Monthly gardening tips from our Garden Centre staff to help get the most out of your garden all year round!
How long do you plan in advanced for Christmas? Do you pull out the same, slightly beaten artificial tree from the attic or does the excitement of a real, traditional Christmas tree really cement the feeling that the festive season is here? With the trend in recyclables and eradication of unnecessary plastics in full force a fresh tree is also the most environmentally friendly option. Even the Woodland Trust estimate that a non-recyclable PVC tree would take 20 years of use to fully cover the costs of the pollution created through their production, not to mention the transportation and discarding it when you’re ready for an upgrade!
If you haven’t purchased one before and are sitting on the fence, don’t be scared to jump in and get a real one this year.
‘Premium’ Nordmann Fir – With its popularity now surpassing that of the Norway Spruce, it has less scent but is regarded as being a ‘no-drop’ tree and their needles are safer for children and pets. These are more expensive than the Spruce as they are slower growing, but our premium variety will ensure your tree lasts the longest.
Once you’ve taken your tree home cut about an inch off the bottom to allow it to suck up plenty of water which will keep your needles green and intact for longer. Make sure it is sitting in water whilst it is up and have a tree stand the correct size. Traditional pictures often show the decorated tree standing next to an open fire, but we advise keeping your tree away from heat sources such as fires and radiators.
Tick one job off your Christmas list early and pre-book your tree NOW and we’ll deliver it straight to your door in December*. FREE delivery within a 5 mile radius of Plantsplus Garden Centre. Fresh trees arrive the end of November. See our prices here.
For every Christmas tree pre-order we're offering our customers a FREE filter coffee/pot of tea and homemade Christmas shortbread for two in our Restaurant! Just make your order at our tills to receive your voucher.**
*Delivery charges apply. Please phone or email for more details.
**To be paid in full at the tills upon booking. Cancellations will incur a £5 fee. Deliveries made week beginning 10th December. Free voucher valid until 30th November 2018.
Autumn is just around the corner so instead of watching your summer colour wilt, start preparing for next years Spring growth. Planting Spring flowering bulbs can be easy and rewarding if you get
started early, so here are our tips to making sure you have a show stopping bloom in 2019:
Choose your pot – Make sure to add some broken pottery or stones to the bottom to support drainage. A good bulb fibre will encourage roots to establish and provide vigorous growth.
Choose your bulbs – Think about colour and timing of your flowers. Contrasting and complementary colours can create a dramatic effect, or plant a bulb that blooms in March (hyacinths, narcissus) with another in April (tulips, bluebells) to prolong the length of your display.
Plant your bulbs – Bulbs have a definite top and bottom, so if you’re unsure which is which, place your bulb on its side and it should right itself correctly. The general rule is to plant your bulb 2.5 times its own depth meaning large bulbs will be planted deeper than smaller bulbs. This can be useful in creating layers of bulbs that will flower to give you a full and luscious pot.
Add something for Winter – Additional plants can soften the pot and provide interest until Spring, think winter flowering violas or cyclamen. Once these flowers have died back your new bulbs will be able to easily reach the surface. If your pot is still looking a bit bare, rake out some moss from your lawn to cover up any soil and give you a pot to be proud of!
The Anglo-Saxons called it Weod Monath (Weed Month) due to the rapid plant growth that takes place in August. While other’s find the act of weeding relaxing and rewarding, there is a great many who dislike it as much as housework!
Its British Tomato Week and we’ve gathered a few basic tips to get you hooked on tomato growing. Although they need regular attention they are one of the most rewarding plants, providing you with fruit all through summer.
The more roots your tomato plants have, the stronger they will be. A great tip is cutting your grow bag in half vertically and standing it on its ends. This way you’ll have deeper soil for your tomato plants to grow, but still get all the benefits of optimal soil conditions and preventing the water from draining too fast. If you don’t have room for grow bags, try them in hanging baskets as most tomato plants like to naturally hang and trail.
Tomatoes love potassium, but don’t start feeding them until your first flowers have appeared. Our current favourite is Westland’s Big Tom. This new feed promises you’ll get the juiciest tomatoes, with a formula full of extra strength nutrients and enriched with seaweed.
Deciding how often to water your plants can be a hard task to master. They’ll need to be moist, but you don’t want to flood the roots. Get them watered first thing in the morning and possibly in the evening if it has been a hot day. Don’t worry if they begin to droop when the sun is at it’s peak, they’ll usually perk up by sun-down – if they don’t they’re asking for water.
Make sure you’re leaving vents and doors open to allow pollination. Think about planting ‘Perfect for Pollinator’ plants elsewhere in your garden to really increase your butterfly and bee count. If you’re struggling you can help pollination buy lightly shaking your plants to mimic the movement of pollinating insects.
Once your fruit is ready for picking, don’t be tempted to store in the refrigerator as you won’t be able to experience their optimum flavour! Cold will stop their ripening process, so your best leaving your tomatoes out in a covered bowl to increase their juicy sweetness. Just keep an eye on any ripening too fast or they will spoil the others around them.
Plant trees, shrubs and fruit trees now so that their roots will be ready to grow when the ground begins to warm up, and provide them with a slow release fertiliser. Although hardy through most of the winter, top fruit and soft fruit blossoms will need protecting from late frost. Cover them during the night with horticultural fleece, using canes to keep the material from touching the blossoms and make sure to remove during the day, so as not to hinder pollinators. Take care of your fruit plants now and you’ll reap the benefits of jam making ingredients through the summer – prices start at £1.99 for strawberries, though to £7 for a bush.
Now that they have finished flowering, shrubs such as Camellia and Forsythia can be lifted and moved provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. Divide clump forming perennials, such as Hostas and Primulas and remove any dead foliage, ready for new growth. Winter flowering heathers can also be cut back to a compact shape – however, if your heather is looking woody and leggy, replacing it would be a better option as they will struggle to look their best again (they generally have a lifespan of about 10 years).
Tie in new stems on climbers and climbing roses horizontally – this will allow for more like to reach the plant so multiple new flowering shoots to grow. Check for old and woody canes that produced little last year and cut them off.
Don’t forget housekeeping such as cleaning your greenhouses and growing frames ready for the growing season. If you’re limited in the garden, the Gardman Perma-tunnel with PVC cover is compact with no extra space required.
- Stew, Planteria & Nursery, Plantsplus Garden Centre
Seeds always make me excited. Looking at the array of colourful packets, all with hidden promise, I find it hard not to get too carried away. The great thing about growing your own is that you can choose what you want to try, instead of relying on the supermarket varieties. It gives you a chance to get adventurous both with vegetables and flowers. You are in charge.
When growing seeds the golden rule is to read the packet. This will give you the information you need such as germination time, distance apart and when you can grow outdoors, but remember we are in Scotland! Seeds require four things to germinate, temperature, water, oxygen and some require light. Generally, seeds need at least 12 degrees to germinate. All seeds have their optimum temperature range and it’s useful to know. To generate more heat, there are things we can do such as using a propagator or seed tray inside on a windowsill or greenhouse. A cloche can help outside, but it is the soil temperature that you need to check. Just remember that seeds require air circulation to help prevent dampening off and once germinated turn the seed tray or pot daily to prevent the seedlings growing lopsided.
A fine seed and cutting compost is best to use and always label your pot or tray before you sow. Water from underneath with a tray. This helps prevent washing your seeds to one area and when germinated reduces dampening off. Never leave your seed trays in water. Let them drain to stop them becoming waterlogged.
Easy vegetables to grow are peas and beans and for flowers, sunflowers and poppies. You can grow in pots. Be aware of the depth of soil they will provide or choose a variety to suit. Royal Chantenay 3 is a type of carrot with a smaller root size, ideal for a child to pull out easily, wash and eat. My favourite pots this year belong to the Elho Green Basics range, created using recycled plastic. Nice and deep, raised or for the ground, they have a cloche style top to get you going early.
Sow now, there is no excuse!
- Jayne Greig, Planteria Manager, Dunbar Garden Centre