When I opened the door this morning to let the dogs out I had my first sniff of Autumn, cooler damp air with a hint of straw and manure. Once again harvest is a little later than it has been in recent years, cool spring and cloudy summer. I am sure in a few weeks time at the local flower and vegetable shows people will be discussing the less favourable growing conditions reflected in the size and quality of their exhibits.

Things are moving on a pace at the Garden Centre, the steel work for the new shop arrives next Tuesday so I am sure by this time next week most of the steel will be up. There will be diggers, dumpers and cranes working for the next few weeks, great for children to watch, we have tried to make everything as visible as possible rather than putting up great big hoardings so no one can see in, we do have very safe see-through fencing. Its a great education for children seeing stuff go on.

Rather than buying a hive of Bumble Bees every year, this year (in July) we purchased 2 broods of Honey bees, my colleague John has a keen interest like myself. John has done all the spade work and went down to get the bees from Devon. They are Buckfast bees very friendly, small and productive and are settling in well. It,s unlikely we will harvest any honey this year, we just want them to build up their numbers in the hive ready for next year. I will keep you posted on progress.

At this time of year its all about dead heading, cutting back long bits if you don’t want them. Cutting off dead flower heads diverts the plant,s energy into other parts of the plant, it could even encourage another flush of flowers. Climbing, rambling roses and Wisteria have put on massive growth through the season all these wispy growths can be cut back to 6 -8 leaf axils from the main stem.

Now is a great time for hedge cutting, its fairly safe to say that all the birds should have finished nesting by now.

If you want some new potatoes to harvest at Christmas we have some seed potatoes in the Garden Centre at the moment. These can be planted outside in a container, 20 litre pot, grow bag or other, as soon as cold weather descends upon us they will need bringing inside to a warmer environment.

Lets hope we have a sunny weekend,

Have fun

Ashley

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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