We are a family run garden centre that is well known nationally as a specialist for bare rooted hedging plants and young trees. The Garden Centre always has a good selection of shrubs and plants which are not commonly found elsewhere, together with a wide range of the more commonly sought after plants. Established for over 50 years, the Garden Centre has recently been redeveloped to a high standard. Our shop contains the largest selection of seeds and bulbs for miles around, together with garden chemicals, tools, garden furniture and many other goods. Outside we stock peat-based and peat-free composts, paving, fencing, timber decking, garden buildings and greenhouses, and a large range of pots, statues and garden ornaments. Our aquatics centre has a good reputation for their excellent quality tropical, marine and cold water fish. The Gardeners' Retreat, our coffee shop/restaurant, serves fresh home cooked food and is an excellent way to round off any visit to the Garden Centre.
• APRIL is an excellent month to establish flowering cherry trees (the variety Prunus Kanzan, pictured) and ornamental crab apples (pictured the flowers of Malus Evereste) as you generally can see the plant in bloom at the Garden Centre before making your purchase rather than relying on photographs and descriptions. Both of these trees are perfect for smaller gardens, but it is still advisable to plant around 12-15m (40-50ft) away from your property for Prunus Kanzan or 7m (20ft) for Malus Evereste, so roots don’t create problems later on. Give your tree space especially near fences, and if you can plant 1.8m (6ft) from the boundary so the tree can grow unhindered, so much the better.
• LILY BEETLES have enjoyed the wet and mild winter and these orange crawling horrors are once again on the move, coming to a lily stem near you! Be one step ahead and apply Provado Ultimate Bug Killer to help reduce the damage. Remember this insecticide is systemic and stays active within the plant for up to 6 weeks. For those you do not want to use chemicals, the little beasties are very visible when present, so a quick daily inspection picking off and crushing them should keep the plants clear.
• SOW Broad Beans (pictured), Runner and French Beans, salad crops (Beetroot, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Salad Onions, Radish), Sweet Corn, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Marrows, Pumpkins and Melons. You can start larger seeds off in Rootrainers or in individual cell trays, ideally with a clear propagator lid to help germination, in a multi-purpose compost.
If the soil in your vegetable garden is in good condition, many of these varieties can be sown direct – just check the packets for hardiness. Some soils are in awful condition after the heavy rain and will need a lot of (hopefully homemade) compost worked in to help break it down to a friable condition (tilth), so get out and work on the soil now to make sure it is ready in time.
• WEEDS are coming back into growth with great gust so deal with them before they get out of hand. Annuals are best treated with a sharp hoe or you could spot treat with a weedkiller such as Roundup Weedkiller Gel. This product is perfect for carefully applying in between existing plants, however, please bear in mind any plant material this weedkiller touches it will kill.
• ROUTINE Top dress containers with fresh compost such as Arthur Bower’s Multi-Purpose Compost, but use an ericaceous compost on lime-hating plants such as Japanese Maples, Pieris and Rhododendrons. Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems. Mow the lawn on dry days (if needed). As the spring bulbs fade, regularly deadhead the flowers (pictured). If the flowers are left on then the bulbs energy goes into forming seeds rather than building up the bulb for future blooms. A light dressing of Sulphate of Potash applied around the base of the bulbs as they die down will benefit them after the leaching effects of the heavy winter rain. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials, especially the Hostas before the end of the month. Open the greenhouse or conservatory doors and vents on warm days to allow good air circulation and to keep the temperature balanced.