Poultry Centre

100's of birds in stock, 28 day moneyback or replacement guarantee, all hybrid hens full vaccinated

We Guarantee You…

  • Happy and healthy livestock, or your money back.
  • Free advice and guidance to keep your chickens healthy.
  • Everything you need to successfully keep your chickens.

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About the Poultry Centre

We love keeping chickens here at the Poultry Centre and we want you to enjoy keeping your chickens as much as we do. We have an easy and simple purpose: to help, support and supply you with everything you need, keeping your poultry birds happy, healthy and productive. All of our birds therefore are fully vaccinated, making them completely healthy and each bird comes with a 28 day replacement guarantee.

Based at Bell Plantation Garden Centre, The Poultry Centre houses the biggest number of poultry birds in the Midlands.

There are over 15 pens housing all kinds of poultry fowl including rare breeds, hybrid chickens, ducks, geese, quails and peacocks. With our 200 square metre display there is lots to see.

At the Bellplantation Garden Centre you will also find a Vets practice if your birds are unwell, and the popular Plantation Cafe, where regular seminars are held for members of the Poultry Rewards Card scheme. All your favourite products are available at the Poultry Centre Shop.

Live Poultry

Live Poultry

Here at the Poultry Centre we’ve been selling chickens for nearly 15 years. This has given us a whole host of experience in keeping our chickens fit and healthy and helping you do the same with yours. We stock a wide variety of birds from our large selection of hybrid hens, perfect for the poultry beginner to a wide variety of rare breed chickens, bantams, ducks, geese, fowl and quail for the absolute Poultry enthusiast. Whether you are a beginner or an expert we’d love to help you find the birds you’re looking for.

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Poultry Housing

Getting the right enclosure for your birds is essential. They provide shelter from the elements as well as protection from predators like Mr Fox. Chickens also require a roosting bar to sleep on every night and ideally a nest box to lay their eggs in. At the Poultry Centre we hand-pick the best Poultry Housing from across the country so that you find an enclosure that will keep your birds warm and safe for years to come. Our Wooden range is British made and top quality, with a 10 year life span. Our plastic coups come from the brand leader Omlet, which are durable, easy to clean and look great in your garden. We also sell good quality duck houses and quail enclosures. Whatever you need, our team will talk you through all the options to get you the right house for your birds.

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Poultry Housing

Poultry Food

Poultry Food

The health of your Poultry is our top priority and that’s why we stock a wide range of different poultry feeds to keep your birds eating the right food to keep them happy and healthy. Layers Pellets or Mash are essential to giving your chickens a balanced diet of the right nutrients. Feeding them a diet of mostly kitchen scraps or corn won’t give them enough of the stuff they need, which can impact their health and inhibit good egg laying. We do also have a good selection of mixed corn and poultry grit to give as extras to your birds.

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How to Keep Your Chickens Healthy

Poultry Health

Poultry Health

Like all animals, Poultry are susceptible to the cold weather and pick up the odd cold and flu. They can also be susceptible to internal worms and harbour mites and lice. We know it’s important to ward off any of these nasties as you can that’s why we stock a variety of different health supplements, worming pellets, lice treatment and housing disinfectants. It can sometimes be hard to know what’s wrong with your chickens but our team are always here to help you with any issues and queries that you have. We also have a veterinary practice on site so for anything a little more serious professional help is not far away.

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Start planting your winter potatoes

Start planting your winter potatoes

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

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

christmas Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley

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

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

Winter Veg

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

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

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

Have a great Silverstone weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – July

Jobs in your Garden – July

Patio rose

Water regularly

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

Feed your plants

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

Deadhead your plants

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

Keep on top of pests

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

Plant of the Month – July

Plant of the Month – July

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

Penstemon Sour Grapes

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

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend,

Ashley

Great Weather for Slugs

Great weather for Slugs

Hydrangea

Those blasted slugs have eaten my Melon plants, gone in a flash! Slugs have been a massive problem this year to most Gardeners. A warm winter with very few sub-zero temperatures and a warm wet spring has allowed the slug population to flourish. As a result of this there is a shortage of slug pellets in the UK. I am pleased to say we do have a few packets left. If you don’t have any you can use non chemical controls as mentioned below.
Transplant sturdy plantlets grown on in pots, rather than young vulnerable seedlings. Transplants can be given some protection with cloches
Place traps, such as scooped out half orange, grapefruit or melon skins, laid cut side down, or jars part-filled with beer and sunk into the soil near vulnerable plants. Check and empty these regularly, preferably every morning. Proprietary traps are also available from good garden centres!
Place barriers, such as copper tapes around pots or stand containers on matting impregnated with copper salts. Moisture-absorbent minerals can be placed around plants to create slug barriers (e.g. Slug Blocker Granules). Gel repellents can also be used to create barriers around plants. Go out with a torch on mild evenings, especially when the weather is damp, and hand-pick slugs into a container. Take them to a field, hedgerow or patch of waste ground well away from gardens, at least 30 meters away as they have been found to return to where they originated. Destroy them in hot water, a strong salt solution or feed them to the birds!
Birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, slow-worms and ground beetles eat slugs and these predators should be encouraged in gardens
Rake over soil and remove fallen leaves during winter so birds can eat slug eggs that have been exposed.

Potatoes and slugs

The slugs that damage potatoes spend much of their time in the soil where they do not come into contact with slug pellets. The nematode treatment can be effective. Nematodes are roundworms that kill slugs in the soil, they can be purchased from Garden Centres and posted to you direct. You just mix them with water and apply to the soil in a watering can. Damage usually begins during August and becomes progressively worse the longer the crop is left in the ground. Early potatoes usually escape damage; maincrop potatoes should be lifted as soon as the tubers have matured if the soil is known to be slug infested. Heavy applications of farmyard manure and other composts can encourage slugs, and so inorganic fertilizers should be used where slugs are a problem. It is better to dig organic matter into your soil and have a slug problem rather than have no organic matter in your soil. Slugs can be treated, no organic matter in your soil will be disastrous!

Potatoes vary in their susceptibility to slugs. ‘Maris Piper’, ‘Cara’, ‘Arran Banner’, ‘Kirsty’, ‘Maris Bard’, ‘Maris Peer’, ‘Kondor’, ‘Pentland Crown’ and ‘Rocket’ are frequently damaged, whereas ‘Romano’, ‘Pentland Dell’, ‘Pentland Squire’, ‘Wilja’, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Golden Wonder’, ‘Kestrel’, ‘Estima’, ‘Stemster’, ‘Sante’ and ‘Pentland Ivory’ are less susceptible. Damaged potatoes are more vulnerable to storage rots and the crop should be sorted into sound and damaged tubers, with the latter being stored separately for early consumption.

Chemical control

Following the manufactures instructions scatter slug pellets thinly around vulnerable plants, such as seedlings, vegetables and young shoots on herbaceous plants. It is important store pellets safely and scatter them thinly as they can harm other wildlife, pets and young children if eaten in quantity.

There are two types of pellet available to the gardener; those that contain metaldehyde or ferric sulphate Ferric sulphate is relatively non-toxic to vertebrate animals.

A liquid formulation of metaldehyde is available for watering on to ornamental plants and the soil, it should not be applied to edible plants.

Most plants, once established, will tolerate some slug damage and control measures can be discontinued.

We released our annual hive of Bumble bees this week. The Ducklings are now 10 days old.
Wet or dry its great weather for planting out Vegetables.
Our Nursery is full of wonderful plants.

Have a great slug free weekend

Ashley

Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre receive RHS 3 Gold Star award.

Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre receive RHS 3 Gold Star award.

Chelsea

My 3 week Chelsea bubble has burst. I am delighted to say that Nicolas Moreton whose stand we sponsored received a hugely positive response to his work. Nicolas’s sculptures were shown many times on the BBC during the Chelsea week. His work is extremely desirable, interesting and is highly photogenic. www.nicolasmoreton.com It was a pleasure working with him building the show garden. I am delighted to say Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre received our first RHS 3 Gold Star award for the trade stand. Obviously we would have loved a 5 Gold Star award, it was our first attempt! Some stands didn’t get graded. Steep learning curve for maybe next time?

It has been a busy livestock week, at Bell Plantation, our annual hive of Bumble Bees arrived yesterday. They always seem to arrive when it is cold and wet, last year we had the same issue, however the Bees we have do tolerate high winds and cooler weather so I will probably let them out today, tough little monkeys! They do have a tank of sugar solution at the base of their box so they are ok in the box for some time. We have them for interest, its great fun watching them come and go (I never get time to watch them for long). In the height of the season they come back fully loaded with pollen hanging off their legs, they look like over loaded aeroplanes attempting to land, will they make the hive or not? Hopefully they will fly off to the gardens in Towcester to pollinate all the plants boosting fruit yields etc. At the end of the season the Queen will fly off to hibernate and hopefully survive and emerge the next spring to start the cycle again, the worker bees will succumb to the harsh winter weather.

2014-05-29 11.00.48

On Wednesday I drove to Norwich to pick up 100 Peking ducklings, they were only a few hours old. They are now back at the Garden Centre and looking absolutely adorable, great for the children to see. This strain of Peking ducks are bred for laying eggs, when mature they will lay about 300 eggs per year!

The wet weather has made hoeing the garden difficult, the soil sticks to the hoe, a lot more energy is needed to drive the hoe through the ground. With soil on the hoe there is less desiccation of the weeds and due to the wet the weeds can re root. I think the best policy is to pull the large weeds by hand and wait until the soil dries and then use the hoe. If you have got pernicious weeds i.e. nettles, couch grass, alder weed, docks etc. it is a great opportunity to touch them with roundup, glyphosate. Glyphosate is a translocated herbicide, it get taken into the plant and taken down to the root where it kills the plant. It takes 1 to 3 weeks to see any signs of plant death, it depends on the weather, when the plant is growing fast it will take a shorter amount of time to take effect. Be careful with this product, it will kill any plant it touches, make sure you get it on the weeds you want to kill.

The forecast is good for the weekend, go forth and garden.
Have a great weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – June

Jobs in your Garden – June

Tomatoes2

1. Plant out Bedding Plants

Now that the risk of frost has passed you can plant our bedding plants in containers and borders. Lightly fork over your borders and add Fish Blood & Bone fertiliser. Make sure the rootball of the plants is moist and water in after you have planted to ensure they establish.

2. Look after your Tomato plants

Now is a good time to plant your tomatoes outside if you haven’t done so and get them ready to maximise their fruit. Pinch of any new side shoots to help direct the plants energy into fruit growing on the main stem and tie up your plants to canes or supports as your plants will grow quite high and get very heavy.

3. Spray Roses

June is the time when roses really start coming into flower so make sure you keep on top of those unwanted pests such as Aphids and keep your roses looking amazing. Deadhead your roses too to encourage fresh buds and pull out any weeds that might be taking nutrients away from the plant. It might be worth giving them a feed with a specialist rose fertiliser after the first bloom.

4. Make good Compost

Now that the garden is in full growth and the lawn is being cut regularly there should be plenty of stuff available for composting. Make sure you mix in well nitrogen rich material such as grass clippings and manure with carbon rich material such as flower stalks and woody clippings to ensure your compost breaks down evenly. If you’ve got time, turn your compost regularly for faster results.

5. Harvest your salad

You should now be able to start picking lettuce leaves and any other salad you planted earlier in the year. Make sure you pick the leaves from the outside of the plant which will help promote a supply of new leaves.

Keep your plants fed and watered and enjoy Chelsea Flower Show

Keep your plants fed and watered and enjoy Chelsea Flower Show

Bell Plantation Chelsea Flower ShowIt has been great this week to have some hot sun, the sun warming the air and the ground puts plant growth into top gear. With the plant working hard to grow we must feed and water them to maximise their potential flowering and or fruiting. Most plants prefer a humid rather than dry atmosphere to grow in. In a greenhouse or conservatory where the daily temperatures get very high spray water over the floor, the evaporating water will increase the relative humidity of the air, this in turn will reduce the stress on the plant, by reducing the need for transpiration (Transpiration is the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from aerial parts, such as from leaves but also from stems and flowers.) If you don’t want to put water on the floor spray the plant with a water mist several times during the day, less stress more growth, higher, better yield/flower.

Soluble feed put into your watering reaches the plant roots quicker than spreading dry fertiliser over the surface of the ground. A dry Growmore type fertiliser is best spread over the shrub bed or pots at the beginning of the season. When the soil has warmed up and the plants are growing quickly they need to get the nutrients quickly so soluble feed is best. Tomorite is one of the best all round soluble feeds it covers all bases, it is haigh in potash, great for flowering and fruiting plants.

I have been at Chelsea flower show all week building the stand for Nicolas Moreton sculptor www.nicolasmeton.com which Bell Plantation Garden Centre have sponsored. It is amazing to watch all the wonderful show stands develop over the week, I have also been falling in love with Nicolas’ work, his sculptures are absolutely amazing, please have a look at his work. We do actually have a couple at Bell Plantation. If you visit Chelsea flower show go and have a chat with him, there are some very special pieces there. I hope he has a wonderful show. Rain is forecast for next week!

Make the most of this weekend
Have a great time

Ashley

Plant of the month – May

Plant of the month – May

Cytisus Boskoop Ruby

Our plant of the month this May is – Cytisus – Boskoop Ruby

This small deciduous shrub flowers an abundance of beautiful deep crimson flowers in May and June and has green foliage in autumn, Spring and Summer. It grows up to 1.5 metres in height and width and loves to be grown in well drained poor acid soils. This shrub really will will bring some lovely red colours to your garden.

If you want to know anything about Boskoop Ruby or any other plants give one of our team a call or pop in and see us.

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Start planting your winter potatoes

Start planting your winter potatoes

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

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

christmas Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley

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

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

Winter Veg

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

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

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

Have a great Silverstone weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – July

Jobs in your Garden – July

Patio rose

Water regularly

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

Feed your plants

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

Deadhead your plants

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

Keep on top of pests

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

Plant of the Month – July

Plant of the Month – July

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

Penstemon Sour Grapes

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

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

The sun, the rain and look after your Roses

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend,

Ashley

Great Weather for Slugs

Great weather for Slugs

Hydrangea

Those blasted slugs have eaten my Melon plants, gone in a flash! Slugs have been a massive problem this year to most Gardeners. A warm winter with very few sub-zero temperatures and a warm wet spring has allowed the slug population to flourish. As a result of this there is a shortage of slug pellets in the UK. I am pleased to say we do have a few packets left. If you don’t have any you can use non chemical controls as mentioned below.
Transplant sturdy plantlets grown on in pots, rather than young vulnerable seedlings. Transplants can be given some protection with cloches
Place traps, such as scooped out half orange, grapefruit or melon skins, laid cut side down, or jars part-filled with beer and sunk into the soil near vulnerable plants. Check and empty these regularly, preferably every morning. Proprietary traps are also available from good garden centres!
Place barriers, such as copper tapes around pots or stand containers on matting impregnated with copper salts. Moisture-absorbent minerals can be placed around plants to create slug barriers (e.g. Slug Blocker Granules). Gel repellents can also be used to create barriers around plants. Go out with a torch on mild evenings, especially when the weather is damp, and hand-pick slugs into a container. Take them to a field, hedgerow or patch of waste ground well away from gardens, at least 30 meters away as they have been found to return to where they originated. Destroy them in hot water, a strong salt solution or feed them to the birds!
Birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, slow-worms and ground beetles eat slugs and these predators should be encouraged in gardens
Rake over soil and remove fallen leaves during winter so birds can eat slug eggs that have been exposed.

Potatoes and slugs

The slugs that damage potatoes spend much of their time in the soil where they do not come into contact with slug pellets. The nematode treatment can be effective. Nematodes are roundworms that kill slugs in the soil, they can be purchased from Garden Centres and posted to you direct. You just mix them with water and apply to the soil in a watering can. Damage usually begins during August and becomes progressively worse the longer the crop is left in the ground. Early potatoes usually escape damage; maincrop potatoes should be lifted as soon as the tubers have matured if the soil is known to be slug infested. Heavy applications of farmyard manure and other composts can encourage slugs, and so inorganic fertilizers should be used where slugs are a problem. It is better to dig organic matter into your soil and have a slug problem rather than have no organic matter in your soil. Slugs can be treated, no organic matter in your soil will be disastrous!

Potatoes vary in their susceptibility to slugs. ‘Maris Piper’, ‘Cara’, ‘Arran Banner’, ‘Kirsty’, ‘Maris Bard’, ‘Maris Peer’, ‘Kondor’, ‘Pentland Crown’ and ‘Rocket’ are frequently damaged, whereas ‘Romano’, ‘Pentland Dell’, ‘Pentland Squire’, ‘Wilja’, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Golden Wonder’, ‘Kestrel’, ‘Estima’, ‘Stemster’, ‘Sante’ and ‘Pentland Ivory’ are less susceptible. Damaged potatoes are more vulnerable to storage rots and the crop should be sorted into sound and damaged tubers, with the latter being stored separately for early consumption.

Chemical control

Following the manufactures instructions scatter slug pellets thinly around vulnerable plants, such as seedlings, vegetables and young shoots on herbaceous plants. It is important store pellets safely and scatter them thinly as they can harm other wildlife, pets and young children if eaten in quantity.

There are two types of pellet available to the gardener; those that contain metaldehyde or ferric sulphate Ferric sulphate is relatively non-toxic to vertebrate animals.

A liquid formulation of metaldehyde is available for watering on to ornamental plants and the soil, it should not be applied to edible plants.

Most plants, once established, will tolerate some slug damage and control measures can be discontinued.

We released our annual hive of Bumble bees this week. The Ducklings are now 10 days old.
Wet or dry its great weather for planting out Vegetables.
Our Nursery is full of wonderful plants.

Have a great slug free weekend

Ashley

Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre receive RHS 3 Gold Star award.

Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre receive RHS 3 Gold Star award.

Chelsea

My 3 week Chelsea bubble has burst. I am delighted to say that Nicolas Moreton whose stand we sponsored received a hugely positive response to his work. Nicolas’s sculptures were shown many times on the BBC during the Chelsea week. His work is extremely desirable, interesting and is highly photogenic. www.nicolasmoreton.com It was a pleasure working with him building the show garden. I am delighted to say Nicolas Moreton and Bell Plantation Garden Centre received our first RHS 3 Gold Star award for the trade stand. Obviously we would have loved a 5 Gold Star award, it was our first attempt! Some stands didn’t get graded. Steep learning curve for maybe next time?

It has been a busy livestock week, at Bell Plantation, our annual hive of Bumble Bees arrived yesterday. They always seem to arrive when it is cold and wet, last year we had the same issue, however the Bees we have do tolerate high winds and cooler weather so I will probably let them out today, tough little monkeys! They do have a tank of sugar solution at the base of their box so they are ok in the box for some time. We have them for interest, its great fun watching them come and go (I never get time to watch them for long). In the height of the season they come back fully loaded with pollen hanging off their legs, they look like over loaded aeroplanes attempting to land, will they make the hive or not? Hopefully they will fly off to the gardens in Towcester to pollinate all the plants boosting fruit yields etc. At the end of the season the Queen will fly off to hibernate and hopefully survive and emerge the next spring to start the cycle again, the worker bees will succumb to the harsh winter weather.

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On Wednesday I drove to Norwich to pick up 100 Peking ducklings, they were only a few hours old. They are now back at the Garden Centre and looking absolutely adorable, great for the children to see. This strain of Peking ducks are bred for laying eggs, when mature they will lay about 300 eggs per year!

The wet weather has made hoeing the garden difficult, the soil sticks to the hoe, a lot more energy is needed to drive the hoe through the ground. With soil on the hoe there is less desiccation of the weeds and due to the wet the weeds can re root. I think the best policy is to pull the large weeds by hand and wait until the soil dries and then use the hoe. If you have got pernicious weeds i.e. nettles, couch grass, alder weed, docks etc. it is a great opportunity to touch them with roundup, glyphosate. Glyphosate is a translocated herbicide, it get taken into the plant and taken down to the root where it kills the plant. It takes 1 to 3 weeks to see any signs of plant death, it depends on the weather, when the plant is growing fast it will take a shorter amount of time to take effect. Be careful with this product, it will kill any plant it touches, make sure you get it on the weeds you want to kill.

The forecast is good for the weekend, go forth and garden.
Have a great weekend

Ashley

Jobs in your Garden – June

Jobs in your Garden – June

Tomatoes2

1. Plant out Bedding Plants

Now that the risk of frost has passed you can plant our bedding plants in containers and borders. Lightly fork over your borders and add Fish Blood & Bone fertiliser. Make sure the rootball of the plants is moist and water in after you have planted to ensure they establish.

2. Look after your Tomato plants

Now is a good time to plant your tomatoes outside if you haven’t done so and get them ready to maximise their fruit. Pinch of any new side shoots to help direct the plants energy into fruit growing on the main stem and tie up your plants to canes or supports as your plants will grow quite high and get very heavy.

3. Spray Roses

June is the time when roses really start coming into flower so make sure you keep on top of those unwanted pests such as Aphids and keep your roses looking amazing. Deadhead your roses too to encourage fresh buds and pull out any weeds that might be taking nutrients away from the plant. It might be worth giving them a feed with a specialist rose fertiliser after the first bloom.

4. Make good Compost

Now that the garden is in full growth and the lawn is being cut regularly there should be plenty of stuff available for composting. Make sure you mix in well nitrogen rich material such as grass clippings and manure with carbon rich material such as flower stalks and woody clippings to ensure your compost breaks down evenly. If you’ve got time, turn your compost regularly for faster results.

5. Harvest your salad

You should now be able to start picking lettuce leaves and any other salad you planted earlier in the year. Make sure you pick the leaves from the outside of the plant which will help promote a supply of new leaves.

Keep your plants fed and watered and enjoy Chelsea Flower Show

Keep your plants fed and watered and enjoy Chelsea Flower Show

Bell Plantation Chelsea Flower ShowIt has been great this week to have some hot sun, the sun warming the air and the ground puts plant growth into top gear. With the plant working hard to grow we must feed and water them to maximise their potential flowering and or fruiting. Most plants prefer a humid rather than dry atmosphere to grow in. In a greenhouse or conservatory where the daily temperatures get very high spray water over the floor, the evaporating water will increase the relative humidity of the air, this in turn will reduce the stress on the plant, by reducing the need for transpiration (Transpiration is the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from aerial parts, such as from leaves but also from stems and flowers.) If you don’t want to put water on the floor spray the plant with a water mist several times during the day, less stress more growth, higher, better yield/flower.

Soluble feed put into your watering reaches the plant roots quicker than spreading dry fertiliser over the surface of the ground. A dry Growmore type fertiliser is best spread over the shrub bed or pots at the beginning of the season. When the soil has warmed up and the plants are growing quickly they need to get the nutrients quickly so soluble feed is best. Tomorite is one of the best all round soluble feeds it covers all bases, it is haigh in potash, great for flowering and fruiting plants.

I have been at Chelsea flower show all week building the stand for Nicolas Moreton sculptor www.nicolasmeton.com which Bell Plantation Garden Centre have sponsored. It is amazing to watch all the wonderful show stands develop over the week, I have also been falling in love with Nicolas’ work, his sculptures are absolutely amazing, please have a look at his work. We do actually have a couple at Bell Plantation. If you visit Chelsea flower show go and have a chat with him, there are some very special pieces there. I hope he has a wonderful show. Rain is forecast for next week!

Make the most of this weekend
Have a great time

Ashley

Plant of the month – May

Plant of the month – May

Cytisus Boskoop Ruby

Our plant of the month this May is – Cytisus – Boskoop Ruby

This small deciduous shrub flowers an abundance of beautiful deep crimson flowers in May and June and has green foliage in autumn, Spring and Summer. It grows up to 1.5 metres in height and width and loves to be grown in well drained poor acid soils. This shrub really will will bring some lovely red colours to your garden.

If you want to know anything about Boskoop Ruby or any other plants give one of our team a call or pop in and see us.

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