I thought last weekend with the forecast of cooler weather, it wouldn’t be too bad us starting to put out our Christmas 2014 offering in the shop! We have started this week while people are sat outside drinking tea in the Courtyard, seems a bit odd. Anyway I think we are later putting our products out than other Garden Centres, difficult balance between commerciality and upsetting our valued customers.

I am pleased to say that the road works on the A5 A43 junction are being managed in an admiral fashion, we have fortunately had no disruption to our trading on site. It is quite exciting to know that people will now be able to walk up to see us from Towcester rather than risking their lives crossing the A43 due to the installation of pedestrian traffic lights.

We have got some great new products in the farm shop this week. I have got an alcohol licence so we have stocked up with loads Beer from local Breweries, Merrimen, Litchborough, Phipps, Northampton, (Phipps is back!), Hoggleys, Northampton, Saxbys Cider, Wellingborough, Wines from Verre de Vin, Towcester, Gin from Harrington, all Northamptonshire Companies. Plus our bacon, I can’t get over how great the streaky bacon is, it tastes just like the rashers we used to get from The Bacon shop, Cambridge Road, Aylesbury in the 1960’s, 70’s, that’s an indication of my age.

It’s now ok to cut back herbaceous flowering plants that are starting to die back, this will immediately start to transform the Garden into winter mode. While doing this you could consider putting in some spring flowering bulbs to give you some early colour in February, March before the growth of the herbaceous plant, a double use of space.
Once all the herbaceous has been cut back later on in the season pour on the mulch/organic matter.

I am not sure how many people in this area have experienced box blight. Monty Don was on about it in one of his Gardening programmes earlier this year. I heard this week that Bayer have a new systemic fungicide out that will help reduce risk/cure the problem, we don’t have any in stock at the moment. Good management of Box can also help reduce the incidence of the fungal blight. Pruning should be carried out when there are a few days of fine weather forecast, if cut, trimmed when the weather is wet encourages spores to infect the freshly cut wood. Don’t let other plants grow to near the box, this may create a damp micro climate where fungal spores can survive. So if your neighbour has a problem it may be a good idea to use prevention measures, spray your box with a fungicide ( probably Bayer fruit and veg fungicide until the new one appears on the shelves) several times a year starting in the spring when the new growth appears. A great alternative to Box (Buxus sempervirens / suffruiticosa) is Ilex crenata which is a small leaved holly, we have a Topiary cloud tree in the courtyard which is Ilex crenata.

We have a Christmas open evening on Thursday 30th October in the Garden Centre until 7.30 and the Cafe will be open for Supper. The Farm shop will also be open for tastings and browsing. It will be great fun click here to view the details, it would be great to see you.

Have a great weekend


Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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