News

18th April 2019

What to do in the garden in April?

What to do in the garden in April?

In April, it really looks like spring in the garden. Although there’s still a chance of late frosts, the days are definitely warmer and everything is starting to grow again. It’s time to grab your tools and get out there. Here’s our list of the most important jobs for you to do in your garden this April.

What to sow in April

It’s still slightly too early to sow half-hardy and tender plants outdoors, but definitely, time to sow them indoors in small pots or modules. If you’re new to vegetable growing, here are a few firm favourites to sow indoors now:

  • Tomatoes
  • Runner beans
  • French beans
  • Squash
  • Courgettes
  • Cucumber

You can sow some seeds outdoors now, including broad beans, wildflower seed mixes and hardy annuals such as cornflowers, love-in-the-mist and Californian poppies. You can even make a start on next winter’s dinners by sowing Brussels sprouts and parsnip seeds.

If you’ve already got tomato seedlings lining your windowsill or greenhouse shelves, pot them on into slightly larger pots, but don’t put them outside until the end of the month.

What to plant in April

April is the perfect time to plant herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses. It’s also a good time to lift and divide any of your existing perennials that are in need of a boost.

In the vegetable garden, plant early potatoes. If you remembered to chit them last month, give yourself a pat on the back, as this should give you a better harvest. But if you didn’t get round to chitting, plant your spuds anyway – potatoes are very forgiving plants. Plant onion sets and garlic cloves now too, for a late summer harvest.

Weeding, feeding and tidying

Pruning early flowering shrubs in AprilAs the plants start to grow, so do the weeds, so keep on top of them as they appear. A Dutch hoe is your best friend for dealing with annual weeds like chickweed and hairy bittercress, letting you cut them down at a swipe without spending hours on your knees. Sadly, perennial nasties like bindweed and dandelions will still need digging out by the roots with a hand fork.

Feed your roses and tie climbing and rambling roses back to supports. And don’t forget to mulch your borders with a 5cm (2in) thick layer of compost. Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your soil. It adds nutrients, improves the soil structure and helps retain moisture, meaning less watering needed in summer.

Prune early-flowering shrubs like Viburnum x bodnantense, forsythia and Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) once they’ve finished flowering. Now’s also the time to hard prune dogwoods (Cornus sibirica and Cornus alba) to encourage next winter’s crop of brightly coloured stems.

Give your garden a bit of attention now and you’ll reap the rewards all through summer. If you’re looking for inspiration for your garden this April, why not pop down to your local garden centre and see what’s in store?

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23rd March 2019

Mothers day is nearly here!

Mothers day is nearly here!

Mothers Day - Sunday 31st March

We have lots of gift ideas including plants that could be just right for your mum so why not head in store and take a peek...

Also if you haven't arranged going out for the actual day then why not book lunch in our cafe so you can sit back and relax and enjoy the day.

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8th March 2019

What to do in the garden in March?

What to do in the garden in March?

In March, you can practically feel life flooding back into the garden. Spring bulbs are flowering and buds are appearing on branches. It’s a glorious time to be out of doors, watching the new gardening year begin again, and here are a few jobs for you to be getting on with this month.

HelleboresWhat to prune in March

If you haven’t already pruned your bush roses, do it now, before they really start to grow. Cut back shrubby dogwoods and willows to encourage the growth of new stems for brilliant winter colour next year. While you’re busy pruning, it’s also time to tackle forsythia, provided its finished flowering, as well as fuchsias and mophead hydrangeas.

Cut the old leaves off hellebores so that the flowers can be seen better – this also reduces the spread of disease. And deadhead your daffodils as they start to fade, but leave the foliage to die back naturally, so that the plants can build up food stores for next year’s flowers.

What to plant in March

There’s plenty to do in the vegetable garden, with onion sets and first early potatoes to be planted. Indoors, there’s still time to sow tomato seeds, as well as chilli and beetroot. Outdoors, you can sow carrots, parsnips and radishes.

In the flower garden, it’s all about hardy annuals – sow them towards the end of March for a riot of colour in early summer. (Here’s a handy tip – once weed seeds start to germinate, it’s warm enough to sow your hardy annuals.) For late summer colour, plant gladioli and dahlia bulbs in pots and keep them in greenhouses until the frosts are over.

Five hardy annuals to sow in March:

  1. Love-in-the-mist (Nigella damascena)
  2. Californian poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
  3. English marigolds (Calendula officinalis)
  4. Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus)
  5. Godetia (Clarkia amoena)

If you have large clumps of snowdrops in your garden, it’s a good idea to lift and divide them to stop them getting too congested. Using a spade, dig up the whole clump, then tease it apart by hand into smaller clumps for replanting.

Feeding and mulching

Weeding As your plants start to grow, they need to be fed. Feed roses with a balanced fertilizer now for extra-special flower power in summer, and top-dress containers by scraping off an inch or so of old compost and replacing it with fresh.

Hoe borders to get rid of any weeds, then apply a thick layer of compost as a mulch (make sure the soil is moist first). This will help suppress weeds, keep in soil moisture, add nutrients and improve drainage – what more could you ask?

As the garden comes back to life, it’s the ideal chance to spot any gaps that need filling, or just to give your garden a new look. Pop down to your local garden centre for ideas, inspiration and everything else you need for your garden this year.

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8th February 2019

What to do in the garden in February?

What to do in the garden in February?

It might be cold out there, but in February the first hints of spring are everywhere. The daylight lasts that little bit longer each day, snowdrops start to flower and clumps of cheerful daffodils reappear. When the sun shines, it’s time to get outdoors and get a head start on the gardening. And when that icy wind blows, there’s still plenty for gardeners to do indoors in February.

What to prune and plant In February

Prune your roses towards the end of the month, before they really start growing again. When pruning bush roses, first remove any spindly growth and any dead or crossing branches. Then prune the remaining stems down by half, cutting just above strong, outward-facing buds so that you end up with an open, vase-shaped shrub. It’s a good idea to cut the ends of the stems at an angle so that rainwater drains away from the growing buds.

Cut back last year’s wisteria shoots to within 3-4 buds of the main stems, to keep them tidy so that the gorgeous spring flowers will look their best, and prune evergreen hedges.

Provided the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged, February is also a good time to plant new shrubs and trees. Remember to stake young trees and water them in well once you’ve planted them.

Tidy up

Before the spring breezes start to blow, tie up any loose climbers and check stakes and tree ties. Pull up any weeds that have survived the winter, and clear away the last of the fallen leaves so slugs and snails can’t hide under them.

Seeds to sow in February

Tomato SeedlingsIf it's too cold to be outside, get started on sowing seeds indoors. Summer favourites like tomatoes and cucumbers need a long growing period, so now’s the perfect month to start them off. In late February, sow seeds in small pots and place them somewhere warm and bright like a greenhouse or just on a sunny windowsill to germinate.

5 seeds to sow indoors in February:

  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Celeriac
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

From mid-February onwards, start chitting early seed potatoes ready for planting in late March.  This is really easy to do and a great way to get kids interested in gardening. Simply place your potatoes somewhere cool but bright indoors, with most of their buds (called ‘eyes’) pointing upwards, and leave them to sprout shoots. They’ll be ready to plant in 4-6 weeks, once the shoots are about 2cm (1in) long.

There’s nothing like a bit of gardening to make you feel that spring’s on its way, so grab your tools and get on out there! We have everything you need to get your garden looking great this year. 

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18th January 2019

What to do in the garden in January?

What to do in the garden in January?

Are you wondering what to do in the garden during January? It can be a cold month with the worst of the Winter weather so when hibernating is top of the list, make sure you do it with plenty of seed catalogues, garden books and a hot chocolate. Build on your successes from the previous year, plan your crop rotations and make lists of all the plants you would like to grow in your garden. So make the most of January and get planning:

  • Garden and Flowers
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Wildlife

Garden and Flowers

As long as the ground isn't waterlogged or frozen, you can plant out bare root roses ensuring they are in a sunny position. Rose bushes can also be pruned now while they are dormant by cutting back to just above a bud and removing any diseased, crossing or dead stems. After the trimmings are taken down, don't let your Christmas tree go to waste. Keep an eye out for places to take your tree for recycling or alternatively, you can shred your tree and use it as mulch in the garden, add it to your compost heap or lay it over bare soil to suppress weeds.

Fruit and Vegetables

When you are ready to get your coat on and brave the January air, it’s time to prune your fruit trees, such as apple and pear. So if you have been wondering what to do in the garden during January, there is plenty! Gooseberries can also be pruned and autumn fruiting raspberries can be cut back. Perfect time to get some fresh air and prepare your fruit for the growing season ahead. If you have stored fruit, just as with any bulbs and plants, keep a weekly check on them to ensure they are all in good condition. If you spot any sign of rotting or diseased materials or fruit discard it as soon as possible to make sure it doesn't spread. Make sure trays of apples and bags of potatoes have good air circulation and are out of the reach of pests.

Wildlife Gardening

At this time of year, it is essential to supplement natural bird food. If the weather is particularly cold, you may even notice your garden birds becoming much braver in their search for food. Berries and fallen fruits are an important food source but also hang out food to help our feathered friends make it through the winter. If you have any piles of fallen branches, twigs and leaves make sure you leave them a little longer as they may be home to garden wildlife, even a hedgehog! You can gently rake grass cuttings and other fallen leaves or stems into the pile to make sure they have a nice warm environment. It will rot down over time naturally.

It may be Winter but with plenty to be planning for the year ahead, come in to visit us and start putting your plans into action! 

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12th January 2019

Seed Potatoes - Time to grow your own...

Seed Potatoes - Time to grow your own...

Now is the time to buy seed potatoes.

With over 50 varieties which include1st and 2nd earlies, Maincrop varieties and salad types. Now is the best time to buy as you have the biggest choice. We have 3 NEW varieties for 2019. The first is called 'Accord' that produces lots of potatoes.  It has a waxy texture and a medium level of dry matter. It makes good boiled potatoes served hot or cold. It has a very good resistance to both golden and white potato cyst nematode. It has good resistance to common scab and blight making it popular with gardeners. The second one is a Maincrop called 'Libertie' which produces big crops of attractive bright and uniformly shaped tubers. It has good resistance to Common and Powdery Scab which helps to maintain if naturally bright tubers. Boiled or bakes. Libertie has good cooking qualities.The third is another NEW Maincrop called 'Setanta', it is easy to grow and a great versatile variety in the kitchen too! This red skinned variety has been bred from the famous Rooster variety. Similar to Rooster in that it has a dry, fluffy texture making it ideal for making delicious mash, roasts and chips. What makes Setanta different is it has excellent blight resistance in particular tuber blight resistance and yields lots of similar sized baking potatoes.  It stores well so can be enjoyed for many months after harvest.

So that you don't miss out, you can reserve any of the varieties using our click and collect service. Browse during the evening and then collect the following day. You can almost smell them cooking...

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12th August 2018

One week to go!

One week to go!

Our first Fun Dog Show at the garden centre will be on Sunday 19th August with St Giles Animal Rescue Centre.

It will be from 12 noon to 4pm with judging starting from 12.30pm. Willowbrook Nursery and Garden Centre are hosting the event and there will be a charge of £2 for each class you enter with all the proceeds going to St Giles Animal Rescue Centre. To watch the event will be FREE.

The classes are -

          - Best Puppy up to 9 months (male or female)

          - Prettiest Bitch

          - Handsomest Dog

          - Best Veteran (over 8 years)

          - Best Child Handler

          - Dog with the waggiest Tail

          - Best Rescue Dog

          - Dog the judges would like to take home

          and BEST IN SHOW!

The winner of each class will receive a prize. 

If you take part or just watch it should be a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing you here!

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20th July 2018

FUN DOG SHOW 2018 - Date Announced

FUN DOG SHOW 2018 - Date Announced

Our first Fun Dog Show at the garden centre will be on Sunday 19th August with St Giles Animal Rescue Centre.

It will be from 12 noon to 4pm with judging starting from 12.30pm. Willowbrook Nursery and Garden Centre are hosting the event and there will be a charge of £2 for each class you enter with all the proceeds going to St Giles Animal Rescue Centre. To watch the event will be FREE.

The classes are -

          - Best Puppy up to 9 months (male or female)

          - Prettiest Bitch

          - Handsomest Dog

          - Best Veteran (over 8 years)

          - Best Child Handler

          - Dog with the waggiest Tail

          - Best Rescue Dog

          - Dog the judges would like to take home

          and BEST IN SHOW!

The winner of each class will receive a prize. 

If you take part or just watch it should be a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing you here!

 

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6th July 2018

NEW Seasonal Menu is perfect for the weather...

NEW Seasonal Menu is perfect for the weather...

Our next NEW Seasonal lunch menu is ready. Its perfect for Summer with the inclusion of some tasty new salads, drinks and sweet treats. Come on in and enjoy the new dishes. It might even take your mind off of the Tennis and football on the TV at the moment....

We have an outside seating area and also picnic benches on our lawn which is a great way to enjoy the Summer.

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29th June 2018

National Cream Tea Day 2018

National Cream Tea Day 2018

29th June 2018 - National Cream Tea Day!

We love cream teas at Willowbrook and today we have different scones to try. We have Blueberry, Honey and Ginger, Cheese scones and Fruit scones. They are limited supply so you better be quick! It's lovely today so great to sit outside on the picnic benches on our lawn, sit back and relax and enjoy the flavours. Now is it jam or cream first?...

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