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Address:

Watling Street

Towcester

Northants

NN12 6GX

United Kingdom

 

Telephone: 01327 354 126

Fax: 01327 359 751

 

Facebook: Bell-Plantation

twitter: @bellplantation1

Opening Times

Mon to Sat: 9 – 5:30

Sun: 10:30 – 4:30

 

Cafe Opening Times

Mon to Sat: 9 – 4:30

Sun: 10 – 4

At Bell Plantation we’re committed to making sure you can relax and enjoy your visit. If you have any questions at all we would love to hear from you by phone or email.

Ashley – Director

Here is what our customers have to say

“I and my daughters love coming to Bells. It is better retail therapy than any clothes shops!! The staff are always friendly and helpful. Well done!”

Katherine, Pattishal

“Just a great place to visit/shop/meet friends. Fabulous display of plants and garden materials and super gift and food section. One stop shop for just about everything. We love it and visit regularly.”

Elizabeth, Greens Norton

“So excited I discovered Bell Plantation On Friday, called in and was very impressed see you tomorrow.”

Frances, from Silverstone

“I very much like the sound of you new dog walking track, as maybe now I can convince my husband to bring me more often. As se could walk the dog while I have a look around. I will also say having a cafe where he can get some cake did also encourage him too.”

Suzanne, Weedon

Heard of the South Northants Art Trail?

artrailweb2

South Northants Art Trail

The Bell Plantation are proud to be hosting the launch exhibition of the South Northants Art trail on 7th September from 10am-4pm.

Painting, sculpture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, photography and more by 27 artists will be on display and for sale.

South Northamptonshire Arts is a newly formed group of experienced artists and makers who have come together to raise the profile of their work in the South Northants area.

On The Trail starting the following Saturday 13th by both professional artists and amateurs, as well tutors showing work by their students. Among others exhibiting in Brackley, Pam Foley, sculptor and tutor will be showing work by her students in a show amusingly entitled “Fifty Shades of Clay”. Many people will recognize the beautiful wire sculptures by Linda Johns showing with the group of painters and photographers at Blisworth this year. Ruth Lyne creates work in glass and will be in her studio at The Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe and there will be two painters and a sculptor at Roy Holding’s studio in Towcester. John Damsell, will be in his studio in Potterspury and nearby in Silverstone at Sue Rudland’s studio there will be painters, textile artists and a jeweller. So, come along to the launch where you can look, listen, eat and ENJOY whilst planning your trip along The Art Trail venues the following week!The Trail Leaflet with map and venues will be available at The Bell Plantation or can be downloaded from www.arts-sn.org.uk

Further information: www.arts-sn.org.uk www.facebook.com/arts.sn

email: southnorthamptonshirearts@gmail.com

button

Keep your garden flowering

Keep your garden flowering

Agapanthus

It’s been a long growing season this year. Several customers have been asking which flowering plants we have in stock, they have few flowers in their own gardens ( as they have all flowered) for displaying at their local Horticultural shows. The best way to try to prolong flowering in plants is to keep dead heading them and feed and water them. Plant some later flowering varieties Echinacea, Rudbekia, Asters, Lavender, Schizostylis, Agapanthus we have got loads of these at the Garden Centre to add masses of colour to your garden.

I hope by now most people have all their winter veg planted, there is still time to plant potatoes to crop before Christmas, be quick we have a few bags left. They are best planted in a container so that you can get them out of the severe frost.

At this time of year preserving and pickling fruit and veg should be the name of the game, freezing is very trendy and easy. Picking veg young and sweet is better than letting them get bigger and older. Sugar levels are higher and fibre levels lower in younger veg. Preserving is all about the prevention of rot, keeping the fungus and bacteria at bay, pickling, freezing, drying.

It’s a good time of year to collect seeds from plants that you would like to grow next year. I have got my eye on a Quercus castaneifolia, I can assure you there are not many of these in this country! I keep meaning to pick a few of Charlotte’s sweet peas to grow in our hedge.

The wildflowers I planted last year have looked absolutely fantastic all year, however they are now running out of steam and looking a bit untidy. A few are still flowering, it is tempting to cut them down but they must be left to set and drop their seed. Most are annuals, if we removed the vegetation now we would remove the seed as well. The vegetation is best left until completely dry and dead, remove late October. There are a few grass weeds creeping in, I am tempted to spray them with glyphosate during the winter before the wild flowers start to grow again.

Our spring flowering bulbs are now in the shop, it is good to get the daffodils in early as they root before the tulips and other bulbs. Planting bulbs now is a guarantee of masses of colour early next spring in your containers or garden.

Steve joined us this week as our Plant area manager, his previous life was 18 years with the biggest garden centre group in the country. I hope he is ok with the culture shock? We look forward to Steve helping you to enjoy your gardens and us to expand our ranges of plants at Bell Plantation.

In the Poultry department we are recruiting, we need some part time help in the poultry department, if you are interested or know someone who is drop me a line Ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

Have a great weekend

Ashley Warren

Rotten tomatoes and re-doing your lawn

Rotten tomatoes and re-doing your lawn

In August the gardener can go on holiday with no worries, provided he has mown the lawn, watered thoroughly and asked a friend to pick the fruit and vegetables’. Just depends how long the holiday is and how hot the weather. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with the rain showers we are getting, they hardly lay the dust. Keep pouring on the water until there is a prolonged spell of consistent rain.

rotten tomatoes

I have had a few people ask me this year about their tomatoes going rotten on the end. This is Blossom end rot it is a physiological condition, not a disease or pest. It is caused by lack of calcium. There is no quick fix, and it is difficult to save the fruits that are affected. The lack of calcium in the plant is usually caused by lack of water, calcium is taken up into the plant in the water, so if there is a lack of water the plant does not get the required amount of calcium from the soil/compost. It is less likely that your soil or compost lacks calcium, if it does add plenty of well-balanced Tomorite to the water, “Probably the best plant food in the world”, it’s as good for plants as Carlsberg.

If you have the most awful lawn in the world now is the time to start the process of re doing it. The main reason for doing it now is that you can get a perfectly flat smooth surface, the soil is so dry and easy to work, no mess, no mud! I suggest spraying the whole lawn with roundup, glyphosate, be careful not to touch any other plants as it will kill them. Leave the lawn for a couple of weeks to go brown. Once brown, cultivate by rotavating or hand digging until you achieve a very fine tilth. Once you have a fine tilth, level and stone pick and firm the soil before sowing the seed. There are numerous types of grass seed to choose from, very fine grasses good to look at not very hard wearing, harder wearing mixes which will include some ryegrass which will need mowing a little more frequently. After sowing lightly rake and firm. The other option is to lay turf instead, instant but will possibly need constant watering (if done in the summer). It sounds really easy, well it is if you have the right equipment and /or don’t mind a bit of hard work. Well worth it in the long run.
If you need more advice of help drop me a line at the Garden Centre ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

As usual we have an abundance of wonderful late flowering herbaceous plants. Great cream teas!

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your garden – August

Jobs in your garden – August

summer flower

Water the Plants

It’s very dry at the moment so it’s really important that your plants have enough water for them to survive. The summer sun is pulling all the moisture out of the leaves and it can cause a lot of stress on your plants. Check your plants regularly to see if they are wilting and give them lots of water to keep them going.

Feed, Feed, Feed

All the watering you are doing to keep your plants alive will slowly wash the nutrients from the compost in your pots and planters so keep feeding your plants. Feed them every fortnight for the rest of the summer to keep them looking good.

Dead-head regularly

A few minutes every day of deadheading will keep the garden looking smart. It encourages plants to produce more flowers and not to run to seed. Harvesting also encourages plants to keep producing, so pick dahlias with regularity and beans and courgettes while they are still young and fresh.

Watch out for Cabbage white butterfly

Now is the time that Cabbage White Butterfly start to breed and devour your delicious cabbages. Keep an eye out for the butterfly eggs on the leaves of your brassica as they will soon turn into lots of caterpillars. When they grow you can pick them off the leaves but this will take some time, a good bug killer will also work. The best form of defence is prevention – cover your cabbages with a fine netting to stop the butterfly getting to them.

Prune Wisteria

Your Wisteria need pruning twice a year, in Jan/Feb and again in the summer. Pruning keeps its size under control and improves the quality of its flowering. Cut back to 6 leaves from the previous growth and this will encourage it to flower.

Try and have a chilled weekend and keep your trees watered

Try and have a chilled weekend and keep your trees watered

Great weather for relaxing in the shade of a large tree, drinking a cool iced drink with condensation running down the outside of the glass… Heaven!!

Just think of the poor old tree working overtime, transpiration in overdrive trying to keep its leaves from baking crisp in the searing heat.

If you have trees or shrubs planted in the last 2 -3 years give them some consideration in this fierce heat as well as your newly planted plants. The root system on 2 -3 year planted plants will very soon start to struggle finding enough water to keep them alive. I planted a row of London Plane trees last year and they are showing signs of stress, a few leaves going yellow and falling to the ground. Over the last couple of nights I have given them each 20 litres of water, if the heat stays at this level I will probably do that twice a week. When the temperature drops to 20 degrees C once a week will do until mid-September or a damn good rain.

The combines are out in force harvesting the rape and winter barley, I think it will be at least a couple of weeks before any wheat is ready in South Northants. I expect the harvest will be good this year as we have really great average weather. Could do with some rain as my cows are getting short of grass.

The fish in our pond here at the Bell Plantation have done a lot of floating on the top of the water looking dead, I am pleased to say we haven’t had any fatalities yet! Shower them with a hose pipe and they dive to the bottom of the pond. The reason is oxygen depletion in the water due to the weather. In thundery, cloudy weather the oxygenating plants produce less oxygen due to reduce sunlight, the temperatures are usually higher which warm up the water, warmer water holds less oxygen. Prevention is to have a deeper pond to help keep the water cooler and to oxygenate the water more, buy a bigger better pump or even clean the filter on your existing pump.

Pigs

We started our collection of rare breed farm animals this week with the arrival of 3 Oxford Sandy and Black females, 12 weeks old. The Oxford Sandy and Black is a breed of domestic pig originating in Oxfordshire. Named for its colour, which is a base of sandy brown with black patches, the breed is also sometimes called the “Plum Pudding” or “Oxford Forest” pig it is one of the oldest pigs native to Britain. It’s a docile pig suited to being reared outdoors, where its colour protects it from sunburn (which pink pigs tend to suffer from). The breed has twice neared extinction.

As usual we have barrow loads of wonderful flowering herbaceous plants and of course our infamous cream teas are available in abundance, plenty for everyone.

Chill out and have a great weekend

Ashley

Start planting your winter potatoes

Start planting your winter potatoes

Had a great day yesterday 4th and final graduation ceremony, wow how the time flies!
A wonderful day followed by an amazing electrical storm, who needs fireworks!

My good friend Nicolas Moreton is running some wonderful 2 and 3 day stone carving courses in Augusta and September have a look at his website for details. www.nicolasmoreton.com

christmas Potatoes

I guess some of you are tucking into your early potatoes, well now is the time to plant some spuds for Christmas harvest.
We have got various varieties Charlotte, Pentland Javelin etc. The tubers can be planted either in the ground, a large pot or bag at least 40 litres. Plant 4 or 5 tubers in a 40 litre container or plant in the garden 10 cm deep in rows 60 cm apart and 30 cm apart in the row. As the growth appears raise the soil / compost level up with the plant, this will encourage side shoots from the stem which will then grow more potatoes.

Planting at this time of year means that they will need frequently watering an possibly feeding until the rainfall increases in the Autumn. When watering try not to get too much moisture on the leaf as this could encourage blight.
The tubers should be ready for harvesting 10 – 12 weeks after harvesting. If your potatoes are growing in a bag when frosty weather arrives move the bag into the greenhouse or garage, let the compost dry, the tops will dry off, the potatoes will be fine in the compost. If the plants are grown in the ground they will be ok for a few weeks in the soil after the tops have died off. If the soil is very wet it will be better to lift them and store them in a cool dry, dark place. If they are damp they may rot, if they get the light on them they will go green and then taste really bitter. Remember slugs may eat them underground if the soil is very wet and you have an infestation.

We have got loads of other vegetable strips in for you to plant out in your garden.
Watch out for pigeons, slugs and cabbage white butterfly on your brassicas.

I am delighted to announce that we are now stocking the full range of Heygates horse and animal feeds, obviously we are open 7 days a week! Click here to see the range.

Remember to cut your long wiggly waggly Wisteria growth back to 6 leaves from the main stem, obviously if you are training it in a certain direction don’t cut it off!
Plenty of water and feed all round. Pick out the leaf axil growths on cordon tomatoes.
Have a great weekend

Ashley

Enjoy your home grown salad, start thinking about your Christmas meal

Enjoy your home grown salad, start thinking about your Christmas meal

Winter Veg

It’s time to start sowing/planting winter vegetables. Leeks, Brussels sprouts, winter cabbages, sprouting and spring broccoli, swedes and turnip should all be planted now for winter harvest. If you are tight for space the veg above can be sown or planted as small plants between your existing rows of lettuce, radish etc. .These will be harvested before the newly sown plants need the space. There are always loads of pests around dribbling at the mouth to get their hands on your brassicas. The cabbage white butterfly will soon be around, the eggs laid on the leaf soon hatch into hundreds of hungry caterpillars that will devour your cabbages in no time. The best way of preserving your veg under this threat is to cover them with a thin mesh before the cabbage white butterfly appears, the mesh will prevent the butterfly even laying its eggs on your plants. The mesh should be put over the brassicas like a cloche on a metal or bamboo cane frame, covering with mesh will also prevent the pigeons eating the plant, pigeons love them. Agralan make the best mesh and it is reusable year after year, you can get crop protection cloches, which include mesh and frame, other meshes can be purchased off a bulk roll. If you see the caterpillars on your plants you can either pick them off, good luck as this may take ages and you will never get them all off or give them a spray with a pesticide, Bayer Provado is probably one of the better ones. Remember to water and feed your newly planted veg regularly, with shallow roots and blazing sun they will soon perish if not watered. Once the plants are established, say 15cm tall you could put a mulch around the base of the plant i.e. grass cuttings, bark to prevent the soil drying out. Aerial attack from pigeons and butterflies, ground attack from slugs we are all used to them after this spring, there are still masses around. Put slug pellets around the plants, you could put a circle of soot around them, live nematodes can be put on the soil via a watering can, these little weevils eat slugs, slug bait, beer bath etc.

Keep feeding and dead heading all your flowering plants. Water newly planted trees once a week. Tomatoes, cucumbers need copious amounts of regular watering and feeding to get them to perform to their maximum.

We always have loads of current wonderful flowering plants in our plant area, if you are void of colour at a certain point in the season pay us a visit to get some ideas. If you have a new garden and no colour regular visits will give you an idea of what is flowering when, you may even want to buy some plants?

Have a great Silverstone weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – July

Jobs in your Garden – July

Patio rose

Water regularly

Most of the plants we get back at this time of year are because they haven’t been watered properly. Pots and Planters are the most susceptible to drying up and need watering once a day. If you are struggling to keep on top of them move them into a shady spot where they should dry out slower.

Feed your plants

Plants such as roses can really benefit from a summer feed as it can encourage a second flush in Autumn. Feeding your vegetables with a liquid feed can prevent bitterness in your crops.

Deadhead your plants

Bedding plants, roses and other perennials will benefit from regular deadheading. Picking off the fading flowers will prolong the flowering period, making your garden look more attractive. You can also get a second bloom from faded annuals by cutting them back and then fertilising them.

Keep on top of pests

The summer is prime for garden pests – keep an eye on your plants and make sure they aren’t being eaten. A common pest at this time of year is black fly who suck on the sap of plants and eventually kill them.

Plant of the Month – July

Plant of the Month – July

Our plant of the Month for July is Penstemon – Sour Grapes

Penstemon Sour Grapes

This Perennial plant grows up to 60cm in height and flowers elegant spikes of small, tubular, foxglove-like flowers and has lance-shaped leaves. They will grow quickly to form large, leafy clumps and will add some great colour into your border. They love fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

It’s a good job we decided to wrap up our cut grass to make silage rather than hay, the forecasters were right. We do need a good drop of rain on the garden. We have had a constant job on our hands keeping the plants in the Garden centre watered over the last 10 days or so. The hot weather coupled with our team holidays has meant all hands that are here are on the pump. I must invest in some irrigation! We are installing automatic watering for our chickens. At the moment we are using fill from the bottom water tanks. Occasionally when filling them the bottom does not go on correctly, so when turned up the right way you get a boot full of water!
Roses
The majority of roses in my garden look wonderful at this time of year, I have got one rose that is severely stressed for several reasons. Firstly it has got a massive black spot problem and secondly it is going yellow due to lack of feed due to the fact that it is absolutely covered in beautiful flowers. Good regular doses of Multi Rose should alleviate the black spot problem, a good foliar and root feed with maxicrop should get some colour back into the leaves. To encourage a possible re flower later in the summer it is important to cut off all the dead flowers from the roses, dead heading encourages vegetative growth, root growth and may be re flowering depending on the variety of the rose. Loads of organic matter at the base of the plant will slowly release nutrients, retain soil moisture, increase microbial activity, improve soil structure etc. Wow pile on the poo (organic matter). Some of the rose stems will be getting long, if you want to train them along a wall / fence now is the time to start loosely tying them to the structure the way you want them to grow.

If you have a Wisteria that needs a haircut, you can cut those wavy loose stems back to 6 leaves from the main stem of the plant.

We have got loads of wonderful flowering herbaceous plants for you to see.

Pop in and have a look, maybe a cream tea?

Have a good weekend,

Ashley

Heard of the South Northants Art Trail?

artrailweb2

South Northants Art Trail

The Bell Plantation are proud to be hosting the launch exhibition of the South Northants Art trail on 7th September from 10am-4pm.

Painting, sculpture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, photography and more by 27 artists will be on display and for sale.

South Northamptonshire Arts is a newly formed group of experienced artists and makers who have come together to raise the profile of their work in the South Northants area.

On The Trail starting the following Saturday 13th by both professional artists and amateurs, as well tutors showing work by their students. Among others exhibiting in Brackley, Pam Foley, sculptor and tutor will be showing work by her students in a show amusingly entitled “Fifty Shades of Clay”. Many people will recognize the beautiful wire sculptures by Linda Johns showing with the group of painters and photographers at Blisworth this year. Ruth Lyne creates work in glass and will be in her studio at The Old Dairy Farm, Upper Stowe and there will be two painters and a sculptor at Roy Holding’s studio in Towcester. John Damsell, will be in his studio in Potterspury and nearby in Silverstone at Sue Rudland’s studio there will be painters, textile artists and a jeweller. So, come along to the launch where you can look, listen, eat and ENJOY whilst planning your trip along The Art Trail venues the following week!The Trail Leaflet with map and venues will be available at The Bell Plantation or can be downloaded from www.arts-sn.org.uk

Further information: www.arts-sn.org.uk www.facebook.com/arts.sn

email: southnorthamptonshirearts@gmail.com

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Keep your garden flowering

Keep your garden flowering

Agapanthus

It’s been a long growing season this year. Several customers have been asking which flowering plants we have in stock, they have few flowers in their own gardens ( as they have all flowered) for displaying at their local Horticultural shows. The best way to try to prolong flowering in plants is to keep dead heading them and feed and water them. Plant some later flowering varieties Echinacea, Rudbekia, Asters, Lavender, Schizostylis, Agapanthus we have got loads of these at the Garden Centre to add masses of colour to your garden.

I hope by now most people have all their winter veg planted, there is still time to plant potatoes to crop before Christmas, be quick we have a few bags left. They are best planted in a container so that you can get them out of the severe frost.

At this time of year preserving and pickling fruit and veg should be the name of the game, freezing is very trendy and easy. Picking veg young and sweet is better than letting them get bigger and older. Sugar levels are higher and fibre levels lower in younger veg. Preserving is all about the prevention of rot, keeping the fungus and bacteria at bay, pickling, freezing, drying.

It’s a good time of year to collect seeds from plants that you would like to grow next year. I have got my eye on a Quercus castaneifolia, I can assure you there are not many of these in this country! I keep meaning to pick a few of Charlotte’s sweet peas to grow in our hedge.

The wildflowers I planted last year have looked absolutely fantastic all year, however they are now running out of steam and looking a bit untidy. A few are still flowering, it is tempting to cut them down but they must be left to set and drop their seed. Most are annuals, if we removed the vegetation now we would remove the seed as well. The vegetation is best left until completely dry and dead, remove late October. There are a few grass weeds creeping in, I am tempted to spray them with glyphosate during the winter before the wild flowers start to grow again.

Our spring flowering bulbs are now in the shop, it is good to get the daffodils in early as they root before the tulips and other bulbs. Planting bulbs now is a guarantee of masses of colour early next spring in your containers or garden.

Steve joined us this week as our Plant area manager, his previous life was 18 years with the biggest garden centre group in the country. I hope he is ok with the culture shock? We look forward to Steve helping you to enjoy your gardens and us to expand our ranges of plants at Bell Plantation.

In the Poultry department we are recruiting, we need some part time help in the poultry department, if you are interested or know someone who is drop me a line Ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

Have a great weekend

Ashley Warren

Rotten tomatoes and re-doing your lawn

Rotten tomatoes and re-doing your lawn

In August the gardener can go on holiday with no worries, provided he has mown the lawn, watered thoroughly and asked a friend to pick the fruit and vegetables’. Just depends how long the holiday is and how hot the weather. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security with the rain showers we are getting, they hardly lay the dust. Keep pouring on the water until there is a prolonged spell of consistent rain.

rotten tomatoes

I have had a few people ask me this year about their tomatoes going rotten on the end. This is Blossom end rot it is a physiological condition, not a disease or pest. It is caused by lack of calcium. There is no quick fix, and it is difficult to save the fruits that are affected. The lack of calcium in the plant is usually caused by lack of water, calcium is taken up into the plant in the water, so if there is a lack of water the plant does not get the required amount of calcium from the soil/compost. It is less likely that your soil or compost lacks calcium, if it does add plenty of well-balanced Tomorite to the water, “Probably the best plant food in the world”, it’s as good for plants as Carlsberg.

If you have the most awful lawn in the world now is the time to start the process of re doing it. The main reason for doing it now is that you can get a perfectly flat smooth surface, the soil is so dry and easy to work, no mess, no mud! I suggest spraying the whole lawn with roundup, glyphosate, be careful not to touch any other plants as it will kill them. Leave the lawn for a couple of weeks to go brown. Once brown, cultivate by rotavating or hand digging until you achieve a very fine tilth. Once you have a fine tilth, level and stone pick and firm the soil before sowing the seed. There are numerous types of grass seed to choose from, very fine grasses good to look at not very hard wearing, harder wearing mixes which will include some ryegrass which will need mowing a little more frequently. After sowing lightly rake and firm. The other option is to lay turf instead, instant but will possibly need constant watering (if done in the summer). It sounds really easy, well it is if you have the right equipment and /or don’t mind a bit of hard work. Well worth it in the long run.
If you need more advice of help drop me a line at the Garden Centre ashley@bellplantation.co.uk

As usual we have an abundance of wonderful late flowering herbaceous plants. Great cream teas!

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your garden – August

Jobs in your garden – August

summer flower

Water the Plants

It’s very dry at the moment so it’s really important that your plants have enough water for them to survive. The summer sun is pulling all the moisture out of the leaves and it can cause a lot of stress on your plants. Check your plants regularly to see if they are wilting and give them lots of water to keep them going.

Feed, Feed, Feed

All the watering you are doing to keep your plants alive will slowly wash the nutrients from the compost in your pots and planters so keep feeding your plants. Feed them every fortnight for the rest of the summer to keep them looking good.

Dead-head regularly

A few minutes every day of deadheading will keep the garden looking smart. It encourages plants to produce more flowers and not to run to seed. Harvesting also encourages plants to keep producing, so pick dahlias with regularity and beans and courgettes while they are still young and fresh.

Watch out for Cabbage white butterfly

Now is the time that Cabbage White Butterfly start to breed and devour your delicious cabbages. Keep an eye out for the butterfly eggs on the leaves of your brassica as they will soon turn into lots of caterpillars. When they grow you can pick them off the leaves but this will take some time, a good bug killer will also work. The best form of defence is prevention – cover your cabbages with a fine netting to stop the butterfly getting to them.

Prune Wisteria

Your Wisteria need pruning twice a year, in Jan/Feb and again in the summer. Pruning keeps its size under control and improves the quality of its flowering. Cut back to 6 leaves from the previous growth and this will encourage it to flower.

Try and have a chilled weekend and keep your trees watered

Try and have a chilled weekend and keep your trees watered

Great weather for relaxing in the shade of a large tree, drinking a cool iced drink with condensation running down the outside of the glass… Heaven!!

Just think of the poor old tree working overtime, transpiration in overdrive trying to keep its leaves from baking crisp in the searing heat.

If you have trees or shrubs planted in the last 2 -3 years give them some consideration in this fierce heat as well as your newly planted plants. The root system on 2 -3 year planted plants will very soon start to struggle finding enough water to keep them alive. I planted a row of London Plane trees last year and they are showing signs of stress, a few leaves going yellow and falling to the ground. Over the last couple of nights I have given them each 20 litres of water, if the heat stays at this level I will probably do that twice a week. When the temperature drops to 20 degrees C once a week will do until mid-September or a damn good rain.

The combines are out in force harvesting the rape and winter barley, I think it will be at least a couple of weeks before any wheat is ready in South Northants. I expect the harvest will be good this year as we have really great average weather. Could do with some rain as my cows are getting short of grass.

The fish in our pond here at the Bell Plantation have done a lot of floating on the top of the water looking dead, I am pleased to say we haven’t had any fatalities yet! Shower them with a hose pipe and they dive to the bottom of the pond. The reason is oxygen depletion in the water due to the weather. In thundery, cloudy weather the oxygenating plants produce less oxygen due to reduce sunlight, the temperatures are usually higher which warm up the water, warmer water holds less oxygen. Prevention is to have a deeper pond to help keep the water cooler and to oxygenate the water more, buy a bigger better pump or even clean the filter on your existing pump.

Pigs

We started our collection of rare breed farm animals this week with the arrival of 3 Oxford Sandy and Black females, 12 weeks old. The Oxford Sandy and Black is a breed of domestic pig originating in Oxfordshire. Named for its colour, which is a base of sandy brown with black patches, the breed is also sometimes called the “Plum Pudding” or “Oxford Forest” pig it is one of the oldest pigs native to Britain. It’s a docile pig suited to being reared outdoors, where its colour protects it from sunburn (which pink pigs tend to suffer from). The breed has twice neared extinction.

As usual we have barrow loads of wonderful flowering herbaceous plants and of course our infamous cream teas are available in abundance, plenty for everyone.

Chill out and have a great weekend

Ashley

Start planting your winter potatoes

Start planting your winter potatoes

Had a great day yesterday 4th and final graduation ceremony, wow how the time flies!
A wonderful day followed by an amazing electrical storm, who needs fireworks!

My good friend Nicolas Moreton is running some wonderful 2 and 3 day stone carving courses in Augusta and September have a look at his website for details. www.nicolasmoreton.com

christmas Potatoes

I guess some of you are tucking into your early potatoes, well now is the time to plant some spuds for Christmas harvest.
We have got various varieties Charlotte, Pentland Javelin etc. The tubers can be planted either in the ground, a large pot or bag at least 40 litres. Plant 4 or 5 tubers in a 40 litre container or plant in the garden 10 cm deep in rows 60 cm apart and 30 cm apart in the row. As the growth appears raise the soil / compost level up with the plant, this will encourage side shoots from the stem which will then grow more potatoes.

Planting at this time of year means that they will need frequently watering an possibly feeding until the rainfall increases in the Autumn. When watering try not to get too much moisture on the leaf as this could encourage blight.
The tubers should be ready for harvesting 10 – 12 weeks after harvesting. If your potatoes are growing in a bag when frosty weather arrives move the bag into the greenhouse or garage, let the compost dry, the tops will dry off, the potatoes will be fine in the compost. If the plants are grown in the ground they will be ok for a few weeks in the soil after the tops have died off. If the soil is very wet it will be better to lift them and store them in a cool dry, dark place. If they are damp they may rot, if they get the light on them they will go green and then taste really bitter. Remember slugs may eat them underground if the soil is very wet and you have an infestation.

We have got loads of other vegetable strips in for you to plant out in your garden.
Watch out for pigeons, slugs and cabbage white butterfly on your brassicas.

I am delighted to announce that we are now stocking the full range of Heygates horse and animal feeds, obviously we are open 7 days a week! Click here to see the range.

Remember to cut your long wiggly waggly Wisteria growth back to 6 leaves from the main stem, obviously if you are training it in a certain direction don’t cut it off!
Plenty of water and feed all round. Pick out the leaf axil growths on cordon tomatoes.
Have a great weekend

Ashley

Enjoy your home grown salad, start thinking about your Christmas meal

Enjoy your home grown salad, start thinking about your Christmas meal

Winter Veg

It’s time to start sowing/planting winter vegetables. Leeks, Brussels sprouts, winter cabbages, sprouting and spring broccoli, swedes and turnip should all be planted now for winter harvest. If you are tight for space the veg above can be sown or planted as small plants between your existing rows of lettuce, radish etc. .These will be harvested before the newly sown plants need the space. There are always loads of pests around dribbling at the mouth to get their hands on your brassicas. The cabbage white butterfly will soon be around, the eggs laid on the leaf soon hatch into hundreds of hungry caterpillars that will devour your cabbages in no time. The best way of preserving your veg under this threat is to cover them with a thin mesh before the cabbage white butterfly appears, the mesh will prevent the butterfly even laying its eggs on your plants. The mesh should be put over the brassicas like a cloche on a metal or bamboo cane frame, covering with mesh will also prevent the pigeons eating the plant, pigeons love them. Agralan make the best mesh and it is reusable year after year, you can get crop protection cloches, which include mesh and frame, other meshes can be purchased off a bulk roll. If you see the caterpillars on your plants you can either pick them off, good luck as this may take ages and you will never get them all off or give them a spray with a pesticide, Bayer Provado is probably one of the better ones. Remember to water and feed your newly planted veg regularly, with shallow roots and blazing sun they will soon perish if not watered. Once the plants are established, say 15cm tall you could put a mulch around the base of the plant i.e. grass cuttings, bark to prevent the soil drying out. Aerial attack from pigeons and butterflies, ground attack from slugs we are all used to them after this spring, there are still masses around. Put slug pellets around the plants, you could put a circle of soot around them, live nematodes can be put on the soil via a watering can, these little weevils eat slugs, slug bait, beer bath etc.

Keep feeding and dead heading all your flowering plants. Water newly planted trees once a week. Tomatoes, cucumbers need copious amounts of regular watering and feeding to get them to perform to their maximum.

We always have loads of current wonderful flowering plants in our plant area, if you are void of colour at a certain point in the season pay us a visit to get some ideas. If you have a new garden and no colour regular visits will give you an idea of what is flowering when, you may even want to buy some plants?

Have a great Silverstone weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – July

Jobs in your Garden – July

Patio rose

Water regularly

Most of the plants we get back at this time of year are because they haven’t been watered properly. Pots and Planters are the most susceptible to drying up and need watering once a day. If you are struggling to keep on top of them move them into a shady spot where they should dry out slower.

Feed your plants

Plants such as roses can really benefit from a summer feed as it can encourage a second flush in Autumn. Feeding your vegetables with a liquid feed can prevent bitterness in your crops.

Deadhead your plants

Bedding plants, roses and other perennials will benefit from regular deadheading. Picking off the fading flowers will prolong the flowering period, making your garden look more attractive. You can also get a second bloom from faded annuals by cutting them back and then fertilising them.

Keep on top of pests

The summer is prime for garden pests – keep an eye on your plants and make sure they aren’t being eaten. A common pest at this time of year is black fly who suck on the sap of plants and eventually kill them.

Plant of the Month – July

Plant of the Month – July

Our plant of the Month for July is Penstemon – Sour Grapes

Penstemon Sour Grapes

This Perennial plant grows up to 60cm in height and flowers elegant spikes of small, tubular, foxglove-like flowers and has lance-shaped leaves. They will grow quickly to form large, leafy clumps and will add some great colour into your border. They love fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

It’s a good job we decided to wrap up our cut grass to make silage rather than hay, the forecasters were right. We do need a good drop of rain on the garden. We have had a constant job on our hands keeping the plants in the Garden centre watered over the last 10 days or so. The hot weather coupled with our team holidays has meant all hands that are here are on the pump. I must invest in some irrigation! We are installing automatic watering for our chickens. At the moment we are using fill from the bottom water tanks. Occasionally when filling them the bottom does not go on correctly, so when turned up the right way you get a boot full of water!
Roses
The majority of roses in my garden look wonderful at this time of year, I have got one rose that is severely stressed for several reasons. Firstly it has got a massive black spot problem and secondly it is going yellow due to lack of feed due to the fact that it is absolutely covered in beautiful flowers. Good regular doses of Multi Rose should alleviate the black spot problem, a good foliar and root feed with maxicrop should get some colour back into the leaves. To encourage a possible re flower later in the summer it is important to cut off all the dead flowers from the roses, dead heading encourages vegetative growth, root growth and may be re flowering depending on the variety of the rose. Loads of organic matter at the base of the plant will slowly release nutrients, retain soil moisture, increase microbial activity, improve soil structure etc. Wow pile on the poo (organic matter). Some of the rose stems will be getting long, if you want to train them along a wall / fence now is the time to start loosely tying them to the structure the way you want them to grow.

If you have a Wisteria that needs a haircut, you can cut those wavy loose stems back to 6 leaves from the main stem of the plant.

We have got loads of wonderful flowering herbaceous plants for you to see.

Pop in and have a look, maybe a cream tea?

Have a good weekend,

Ashley