Category Archives: Autumn

Autumn Bulbs at Longacres Garden Centre

It seems like Autumn has arrived doesn’t it? Hard to believe we’re only just approaching the end of August.  At least the rain is good for our gardens (and ducks apparently). Whilst many of your plants are still blooming in the garden, the weather is definitely beginning to change and it would seem a good time to consider the next crop of flowers that you would like to see in your tubs and borders.  Bulb planting time has arrived.

At Longacres you can choose from a wide range of bulbs.

At Longacres you can choose from a wide range of bulbs.

One of the advantages of bulbs is that we tend to forget about them a bit after planting, and then get a lovely surprise the following spring.   Having a range of bulbs within your garden or pots can mean you are treated to flowers almost year round.

Many of us probably think of plants in terms of those that traditionally bloom in spring – daffodils, crocus, tulip – and those that bloom in summer.  However, there are many that happily bloom in autumn and even mid-winter. Cyclamen, for example, can survive in temperatures from zero degrees upwards and come in a range of stunning colours.  Winter Aconite, with their look very similar to that of the humble buttercup, can flower from late winter to early spring.  The Lance Leaved Lily produces fragrant flowers from late summer through to early autumn.  Not forgetting the Chinese Chive, or to give it its Latin name – Allium Tuberosum. Doesn’t that sound like a great Harry Potter spell?

Autumn Bulbs at Longacres

Bulbs are an ideal choice for young children.

At Longacres you can choose from a wide range of bulbs for your pots and borders; some of which are on fantastic deals of 3 for £10 and 3 for £12.  Bulbs are an ideal choice for young children as, unlike established flowering plants, they cannot really damage a bulb when planting – especially if they are as enthusiastic about gardening as their parents!

Both children (and adults, of course) may like to take advantage of our ‘cram a pot’ section.   A large pot of daffodil bulbs is just £3.99 – and you can even keep the pot!  Also on offer are a range of specialist bulb planters, starting at just £1.99.  You can find them all around the bulb section.

Autumn Bulbs at Longacres

Longacres offers a ‘cram a pot’ section in their bulbs area.

We look forward to seeing you at Longacres soon.

Using Hydrangeas in the Garden

HydrangeaIn a container:
Hydrangeas all enjoy plenty of moisture. If you can’t, or don’t wish to spend time watering the garden but can manage a few containers, fill one or more with hydrangeas. Paired pots of hydrangeas are round in shape, have a formal look and look good placed one each side of a path or entrance. Try the stylish white-flowered Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Black Steel Zebra’ which is around a metre in height and spread, with a floral season that starts in July. For a really compact container plant the 45cm high Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Papillon‘ which has flowers that are pink in alkaline soil and shaped like some begonias. This could be placed with containers of Begonia (Nonstop Series), to intriguing effect and they should both start to flower during July.

In the border:
Hydrangeas can be surprisingly effective as part of a mixed planting in a flower border. The more delicate flowers of the lacecap forms with their domed heads can be interesting.  For pink flowers try with frothy magenta pink Astilbes such as Astilbe chinensis var. tacquetii ‘Superba’, or as a contrast to elegant hardy Lobelias such as Lobelia ‘Compton Pink’. Alternatively the exuberant whorled flowers of Monarda such as pale pink Monarda ‘Fishes’ make good companions.

If you have acidic soil and can grow those elusive blue hydrangeas (for example 1.5 metre high lacecap Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Zorro’, try them with the dark blue columnar flowers of monkshood such as Aconitum napellus, the warm lavender-blue of Phlox paniculata ‘Eventide’, or the stately pale blue spikes of Veronicastrum virginicum. All these border selections enjoy plenty of moisture.

For something dramatic:
Hydrangea paniculata forms can stand 3 metres or more in height and are at their best from late summer, going through autumn. They develop large heads of conical flowers, often white or pink, and turn pink with age. They are spectacular in flower, yet often overlooked. These need plenty of moisture and acidic or neutral soil. Try 3 metres tall Hydrangea paniculata ‘Brussels Lace’, or for a small garden use modern cultivars at half the height such as Hydrangea paniculata ‘Silver Dollar’. Smaller Hydrangea macrophylla or serrata forms can be grown in front of them. They can also be grown in the company of other stalwart garden favourites with different seasons of interest such as spring flowering Forsythia, the colourful winter stems of dogwoods such as Cornus sanguinea ‘Magic Flame’, or evergreens such as Camellia and Pieris.

For exceptional foliage:
The oak leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia forms) have large leaves, like those of an oak in their shape. They have rich autumn tints as well as beautiful flowers and can look sumptuous. These come in a range of sizes but at 1.5 metres, with a greater spread, try Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Sikes Dwarf’. These hydrangeas look beautiful when grown with witch hazels such as the pale yellow winter flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’ which has fine autumn colour that complements the hydrangea.

For that awkward wall:
Hydrangeas can be the perfect solution. In the mildest parts of the country try Hydrangea serratifolia. For north-facing walls, Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris with its white lacecap flowers in spring, is a first rate choice.


This blog post was contributed by Susan A. Tindall

Combining Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’ with bulbs

Choisya x dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl'This useful shrub with its shiny green leaves, rounded growth habit and starry white flowers from pink buds in April and May can be usefully combined with bulbs that are planted in front of it, and which can provide interest at different seasons of the year. Bulbs generally die back and become dormant once flowering is over so that their foliage doesn’t spoil any subsequent planting. Please remember that, as the foliage dies it has a week or two of untidiness as the plant concludes its lifecycle for the year.

For best results plant bulbs in Autumn, and organise their planting positions to suit their growth habit. You can also move bulbs planted in tubs into position in front of the Choisya.

Crocus go in front, they are small and their spent foliage soon lies flat on the ground. Behind them put the tulips. The foliage of tulips dies back very quickly once flowering has finished. The varieties suggested flower later than the daffodils and help to hide their foliage as it declines. At the rear put the daffodils as their foliage hangs around, very untidily, until June. They generally flower before the tulips, so don’t use dwarf forms or they can be hidden by the robust foliage of the tulips.

The bulbs for blooms from February to August

  • Crocus 'Prins Claus'February and March – a colony of plump purple and white Crocus. Crocus ‘Prins Claus’ sitting in sunshine in front of the green leaved Choisya can be pleasing.
  • April – Narcissus ‘Mallee’ is 30cm high in flower with blooms in shades of yellow and tangy pink and white. The buds of the Choisya are pink and this picks up that colour. Narcissus ‘High Society’ has white, pink-rimmed flowers and is tall, at over half a metre when in flower.
  •  April-May – Tulipa ‘China Town’ is 30cm high in flower with pink and green flowers and variegated foliage. Tulipa ‘Apeldoorn’s Elite’ is over half a metre high when in flower. It is yellow with a pink blotch.
  •  July and August – a tub or two containing a white Agapanthus such as Agapanthus ‘Snow Pixie’ can be placed on the earth, the green foliage of the Choisya again providing a rich green backdrop to the clear white of the Agapanthus.

These are just a few ideas if you are brave enough to experiment and heighten your enjoyment of your garden. Enjoy.

This Longacres Blog post was contributed by Susan A. Tindall

Tastings and Demonstrations by The Green Olive Firewood Company Saturday 1st November|Longacres Bagshot

Roasting Marshmallows

We are thrilled to welcome The Green Olive Firewood Company through our doors this Saturday (1st November) to host a series of demonstrations and tastings to show how their range of Firewoods can add fun and ambience to your Halloween and Bonfire parties.

Between 10am and 4:30pm, The Green Olive Firewood Company will be featuring a range of products including:

  • Swedish Torches (see video below)
  • Olive Wood Chunks and Logs (see video below)
  • Seasoned Hardwood
  • Organic Fire Lighters
  • Chimeneas
  • Fire Pits/Bowls
  • Weber Kettle BBQs
  • Using a range of Gardecco Cooking Tools, there will also be demonstrations on how to cook popcorn, roasted chestnuts and waffles on their Chimeneas and Firepits. If that isn’t enough to get your taste buds going – they will also be showing how to cook tasty sausages over Olive Wood to achieve a true authentic Mediterranean taste!

    It’s free to attend the demonstrations and there will be offers on all of the products featured; so grab yourself a bargain and we look forward to seeing you here!

Fashionably Winter: the Helleborus

HelleborusHeading into winter is the time when the Helleborus (also known as ‘Christmas Rose’) will start to make a show for the garden. These are winter and spring perennials available in many forms and colours; they are almost an essential for any garden during winter months.

There are many varieties of Hellebore and they are distributed widely across Europe and to as far as China and Syria. Identified by their leaves, their flowers are displayed in clusters which may be open and airy or tightly grouped. The flowers will show different forms from Anemone and centered to double, spotted or picotee. In the Helleborous flower, the true petals are modified into a ring of nectaries at the centre of the flower to attract pollinating insects, which make these great pollinator plants for your garden.

Flowering time is late winter through to spring, and I find the way these delicate flowers withstand the harshest of weather really fascinating. Different varieties offer colours from purist white (Christmas Carol) to deep pink (Party Dress) and some will give a delicate two-tone colour (Helleborus ericsmithii).

Most Helleborus will grow well in any reasonably fertile soil, but are happiest in lime and neutral soil and many enjoy a shady area, so for sun starved borders this is a real essential. For more open and sunny situations the more moisture they require.

So for a fully hardy, delicate flowering perennial throughout winter, you will not go far wrong with the Christmas Rose.

This Longacres blog post was contributed by Jo from our plants department

The Arrival of Autumn Brings Colour

Due to a long warm summer, many are predicting a symphony of colour in autumn. There are a whole host of trees and shrubs that will compliment your garden and give colour that will not disappoint, you do not have to opt for eventual large giants, and there are some really lovely small compact trees and shrubs that will give just as much during autumn.

So here are a few for you to consider if you’re yearning to light up your garden with a spectacular autumn display:

Acer palmatum ‘osakazuki’
This is one of the best Japanese maples for autumn colour, it’s an elegant plant with leaves that turn bright scarlet in autumn. It will make an ideal small tree for border planting and will also do well in a container. Its rate of growth is moderate and will do best in a sheltered spot, out of strong winds. This is an ideal specimen for a small garden.

Red Oak LeavesQuercus rubra
Quercus is a large and vigorous oak tree, giving rich scarlet autumn colour and on acid soil the leaves will turn bright fiery red. It does require full sun and a well-drained soil site, and of course a rather large garden! Your soil pH will determine how good the autumn colour will be, so you will see better results in an acid soil.

Liquidamber styraciflua ‘festival’
The Liquidamber will give you one of the finest displays of autumn colour, during spring and summer the leaves are bright green before turning to burgundy red in autumn. Eventually it will grow into a large tree (4-5 metres) and will do full sun to dappled shade.
For the best autumn colour results this does better in acid soil or lime free soil.

Euonymous alatas
This is a compact spreading deciduous small shrub. The leaves turn a magnificent red in autumn. Trust me, the autumn colour that this shrub displays will not disappoint. It shows small green flowers in early spring followed by red, purple fruits. It gives something every season. A real autumn must have.

Prunus Amanogara – Japanese flowering cherryPrunus
This narrow and upright tree works well as an ornamental tree in all gardens, but particularly useful in a small garden. It will reach an eventual height of 5 metres over 20 years. It displays beautiful pale pink flowers over the entire tree in spring and the mid green foliage will turn red to orange in winter. It will do well in any soil condition provided it is free draining.

Callicarpa bondineri
The bondineri is medium sized deciduous shrub of an upright habit. Its leaves will turn a rosy pink in autumn, but the real beauty with this shrub is its berries, these are lilac, bordering purple on bare wood which is a real eye catcher. This will do full sun to partial shade and is the leaves will turn bright fiery red. It does require full sun and a well-drained soil site, and of course a rather large garden! Your soil pH will determine how good the autumn colour will be, so you will see better results in an acid soil.

This Longacres blog post was contributed by Jo from our plants department

Conifers – Under Sung Evergreens

National Conifer Week 27th September – Organised by British Conifer Group.

I would be lying if I told you I have always been a fan of conifers, whilst learning horticulture they were the plant genius that least enthused me, not to mention the mine field of species I felt I should learn. However becoming more familiar with them I now feel they are not highlighted enough. The most common request I receive from customers is their desire for a low maintenance evergreen for their garden and when a conifer is suggested their faces crumple, the word ‘conifer’ seems to have that effect. So l am here to praise up the benefits of the forgotten evergreen.

Admittedly care should be taken in selection, it can be hard to imagine how a small plant could grow into a giant that dominates your garden, however there are many sorts of conifers each offering a beautiful compliment to the garden. They offer a wide range of growth habits, foliage types and colour. They can be just the right accent against flowering plants.

You can select a conifer for almost any area of your garden. Shaded areas are great for Taxus baccatta, Abies alba and Juniperus sinensis to name but a few. You can even add evergreen interest to a rock garden giving colour and texture that cannot be replicated from other planting.

We have a healthy stock of conifers in the plant department and given that winter is not that far away I have picked three that will give the colour, texture and interest lots of gardeners crave during the winter months.

Picea albertiana Conica – This is a dwarf conifer, displaying a neat compact conical habit, it has bright green spring growth and can be used in borders or containers. You need to keep this one well watered in summer as just as an added bonus it makes an ideal miniature Christmas tree!

Thuja occidentalis Amber Glow – This is a new English introduction that will add great merit to any garden. This is again a dwarf conifer which slowly forms a rounded mound and has a lovely amber yellow colour in summer and bronzing in winter, giving all year round interest. Also a good container conifer.

Thuya occidentalis Rheingold – This will eventually form a large cone and is one of the best orange conifers, this looks its best when complimenting heathers and will add great winter colour to any garden.

We have a vast array of conifers in stock at the moment so maybe give the conifer a chance, during those months were there is not a lot going on in the garden, that will be the time you’ll be glad you did.