Category Archives: Winter

How many lights do you need for your tree?

realchristmastreesWhatever you style, tastes or budget, for most people the focal point of any home this year is the Christmas tree with its sparkling lights.

A question we get asked a lot every year is how many lights do I need for my tree? That’s why we’ve put together this helpful little blog post to give you a general idea of how many lights are just right for your tree.

The below is a general rule of thumb and you can use more or less lights depending on personal tastes.

Tree Size Lights Needed
3 – 4 Foot 100 Lights
4 – 5 Foot 200 Lights
5 – 6 Foot 360 Lights
6 – 7 Foot 480 Lights
8 Foot + 720 Lights

Now that you know, it’s time to start shopping for some lights! Our most popular range is our selection of Supabrights from Premier Decorations.

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.

Christmas Floral Workshops at Longacres

festivewreath_1000This year Longacres Bagshot will be holding floristry workshops to show you how to create the perfect Christmas spruce door wreaths, festive table arrangements, jam jar arrangements and cinnamon gifts! We will be holding these workshops between 8th November and the 8th December, with courses being held in both morning and afternoons.

These workshops are designed to allow you to use your imagination, creativity and learn new skills. All workshops are suitable for novice flower arrangers or professionals alike who want to get inspired on how to decorate their homes for the festive season.

All our workshops last two hours and include refreshments, with attendees taking home their very own stunning creations!

You can find our Facebook events and tickets below:

Jam Jar Arrangements and Cinnamon Gift – 08/11/16 (10:00 – 12:00) – Facebook & Tickets

Christmas Table Arrangements – 15/11/16 (10:00 – 12:00) – Facebook & Tickets

Christmas Spruce Door Wreaths – 22/11/16 (10:00 – 12:00) – Facebook & Tickets

Christmas Spruce Door Wreaths – 24/11/16 (18:00 – 20:00) – Facebook & Tickets

Christmas Table Arrangements – 01/12/16 (18:00 – 20:00) – Facebook & Tickets

Jam Jar Arrangements and Cinnamon Gift – 08/12/16 (18:00 – 20:00) – Facebook & Tickets

festivecollection_1000

Wicker Tree Skirts – The Latest Trend!

Time to pack up those plastic fangs and put away those scary masks; with Halloween and bonfire night out of the way, we think it is safe to say that Christmas is most certainly on the way!

With that said, it is time to start thinking about some of those import Christmas essentials such as a tree and decorations for your home. When most people think about decorating their home for Christmas they might think lights, baubles, tinsel and maybe even an angel for the top of the tree, but something maybe not a lot of people think about yet is a tree skirt to hide away the usually unsightly base!

900011_1000The tree skirt is an American import that has slowly been becoming more of a Christmas essential than you might have realised! The idea of a tree skirt is to hide away the tree stand and watering tray to make you tree a more inviting and attractive feature in your home.

You’ll be happy to hear that we stock two amazing wicker tree skirts in both natural and white wash, so no matter what style of room or tree you have, we have a tree skirt to match! Our tree skirts are amazing value at £11.99 and we’ve already had some amazing feedback about the quality, style and looks of them.

Get ahead of the trend and take a look at our range online here. This year you can forget keeping up with the Joneses – this year you are the Joneses!

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

Real Christmas Trees from Longacres Garden Centre

Christmas is just around the corner!  Where has the year gone?  Here at Longacres we have a huge array of Christmas trees ready for you to dress in your favourite colours and styles, with potted trees available from early November, and cut trees from the end of November.

Potted Christmas Trees

Whether you prefer a non-drop Nordmann Fir or a potted Blue Spruce, we have a range of trees and heights for you to choose from.  Don’t forget to order early for any trees 10ft or above as they do sell out quickly!   You can order your tree online and pop in to collect it when convenient using our Click and Collect service.

Real Christmas Trees

Fancy a bigger tree this year but worried you won’t fit it in (or on) your car?  Worry not!  We provide a delivery service (local area only) with named-day delivery, 7 days per week, for just £5.

Wreaths and GarlandsIf you don’t have the time to decorate your tree, our lovely florists provide a tree decoration service in situ.  Please enquire for pricing.

As well as trees, we have a range of holly wreaths, reindeer planters (which also make great Christmas gifts), and tree stands.

Reindeer Planters

Tree DecorationsIf you’re not keen on a real tree we have a large variety of artificial trees, including pre-lit ones, ready for collection.  Of course no tree would be complete without its decorations.  We have an amazing assortment of Christmas decorations available, from delicate glass baubles to strings of glittering lights, to complement your tree and your home, at this festive time of year.  Don’t forget the fairy or star for the top!

Before you plan your shopping trip to Longacres, remember that Santa is now in his grotto right up until Christmas Eve.   So, how about surprising the little ones with a trip to see the man himself?   For more information, click here. We hope to see you soon!

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

Christmas has arrived at Longacres!

Stand Up Owls and PenguinsStand Up SantasJingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!  Okay, we know it’s only October but our huge range of Christmas decorations and lights has arrived and here at Longacres we’re already getting into the festive spirit.

A good way to get little ones to be on their best behaviour from the 1st of December until Christmas Day is to start with the Advent Calendar.  As well as tempting chocolate ones (yummy…chocolate for breakfast!), we also have wooden and material ones with pockets or drawers that you can fill with small treats.

Advent Calendars

Of course, one of the main things we think about at Christmas is the tree.  Many of us love the smell of a real Christmas tree and enjoy picking that special one out as the centrepiece for our home.  Here at Longacres our potted Christmas trees will be available from 12th November, and our cut Christmas trees will be available from 26th November.  So if you’re keen to reserve your one now, we have a fabulous offer for you:

Order your real Christmas tree online by midnight on 22nd November and get a sparkling 10% off its price!

You can then choose to have your tree delivered (£5 charge, local area only) or simply pop in to collect it when convenient using our Click and Collect service.  Click here to view the range.

Artificial Christmas Trees

We also have a large range of artificial trees and artificial pre-lit trees in stock now to suit all budgets, from our mini 25cm tree – ideal to brighten up your desk – through to stunning 10′ tall firs and pines. You don’t even have to worry about missing that ‘real Christmas tree smell’.  ScentSicles hanging ornaments come in a range of natural fragrances to give your home that real tree aroma.

ScentSicles

Wicker Tree StandsNot everyone likes the look of a plain tree stand, so if you prefer to hide yours from view, we offer a Woven Wicker Christmas Tree Skirt for £11.99. It will cover stands from 21″ at the base to 16.5″ at the top.  You can use the skirt for both artificial and real trees up to 7′ tall.

Of course, once you have decided on the tree, you need to choose your decorations.  Whether you go for specific colour schemes, traditional ornaments or prefer a modern twist, we have a wide variety of decorations to suit your style and individuality.  Personalised decorations make a lovely gift at Christmas time and children especially love to see a fairy or snowman with their name on it.

Tree DecorationsWe also carry a large range of battery operated LED lights.  These can be used indoors or out and each comes with a timer (6 hours on/18 hours off).  No more tripping over lead wires or hunting for a spare plug socket in your garage.  LED lights are low energy so one set of batteries can last up to 60 days use!

Battery-Operated LED Lights

As it’s quite expensive to visit Santa at the North Pole, you might like to create your very own Christmas village.  Lemax, the miniature experts, have a wide range of buildings and characters for you to explore and enjoy, including a collection of new designs especially for 2015.  Music and lights bring your village to life; from circus acrobats swinging on the trapeze to Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ ballet with dainty dancers spinning around.  Whether you are just starting out , expanding your village collection, or seeking that special gift, we are sure you will be captivated by the range of models and characters available from Lemax. View the Lemax Christmas Village online range here.

Lemax Christmas Village

From wreaths to a stand up Santa, wrapping paper to candles – whatever you are looking for this Christmas, come down to see us at Longacres and add a little sparkle to your festive fun.  Ho, ho, ho!

Christmas Baubles on Tree

Top Christmas Decorating Trends for 2015 | Longacres Garden Centre

The Christmas season is fast approaching. For many people, putting up decorations is a perfect way to make the days more fun and memorable. After all, it feels amazing to pass houses all decked out with stunning lights, ornaments and colourful garlands.

Every year, the question for many of us is, ‘what is new’? 2015 is no exception. If you are planning your decorations early, it only makes sense to know what to include. To get your home ready, we have listed the top Christmas decoration trends that you should watch out for this year.

Artificial and Pre-Lit Christmas Trees

Every year the Christmas tree is the centrepiece for decorating your home. For some, an artificial Christmas tree is the best way of decorating. With a bit of creativity, you can turn a plain tree into a wonderful focal point.

For others a pre-lit Christmas tree is a great way to create interest. This is ideal if you prefer the quicker process of decorating. Pre-lit Christmas trees are safe and reliable, designed to keep unsightly wires hidden and provide optimal lighting.

Lemax Collectibles

The Lemax collection has been around for many years, but it continues to charm shoppers year after year. To bring the spirit of festivity and add pops of colour to your home, you may want to decorate with Lemax figurines and accessories, such as snowmen, Santa and sledging children.

Another lovely way to decorate your living room is to add some highly-detailed Lemax attractions such as taverns, carousels and funfair rides. These charming ornaments will make you feel the warmth and happiness of the Christmas festivities.

Bring joy to your home with our extensive selection of Lemax products and Christmas trees. Longacres Garden Centre is committed to bringing you only the finest options when it comes to decorations. Visit us today to begin your Christmas shopping.

Colourful Christmas Lights

Safety Tips When Using Christmas Lights | Longacres Garden Centre

Keeping Things Festive This Christmas: All About Christmas Lights Safety

The Christmas season is one of the most celebrated events of the year. To brighten up the cold dark nights homeowners decorate with festive and colourful lights, from the interiors and exteriors to their Christmas trees.

As electricity and cold weather do not mix well, you need to ensure the security of the lights and their wires. By keeping your house safe from electrical problems and fire, you can relax and enjoy the festivities. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the only things that will light up are the bulbs, not your entire house.

Quality Over Price

First, never purchase substandard products. These lights may save you some money, but when things go wrong, you may end up spending more. It is logical to choose more costly yet quality lights, as these have less chance of malfunctioning and blowing up.

For Outdoor Lights

If you are planning to place the lights outside, always get ones that are specifically for outdoors. These specialised Christmas lights have distinct materials that enable them to withstand the rain, snow and other elements. If the lights are damaged, replace or throw them away immediately. Do not try to reuse them.

For Christmas Trees

Artificial trees are readily available. If you want to keep a real one, however, you have to be extra careful, as wood burns easily. Choose a freshly chopped tree because old ones have probably dried out, making them a bigger fire hazard. Always keep a fire extinguisher around in case the lights blow up.

Reusing Old Lights

One way to save money during the Christmas season is by reusing decorations from last year. Be careful with lights, though. Before placing them around the house, test them out to see if they still work properly.

As Christmas is fast approaching, it is ideal to shop around for festive decorations that will light up your house. Here at Longacres Garden Centre, we offer artificial pre-lit Christmas trees and a wide range of Christmas lights. These products come in a variety of designs to meet individual needs and tastes, whether you like plain or multi-coloured lights. Browse our selection of high-quality products and contact us today for inquiries.