Category Archives: Spring

Hanging baskets and bedding plants at Longacres

It’s still not feeling too warm outside, but at least you can give your garden a splash of colour with our range of bedding plants and hanging baskets.

We have a large range of bedding plants currently available, starting from just £1.39 for single geraniums, and £2.29 for box bedding (and the range of bedding at Longacres is second to none!)

We have a range of hanging baskets in all sizes and colours available – starting from just £9.99.

hanging baskets at Longacres

If you prefer to make your own hanging baskets up, here at Longacres we provide everything you need from brackets and liners, through to drip feeders and plant selections.  You can even chose the colour scheme you desire from one of our selection packs, especially chosen for the variety of plants they contain to bring out the best in your hanging basket displays.

If you aren’t the greatest at remembering to water your plants, don’t forget we also offer a wide range of artificial hanging baskets, along with attractive artificial Gardman and Cadix Buxus Balls.

For all your bedding and hanging basket needs, we look forward to welcoming you to Longacres soon.

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

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

RefreshRenewA4_2014_450

Refresh and Renew your Home for 2016!

We hope you had an absolutely wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! January always seems to be an unusual time once all the festivities are over after such a long build-up of buying presents, having the family and friends over, heavy new year celebrations etc. You may still have a few half-eaten boxes of chocolates left and some new DVD box sets to binge-watch, but we are all certainly in need of a little bit more cheering up.

Why not tackle those post-Christmas and January blues by sprucing up your home and giving it a fresher and newer look for 2016; we refer to it as “Refresh and Renew“.

Oak Furniture Range at Longacres
Here at Longacres Bagshot and Shepperton we have a stunning range of interior oak furniture. From cupboards to console tables and corner shelf units to iPad desks, you’re bound to find a piece of furniture (or 2!) that’s perfect to refresh your home with.

Visit us in store where you can also speak to a friendly member of our seasonal team, or click here to view our online range of interior furniture.

Please note that our interior furniture is currently available in store, for click & collect or for local delivery only.

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.

Shere Open Gardens – Sunday 28th June 2015

Shere Open Gardens

Shere, one of Surrey s most unspoilt villages is opening its garden gates for charity on Sunday 28th June 2015

For over a century, Shere has been hailed as the jewel in the crown of the Surrey Hills.  Set at the foot of the North Downs between Guildford and Dorking, this pretty village offers great architecture from wonky little Tudor cottages and Lutyens lodges to more than its fair share of manors and mills. Historically it has been called home by many artists and now with a population of about a thousand it is a popular destination for walkers, cyclists and tourists who take advantage of the many pubs, tea shops, eclectic gift shops and its famous ice cream parlour.

Shere Open GardensFor it’s 37th year running, Shere will be opening it’s garden gates for one afternoon and inviting
the public to view a record number of 28 beautiful private gardens on Sunday the 28th June 2015.

Whether you are a keen gardener or simply curious to see behind the lichen covered walls and manicured hedges, Shere Open Gardens gives a glimpse into quintessential England. Come along and enjoy an afternoon strolling from quaint colourful cottage borders and elegantly landscaped water gardens to little patio suntraps and vigorous vegetable plots. There will be an over-the-wall gardeners’ question time at the Shere allotments with a couple of the keenest allotment holders, a pimms stall and homemade teas in the village hall.

Says Annabel Alford, Chairman of the organising committee:

“2014 was a record year for Shere Open Gardens. We welcomed over a thousand visitors and raised about £10,000 for local organisations and causes.  We hope the sun shines again this year so we can have an equally successful day.”

Shere Open GardensIn 1978 the local village hall was in desperate need of repair; the local villagers all came together to figure out a way to try and raise the money needed – Shere Open Gardens was decided as being a suitable event. Unexpectedly. it proved to be so popular that it quickly became an annual event in the village’s calendar and in this, the 37th year of Shere Open Gardens, the residents once again looks forward to welcoming visitors come rain or shine!

Last year, Shere Open Gardens raised over £10,000 and they hope to match (or exceed!) that this year with your help. The funds raised by the event are split between around 17 local causes aimed at all ages and stages in the community, from the Toddler Group and Village Nursery to the Pensioner’s Christmas Party and the local Veterans (of which there are still three!).

Event:  Shere Open Gardens
Date:  Sunday 28th June 2015
Time:  2pm – 6pm
Location:  Shere is just to the south of Newlands Corner off the A25, half way between Guildford and Dorking.
Parking:  FREE. The main car park for the event is at the junction of Chantry Lane and Upper Street – GU5 9JA. Disabled parking is available at the Shere school in Gomshall Lane – GU5 9HB.
Parking will be well signposted.
Refreshments:  There will be a Pimms Stall run by the Cricket Club and Homemade teas and cakes will be served in the Village Hall by the village school mums
Entry:  Adults: £6; Over 60: £5; Children under 16: FREE. Tickets are available at the Village Hall and selected gardens – ask parking attendants for the nearest points.
Are dogs allowed?:  Sorry, no dogs (other than guide dogs) will be allowed in the gardens

Further information can be found at www.shereopengardens.co.uk

Shere Open Gardens

© Images courtesy of GuildfordPhotographer 

Planting peas in the Longacres garden

Plant your pea plants now for a great early harvest!

Peas are one of the more hardier vegetable plants that you can get hold of or grow. You can sow pea seeds in Autumn – overwintering them in a greenhouse till spring, or sow them now (March / April) ready for planting out in a few weeks time. The other alternative is to buy a 6 pack or pot of pre-grown pea seedlings ready to plant out! (available in store)

Peas are a great starter crop as they are easy to grow and require little care after initial establishment to grow well. The first thing to make sure you have done is to prepare your site and improve your soil – if you haven’t done this already then you can view my previous video and blog post on how to do this.

Once you’ve improved your soil and you know where you want your pea plants to grow you’ll need to assemble, create or purchase a frame for them to grow up. Peas climb naturally so this is vital for supporting good healthy growth. You can get great, simple to use kits like we have here at Longacres, or you can assemble your own with just simple string and some bamboo canes.

Once the frame is in place you plant out your peas! Dig a small hole about the same size of the current pot they are in. Gently push the root ball up from the bottom of the pot or 6 pack and place gently into the hole you have just dug. Carefully backfill (move back around the plant) the soil that you dug out to create the hole. And that’s your peas planted!

The next step is to pinch out your pea plant growth tips if you want them to be more busy and compact. Do this by cutting or ‘pinching’ about a third of the growth of the pea away from the plant down to above a node – see my video on peas to find out more about this! You may also need to tie your peas to the canes or supports using jute twine if they are already tall.

The final step is to water them in (unless its raining of course!) I added the new Baby Bio Top Defence feed to my water which helps plants with stressful situations such as transplanting, drought and cold. It will be interesting to see how this product works over the season.

And that is all you need to know about planting peas! I will have a blog and video update later in the season to show you tips on harvesting and show you how things are getting along during the main growing season!

Have any questions about growing your own, plants or houseplants? Send them to us in an email to: plantsonline@longacres.co.uk

Jack Shilley - Soil Improvement

Nurture Your Soil & Enjoy A Bumper Crop | Longacres Garden Centre

You can watch the accompanying video here: http://youtu.be/gDM9uYFZWN4

Arguably one of the most important parts of gardening and horticulture is looking after your soil. It contains all the vital nutrients that plants need to sustain healthy growth and produce a good crop, if the soil becomes worn down or isn’t nurtured you will start to run into problems with your plants and crops!

The first task you’ll need to do to start improving your soil is to clear it of weeds, heavy clay blocks, debris, stones & anything else which shouldn’t be there. It’s best to try and tackle weeds at the roots and remove as much of them as possible. Rake the soil over to remove any last obstructions.

Next is to begin to till or ‘turn over’ your soil whilst adding organic matter. Using a fork or soil tiller begin to lift & turn over the soil and break up any large clumps that may occur from doing this. As you are undertaking this begin to add your organic matter – this could be compost, manure, leaf litter etc… and continue to work the area until you’ve added a decent amount of organic matter and the whole site has been turned over.

Its always advised to read the label on the product you are using and care should be taken not to over-fertilise the site as this could lead to plant growth problems. Make sure any manure is well rotted before applying to your site!

I’m using Westland Organic Vegetable Growing Compost for this new vegetable plot – which is good for improving soil drainage, soil fertility and the texture of the soil. I’m also adding well rotted farmyard manure from Westland which contains a whole host of excellent nutrients required for plant growth and will again help with soil drainage and texture.

Thats all there really is to it! Now is the time to work the soil and your new vegetable plot, or existing patch ready for the season. Depending on the crops you are hoping to grow will determine what else you may need to add to the soil or what you may need to fertilise your plants with later on in the season.

This simple soil nurturing process can be carried out on a yearly basis and you’ll start to see the results of your improved soil in your flowers, vegetables or fruit – almost straight away!

Have any questions about growing your own, plants or houseplants? Send them to us here: plantsonline@longacres.co.uk

Roses in Containers

Rose
Many of the roses that are presently fashionable are quite small, standing between 45cm and 80cm in height. They can easily be lost in a garden unless carefully placed, or grown as part of a group of like-coloured flowers so they can make an impact. It is often better to grow these roses in containers, which means the flowers are raised to a higher position, and the containers can be moved into prominent positions when the plant is at its best, either on the patio or positioned between other plants in a border. Roses and other plants can start their life with you in a container, but can be planted out in the garden at a later time.

Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'

Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’

Small, rather fragile roses that haven’t developed good root systems may best be grown on their own in a container. When a number of plants are grown in the same pot there is competition for the available resources – both water and nutrients – and the rose needs to have a good, established root system to effectively hold its own. In these cases it can be really attractive to have a group of several containers, preferably matching. The plants that you grow in them can complement or contrast with the flowers of the centrepiece – the rose. Good effects can be achieved by having a whole container filled with plants of a single colour. For example purple Petunias, red Verbena, bold golden Marigolds or the deep blue of delicate Nigella. You can also use companion plants that are grown for their foliage such as the woolly silvered, non-flowering Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ or the trailing silvered round leaves of a plant such as Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’. These colours combine well with pink roses. Other foliage plants can be utilised such as the intriguing rose and mahogany tints of Heuchera ‘Midnight Bayou’.

Diascia (Flying Colours Series) 'Flying Colours Deep Salmon'

Diascia (Flying Colours Series) ‘Flying Colours Deep Salmon’

Alternately a rose can be grown in the same container as other plants. For this option the container needs to be of a substantial size so that all the plants can thrive. It is usually more effective to choose small, dainty flowers to contrast with the often large and solid blooms of the rose. Suggestions include Nemesia that will flower all summer through and have alluring colours that will combine well with roses. The showy Nemesia ‘Sundrops’ with its clear orange flowers would go with yellow or peach shades. Or the small flowers of Felicia such as the blue, trailing Felicia amelloides ‘Santa Anita’ that can complement blue or contrast with other light tints. The solid, trailing Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea‘ with its yellow foliage and flowers makes a bold contrast to red roses. Finally, try the white Angelonia ‘Angelface ‘White’ with white roses, or the jolly salmon tints of Diascia such as Diascia (Flying Colours Series) ‘Flying Colours Deep Salmon’, for a lively interaction with yellow, purple, or peach roses.

Notes on rose care:
Put a slow release fertiliser in the container when planting and give the plants an additional feed in mid to late summer. Water very regularly, and when it is hot, be prepared to water twice daily.

Encourage gifts of good-sized matching containers – three make a good group!

This Longacres Blog post was contributed by Susan A. Tindall