2020

‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’
 
Dickens could well have been writing about April 2020, the extraordinary month we’ve just lived through. Whilst the pandemic has been utterly devastating, for those lucky enough to be well and to have gardens, the long lockdown hours and blazing days of April have been blissful indeed.

Gardens countrywide are looking stunning with the unprecedented man and woman hours invested in them. In fact, we reckon England’s beginning to look positively Swiss; manicured lawns are regularly hoovered and one keen gardener friend was recently spotted trimming the edges of her already immaculate sward with nail scissors…bravo!

Acts of kindness, large and small, have also cheered us on the way; as should the tale of one dear customer, several years ago, grumbling that her bare-rooted tree wasn’t doing at all well. Possibly, we pointed out after gentle questioning, due to the fact she’d planted it upside down. Note to self – refer to the many blockbuster advice videos on the Ashridge website in case of doubt!
Lavender
Decorative, fragrant, bee, butterfly and pollinator friendly, incredibly easy to grow and forgiving of poor, dry conditions…it’s hard to know where or when to stop eulogizing lavender.

Our lavender plants are top quality, locally grown, heroically hardy, brilliant for hedging and edging and available in pink, white or classic blues. Lavender flowers are super-useful, too, in a myriad of ways. Note from an old master; ‘To make a perfume, take some rose water and wash your hands in it, then take a lavender flower and rub it with your palms, and you will achieve the desired effect’. None other than Leonardo da Vinci.
Water
We asked him for more, but that was it. To elaborate, the young and newly-planted (and that includes during the last year) are thirsty creatures, so in hot dry weather, water well every few days - a far, far better thing (back to Tale of Two Cities) than a sprinkle every day, which encourages shallow rooting. Professionals slowly wet the ground or pot first, then water again once the soil is properly damp. It’s the most effective method. Amen.
And on the subject of watering, for those with birthdays on the horizon or up for an excuse to do (another) bit of retail, a life-transforming addition to your gardening wardrobe in an automatic watering system. The novelty value of wielding a hose or using the watering can wears off after about 10 minutes in our book. Once you have an automatic system, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install one years ago.
Gardening jobs for May
  • Deadhead early-flowering bulbs; nip off faded blooms before the hint of a seed pod appears. It’ll channel energy back into the bulb for next year.
  • And whilst you’re on bulb duty, lift and divide daffs and other bulbs.
  • Plant out dahlia tubers.
  • Plant climbers and tie in new shoots.
  • Trim hedges after checking for nesting birds.
  • Mow the lawn, bearing in mind that lawns mown only once a month attract 10 times as many bees. It’s called No Mow May (which is almost impossible to say). Compromise aesthetic and eco with 2 lengths of grass.
  • Wage war on weeds – they’ll love this rain after the warm weather. Hoe them into oblivion…
  • Plant out herbaceous plants.
  • Plant hostas to cheer shady areas and, depending on your killer attitude, remember they are foie gras to slugs. You have been warned.
  • Beware late frosts.
As you know, circumstances are exceptionally difficult for everyone at the moment. We are doing our very best to deliver as quickly as possible whilst sticking rigorously to Government guidelines to keep our staff and our customers safe. Unfortunately, this means that delivery times are longer than normal, for which we are extremely sorry.

We are so grateful for your continued custom, loyalty and patience and hope you will bear with us.  Thank you - we will deliver as soon as we can!

Meanwhile, stay safe, stay well and enjoy your garden.
National Gardening Week - from my garden

At last there has been some rain - a decent amount today and the forecast is that there will be some for the next few days. It means we don't have to go round the whole garden constantly watering.

Click here to read more.
Veg Growing for Beginners

Raised beds are perfect for growing fruit and veg as you can fill them with great compost rather than having to improve your own garden soil.

Click here to read more.
Why We Love Lavender

The soft scent and hazy purple tints of lavender never fail to conjure up memories of long summer days in the garden. Lavender loves my local chalky soil, even self-seeding along our paths and verges.

Click here to read more.
We deliver more than 2,500 varieties of plants direct to your door – garden and fruit trees, bulbs, climbers, roses, lavender, soft fruit, flowers, herbs and 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.  
 
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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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