Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you all – despite a frankly dismal end to 2020, the sight of budding buds on lilac and fruit trees - along with a couple of approved vaccines - is a cheerful reminder that, hopefully, 2021 will herald better times to come, not least in our gardens!
Plans of the Month
Snowdrops: surely the most optimistic of plants. The sight of those pretty, nodding snow-white heads poking through even frozen soil is the ideal antidote to gloomy weather and even gloomier news. Beware, though. Snowdrops come in many shapes and forms; collecting can become addictive!
Sweet Honey
Sweet Honey Rose: Rose of the Year 2020, this elegant floribunda beauty can flower until now (and it is) with a bit of dedicated deadheading and a following wind. Lovely underplanted with snowdrops.
Cyclamen coum: another star of the winter months, cyclamen coum brightens the trickiest spots with delicate white, pink or magenta petals held aloft above gorgeous green foliage. They love sun, hate rich soil and look fabulous planted with – oh yes – snowdrops!
Bulbs in the Green
Bulbs in the green: aconites, bluebells and snowdrops are best planted ‘in the green’ - ie when the bulb is actively growing and still has leaves to convert solar energy into food for the bulb.
Fruit Trees
Standard and fruit trees are also on the planting agenda this month. For the latter, order away and dream of delicious crops to come. All our fruit trees are grafted onto strong, virus-free rootstocks, most come in a range of sizes (so there’s one to suit any garden) and are covered by our no quibble guarantee.
ASHRIDGE NETFLIX - Fruit Tree Winter Wash
Winter wash does what it says on the tin; it removes dust, dirt, insect debris, fungal spores and – heroically - the substances on and in which pests lay their eggs. Our Ashridge wash is a blend of natural oils and surfactants – applied this month or next it will nip many a problem waiting to hatch in the bud and improve the health of your tree (and your crop) significantly. Here’s how to do it. 

A monthly feature on interesting people who just love growing things...

Champion of ‘Homegrown not flown’ flowers, Somerset flower farmer and florist Georgie Newbery normally supplies thousands of bouquets a year and transforms wedding and event venues with her ‘wild and informal’ style of floristry. With a background in fashion and writing, she’s turned to online workshops and demos to weather the pandemic. See the full interview here.
Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...
What do I do if my order arrives and the ground is frozen?

It’s technically the ideal time to plant your bare-rooted new arrivals - unless the soil is waterlogged or frozen. If this is the case, open the parcel so the top of the plant has fresh air, leave the roots wrapped as they came, store them in a cold but frost-free place - a garage is perfect. If you are really going to be delayed planting them after the thaw (more than a week)  - then heel them in as soon as the ground is soft enough to dig.
It’s worth looking after your tools…

Boring but very important; here’s Handy Andy, our home-grown Hollywood legend, with a quick resumé of how to clean and care for metal tools, wooden handles and planters. So worth doing and - let’s face it - there’s plenty of time to lavish on winterising your kit. It will pay dividends!


  • Order your bulbs in the green
  • Clip box hedging – for the perfect cone, tie string to the top of a cane stuck through the centre, pull the string taut and clip down the line
  • Cut roses back
  • Check stakes, ties and supports
  • Raise pots on feet if you haven’t done so already
  • Feed the birds – it’s a pretty miserable time of year for our feathered friends
  • Start on the weed control – sadly many will have survived even these soggy days, so hoe away as soon as the ground is workable
  • Fork over beds and borders and dig in organic matter to prepare for the growing season to come
  • Prune wisteria hard and cut back clematis (apart from Montana which is on the agenda in May)
  • Check climbers haven’t invaded gutters, windows and under roof tiles
  • Prune apple and pear trees, red and white currants and gooseberries
  • Start to force rhubarb – cover the crown with a forcer or large pot
Carrots are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This heart-warming soup is not only delicious, but a cheery eyeful of colour too.
  • 150g butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • Large bag of carrots, washed and chopped (about ½ kg)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp curry powder (heat according to your taste
  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock (stock cubes are fine)
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Chopped coriander and a few drops of olive oil to decorate
  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the carrots, onion and garlic with a generous shake of salt. Sweat, with the lid on until softened. Do not burn!
  2. Dry fry the cumin seeds until you can smell them, then add, with the curry powder, to the vegetables. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the flavours are well integrated.
  3. Add the stock, thyme, 300ml water and simmer for 30 minutes. Take out the thyme sprig and liquidise the soup until it’s the consistency you prefer - chunkier or smooth (in which case you can sieve it for a real pro touch). Season to taste and decorate with a swirl of olive oil, chopped coriander and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
Our blogs are written by garden designers and passionate gardeners (not mutually exclusive) making them well informed and opinionated... So if you want ideas that may be relevant to your garden have a look at this month's scribblings:

Stop and Smell the Roses
Crab Apple Trees: Year-Round Interest
Soft Fruit
Bulbs in the Green
Fruit Trees
Garden Trees
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

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