Now here’s a fact; there are over 22 million gardens in the UK -
Many of the popular Daisy family make excellent pollen rich recruits to add to the garden, so if you are planning to establish Aster, Gaillardia or Helenium, put these on your shopping list. By buying a few you will be helping the charity, Medical Detection Dogs, as this year we are giving 10p from the sale of each plant to them.
Enjoy your spring garden -
SHOP NEWS: LEISURE, IRRIGATION & NEW RHS RANGE PT1
SITTING COMFORTABLY? At the Garden Centre the seasons move along fast and we will soon be into our furniture season. This year will be our biggest year yet with the large range of furnture that will be available and on show in our Garden Centre. With companies such as Alexander Rose, Kettler, Rondeau Leisure and Ascalon there is something for everyone.
From inspiring ranges designed to make you feel at home in your garden with substantial choices from Rondeau Leisure and Alexander Rose, to beautiful contemporary garden furniture from Kettler that will enhance and add luxury to all types of outdoor space whether it’s a discreet shaded balcony or a large sun soaked patio.
Our most popular bench from Alexander Rose is back -
Kettler is our fastest selling range and with its simplistic mesh and rattan designs it will easily fit into any style garden and with our easy step by step guide you can create a set to suit your needs including parasols and cushions to match. On offer this year is the stylish Jarvis rattan recliner and footstool, buy two recliners plus footstools at £499 and receive a rattan side table for worth £99 free!
IRRIGATION We are delighted to be stocking a new and innovative range of irrigation equipment from Flopro. Robust and well constructed, Flopro fittings work well with both the established Hozelock and other brands. The range includes hosepipes, hose carts and reels, spray guns, sprinklers, connectors and fittings. We’ve got a couple of special offers running until the end of April– the Flopro Mini Hose Reel (10m) and the Flopro Compact Hose Reel (20m), both £19.99 each. If you would like the opportunity to win one, please visit our website at the following link:-
Garden Centre Discount holders: Look out for our special Flopro offer in the May/June issue of the newsletter!
SHOP NEWS: LEISURE, IRRIGATION & NEW RHS RANGE PT2
NEW HORIZON Pelleted Poultry Manure 7kg for the price of 5kg, now £5.99. New Horizon Pelleted Poultry Manure is an organic alternative to chemical fertilisers. These pellets provide you with a great quality general purpose feed for a variety of plants. This nutrient rich pelleted fertiliser feeds your plants for longer and slowly releases its natural goodness into the soil; developing healthier plants, better crops and blooms. This product is formulated for use on flowers, fruit, vegetables, trees and shrubs.
NEW IN Look out for the new range of Kelkay RHS Gardeners Collection. This is the only range of gardeners’ grits and sands endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. The collection, pictured right, includes silver sand, grit sand, sharp sand, potting grit and washed gravel all available in large and handy sized packs located in our Seasonal Tunnel.
GROWISE COMPOST Best deal on 50-
CLEVER ORGANIC GROWING TIPS PT1
Pauline Brown has compiled a dozen simple hints to help and protect your veggies the organic way this growing season.
1. Grow French Marigolds or Calendulas and plant them in the greenhouse to protect against whitefly. Brush against the plants to release the strong aroma which the insects dislike so they keep well away. When in flower they will also add colour in the glasshouse – an added bonus!
2. Plant Nasturtiums next to brassicas as Cabbage white butterflies will be attracted to them and hopefully ignore your Cabbages. Also if you grow Sage near cabbages this will repel cabbage butterflies, or if this is not possible if you have a large sage plant which you can prune some twigs from, push these in amongst the cabbages and this will be as effective. Another herb to scatter around to repel cabbage butterflies is peppermint.
3. If you are growing plants in ornamental pots which are susceptible to slug damage, place the pot on bricks or some other object to raise it up, these being placed in a saucer or other suitable receptacle, then fill the saucer with water but not touching the base of the pot. The slugs will not cross the water to reach the base of the pot. However, be careful that the leaves of the plants are not touching a wall or other such object otherwise the slugs will climb this to reach their meal.
Copper slug tape is available from our web shop HERE.
5. Hang unwanted CDs and DVDs around the vegetable and fruit garden to deter birds. This is more effective if the dull side is painted a bright colour.
6. If you have enough space, create a small ‘wildlife’ pond in the garden and encourage frogs to breed in this. Frogs absolutely love to munch through your slugs. However, if you already have beneficial grass snakes you may not succeed in rearing frogs as grass snakes love feeding on amphibians.
7. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) planted in the herb garden increases the aromatic quality of herbs and also help most vegetables in their growth, not so much their size but their resistance to adverse conditions.
CLEVER ORGANIC GROWING TIPS PT2
9. Rabbits do not like Onions or any plants of the Onion (Allium) family, so if you have problems with rabbits plant as many Allium around as is practical. It won’t get rid of them, but it may deter them a little!
10. Heavy soil can be broken down by the roots of brassicas.
11. Despite what many think, clover allowed to grow in a lawn is beneficial to the surrounding grass! This is because clover adds nitrogen to the soil and this is needed by the grass. Also it stays green when the grass is affected by draught and when it comes into flower, be it white or purple, the bees love it, especially bumble bees, as it is a good source of nectar.
12. Ants are repelled by Spearmint and Pennyroyal, so growing them near the house may prevent ants from entering. If not scatter cut leaves where ants are causing problems and these should drive the ants elsewhere.
POTATO & SCIONWOOD SWAP EVENT NEWS PT1
The Springtime Scionwood Swap event held at Buckingham Garden Centre on Sunday 28th February was a great success. There was a fantastic turnout, lots of visitor interest in everything going on and the opportunity to swap scionwood from over 350 varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry and quince. I think it's safe to say that this was the biggest scionwood swap opportunity in the UK, possibly even the world!
Members of the Mid Shires Orchard Group and staff from Buckingham Garden Centre found it refreshing to meet so many enthusiastic people and be able to chat with them about their orchards, fruit trees and plans for the same if they didn't yet have them. The quantity, quality and extent of varieties of scionwood were excellent and overall it was very satisfying to see so many people turn up with their scionwood and then go home with a newly grafted tree or material to graft their own, as not only was there scionwood available but rootstocks as well.
The ability for visitors to be able to watch grafting being done in front of them was also very good as it's not something people would normally get to see. With the scionwood and an apple display, a grafting service from two experts who are members of the Mid Shires Orchard Group, Marcus Roberts and Andy Howard, grafting demos by Fritz de Zutter of Moulton College (pictured upper left), and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species display it was possible to offer up a bit of 'something for everyone' who attended.
Being back at the Buckingham Garden Centre after seven years improved the 'on the day' footfall greatly for the event and the promotion done by Buckingham Garden Centre, Mid Shires Orchard Group and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species this year encouraged a lot more interest from people living further away. There were visitors from Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and, naturally, all four Mid Shires counties (Bucks, Oxfordshire, Northants and Warwickshire).
The People’s Trust for Endangered Species efforts to encourage, secure and collate 'scionwood by post' from the far-
POTATO & SCIONWOOD SWAP EVENT NEWS PT2
We were also thrilled to have Francis and Martin Wastie there, bringing scionwood from some of their family's own bred apple varieties -
There is a lot of scionwood left over, which is in cold storage with the Mid Shires Orchard Group currently. They should be viable for a few weeks yet, so we're keen to make these available to anyone who wants them, for a small donation of £1 per piece and £2 for P&P to send bundles of up to 10 by first class post. If anyone is interested in obtaining some scion wood please visit Obtaining scion wood for details.
Whilst Scionwood Swap Day focused on popular fruits, our Potato Day homed in on providing invaluable advice on the mainstream types of vegetables. Visitors certainly kept our experts busy with the National Vegetable Society (Bucks Branch, below left), Jason Breed from Kings Seeds (pictured below right) and potato guru Colin Randel from Thompson & Morgan, pictured right with BGC’s Chris Day. Interestingly the mild winter generated many questions as to planning the best crops to cope with extreme winter wet -
TOP TASKS FOR LATE MARCH / APRIL PT1
AFTER all the rain it is hardly surprising to see it is warm enough for slugs to get going, so be alert. Traps, pellets or for example the organic Doff Slug Defence Gel, seem to be very effective. Apply them around Irises, Delphiniums and Hostas and where emerging vegetable seedlings are coming through to get the slimy beasts before they really start chomping in earnest.
GET PLANTING! If the weather is kind, now is the time to plant lovely flowering trees and shrubs such as Amelanchier, Crab apples (Malus), Magnolia stellata, M. x soulangeana, Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ (remember Pieris, in pots, if your soil is alkaline), Flowering cherries (Prunus), Sorbaria ‘Sem’ (pictured left), Spiraea and Ribes.
TOP TASKS FOR LATE MARCH / APRIL PT2
LAWNS Unfortunately regular mowing probably has already started due to the mild weather. Start to lower the blades at each successive cut. Don’t go too low, though, as this will just mean more cutting. A hover machine might be your safest bet, especially if the grass is long as this winter has been relatively mild. If your lawn gets heavy traffic it’s a good idea to aerate, scarify and apply some spring fertiliser so that it goes into summer in top shape. Remember many of the lawn products contain fertilisers as well as moss killer, especially important this spring in view of the high rainfall. Get to grips with persistent lawn weeds by using a broad leaved weedkiller such as Weedol Lawn Weedkiller to tackle difficult weeds such as Dandelion, Plantain and White Clover. As always please use chemicals wisely in the garden.
CROPPING In frost-
GLADIOLI are having a rightful renaissance. Weather permitting, plant their corms towards the end of the month. In borders, plant the corms in clusters 5-
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN ‘DREAM’ GARDEN PT1
A new garden is simply a blank canvas and that often terrifies many new gardeners, says Chris Day.
When you buy a newly built house, the garden is a blank canvas. Starting from scratch can be a daunting prospect, so make sure you have a clear plan as there are so many factors involved and decisions to make. Decide on the style of the garden, the amount of time you want to spend out there, the problems you wish to solve (be they adjacent eyesores -
The garden is a strong lifestyle statement. When you come to sell, it will be a major asset if your property has a beautiful garden that enhances your house and has many useable facets. It will invariably give it the edge over other similar properties. Sometimes, high maintenance levels and elaborate borders can push people the other way, so bear this in mind at the planning stage.
If you are going to be moving on shortly, it is worth correcting major faults, such as hiding eyesores by planting instant tree screens or even installing a bamboo screen (pictured left). It is also well worth employing a garden designer to do an initial design that will bring the space together and maximise its potential. This is the bit that beginners often struggle with, whereas a professional should enable you to create a great-
If you are intending to stay long-
There are so many different ways you can define and form garden spaces. For instance, if you want a 1.8m, eye-
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN ‘DREAM’ GARDEN PT2
The same goes for paving. In one of my previous gardens the ‘paved’ area was grass initially, defined with Box and Rosemary edged beds, and then later we replaced the grass with a mix of paving, gravel and a sea of Thyme (pictured left) and other soil-
What is the best way to create borders?
The advantage of a clean slate is that you can plan and plant your borders in one fell swoop, which makes it so much easier to get them right. Plan your border on paper, work out your quantities, do come and have a chat with us so we can look at the best options. Delay the planting until you have soil prepared in your borders. This enables you sufficient time to eradicate all perennial and many annual weeds in the interim. If you have a particularly weedy plot, consider the use of landscape fabric, sometimes referred to as garden underlay. Once laid you simply plant through it keeping the perennials and annual weeds at bay.
Don't forget when planning borders that intricate mixes of plants take a lot of maintenance, whereas larger quantities of a few stunning stalwarts -
How do you get the mature look fast?
Gardeners often think spending money on large trees and plants will do the trick, but in my experience if you spend the same budget on smaller plants, over a five year period you get more bang for your buck. However, we can source larger mature trees, so check with us to identify the best options and prices. Remember larger bare-
In five years, the smaller trees would probably have overtaken the larger and en masse would have greater impact. They would not require staking nor need the same amount of TLC. The choice is yours, and you may well end up mixing and matching.
What if the soil is not up to scratch?
A common complaint with new homes is that 5cm (2in) below the turf, the ground is loaded with old bricks, consolidated clay, sub-
To an extent, the presence of small chunks of hardcore is not such a problem in borders. On a couple of sites, I have grown hedges and tree belts in rubble and hardcore and you can get remarkable growth. If you want optimum conditions, perhaps for vegetables, great roses and a wide range of shrubs and perennials, bringing in loads of spent mushroom compost, Tree, Shrub & Rose Compost and topsoil to boost humus levels helps enormously.
OUR PLANNED GARDEN VISITS IN 2016
Our February visit to the wonderful winter garden and snowdrop displays at Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire didn’t disappoint. Over 70% of the snowdrops were in flower despite the season running many weeks early. The fantastic variety of stem colour, bark interest and winter fragrance was impressive and it really made you realise how essential the likes of Dogwoods (Cornus), Christmas Box (Sarcococca) and Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) are.
We have a full timetable of trips planned so don’t delay in contacting us at the Customer Service Desk for more details or to register interest.
Thursday 28th April: National Herb Centre & National Trust Coughton Court (click here).
Wednesday 18th May: Chatsworth House & Garden (click here).
Tuesday 28th June: Painswick Rococo Garden & Sudeley Castle Gardens (click here).
Sunday 3rd July: Exclusive Garden Centre Club Members’ visit to Evenley Wood Garden Lily & Rose Festival Day, plus one hour Garden Tour, self drive (click here).
Wednesday 20th July: The Diss Experience at Blooms of Bressingham (click here).
Tuesday 6th September: The Royal Horticultural Gardens Wisley & Flower Show (click here).
You can find out more about these on our website at https://www.buckinghamgardencentre.co.uk/april2016.html.
EVERY SUNDAY Stock up on your fresh fruits and vegetables as Aston Clinton-
WEDNESDAY 13th APRIL We will be delighted to welcome Gary Leaver, Head Gardener at Hill Close Gardens in Warwick.
Gary will give an insight into the history, restoration and year round appeal of these unique Victorian gardens. All our talks are in the Talks Room in the Restaurant, at the new time of 4pm, 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-
Click HERE for more details.
THURSDAY 28th APRIL Garden Centre Visit to National Herb Centre & National Trust Coughton Court. £45 BGC Garden Card Members, £50 for non BGC Members or for National Trust Members a reduction of £9 on the price. To book please contact our Customer Service Desk.
Click HERE for more details.
WEDNESDAY 11th MAY Popular speaker Howard Drury joins us once again and this time his talk takes us through Getting the Best from Climbers and Wall Shrubs. As always you can expect great practical advice from Howard and always a few surprises along the way. See Wednesday 13th April for booking details.
WEDNESDAY 18th MAY Garden Centre Visit to Chatsworth House & Garden. £58 BGC Garden Card Members, £63 for non BGC Members. To book please contact our Customer Service Desk.
Click HERE for more details.
CELEBRATING LANCELOT ‘CAPABILITY’ BROWN
Chris Day celebrates the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown's birth. As a keen visitor to Stowe Landscape Gardens, literally on our doorstep, it feels fitting to pay homage to one of our gardening greats, who truly had vision beyond belief.
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–1783) changed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and creating lakes.
Lancelot Brown was born in Northumberland and served an apprenticeship with Sir William Lorraine. A move to Buckinghamshire in 1739 led to employment by Lord Cobham at Stowe in 1741, where his job as head gardener was to last 10 years.
It was his time here at Stowe that gave Brown the opportunity to work with William Kent and see great works carried out there under the overall direction of Kent. Lancelot Brown was a leader in the development of the style of gardening known as 'natural', 'English' or 'serpentine'.
In 1751, Brown became an independent landscape gardener, although he described himself as a 'place-
Lancelot Brown became known as 'Capability' because of his fondness of speaking of a country estate having a great 'capability' for improvement. He rejected the very formal geometric French style of gardening, a perfect example being at Versailles, and concentrated on echoing the natural undulations of the English landscape.
Characteristics of his work included grass meadows in front of the mansion, serpentine lakes, follies, encircling carriage drives, belts and circular clumps of trees. Bridges (pictured right the Palladian Bridge at Stowe) or cascades often were used to connect the 'natural' lakes and a great many formal gardens were destroyed on Brown's say-
Lancelot Capability Brown's career of 32 years saw his style hardly change with the serpentine shapes becoming his hallmark. His popularity peaked at the time of his death, but then fell into decline, reaching its lowest point in the 1880s. By 1980 however, after a gradual recovery Lancelot Brown was recognised as a genius of English garden design.
Lancelot Capability Brown's sympathetic method of working meant that of the 200 plus parks he designed a surprising number remain in good condition. Often they have adapted well to modern day use as public parks, farms, golf courses and schools. Some of the estates he designed are Blenheim Palace, Bowood and Longleat in Wiltshire, Chatsworth House (make sure you join us on our Garden Centre visit in May!), Harewood House, Prior Park and of course, Stowe. It is at these parks that gardeners today can appreciate Lancelot Capability Brown's magnificently designed landscapes.
LOOK OUT FOR OUR SPECIAL EASTER TREATS IN STORE
We have plenty of tasty treats in our Food Hall including a great range of Easter cakes and confectionary for those with a sweet tooth. Look out for the special offers on the Cottage Delight ranges too!
Be tempted by our Buy 3 For the Price of 2 offer on our Prepared Frozen Ready Meals. The range, all cooked by our restaurant team, includes popular dishes such as Chilli con Carne, Chicken Curry with Rice, Meat Balls in Tomato and Basil Sauce and Sausage and Mash with Onion Gravy.
If you need to update the contents of your garden shed and need a new digging or border fork or spade then the Kent and Stowe tools range is well worth a look at. We’ve discounted them to £19.99 each. The digging spade recently won the Gardeners’ World Magazine’s ‘Best Buy’ accolade!
In the Plant Area, Japanese Maples feature in April as the must-
If you are looking to start a new herb garden then look out for the new season range of 9cm and larger 1-
Finally, don’t forget to help our chosen charity, The Medical Detection Dogs, with our ongoing fundraising promotion throughout 2016. Purchase a hardy plant belonging from the Daisy family (including Achillea, Aster, Coreopsis, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Gerbera, Helenium, Pyrethrum, and Rudbeckia and we will donate 10p from every plant sale to the Charity.
To download a PDF copy of our latest newsletter, please click here.
Featured on our web shop:
Buckingham Nurseries and Garden Centre,
Tingewick Road, Buckingham, MK18 4AE, UK.
Tel: 01280 822133 -