There really is something quite special about Christmas -
Whilst some people can go over the top with their light spectacular and end up resembling Blackpool illuminations, it has to be said the subtle use of outdoor lighting for year-
Enjoy your Christmas garden -
STEP INTO OUR YULETIDE CHRISTMAS SHOP PT1
THEME YOUR YULETIDE We’ve got Christmas nicely wrapped up for you again this year with our themed zones of colour combinations. The main event is our Mulled Wine section featuring a wealth of gold, red, purple and burgundy -
FESTIVE FOOD We have a delicious collection of Christmas themed food and foodie gift ideas from our suppliers, including Mrs Bridges with those distinctive themed hampers. There’s lots of selection including the Boxed Christmas Preserves which includes Christmas Chutney with spiced fruit, Christmas Preserve with berries in mulled wine, Cranberry Sauce with Port and Christmas Marmalade with Orange and Cranberry, four pots in a box for £5.99. Cottage Delight include in their fantastic range gift packs of Tropical Sauces and The Chilli Selection for just £8.99. Cottage Delight also have a 2 for £5 offer on savoury Cheese Straws (pictured left), Mini Cheese Straws, Cheese Palmiers, All Butter Seeded Cheese Straws and Savoury Christmas Trees -
CHRISTMAS TREES Our cut Blue Spruce (Picea pungens Glauca), Noble Fir (Abies Nobilis) and Nordmann (Abies nordmanniana) Christmas trees iare now available to by in store! Our Premium potted Norway spruce and Nordmann Fir are also available. We’re creating a different display for the cut trees this year, hopefully allowing for easier access. We also have a new range of artificial Christmas trees from Franklin. These beautiful two tone green with silver tips are very tasteful (they are pictured on the cover of this newsletter) and they start from £55.99 for a 1.2m high tree. Elsewhere in our Christmas department, do check out our range of new LED Christmas lights, including colourful Starbursts and Snowing Icicle Shower lights (pictured left), perfect for your festive outdoor display!
STEP INTO OUR YULETIDE CHRISTMAS SHOP PT2
ROOM AROMATICS Look out for the new range of reed diffusers from Flame Homeware which is already proving very popular with our customers. The range includes Black Plum, Blood Orange & Grapefruit, Cherry Blossom, Crisp Cotton, Evening Jasmine, Fresh Cut Roses, Lemon Lavender and Vanilla. Hopefully we’ll keep up with the demand but we’d certainly recommend keeping your eyes (and nose) peeled for them! They are priced at £8.99 each.
PROPER PAMPERING! If you are looking for some fun and appealing toiletries as Christmas gifts or perhaps to treat yourself then the Prosecco, Pink Fizz Cocktail and Gin & Tonic range are likely to be a winner! Yes, you can get your favourite tipples in Bath Salts (350g tube, £9.99), Soap Bar (100g, £4.99), Hand Cream (50ml, £9.99) and Lip Balm (15g, £4.99). There is also a pampering box set, featuring Bath Salts, Soap and Lip Balm beautifully presented for just £19.99.
3 FOR 2* OFFER on selected children’s stocking-
PUZZLE CENTRE We are selling the new My Favourite Plant Puzzle Centre Book in the Shop. This follows in the footsteps of their well-
ELF ON A SHELF We are an official Santa-
‘HOME’ OF THE CONIFER & HEATHER GARDEN REVISITED PT1
I’m sure many of our more mature readers will remember the massive interest in conifers and heathers in the 1970s and 1980s, writes Chris Day. The boom in these two evergreen garden centre mainstays was the work of the Blooms family. Their nursery, Blooms of Bressingham, was without doubt, in its heyday, the place-
The Bloom family, namely Adrian, Alan and Robert were the driving force and all brought their own unique qualities to the business. Alan Bloom created over 170 new varieties of perennial plants in his lifetime. He invented the garden feature of freestanding island beds, set in open lawn. He was also a massive steam train enthusiast and his legacy lives on today in the Bressingham Steam and Gardens.
The last time I visited, back in the late 1980s I was with a party of gardening journalists and we enjoyed the full guided tour by Alan and Adrian. It was Adrian who was instrumental in developing the concept of the year-
Today things have changed. Sadly Alan died in 1995 aged 98; however his steam empire continues to enthral visitors with its running engines. One line goes around the 17 acres (6 hectares) of gardens and the other goes around the old nursery. There are steam sheds, carriages (including a royal one!), a wonderfully restored mail carriage, model railways, static engine displays and much more. There’s even a steam powered carousel ride which includes a joyous musical organ to accompany you on the ride!
A new addition to the Bressingham Experience is the Dad’s Army Collection featuring vintage vehicles and artefacts from the popular BBC comedy series. These are located on a reconstruction of the High Street in the fictional Walmington-
‘HOME’ OF THE CONIFER & HEATHER GARDEN REVISITED PT2
It is of course the spectacular Gardens that really are the biggest draw. The famous Dell Garden, which features around 48 island beds containing in excessive of 5,000 plant species and varieties all created by Alan Bloom. As you explore, you really can be overwhelmed by the sheer wealth of colour and the incredible spectacle of the plants you can see.
Adrian’s Foggy Bottom Garden originally featured over 500 different conifers and heathers. In today’s changing world grasses and perennials have now been added to the backdrop of the mature conifers. Elsewhere new areas have been created in recent years, including Adrian’s Wood featuring a fantastic range of North American-
On my visit I wanted to spend time in the Winter Garden as this is the area to glean some inspiration for late October as this was the time of my visit. There were masses of colours to enjoy which were neatly punctuated by the hues of blues, bright greens and yellows of the conifers. Inventive ideas too, such as planting waterlily Colchicums (pictured above right) in amongst winter flowering heathers, which works so neatly, then in spring the tall foliage will erupt through the green mat of fine-
There were some amazing specimens of plants which we take for granted in our modest gardens, including Actaea ‘White Pearl’ (pictured left), a humble perennial plant with white flowers. Grown as a large clump, perhaps 2-
The use of structural grasses throughout the Winter Garden adds a new dimension, especially on the day I visited which was breezy and the sound of grasses was very engaging. Bold plantings of large numbers helps to create structure to the beds, many of them were island style. I noticed a heavy dependence on thick mulches around all the plants and that certainly gave the entire garden a loved feeling as well as very few weeds! I also noticed plenty of the compact growing Pampas Grass, including the variegated form. However, it was the Miscanthus that certainly made a mark -
All the plants in the various historic and innovative gardens at Bressingham are neatly labelled which is refreshingly helpful; however it is sad that the original nursery attached to the site has long gone so you cannot pop along and buy a plant souvenir from your visit.
For more details on the Bressingham Steam and Gardens visit the website
£5 TO RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE WITH US
Buy your cut real Christmas tree from us and return it for recycling in January 2017 and we’ll give you a voucher worth £5* off your next £25 or more shop with us through January 2017! Simply collect your coupon when you purchase a Noble Fir, Blue Spruce or Nordman Fir tree, keep it safe and return it with your tree after Christmas.
T&Cs *The £5 Gift Voucher can be redeemed throughout January 2017 at Buckingham Garden Centre. For full conditions, see back of the voucher for details.
APPLE WEEKEND/HONEY SHOW IN PICTURES
We enjoyed glorious sunshine throughout our popular September event weekend. (Clockwise) RHS fruit expert Gerry Edwards had a bumper number of fruits to identify -
CHOSEN CHARITY 2017 -
Thrive uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.
Known as social and therapeutic horticulture it is the process of working with plants to improve physical and psychological health, and communication and thinking skills. It comes under the wider umbrella of ‘green care’.
Horticultural therapists use the garden as a safe and secure environment to develop someone’s ability to socialise, make friends, and gain practical skills that make them more independent and self-
Thrive has four regional centres -
As gardeners it is likely you already understand the health benefits and joy gardening can bring, so we hope to help Thrive so it can continue to help people at its gardens or on its community outreach projects, as well as in the wider community via the charity’s Carry on Gardening website www.carryongardening.org.uk which has all the information you need to continue gardening if you have a disability. We will be working with Thrive to help raise money for their activities during 2017.
5 MINUTES WITH HELEN RAWLINS
We are delighted to welcome Helen Rawlins, who is our new Plant Area Supervisor, and is determined to get your gardens growing this winter and beyond!
Can we start by asking you to tell us a few things about yourself?
Over 20 years in horticulture with a evil sense of humour.
What tips would like you to give to someone thinking about coming into horticulture in 2017?
My best advice would be only do it if you really love it!
Where do you live and perhaps describe your garden?
I live in Marston Mortaine, Bedfordshire. The garden has simple herbaceous borders and grass -
We know this is going to be a difficult one, but if you were stranded on that castaway island, which plant would you like to take with you?
That’s easy -
Your favourite edible?
Apple and strawberries.
And least favourite?
Oh, that would be Rhubarb -
Your favourite gardening activity?
Cutting the grass.
What do you love about your job?
Do you have a gardening tip you would like to share with us?
Take the advice given but remember you have to look at it.
If you could have one Super Power what would it be?
Oh, telekinesis -
Facebook or Twitter?
CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS PT1
We all know what it’s like; you draw up a magical present list – check it twice and then make decisions and go out and about scouting for that perfect gift. However, for us green-
So, that poses the question: is there a perfect gift which will keep all gardeners happy, a universal must-
But, if we’re honest there’s nothing like opening a present, so here are a few practical gifts for consideration that hopefully should tick the box and provide a seasonal smile.
You cannot go wrong with a stainless steel spade or fork (or hand trowel and fork) for sheer practicality. These universally popular work-
For the girls, gloves, such as these Town & Country Essentials and maybe some tasteful outdoor seasonal clothing (just make sure you’ve got the right measurements!), or colour co-
When it comes to us chaps, a good range of garden tools, nearly always hits the mark. So, if you want a system which is easily extended with a wide range of interchangeable garden tools then the Wolf Multi-
CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS PT2
We must give special mention to last minute traditional gifts -
However, indoor plants that prefer it cool need a special mention here too – potted prepared bulbs, such as Hyacinths, Azaleas, Cyclamen and Solanum (winter berry) prefer lower temperatures together with a well-
Evergreen and berried shrubs always make a thoughtful gift too. If you are looking for something really different how about Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ or opt for traditional berried Hollies (Ilex), Christmas Roses (pictured below), Gaultheria, Skimmia, or the red-
LATEST MEDICAL DETECTION DOG NEWS
Just a reminder, if you didn’t see Kate Humble’s Lifeline Appeal for Medical Detection Dogs, which featured our very own Pauline Brown and her Bio-
Also another way to help this charity is to purchase a few ‘Daisy Flowers’ which will give you welcome autumn colour in your garden. If you buy any plant in the Daisy family with the special ‘support Medical Detection Dogs’ sticker attached, e.g. Aster and Rudbeckia, 10p of the sale will be donated to the charity.
By the time this goes to press Father Christmas will be ‘live’ in our shop and this year next to him will be a chimney so children can slip their pennies into the chimney pot after watching Santa and these will go to Medi-
THREAT TO HONEYBEES: ASIAN HORNETS NOW HERE
We need everyone to be on the look out for the Asian Hornet (pictured right killing a bee) as this invasive species is now in the UK (in a couple of isolated sightings) after spreading from France. A nest of the huge hornets was inadvertently carried to France in pottery from Asia 12 years ago and they have since spread to Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal.
Each hive can contain up to 6,000 insects. It’s believed that five people in France died following Asian hornet stings last year, though the deaths have been attributed to allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock.
One of the biggest threats that the Asian Hornet poses is its ability to kill our honey bees. A single Asian Hornet has the ability to kill 40-
Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at the British Beekeepers Association, said the sighting was “not good news for honeybees”, adding: “What happens next in terms of containment measures will be vital and we look to Defra to implement the contingency plans to deal with this invasion of a non-
If you see one, please report your sighting immediately with a photo if possible to firstname.lastname@example.org before the species can get established.
YOU’VE GOTTA LAUGH! LATEST GARDENING FUNNIES PT1
Oh I'm sure we've all been asked silly, strange or totally ridiculous questions on gardening, writes Chris Day. My favourite from a few years back was how do I look after a moss pole! That’s right those plastic tubes wrapped with sphagnum moss which were required to help support Swiss Cheese Plants and other aerial root producing indoor plants! I begged this question on Facebook recently and these are just a few of the printable responses!
Caroline Halfpenny wrote: “Not sure if this fits in the funny category but today my lovely customer asked me to keep the greenhouse door closed as I went in and out. The reason? Well to keep ‘hubby’ warm. I smiled and got on with preparing the Pelargoniums for the winter. I asked her what she had sprinkled on the borders in the greenhouse. She looked at me as if I was stupid and said ‘hubby’. It was his favourite place and she wanted him to still be part of the to-
Rosemary Oberlander said; “I had a young lad come in and ask if we had any "P & E" roses as he wanted to buy one for his mum. Of course he wanted a peony! Thinking about it it was rather sweet, really!”
Colin Moat recalls: “I still snigger at Rubus (especially as auto correct tried to make it Ruby's!) cockburnianus… but I always have liked schoolboy humour!”
This one from Inge Berrie sort of beggars belief! Inge writes:“A few years ago, a client asked me if the lawn under the concrete patio would come back if we removed the solid concrete block. I just stood there completely dumbfounded and eventually managed a 'No!”
John Marsden bemused “When people ask for Castanea sativa just respond with.. Oh, that old chestnut... boom... Okay, my jokes are terrible!”
Caroline Halfpenny added another customer interaction “I was walking through a garden with a client admiring their hedge and casually said "I love Yew". He said "You only just met me how could you feel that strongly for me so soon?"
Stephen Hopkins wrote: “Recently a colleague was carrying a large Sambucus and he dropped it cracking the pot. I told him he really should treat his Elders with more care and respect …”
YOU’VE GOTTA LAUGH! LATEST GARDENING FUNNIES PT2
Anne Morgan proclaimed “A lady once asked me if I had syphilis. When I looked bemused she said -
The most recent customer query was from a Garden Centre customer asking how to grow his clematis. He had decided to grow them on his neighbours side of his fence and bring them through a small hole in the fence (pictured). He was concerned that they weren’t growing particularly well so I suggested he increased watering and feeding them! “Well, that’s not my problem -
WHAT’S ON THIS WINTER AND EARLY 2017
EVERY SUNDAY Stock up on your fresh fruits and vegetables as Aston Clinton-
MONDAY 5th -
DECEMBER 1st -
FRIDAY 16th DECEMBER CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY
We hope you can join us in the spirit of Christmas Jumper Day to help 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-
FROM JANUARY We are pleased to announce our chosen charity for 2017 will be Thrive. Thrive is the leading charity in the UK using gardening to change the lives of disabled people. We will be raising awareness of this national gardening charity throughout the year and be inviting our customers to get involved to help raise money for this worthy charity. See pages 6-
SATURDAY 4th & SUNDAY 5th FEBRUARY Our Special Weekend is in two halves -
GARDEN CENTRE GARDEN VISITS We have created a wish-
SPECIAL GARDEN CLUB MEMBERS OFFER COUPONS
If you are a member of our Garden Club, please print off and use these vouchers at the Garden Centre to obtain discounts with these very special offers exclusive to Garden Club Members only:
To download a PDF copy of our latest newsletter, please click here.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Featured on our web shop:
Buckingham Nurseries and Garden Centre,
Tingewick Road, Buckingham, MK18 4AE, UK.
Tel: 01280 822133 -