Spring is upon us and what better time to improve your garden and get it ready for summer? If you’re looking for some inspiration then a visit to one of the Plant Hunters’ Fairs is certainly worthwhile – not only will you be able to find those special plants that are just perfect for your garden, but it’s also your chance to get some advice from the experts. All of the nurseries at the fairs are proper growers who are able to give accurate information and advice about their plants. Among the nurseries in attendance you’ll find Royal Horticultural Society medallists, keen plantspeople, designers and artisans.
The fairs are held in venues across the local area, including some of the most spectacular local gardens. You can visit the Plant Hunters’ Fair at the following venues:
13th April Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Malpas
20th – 21st April Dorothy Clive Garden, Wiloughbridge, Market Drayton
4th – 5th May Weston Park, Weston-under-Lizard
31st May – 1st June Hodnet Hall, Hodnet, Market Drayton
Find out more about the Plant Hunters’ Fair at www.planthuntersfair.co.uk
The P and A Garden Centre, a well-established family-owned business on the outskirts of Mold, has expanded over the last few years and now has added the Woodworks Café to their considerable facilities. ‘The response from our customers has been overwhelming since we opened the doors on our latest venture,’ says marketing manager, Janet Major. ‘We always felt the buildings had great potential and we wanted to provide an improved service to our customers,’ says Janet. ‘The new Woodworks cafe is situated in the heart of the garden centre and is able to seat 30 people at a time. A wood burning stove, cream walls, oak floor, doors and beautiful wooden tables and chairs, provides a warm and relaxed natural environment. The menu ranges from breakfast rolls, toasted teacakes, freshly made sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes to chocolate brownies, shortbread, flapjack and rich chocolate layer cake even afternoon tea with scones. Barista trained staff offer waitress service delivering hot cappuccinos and layered lattes.
We are keen to provide natural good food, and source many of our products from local suppliers. We are also developing our outdoor seating area and in the summer we hope to barbeque and cook pizza in our pizza oven.’
In addition to the cafe the Garden Centre shop has also undergone a transformation and compliments the cafe environment. They now stock a full range of bird care and pet products as well as an expansive collection of gifts from Gisela Graham, Sophie Allport and Moorland Pottery to the beautiful cards by Artbeat and the lovely soaps from Bath House.
Find out more at about the P and A Garden Centre and the Woodworks Café at www.p-a-group.com or call 01352 752555.
By head gardener, Glyn Smith
I’ll bet you haven’t done much in your gardens over the winter? Perhaps on nice mild days you have managed to get out and tidy up the fallen leaves, or cut down herbaceous plants, but probably not much digging or cultivating of borders.
It has been such a wet autumn and winter that it has been better to keep off the soil anyway.
Well, now that spring is here and the mud is drying up, you have no excuse and need to try to catch up. If there is any winter pruning of shrubs, climbing plants, or fruit trees to do, get it finished as quickly as possible. It’s not too late to plant shrubs or trees either, just make sure they are well watered if we get a dry spring.
I get a lot of fun from growing plants from seed. It is a quick way to catch up with filling the garden beds and borders and hardy annuals can be sown straight outdoors in late April and May once the soil starts to warm up. They are also great fun to grow with children as they germinate and grow very easily. My favourites are Sweet peas, Cosmos, Nasturtiums, Sunflowers and Cornflowers, but there are many more for you to choose from. There are a lot of easy salads and vegetables that children can grow too.
If you have a warm greenhouse you can grow half-hardy seeds. These are plants that require a longer season to grow and are usually sown indoors. They are planted out around the end of May, once the frosts have gone. Snap dragons, or Antirrhinums, are nice and easy to start with and will flower all summer. Try Petunias and Marigolds too.
Some seeds, like Begonias and Lobelia, are so small they are like dust. They are difficult to germinate and grow. Even I don’t bother to grow them from seed, I buy young seedlings from garden centres and nurseries. Though they will be more expensive, at least you have not had to pay for the heat they need to get them started. They usually come in a small pot, or as little plug plants. Handle them very carefully, only by the leaves and gently tease them apart. Then space them out into seed trays of potting compost to grow on. A normal sized plastic seed tray will hold between 24 and 35 seedlings.
There are also many basket plants and young cuttings that can be potted on and grown in the same way.
So what are you waiting for. Get out into that garden, clear out the greenhouse, place your seed order, or get down to the garden centre straight away!
Jill Rock tells us all about the Dingle Nurseries and Garden Centre just in time to get the garden ready from summer!
‘There aren't many old-fashioned nurseries left where all you can buy are plants and the staff can give knowledgeable help and advice because they are as keen and enthusiastic as you are, but the Dingle Nurseries and Garden is such a place,’ says Jill Rock at the nursery. ‘Once a farm, it is now a thriving, family run nursery located in the beautiful setting of rural mid-Wales , 700ft above sea level, hilly and wooded.
‘The four acre garden beside the nursery was started in the 1950's by Barbara Joseph.
On a sheltered, south facing slope leading down to a lake, she gradually worked her way down the hill and back up the other side, making colour-themed beds and winding paths with many interesting varieties of shrubs and trees. A few years ago the garden was recognised as being exceptional by the RHS and was awarded partner garden status. The nursery itself stocks a huge array of shrubs, perennials, alpines, conifers, roses and trees including many unusual varieties which aren't easy to find elsewhere. If we don't have what you are looking for, we will do our best to source it for you - we like a challenge! At this time of year, we supply bare-root hedging and forestry, soft fruit and fruit trees. Many varieties of trees, native and ornamental, are also available in much larger sizes. From now until the end of March is the best time to plant and, if you aren't able to visit, we can discuss your requirements over the phone and either have your order ready to pick up or deliver with our own transport. Smaller hedging orders can be sent by overnight courier.’
The Dingle Nurseries and Garden Centre is located in Welshpool and is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. Find out more at www.dinglenurseryandgarden.co.uk or call 01938 553015.
The British Ironwork Centre’s Great British Spoon Appeal is gathering pace and prestigious support from Sainsbury’s. Upon hearing of the unusual charity challenge set to the centre by Uri Geller, world-renowned TV personality and mystifier, to create a monstrous 12-foot gorilla statue from old spoons, the supermarket giant has kindly lent its support. Sainsbury’s Oswestry branch was first off the mark by offering to have ‘spoon banks’ in store to enable its customers to join in the appeal, quickly followed by its Wrexham, Telford, Chester, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton branches.
‘We’re delighted and very grateful to all at Sainsbury’s’ for their kind support, says Clive Knowles, managing director at the British Ironwork Centre. ‘We wanted to provide convenient locations for the community to become involved by donating their spoons and thanks to Sainsbury’s people can drop them into a spoon bank during their weekly shop!’
Mr Geller asked the Centre to create the Gorilla statue as a feature for his gardens which he opens to charity five times per year. He said: ‘I use the sculptures in my garden to inspire poorly children. I am not a healer, but when children see the items I have, they are in awe. I think it helps them to think positively.’
Tickets will be available for the grand unveiling on 17th May 2014 at the British Ironwork Centre Open Day, when Uri will be in attendance to officially reveal the sculpture to the nation’s media crews. Tickets, together with the Centre’s trademark warm welcome, will be provided to the most successful collections and to reward the schools and community groups involved.
Find out more about the British Ironwork Centre at www.blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk
Page 1 of 8