Chickens,Gardening,News

Late Night Shopping details. National Poultry Show at Stoneleigh – this weekend16 Nov

We took delivery of our bare root hedging today, no Ash trees I am afraid!! Christmas trees will be with us in about 12 days’ time. All our Christmas trees are English grown, the majority of them are from the Fasque Estate in Kincardineshire, Scotland. They have supplied us for the last 5 or 6 years, fantastic shape trees and they keep their needles, I don’t think we have had more than 6 returned in that time period. We have got a lot more of the taller trees in this year (over 2.5 meters) as they are usually the first to sell out. The team are getting very excited about the oncoming festive season, they don’t like the quieter months of October and November. The highlight is watching some families choose their tree, it can take a very long time sometimes hours!! January and February are tolerable as March (lots of customers) is around the corner. I have spent a lot of my time during November buying our Gardening products for next year. I have got a lot of new products coming in over the next 3 months to help you enjoy your “Love of the great  outdoors” and gardening experience. I have also been trying to secure funding to expand the Garden Centre, not easy in the current economic climate. We have had a great year this year and have thoroughly enjoyed having you all as our customers. I hope you have enjoyed coming up here to Bell Plantation, we have got loads planned for Gardening 2013.

Smiling Christmas Tree Team

“Smiling Christmas Tree Team”

The sausages served in the Café are again our own produce!  Delicious!

This weekend 17th & 18th we have a stand at the National Poultry Show at Stoneleigh, it would be great to see you there – Chris and Jo will be manning the stand.

We have got loads of offers on over the Christmas period, late night shopping until 9pm on 6th, 13th & 20th December. Mulled wine and mince pies.

Most Marvellous vintage Sunday 25th November.

Bell at Christmas

Keep an eye on the website for details www.bellplantation.co.uk

Have a wonderful weekend

Ashley

Chickens,Gardening,News

Fruit Trees and Spring Flowering Bulbs.03 Aug

Many thanks to all of you who came last Sunday to our Most Marvellous day. We had a fantastic day, I have never seen so many people in our Courtyard. We will be having an event on the last Sunday of the month.

Our Spring flowering bulbs started coming in this week. Despite the high rainfall they have been successfully harvested, dried and packaged in Lincolnshire.

Lavender Frizzle

“Lavender Frizzle”

I had a day out this week (surprise, surprise) to our fruit tree supplier in Tenbury Wells. A fantastic 400 acre farm covered in fruit trees and glass. About 1.2 million trees to choose from, espalier, fan, cordon, etc. We will be getting some in the next few weeks. If you have any special requirements drop me a line and I will see if I can get it for you.

Make sure you get your Box hedges trimmed well before the Autumn/Winter. They could probably do with a good feed to prevent yellowing. General maintenance, dead head roses, spray for black spot and mildew.

I have seen cabbage white butterflies about, cover up your brassica’s to prevent them laying their eggs on your plants. Agralan make a great net that should last for years.

Teak Root Furniture

“Teak Root Furniture”

As usual we have got loads of great stuff, great offers on furniture (worth buying for next year)! Keep an eye on the website.

Enjoy your Garden, have a great weekend

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Bell Bumble Bees!15 Jun

Great excitement here this week, despite the appalling weather our Bumble Bees arrived!! We ordered them a couple of weeks ago.

Bell Bumbles 1

“Bell Bumbles”

Bombus terrestris Audax a really friendly, hardworking pollinator. They work in cool, windy, damp conditions. Bless them! We ordered ours complete with a wooden box to give them a bit more protection, they would have been ok in the cardboard box they came in. Bumble bee population is in decline due to habitat reduction and pesticide use. Buying a small colony and releasing it in your garden is a great way to re dress the balance. Once you have opened the box you don’t have to do anything else. It is great having them around and watching them work. Details will be on our website or give me a call if you are interested in having some.

Bell Bumbles 2

“Bell Bumbles”

Gardening tips !!

Tough doing anything when it’s like this. Great weather for weeds because you can’t get to chop them. Wind apparently is going to be a big problem this weekend. Batten down the hatches tie up or cane your tender herbaceous borders, check your tree ties.

We have named the pigs, chosen a winner for our crown drawing and paint the cockerel competition. Look out for the cockerel near the A43.

Great new furniture in Oxley’s (lifetime guarantee) and Sika. Design. 350 Chickens came in this week Cluck Cluck.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Chickens,Gardening,News

100 New Chickens and Summer Café Menu24 May

I am pleased to say we have had another delivery of 100 chickens today. We took advantage of very low stock levels to have a real deep clean. It has been very quiet for the last 5 days not a chicken on the site, the first time in probably 15 years. Chickens are great lawn scarifiers, they scratch moss and bugs out of the soil and fertilise at the same time. If you leave them in the same place for too long they will over scarify and dig holes in the lawn. Move the pen every few days to avoid damage.

Columbian Blacktail Hen Web

"Columbian Blacktail Hen"

Chelsea was amazing, so many amazing plants, the Foxglove display was one that particularly caught my eye. One of the growers was telling me that they were dealing with low temperatures of about 4 degrees centigrade on Monday night, while I was talking to him it was 27 degrees centigrade in the tent.

Primrose Carousel

We will hopefully be stocking some amazing metal and wicker furniture that we saw at the show. I have a meeting next week to finalise the agreement. I’ll keep you posted. At least now there is a chance of sitting in the Garden.

As usual we have got loads of lovely stuff and Sheena has done a new Summer Café menu.

 

Enjoy the fresh air.

Look forward to seeing you

Ashley

P.S. keep an eye on the website for great deals.

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Fantastic New Plants and Easter Gifts05 Apr

Hi

What a change from last week! Suddenly we are in to protecting the growth made by tender plants. Cover up, wrap up tender plants with fleece, bubble wrap or up turned pots, another alternative is to bring plants under cover if possible. We have probably had 15 deliveries of fantastic new plants for the Easter weekend mainly from British Growers, with minus 5 degrees forecast for tonight it’s a job to know where to put them all.

There is still plenty of time to sow seeds, potatoes, corms and tubers for cropping and cutting this year.

With the hose pipe ban nearly in place water butts have been flying out the door, we have still got 20 – 30 butts in store. Micro irrigation systems and leaky pipes are sometimes allowed within the ban as you know we stock Gardena.

Vegetarian Pig

"Vegetarian Pig"

The majority of our Chickens are reared in Totnes in Devon. Due to the fuel problem there has been no white diesel in the West Country so we have struggled to get our Fowl. We had 100 pullets delivered this week and have another 200 due in next week.

The shop looks great very Easter orientated, chickens bunnies and guess what no chocolate only hot stuff in the Café.

Easter Gifts

"Easter Gifts"

We have got some great new businesses moving to the site, hopefully opening before the end of April.

I’ll keep you posted

 

Have a lovely Easter, relax and enjoy the Great Outdoors

Regards

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Spring Customer Evening This Thursday!26 Mar

Thursday 29th March 6pm – 9pm

Celebrate the arrival of spring with us and get 10% off everything* for one evening only.

All your favourites for less including: herborium plants, gifts section, poultry centre and much more!

Join us at the Plantation for an evening of relaxation and bargain hunting!

http://www.bellplantation.co.uk/spring-customer-evening/

*(excludes all current offers and discounts)

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Plenty of Primula Colour09 Mar

Plenty of Primula Colour

"Plenty of Primula Colour"

I got into trouble last week for posting pictures of Sheena so I’ll have to give that a break for a week or two, then I’ll catch her out again.

All you dog walkers will be pleased to know that the sheep have gone from the field so feel free to let your dog’s off the lead. I suppose the muck is still a bit ripe if your dog has the urge to roll in it, best wait until it has rained.

If you have rhubarb pop a bucket over the top or buy a terracotta rhubarb forcer! This will encourage some lovely early crop able sweet growth, you only need a couple of weeks growth for a good crop from an old root.

Get some fertiliser on the garden phosphates and potash take longer to get through the soil to the roots than nitrogen, so best to get it on earlier so that the rain (if we have any) washes it through the soil to where it is needed.

We have installed 4 extra pens for our chickens, we now have 350 pullets in stock which arrived this week.

We are also getting some new piglets, which arrive before this weekend.

Jo our resident plant expert with fresh new herbs

"Jo our resident plant expert with fresh new herbs"

Have a good Gardening week

Best wishes

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Spring is just around the corner. Vibrant Primulets & Poultry housing tips.17 Feb

Hi

Spring is just around the corner, yesterday I picked up the first scent of the new season, how exciting! Potatoes earlies, Jersey Royals could be planted in the next week to 10 days. Get them chitting in a cool frost free shed/garage.

The cold weather has supressed the amount of people we have seen over the last week, so we have been able to get on with treating our poultry houses. A good pasting of creosote helps preserve the wood and kills the mites.

Mashing the mites

"Mashing the mites"

We have stocked up on watering cans and water buts following the news that there may be a drought this summer, all the more reason to mulch the shrub beds to keep in the moisture, increase the organic matter and fertility.

You can colour up your Garden with vibrant Primulets, these ones have been through all the cold weather and still look great.

Colour up your garden

"Colour up your garden"

Look forward to seeing you soon

 

Regards

Ashley

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Happy New Year. New Garden shop in our Greenhouse. Seed Potatoes and Black Araucana in stock now.13 Jan

Hi Happy New Year to you all. Apologies for not keeping in touch Flu, Burglaries and Christmas have kept us all busy.

We have got loads happening as usual here at the Garden Centre. Our Seed Potatoes arrived yesterday are now all out on sale.

We had a new delivery of Chickens this week 250 point of lay pullets.

We have got a new variety Black Araucana that lays in excess of 220 blue / green eggs. Not quite as many as the normal hybrid but a great colour.

Brown Araucana

 

We have created a new Garden Shop in our Greenhouse all our Garden sundries will now be under one roof, this will enable us to keep a larger range of tools, fertilisers and seeds.

I hope we see you soon, we have a great team of people here to help you with your Garden or Poultry at any time.

 

Best wishes

 

Ashley

Bell Plantation Garden Centre

www.bellplantation.co.uk | www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Chickens,Gardening,News

Fancy an ‘Omlet’?!11 Nov

Omlet1Fancy an ‘Omlet’?! We have loads! Fly down and see our new range of Omlet Poultry Housing. They are soo easy to clean, eco friendly and spacious! What a cracking treat for your chickens this Christmas!

More gorgeous Autumn plants have just arrived. Whether you are looking to spoil someone this weekend or just add some Autumn colour to your home or garden…. we have just the thing for you!

Cyclamen bowls, pots, baskets starting at £1.99!

Don’t forget we can re-plant your old hanging baskets with Autumn plants! Just ask a member of our team for more information.

PlantsOmlet housing for Chickens

For everything to do with the Bell Plantation: www.bellplantation.co.uk and for the chickens: www.poultrycentre.co.uk

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

GC

So, it’s been a really busy week here at the Bell Plantation trying to get all the lovely plants and stock in for the holidays. The sun has been out (apart from this afternoon) and there’s a real buzz about the place. We really love it when the Spring comes around – the place springs to life and there is colour everywhere!

We hope you all have a nice relaxing Easter weekend – if you fancy a day out we’d love to see you. We are now selling turf so if you need any to patch up or re-lay your garden come down and pick some up. £3.99 for a 1sq metre roll (it’s rectangular shaped though). 550 new hybrid hens arrived today so we’ve got loads of stock. Here are the breeds: Blue, Light Sussex, Speckledy, Sussex Rock, Rhode Rock, Amber, White Leghorn, Brown, Blacktail, Blue Splash and Gold Speckled. Remember, the favourites will go first.

Ashley is currently in a race against time on the M25 picking up a whole load of furniture for a customer for the weekend. Fingers crossed he gets to the warehouse near Brighton before they close at 5.30pm!

Have a great Easter!

Freddie

Plant of the Month and a busy weekend

This weekend

We’ve got a lot going on this weekend with our Poultry Centre open day and the exclusive launch of the new Omlet Go-UP. Come and speak to representatives of Nettex, Brinsea, Heygates Food and Global Herbs or one of our team for any help and advice you need on Poultry.

We’ve also got our Easter Hunt – explore the Garden Centre and find all the Easter pictures and get a chocolate treat at the end.

In stock we have literally thousands of gorgeous flowers and plants ready for the sun – the place really is looking full. The Cafe team are preparing for a really busy weekend too – lots of delicious cakes and Easter treats ready to tingle your taste buds.

Plant of the Month – April

Our Plant of the month this month is the delicious Grafted Tomato Plant from Suttons –

Grafted Tomato Plant

Growing your own veg is great fun and really satisfying. It’s such a good feeling sitting down to your meal knowing you grew the food on your plate. And in my opinion there’s very little better than a ripe plump tomato. New to the domestic market are grafted vegetables which are bred for increased vigour and improved performance and then grafter for up to 75% more fruit. As a result grafted vegetables are the new craze in grow your own. One of our favourites is Suttons “F1 Sweet Petit” – a vigorous growing cherry tomato plant producing deliciously sweet and tasty tomatoes, great for salads and snacks. They are ideally grown in a greenhouse (in April-May) but can be planted outside once the weather is sunny (June-July). Give our team a call if you want any info about growing you own veg or about grafted tomatoes in particular.

Contact us button

April – Jobs in your garden

Hanging basket blog

1. Get rid of the weeds

Like your plants, your weeds will really start to grow in April so make sure you spend some time properly dealing with those pesky things. Pull out any annual weeds, which should come out easily and use a weed killer containing glyphosate to kill the perennials.

2. Watch out of Aphids

Aphids such as green fly and black fly will start to multiply this month as it start to get warmer. Start checking your plants, especially roses, and squash any you see. If you find a real cluster on them you’ll need to get some insecticides and give them a spray.

3. Plant your Onions and shallots

April is the month to plant those onion and shallots in your vegetable plot. Make sure your site is weed free (see above) and is located with well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Plant them in rows about 10cm apart with 20cm between each row.

4. Start to plant your hanging baskets

As the weather really starts to warm up, plant your favourite summer annuals. Put a layer of sphagnum moss in the bottom and up the sides of the basket as a liner. Fill the basket up with compost and plant in an assortment of plants to bring some real colour to your garden.

5. PLant your herbaceous borders

Herbaceous borders are one of our favourites here at Bell Plantation. They bring a range of colour and variety to your garden and getting your border looking amazing is a really good challenge for a gardener. Make sure you clear your bed properly and place out where you want each plant to go. Leave 30cm between each plant to give them enough space to flower well, mulch around the tops of the plants and water in well.

Feed Roses and Shrubs

It’s now time to give your roses and shrubs a good feed as this will really benefit them as they come into growth. Feed them with a balanced fertiliser such as fish blood and bone or growmore which will really bring out the best of your plants.

As always we are here to help so please don’t hesitate to call or pop in and speak to one of our team with any questions at all.

Contact us button

Poultry Centre Open Day

Poultry Centre Open Day Blog

Thinking of keeping Poultry? Already got Chickens and want some help and advice?

Bring your family and friends to the Poultry Centre open day this Saturday 12th April where you can get specialised help and advice from our expert team or from reps from some of our key suppliers.

Representatives from Nettex, Brinsea, Heygates Food and Global Herbs will be here to answer all your questions about poultry keeping, health, incubating, and anything else you want to know.

We’d love to see you from 10.30 AM and help you with anything you need to know.

Thanks,

Poultry Team.

Visit Us Today

Free bunch of Daffodils this Weekend (if you know the password)

Daffodils
If you didn’t already know, it’s Mother’s day on Sunday and as a special treat we are giving away a free bunch of daffodils to anyone who spends in the Garden Centre and gives the secret password to our team which is……”mummy”! This starts from tomorrow (Friday 27th March) and ends when the stock runs out.

We’ve also got loads of great mothers day presents in store so you can show a bit of appreciation to the one who raised and cared for you as well as gaining a bit of brownie points with the in-laws.
Below are just some of the great house plants and planters we’ve got that can always be gift wrapped by one of our team.
Anthuriun 12.99
Anthurium 12.99
This gorgeous house plant is a great mothers day gift. It will brighten up any home with its beautiful pink flowers.

Hydrangea £9.99
Hydrangea £9.99
Hydrangea’s are an absolute favourite, and for good reason. Their lovely soft pink and white flowers really do look great in your home.

Kalanchoe 2.99
Kalanchoe £2.99
At £2.99 these house plants are a great value present and are really bright and colourful.

We’ve got loads more house plants and planters in store so pop down to pick up your free daffodils and a mothers day present at the same time.

Fruit trees – A delicious and useful addition to your garden

Goosebury web

Fruit trees – A delicious and useful addition to your garden

What a glorious last weekend we had, I hope it will be the same over the next few days. The Garden Centre, I am pleased to say, was really busy, our plants were in great demand. We have got a fantastic range of all types of plants. One of the many areas we have increased is our selection of fruit trees, not only do we have a greater selection of apples and pears, we have mulberry, hazel nuts, walnuts, sweet chestnut, peach, kiwi fruit, goosebury, quince, nectarines, apricots, figs and various varieties of grapes. I ate one of the peaches off one of the sale trees last summer, it was absolutely delicious.

My Mother had a flower and vegetable business in Aylesbury, I remember as a child eating huge Black Hamburg grapes grown at Waddesdon Manor, not only did they taste delicious but each bunch came in a little wooden box with a sliding top, the bunch of grapes were laid on shredded wood and there was a fantastic white bloom all over the fruit, just like a new born baby! Growing fruit on a tree is easy, and you can use fruit as screening (espalier), creating edges (step over), structural interest (cordon bush), make your garden productive! Most fruit trees and bushes are really tough and hardy, they will last a very long time. Fruit trees can grow to various sizes, what makes the difference in the ultimate size, height of the tree is the rootstock that the tree is grown on. For example you can have a Cox’s orange pippin on a very dwarf rootstock (M27) that can be grown in a container or you can have a Cox’s orange pippin that will grow very tall very quickly on an M25. Basically you can have the fruit variety of your choice on what size tree you like, how amazing! The Romans were doing this a long time ago. Also family fruit trees provide a selection of different types of fruit on the same tree size of your choice.
There is so much to do outside now the ground has dried up a bit, it is amazing how the sun and wind combination soon dries up the soil. Plant potatoes into a well prepared seed bed, planted now they will give you a relatively early crop. First cut of the lawn, raise the mower blades (make sure they are sharp) for the first time around. Get some feed on the lawn a week after cutting the lawn. Weed and feed can be used if you have a weed and moss problem. I put mine on last week and spread the weed and feed a bit too wide, it has killed some of my broad leaved wild flowers, so be careful.
If you need any Gardening help or advice you know where to come, we have a great team here to help you.
Have a lovely weekend,
Ashley

March Offers and 550 new chickens just in!!!

Special offers available to you here at the Bell Plantation Garden Centre.

Prunus Kojo no Mai

Prunus Kojo-no-mai

About to flower, this shrub produces a beautiful display of pale red flowers. It will grow about 6ft high by 6 ft wide and loves to be positioned in full sun. It is fully frost hardy so a must have for your garden especially in these conditions.

Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles (Ornamental Quince)

This beautiful shrub is a great addition to any garden. It’s tough , easy to grow and will bring some great colour to your garden every spring. It may even bring you some large colourful fruits by Autumn.

6 Pack Bedding

6 Pack Bedding

Bring some instant colour into your garden with some Spring Bedding. Great for pots, containers and hanging baskets bedding plants are a fantastic way of making the most of the Spring sun and at 3 for £9 they are pretty good value.

Herbaceous Perennials 5 for £10

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous Perennials are an absolute essential for bringing some colour into your garden borders. Plant them early this Spring to give them time to develop in your garden and look beautiful for the rest of the Spring and Summer. At 5 for £10 they are fantastic value and enable you to get a really great range of varieties.

Miracle Grow compost 3 for £12

Miracle Grow Multi-Purpose Compost

Enriched with Miracle-Gro Plant Food this multi-purpose compost feeds for 3 months. It contains 40% more nutrients than ordinary multi purpose compost so at 3 for £12 this really is a fantastic deal!

Gardman Seed Mix only £13.99

12.55KG NO MESS SEED MIX

Winter is a tough time for birds, it’s cold and they need higher amounts of energy to survive the frosty nights. There is less natural food like berries around for them to feed on too. With this great deal on Seed Mix you can keep the birds fed and happy through these cold months.

Gardman Seed Mix only £13.99

30% OFF BULLDOG TOOLS

Bulldog tools have been making quality garden tools since 1870. They are made by a single piece of steel, riveted into an ash shaft, the end of which has been steamed to form a D shaped handle. This makes the tools exceptionally strong which are backed by a lifetime guarantee.

25-off-seeds

25% OFF SEEDS

Growing seeds is a brilliant thing to do in the winter. For the keen gardener it’s a great excuse to get in the greenhouse and will save you a bit of money when it comes to spring. Kids love growing seeds so if you are a parent it doesn’t take much – a pack of seeds, some compost and a some seed trays.

compost

ORGANIC GARDEN COMPOST

Vital Earth Garden Soil is expertly formulated from high quality, screened soil, specially composted garden waste and Vital Earth Vitalizer. Vital Earth Garden Soil is perfect for creating new gardens, rockeries, leveling lawns and raised flower or vegetable beds.

4 for £10!

‘Now is our time’, gardeners prepare!

High pressure weather weekend, thank goodness, we haven’t had many of these over the last 3 months! ‘Now is our time’, gardeners prepare!
This year sub-zero temperatures haven’t been the problem, high rainfall and saturated ground are preventing garden action. If the soil is saturated for too long the water replaces the air in the soil and the soil starts to go sour (anaerobic respiration takes place). Cultivating, lifting and introducing organic matter into the soil will introduce small pockets of air re dressing the air, water, organic matter, soil particle, mineral balance, it will also help the soil dry out by exposing a greater surface area to the sun and wind.
soil

I go on about the soil all the time because if the soil is right a lot of other thing naturally fall into place without even thinking. Plant roots like good tilth, if the tilth is good the plant will perform and grow well with little stress (wouldn’t that be lovely!). Compaction / waterlogging is what they will be suffering in the Somerset levels, all the grass in the pasture will probably have died. Cultivating and re seeding will be necessary to turn the fields back into productive pasture.
It’s time to chit and plant potatoes, if you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse plant some spuds in a container and keep them inside until the last frost has passed. These could be eaten in 15- 18 weeks. Potatoes should be planted in the ground, well dug beds about 10cm deep, 30 cm apart on the row and the rows should be 45cm -60cm apart. When the green shoots emerge from the earth, keep an eye on the forecast, cover them with an upturned flower pots if the temperature drops below 6 degrees centigrade. If the growth tips get touched by frost it will set the plant back a few weeks.
I am going to grow some Franchii tomatoes this weekend, variety Pomodoro Principe Borghese, a traditional variety used for sun drying, when the tomatoes are ripe you pull up the whole plant and hang it up to dry in a cool airy place and pick the tomatoes until Christmas? Worth a go.
We had over 1000 herbaceous perennials in this week, ready to plant out in the garden. Bucket loads of fruit trees and bushes etc. We have got loads great offers on our website (especially compost), this is a keep in touch email not a selling email, but do have a look at the website!. Freddie has put up a prize of £100 to spend in the Garden Centre if you like us on Facebook in March!
We are hiring as well a the moment so if you know of anyone who might light to work in the Garden Centre or Cafe please get them to give us a call.

Have a great weekend
Ashley

March – Jobs in your Garden

Bell Plantation Garden
March is here and the signs of Spring are showing. Here are our top jobs to do in the garden this March.

1. Tidy up the lawn

Give your garden a rake over to lift the grass and weeds and remove the remnants of winter. When the rain stops give your lawn a mow. Don’t mow it too low though to avoid scalping the grass. Look for any bare patches in your grass and re-sow.

2. Plant your potatoes

We’ve had our seed potatoes in stock for a while but now really is the time to get your “early” Seed Potatoes in the ground. Your main crop varieties can be planted later on in March.

5. Grow some vegetable seeds

Start growing tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and any other seeds during March. Ideally grow them in a greenhouse but a warm, light windowsill will do the job too. Remember to always use clean seed sowing trays, or pots, and think about using a special seed sowing compost, which can help good strong growth.

4. Protect Spring shoots from slugs

New shoots and emerging bulbs are particularly attractive to slugs who are just coming out of hibernation and looking for food. You need to act fast as they will! Slug pellets are the most effective way of getting rid of slugs but if you have pets such as chickens around you may want to try putting crushed egg shells around new shoots.

5. Cut back Cornus and Salix

Pruning back Conrus and Salix hard keeps them at a manageable size and promotes better growth of vigorous new shoots and foliage for the coming season.

6. Deal with the weeds

As spring gets going weeds will start to emerge just as plants do, so it’s best to get on top of them early. Pull out and dig up any annual weeds but with perennials its best to use a weed killer (with glyphosate in) to make sure you kill the whole root to stop it coming back. If you don’t know the difference – if it comes out easily it’s an annual.

Is Spring here?

Snow Drops

It’s great to see a bit of sun, the bulbs you planted last Autumn should be popping their heads through the soil very soon. The snowdrops in our garden this year look amazing. Although you can buy different varieties of snowdrops as bulbs in the autumn the most successful way of establishing new clumps of snowdrops in your garden is by planting growing bulbs, obviously they can be found in your local friendly Garden Centre!
I just love this time of year the whole new gardening season ahead of us, bucket loads of trees and plants coming in and out of the Centre. It’s a great time for my daughter Sophie who does our accounts reducing pressure on cash flow, hopefully! Last March 2013 we had our worst March trading period ever, freezing temperatures most of the month. March can be one of the most volatile months in terms of weather and therefore gardening and therefore our business. We just ask for average weather, that would be good (I was going to put cool, but then we don’t want it cool).
February is a must for spraying your fruiting cherries, almonds, peaches and some flowering Prunus varieties against Peach Leaf Curl. At the moment the bubs on these trees are filling it is important to get the fungicide on before the buds burst. Spray all the branches and buds. I think peach leaf curl is the second biggest threat to a good crop of fruit. The biggest threat is the birds eating the fruit just before it ripens. They don’t have such sweet teeth as us!
If you have a sunny south facing aspect growing peaches is such fun, we had some plants in the garden centre last year that fruited with no effort on our part, the taste of the white fleshed peach was divine.
Potatoes can be planted soon, if you have a greenhouse you could plant some now in a container for very early cropping. Have a think about what vegetables you would like to grow this year. If you buy a packet of seeds don’t sow them all at once, spread the sowing, 2 weekly intervals should spread the cropping pattern nicely to enable you to eat the lot.
If you can get onto your veg garden dig a much organic matter into the soil as you can, it will make cropping heavier, it will be easier to dig next time, it will hold more water and nutrients, it will make root growth easier for the plant, you won’t get bendy carrots or stubby parsnips.
All our Spring promotions are on our website, we are using our website as a shop window rather than online selling.
Really look forward to seeing you.
Ashley

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

GC

So, it’s been a really busy week here at the Bell Plantation trying to get all the lovely plants and stock in for the holidays. The sun has been out (apart from this afternoon) and there’s a real buzz about the place. We really love it when the Spring comes around – the place springs to life and there is colour everywhere!

We hope you all have a nice relaxing Easter weekend – if you fancy a day out we’d love to see you. We are now selling turf so if you need any to patch up or re-lay your garden come down and pick some up. £3.99 for a 1sq metre roll (it’s rectangular shaped though). 550 new hybrid hens arrived today so we’ve got loads of stock. Here are the breeds: Blue, Light Sussex, Speckledy, Sussex Rock, Rhode Rock, Amber, White Leghorn, Brown, Blacktail, Blue Splash and Gold Speckled. Remember, the favourites will go first.

Ashley is currently in a race against time on the M25 picking up a whole load of furniture for a customer for the weekend. Fingers crossed he gets to the warehouse near Brighton before they close at 5.30pm!

Have a great Easter!

Freddie

Plant of the Month and a busy weekend

This weekend

We’ve got a lot going on this weekend with our Poultry Centre open day and the exclusive launch of the new Omlet Go-UP. Come and speak to representatives of Nettex, Brinsea, Heygates Food and Global Herbs or one of our team for any help and advice you need on Poultry.

We’ve also got our Easter Hunt – explore the Garden Centre and find all the Easter pictures and get a chocolate treat at the end.

In stock we have literally thousands of gorgeous flowers and plants ready for the sun – the place really is looking full. The Cafe team are preparing for a really busy weekend too – lots of delicious cakes and Easter treats ready to tingle your taste buds.

Plant of the Month – April

Our Plant of the month this month is the delicious Grafted Tomato Plant from Suttons –

Grafted Tomato Plant

Growing your own veg is great fun and really satisfying. It’s such a good feeling sitting down to your meal knowing you grew the food on your plate. And in my opinion there’s very little better than a ripe plump tomato. New to the domestic market are grafted vegetables which are bred for increased vigour and improved performance and then grafter for up to 75% more fruit. As a result grafted vegetables are the new craze in grow your own. One of our favourites is Suttons “F1 Sweet Petit” – a vigorous growing cherry tomato plant producing deliciously sweet and tasty tomatoes, great for salads and snacks. They are ideally grown in a greenhouse (in April-May) but can be planted outside once the weather is sunny (June-July). Give our team a call if you want any info about growing you own veg or about grafted tomatoes in particular.

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April – Jobs in your garden

Hanging basket blog

1. Get rid of the weeds

Like your plants, your weeds will really start to grow in April so make sure you spend some time properly dealing with those pesky things. Pull out any annual weeds, which should come out easily and use a weed killer containing glyphosate to kill the perennials.

2. Watch out of Aphids

Aphids such as green fly and black fly will start to multiply this month as it start to get warmer. Start checking your plants, especially roses, and squash any you see. If you find a real cluster on them you’ll need to get some insecticides and give them a spray.

3. Plant your Onions and shallots

April is the month to plant those onion and shallots in your vegetable plot. Make sure your site is weed free (see above) and is located with well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Plant them in rows about 10cm apart with 20cm between each row.

4. Start to plant your hanging baskets

As the weather really starts to warm up, plant your favourite summer annuals. Put a layer of sphagnum moss in the bottom and up the sides of the basket as a liner. Fill the basket up with compost and plant in an assortment of plants to bring some real colour to your garden.

5. PLant your herbaceous borders

Herbaceous borders are one of our favourites here at Bell Plantation. They bring a range of colour and variety to your garden and getting your border looking amazing is a really good challenge for a gardener. Make sure you clear your bed properly and place out where you want each plant to go. Leave 30cm between each plant to give them enough space to flower well, mulch around the tops of the plants and water in well.

Feed Roses and Shrubs

It’s now time to give your roses and shrubs a good feed as this will really benefit them as they come into growth. Feed them with a balanced fertiliser such as fish blood and bone or growmore which will really bring out the best of your plants.

As always we are here to help so please don’t hesitate to call or pop in and speak to one of our team with any questions at all.

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Poultry Centre Open Day

Poultry Centre Open Day Blog

Thinking of keeping Poultry? Already got Chickens and want some help and advice?

Bring your family and friends to the Poultry Centre open day this Saturday 12th April where you can get specialised help and advice from our expert team or from reps from some of our key suppliers.

Representatives from Nettex, Brinsea, Heygates Food and Global Herbs will be here to answer all your questions about poultry keeping, health, incubating, and anything else you want to know.

We’d love to see you from 10.30 AM and help you with anything you need to know.

Thanks,

Poultry Team.

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Free bunch of Daffodils this Weekend (if you know the password)

Daffodils
If you didn’t already know, it’s Mother’s day on Sunday and as a special treat we are giving away a free bunch of daffodils to anyone who spends in the Garden Centre and gives the secret password to our team which is……”mummy”! This starts from tomorrow (Friday 27th March) and ends when the stock runs out.

We’ve also got loads of great mothers day presents in store so you can show a bit of appreciation to the one who raised and cared for you as well as gaining a bit of brownie points with the in-laws.
Below are just some of the great house plants and planters we’ve got that can always be gift wrapped by one of our team.
Anthuriun 12.99
Anthurium 12.99
This gorgeous house plant is a great mothers day gift. It will brighten up any home with its beautiful pink flowers.

Hydrangea £9.99
Hydrangea £9.99
Hydrangea’s are an absolute favourite, and for good reason. Their lovely soft pink and white flowers really do look great in your home.

Kalanchoe 2.99
Kalanchoe £2.99
At £2.99 these house plants are a great value present and are really bright and colourful.

We’ve got loads more house plants and planters in store so pop down to pick up your free daffodils and a mothers day present at the same time.

Fruit trees – A delicious and useful addition to your garden

Goosebury web

Fruit trees – A delicious and useful addition to your garden

What a glorious last weekend we had, I hope it will be the same over the next few days. The Garden Centre, I am pleased to say, was really busy, our plants were in great demand. We have got a fantastic range of all types of plants. One of the many areas we have increased is our selection of fruit trees, not only do we have a greater selection of apples and pears, we have mulberry, hazel nuts, walnuts, sweet chestnut, peach, kiwi fruit, goosebury, quince, nectarines, apricots, figs and various varieties of grapes. I ate one of the peaches off one of the sale trees last summer, it was absolutely delicious.

My Mother had a flower and vegetable business in Aylesbury, I remember as a child eating huge Black Hamburg grapes grown at Waddesdon Manor, not only did they taste delicious but each bunch came in a little wooden box with a sliding top, the bunch of grapes were laid on shredded wood and there was a fantastic white bloom all over the fruit, just like a new born baby! Growing fruit on a tree is easy, and you can use fruit as screening (espalier), creating edges (step over), structural interest (cordon bush), make your garden productive! Most fruit trees and bushes are really tough and hardy, they will last a very long time. Fruit trees can grow to various sizes, what makes the difference in the ultimate size, height of the tree is the rootstock that the tree is grown on. For example you can have a Cox’s orange pippin on a very dwarf rootstock (M27) that can be grown in a container or you can have a Cox’s orange pippin that will grow very tall very quickly on an M25. Basically you can have the fruit variety of your choice on what size tree you like, how amazing! The Romans were doing this a long time ago. Also family fruit trees provide a selection of different types of fruit on the same tree size of your choice.
There is so much to do outside now the ground has dried up a bit, it is amazing how the sun and wind combination soon dries up the soil. Plant potatoes into a well prepared seed bed, planted now they will give you a relatively early crop. First cut of the lawn, raise the mower blades (make sure they are sharp) for the first time around. Get some feed on the lawn a week after cutting the lawn. Weed and feed can be used if you have a weed and moss problem. I put mine on last week and spread the weed and feed a bit too wide, it has killed some of my broad leaved wild flowers, so be careful.
If you need any Gardening help or advice you know where to come, we have a great team here to help you.
Have a lovely weekend,
Ashley

March Offers and 550 new chickens just in!!!

Special offers available to you here at the Bell Plantation Garden Centre.

Prunus Kojo no Mai

Prunus Kojo-no-mai

About to flower, this shrub produces a beautiful display of pale red flowers. It will grow about 6ft high by 6 ft wide and loves to be positioned in full sun. It is fully frost hardy so a must have for your garden especially in these conditions.

Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles (Ornamental Quince)

This beautiful shrub is a great addition to any garden. It’s tough , easy to grow and will bring some great colour to your garden every spring. It may even bring you some large colourful fruits by Autumn.

6 Pack Bedding

6 Pack Bedding

Bring some instant colour into your garden with some Spring Bedding. Great for pots, containers and hanging baskets bedding plants are a fantastic way of making the most of the Spring sun and at 3 for £9 they are pretty good value.

Herbaceous Perennials 5 for £10

Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous Perennials are an absolute essential for bringing some colour into your garden borders. Plant them early this Spring to give them time to develop in your garden and look beautiful for the rest of the Spring and Summer. At 5 for £10 they are fantastic value and enable you to get a really great range of varieties.

Miracle Grow compost 3 for £12

Miracle Grow Multi-Purpose Compost

Enriched with Miracle-Gro Plant Food this multi-purpose compost feeds for 3 months. It contains 40% more nutrients than ordinary multi purpose compost so at 3 for £12 this really is a fantastic deal!

Gardman Seed Mix only £13.99

12.55KG NO MESS SEED MIX

Winter is a tough time for birds, it’s cold and they need higher amounts of energy to survive the frosty nights. There is less natural food like berries around for them to feed on too. With this great deal on Seed Mix you can keep the birds fed and happy through these cold months.

Gardman Seed Mix only £13.99

30% OFF BULLDOG TOOLS

Bulldog tools have been making quality garden tools since 1870. They are made by a single piece of steel, riveted into an ash shaft, the end of which has been steamed to form a D shaped handle. This makes the tools exceptionally strong which are backed by a lifetime guarantee.

25-off-seeds

25% OFF SEEDS

Growing seeds is a brilliant thing to do in the winter. For the keen gardener it’s a great excuse to get in the greenhouse and will save you a bit of money when it comes to spring. Kids love growing seeds so if you are a parent it doesn’t take much – a pack of seeds, some compost and a some seed trays.

compost

ORGANIC GARDEN COMPOST

Vital Earth Garden Soil is expertly formulated from high quality, screened soil, specially composted garden waste and Vital Earth Vitalizer. Vital Earth Garden Soil is perfect for creating new gardens, rockeries, leveling lawns and raised flower or vegetable beds.

4 for £10!

‘Now is our time’, gardeners prepare!

High pressure weather weekend, thank goodness, we haven’t had many of these over the last 3 months! ‘Now is our time’, gardeners prepare!
This year sub-zero temperatures haven’t been the problem, high rainfall and saturated ground are preventing garden action. If the soil is saturated for too long the water replaces the air in the soil and the soil starts to go sour (anaerobic respiration takes place). Cultivating, lifting and introducing organic matter into the soil will introduce small pockets of air re dressing the air, water, organic matter, soil particle, mineral balance, it will also help the soil dry out by exposing a greater surface area to the sun and wind.
soil

I go on about the soil all the time because if the soil is right a lot of other thing naturally fall into place without even thinking. Plant roots like good tilth, if the tilth is good the plant will perform and grow well with little stress (wouldn’t that be lovely!). Compaction / waterlogging is what they will be suffering in the Somerset levels, all the grass in the pasture will probably have died. Cultivating and re seeding will be necessary to turn the fields back into productive pasture.
It’s time to chit and plant potatoes, if you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse plant some spuds in a container and keep them inside until the last frost has passed. These could be eaten in 15- 18 weeks. Potatoes should be planted in the ground, well dug beds about 10cm deep, 30 cm apart on the row and the rows should be 45cm -60cm apart. When the green shoots emerge from the earth, keep an eye on the forecast, cover them with an upturned flower pots if the temperature drops below 6 degrees centigrade. If the growth tips get touched by frost it will set the plant back a few weeks.
I am going to grow some Franchii tomatoes this weekend, variety Pomodoro Principe Borghese, a traditional variety used for sun drying, when the tomatoes are ripe you pull up the whole plant and hang it up to dry in a cool airy place and pick the tomatoes until Christmas? Worth a go.
We had over 1000 herbaceous perennials in this week, ready to plant out in the garden. Bucket loads of fruit trees and bushes etc. We have got loads great offers on our website (especially compost), this is a keep in touch email not a selling email, but do have a look at the website!. Freddie has put up a prize of £100 to spend in the Garden Centre if you like us on Facebook in March!
We are hiring as well a the moment so if you know of anyone who might light to work in the Garden Centre or Cafe please get them to give us a call.

Have a great weekend
Ashley

March – Jobs in your Garden

Bell Plantation Garden
March is here and the signs of Spring are showing. Here are our top jobs to do in the garden this March.

1. Tidy up the lawn

Give your garden a rake over to lift the grass and weeds and remove the remnants of winter. When the rain stops give your lawn a mow. Don’t mow it too low though to avoid scalping the grass. Look for any bare patches in your grass and re-sow.

2. Plant your potatoes

We’ve had our seed potatoes in stock for a while but now really is the time to get your “early” Seed Potatoes in the ground. Your main crop varieties can be planted later on in March.

5. Grow some vegetable seeds

Start growing tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and any other seeds during March. Ideally grow them in a greenhouse but a warm, light windowsill will do the job too. Remember to always use clean seed sowing trays, or pots, and think about using a special seed sowing compost, which can help good strong growth.

4. Protect Spring shoots from slugs

New shoots and emerging bulbs are particularly attractive to slugs who are just coming out of hibernation and looking for food. You need to act fast as they will! Slug pellets are the most effective way of getting rid of slugs but if you have pets such as chickens around you may want to try putting crushed egg shells around new shoots.

5. Cut back Cornus and Salix

Pruning back Conrus and Salix hard keeps them at a manageable size and promotes better growth of vigorous new shoots and foliage for the coming season.

6. Deal with the weeds

As spring gets going weeds will start to emerge just as plants do, so it’s best to get on top of them early. Pull out and dig up any annual weeds but with perennials its best to use a weed killer (with glyphosate in) to make sure you kill the whole root to stop it coming back. If you don’t know the difference – if it comes out easily it’s an annual.

Is Spring here?

Snow Drops

It’s great to see a bit of sun, the bulbs you planted last Autumn should be popping their heads through the soil very soon. The snowdrops in our garden this year look amazing. Although you can buy different varieties of snowdrops as bulbs in the autumn the most successful way of establishing new clumps of snowdrops in your garden is by planting growing bulbs, obviously they can be found in your local friendly Garden Centre!
I just love this time of year the whole new gardening season ahead of us, bucket loads of trees and plants coming in and out of the Centre. It’s a great time for my daughter Sophie who does our accounts reducing pressure on cash flow, hopefully! Last March 2013 we had our worst March trading period ever, freezing temperatures most of the month. March can be one of the most volatile months in terms of weather and therefore gardening and therefore our business. We just ask for average weather, that would be good (I was going to put cool, but then we don’t want it cool).
February is a must for spraying your fruiting cherries, almonds, peaches and some flowering Prunus varieties against Peach Leaf Curl. At the moment the bubs on these trees are filling it is important to get the fungicide on before the buds burst. Spray all the branches and buds. I think peach leaf curl is the second biggest threat to a good crop of fruit. The biggest threat is the birds eating the fruit just before it ripens. They don’t have such sweet teeth as us!
If you have a sunny south facing aspect growing peaches is such fun, we had some plants in the garden centre last year that fruited with no effort on our part, the taste of the white fleshed peach was divine.
Potatoes can be planted soon, if you have a greenhouse you could plant some now in a container for very early cropping. Have a think about what vegetables you would like to grow this year. If you buy a packet of seeds don’t sow them all at once, spread the sowing, 2 weekly intervals should spread the cropping pattern nicely to enable you to eat the lot.
If you can get onto your veg garden dig a much organic matter into the soil as you can, it will make cropping heavier, it will be easier to dig next time, it will hold more water and nutrients, it will make root growth easier for the plant, you won’t get bendy carrots or stubby parsnips.
All our Spring promotions are on our website, we are using our website as a shop window rather than online selling.
Really look forward to seeing you.
Ashley