In our ever changing world of fast moving technology and day-
In a recent report it was also highlighted that the garden can and often does double up as one of the best outdoor gyms! Routine gardening tasks such as regular pruning and lopping can shed around 238 calories every 60 minutes! Digging also fairs well -
Getting out and about in the garden and on the allotment also appears to be good for our mental well-
Wishing all our customers a very Happy Christmas!
OUR COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS STARTS HERE (pt1) …
This year we’ve pulled out all the stops to create a great Christmas shopping experience with our winter wonderland of glitter and sparkle to provide you with plenty of magical ideas and festive inspiration. So, whether you’re decorating your home and garden, or buying gifts, we are pretty certain you will find everything you need amongst our displays.
We do try and keep our displays and merchandising colour-
Step into Christmas in stunning style when you put one of our luxurious trees into your home. Whether you are looking for a new artificial tree or a replacement then do please check out our range. Notables for this season include a flock fir model, a pine tree with cones and berries and a fashionable trendy white tree are all available. Look out for ScentSicles hanging ornaments -
Our Christmas indoor and outdoor lighting is mainly high tech LED this year. Premier low-
We are offering battery operated LED lights too, again in a range of colours, perfect for creating displays where mains power isn’t available.
You can complete your Christmas present shopping with ideal gifts for all the family. Our choice of plants, including planted arrangements and a gardening range, is as big as ever. We also have books (gardening and general reading), cards, gift wrap / gift boxes, calendars (from Dogs, Cats and Disney’s Frozen to Top Gear and Buckinghamshire country scenes), soft toys, kitchenware, ornaments, family games, bird care, clothing, Yankee Candles (pictured left), toiletries, aquatics, tools, and much more. If you are still struggling to solve the present for the friend who has everything, one of our staff may be able to point you in the right direction, or failing that we sell our Garden Centre Gift Vouchers so that they can select their own gift. For friends and relatives further afield, we also stock HTA Garden Centre Gift Vouchers which can be redeemed at outlets throughout the country.
OUR COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS STARTS HERE (pt2) …
Our extended Food Hall is bursting at the seams with Christmas goodies -
You can also enjoy a wide range of local beers (over 18’s only). Look out for our special Christmas brews such as Rockin Robin, a strong ruby beer, Snowmans Meltdown, a smooth dark stout and Elf Service, a light hoppy beer and the aptly named Cold Turkey, a golden premium lager, all from Cottage Delight. Our range of beers can be seen HERE. But in store or online for delivery or Click and Collect.
We’ve a fantastic range of local wines from Chafor Wine Estate (Bacchus 2014, Chardonnay Reserve 2013 and Rosé 2014), based just down the road in Gawcott. We know many of you enjoyed visiting the vineyard and wine-
Our real Christmas trees arrive in late November; beautifully shaped, they are sourced from the best Scottish growers, including cut (Nordmann Fir and Noble Fir) and pot-
Locally grown Poinsettias and Cyclamen are now available, plus we’ll have a fantastic range of planted gift arrangements, boxed Amaryllis and fabulous orchids, too. We offer a comprehensive gift wrap service for all indoor plants and small gift items. Please ask at the Customer Service Desk for details.
THE BIG RASPBERRY PRUNING QUESTION ANSWERED
Of all the fruit questions we get asked, it is raspberry pruning that receives the most requests for advice and explanations. We have recently updated the advice we are giving with plants we send out, so we thought it might be useful to share the information with our Garden Centre Club Members too!
LOVE YOUR CHICKENS THIS WINTER.
Winter can be a challenge for any animal so a little extra care will go a long way, says Mick Collins. Right now is the time to give your flocks health a good check over. You should now be giving them a worming treatment, which can be supplied by your vet. Giving them some garlic granules or Vermex in their diet is a good start for their digestive system. It would be worth adding some vitamin drops to supplement their diet as well just to make them a bit perkier. Don’t forget to suspend a cabbage in the run to help keep the chickens occupied as well as giving them some essential greens as well.
The chickens will spend longer in their roost, and who can blame them, so keep up a rigorous mucking out routine at least once a week! It is also important to continue treating the chickens and the coop for Red Mite and Lice, which can still be a problem even in the winter. A sprinkling of disinfectant powder before you put in the fresh bedding will not only act as a sanitizer, but will help keep unwanted smells away.
A top tip is to take in the drinkers at night if it’s going to freeze. This will save a lot of hassle in the morning. During particularly cold spells check their water during the day as well, as a good supply of drinking water is essential. Give them a handful of corn or scratch feed (such as Mixed Corn) an hour before bedtime to help keep up those energy levels as this should help to maintain warmth. They may not lay so many eggs during cold spells but a little extra effort is well worth it for their well being and for your peace of mind.
LOOKING TO THE CLOUDS FOR A SKY GARDEN (pt1)!
Trevor Bradley, from our I. T. Department, goes in search of a tropical skyward adventure in the City of London.
20 Fenchurch Street is actually in Central London, a short walk from The Tower. It is an imposing 160m (525ft) skyscraper, the fifth highest skyscraper in London. But you are probably wondering where the garden is that I am visiting? Courtyard garden? Outside landscaping? None of these. In fact the garden is called The Sky Garden and its name gives away where this garden is. It is right at the very top of the skyscraper, 37 floors up.
You can’t miss 20 Fenchurch Street. From pretty much anywhere in Central London you can see the building on the skyline. It is affectionately known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ because of its shape, thinner at the bottom than the top. It does provide an interesting architectural addition to the London landscape alongside the likes of ‘The Shard’, ‘The Cheesegrater’, ‘The Gherkin’ and ‘The London Eye’. Approaching the building, you realise just how tall the building is.
But I wasn’t here to admire the architecture; I was here for the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden has its own entrance and to gain admittance this is via a pre-
The first thing that hits you as you walk out of the lift area is the space. It is so spacious and very light and airy. This feeling is created because the whole of the top of the Sky Garden is glass. It creates one massive greenhouse effect. But that is the way it has to be because the planting here is that of a tropical greenhouse. The planted gardens themselves are either side of a central restaurant with staircases either side taking you up to the very top level. The gardens are created utilising slopes and terraces. There are constant misters providing water and humidity to the plants. Cleverly, the designers of the garden have created three separate areas on the slopes. At the top (which surprisingly receives the least amount of light), there are shade-
LOOKING TO THE CLOUDS FOR A SKY GARDEN (pt2)!
The low levels of light in the shady area were filled with a great mix of plants. Cythea medullaris, the New Zealand tree fern, was utilised. The fern can grow to 20 metres in height and is very fast growing -
The Sky Garden is not only all about the garden though. Walk out onto the huge outdoor terrace and you have spectacular panoramic views of London. You will not find better views of London than you get from here, so long as you have a good head for heights! And before you leave and descend the lift back down to ‘terra firma’, have a hot drink and a sandwich from the food bar. Or if you feel like really treating yourself, there is a fully stocked cocktail bar. I was surprised just how cheap it was to stay and have my lunch there. And, if you are lucky as I was, you might even get a jazz band playing on the terrace to accompany it.
So, as you descend in the lift, your time at the Sky Garden is over. Well not quite. Make sure as you leave to check out the spectacular vertical garden, a version of which we also have here at the Garden Centre through the summer months.
Finally, there is one other thing worth mentioning. Something that may surprise you. You probably are wondering just how much this experience costs. London attractions are very expensive. For example, to view from the top of The Shard (a similar height and not a plant in sight!) costs £25.95. So what does the Sky Garden cost? Nothing! Yes, believe it or not, the whole experience is FREE! Now if that isn’t value for money for an attraction in London then I don’t know what is. All you have to do is make sure you book your tickets in advance here:
I hope, if this persuades you to visit the Sky Garden, that you enjoy your visit as much as I did.
PLANNING OUR GARDEN VISITS FOR 2016
We’ll be announcing the planned visits for 2016 in the New Year, however we would be pleased if you could let us know where you would like to visit! This year we went far and wide to RHS Hyde Hall, Highgrove, Hidcote Manor Gardens & Kiftsgate, Batsford Arboretum, Steane Park, Thenford Park and Arboretum and Buckingham Palace to take in the Garden Tour amongst others. If you would like to pop over your suggestions to us we can look at them and provide some costings for feasibility of the visit. Please send your ideas over to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your suggestions together with your name and contact details at our Customer Service Desk.
TOP TASKS FOR LATE NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
EDIBLES Sowings can be made outdoors of Broad Bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ (pictured) and the variety the ‘Sutton’ can also be sown now but must be given the protection of cloches. Continue planting suitable varieties of Garlic such as ‘Solent Wight’ until late November. For a continuous supply of Lettuce crops during winter plant varieties, such as ‘Vaila’ and ‘Winter Gem’, in containers, borders or cropping bags and grow on in a warm greenhouse. Protect outside crops with either Envirofleece, which is very popular with vegetable growers, or Enviromesh which acts as a barrier to garden pests as well as providing some frost protection.
CHRISTMAS wouldn’t be Christmas without a lovely red Poinsettia (pictured). It is essential you position the plant in good light away from direct sunlight and draughts. Avoid temperatures below 55°F (13°C). Overwatering too, quickly damages the plant. When the surface of the compost begins to dry out, water thoroughly. Place the pot on a pebble tray, as a humid atmosphere will prolong the bract life. The process to encourage new bracts can be complicated so ask in the Plant Info Office if you need the details. However, successfully re-
POND TIPS If the surface of water features or a pond has frozen solid, and particularly if it contains fish, melt the ice with care. Keeping an area of the pond free of ice allows toxic gases to escape – ensuring the pond can breathe and function correctly. If the pond is stocked with fish and it does freeze over, melt the ice by placing a pan of hot water on the surface, or install a pond heater such as the Aquael Floating Pond Heater. This 300 watt floating pond heater is robustly made from stainless steel with an expanded foam float and comes complete with a 10-
ORNAMENTALS Taller growing bush roses can be pruned down by about half which will prevent the wind from causing them to become loose through swaying and in turn damaging the roots. The branches of standard roses should also be shortened. Our new range of root-
APPLE & HONEY WEEKEND REVIEW
A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who attended our Apple & Honey Show Weekend. The sun shone and we had a great crowd eager to get their mystery apple fruits identified. Gerry Edwards, our top RHS Fruit expert, aka apple ‘Sherlock Holmes’ said it had been a very busy weekend, in fact possibly more than when he was asked to put names to fruit for the RHS, no less. Gerry identified over 50 varieties over the two days.
Fruit growing advice was in great demand again with Moulton College’s Fritz De Zutter answering a high volume of questions, mostly relating to best growing practises as well as rootstock advice.
Claire from The Mid-
Our other guests over the weekend included the Great Horwood-
On the Sunday we were delighted to hold the North Buckinghamshire and Buckingham Association Honey Show at the Garden Centre. As you know we’re passionate about bees, so when the Association were looking for a new venue to stage their annual show we were only too happy to oblige.
We were also raising money and awareness for the Aylesbury-
Our hearty congratulations to Maureen Goward and her daughter Lisa, who won the tickets (pictured with Virgin Train Manager / Community Champion Russ Cole). The Tombola raised £114.25 over the event.
Finally, a huge ‘Well Done’ to Jack Bullman (pictured left), aged 5, from Thornborough Infant School who won our ‘Largest Sunflower Bloom Competition’ for his school. The mammoth sized seedhead was over 45cm across and weighed over 2kg!
BEE NEWS & HONEY SHOW IN PICTURES
It is coming to the end of the ‘Bee Year’, but with the sun shining on the hives whilst I am writing this the bees are still very active and taking advantage of the late blossom around the Garden Centre, says Pauline Brown. At the beginning of the year we were the proud owners of six healthy hives. We are delighted to report that we still have six active hives at the Garden Centre, having combined the two smallest to make them stronger for the winter. Although we lost the smallest hive as it was ‘robbed’ by the stronger hives the partners now have one at their home in Great Horwood so an overall gain of one.
Over the season two extractions of honey have been made, the first producing 75lbs of delicious honey and the second 42lbs, of which one jar won a first prize for flavour at the North Buckinghamshire and Buckingham Association’s Honey Show held at the Garden Centre in September and also 2 jars of medium honey were awarded an amazing ‘Very Highly Commended’. (Pictured below) The honey is on sale in our Food Hall in the Garden Centre so buy it now while stocks last, especially those who suffer from hay fever as a spoonful a day should keep you free of sneezes for next season. This cure will only work for those who live within a radius of about two miles of where the honey is produced, so as we have honey from the Garden Centre, Singleborough and also Great Horwood at the moment that covers quite an area. Stocks are currently limited so you’ll need to get yours quickly.
This N.B.B.A. Honey Show attracted plenty of entries as well as much interest from our customers and as well as jars of honey to judge there were many honey related classes to view.
If you would like to find out more about North Buckingham Bee Keepers’ Association you can visit their website at www.nbbka.org and remember you can speak to our Bee Keepers at the Garden Centre too!
WHAT’S ON IN DECEMBER & EARLY 2016
EVERY SUNDAY Stock up on your fresh fruits and vegetables as Aston Clinton-
We’re also pleased to announce Crawley’s Family Butchers from Quainton will also be in the Car Park (pictured Lee Crawley). Many of you will be familiar with the name Crawley’s as they attend Winslow market every Wednesday as well as markets in Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Wolverton and Biggleswade.
DECEMBER Over the three weekends, commencing Sat 5th December and running up to Christmas we’ll have delicious mince pies and fruity mulled wine (fruit squash as a non-
FRI 18th DECEMBER CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY We hope you can join us in the spirit of Christmas Jumper Day which is now linked up to ITV’s ‘Text Santa’ programme to raise money for Save The Children. We will be getting into the feel of the Day too with staff getting involved and, just like a non-
WED 10th FEBRUARY Chris Day will present a talk ‘The Good, The Bad & The Bugly’. As pest and disease control becomes more of a problem as chemicals are withdrawn and new plant problems arise, Chris will give us an update on the main problem pests and diseases and how best to tackle them. The venue will be in the Talks Room in the Restaurant from 4:30pm and will last approximately 45 minutes with time for questions. To book a seat please contact our Customer Service Desk. Garden Club Members free, £3 for non-
WEDNESDAY 24th FEBRUARY Book now for our Garden Centre visit to their legendary snowdrop display and beautiful winter gardens at the National Trust property of Anglesey Abbey, followed by an afternoon visit to Scotsdale Garden Centre with a special talk by Peter Jackson. Early booking is essential. For more details and to book please contact our Customer Service Desk on 01280 822133.
POTATO DAY Next year’s Potato event will be on Sat 27th February, 10am-
UPDATE Back on October 16th we held the Breast Cancer Care fundraising event ‘The Big Pink’ in the Restaurant. Thanks to your generosity £149 was raised.
SNUGGLE DOWN… A WINTER WARMER REMINDER
We’ve a bundle of things to keep you and your home toasty this winter. As well as coal and kindling you’ll see a great range of essential fireside accessories – perfect to equip your existing hearth or to give it a much-
If you enjoy the warmth and glow of an open fire or log burner, a reminder we offer logs at £6.50 per net, Smokeless Coal (£9.99, 20kg) and Premium House Coal (£7.99, 20kg), and Gardeco Firelogs at £1.99 each which last for 2-
Don’t forget those other winter essentials – torches, windscreen de-
PLANTS OF THE MOMENT
With NATIONAL TREE WEEK (28th Nov – 6th Dec) approaching it’s a reminder that larger specimen bare-
December is all about seasonal colour and you can’t really go wrong with the combination of attractive foliage and tight buds of Skimmia, especially the variety ‘Rubella’. Plants which carry the Christmas name also need a shout-
SUPPER WITH SANTA -
Don’t forget we are now taking bookings for Supper with Santa. Children will enjoy a cold boxed snack, storytelling, a gift and a visit from Santa for £9.99.
The all important dates are Tuesday 8th, Thursday 10th, Monday 14th, Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th December. The magic starts at 4pm and lasts around 45 minutes. Early booking is essential. For further information and to book please contact our Customer Service Desk on 01280 822133.
STOP PRESS… STOP PRESS… STOP PRESS… STOP PRESS…
Don’t forget we are now taking bookings for Supper with Santa. Children will enjoy a cold boxed snack, storytelling, a gift and a visit from Santa for £9.99.
The all important dates are Tuesday 8th, Thursday 10th, Monday 14th, Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th December. The magic starts at 4pm and lasts around 45 minutes. Early booking is essential. For further information and to book please contact our Customer Service Desk on 01280 822133.In the Food Hall we are selling a range of organically reared meat from Rachel’s Farmshop. Local farmer Rachel Halverson is particularly passionate about the production of meat organically and free-
Our Click and Collect Service includes over 1,800 products covering gardening sundries, bird care, aggregates, coal, composts, logs, furniture, BBQs, poultry sundries as well as a comprehensive Christmas Shop. Go to our website www.buckinghamgardencentre.co.uk for full details. Many of these items can be ordered online for sending out -
We are delighted to announce that the national winner of the Horticultural Trade Association Design A Christmas Card is 5 year old Merryn Coates, who, like Jack Bullman, is a pupil at Thornborough Infant School. There were over 10,000 entries this year in the nationwide competition and Merryn’s design (pictured right) will feature on the Christmas gift cards which are distributed to hundreds of retail outlets who sell HTA Garden Vouchers. Merryn wins £1,000 of HTA vouchers for her school as well as some special goodies for herself. We’ll have more details in our next newsletter but until then congratulations from us all at the Garden Centre!
To download a PDF copy of our latest newsletter, please click here.
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Buckingham Nurseries and Garden Centre,
Tingewick Road, Buckingham, MK18 4AE, UK.
Tel: 01280 822133 -