Chickens,Gardening,News

The Gardeners year gets under way.01 Mar

The Gardeners year gets under way.

The specific definition of the exact timing of “spring” varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to “spring forth,” giving the season its name.

Suddenly there is everything to do. Buds on the plants are starting to fill, shoots beginning to appear. By now, especially after the few dry days we have had all the dead vegetation from last year’s plants should have been removed. Best to do this asap if not yet done so that when the new shoots come through they do not get damaged.

Camellia

Planting new plants at this time of year gives them time to settle in before the hot summer?

Roses need pruning now if you are going to give them a hard prune, I love pruning roses, I have still got to do the roses in the Courtyard. I find the harder I prune them back the better the flowers.

Lawns will need  a weed and feed, we have got a great £10 box that will do 165m sq.

Chicken poo great natural fertiliser 10kg bucket for £9.99

As we are now in March we will be filling up very quickly with wonderful ranges of plants. I have been busy over the last few weeks sourcing great quality plants at amazing prices, over 90% are grown here in the UK.

Chicken lovers we had 300 new hybrid laying pullets in yesterday, in all colours of the rainbow.

All our offers are on the website.

‘Easter goodies’ non-fattening

“‘Easter goodies’ non-fattening”

Look forward to seeing you, good advice on hand should you need it.

We have got egg loads of lovely Easter gifts.

Have a relaxing weekend!

Ashley

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

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

Lots new for your garden this Bank Holiday

Lots new for your garden this Bank Holiday

There is loads you can be doing in your garden in Autumn and this Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to start. Plant your Spring flowering bulbs now, patch up your lawn with some turf, divide your herbaceous perennials into new plants or even get 30% off new plants in our sale.

Autumn bulbs now in

bulbs

Our Autumn bulbs are now in and ready to buy. We have a wide range to bring some colour to your garden.

30% off all herbaceous

herbaceous
We also have 30% off all our herbaceous stock starting tomorrow. This is a fantastic opportunity to get some great plants for next spring at fantastic value.

Turf available this weekend

turf
We have some turf for this weekend so if you need to patch up some of your garden we have some available. £4.49 a roll or 10 for £40.

FREE Sercombe Meat Tasting

If you’re more of a food fan then pop down to our Farm Shop and try a FREE tasting of Sercombe meat. Click here for more information.

Summer Veg Planting & Food Production

Summer Veg Planting & Food Production

Steve and Judy are doing an amazing job in the plant area. We are already stocked full of wonderful Autumn flowering plants and Veg.

IMG_2633

By now there should be a corner or two in your vegetable patch where you have cropped some lettuce, beetroot etc and the ground is crying out for more production. Plant some Winter veg, we have got small plants ready to pop in. The ground will hardly need any cultivation before you plant them. Clear away any weeds, no need for a massive dig or turning over the soil, if you do this the soil will dry out even more. Best just dig a small hole pop the new vegetable transplant in the hole place some soil back around the plant and lightly firm, a good watering is essential as the soil is so dry. At the moment you will have to keep weeding and feeding to get the plants well grown on before winter. The soil is warm the plants should grow well despite the strength of the sun is decreasing as we move into the Autumn. Vegetable plants available at the moment Brussels Sprouts (getting a little late to crop for Christmas however could catch up if a warm Autumn), Cabbage, Onions, cauliflower,carrots and beetroot. If you do plant out some veg remember to cover up the new plants with some insect mesh to keep off the cabbage white butterfly and carrot root fly. When it rains slugs will be an issue.

Sarah the Cafe Manager is planning commencement of more food production in the Plantation kitchen. We are currently re shaping the coffee station in the Cafe to allow more space in the kitchen for the cooking team to create wonderful Scotch Eggs, Pasties (one of Sarah’s favourites, she is a West Country girl), meat pies, soups etc. We will be using mainly our own ingredients for the production, beef from home, pork from home, local flour etc.

IMG_2632

Freddie has introduced a great new supplier of frozen fish to the Farm Shop, hopefully it will be well received. Great fish this far from the the sea is more than welcome.
Did you know the Sercombes Bacon we sell in the farm shop won several National awards for its flavour. Within the next few weeks we will be introducing it full time into our breakfast’s in the Cafe. This bacon has been one of the great success stories since we took over the farm shop, our orders are increased almost weekly.There is never any white guk in the frying pan after cooking (no water content) there just remains enough fat to fry your freshly laid egg! If you cook the bacon really hot it will go crispy!

I always savour my last piece of crackly bacon, however I have to guard it from theft from predatory children.

Enjoy your weekend

Ashley

Bell Plantation Meat Boxes

Bell Plantation Meat Boxes

Beef Shorthorn

As you may know Ashley farms his own herd of Beef Shorthorn Cattle. He currently has a cow being being butchered into delicious cuts of Beef. His farm is in Wappenham, Towcester so the food miles are low. We are taking this opportunity to gauge interest from our customers in buying his beef through our Farm Shop so if you love good quality beef then try one of our brand new Bell Plantation Beef Boxes. Bred on our farm, grazed on natural pasture land in the summer and fed on unsprayed hay and silage in winter Ashley’s herd of Shorthorn Beef cattle are the finest quality. We are having all the meat flash frozen but if you would like it un-frozen this can be organised too. We are charging £99 for a box, this should equal very good value.

Our beef boxes will be available for a limited time only from early September and all meat will be frozen. A beef box will be 10kg (at least) of meat and include:

Mince (approx. 1kg)
Diced Stewing Beef (approx. 1kg)
Rump steak
Sirloin steak
Topside Joint
Silverside Joint
Brisket, Shin, Skirt are all available as well if requested.

Please fill in the form below to register your interest and we’ll be in touch to sort out the specifics.

Want to attend this event? Please fill in your details below.

Name

How many meat boxes are you interested in?

Frozen or Fresh

Additional cut requests

Email

Phone Number

Some Summer Gardening Tips from Ashley

Some Summer Gardening Tips from Ashley

Thanks Freddie for doing last weeks ditty coming on nicely!

What a great rain, just what the garden needed. With such a dry spring and ground water levels low a good drip in August is just what we needed. Ok it will hold up the harvest for a few days but for the livestock eating grass rain is welcome.

We are in transition in the Garden Centre all the summer bedding has sold through and we are now filling up with autumn winter flowering plants. Every year seems to go a little faster than the previous!

summerpruning

Have you cut back your wisteria? Cut the long straggly bits back to 6 leaves from the main stem, you could do the same with fast growing rambling,climbing roses, a more kamikaze prune takes place in the late winter early spring. With apple trees you can also summer prune, cut the long vegetative new growths in half, this should encourage more fruit bud to form on the main stem. Although we have had some rain it has only probably gone into the soil 10 to 20 mm so watering plants will still be very necessary.

Cover up the brassicas, the cabbage white butterfly is about. To prevent your plants being eaten you can cover them up with a fine mesh, Agralan mesh is long lasting and one of the best mesh’s on the market. Another option is to pick off the caterpillars, hard work and not much fun. Spraying a systemic pesticide on the plant is another option Provado by Bayer is a really good product.

We have a new member of the team in the Cafe, Emma joined us a Cook, I hope you all enjoy her food! We now have 3 full time cooks, it is our plan to produce alot more food in the kitchen to sell fresh in the Farm Shop. Our own baked cakes are on of the best selling lines in the shop along with the Tee’s bread from Northampton.

Two Birds Gin Tasting
Two Birds flavoured Gin and Vodka tasting this Saturday 15th August in the Farm Shop 2pm – 4pm

Have a great weekend

Ashley

A blog from a new gardener

A blog from a new gardener

Dad isn’t available to do his usual blog this week so I thought I’d give it a go for once. I suppose in time I will have to take over permanently but I think he is a few years from retirement yet (if ever), especially with the amount of energy he still manages to exhume all the time.

I’m not much of a gardener yet. I have just bought a house in Paulerspury and quickly put up a garden fence, rotavated and re-seeded my lawn. I have 2 landscapers in my family so can’t be shown to be un-practical! This winter I’m sorting out the inside but come next Spring I’ll be learning all I can about gardening as I attempt to make my garden look amazing. If there are any holes in our advice and service I’ll find them.

It’s been a fantastic season across all our businesses and continues to be busy at the start of August. This is particularly the case in our Poultry section, where demand seems to grow and grow. They are fantastic pets, surprisingly easy to keep and very productive in terms of your breakfast!

pots

As you may have seen we have had 22 pallets of pots delivered which are slowly being worked through. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces, real beauties and 1 offs.

I must plug the farm shop which we continue to work really hard on. We have delicious fresh bread delivered daily from 2 of the best bakers in Northants and we are making our own cakes in the Café. We will soon be producing lots of yummy food in the Café kitchen which will be available in the Farm Shop. Watch this space!

Remember we have the 2 birds gin tasting on August 15th, plus the team from Sercombe meat will be coming on Sat 29th August for you to taste a range of their products including their award winning bacon!
Hope to see you soon.
Freddie

Two Birds Tasting – Change of Date

Two Birds Tasting – Change of Date

Two Birds Gin Tasting

Hello,

Just to let you know we have changed the date of our Two Birds Gin and Vodka tasting to the 15th August from 2pm to 4pm.

Click Here for more information

Hope to see everyone there.

Freddie

A Summer Update

A Summer Update

Give me blue sky, sunshine and -5 degrees centigrade!! That suits me down to the ground, the downside is not much gardening. The high temperatures plus the wind we ​have recently experienced are putting massive demands on the root system of the plant to provide the leaves with water. The tiny little root hairs on the end of the root system are working overtime to try to find moisture in the soil to send up to the leaves, if they fail the leaves will die and fall off and the plant may die. All newly planted plants will need help with some water at this time of year. My London Planes planted 2 years ago have shown signs of stress ( a few brown crispy leaves ). I gave them 40 litres of water last night each, that should keep them going for a week. Had they been planted this year they would need watering twice a week in these hot conditions. If you soak the ground around the plant and then put a mulch of compost, bark, grass clipping around the base of the plant it will stop the ground drying out so quickly.​ The rain we have had in the last few days hardly touches the moisture deficit in the soil, ignore it and keep on watering​.

While it is so dry it isn’t a great time to weed and feed your lawn unless you are watering it. To try and keep a bit of green on the lawn it is best t​o​ raise the mower blades a little​ higher​.
Dead head the roses and any other flowering plants, this will encourage them to possibly flower again, it saves them wasting their energy producing unwanted seeds. They will put more effort into their roots and vegetation.

​We had a massive delivery of absolutely beautiful new glazed pots today, 22 pallets, there are some wonderful one off pieces!! I must have gone mad, most people think that anyway. Unfortunately we have been unable to unpack them before the weekend​, we will embark on that next week.

Heritage tomatoes

The Plantation Farm shop is full of great stuff, fresh English broad beans and peas, BBQ meat packs, Wappenham beef steak and mince (great value!), Silverstone produced charcoal, Sourdough bread baked by The Good Loaf, Northampton, Beer from surrounding village breweries. Heritage, Heirloom tomatoes, fantastic flavour peaches and necterines fresh from Spain!! Fresh cakes made in our own Cafe by Sam our wonderful baker

It is our mission to deliver to you the best flavoured food we can make and find locally.

Have a great weekend,

Ashley

Father’s Day Beer & Burger this weekend

Father’s Day Beer & Burger this weekend

We’re having a bit of a do for fathers day this weekend. We’ll be using our brand new Napoleon BBQ to cook up some delicious home-reared, home-made burgers and we’re also welcoming Phipps brewery who’ll be letting you have a FREE taste of some of their delicious beers. We’ve also got some live music to entertain you while you relax in the courtyard. The weather is set to be pretty fair so pop down. Click below for more information.

Beer and Burger

An if you’re a keen gardener then come along to our Roses workshop on Saturday where our Plant expert Steve will be talking you through a bit about legendary roses growers David Austin Roses, as well as loads of hints and tips on how to look after your Roses. Click below for more information.

David Austin Roses

Otherwise, enjoy the weather and see you soon.

Freddie

We’re Hiring – We need an energetic Cook / Chef to join our team..

We’re Hiring – We need an energetic Cook / Chef to join our team..

cakes

Chef / Cook

We are looking for an experienced and energetic cook/chef to join our fantastic team at the Bell Plantation Café.
Located within the Bell Plantation Garden Centre at Towcester, the cafe is open Mon-Sat 9.00-17.00 and Sunday 10.00-16.00. Hours of work will be between 30-40 hours per week with weekend work required.

The right person is an active team player who loves producing fresh and delicious food in a very efficient manner. We want someone who can bring extra ideas, creativity, passion and energy to our already lively and busy kitchen.

The right person:

  • Has a can-do, proactive attitude towards work, but is calm under pressure.
  • Has a passion for food, previous kitchen experience and a food hygiene certificate.
  • Is a real people person – loves working with others.

You will be responsible for:

  • Menu Planning including creation/costing/execution to deliver the required margin in consultation with the Café Manager.
  • Calculate usage of all wet and dry produce and order responsibly
  • Preparing and creating hot and cold food for the Café following the menu plan to a high very high standard
  • Baking delicious cakes, scones, and cookies daily.
  • Working to the manager’s guidelines to produce consistent portion and quality of food.
  • Kitchen maintenance – cleaning of surfaces, cooking equipment and pot washing.
  • Keeping the required cleaning and training records to achieve a high EHO star rating
  • Being an active, positive member of the team, bringing ideas and passion to the job.

  • Please apply with a CV and covering letter to Sarah in the Cafe via Cafe@bellplantation.co.uk, drop in and see her or call 01327 354126.

    It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

    It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

    My apologies for not keeping in touch over the last couple of weeks, I have sent out my little ditty but no one received it due to technical problems with the system! Haven’t got a clue, it doesn’t involve soil! Anyway we have nearly missed May,so far been pretty cold, plant growth is certainly behind where it was this time last year.

    Chelsea
    Again this year Bell Plantation sponsored Nicolas Moreton’s www.nicolasmoreton.com stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. This involves me, several of the Bell Plantation and Groundcare Company team spending several days at Chelsea building Nicolas’s stand. The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.Great fun,very wet and hard work. I must say the stand looked great when it all came together. Nicolas is an amazing sculptor using natural stone, based near Towcester.
    Beef Shorthorn

    We finally have some Wappenham beef in the Plantation Farm Shop. This is the first of my Beef Shorthorn cattle to be sold in the shop, hopefully the first of many if you enjoy eating it. She was born and bred in Wappenham, ate grassed based food all her life and was never injected with anything, she was a real sweetie! Beef Shorthorns are a traditional English breed of cattle developed over several hundred years to produce the tastiest meat. The meat has traditional marbling (small deposits of fat) in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. As we don’t yet have a butcher in the Plantation Farm shop the meat was butchered and flash frozen before coming back to the shop. I look forward to your feedback on the meat?

    As the weather is a little cooler than normal this year it makes life a little less frenetic,although there is still a lot to do. As it is not too dry it is a good time to get some weed and feed on the lawn, or even just feed if you have no weeds. Mowing a lawn regularly and removing the grass depletes the nutrients in the ground. Every time you cart a box of grass off the lawn you are taking away some of the essential minerals needed for good plant growth. Poor ground favours weeds and moss, it is therefore essential to keep the soil fertile, this in turn will help suppress weed growth and moss.
    Keep feeding all your plants this will keep their leaves green.
    Herbaceous

    Our plant area is as full as it has ever been with wonderful plants (several featuring at Chelsea flower show) Steve and Judy have done a great job sourcing a fantastic range of plants.

    Last Saturday we had 100 Silkie hens delivered, what a site I have never seen so many Silkies in one place at a time, they looked amazing. Silkies are well known for their calm, friendly temperament. Among the most docile of poultry, Silkies are considered an ideal pet. Hens are also exceptionally broody, and make good mothers. Though they are fair layers themselves, laying about three eggs a week, they are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species. We also managed to hatch 3 of our own Chinese geese, the goslings are on show in our poultry shop.

    I hope the TV coverage of the flower show has inspired you, we would love to help you achieve you dream garden, if you need any help give us a shout.

    Have a great weekend

    Ashley

Lots new for your garden this Bank Holiday

Lots new for your garden this Bank Holiday

There is loads you can be doing in your garden in Autumn and this Bank Holiday weekend is the perfect time to start. Plant your Spring flowering bulbs now, patch up your lawn with some turf, divide your herbaceous perennials into new plants or even get 30% off new plants in our sale.

Autumn bulbs now in

bulbs

Our Autumn bulbs are now in and ready to buy. We have a wide range to bring some colour to your garden.

30% off all herbaceous

herbaceous
We also have 30% off all our herbaceous stock starting tomorrow. This is a fantastic opportunity to get some great plants for next spring at fantastic value.

Turf available this weekend

turf
We have some turf for this weekend so if you need to patch up some of your garden we have some available. £4.49 a roll or 10 for £40.

FREE Sercombe Meat Tasting

If you’re more of a food fan then pop down to our Farm Shop and try a FREE tasting of Sercombe meat. Click here for more information.

Summer Veg Planting & Food Production

Summer Veg Planting & Food Production

Steve and Judy are doing an amazing job in the plant area. We are already stocked full of wonderful Autumn flowering plants and Veg.

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By now there should be a corner or two in your vegetable patch where you have cropped some lettuce, beetroot etc and the ground is crying out for more production. Plant some Winter veg, we have got small plants ready to pop in. The ground will hardly need any cultivation before you plant them. Clear away any weeds, no need for a massive dig or turning over the soil, if you do this the soil will dry out even more. Best just dig a small hole pop the new vegetable transplant in the hole place some soil back around the plant and lightly firm, a good watering is essential as the soil is so dry. At the moment you will have to keep weeding and feeding to get the plants well grown on before winter. The soil is warm the plants should grow well despite the strength of the sun is decreasing as we move into the Autumn. Vegetable plants available at the moment Brussels Sprouts (getting a little late to crop for Christmas however could catch up if a warm Autumn), Cabbage, Onions, cauliflower,carrots and beetroot. If you do plant out some veg remember to cover up the new plants with some insect mesh to keep off the cabbage white butterfly and carrot root fly. When it rains slugs will be an issue.

Sarah the Cafe Manager is planning commencement of more food production in the Plantation kitchen. We are currently re shaping the coffee station in the Cafe to allow more space in the kitchen for the cooking team to create wonderful Scotch Eggs, Pasties (one of Sarah’s favourites, she is a West Country girl), meat pies, soups etc. We will be using mainly our own ingredients for the production, beef from home, pork from home, local flour etc.

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Freddie has introduced a great new supplier of frozen fish to the Farm Shop, hopefully it will be well received. Great fish this far from the the sea is more than welcome.
Did you know the Sercombes Bacon we sell in the farm shop won several National awards for its flavour. Within the next few weeks we will be introducing it full time into our breakfast’s in the Cafe. This bacon has been one of the great success stories since we took over the farm shop, our orders are increased almost weekly.There is never any white guk in the frying pan after cooking (no water content) there just remains enough fat to fry your freshly laid egg! If you cook the bacon really hot it will go crispy!

I always savour my last piece of crackly bacon, however I have to guard it from theft from predatory children.

Enjoy your weekend

Ashley

Bell Plantation Meat Boxes

Bell Plantation Meat Boxes

Beef Shorthorn

As you may know Ashley farms his own herd of Beef Shorthorn Cattle. He currently has a cow being being butchered into delicious cuts of Beef. His farm is in Wappenham, Towcester so the food miles are low. We are taking this opportunity to gauge interest from our customers in buying his beef through our Farm Shop so if you love good quality beef then try one of our brand new Bell Plantation Beef Boxes. Bred on our farm, grazed on natural pasture land in the summer and fed on unsprayed hay and silage in winter Ashley’s herd of Shorthorn Beef cattle are the finest quality. We are having all the meat flash frozen but if you would like it un-frozen this can be organised too. We are charging £99 for a box, this should equal very good value.

Our beef boxes will be available for a limited time only from early September and all meat will be frozen. A beef box will be 10kg (at least) of meat and include:

Mince (approx. 1kg)
Diced Stewing Beef (approx. 1kg)
Rump steak
Sirloin steak
Topside Joint
Silverside Joint
Brisket, Shin, Skirt are all available as well if requested.

Please fill in the form below to register your interest and we’ll be in touch to sort out the specifics.

Want to attend this event? Please fill in your details below.

Name

How many meat boxes are you interested in?

Frozen or Fresh

Additional cut requests

Email

Phone Number

Some Summer Gardening Tips from Ashley

Some Summer Gardening Tips from Ashley

Thanks Freddie for doing last weeks ditty coming on nicely!

What a great rain, just what the garden needed. With such a dry spring and ground water levels low a good drip in August is just what we needed. Ok it will hold up the harvest for a few days but for the livestock eating grass rain is welcome.

We are in transition in the Garden Centre all the summer bedding has sold through and we are now filling up with autumn winter flowering plants. Every year seems to go a little faster than the previous!

summerpruning

Have you cut back your wisteria? Cut the long straggly bits back to 6 leaves from the main stem, you could do the same with fast growing rambling,climbing roses, a more kamikaze prune takes place in the late winter early spring. With apple trees you can also summer prune, cut the long vegetative new growths in half, this should encourage more fruit bud to form on the main stem. Although we have had some rain it has only probably gone into the soil 10 to 20 mm so watering plants will still be very necessary.

Cover up the brassicas, the cabbage white butterfly is about. To prevent your plants being eaten you can cover them up with a fine mesh, Agralan mesh is long lasting and one of the best mesh’s on the market. Another option is to pick off the caterpillars, hard work and not much fun. Spraying a systemic pesticide on the plant is another option Provado by Bayer is a really good product.

We have a new member of the team in the Cafe, Emma joined us a Cook, I hope you all enjoy her food! We now have 3 full time cooks, it is our plan to produce alot more food in the kitchen to sell fresh in the Farm Shop. Our own baked cakes are on of the best selling lines in the shop along with the Tee’s bread from Northampton.

Two Birds Gin Tasting
Two Birds flavoured Gin and Vodka tasting this Saturday 15th August in the Farm Shop 2pm – 4pm

Have a great weekend

Ashley

A blog from a new gardener

A blog from a new gardener

Dad isn’t available to do his usual blog this week so I thought I’d give it a go for once. I suppose in time I will have to take over permanently but I think he is a few years from retirement yet (if ever), especially with the amount of energy he still manages to exhume all the time.

I’m not much of a gardener yet. I have just bought a house in Paulerspury and quickly put up a garden fence, rotavated and re-seeded my lawn. I have 2 landscapers in my family so can’t be shown to be un-practical! This winter I’m sorting out the inside but come next Spring I’ll be learning all I can about gardening as I attempt to make my garden look amazing. If there are any holes in our advice and service I’ll find them.

It’s been a fantastic season across all our businesses and continues to be busy at the start of August. This is particularly the case in our Poultry section, where demand seems to grow and grow. They are fantastic pets, surprisingly easy to keep and very productive in terms of your breakfast!

pots

As you may have seen we have had 22 pallets of pots delivered which are slowly being worked through. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces, real beauties and 1 offs.

I must plug the farm shop which we continue to work really hard on. We have delicious fresh bread delivered daily from 2 of the best bakers in Northants and we are making our own cakes in the Café. We will soon be producing lots of yummy food in the Café kitchen which will be available in the Farm Shop. Watch this space!

Remember we have the 2 birds gin tasting on August 15th, plus the team from Sercombe meat will be coming on Sat 29th August for you to taste a range of their products including their award winning bacon!
Hope to see you soon.
Freddie

Two Birds Tasting – Change of Date

Two Birds Tasting – Change of Date

Two Birds Gin Tasting

Hello,

Just to let you know we have changed the date of our Two Birds Gin and Vodka tasting to the 15th August from 2pm to 4pm.

Click Here for more information

Hope to see everyone there.

Freddie

A Summer Update

A Summer Update

Give me blue sky, sunshine and -5 degrees centigrade!! That suits me down to the ground, the downside is not much gardening. The high temperatures plus the wind we ​have recently experienced are putting massive demands on the root system of the plant to provide the leaves with water. The tiny little root hairs on the end of the root system are working overtime to try to find moisture in the soil to send up to the leaves, if they fail the leaves will die and fall off and the plant may die. All newly planted plants will need help with some water at this time of year. My London Planes planted 2 years ago have shown signs of stress ( a few brown crispy leaves ). I gave them 40 litres of water last night each, that should keep them going for a week. Had they been planted this year they would need watering twice a week in these hot conditions. If you soak the ground around the plant and then put a mulch of compost, bark, grass clipping around the base of the plant it will stop the ground drying out so quickly.​ The rain we have had in the last few days hardly touches the moisture deficit in the soil, ignore it and keep on watering​.

While it is so dry it isn’t a great time to weed and feed your lawn unless you are watering it. To try and keep a bit of green on the lawn it is best t​o​ raise the mower blades a little​ higher​.
Dead head the roses and any other flowering plants, this will encourage them to possibly flower again, it saves them wasting their energy producing unwanted seeds. They will put more effort into their roots and vegetation.

​We had a massive delivery of absolutely beautiful new glazed pots today, 22 pallets, there are some wonderful one off pieces!! I must have gone mad, most people think that anyway. Unfortunately we have been unable to unpack them before the weekend​, we will embark on that next week.

Heritage tomatoes

The Plantation Farm shop is full of great stuff, fresh English broad beans and peas, BBQ meat packs, Wappenham beef steak and mince (great value!), Silverstone produced charcoal, Sourdough bread baked by The Good Loaf, Northampton, Beer from surrounding village breweries. Heritage, Heirloom tomatoes, fantastic flavour peaches and necterines fresh from Spain!! Fresh cakes made in our own Cafe by Sam our wonderful baker

It is our mission to deliver to you the best flavoured food we can make and find locally.

Have a great weekend,

Ashley

Father’s Day Beer & Burger this weekend

Father’s Day Beer & Burger this weekend

We’re having a bit of a do for fathers day this weekend. We’ll be using our brand new Napoleon BBQ to cook up some delicious home-reared, home-made burgers and we’re also welcoming Phipps brewery who’ll be letting you have a FREE taste of some of their delicious beers. We’ve also got some live music to entertain you while you relax in the courtyard. The weather is set to be pretty fair so pop down. Click below for more information.

Beer and Burger

An if you’re a keen gardener then come along to our Roses workshop on Saturday where our Plant expert Steve will be talking you through a bit about legendary roses growers David Austin Roses, as well as loads of hints and tips on how to look after your Roses. Click below for more information.

David Austin Roses

Otherwise, enjoy the weather and see you soon.

Freddie

We’re Hiring – We need an energetic Cook / Chef to join our team..

We’re Hiring – We need an energetic Cook / Chef to join our team..

cakes

Chef / Cook

We are looking for an experienced and energetic cook/chef to join our fantastic team at the Bell Plantation Café.
Located within the Bell Plantation Garden Centre at Towcester, the cafe is open Mon-Sat 9.00-17.00 and Sunday 10.00-16.00. Hours of work will be between 30-40 hours per week with weekend work required.

The right person is an active team player who loves producing fresh and delicious food in a very efficient manner. We want someone who can bring extra ideas, creativity, passion and energy to our already lively and busy kitchen.

The right person:

  • Has a can-do, proactive attitude towards work, but is calm under pressure.
  • Has a passion for food, previous kitchen experience and a food hygiene certificate.
  • Is a real people person – loves working with others.

You will be responsible for:

  • Menu Planning including creation/costing/execution to deliver the required margin in consultation with the Café Manager.
  • Calculate usage of all wet and dry produce and order responsibly
  • Preparing and creating hot and cold food for the Café following the menu plan to a high very high standard
  • Baking delicious cakes, scones, and cookies daily.
  • Working to the manager’s guidelines to produce consistent portion and quality of food.
  • Kitchen maintenance – cleaning of surfaces, cooking equipment and pot washing.
  • Keeping the required cleaning and training records to achieve a high EHO star rating
  • Being an active, positive member of the team, bringing ideas and passion to the job.

  • Please apply with a CV and covering letter to Sarah in the Cafe via Cafe@bellplantation.co.uk, drop in and see her or call 01327 354126.

    It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

    It’s been a while – enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend

    My apologies for not keeping in touch over the last couple of weeks, I have sent out my little ditty but no one received it due to technical problems with the system! Haven’t got a clue, it doesn’t involve soil! Anyway we have nearly missed May,so far been pretty cold, plant growth is certainly behind where it was this time last year.

    Chelsea
    Again this year Bell Plantation sponsored Nicolas Moreton’s www.nicolasmoreton.com stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. This involves me, several of the Bell Plantation and Groundcare Company team spending several days at Chelsea building Nicolas’s stand. The atmosphere at the show build up is amazing,camaraderie flows, the change of scenery is like watching speeded up film in real time. Horticulture is a wonderful industry to be involved in, unfortunately in recent history it hasn’t been cool! Maybe things are starting to change, I hope so. So many people are missing out on a great vocation.Great fun,very wet and hard work. I must say the stand looked great when it all came together. Nicolas is an amazing sculptor using natural stone, based near Towcester.
    Beef Shorthorn

    We finally have some Wappenham beef in the Plantation Farm Shop. This is the first of my Beef Shorthorn cattle to be sold in the shop, hopefully the first of many if you enjoy eating it. She was born and bred in Wappenham, ate grassed based food all her life and was never injected with anything, she was a real sweetie! Beef Shorthorns are a traditional English breed of cattle developed over several hundred years to produce the tastiest meat. The meat has traditional marbling (small deposits of fat) in the meat which adds flavour and aids cooking. As we don’t yet have a butcher in the Plantation Farm shop the meat was butchered and flash frozen before coming back to the shop. I look forward to your feedback on the meat?

    As the weather is a little cooler than normal this year it makes life a little less frenetic,although there is still a lot to do. As it is not too dry it is a good time to get some weed and feed on the lawn, or even just feed if you have no weeds. Mowing a lawn regularly and removing the grass depletes the nutrients in the ground. Every time you cart a box of grass off the lawn you are taking away some of the essential minerals needed for good plant growth. Poor ground favours weeds and moss, it is therefore essential to keep the soil fertile, this in turn will help suppress weed growth and moss.
    Keep feeding all your plants this will keep their leaves green.
    Herbaceous

    Our plant area is as full as it has ever been with wonderful plants (several featuring at Chelsea flower show) Steve and Judy have done a great job sourcing a fantastic range of plants.

    Last Saturday we had 100 Silkie hens delivered, what a site I have never seen so many Silkies in one place at a time, they looked amazing. Silkies are well known for their calm, friendly temperament. Among the most docile of poultry, Silkies are considered an ideal pet. Hens are also exceptionally broody, and make good mothers. Though they are fair layers themselves, laying about three eggs a week, they are commonly used to hatch eggs from other breeds and bird species. We also managed to hatch 3 of our own Chinese geese, the goslings are on show in our poultry shop.

    I hope the TV coverage of the flower show has inspired you, we would love to help you achieve you dream garden, if you need any help give us a shout.

    Have a great weekend

    Ashley