Monthly Archives: May 2015

English hedgehogs in a dramatic decline… but we can all help!


At the age of 23, I can honestly say that I have only a handful of memories of ever seeing a hedgehog. When I was around the age of 6 or 7, me and my family became aware of very timid hedgehog visiting our garden in the evenings for a spot of dinner. Sometimes we’d catch a glimpse of it but not always… and after a week or so it stopped visiting.

I vividly remember one evening my mum waking me up and excitedly telling me to go and look at something outside. Confused and sleepily I stepped forwards slowly and could see the hedgehog in the middle of the grass… but it was hunched over and didn’t look quite right. For a horrible few moments I worried that it had hurt itself, but on closer inspection we noticed the hedgehog drop something.. it had been holding a baby hedgehog! The mother took a few small steps backwards, allowing me and my mum to really get a closer look of the baby. After a minute or so, the mother stepped forwards, picked up her baby, walked away and we never saw her again.

It felt like she had been using our garden as a maternity ward and before leaving wanted us to understand why she had been there. It is a fond memory of mine, especially as I haven’t ever seen a hedgehog since.

SOS Logo

Were you aware that, devastatingly, English hedgehogs are disappearing about as fast as tigers are worldwide? To be more precise – they are in decline by around 97%. Surprisingly, there is also evidence to suggest that they are suffering just as badly in the wider countryside as they are in more built-up areas.

This shocking revelation comes as a result of a number of different factors: loss of hedgerows and grassland due to urban development, digestion of pesticides and herbicides, and believe it or not but even tidy and sterile gardens have majorly contributed (fences and roads have been pushing hedgehogs into smaller inhabitable areas).

But we can all help to stop this species being lost forever through a number of different ways:

  1. Place down some tubing in your garden and fill it with dried mealworms, cat food and water (make sure it’s large enough for a hedgehog – you don’t want it to get stuck!). This provides a fantastic and cost-effective home or pit-stop for passing hedgehogs.
  2. Leave a messy patch in your garden (compost heaps or log piles work too!) and hedgehogs may use these to create a nest for hibernating or rearing babies – messy patches are beneficial to hedgehogs because they attract insects!
  3. Hedgehogs won’t ever stay in just one garden – they need more space: streets, neighbourhoods and linked gardens. You could help make this possible by cutting one or two small holes in your garden fence (approximately 13cm x 13cm in diameter) to allow them to move easily around from garden-to-garden – then make sure to let all your friends and neighbours know to do the same!
  4. Wildlife World Hogilo House

    Hogilo House from Wildlife World

    For those of you with a bit more cash to spare, why not consider buying a Wildlife World Hedgehog House (£47.99?) or a Wildlife World Hogilo Hedgehog House (£44.99)? Place these in a shady and peaceful area of your garden – and make sure that you’ve cut a hole in your fence for them to access it! Both of these homes can be bought online or in store from Longacres Bagshot and Shepperton.

  5. Don’t litter! Even something as small as an elastic band can kill a hedgehog.
  6. Donate to a hedgehog charity and provide funding for research into ways to stop hedgehogs from going into extinction. You could even fundraise for them by holding a charity event!
  7. Try to avoid treating your lawn with herbicide and putting down slug pellets.. these can kill hedgehogs if digested in large doses.

For many of us, hedgehogs played a part in childhood memories of ours, but at this rate our future generations won’t be lucky enough to ever see one.. so let’s all get involved and help save the species!


Foliage Plants in Containers

As a change from containers that brim with colourful, generally annual plants, your display could include or indeed consist of, containers with plants that are grown primarily for their foliage interest. These plants generally flower, giving a few weeks of extra beauty, however they are mostly grown for the pleasure of enjoying their long-lasting foliage effects. The following suggestions are all for plants that have large leaves. In containers filled with small-leaved annuals, the foliage masses of these suggestions will provide a pleasing contrast.

Hosta 'Silver Spray'

Hosta ‘Silver Spray’

The first choice is Hostas. These come in a range of sizes from the tiny to the huge, but the following selections are hostas that are mid-sized. Try something blue with Hosta ‘Blue Danube’ This serene plant has conical leaves that are coloured blue-green. This would look nice against a ferment of red pelargoniums (often called annual geraniums). For blue and silver elegance try Hosta ‘Silver Spray’ cool and crisp with fat leaves edged in silver, which is good with vibrant blue Lobelia. For subtle chartreuse and gold try the broad leaves of Hosta ‘Guacamole’, matched with lush Petunias. Hostas are prone to attack by slugs and snails. When grown in a container on their own a copper band placed around the container provides an excellent slug deterrent, provided the slugs can’t climb onto the hosta from another plant.

The second choice is Heuchera and x Heucherella. These are well-suited to containers where they often seem to do better than in a busy flower border. They often make slightly tiered mounds of foliage and can result in a good block of colour that combines well with annuals. These plants come in a variety of forms, some having very ruffled foliage. The forms with smoother leaves generally look better when placed near busy annuals. For something dark and delicious try Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ dark, shiny and black.

Heuchera 'Autumn Leaves'

Heuchera ‘Autumn Leaves’

Heuchera ‘Autumn Leaves’ changes colour through the seasons going from pinkish red through tan to orange. For lime green, and having slightly ruffled edges to otherwise smooth leaves, try Heuchera Key Lime Pie = ‘Tnheu042’ (Dolce Series). It pays to treat potted Heuchera forms (and indeed all container plants) with a vine weevil killer as vine weevils can completely separate a plant from its roots before one notices.

Finally, grey-foliaged plants are always appealing and the light, silver grey oblong leaves of Brachyglottis (Dunedin Group) ‘Drysdale’ is beautiful with purple and orange flowered annuals. Cut off the yellow flowers for a pure foliage effect. This needs a sunny position to give of its best.

All these plants are perennial which means they can be used in future years. Alternately, they can be planted out in the garden so that a whole new series of plant combinations can be tried in your containers next year.


This blog post was contributed by Susan A. Tindall

Join the Weber BBQ cultures journey…

Weber BBQ Cultures Interactivity

“At any given time, somewhere in the world, someone is barbecuing. Let us take you on a journey to some of the most delicious barbecues around.”

These are the powerful opening words of BBQ Cultures; Weber’s brand new cinematic and interactive campaign that allows us to watch a series of short films whilst interacting and learning about Weber products, recipes, tips and tricks along the way.

Click here to view the BBQ Cultures Interactive Campaign

Five distinct BBQ cultures are focussed on, starting with a men’s fishing trip in tranquil Scandinavia and ending at a warm and beautiful wedding in France. The campaign reinforces the fact that there is a barbecue cooking food, at any given time, somewhere in the world – and we at Longacres couldn’t agree more!

Weber Certified Store Premium LogoLongacres are now incredibly proud to be an official Premium Weber Certified Store, meaning that we are fully authorised to offer the entire Weber product range to you. It also means that our seasonal team have been trained by the Weber experts themselves – so you can fully trust us to ensure that we sell only the barbecue(s) and accessories that are right for you. Come and visit us at our Bagshot store where you can see the full range on display.

Weber Display at Bagshot

Weber display at Longacres Bagshot

Did you know that Weber are hosting their much anticipated Grill Academy – On Tour event at our Bagshot store on Thursday the 25th June? The Weber Grill Academy is a live and exciting 2-hour cooking demonstration designed to inspire and excite you, whether you be a barbecuing pro or a total novice!

The Grill Academy will begin at 6:30pm and will last for approximately 2 hours. Tickets cost just £10 and include entry to the event, refreshments, nibbles and samples.

To find out more about the event and to view a video of what to expect click here, or if you’ve already been persuaded enough to buy tickets click here!

Weber Grill Academy Logo

Don’t forget that our seasonal department also has a vast range of barbecues, accessories, furniture and more, with new additions to our BBQ range from the likes of The Big Green Egg and Landmann, as well as new additions to our furniture range including Alexander Rose, the Jamie Oliver range and Bramblecrest.

Take a few minutes to watch the video below to find our more from our seasonal manager, John Connel, and have a glimpse at what we have in store this year.


Monty Don Says There are “Not Enough Gardens” | Longacres Garden Centre

Brits are not doing enough gardening; at least that is the sentiment of renowned English television presenter, gardener, writer and speaker Montagu Denis Wyatt “Monty” Don.

More Green Opportunities

Monty Don, the current host of the BBC television series Gardeners’ World, said that many young people are being turned off by gardening because they can no longer pay for homes with green spaces. Don said it is a “tragedy” that not enough young people are learning gardening skills. He is concerned that spiralling house prices and lack of space could mean people do not have opportunities to get green fingered.

“My generation grew up expecting some sort of ownership and access to gardens. I had my first home aged 26 and started growing things then. My three kids are in their 20’s and none of them rent or own homes with gardens,” the BBC host told Radio Times magazine, as quoted in a report in— the online edition of The Daily Mirror.  “A generation is growing up with no access to green space. There’s an increased remoteness about it all. Gardens can reach into life in a way that’s beyond horticulture. It’s about how we choose to live our lives and how younger people engage with them.”  He added, “We’ve lost so many of our allotments and it’s a tragedy. They’re increasingly important as young people have less access to gardens. Don, who is returning as the host of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, explained gardens are “part of our
way of life and we can’t keep building on them. Councils are selling them off and say they’ll find
allotment space somewhere else but this is missing the point.”

Gardening the Easy Way

We stand behind Don on this issue. Gardening should be something that everyone does. Experts are even saying gardening is key to longer life. We’ve always encouraged everyone to have some sort of green patch in their home, even if it’s just a few potted plants by the windowsill or by the front garden. We have a range of plants and other products that make gardening easy. You can get the seed, the pots, and the feeds to give your plant a boost all in one convenient centre.

Longacres Garden Centre is one with horticulturists and gardeners in encouraging everyone to grab a shovel, dig in, and start planting. Get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to provide you with any gardening products you need.

Unique Wedding Gifts at Longacres Shepperton

Wedding Gifts from Longacres Shepperton

Unique and quirky gifts to suit a wide range of couples

We understand that trying to find the perfect wedding gift for loved ones can be tricky and a lot of pressure, especially when you know there are hundreds of other guests that will be hunting for presents too (and there’s only so many ‘his’ and ‘hers’ towels that one couple can cope with!), which is why Longacres Shepperton are stocking a wide selection of unique and classy range of wedding gifts to suit all budgets.

Whether you are wanting to give the newlyweds a keepsake or something more practical for them to use in their home, you’re sure to find something that they will treasure for years to come and remind them of their special day.

See the full range and visit us at our branch on Nutty Lane, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 0RQ.

Wedding Gifts from Longacres Shepperton

Artificial flowers make long-lasting gifts

Wedding Gifts from Longacres Shepperton

Bedding Plants at Longacres

We are well into the Spring season and before we know it Summer will be upon us, so make sure that you are well prepared to introduce lots of splashes of colours, scents, butterflies and bees into your garden by buying your bedding from Longacres, where we have hundreds of different varieties to suit every type of gardener and garden!

Antirrhinums, Petunias, Geraniums, Fuchsias, Impatiens, Lobelias, Marigolds and Nicotianas are just a small example of the bedding plants available to buy both in store or online from as little as £1.39 in a 9cm pot, £1.99 as a 6 pack of boxed bedding, or just £2.99 as a 12 pack of boxed bedding.

Our grower of bedding plants, Perfect Choice, have invested in a stylish, bright and bold new delivery van to transport all of our bedding plants to us ready to offer to you!

Perfect Choice New Van

Perfect Choice is a small family run nursery just 8 miles down the road from us in Locally grown plants have lots of advantages; it means less of a carbon footprint, plants are as fresh and perfect as they come, we save on distribution costs (which means a better price for you, our customer!), and finally we are supporting the local economy and of course another family run business – just like ours.

Visit us in store to view the full bedding range, or click here to view the online range.

Please note when buying online that you can mix and match all boxed bedding but the total number of boxes must be a minimum of 6.