handheld spreader. You have to walk slowly and pour equally, being careful not to overlap distribution. This is also a practical way of application if your lawn experiences sunny on one side and shady on the other, applying more where needed.

Time your watering

Application of the fertiliser should be planned properly. At least a day or two before application, water the lawn thoroughly. You can spread it once the grass dries. After application, water the lawn lightly – this will wash off fertiliser caught in grass blades into the soil. Avoid applying during drought or heavy rain.

Utilise the Grass Clippings as an extra feed!

Manufactured fertilisers work well alone, but you can complement it with natural ones. When you mow the grass, leave the clippings on the soil. Your lawn can still gain about 25% of the fertiliser it needs, as it still contains nitrogen.

A healthy-looking and well-maintained lawn proves to be a vital boost in the look of your home’s exterior. Keep your garden as sharp and beautiful as ever with fertilisers. At Longacres, we offer a selection of quality lawn fertiliser products that provide effective growth and care for your lawn. Contact us and enjoy the benefits of a well-suited grass fertiliser.