Thursday, 12 June 2008

Moving to new premises

Exciting news, we've found some new premises and we are planning to move around the first week in July 2008. This will give us more space to expand and carry much more stock to ensure quick despatch of orders. The new offices will be in Castle Donnington and the biggest advantage will be a new collection point for customers ordering on wishing to collect their orders. Further info to follow shortly. All our phone numbers will be the same. Call us on 0845 0943204 if you have any questions. We'll put the new location details on our website once we settle in.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

December 2007 - Still time for some pruning

December, there's not so much to do outside now as all the leaves should have fallen and plants should have died back but there is still some planting and pruning possible.

Lawns Any late leaves should be cleared up. If you still have any bare patches or damaged edges then now is a good time to repair them. You can also recut any damaged edges if they are really damaged. Still avoid walking on the lawns in the morning if it is frosty. Now is the time to get your garden machinery serviced whilst they are not being used.

Greenhouse Keep dead or yellow foliage picked off and clear up any fallen leaves as this will help prevent grey mould. Also keep an eye on green and white fly as they can still be a problem. If you get a mild day then open the door or a vent for an hour or two, as this will ventilate the greenhouse and help with reducing diseases. Don't forget to keep an eye on Sweet Peas in the cold frame if you have grown any.

Vegetable Garden Now the seed catalogues are about it is a good job, on a wet days when you can't do much outside, to sit indoors and order your seeds for this Spring. You can still dig over your vegetable garden this month and don't forget to add compost or well rotted manure. Continue to pick sprouts and dig up parsnips. Watch out for mice as they can continue to eat any crops which are still in the ground. Pigeons can also be a problem too. Keep checking any stored vegetables to make sure that none have started to rot and remove as required.
Borders Continue to cut back any Perenials which have faded and clear up any leaves from the borders, these with the dead plant tops can be added to the compost heap. If the ground is too wet try not to walk on the borders too much as you will compact the soil. I f you do have to walk on it make sure that you fork it over afterwards.

Pruning If you didn't prune your fruit trees last month then you can still do it this month. If you have young trees with stakes check that the stakes are still in a good condition and check that any tree ties are not too loose/tight around the tree, loosen or tighten as required if necessary.

Birds Continue to ensure that you keep your bird feeders and water baths clean, especially with bird flu still around - even though the risk is minimal it still helps reduce any risk by maintaining good hygiene with your feeders and water baths. There are special detergents available on the market. Make sure you keep all feeders stocked up with different feeds - I have definitely seen an increase in the amount the birds are eating now that the weather has turned colder - you can also supplement the regular feeders with scraps such as cheese crumbs, pieces of bacon and windfallen orchard fruit. Regularly change and top up the water in the bird bath, keeping it ice free after a hard frost. Another good tip if possible is to hang your feeders over a hard surface area as this will provide easier housekeeping therefore reducing the prospects of rats.

Take a look at for some great bird products. Specifically the Bird Care section.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

November 2007 - Slowing down for winter

November, Winter's here so things have slowed down now, it's mainly a case of keeping things tidy this month. Don't forget if you're going to have a bonfire this month, especially on the 5th, and you've been making it for a while, make sure that there are no hedgehogs in it before you ignite it.

Lawns if it's dry and your lawn still needs a cut then you're still OK to do so, just make sure that you do not cut it short (leave it about 1.5 inches/3.5cm long). If it hasn't grown that much though it's best to leave it alone. Keep leaves cleared up, this will stop the grass going yellow underneath. Hopefuly we'll see that most of the leaves have fallen by the end of the month. If you have any bare patches on your lawn it is now too late to sow grass seed but you can still lay turf, but don't do this either if the weather is too cold.Try to stay off your lawn first thing in the morning, until any frost has gone because if you do walk on it when frosty you are likely to leave brown marks on your lawn and damage it.

Greenhouse If you did plant Sweet Peas last month they should be up by now. Once they are 4-5 leaves high, pinch the tip out to encourage bushy growth.Once this is done then they can go into a cold frame if your greenhouse is heated or stay in the greenhouse if it is unheated, as heat will make them grow too much. Just keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not dry out. Keep an eye on the greenhouse to make sure it stays at the temperature that you want it to if you are heating it and keep an eye on any plants to make sure that they also do not dry out.Any Pelargoniums you have kept can now be cut back, don't water them too much though and do not feed them either.Any other plants you have, make sure that any dead leaves and flowers are removed.

Vegetable Garden Leeks, parsnips and brussel sprouts can all start to be harvested now.If you have any root crops like carrots, swede or beetroot then lift them out and store them in dry sand in a frost free dark place, to use as required.Depending on what variety of garlic you are growing, most can be planted out now, some though are best left until Spring.This month you can continue digging over your soil if you didn't get round to it last month, making sure that you incorporate any compost. You can still leave this chore for another month if you wish to do so.Any frost now will help to break up the soil and any insects in the soil will then be eaten by the birds.

Borders Continue to cut down any herbacious plants that may be left. Don't cut down any Penstemons you may have though, just dead head them and leave cutting them back until Spring, doing this will ensure that the old tops help protect the crown over Winter.You can plant Tulips if you want them to bloom in Spring.Basically November is the last chance to plant any Winter bedding.

Pruning Prune apple and pear trees now. If you haven't pruned your roses back a bit then do it now as it will stop them from being rocked by the Winter winds

Birds Continue to ensure that you keep your bird feeders and water baths clean and stocked up with different feeds. The temperature is now colder and the nights have drawn in so the birds that you have been feeding all through this year need as much help as you can give now as they try to fatten up over the Winter periods. has some great garden pruners at take a look. Might be of interest.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

October 2007 - Autumn is in the air

October, now's the time to start getting ready for Winter even though Autumn has only just 'officially' started - this month's jobs involve tidying and harvesting any fruit

Your lawn's growth should now be starting to slow down or stop growing soon so you'll only need to cut the lawn for the last few times. Raise the cutting height so that the roots have more protection throught the coming winter months.
If you live in a colder part of the country now is the last chance you may have to do any work to your lawn.
If you want to get rid of any dead thatch or moss you can use a spring-tine rake or a powered scarifier for the larger lawns. Once you have done this you can use an autumn lawn feed.
Clear fallen leaves before they get too thick because this will block out the light from the grass and turn it yellow if left too long.

If you've not had a chance to clean your greenhouse all year then now is the time to do it . I personally find it easier to empty the greenhouse too before I clean ours so if it is possible for you to do this it will definitely make it easier for you. I personally use a bit of Jeyes fluid in water and give it a good clean inside. Once the greenhouse is clean you can then put the plants back in.
If you want to insulate the greenhouse the best thing to use is bubblewrap - this will also help to reduce your heating bills if you also heat your greenhouse.
Remember not to get your greenhouse too wet now as this could lead to mould and your plants then rotting off.
Sweet peas can be grown in the greenhouse or cold frame, over this period, ready for next Spring when they can then be planted out again mid to late March.

Vegetable Garden
If you didn't cut back your asparagus last month then it should definitely be done this month.
Finishing planting onion sets for a Spring to early Summer crop.
Now your beans and peas are finished just cut the tops off and chop them up a bit and add this to you compost, then when you dig the bed over just dig the roots in as they will then act as a fertiliser.
If you want to, you can start digging your beds over so that any frost will break the lumps down. I usually leave mine until Christmas time though as my soil is very fine and ends up solid and water logged if I do it too soon.
If you have any apple or pear trees they should be harvested now.
If you want Spring cabbages these can be planted out now but you may need to cover them to provide protection from the pigeons.

You can still divide any herbacious plants which are too big or not flowering very well.
Any Summer bedding you have planted will need to come out this month as any frost will kill them.
Dahlias will need lifting once a frost has blackened the tops, store them in a shed or cold greenhouse - somewhere frostproof.
Plant Spring flowering bulbs now. Winter Pansies and wall flowers can also be planted.
It is also a good time to plant trees this month.

This month is the last chance for cutting any hedges which were not cut last month.
Plants like Budlia and Lavatera can be pruned back by about half - this will tidy them up and help stop the wind from rocking them and damaging the roots, this also applies to the pruning down of any roses that have long straggily shoots. Any shoots on climbing roses should also be tied in to help them over the next few months.

Continue to ensure that you keep your bird feeders and water baths clean and stocked up with different feeds. As the temperature starts to get colder and the nights are drawing in then the birds that you have been feeding all through this year will need as much help over the next few changing months.
We have also found that we have had other visitors to the garden too as a result of the spilled bird seed underneath the feeder - hedgehogs! If you want to feed these delightful little creatures then there are plenty of hedgehog foods in some shops and on the internet (which also has lots of information too - like making sure you don't feed hedgehogs milk & bread because it's dangerous for their digestive system!) - best of all though is that one of their favourite food is......slugs!!!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

September 2007 - Fingers Crossed Indian Summer

September, and it's already coming to the end of the summer lets hope that we get an Indian summer to make up for the lack of true Summer recently.

Lawns Carry on cutting as normal, once a week if possible. If there are any areas that are showing signs of wear then now is the time to repair them so that they look good for next summer. You can either rake over any dead areas and reseed or if you want an instant repair then replace with some new turf. If you are going to do this then you need to make sure that these areas are maintained with suffiicient water - either from rain or hose.

Greenhouse Continue to pick your tomatoes and peppers as they will soon finish producing and if there any tomaotoes left at the end of the month then you can either ripen them on a window sill indoors or use them as they are (green) to make chutney. If you want to take cuttings from fuchsias, pelegoniums or geraniums then now is a good time to do so.

Vegetable Garden If you want an early crop of onions next year you can plant overwintering sets towards the end of the month. Dig out the last of your potatoes, sorting out and rejecting the damaged ones from the undamaged ones and leave them out to dry for a few hours in dry weather and then store them in paper sacks once they are dry. Lift any onions you have grown and allow them to dry on the soil surface, again if the weather is dry. If it is not dry outside the alternative is to dry them in a well ventilated room and then once they are dry ensure they are stored in somewhere which isn't damp. For any asparagus you may have, when the foliage turns brown, and before any berries on it fall off, cut them down. Once this is done give the asparagus bed a good layer of mulch.Continue picking runner and french beans over this month.

Borders Any large clumps of perenials that you may have in your borders, if you want to divide them, then this month is a good time to start. If the tops of the plants have not died back and they are in the way whilst you're dividing then just cut them down a bit as this will make the task a lot easier. Anything that does not need dividing then just remove any tops as they die. This will keep your borders looking tidy.

Pruning Cut any hedges that you have not already cut, as they should not grow that much more this year. Keep any new shoots on climbing roses tied in and dead head all roses as required.

Birds Continue to ensure that you keep your bird feeders and water baths clean and stocked up with different feeds. The more variety you have the more different types of bird you'll get. Hanging feeders attract birds like tits, finches and sparrows. Bird tables attract robins, sparrows, doves, pigeons, finches and bramblings. Food on the floor attracts blackbirds, thrushes, dunnocks and wrens but be aware of any neighbouring cats!September sees the start of many summer migratory birds going home leaving our native British birds more evident, especially the young birds who are still out exploring their new environments and your gardens

Thursday, 16 August 2007

August 2007 - August going on October!

August 2007 - August going on October!
by Bob Johnson
Wednesday 01 August, 2007

August already, or should that be October! It seems more like that with all this wet weather we've been having. So, if your garden isn't underwater, these are the jobs that you can do this month

Lawns Cut once a week, if you can, as it is still growing rather fast. If it is water logged though, it is better to keep off of it until it dries out a bit.

Greenhouse Once your tomatoes have five trusses of tomatoes setting/forming and still some flowers, pinch out the tops to stop the plants getting any bigger. This will ensure that all the growing is transferred to the tomatoes instead of the plant. Still feed them every week, but be careful not to let them get waterlogged as they may rot. Due to the bad weather they are not needing so much water. If you have peppers plants then keep them tied to their supports. They should be producing peppers around now but due to the weather most things seem to be behind at the moment. Pests don't seem to be a problem at the moment except for slugs and snails still and if these have got into your greenhouse you'll need to get rid of them (refer to last months suggestions)

Vegetable Garden Slugs, slugs and more slugs!!! Keep doing what you can to keep them down because they thrive in this weather at the moment. Still keep an eye out for caterpillars on cabbages and greens, and remove them if there are any. Sweetcorn should be ready this month, but mine is late. I think it will be more like September until they are ready. Courgettes should be ready and if you want some marrows you can always leave 2 or 3 courgettes towards the end of the month and they will grow into marrows. You should still be getting the last few weeks of raspberries in so make sure you continue to pick them. Currants (black and red) and gooseberries are also in season now too. Keep beans picked. Runner beans need to be picked whilst still young, as they are more tender, instead of leaving them to get big.

Borders You really only need to keep these dead headed and tidy this month. Also remove any supports from plants which no longer need them. If you have dahlias still continue to keep them well supported, this will stop them breaking as they get taller and heavy with flowers.

Pruning Yew hedges can be cut now, as too can be holly and beech hedges. If your lavender has finished flowering you can cut it back with shears. Remove the finished flowering lavender stems and just take the tips off the new growth. This will encourage more shoots to be produced which then results in a more bushier plant next year.

Birds Continue to ensure that you keep your bird feeders and water baths clean and stocked up with different feeds. We had long tailed tits in our garden last month - first time I've seen those delightful little birds!

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