The Garden Centre industry came under close scrutiny in the summer when an ITV news special, The Trouble with Garden Centres, looked at plastic and peat usage. As a independent garden centre we have reacted and continue to react to this challenge on a daily basis tackling our own green recycling as a matter of priority and care. The gardening trade, especially UK growers, are generally looking to change to ‘taupe’ pots which can be recycled at kerbside collection. Let’s hope our European neighbours can embrace this post-
The use of peat reduced composts now accounts for around 90% of sales and with the likes of the National Trust and Kew Gardens going totally peat-
So, compost bins at the ready -
SHOP NEWS: COVER UP AND WINTER STORAGE
As autumn approaches our thoughts begin to turn to safeguarding our garden tools and other outdoor essentials such as barbecues and garden furniture. If you don’t have a garden shed you may want to consider one of the popular storage trunks such as the Keter Hudson Bench which provides a comfortable seating option for two adults. The innovative wood look and feel technology provides all the stylish benefits of wooden furniture with none of the maintenance drawbacks. Attractive and low-
For garden furniture and BBQs the use of protective covers is a simple yet effective way of keeping them safe from the worst of the weather, while leaving them in situ rather than finding them a new home for the winter. Garland offer a excellent range of premium polyester covers with a 7 year guarantee for Bistro sets, Kettle and Standard BBQs, Parasols, Stacking Chairs, Garden Benches as well as round and rectangular Furniture Sets. Also available for Stacking Chairs, Parasols and Benches are super-
Keeping your plants safe and snug through the winter is essential, especially if you plan to over-
We do have a more robust wooden grow house available, normally £129.99 but currently £99.99. This model is glazed in robust clear twin wall polycarbonate with opening doors to the front as well as a hinged roof. Both fit into a relatively small space.
It’s always wise to have some horticultural fleece handy to help provide a useful duvet covering to your over-
EXCITING NEW PLANTS IN OUR MAIL-
We have now completed our new mail-
A couple of new Hostas to tempt you with this season -
From late October we will be delighted to be offering as a root-
THE GENTLE ART OF HOME PRESERVING PT1
This autumn, as gardens and hedgerows swell with fruits and berries, we are extending our Kilner range to offer everything you need for jam making and preserving.
Making your own jam is a great way of ensuring none of the season’s delectable harvest goes to waste whilst giving you the satisfaction of eating something you have picked and produced yourself. Home made jams also make lovely gifts for friends and family.
If you are new to jam making, don’t be intimidated. Pick up a free mini guide in-
Even if pickling and preserving isn’t for you, Kilner’s great range of products may still have something of interest. Their popular drinks dispenser is great for parties. Just fill it up and let people help themselves! Or have a look at their spaghetti store jar. It has a nifty little feature that lifts the spaghetti up and fans it out, so you no longer need to tip the whole jar upside down to get to the pasta. And of course, their wide variety of jars come in different sizes and styles that are functional, stylish and can be used for storing all sorts of things around the home.
If you are new to preserving or simply a seasoned preserve enthusiast, there are few tips on the next page to help you along your way!
THE GENTLE ART OF HOME PRESERVING PT2
If you are new to preserving or simply a seasoned preserve enthusiast, here are few tips to help you along your way:
STERILISE Always sterilise your equipment and jars to avoid introducing bacteria or wild yeasts that can spoil your preserves. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse, then sterilise in a low oven for 10 minutes before use. Pop seals in a bowl and cover with freshly boiled water.
PERFECT PRODUCE Pickling and jam-
WHAT PAN? A wide pan is best for jam and chutney-
SAFETY FIRST Remember that sugar gets very hot, so use a long-
BUY SPARES For acidic preserves such as pickles and chutneys, metal jar lids need to have a plastic-
CREATE A VACUUM After filling your jars with hot jam, chutney or pickle and adding lids, a vacuum will form as the preserve cools. Re-
WHICH VINEGAR? For home-
NO TABLE SALT Use coarse salt for clarity in pickling; table salt contains anti-
COOL PROPERLY Wait until your preserves are completely cold before labelling, as the labels won't stick properly on hot jars.
HOW LONG WILL THEY KEEP? Unopened pickles and preserves can be kept for several months or longer in a cool dark place, but, once open, store them in the fridge and eat within a month.
WHAT’S NEW IN THE FOOD HALL?
It’s always exciting at this time of the year as the season moves on so does the range of new tempting and delicious food items increases. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
• Buttery nibbles such as Cheese Straws and Twists are on a special Two for £5.50 offer from Cottage Delight.
• Delicious Cottage Delight duos (packs of two) including mini preserves, chutneys and curds at a special price of 2 for £7.50.
• Classic hamper sets, including Cheese Board, Sweet Treats and Perfect Pâté normally retail at £16.99 but we have them on a special price at £13.50. They would make a perfect gift, especially with Christmas just around the corner.
Look out for our new range of tableware from Mason Cash. It is a range of white and grey plates, bowls, serving dishes etc. with a slight ribbed effect. As we’re amidst The Great British Bake Off, do take a look at our range of essential baking accessories including baking tins, wooden utensils, specialist flours and other kitchen essentials.
New in the Food Hall alongside the honey are Wendy’s Pure Beeswax Handcrafted Candles which are made locally in Tingewick. They are 100% pure beeswax (no paraffin), nothing more. They are all wonderful works of art and will give you a bright flame, and burn with a lovely natural honey scent for a long time.
GET INSPIRATION BY VISITING LOCAL GARDENS
We gardeners are a canny lot. We endeavour to grow the best plants for our gardens. However sharing useful practical information of what plants perform best in various soils and locations sometimes isn’t as easy as it should be, writes Chris Day. So, the opportunity to have a look and nosey around other people’s gardens is a good way to see what’s doing well (and not so well!)
There are several ways of doing this, one being visiting gardens open under the The National Garden Scheme (NGS). This was established back in 1927, and actively encourages "the opening of gardens of quality, character and interest to the public for charity". It has been very popular and £50 million has been raised for charity since its beginning and many keen gardeners have gained inspiration from looking at the very varied gardens.
Every other year Winslow has its popular ‘in Bloom’ open gardens event giving the opportunity to delve into people’s front and back gardens. Even more local to the Garden Centre, Tingewick and Water Stratford Horticultural Society invite their members to open their gardens for judging.
Over the years I have been fortunate to be able to help in judging some local gardens and also I have spent many a happy day visiting many of the wonderful local gardens open with the NGS scheme. Over the years trends have changed but recently I have found that raised borders for vegetables are now a popular choice and practical too. Also raised beds are good for growing ornamentals, including shrubs. It’s good to see local gardeners planting for climate change, especially using prairie style plantings and using such plants as Salvias, Verbena bonariensis, Monarda, Erigeron and a wealth of grasses including Monty Don’s favourites, Stipa tenuissima and Stipa gigantea, Feather Grass and Giant Feather Grass.
As we tend to use our gardens as fun and versatile outdoor entertainment areas, there’s plenty of scope to marry contemporary with traditional ideas to create a very personal space. From re-
Gardens really do say an awful lot about their owners, their characters, their passion, idiosyncrasies, and most of all their endeavour to make their garden special.
Make sure you take advantage of visiting gardens to be inspired.
GET INSPIRATION BY VISITING THE GARDEN CENTRE
FEED THE BIRDS. Pop along to the Garden Centre and browse amongst the choice of bird feeders, bird houses, bird tables and different types of bird food. In the dreary days of winter nothing gives more pleasure than watching birds coming near your window to feed, or bathe. If you put the food out at a regular time it is amazing how the birds know this and await their ‘free’ meal. If you have friends it’s good to invite them in for a cup of tea when you know your birds will visit as you can enjoy them together. Also if you have grandchildren, get a simple bird identification book, get them in and soon they will be learning the names of the different species. They may even get more enthusiastic and want a pair of binoculars to see with. (An idea for a Christmas present!) It is fun to find which food the birds prefer so that you know which to buy. From loose mixed seed at £1.05 a kg, 99p for 3+ kg or £12.99 for a 20kg sack, to sunflower seed at £1.99 a kilo, £1.75 per kg for 3+kg or £14.99 for a 12.75kg sack, or fat balls at £6.99 for 50 or £12.00 for 100 and so much more. The choice is yours when you have found what your birds prefer.
PLANT BULBS IN ANTICIPATION OF SPRING. Now is the time to get outside when the weather is still pleasant and warm and get loads of bulbs planted. You can then sit back and enjoy cozy evenings by the fire (if you have one!) knowing that you will have a blaze of colour in the spring. The choice of bulbs is vast and if you need advice as to what to plant where, just come in to the plant information office and ask. You can’t go wrong with daffodils and narcissi and named varieties will cost £5.99 for 2kg, or £12.99 for 7kg. If more are needed a 20kg sack of mixed daffodils and narcissi are £34.99. If you want less height, the ever popular Tête à Tête cost £2.99 for 8 or £6.99 for 20 and we have 60 named varieties of specie crocus and 15 varieties of dwarf iris. If you really don’t know what to choose why not simply buy a pack aptly named ‘150 days of Colour Collection’ where you will have 50 bulbs for £9.99. Just come in, choose, then plant with the anticipation of colour in spring.
TAKE TIME TO DIGEST ALL YOU HAVE SEEN! Recently we have been delighted to be able to welcome people into our newly extended restaurant. Gone are those annoying lunchtime queues as you can now sit in the comfortable, brightly decorated, new area, or the original. In both you will receive the normal cheerful, efficient waitress service and be able to choose from the same menu. The long bench across the back of the new area is proving popular with large parties or for families with children.
A new extra from the chefs in the kitchen is their home produced plum jam and apple sauce which are served with the appropriate meals or can be purchased from the Food Hall.
APPLE NAMING AND THE MID SHIRE ORCHARD NEEDS YOU!
Good friend of the Garden Centre, Gerry Edwards, will be once again joining for our Apple & Honey Show Weekend over the 28th and 29th September. Gerry, as you probably know, is our popular apple identification expert, Royal Horticultural Society judge and top fruit grower. He will be here to help you identify those apples from trees that over the years may have lost their label or maybe a tree you have inherited and are keen to learn about the variety. Gerry asks if you can bring along at least 2 or 3 ripened fruits from the tree together with some foliage and tell him the provenance as that will assist him greatly. The process of identification is a complex one and isn’t just a matter of taste and texture of the fruit. Over the years Gerry has identified in excess of 400 varieties so we look forward to seeing you with your mystery apples. The service is free, however we do limit it to no more than three different apples per person and we also ask for a small donation for our chosen charity, Lindengate.
We have been working with the voluntary group, Mid Shires Orchard Group, for many years now as we are wholeheartedly behind their ethos of saving local orchards, increasing knowledge of old and new varieties of apples in particular but also other fruits, saving old varieties, propagating new trees, running entertaining Apple Days and so much more.
Their presence is very obvious at Apple Days and Graft and Grow Days, as can be seen by the number of visitors attending when we run events here, but what is not so obvious, is the tremendous fun, comradery, outdoor exercise and learning which can be had at their ‘Afternoon in the Orchard’ events which are held once a month between 1pm and 5 or 6pm at Woughton-
Tea and coffee are brewed up, and members are sometimes treated to freshly baked cakes (often apple!), but this is a good time for a chat, or if wanted one can wander down the road to indulge in a drink at the nearby pub at the end of the session! Visit their web site www.msog.btck.co.uk or Facebook @midshireorchardgroup or give the Garden Centre a ring for further details.
JUNIOR GARDENING CLUB GROWING PLANTS FROM PIPS
4. Soon, the avocado will sprout at the top, with one or two leaves. Remove it from the glass, and gently take out each toothpick. Use a small pot filled with houseplant or multi-
5. Place the potted avocado back on to a well-
There is something quite magical about growing a tropical fruit from a pip or a stone, the name we give to these types of seeds. Pips from the citrus family which includes Lemons, Limes and Grapefruit behave in the same way as apple pips. The resulting young plants may not be the same as the original fruit due to cross pollination. One of the best fun-
1. Holding the stone (often referred to as a ‘pit’) with its narrow-
2. Add water to a small glass until it reaches the rim. Sit your avocado stone over the glass; the toothpicks should sit on the rim of the glass, leaving the rounded base of the stone under in the water. Put on a north-
3. Change the water every other day so that the base of the stone is always submerged in clean water (otherwise the rooting process is hindered). After 3-
CHANGING SEASONS: AUTUMN COLOUR TO TEMPT YOU
As we prepare for the winter, we have to look to the spring for our inspiration when it comes to planning and planting. As the bulb planting season is in full flow, we need to introduce other plants to the party to help complement the colour they bring. We have a number of new Heucherella to tempt you with in our new mail-
Wallflowers provide staple colour in the early spring and usually well into May. Traditionally bare-
LOOK OUT FOR THESE GARDEN CARD HOLDER’S PLANTS
Over the next few months we’ll have a range of plants with special prices for Garden Card Holders. Starting in October will be the columnar Amelanchier canadensis ‘Rainbow Pillar’ ® at £9.99 (normally £14.99, pictured below left). Then in November the evergreen and robust Phormium ‘Gold Ray’ at £10.99 (normally £15.99, pictured below centre). The intriguing foliage of Heuchera ‘Walnut’ £12.99 (normally £16.99, pictured below right) features in December.
LINDENGATE: SOCIAL AND THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE
You will see from the Lindengate map (below), that Lindengate has a diverse and varied 5-
Our Horticultural and Site team will be creating an accessible community nature reserve with its own entrance and education centre for school groups to use and learn about nature. We will inform visitors how nature and the outdoors support those with mental health needs in the recovery process.
Amongst our ongoing projects is the work planned for the one and half acre nature reserve. Until now this space has been mowed once a year, with the cuttings raked and removed and is now busy with a considerable collection of butterflies, bees and grass hoppers. Plans to increase accessibility and biodiversity in this area will include the following:
An accessible bird hide will allow visitors to use a selection of binoculars and have close access to wild life and the opportunity to learn from our interpretation boards. A pond will be created close to the bird hide to increase the opportunity to see birds and small mammals, view the bird feeding station and wild flower bank.
The rest of the nature reserve will be accessible via a recycled plastic board walk with seating areas along the route. Each seating area will have a point of interest to look at. Two more ponds visible to visitors will be created, one of which will have seating.
Our perimeter hedging includes scrub patches of Blackthorn and brambles and we have Lesser and Common Whitethroats (pictured right) and Yellow Hammers nesting. We will rejuvenate the hedgerow by laying sections and planting with native species to encourage more birds, small mammals and bats. Creation of basking areas for reptiles and amphibians will hopefully encourage new species and add to the biodiversity of the site.
We will be planting many of the wild flowers such as Devils Bit Scabious, Cowslips and Horseshoe Vetch that we grow at Lindengate for Butterfly Conservation and RSPB to support endangered butterflies. The Black Poplar is an indigenous tree of Buckinghamshire and is in serious decline; Lindengate has grown 80% of the UK Black Poplar stock and will plant a few of these trees in the nature reserve for the future. Joining them are Cherries and a Willow Wind Screen.
We plan to open the nature reserve for guided tours in the future when it is established and these opportunities will be advertised on our website, but in the meantime we hold “Drop Ins” and the next one is on Sat. 26th October at anytime between 10am and 12 noon. Further details at:
CLICK ON MAP
WHAT’S ON THIS EARLY AUTUMN?
SATURDAY 28th & SUNDAY 29th SEPTEMBER -
FRIDAY 4th OCTOBER -
WEDNESDAY 9th OCTOBER, 10am-
At 4.00pm BGC’s Chris Day will be giving a talk on Gardening: A Step Back in Time. Chris will highlight how gardening has changed, including the equipment used and the evolution of the plants grown through the ages and the practices employed.
FRIDAY 18th OCTOBER Wear It Pink Day We encourage everyone to wear pink, raise money and help make life-
Would you interested in a Christmas wreath making workshop? Please let us know and if we receive sufficient numbers we propose to run one on Wednesday 13th November. There would be a charge for the workshop, however whatever you create you get to take home! Please contact the Customer Service Desk , call 01280 822133 or contact us HERE to register your interest.
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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 5.30pm • Sunday 10am to 4pm
RESTAURANT: Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 5.30pm • Sunday 10am to 4pm