Category Archives: Gardening

Plant lily bulbs in pots

It’s not too late for planting lilies in pots (although you may have already done this in autumn).

Many lily varieties are suitable such as the ever popular and richly fragranced Lilium regale, ‘Stargazer’ or the pollen-free but scented bloom types like ‘Polar Star’ or ‘Broken Heart’. Choose a large, deep pot at least 25cm (10in) in diameter for three to four bulbs and make sure there is a layer of drainage at the base, for example crocks or gravel. Use a mixture of 60 percent loam-based potting mix (John Innes No 3) with about 20 percent added horticultural grit to improve drainage, plus 20 percent leaf mould or ericaceous peat free compost. Incorporate controlled-release fertiliser granules in the mixture to ensure plants are fed through the growing season. Bulbs should be planted with the pointed tip facing upwards and the basal plate with hairy roots dangling down. Plant stem rooting lily bulbs – those that root from the base and also the stem just above the base (Lilium longiflorum for instance) at a depth of 2-3 times the bulb height, and those that are basal rooting lilies such as the Asiatic hybrids for example Lilium maculatum, (although they are not normally scented) at a depth the same as the height of the bulb. Position in sun or part shade and water regularly. Taller plants may need staking.

NB lilies are potentially harmful to cats: see RSPCA website: www.rspca.org.uk or the feline advisory bureau: https://icatcare.org

You can find a range of bulbs online or in store right now.

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Starting off seed potatoes

First and second early potatoes are sprouted (chitted) before planting. This helps reduce the time the tubers spend in the ground and may lead to increased yields.

Put the seed potatoes in a single layer on a seed tray (or an egg box) with the end with the most ‘eyes’ or buds facing upwards. Keep in a cool, light, frost free place (an unheated room is ideal, but avoid direct sunlight). Dark shoots should grow to about 5cm (2in) within around 6 weeks. If conditions are too dark and warm – shoots will be pale and leggy. Choose four strong shoots and rub off all weaker shoots.

The tubers are now ready to plant in the ground, as long as soil conditions are suitable – around March in sheltered areas; April in colder places.

You can find a range of seed potatoes online or in store now.

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Baby bedding plants from Perfect Choice

These are great value for money costing only a fraction of fully grown plants with the added bonus of being past the tricky germination stage.

The best place to grow them on is a greenhouse or conservatory (temperature 16-18°C is ideal). Alternatively, grow on a well-lit windowsill. Carefully water the pots (using a watering can fitted with a fine rose) and allow them to drain. Gently remove the plants from their pots and replant into 9cm pots using a multi-purpose compost. Water in and feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser ( such as tomato fertiliser, Phostrogen or Miracle-Gro all-purpose plant food).

Alternatively incorporate continuous release fertiliser granules into the compost (such as Miracle-Gro or Gro-Sure). Make sure the plants have good ventilation and are spaced apart and not over watered; to avoid diseases like grey mould, damping off and mildews. Harden off plants (acclimatise to outdoor conditions) once weather conditions are much warmer (around mid-May) by putting outdoors in a sheltered position during the day, but covering with fleece to prevent leaf damage. Take plants indoors at night. In the second week, remove the fleece during the day but bring in at night. Once night temperatures are above 7°C, plants can be left uncovered unless frosts are forecast.

You can find a range of bedding plants online and our full range in stores.

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Protecting Your Plants Roots Over Winter

With the nights drawing darker by the minute and the daytime temperatures slowly decreasing, now is the perfect time to finish off those odd little bits within your garden, with one of the top priorities being to protect your plants by mulching up around them for added protection and warmth.

For your more established plants, protection isn’t needed as much as it is for your younger plants. With a major drop in temperatures, younger more delicate plants are at a high risk of being damaged or even killed off once the frost penetrates their root systems. The traditional method that has been used for generations to protect these more fragile plants is to use Mulch

The best form of Mulch has to be good old stable manure and non is better for this job than our Country Natural Stable Manure.

contnatorgstblman_1000For existing plants that need protection, simply add the stable manure to a little of the existing compost/soil and create a little mound around the base of the plants. Do this individually to create a warmth barrier around the root systems and to add much needed winter protection.

Another great use for the Country Natural Stable Manure is for preparing your garden for next year prior to planting plants or veg. Not only does it greatly improve the structure of your soil but it also helps to retain the water that some soils can’t hold on to. Its main job is to feed the soil the nutrients from when it breaks down and thus, creating the perfect environment for your fruit and veg next year. Simply scatter generously onto the soil/compost area you wish to use next year and turn it over with a garden folk until it is all mixed in. Over the next months, any frosts will help to kill off any bacteria that is in the soil and with the added bonus of the stable manure, you’ll have the perfect start for a wonderful crop of veg or plants in your garden for next year.

See Joe Swift at Camberley Theatre Half Price!

We’ve teamed up with Camberley Theatre to offer our customers the chance to go see Joe Swift half price on the 07/10/2016!

TV presenter Joe Swift will be digging deep to reveal his fascinating story from his Rock n Roll youth to becoming one of the country’s top Garden Designers. Hear what really happens behind the scenes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World and find out what it takes to get a Chelsea Show Gold Medal?

His TV credits include Gardeners World, and the RHS Chelsea Flower show and he is a regular columnist for The Times and Gardeners World magazine.

Joe will share all this with you, taking questions on his life and career but warns that answering questions on dead plants isn’t going to be top of his list!

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To get your half price tickets, simply use the code ‘HalfPriceOffer ‘ online, on the phone or by calling in to the box office on 01276 707600.

You can find our more about the event and book your tickets online by clicking here.

Please note offer is only available on full priced tickets. Longacres is only providing the code. Any complaints or questions about the event must be directed at Camberley Theatre. Tickets can not be booked with Longacres and must be booked via Camberley Theatre.

Exciting news – Longacres Bybrook Barn

On Friday the 29th of July 2016 Longacres completed the purchase of a new site – welcome to Longacres Bybrook Barn! Watch out for our grand opening weekend on the 8th and 9th of October, with some very special exclusive offers… (you can view opening times and contact details here, but please be aware that opening times are subject to change very soon!)

Based in Ashford, Kent, Bybrook Barn has been running for over 40 years – family-owned, very similar to Longacres. It was one of the country’s leading garden centres, and we aim to restore it to this status as quickly as possible! It’s important to note that it’s very much business as usual while we start the improvement works – we’ve retained all of the staff and we are still open 7 days a week.Longacres Bybrook Barn

What’s taking place? We’ve begun the big task of clearing out the tired fixtures and fittings – ready to improve every department. After that we’ll be adding:

  • Cut flowers! Immediately on your right as you enter the centre will be a brand new flower fridge, offering the same range and value as you’ll find at all Longacres stores. We’ll also be providing floristry services – ready-made hand tied bouquets, along with a make up service and the usual offerings of flowers for events, funerals and more.
  • More ranges and LOTS more products – indoor and outdoor plants, garden sundries, giftware, seasonal ranges like barbecues and furniture, toys, cards, clothing, chemicals, stoneware, food, fencing – everything you would expect from a modern garden centre.
  • Online shopping and Click and Collect – although Bybrook had a website, it was for information only. In the next month or so (once we have products in place) you’ll be able to order online for delivery or collection in store.
  • A drive through area – ideal for loading up on bulky gardening essentials like compost, bark, turf and aggregates. This has proved a great success at Longacres in Bagshot.
  • We’ll also be improving and re-lining the car park to make it easier for customers.

We’re very excited about our new site, and look forward to seeing you there! If you’re planning a visit you can find us here: Longacres Bybrook Barn, Cemetery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN24 9JZ

Nigel Long and Terry Burch shaking hands on completion

Nigel Long and Terry Burch shaking hands on completion

Rockin’ Colour – New to Longacres

For when you want something a little bit more eye catching and bright in your garden, you need Rockin’ Colour!

Forget your quite little corner of peace and bliss; some people want a garden that the astronauts can see from the International Space Station! And we can’t blame them; everyone wants something different and there isn’t much that’s more different than our Rockin’ Colour range!

Our 20kg bags are currently £5.99 each or 2 for £10, so you can fill up your garden and make it a unique place to spend time in for less. You can view our range online by clicking here.

Love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Cuprinol Garden Range at Longacres

Cuprinol at Longacres 1Isn’t it great to get out in the garden again now the sun is shining!  Trouble is, you then tend to notice that your shed could do with a new coat of paint, or your fence needs a treatment to protect it from the weather. Those little garden jobs never go away do they!  At least with the Cuprinol range at Longacres, you can brighten up your wooden garden furniture, and at the same time give it a coat of protection (that sounds like something a modern super-hero would have).

 

If you’re a little fed up with your shed, fence, flower pots and bird box all being a different shade of brown (not that we have anything against brown you understand), you might like to try some Cuprinol Garden Shades.  In a range of amazing colours, the texture of the wood can still seen whilst offering the protection you would expect from Cuprinol products.

If you’re not quite sure what colour is right for you, there are tester sizes available so you can try a few and see what suits your style.

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Cuprinol Less Mess Fence Care is quick drying (around an hour) and gives great coverage using just the one coat.  The 6L can covers 30m2 or around 10 fence panels and is great value at £7.99.  If you prefer to spray your fences, try Cuprinol Spray and Brush 2 in 1 Pump Sprayer for £37.99.  The unit fits any Cuprinol sprayable products, as well as the Garden Shades range.

Cuprinol Ducksback offers protection for sheds and fences for up to 5 years, is easy applied and shower proof in just 1 hour.  We currently have an offer of ‘Buy 2 Cuprinol Ducksback 5L cans and get a free 4″ brush’.   Remember to give your garden table and chairs a new lease of life with Cuprinol Naturally Enhancing Team Oil once you’ve taken the covers off (full range of garden furniture covers here).

 

If you’re changing the colour of your fence or shed, or letting your imagination run wild with multi-coloured wooden flower pots, you might like to post a picture of your newly coloured items on our Facebook page!

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Mo Bacter: Less Moss and Mo Lawn!

Oh DearHooray! Summer is here (well, almost). We’re sure that this weekend was many people’s first barbecue of the year and their first opportunity to relax in the garden. However, it’s not all relaxing when it comes to gardening and giving the grass that first mow of the season is always a wonderful feeling (and a wonderful smell as well!) Trouble is, sometimes you then notice the moss to grass ratio is a little higher than you’d like!

 
MOBACTORIf your lawn is looking a little worse for wear (like the one above), now’s the time to treat it to some TLC. Viano MO Bacter is a slow release organic lawn fertiliser and moss killer which rids your garden of that pesky moss and improves existing grass. It’s a gentle product and will not damage plants, so your border flowers are perfectly safe. There’s also no need to scarify afterwards either as MO Bacter ‘digests’ the moss. It is also stain free, so no more having to worry about your patios and stonework.
Once you’ve treated your lawn, you can make it truly green again with EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 (currently 2 for £36). With a glorious green and weed free lawn, it’s time to sit back and relax with a Pimms – you’ve earned it!

Ornamental Fruits for your Small Scale Garden

Most people love holly with its rich shiny leaves and bright red berries. There are many other plants with highly ornamental fruit that provide interest, often during autumn and winter when flowers are scarce. The following are a few of the many choices available.

Starting small with the summer dormant bulb Arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’. It has short columns of showy red berries in autumn, followed by marbled leaves that last through winter. Plant this with Hellebores and spring bulbs and it will naturalise if happy. Another lowly, often overlooked plant is the Gladwin iris, Iris foetidissima, with informal clusters of red berries in winter and fan-shaped spikes of green leaves. This is useful in difficult shady or dry places, a plant of quiet quality. Finally try Honesty, Lunaria annua. (Also available with showy variegated foliage). The sprays of white or purple flowers are followed by rounded white papery seed pods that appear in summer and which are loved by children.

Ornamental Fruit

Moving on to compact and medium-sized shrubs there are new ranges of the Tutsan, Hypericum that have been developed with a resistance to the rust disease that had blighted them. Some of these have names prefixed with  ‘Magical’ or ’Miracle’. They are truly eye-candy when the shiny yellow flowers combine with clusters of berries from late summer. The berries are coloured in shades of white, pink, red, and mahogany, all eventually turning black. One example is Hypericum x inodorum Magical Sunshine = ‘Kolmasun’. They make attractive shrubs, around a metre in height with pleasing foliage and a neat shape that looks good in the foreground. Try some of the smaller and sometimes prostrate cotoneasters that have white flowers in May and masses of berries from August or September. The low-growing or prostrate Cotoneaster conspicuus ‘Decorus’ has orange-red autumnal fruits. For a characterful plant, good in a container or enhancing a rockery or raised bed the small but craggy Cotoneaster microphyllus has small red berries that last and last.

Ornamental Fruit

Many roses have showy hips (don’t deadhead if you want these to develop), they include the prickly Rosa ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ that has fragrant pink flowers. Finally, the exceptional flagon fruits of red-flowered Rosa ‘Sealing Wax’ stands around 2.5 metres in height but can have lower shrubs planted in the foreground.

Many climbers also have showy fruits. The bold pyracantha is probably the supremo for in-your-face displays of red or orange berries from autumn. Among the number available is Pyracantha Saphyr Orange = ‘Cadange’.

Ornamental Fruit

For something different there are the purple autumn pods of the annual climber Lablab purpureus ‘Ruby Moon’. If you are really brave and can handle a 12 metre high climber, there’s the shiny green wall-covering leaves of Celastrus orbiculatus. Its fruits are curious with yellow-lined pods that burst open to show its red berries. For a warm spot the subtle Schisandra rubriflora has dangling red flowers and red fruits, both distinctive and unusual.

Ornamental Fruit

If you have room for larger shrubs consider the native guelder rose in the beautiful form Viburnum opulus ‘Compactum’ with clusters of shiny red fruits. The larger Viburnum opulus ‘Xanthocarpum’ is a beauty with its translucent orange berries. For intrigue, try the blue berries of Clerodendrum trichotomum, the large but delicate sprays of red berries on Nandina domestica ‘Richmond’, that last all through winter, or, finally, the violet fruit of Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ these have a haunting quality all their own, most effective in late autumn.

Ornamental Fruit

There are also plenty of ornamental fruits on trees, but these have to wait till next time when ‘Trees for Small Gardens’ will be covered.

Enjoy!

This blog post was kindly contributed by Susan A Tindall.