Category Archives: Gardening

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!

joe-swift-brochure-web

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!

Flower Display (Large)

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.

Cuprinol at Longacres 2

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!

Cuprinol at Longacres 3

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.

Planning Your Small Scale Garden

Part 2 – Planting Your Small Scale Garden


In a small garden every plant counts and plants with ‘multi-season’ interest are particularly valuable. Look for plants that offer flowers and fruit, foliage and flowers, or plants that have autumn colour or interesting stems or foliage during winter.

Plants that have both flowers and fruit
These include plants that have the added bonus of foliage interest as well. Berberis forms can really come into their own here, for example the tiny Berberis thunbergii ‘Tiny Gold’ which has yellow leaves, young red shoots, yellow spring flowers and red fruit in autumn. Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea ‘Admiration’ has red-orange leaves but is otherwise similar. There is now a range of disease-resistant Hypericum which have yellow flowers and coloured fruits, try Hypericum Magical Beauty = ‘Kolmbeau’ for its berries that start peachy-pink. If you want a good-sized, handsome shrub the fan-shaped, golden-leaved Leycesteria formosa Golden Lanterns = ‘Notbruce’ has red flowers and purple fruits that provide interest all summer through.Small Garden Flowers and Fruit
Plants that have winter interest
Consider flowering plants with foliage that changes colour in winter. Some Hebes have this quality, coming in a range of sizes and needing a spot that has sunshine in winter. Try the compact Hebe ‘Caledonia’ with violet flowers and rose-purple winter foliage whilst Hebe ‘Pascal’ has copper-red winter foliage. Amongst herbaceous plants Bergenia often have burnished winter foliage, for example Bergenia ‘Overture’ has bright pink spring flowers and leaves that are burgundy in winter. The stems of dogwoods can positively glow in winter sunlight – for beautiful variegated foliage and red stems try Cornus alba ‘Spaethi’ or Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ for good autumn colour followed by orange winter stems. These are cut back to near ground-level in spring, once established.Small Garden Winter Interest Plants
Plants with exceptional foliage
Evergreens in particular can provide interest throughout the year. Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Gold Star’ has dainty shimmering foliage and can be pruned for containment if space is limited. In warm gardens the exotic Coprosma and Lophomyrtus forms, some of which change colour at different seasons, can be fascinating. Try Coprosma repens ‘Tequila Sunrise’ or Lophomyrtus x ralphii ‘Red Dragon’ with red to black foliage. Slow but beautiful Nandina domestica ‘Wood’s Dwarf’ glows red in winter and is gold, green and red in summer. For foliage drama where a feature plant can be accommodated Fatsia japonica ‘Spiser’s Web’ is exotic, with huge variegated leaves.
Plants with Exceptional Foliage
Plants for a hot and dry place
Where your garden has a hot and dry area, herbaceous plants can be invaluable. Slugs permitting, try Alstroemeria, coming in a huge range of sizes and happy in a container, such as Alstroemeria ‘Orange Gem’. Striking Abutilon with big bell-flowers can be grown as annuals, try apricot-flowered Abutilon ‘Linda Vista Peach’. Colourful Zinnias have a long season, if deadheaded, an example being Zinnia marylandica ‘Zahara Yellow’ (Zahara Series). Sedums also have a place in a hot spot. In winter they provide architectural interest with their flat brown seed heads, try grey purple Sedum ‘Matrona’. Frothy purple fennel is lovely placed at the rear, especially Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpureum’. Requiring little attention Salvias, such as the small shrub Salvia microphylla ‘Pink Blush’ has rich pink flowers for months whilst silvered Convolvulus cneorum is decorative all summer.Plants for a Hot and Dry Place

This has just dipped a toe into the possibilities. We haven’t even started on walls and fences that can be clad in repeat-flowering climbing Roses paired with Clematis…

Enjoy!

This blog post was kindly contributed by Susan A. Tindall

Brand new to Longacres | Miniature World from Vivid Arts

Vivid Arts Miniature World Display

So many of us are renting houses or flats these days that not all of us have the luxury of a large garden, nor the time, to be able to make it lavish and beautifully planted. Similarly, many people are downsizing their gardens, or may only have some planters and pots on a garden patio. As a result of this, many people have begun a hobby of creating miniature gardens.

The craze of creating miniature ‘fairy-sized’ gardens kicked off in the USA and has finally reached our shores, and we at Longacres are thrilled to be a part of it.

Vivid Arts Miniature World DisplayBrand new to Longacres Garden Centre is the Vivid Arts Miniature World range, a wide selection of hand-painted and highly detailed fairy doors, cobbled paths, wildlife, lamp posts, garden gnomes, gypsy caravans, bridges, terracotta pots and much, much more. Along with our extensive range of plants, pots and planters we have everything you need to create your very own miniature world.

You can view and order the Vivid Arts Miniature World range on our website. Alternatively you could pop in to our Bagshot store and see the beautiful display we have in our houseplants area if you require some inspiration, where our knowledgeable team will be able to offer some great advice on which plants would really complement your miniature garden.

Prices of the ornaments range from just £2.49 to £21.99.

Here are some of our top tips for creating a miniature garden:

  • Vivid Arts Miniature World DisplayYou can create them in a window box, an overgrown area, your garden’s border – you can even revive an old broken pot too! So long as they are in an area where they won’t be harmed by too much sunlight or water (it all depends on which plants you choose – feel free to ask a member of our plants team for advice if you are unsure!)
  • Miniature gardens work both indoors or outdoors – just make sure you don’t over water an indoor one!
  • Be prepared to frequently maintain your miniature garden. They are living and breathing after all – just a few snips here and there will stop the garden looking overgrown.
  • Cobbled paths and wooden fences really add to the realism of the garden.
  • Dwarf and slow-growing plants work really well in miniature gardens!

Hellebores – the Christmas rose

Hellebores must be in the top ten of desirable garden plants, delivering flowers from December to May, and generally lasting for years if happy in your garden. The simple charm of the wild species has been supplemented by ever more complex hybrids to produce plants that are beautiful in both leaf and flower, excellent in a container as well as the garden.

Hellebores

Helleborus niger the Christmas rose, has always been one of the earliest forms to flower, often, as the name suggests, around Christmas. In recent years showier forms have been introduced with marbled foliage and flowers that turn pink with age, an example being Helleborus niger HGC Snow Frills = ‘Coseh 230’. The robust Helleborus argutifolius with its pale green scented flowers, is an old favourite and good for lightening shady spots. Its easy-going habit may not appeal to those who like rigidly disciplined plants.

Hellebores

The Helleborus x hybridus forms look particularly good planted in the garden. There are both single and double-flowered forms in shades of black, purple, maroon, red, white, cream and yellow. Many of them hang their heads so, in the manner of snowdrops, you need to lift the flower gently upwards with a finger in order to reveal the beauty within. Those with light-coloured flowers, for example Helleborus x hybridus Ashwood Garden hybrids – cream-spotted are visible at a distance and can be positioned so they can be enjoyed from a window. The dark-flowered forms, like the dark beauty Helleborus x hybridus ‘Hillier’s hybrid slate’, have an alluring mystery, so mysterious that they can completely disappear from view if incorrectly placed, so put these in the foreground. Elegant single-flowered forms, Helleborus x hybridus ‘Harvington double yellow’ for instance, can be combined with the many-petalled doubles.

Hellebores can be planted in small well-spaced groups or dotted amongst spring bulbs, pulmonaria, epimedium and primroses. Plan for their summer foliage effect when spacing plants as hellebores can become substantial. The hellebore x hybridus varieties have large whorled leaflets and, as they mature, make a mound of dark green foliage that makes a quiet interlude when not in flower. They can usefully be planted in front of taller deciduous shrubs that will be a highlight in your garden at other seasons. They thrive in part or light shade and can be planted on the ‘shady side’ of large plants, provided there is an access path that can be used to view them.  During winter, when, or before the plant flowers, the old leaves are best cut to the ground so the flowers are visible, the young foliage swiftly re-grows.

Hellebores

Luscious hybrids have been developed to maximise foliage, as well as floral appeal. These are both expensive and irresistible. They merit extra care, with soil that is always moist, a sheltered, partly shaded position and some space. They can work well as ‘spot plants’ in the garden, or often succeed best as specimens in large containers. Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbled Group) ‘Anna’s Red’ with pink and green marbled foliage, Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Pirouette’ with jagged silvered foliage, and dusky pink Helleborus x ballardiae Snow Dance = ‘Coseh 800’ among many others, are good examples of these aristocrats.

Enjoy!

This blog post was kindly contributed by Susan A. Tindall