There is never a dull moment in the world of gardening, especially when it comes to the weather! Snow, ice, frost and biting easterly winds haven’t really been kind to us this spring. They often say you can get the four seasons in a week, however mid March and I think we had them all in one day! Of course the impact isn’t just to keeping the roads open, or delaying those first outdoor sowings, it’s the effect on our wildlife. Recently both bumble and honey bees (pages 8-
Whether you spend an hour or a day tending to your plot, the cheery sight of Monty Don and the Gardeners’ World team helps enthuse and entertain us. The Beechgrove Garden returns later in April to our screens with inspiration and practical instruction. It is then up to us to put it all into action. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Enjoy your late spring garden -
OUR EXPANDED FOOD HALL TAKES CENTRE STAGE PT1
It’s all change in our lower level shop as our newly extended Food Hall has now taken shape in what was our Aquatics area. Sadly we’ve had to retire our aquatics and poultry livestock sections. However, we will still be selling popular lines of the bird care range, pets and aquatic plants and products. This major change around has given us the perfect opportunity to develop a much bigger and improved Food Hall for our customers and has allowed us to introduce a whole new range of products as well as expanding many of our existing ones. This is certainly true of Wrendale Designs by Portmeirion, which continues to grow, so there’s always something new to add to your collection.
New to the area is Kilner by Rayware featuring a host of practical preserving jars (pictured left) and the essential accessories. There is no doubt home preserving is one of the areas where gardeners like to take the plunge into cookery so ensuring the fruits of their labours are tastefully preserved. Rayware also supply Mason & Cash, famed for their great range of traditional mixing bowls and baking accessories. Recently this has been expanded into cake tins, in a cool blue theme.
Kitchen Craft covers many items within the Food Hall area and a new addition for us is a freestanding stand holding a wide range of kitchen utensils all priced for different budgets, from
traditional wooden kitchen utensils, spatulas, honey dippers, forks, spoons and scoops. However we continue to carry the hugely popular Stow Green range which can be found in the baking area.
This years colour trend is cream, green, white and grey and we have embraced that in many ways. Firstly with the Walton & Company which we introduced at the end of last year. The range now includes decorative tableware, table runners, placemats, aprons, oven gloves and mitts. There are also a few napkins and rings just to add that extra touch when you dress your table.
Walton & Co are known to be one of the oldest manufacturing companies in Yorkshire and their beautiful table linens in cream, blue, grey and green now feature in their range. However, also look out for their spring/summer 2018 lemon grass range. Proving popular is the quintessential English Bumblebee print design in 100% cotton (pictured above right). Sales help support the wonderful work carried out by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
OUR EXPANDED FOOD HALL TAKES CENTRE STAGE PT2
Secondly, we have extended the range of T&G into grey and white, alongside the cream and green. T&G is mainly crockery storage and other accessories for the kitchen. We continue this theme with Kitchen Craft tinware also in cream, blue, grey and now with the introduction of green. On the theme of green, this tinware range now includes compost bins.
Our new and extended Mug Wall features Churchill China and is a great place for inspiration if you are planning to update your current mug collection this spring.
Many of our homeware ranges make particularly good gift ideas and the Peggy Wilkins’ range of gloves, oven gloves, aprons and tea towels certainly fits the bill.
Our ever popular ranges of Mrs Bridges jams and conserves has been moved to the Food Hall with exciting new lines being introduced this spring. Do watch out for some special promotional offers: these include Blackcurrant Preserve with Sloe Gin, Orange Curd and Apricot & Orange Chutney to name just a few. Located close by and sharing a flavoursome following is the popular range from Cottage Delight, which feature over a number of shelves a host of tasty treats -
One of the biggest success stories for our Food Hall has been our cake sales. The popularity of the Fatherson Bakery continues to go from strength to strength -
You’ll notice a few changes elsewhere in the area, including a new Weber BBQ display in the lower shop opposite Bird Care and next to our Restaurant. A full range of gas and charcoal models are displayed together with an extensive range of accessories to make the best of your BBQ. We also introduced a new supplier called Not Just BBQ. This company promotes an assortment of food items that not only make outdoor cooking easier, but make your dishes taste even better! We will be stocking a comprehensive range of rubs (selected herbs and spices), shakers (perfect seasoning), grinders (pre and post seasoning to the dish), seasoning (for ultimate BBQ dishes), marinades, sauces, and much more. Also available are rather dapper real leather aprons,perfect for the protection against splatter and heat.
SPRING HAS SPRUNG AT EVENLEY WOOD GARDEN
As spring time approaches the wood begins with a pop of yellow, writes Alison O’Hare.
After the spectacular display of Snowdrops, Evenley is spoiled with displays of Narcissi.
The first one to show its beauty is the Narcissus ‘Rijnveld's Early Sensation’. These have been out in the garden since early December! They will be closely followed by Narcissus cyclamineus (pictured right). These are small but certainly mighty in their yellow splendour, so make sure you see the best of these along the Top Walk, growing well in the acid soil and spreading nicely. There have even been a few on sale at the gate this year.
Other highlights include N. ‘Englander’. This is a medium sized Daffodil that is also happy in acid soil. Various other varieties of Narcissus can be seen throughout the wood.
Other sights to see in the garden are the first green buds beginning to show, with the Hawthorn leaves being one of the first to emerge. The Magnolia buds are beginning to swell with the arrival of milder temperatures, ready to burst out when the warmer temperatures arrive.
Justin Litten, Head Gardener at Evenley Wood Garden, advises that three of the highlights at Evenley during the spring are the Magnolia ' Yellow River', a native of China, Davidia involucrata considered a prime specimen, and of course the very special Magnolia, ‘Evenley Gift’ that was named by the late Tim Whiteley. This spectacular specimen is a cross between M. ‘Simple Pleasures’ and M. ‘Big Dude’ and produces the most wonderful white flowers with a hint of pink that can be at least (30 to 40cm) 12 to 14 inches across when fully opened. This amazing specimen can be seen in Bond Street in the Garden and is best seen when the sun is out.
Another firm favourite is the 800 metre long Scilla ‘stream’ (pictured right) crossing the wood with its blue carpet of Scilla siberica and S. bithynica. Stream Garden, Pond Ride and Ash Beds are all areas worth taking in on your next visit. These first signs of what lies ahead can lift the spirits on even the gloomiest of spring days.
Evenley Wood Garden is open daily between 9:30am to 4pm until November. Admission: Adults £5 and Children £1. Cafe open at weekends. Group tours are available through the season by appointment. Closed on selected dates – it is advisable to check the Garden’s website before making your journey. www.evenleywoodgarden.co.uk
A TROPICAL PARADISE (BUT BRING THE INSECT REPELLANT)
A trip out to Thailand in February had Chris Day literally running for cover, in Phuket’s amazing Botanic Gardens in Chalong. So, on a day’s sightseeing we asked our driver if he could take us to see some horticulture, we had heard there was an orchid farm nearby. His reaction was a blunt ‘No’, there’s better and I’ll take you there as our taxi hurdled down a dusty narrow road. Well, what a great choice it turned out to be -
The tree clinging orchids and bromeliads in the rain forest section were visually stunning, especially as you could see the odd tiny tree frog living in the vase of the plants. It was a Sir David Attenborough moment and for a split second I thought I was in one of his amazing wildlife shows. However, whilst we were walking around with a group it became apparent that we were not alone. Yes, lots of biting insects (midges and mosquitoes) followed along, so there was lots of leg, shoulder and even head slapping to see off these little blighters. The high humidity and all this plant life meant we were in their play ground and they were boss! We walked on relentlessly taking in the flora, the English Gardens with featured statues, an evergreen shrub resembling Box (but it wasn’t labelled) and roses, yes HT and Shrub roses in profusion and that was it! A gem of scents were unearthed in the fragrant garden, Gardenia the size of Butterfly bushes dripping with heady scents, jasmines twining around tree stems and lots of groundcover Petunias gorgeously scented at your feet I watched two of the Garden staff water some newly planted sub-
Admission: 500 Thai Baht (£11.50) /Midges and Mosquitos free.
PUZZLE CORNER -
Would you like to win a £25 Buckingham Garden Centre Gift Voucher? Enter our crossword competition below. Use the clues to fill in the answers. Take the letters from the shaded boxes which form an anagram of a popular bedding plant.
5. Large garden of tree species and varieties (9)
7. Long period without rainfall (7)
10. Ex Gardeners' World presenter who writes novels (10)
13. Stachys has ____ leaves? (5)
15. Relocate a plant? (10)17. A tool for gathering leaves or smoothing the soil (4)
19. A unit of liquid (5)
20. Strawberry 'Mara des ____ (4)
1. Famous Cheshire Flower Show (6)
2. Plant seeds (3)
3. Famous London Botanic Garden (3)
4. By any other name they would smell that sweet (5)
6. Daisies that flower late summer onwards (10)
7. Alexandrian Laurel (5)
8. Gloucestershire Royal Garden (9)
9. Anvil and Bypass are two types of which popular hand tools? (9)
11. Remove spent flowers? Dead____ (4)
12. Lime tolerant rhododendron (6)
14. _____ Domoney, co-
16. A raised wooden structure loved by children. _____ house (4)
Once you have solved the anagram, send the plant name you have discovered by e-
JANUARY/FEBRUARY CROSSWORD ANSWERS
Did you try our crossword in the last newsletter? See if you were correct, the answers are below:
4. Cornus also known as ___ wood? (3) DOG
5. The Royal Estate gardens hold the National Collection of these fruits (10) TAYBERRIES
9. RootGrow® is a friendly form of this fungi? (10) MYCORRHIZA
10. Hosta enemy? (5) SLUGS
11. Which Lingonberry variety can you grow in the UK? (3) ADA
12. Favourite Beatles' rose perhaps? (5,4) PENNY LANE
15. A local Tayberry? (10) BUCKINGHAM
16. Latin name for heather (5) ERICA
17. ‘Christmas Pippin', 'Katy' and 'Surprize' are all dessert forms of this fruit? (5) APPLE
1. A prickly large evergreen shrub or small tree famed for its berries? (5) HOLLY
2. 'Aros', 'Golden Hornet' and 'Rudolph' are well-
3. Latin name for box (5) BUXUS
6. Fast growing evergreen tree from Down Under? (10) EUCALYPTUS
7. The Geranium voted RHS Flower of the Century (7) ROZANNE
8. Both flowers and berries are widely used to make delicious wines, cordials and teas? (5) ELDER
13. Essential tool for planting? (5) SPADE
14. English ____, aromatic herb (4) MACE
So the solution to the anagram we were looking for was BLACKTHORN
WINSLOW COMMUNITY BUS TRIPS
We have forged strong links with the Winslow & District Community Bus (WDCB) with regular visits of customers coming to the Garden Centre from the neighbouring villages over the past few years. At the same time we have also been developing our schedule of Garden outings as many of you will have enjoyed over the years. However, apart from a few popular destinations we have found it difficult to fill the minimum number of people in a coach for it to be financially viable. We will continue to support the more popular venues, but we are working with the Winslow Community Bus to help promote their visits to gardens this year. The Community Bus is a charity and non-
CLARE PRICE WORKSHOPS
Following on from last year’s successful Workshops with Clare Price we are planning to run a number of Garden Workshops once again this year. The subjects and dates Clare will be covering are as follows;-
SPRING PROPAGATION on Saturday 28th April, 10am-
RAISED BEDS AND CONTAINER GARDENING on Saturday 16th June, 10am-
SUMMER PRUNING on Friday 20th July, 10am-
AUTUMN/WINTER ESSENTIALS on Saturday 20th October, 10am-
We have limited spaces on each workshop of no more than 15 people. Booking is strictly on a first come first served basis.
Please note tea or filter coffee will be available at the start and during each workshop. The cost for the Workshop will be £19.99 for valid Buckingham Garden Centre Garden Card holders and £24.99 for those who do not hold a card.
BEE AWARE! A FOCUS ON NEW LOCAL BEE-
There is much written about the plight of the bee so please do not think this will be yet another anti-
We have been bee keepers at our Garden Centre for many years and last year had seven active hives here. As a result we always get good crops of fruit, and the bee friendly flowers in the selling area are always very obvious as they will be well visited by bees. In fact several times this year when the sun has been shining (yes it has done!) flowers such as the hellebores have been buzzing with bees.
We are well aware of the benefits of consuming local honey, so we have been in contact with local honey producers to ensure we have a supply of local honey available in our shop.
Honey from our own bees always seems popular, so much so that we do not have enough but we are members of the Buckingham and District Beekeepers Association who put us in contact with beekeepers we would not otherwise be aware of. The B.D.B.A. are a small friendly group who hold a monthly meeting in Chackmore where they have interesting and informative talks about bees and related subjects. You do not have to be a beekeeper to attend, so if you are interested please contact Ray Mitchell on email@example.com.
The honeys we have in stock at the moment are as follows:-
Meadow Bees. This honey comes from a small family business based in Brackley who have bees in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. Not only do they sell honey but also arrange beekeeping courses and they have an interesting web-
Buckinghamshire Honey. This honey is produced at the Longville Apiary in Newton Longville by J & L Dietsch. We have their set (granulated) honey in stock, but if you wish to restore this to its liquid state this can be easily done by either standing the jar in hot water, or heating it in a microwave on the lowest power.
Honey from an Organic Farm. This is from bees kept by Farokh Khoroski in Singleborough. Although his land is certified as ‘organic’ the honey cannot be as the bees are free to fly to non-
Brackley Bees Honey. Despite its name this honey comes from Lara Manton’s hives in Radclive, just down the road from the Garden Centre, so when you see bees on plants here they could be ours or Lara’s. Lara is the daughter of Tony Manton and lives in Brackley, and bee keeping is in the family as Tony has hives locally and takes his hives to different orchards further west to help with pollination. Lara is a ‘young’ beekeeper (under 30!) who is graduating from the Bee Farmers’ apprenticeship scheme but also has qualifications in science.
At other times of the year we have honey from our own bees and from Abbey Farm, Singleborough, and we are always looking for other local suppliers.
Apart from the honey we also have some useful and ornamental bee related products, pictured right. There are very attractive tea towels, serviettes, decorated food protectors, storage jars and colourful Beehive Memo Boards on which reminder notes can be popped behind the straps.
ULTRA VIOLET COLOUR IS WELCOME NEWS TO OUR BEES!
When Pantone reveals its annual ‘colour of the year’ prediction, the design world sits up and takes note, says Chris Day. However gardeners are now also looking at the trends of colour so, it begs the question -
Writer Kassia St Clair, whose book The Secret Lives of Colour looks at the stories behind various different hues, points out that true Ultra Violet “is not a colour, but a kind of electromagnetic radiation beyond the visible spectrum”. But she notes purple’s long-
So, how can we use this dramatic colour in our gardens? Well, lets start with a massive positive -
So, how do we get the best Ultra Violet colour into our gardens? If you create your own garden rooms you could of course be bold and paint a wall or fence to create a backdrop to show off your plants. I suspect silver foliage plants, white flowered perennials and maybe variegated shrubs will create the necessary ‘wow’ factor.
If, however, you want a pallet of purple flowers then look no further than Alliums, Agapanthus, Anemones, Asters, Crocus, Chives, Dahlias, Delphiniums, Dianthus, Digitalis, Geraniums, Petunias especially ‘Night Sky’ (pictured above right), Phlox, Lavender, Osteospermum, Salvia, Senetti, Verbena, Violas and Wisteria.
Good purple foliage plants include the large shrub Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’, the herbaceous Sedum telephium ‘Xenox’ and of course the wonderful perennial Heuchera. Choose from the vibrant purple tones of ‘Forever Purple’, ‘Amethyst Mist’ and ‘Obsidian’ to add drama to your pots and border.
BBOWT: OUR CHOSEN CHARITY OF 2018
The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is the only voluntary organisation concerned with all aspects of nature conservation in our three counties. They care for 85 nature reserves that are safe havens for rare and endangered species and habitats.
BBOWT’s vision is an environment rich in wildlife, valued by all. Their aim is to lead the way for nature’s recovery, and to connect people with nature.
A local charity supported by the generosity of their members, BBOWT encourages all sectors of the community to learn about and care for our natural heritage, and works with other landowners, seeking to influence decisions to safeguard important wildlife habitats.
There are many ways to support their work, from visiting your local reserve (pictured left, Loddon Nature Reserve) and sharing your photos online to help enthuse others about wildlife, to attending a guided walk, to becoming a BBOWT member.
If you would like to find out more about BBOWT’s work and how you can get involved, visit their website: www.bbowt.org.uk
Our first talk from Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust is on Wednesday 9th May (see our events page HERE for full details). We’ll have literature and details available at the Garden Centre together with video information and leaflets available in the main Foyer.
WEB SITE UPDATE -
We have been working hard to improve the section on our website for our Gardeners’ Retreat restaurant. In the next few months we will be re-
It will also feature our independent TripAdvisor reviews so that you can see what other customers thought of their visit. There will also be full details of how to contact the restaurant.
But the feature we are most excited about will be the new ‘Daily Specials’ page. Each day the restaurant staff will upload details of what the specials will be for that day. There will be a ‘Soup of the Day’, the ‘Chefs’ Specials’, a ‘Pie of the Day’ and a ‘Quiche of the Day’. All this information will be live on the day. So, as well as standard menus, you will also be able to check the website and see what Daily Specials the Gardeners’ Retreat are serving before your visit! The new section is in the final stages of development. Our IT team are just making a few last minute tweaks and tests to make sure we provide you with the best possible information when visiting the Gardeners’ Retreat. Lookout on the front page of our website, on our social media pages and in the restaurant for more information when this goes live.
EVERY SUNDAY Between 10am-
MAY TASTING SESSIONS in our Food Hall include on Saturday 19th May Saturday Biscuit tasting with Cartwright & Butler and Saturday 26th May the Cottage Delight Mini Globes Promotion. See in store and TV screens for details.
WEDNESDAY 9th MAY We will be delighted to welcome Kate Sheard (left), BBONT’s Community Wildlife Officer for Buckinghamshire to talk about the work BBONT carry out in Buckinghamshire, and also a look at the Milton Keynes Festival of Nature which will be upcoming shortly after this talk The talk will begin at 4pm in the Talks Room in the Restaurant, as part of our Garden Centre talks programme, and will last approx 45 minutes with time for questions afterwards. To book a seat call us on 01280 822133. Free to holders of a valid Buckingham Garden Centre Garden Card, £3 for those without a card.
FRIDAY 11th to SUNDAY 13th MAY The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust will be joining us in the main Foyer between 10am -
JUNE TASTING SESSIONS in our Food Hall See or events pages on our website, in store and TV screens for details.
WEDNESDAY 6th JUNE Garden Centre organised visit to Kew Botanic Gardens. Pick up time 8.30am returning to the Garden Centre by 5.30pm. £55.00 for holders of a valid Buckingham Garden Centre Garden Card, £60.00 for those without a card. See instore for details and to book. Please note early booking is essential as we are limited to 28 places!
WEDNESDAY 13th JUNE at 4pm Summer is the time when we should see gardens looking at their very best, but which plants really do perform well and which really do last a season? In this talk we look at a wide range of plants from bulbs through to herbaceous, shrubs and trees that really do give a glorious display during the summer months. Top expert Howard Drury introduces us to his favourite ‘Summer Glories’ in his informative and entertaining style. See Wednesday 9th May for booking details.
MONDAY 9th JULY Winslow Community Bus organised visit to Hidcote Manor & Kiftsgate Gardens. Full details available in store. Price £10 for travel, plus normal entry fee to gardens. To book please contact Sue Marchant on 01296 715786.
SUNDAY 19th AUGUST Garden Centre visit to Highgrove Garden, Tetbury in Gloucestershire. The visit includes a fully guided tour around the gardens. £65.00 for holders of a valid Buckingham Garden Centre Garden Card, £70.00 for those without a card. See instore for details and to book please contact the Customer Service Desk. We only have 25 places to fill.
SPECIAL OFFER COUPONS FOR
GARDEN CARD HOLDERS
If you are a holder of a valid Buckingham Garden Centre Garden card, please print off and use these vouchers at the Garden Centre to obtain discounts with these very special offers exclusive to Garden Card holders only:
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BUCKINGHAM NURSERIES AND GARDEN CENTRE, Tingewick Road, Buckingham, MK18 4AE
Tel: 01280 822133 Fax: 01280 815491 E-
GARDEN CENTRE: Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 6.00pm • Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm
RESTAURANT: Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 4.30pm • Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm