2020

Probably best not to dwell on January’s wretched weather. Although we can’t resist pointing out that the short-lived run of frosty blue-sky days mid-month was – according to the Today programme, so it must be true – the longest rain-free period since September.

It may be a little chilly now (quite a relief after all that sludgy weather), but the afternoons are noticeably longer, glimmers of pale winter sunshine are a fine reminder that better things are on the way, tulips and daffodils are on the up and drifts of snowdrops are a sight to cheer the gloomiest day. The first signs of spring are definitely springing!
Our new head nurseryman
We’re delighted to welcome Andrew Houghton as our new Head Nurseryman to Ashridge. Trained at Pershore College, the Welsh College of Horticulture and Durham Agricultural College, he brings with him years of experience in the sector as a commercial grower.
Dahlias have reinvented themselves as the new must-haves in any garden and are the latest hot addition to the Ashridge range. Buy them as tubers now, as cuttings in March and by April and May as garden-ready plants in bud. We love the outrageous colours and huge range of flower shapes and sizes; they’re great for late summer colour and brilliant as cut flowers.
Plus who could resist the combination of White Swan and Arabian Night? Not only for the form and colour but for those fabulous names…straight out of the panto.
White Swan
Arabian Night
Julian's Top Tip
I know we keep banging the drum for bare-rooted planting, but as long as the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen it’s the ideal time to plant bare-rooted trees (including fruit trees), hedging, shrubs, roses and soft fruit.

Add a dollop of Rootgrow and warming soil will have your plants up and running in no time at all.
February is fabulous for...
Ordering sweet peas. They’re forever high on our list of favourites and we’ve added even more lovely varieties to our range this year. We’re very proud of our robust little sweet pea seedlings. Grown over the winter in unheated polytunnels, they’re hardier than most and flower earlier than spring-sown plants. Do order yours now before we run out.
Ordering lavender too, for delivery in March, April or May. Think happy bees…

Snowdrops - plant them now ‘in the green’ – they actually prefer to be planted whilst in leaf, as do bluebells and winter aconites.
Jobs for the Garden
  • Prune wisteria, late-flowering clematis, jasmines, bush roses, winter-flowering shrubs, summer-flowering shrubs that flower on new wood and the old stems of herbaceous perennials.
  • Prune fruit trees and cut back autumn-fruiting raspberries to the ground and summer-fruiting ones to just above a bud.
  • Divide snowdrops.
  • Feed the birds and leave fresh water for them, especially if it freezes.
And now, an exercise in Ashridge Nurseries CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). Change your attitude. Mole damage isn’t a nuisance. It’s a gift! It’s living proof that your (once) lovely lawn is based on healthy soil with lots of wonderful worms. That’s why the moles are there. So be grateful! With a cheery smile push the soil back down the mole tunnel, wash it in with a hose and reseed. Who knew?
It’s marvellous. We have the perfect solution to the perennial problem of what to get your loved ones. As Arthur Conan Doyle wrote, ‘What a lovely thing a rose is’. Here are a few of our top picks.
Sweet Honey
Rose of the year 2020 - Sweet Honey
Black Baccara Roses
The best rose by candlelight - Black Baccara
Fragrant Cloud Roses
Voted the world's favourite rose over 30 years ago - Fragrant Cloud
Valentine Heart Roses
Valentine Heart for the romantics out there - lilac-pink, floribunda, fragrant and repeat flowering
Snowdrop walks, festivals, days and fairs - Rode Hall Cheshire, Benington Lordship Gardens Stevenage, Goldsborough Hall Yorkshire, Easton Gardens Grantham, Great Comp Garden Sevenoaks.
Ashridge Quiz

How knowledgeable are you about gardening? Do you know your Acers from your Zephirine drouhin? Try our quiz and see how you get on and then share the results with your friends.

It's just a bit of fun, here's the quiz
Wisley Winter Walk

Perhaps the best present I was given for Christmas was a year’s membership to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)...read more
We deliver more than 3,000 varieties of plants direct to your door – hedging, garden and fruit trees, bulbs, climbers, roses, soft fruit, flowering seedlings and planting accessories.

Have a look online and leave the rest to us – we look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime enjoy your garden and (hopefully!) some lovely weather.  

 
Garden Trees
Soft Fruit
Accessories
Roses
Garden Bulbs
Gifts
Hedging Plants
Fruit Trees
Climbers
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Phone: 01963 359444
(Phones open Mon-Fri 9.00am to 5.00pm)
Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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