Category Archives: Seasons

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

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

Mixed Zinnia

Liven up Your Garden with Bedding plants | Longacres

Gardens are a homeowner’s paradise. It is, however, rather unfortunate that they often end up looking like blank canvasses during the winter—with snow or leaves covering the ground. As soon as the first signs of spring come along, it is time to liven up the garden with colours—and flower beds are a great way to achieve this.

Despite usually lasting only a single season, they can provide your garden with vibrant colours and energise exterior spaces.

They can fill the gaps between plants shrubs that have yet to grow fully. You can also plant a whole bed for an immediate effect. Let’s take a look at what you can do to make great bedding plants in your garden:

Choosing Flower Colours

It is all about the colour. Once you pick a colour scheme for your bedding, you can choose the right seeds to plant afterwards. You can be as creative as you want to be with combinations or you can choose to fill the space with a single, solid colour.

Giving Seeds a Good Start

After planting the seeds for your choice of flowers, you may want to give them a head start by watering them with a water-soluble fertiliser. This way, you can ensure that they have all the nutrients needed to sprout up and beautify your garden as quickly as possible.

Keeping Beds Pest-Free

There will always be the issue of pests in the garden. It is important to use just the right pesticides for the job. When buying, make certain to ask for the least toxic products. Also, buy only the smallest containers. Large ones can take years to consume and will lose effectiveness by then.

Flower beds are often the star attraction of gardens. With them, you get a chance to brighten up your garden with beautiful colour combinations.

Longacres is your prime source for garden supplies, bird feeders, and more. Check out our online range for all the seeds you will need to add a dash of colour to your garden!

“Refresh, Renew” your home for 2015

The high of Christmas and New Year has come to an end, and all that remains are a few bounty chocolates and some leftover ham in the fridge, not forgetting those tree needles that seem to keep re-emerging despite the 5 times you’ve hoovered the lounge. And let’s be honest, we’re all feeling a little bit sorry for ourselves.

Why not try to beat those January blues by cleaning up your home and giving it a fresher and newer appearance to start 2015; we like to call it:

“Refresh, Renew”

RefreshRenewA4_2014_450

We at Longacres are stocking a large supply of stunning oak furniture, lanterns, lighting, mirrors, topiary, clocks, wall art, candles, houseplants and more to give you the products and inspiration you need to transform your home into a place of peace and relaxation – vital during the colder months that are keeping you cooped up indoors.

On our shop floor you will find a range of furniture including dining tables and chairs, coffee tables, bookcases, corner cabinets, nest of tables, wine bars, bedside tables, TV units, console tables and more in warm oak and cornish cream colours at competitive prices. Let us tempt you over to take a look at our fantastic display at our Bagshot store, or take a look at our online range!

"Refresh, Renew" display at Longacres Garden Centre, Bagshot

“Refresh, Renew” display at Longacres Garden Centre, Bagshot



Introduce houseplants into your home

Placing a potted plant in the corner of the room can have a drastic effect, and not just to the appearance of the room! Research has shown that keeping plants inside your home brings us a lot of both physical and mental health benefits; so long as you keep them watered and healthy. Plants such as Orchids, Chrysanthemums, Gerberas, Azaleas, Ivy, Spider Plants, and Ficus are just a few that have been found to have the best benefits; particularly for cleaning the air in your home. Below are just a handful of reasons as to why you should consider buying some for your home (or office):

  1. Still suffering with a lingering cold that you picked up from that Christmas office party?Indoor plants can speed up your recovery and can reduce cold-related illnesses by over 30%!
  2. Plants make us happy; many of us find them calming and therapeutic, but scientific research has shown that they can also reduce your blood pressure – thus making you less stressed!
  3. Getting back into the swing of things at work at the start of the New Year can be an uphill struggle at first, but having a plant in the room can increase productivity, improve concentration and boost the speed of work (a great way to impress your boss!)
  4. They fight pollution in our homes – a study by NASA showed that some houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in just 24 hours, and of course they’re great for releasing oxygen!

Houseplants range at Longacres

Tips for keeping healthy houseplants

  • Keep your plants in a draught-free place that has a substantial amount of light. An even temperature is also beneficial.
  • To decide whether your plant needs more water, simply dip your thumb into the soil. If no soil clings to your finger or if it feels very dry, then your plant wants to be watered (tap water is perfectly fine). Plants generally need more water during Summer and Spring when they are actively growing.
  • During the colder months you are more likely to be using your central heating, but this can dry out the air quickly. Make sure to keep moisture in the air around your plant with a water spray or a humidifier.
  • If dust is building up on your plant it can stunt its growth. Dabbing cotton wool into water or milk and wiping the plant gently is the best way to clear it off.
  • Remove any dying flowers or yellowing leaves very gently by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger and tugging gently.

The Big Green Egg | More than just a barbecue…

Think juicy steaks, smoked seafood, pumpkin fondue, stuffed mushrooms, homemade pizza, freshly baked loaves of bread, slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, parties, picnics, pulled pork and more. Combine all of these delicious foods together and what do they have in common?

They can all be cooked to succulent perfection in the Big Green Egg all year round!

We at Longacres are ‘eggstatic’ to announce the arrival of the Big Green Egg ceramic barbecue and eggcessories at our store in Bagshot. And better yet, the eggcessories are available to order through our website! You can click here to view and buy the online range.

Big Green Egg Christmas Promo


What makes the Big Green Egg different to other barbecues?

  • Once lit, the EGG is ready to start cooking in as little as 15 minutes (as opposed to conventional barbecues which can take up to 45 minutes!)
  • You control the EGG. The inbuilt vents give you the power to reduce or increase the air-flow, thus changing the temperature inside the EGG.  The vents allow air to flow through; when they are wide open the oxygen levels for the hot coals are at their highest. Partially closing the vents decreases air-flow and reduces the available oxygen, therefore the temperature lowers. You can keep an eye on the thermometer to decide how much you should open and close the vents.
  • The ceramic technology of the EGG is the same as that developed by NASA for their heat shields. This means that the EGG is resistant to virtually all damage as a result of extreme high or extreme cold temperatures. It also means that it has improved insulation, thermal shock tolerance, durability and strength and will keep the outside surface much cooler than any gas grill.
  • Big Green Egg Natural CharcoalYou don’t need to buy lighter fluid or charcoal briquettes which contain chemical additives and can affect the taste of your food. Big Green Egg Natural lump charcoal ensures that the food is cooked to tasty perfection, allows for easier cleaning and won’t damage your egg. You can even cook your food straight onto the charcoal! Do NOT use lighter fluid or charcoal briquettes in your EGG.
  • It’s a much safer choice. The flames are contained within the EGG, meaning you can leave the egg to cook your food for hours on end. It also won’t instantly burn you like a metal grill could – but the EGG will still be very hot to touch so do take care!

These are just a handful of advantages to purchasing an EGG. To find out more about the Big Green Egg and its eggcessories, please come for a friendly chat in store or contact our experts by emailing thebiggreenegg@longacres.co.uk


Here’s another festive recipe that uses The Big Green Egg to really get those taste-buds going:

Bacon Lattice Butter Infused Turkey

This savoury turkey recipe uses the Flavour Injector to give additional moisture to the turkey in the form of a buttery/herbed stock. Any extra buttery juices that escape during cooking will collect in the Drip Pan with the roasted vegetables to create a delicious base for gravy.

Ingredients
16-20lb free-range turkey (bought to room temperature)
10-15 strips of streaky bacon. (Smoked or un-smoked according to preference)
Optional selection of vegetables to roast inside and underneath the turkey; peeled potatoes, parsnips, red onions, carrots, garlic
Injection Ingredients
300ml chicken stock or broth
250g unsalted butter (melted)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring the turkey to room temperature.Bacon Lattice Turkey
  2. Add the butter, chicken stock, lemon juice & garlic powder to a small pan and warm until melted and combined./li>
  3. Suck the mixture into the Flavour Injector and inject the turkey about a depth of approx. 1 inch into the turkey meat. Inject as you remove. (Some liquid will escape as you withdraw the syringe but the majority will stay in during the cook). Inject the meat approx. 18 -20 times across the whole turkey, including the legs. You’ll see the turkey meat swell instantly.
  4. Add a few of the vegetables inside the turkey cavity. We used red onions, garlic, & carrots. These will roast and give additional flavour to the turkey during cooking. Tie legs together with string if necessary.
  5. Place the turkey into the V Rack. Place the V Rack into the drip pan.
  6. To create a bacon lattice, lay the bacon in vertical strips on the breast of the turkey, followed by horizontal strips using the “under over under” plaiting method. Alternatively just lay strips of bacon on top! Finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  7. Add the Drip Pan and V Rack straight onto the Plate Setter. No need for the stainless steel grid. Close the lid. Note: the temperature will appear to drop for about 15-20 minutes because you have added a large amount of meat, as well as the Plate Setter which will be blocking and absorbing the direct heat. No need to constantly fiddle with the vents. Let everything settle.
  8. Cook for approximately 3.5 -4 hours or until the internal temperature between the thigh and cavity registers 165F or 74C on a digital thermometer.
  9. Approx. 1 hour 15 mins before the end of cooking time, place the remaining potatoes and parsnips in to the rectangular drip pan with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, salt & pepper.
  10. Pour any butter or turkey juices inside the cavity into the drip pan with other juices to create gravy with.
  11. Tent turkey in tin foil and cover with a towel for insulation. Rest for half an hour before serving.

 

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

Bouquet of the Month | December

The final bouquet of the month for 2014 is now available; and what a stunning December arrangement it is!

The December seasonal arrangement includes red roses, red mini gerbera, green chrysanthemum, burgundy carnations, and red ilex berries on a base of attractive foliage.

And as always, it comes with a FREE glass vase! Click here to buy now.

Bouquet of the Month - December

Bouquet of the Month Subscriptions (psst – a great Christmas present idea!)
Each bouquet of the month costs £30 each individually, but if you want a frequent supply of bouquets each month you can save money and time by purchasing one of our fantastic value flower subscriptions.

Available in subscriptions of 3-month (£105), 6-month (£200) or 12-month (£400), we will deliver a specially prepared hand-tied bouquet of beautiful seasonal flowers on the date of your choice each month.

Gardening

Gold Leaf Gloves | Free Delivery When Purchased Online!

The biggest problem with gardening gloves is that quite often they don’t fit properly even when they come in separate sizes for men and women. As a result of this (and in general) they can be uncomfortable to wear, often feeling heavy and awkward to move hands freely which can in turn make gardening more difficult than it needs to be. And what’s more – they aren’t always the most attractive of gloves!

This is where Jayco, a family-owned and managed company, spotted a gap in the market for much-needed innovative gardeners’ gloves; and so in 2004 Jayco launched the Gold Leaf Gardening Glove range.

The Gold Leaf Gardening Glove range solve all of the problems posed by standard gardening gloves as a result of a combination of innovative designs, high-quality leather and constant perfecting of styles and packaging. They are comfortable, are an excellent fit and make it easier and more enjoyable to complete gardening tasks.

The Gold Leaf Gardening Glove range has been so successful that they were awarded ‘The RHS Chelsea Sundries Trophy’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2005. The range is now used by the most professional gardeners at Wisley, Rosemoor and Harlow Carr. Gold Leaf Gardening Gloves are now attractively adorned with the RHS logo, having been endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society – the ultimate sign of quality in the garden!

As an extra special offer we are providing free delivery* on any purchase of Gold Leaf Gloves from our website!

See below for more information on the range of four different Gold Leaf Gloves that we offer:

The ‘Soft Touch’ Gardening Gloves (Available in Mens and Ladies) – £19.95

Gold Leaf 'Soft Touch' Gardening Gloves

The Soft Touch™ Gardening Glove offers an extremely close fit as well as excellent durability. The palm of the gloves are made from high quality grain leather which is used for its softness and flexibility. The back of the glove is made from Lycra, nylon and foam, which with the Velcro fastening make the close, tight fit which helps differentiate this from other Gardening Gloves.

These gloves are all about the feel and fit, and will suit those in search of a robust, comfortable multi-purpose Gardening Glove, with a touch of style.

The ‘Winter Touch’ Gardening Gloves (Available in Mens and Ladies) – £21.95

Gold Leaf 'Winter Touch' Gardening Gloves

The Winter Touch™ Gardening Glove is a unique, hardwearing, yet luxurious glove for use in cold or wet conditions. These gloves feature a Thinsulate™ thermal lining to keep hands warm even in the coldest weather, as well as an additional innovative Ski-Dri™ waterproof, breathable lining which ensures hands remain totally dry when used in wet conditions.

The reinforced palm of this glove also makes it ideal for use with rakes, spades, brushes and a whole array of other gardening tools.

The ‘Tough Touch’ Gardening Gloves (Available in Mens) – £23.95

Gold Leaf 'Tough Touch' Gardening Gloves

Through its unique design, the Tough Touch™ Gardening Gloves offer a high level of protection against thorns and alike, whilst retaining an incredibly soft feel which results in very unusual dexterity for a glove so robust as this. This glove also offers exceptional comfort and warmth, with the added benefit of the gold grain leather having been specially treated to offer resistance to water. The extended cuff provides additional protection for the wrist and forearm.

 

The ‘Dry Touch’ Gardening Gloves (Available in Mens) – £17.95

Gold Leaf 'Dry Touch' Gardening Gloves

The Dry Touch™ Gardening Gloves are very comfortable and durable gloves which have been constructed using a softer, extremely flexible grain leather. These gloves have also had the leather specially treated to provide resistance to water, and would therefore be ideal for those seeking a glove to use in wetter conditions. Additionally, this glove features a full lining throughout for extra warmth and comfort.

The Dry Touch™ is suitable for a variety of gardening purposes, such as potting, weeding and light pruning.

*Free delivery only applies when purchasing Gold Leaf Gloves. Offer will not apply when purchasing any other goods aswell – sorry!

Oriental Lily from bulb

A Colourful Summer: Best Bulbs to Grow for the Season | Longacres Garden Centre

For gardening lovers, the approach of summer means a garden full of colour. It is the season when the garden comes to life with colourful bulbs and perennials in full bloom. While summer-flowering bulbs should be planted early in spring when the weather starts to get warm, there are plenty of plants you can grow before the season ends that will give off colourful blooms in late summer.

Brighten up your garden with these flamboyant summer-flowering bulbs:

Oriental Lilies

The family of lilies is a big one, but there’s one particular flower that shines during summer: Oriental lilies. Oriental lilies bear large, star-shaped blooms in shades of yellow, white, pink, and crimson. The flowers give off a sensational fragrance that you can detect from metres away. From tall tree to ground cover lilies, you’ll surely find one that suits your garden. Traditional oriental lilies grow more than six feet, while dwarf varieties grow to become about a foot tall.

Fragrant Gladiolus

Fragrant gladiolus is somewhat considered an old fashioned bloom, but thanks to modern hybrids, this flamboyant summer bulb has returned to the limelight. Fragrant gladiolus looks great when planted along garden borders, but they also look fabulous in a vase indoors. The plant’s flowers are beautiful, while its grassy foliage is nice, but its best feature is its sweet fragrance. Fragrant gladiolus can grow up to three feet tall and prefer full sun and well-drained soil.

Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous Begonia is perhaps the most glamorous summer-bulb you’ll ever plant. The plant produces gorgeous rose-like blooms in different shades over an incredibly long period; it can beautify your garden from summer until autumn. Tuberous Begonia grows well in containers, too. They’re best planted in hanging baskets and window boxes. Choose a fragrant variety to hang on your doorway, where you can appreciate the plant’s blooms at their best.

It’s not yet late to plant summer-flowering bulbs. Plant the above bulbs before the spring ends and have a colourful, fragrant, and lovely summer. For a wide selection of plants to grow in your garden, contact us. We’ll help make your garden come to life.