Good ideas and sound monthly gardening advice for you for this month
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Ashridge Nurseries
May Newsletter
Well hurray for longer evenings to spend pottering in the garden. It’s the ideal opportunity to give in to the (possibly not quite irresistible) temptation of digging in compost to boost your soil before the jolly season of sowing and planting proper begins…
Peat-free is definitely the way to go - do read about our amazing Somerset supplier of peat-free compost and soil improvers in the blog. Their products aren’t called RocketGro for nothing and will revolutionise your garden’s performance. Even more so if you mulch after digging in your compost to conserve moisture – more fabulous fitness fun and the perfect post chocolate-fest calorie burn!
Peat Free Compost
And how appropriate; blue skies, bluebells, a golden Easter weekend (wonders will never cease) cowslips and primroses popping up all over the place – brave blue and yellow combos everywhere…
How to plant sweet peas

How to plant sweet pea plugs

Our in-house expert gives you the low-down - worth listening to just to hear those dulcet tones!! Watch now...

Plants of the Month
ThymeTimperley Early Rhubarb
Timperley Early Rhubarb
Thyme: Pretty, fragrant and fabulously flavoured, no garden (or kitchen) should be without thyme. A Mediterranean baby, it’s a doddle to grow, needing little water and thriving on gravel, between paving stones and in poor-quality soil. Used by the Egyptians for embalming, the Romans to ward against poisoning, Victorian nurses to treat wounds (and as a home by fairies apparently), thyme is a stellar all-rounder, not least as a sublime - and in our book, essential - ingredient in the culinary world.

Timperley Early Rhubarb: Named for the north-western village of Timperley, where this plucky early riser is harvested in the northern cold as early as January and February, Timperley is still one of the earliest varieties to mature. Cracking in crumbles and compotes, simply poached, and glorious in gin, it’s one of the best to force and, even without forcing, crops obligingly in March. Pub quiz alert: rhubarb is a vegetable not a fruit (and don’t forget the foliage is toxic to dogs and cats).

Chocolate VineIberis ‘Masterpiece’ Candytuft
Chocolate Vine
Iberis 'Masterpiece' Candytuft

Akebia Quinata: The ‘chocolate vine’ is an intriguing twining climber, ideal for basket-weavers (yes really – the stems are a favourite with Asian basket makers!) and anyone partial to attractive, unusual, vanilla-scented chocolatey-purple flowers borne from March to May. A horti talking point if ever there was one…

Iberis ‘Masterpiece’ Candytuft: This immodestly named plant is, despite the hubris, a fantastic little perennial, blooming with mounds of pretty white flowers from May to September. Dark green foliage also sings for its supper as excellent ground cover at
the front of sunny borders, but is equally at home in rockeries or containers.
3 Tomato Seedlings in a PlanterCoco Lined Hanging Baskets
3 Tomato Seedlings in a Planter
Hanging Basket

3 Tomato Seedlings in a Planter: Small is definitely not beautiful when it comes to growbags and whilst we don’t approve of bragging, ours is the biggest and the best peat-free growbag on the market. With this 60L wonder comes 3 cordon tomato stalwarts – Moneymaker, Gardener’s Delight and Shirley. Grow with basil nearby to ward against aphids and your delicious tomato salads are just a few weeks away…

Coco-lined Hanging Baskets: All the fun and none of the slog – our pre-planted hanging baskets are a joy. Brilliant combinations of colourful, repeat-flowering annuals will keep going throughout summer into autumn with just a little TLC. Feed and water regularly for the best performance (a bit like husbands really). Oh, and dead-heading is essential too (the hanging basket, not the husband obvs).

Munstead LavenderCosmos - Fizzy Rose Picotee
Munstead Lavender
Cosmos Fizzy Rose Picotee

Munstead Lavender: Named for Gertrude Jekyll’s gorgeous, ground-breaking Surrey garden, Munstead is quite simply magnificent. A fervent sun-lover, its soft purple flowers and silver-grey leaves are as brilliant clipped into minimalist architectural obedience as when allowed to sprawl haphazardly (if elegantly) over paths and gravel. Beloved of bees, beloved of Gertrude, beloved of everyone…

Cosmos - Fizzy Rose Picotee: A quirky maverick of a cosmos, Fizzy Rose Picotee defies pigeonholing. Sometimes the flowers are single, sometimes they’re semi-double. Sometimes the flowers are white with lilac borders, sometimes they’re almost entirely lilac with just a hint of white. Regardless, this is a stunning cosmos which can produce up to 100 beautiful – if unpredictable - blooms. A bit like having a baby – the surprise is half the fun!

Summer Bedding Plant Mix

Mellow pastels or vivid brights – choose your palette and Bob’s your aunty - it’s the easiest way to paint your borders with sensational combinations of summer colour.

Bright Colour Bedding Mix
Pastel Colour Bedding Mix

Astrantias, Fuchsias, Wallflowers, Lupins & Clematis

Choices, choices…impossible not to love the new additions to our range.

Image of Astrantia, Star of Beauty

Astrantia, Star of Beauty

Image of Fuchsia, Deltas Sarah

Fuchsia, Deltas Sarah

Image of Wallflower, Winter Power

Wallflower, Winter Power

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Image of Lupin, Gladiator

Lupin, Gladiator

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Image of Fuchsia, Alice Hoffman

Fuchsia, Alice Hoffman

Image of Clematis, Belle of Woking

Clematis, Belle of Woking

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Newly-planted plants are thirsty creatures. Remember to keep them well-watered in May and June; a thorough watering every few days (more often if it’s hot and dry) is a far better approach than a cursory sprinkle in the evening. And morning is the best time of day for wielding watering cans or hoses...


Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...

Q: Should I deadhead my bulbs now they’ve finished flowering?
A: Deadhead as soon as the flower has dropped its petals. Wait for the leaves to completely wither and then remove them if you are leaving the bulbs in the ground.

Please keep sending in your questions. We love them and they also help other gardeners.

Trimmed hedge
Watering Lavender
  • Formal evergreen hedging such as yew responds well to a gentle haircut in May, even if it’s not at full height, in which case trim the sides, NOT the top
  • Panic not if your beech hedge isn’t in leaf yet. It happens late, especially with newly planted beech and copper beech
  • Unwrap your peach, nectarine and cherry trees from any polythene protection they’ve cosied up in over the winter
  • Sow new lawns before the weather becomes too hot for grass to germinate (in our dreams!)
  • Check the number of new raspberry canes coming up. Too many canes mean your raspberry plant takes its eye off the ball and expends energy on cane rather than raspberry production. Remove a few canes where they look crowded
  • Water newly-planted lavender until it’s established
  • Pinch out broad bean tips to prevent blackfly infestation once the plant is flowering well. Delicious in risotto or braised in butter!
  • Aphid patrol is very much on the cards, as is black spot spotting…
2nd - 8th May
30th May

National Gardening Week. It’s your time and your garden, however large or small. Enjoy it!

World Cocktail Day falls on 30th May this year. A cheery thought indeed. Make Mint Julep with your own mint – how gratifying is that?!

And last but not least…
Poached rhubarb with orange and ginger

Home-grown rhubarb is one of the greatest delights of spring gardens. Those beautiful pale pink stems are perfect poached with a hint of orange and ginger and served with a dollop of thick yellow cream. Read on for the recipe

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: Peat-free Compost and proud of it & Fanatical About Ferns.
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Potted Soft Fruit
Herbs and Vegetables
Bedding Plants
Alpines and Wildflowers
Fruit Trees
Herbaceous Perennials
Shrubs and Ferns
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ

Ashridge Trees Grove Cross Barn Somerset, Somerset Ba7 7nj
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