Tag Archives: Spring

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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.

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!

Fashionably Winter: the Helleborus

HelleborusHeading into winter is the time when the Helleborus (also known as ‘Christmas Rose’) will start to make a show for the garden. These are winter and spring perennials available in many forms and colours; they are almost an essential for any garden during winter months.

There are many varieties of Hellebore and they are distributed widely across Europe and to as far as China and Syria. Identified by their leaves, their flowers are displayed in clusters which may be open and airy or tightly grouped. The flowers will show different forms from Anemone and centered to double, spotted or picotee. In the Helleborous flower, the true petals are modified into a ring of nectaries at the centre of the flower to attract pollinating insects, which make these great pollinator plants for your garden.

Flowering time is late winter through to spring, and I find the way these delicate flowers withstand the harshest of weather really fascinating. Different varieties offer colours from purist white (Christmas Carol) to deep pink (Party Dress) and some will give a delicate two-tone colour (Helleborus ericsmithii).

Most Helleborus will grow well in any reasonably fertile soil, but are happiest in lime and neutral soil and many enjoy a shady area, so for sun starved borders this is a real essential. For more open and sunny situations the more moisture they require.

So for a fully hardy, delicate flowering perennial throughout winter, you will not go far wrong with the Christmas Rose.

This Longacres blog post was contributed by Jo from our plants department

Bedding plants – trip to the proving grounds

[please note – you can click on all images for larger size]

We had a brilliant day out to the ‘proving grounds’ this week – where the existing, new and even experimental spring, summer and autumn bedding plant varieties are tested; and growers, garden centres and other groups come to make buying choices for the next year. Even the entrance was awash with colour – the large beds of Zinnia and Phlox looked brilliant.

Zinnia Bedding Plants

Zinnia

Phlox Bedding Plants

Phlox

 

 

 

 

 


Everything is planted in beds stretching far and wide, with a change in variety in every row. They are watered just once, and then left to grow in whatever conditions the UK chooses to throw at them that season. It gives a very good indication of how they will cope with our climate – important as many of the experimental varieties are developed abroad in places such as Spain and the US west coast where conditions are ideal and just a little better than ours.

The verbenas were amazing – masses of colours to choose from, including some eye-catching hybrids. These two were favourites:

Verbena (experimental)

Verbena (experimental)

Verbena Quartz Redeye

Verbena Quartz Redeye

 

 

 

 

 


There were also rows of Salvias and an amazing mix of Zinnia as you can see below.

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Salvia beds at the proving grounds

Mixed Zinnia

Mixed Zinnia

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found plenty of new varieties which will be available at Longacres next year (both instore and online, in our bedding plant section), along with some new hanging basket examples.

At the proving grounds they also included an interesting ‘invisible’ water feature in one of their show sections, and areas displaying the all of the plants in a variety of ways – beds, pots, hanging baskets, vertical walls and more.

The magic tap water feature

The ‘magic tap’ water feature

Close-up photography

Close-up photography

Petunia Hybrid

Petunia Hybrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a great time – many thanks to Royden, Mel and Wendy at Perfect Choice. This was my first trip up there, but I’m hoping I can make it every year from now on.

French Marigold

Bedding bedlam – time for an explosion of colour!

May is quite possibly one of the busiest months for gardeners up and down the country! The risk of frosts is diminishing (but they can have a habit of surprising us from time to time with a cold night), the days are lengthening and the temperatures are really beginning to warm up. What better way to signal the start of the true summer season then by planting out your summer bedding plants? Below are a few of Longacres top picks for adding colour to your garden now that will last all summer.

Marigolds

Marigolds are must have in any summer bedding scheme or planted container. With the African types that bear large showy blooms or the smaller but unbelievably free flowering French marigold, both come in an array of reds, yellows, oranges and whites!

Top Tips

  • Keep out of any frost – make sure that if we are going to have a sharp cold night you protect your bedding with frost fleece
  • Make sure the soil is light, nutrient rich and free-draining – keep well watered in the dry summer months
  • Dead head regularly and dead head the old flowers to prolong their flowing period
  • Plant FRENCH marigolds near your other plants or vegetables to help deter white fly
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French Marigold

Upright & Trailing Geraniums

Arguably the most recognisable of any summer bedding plant, the geranium is a real treat for the eyes with their lush green foliage and showy colourful blooms in just about any colour imaginable! These versatile plants are also fairly drought tolerant and need little care except for a drink every now and then, a spot of dead heading and a feed from time to time. Trailing geraniums are perfect for hanging baskets while upright geraniums look stunning in a bedding display or as a container centre piece.

Top Tips

  • Don’t over water your geraniums – this can cause grey mould to develop on your plants
  • Protect plants from slugs and snail using copper wire, or organic pellets
  • Dead head the old flowers to prolong flowering and remove any yellow or damaged leaves as you see them to help the plant thrive
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Geranium

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens is a stunning species of the impatiens family, the ‘bigger sibling’ if you like of the common bedding impatien. These large annuals provide stunning colour all season long and are not affected by the damaging, and deadly, impatiens downy mildew disease like their smaller bedding counter parts are. Due to the size of these plants they best as the central feature in a container or in a larger bedding display.

Top Tips

  • Plant in full sun for the best flowers, deadheading the older flowers to prolong the flowing period
  • Water regularly in high summer – don’t let your New Guineas dry out
  • Use the exotic & lush foliage as a feature as well as its showy flowers
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Impatiens

Hopefully this has given you some summer bedding inspiration to add some wow factor to your gardens not just for now, but for all summer long. With the RHS Chelsea Flower show just around the corner there’s plenty to view, get inspired by and learn from in this garden orientated month!

Spring vegetables – grow your own!

Red Pepper

Well spring has finally arrived, and it’s a key time for many gardeners across the country as its the start of the vegetable growing season. Seeds are being sown, plugs are being potted on and the greenhouse is getting busy full of vegetable plants! Below are a few of the many choices of vegetable plants that we have a Longacres, ready for you to nurture and look after at home!

Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers are a great addition to any vegetable garden. Easy to grow and look after these vegetable plants will provide you with an abundance of brightly coloured fruits all summer long. Pepper seeds can be tricky to germinate; for those who don’t want the challenge, ‘mini’ six packs containing 3 varieties of sweet pepper are available in store!

Top Tips for Sweet Peppers

  • Keep out of any frost – make sure your plant your peppers after the last frost or grow them on inside on a windowsill or heated greenhouse/conservatory.
  • Make sure the soil is light, nutrient rich and free-draining – Water little and often!
  • Feed plants with a high-potassium fertiliser weekly when fruiting.

Lettuce Varieties

Lettuce plants are one of the easiest and one of the most well known vegetable plants! These versatile plants can be grown fairly easily from seed but can also be bought in 12 packs and planted straight into the ground to save time. Some lettuce plants must be harvested in one go at the end of the season, but there are many varieties now that are known as ‘Cut & Come Again’, where you can harvest what you need, and the plant will continue to produce more foliage!

Top Tips for Lettuces

  • Lettuce plants are considered hardy and so can be planted out now.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snail using copper wire, or organic pellets.
  • Ensure that you leave enough space between your plants so they don’t compete for nutrients, about 30cm apart is ample.

Onions

Growing your own onions is really simple and can be done right now! There are two main ways to grow onions from seed, and from onion sets. Onion sets are very simple and excellent value and can be planted in autumn for an early crop or now, for a late season harvest. You can buy onions growing from seed in 12 packs now for easy planting!

Top Tips for Onions

  • Plant in full sun, in a sheltered position.
  • Water your onion sets during dry spells and remove any flowers as soon as they appear.
  • Birds can be a problem and may lift your onions. Place deterrents near the plants to avoid this.

So there you have it – some common vegetable plants that are really easy to grow and look after! It is also of note that they can all be grown in containers on patins or decks if your tight on space. Why not grab yourself some vegetable plants, and see for yourself?

Shop in spring, think summer too!

It is (nearly!) spring and the garden centre is full of enticing plants; the fresh colours of spring are irresistible. Trolleys are loaded high with plants and expectations. Although it may seem strange, this is the ideal time to cast your thoughts forward to high and late summer, even autumn. Continuity of colour in the garden can be quite hard to achieve and there always seems to be a lull between spring and autumn flowers. The vast majority of shrubs have their floral show in spring. Very few flower later in the season. It is worth keeping a space for these later performers while planting in spring.

Three key types of plant come to mind: Buddlejas, Fuchsias and, of course, Hydrangeas. They may not be available for sale very early in the season, but you can plan ahead and leave a space for them in the garden. Using our Plant Finder http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html you can take a look at the varieties we sell, find one to match your favourite colours and save it to your ‘My Plants’ list for later. Or print out the plant details as a reminder.

Plan for Buddleja: they like sunshine and well drained soil. They can be 2.5 metres high Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’;

http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html?plantid=7081

or a miniature 1.2 metres like Buddleja ‘Buzz Ivory’;

http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html?plantid=36012

They are loved by butterflies and have flowers in shades of white, pink, red and blue to mauve. They make an imposing feature in the garden.

Plan for Fuchsias: they like sun or part-shade and reasonable moisture levels. They are in flower for a couple of months. Most of them are around 50 cm in height and look good in containers. The magellanica forms can be much larger and make handsome specimens, for example Fuchsia magellanica ‘Thompsonii’;

http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html?plantid=1731

Their flowers are generally in the pink, red and purple range.

Plan for Hydrangeas: they generally enjoy a shaded or partially shaded site and some moisture. They too flower for weeks and in many cases their faded flowers are interesting well into the autumn. Many of the older varieties of ‘macrophylla’ hybrids are 1.5 metres high. A range of smaller, showier forms are now becoming available. These may even have shiny black stems that give an exotic twist to their flowers. Hydrangeas have large flowers in shades of white, pink, mauve, red and blue. Their flowers come in two forms, the rounded ‘mopheads’ for example Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Generale Vicomtesse de Vibraye’;

http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html?plantid=1287

and the elegant, rather dome shaped ‘lacecaps’, for example Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Taube’;

http://www.longacres.co.uk/home/longacres_garden_centre_surrey_plant_finder.html?plantid=21690)

They have a strong presence in the garden whilst in flower, and can be a major feature.

Then with your ‘My Plants’ shopping list started, there is an excellent excuse later in the season for another shopping trip to our Garden Centre to buy the plants you’ve chosen. Enjoy.

This Longacres Blog post contributed by Susan A. Tindall

A Touch Of Spring In December

We still have Spring bulbs on sale, (even now in mid-December) and the best part is they are 50% off! It’s not too late to buy daffodils or tulips. In all the pre-Christmas bustle it feels like dipping your toes in spring as you imagine them in full flower. The garden soil is likely to be frosty and inhospitable so all you ‘late buyers’ can grow in a pot.

Get as big and deep a pot as possible and plant it up with good quality compost. Bulb compost works well as this provides nutrients to the bulbs that could help them in future years. Set the bulbs into the soil as deep as possible. Cover the surface with coarse gravel, pebbles or slate. (Use horticultural materials as builder’s grit and sand may contain salt.) This top-dressing stops earth being splashed up onto the foliage and also sets off the flowers.

These pots can be positioned near a window when the flowers appear so they can be enjoyed in comfort! Alternatively, position the pot in the garden where there is a dull or boring spot.

To make the most of your bargain buy, see if there are any sunny, well drained positions in the garden that are simply ‘empty-looking’ in spring. You can plant the bulbs out in these places when their foliage is dying down so you can enjoy them again the following year. The pot is available for use next year!

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