August 31, 2011
A lot of customers have been commenting on how the vegetable patch is producing some fantastic produce thanks to the ‘moist’ summer, thus spurring on competitive gardeners amongst us to have a go at exhibiting in the local horticultural shows. Dad had the honour of Judging the vegetables at the Maiden Bradley Show last weekend. Commenting Dad said that ‘standards were very high making his job very difficult, however, I managed to get out of the marquee without any black eyes’! In other ‘show news’ Lakeside Garden Centre is a proud sponsor in the Horticulture class at the Frome Cheese Show on the 10th September. We wish all entrants the very best of luck.
I must just say a big thank you to Colin and Dan from Weber for bringing the Weber Experience Roadshow to Fonthill on Monday. Staff and customers were amazed by the versatility of the Weber BBQ with many customers enjoying a day grazing on the tasty samples. Here’s to long hot summers!
Something that is finding itself in the news a lot lately, and we have had a lot of customers commenting about, is the disease effecting Busy Lizzi plants. I shouldn’t think there is a garden in the country that hasn’t been effected by the mildew that is killing their plants almost overnight.
Impatiens downy mildew is a disease caused by the fungus-like organism Plasmopara obducens.
It was found for the first time in the UK in 2003 and is likely to have arrived on imported commercial propagation material (seed or cuttings). After the wet summer of 2008, damage was much reduced by improved control practices at commercial nurseries. However in 2011 control failed, probably due to resistance to commercial fungicides used. Infected plants were inadvertently sold widely. This led to the most widespread outbreak of the disease so far, with many gardens, nurseries and local authority displays affected.
Unfortunately, growing Impatiens, even ones have raised at home, in another part of the garden will not guarantee freedom from infection, as the disease may well arrive again as airborne spores from infected plants growing elsewhere.
July 31, 2011
I have just been chatting to Colin, our Weber BBQ representative. He called in to finalise plans for the visit of ‘The Weber Experience BBQ Roadshow’ that will be rolling into Fonthill on Monday the 29th August. Weber’s Chef, Dan Cooper, will be at the helm of the specially designed, state of the art Airstream Land-Yacht trailer, holding barbecuing demonstrations that are sure to tantalize everyone’s taste buds!
Dan will show the audience how to perfect Weber’s ‘roast’, ‘grill’ and ‘bake’ techniques, as well as providing recipe cards so dishes can easily be re-created at home. There’ll also be tasters available for visitors to the BBQ Experience Roadshow, to help inspire barbecue buffs to try out something a bit more adventurous.
I had a chance to look around the Airstream at a garden furniture trade show I attended last week (looking at the 2012 ranges!) it’s a really impressive bit of kit.
The school holidays are now under way and we have recently had a few hints that summer may be threatening to return. With the weather on our side and the hard work done, now is the perfect time to get out into the garden and start entertaining family and friends. Let’s sit back and enjoy it!
However, don’t hide the gardening tools too far away. There is still plenty summer colour at the garden centres to tempt you with or to fill in a gaps that have appeared from no where. There is still time to grow potatoes for Christmas harvesting. These potatoes are early varieties that have been held in cold storage and are available to buy in July and August. I have also been told by our bulb supplier, Taylors Bulbs in Lincolnshire, that the first of the spring flowering bulbs will be arriving at Fonthill and Lakeside next week! We will be taking delivery of lots of new exciting bulbs; some of the tulips have been featured in this quarters’ Seasons newsletter.
So, after you have sat back and enjoyed your garden for 10 minutes, come down to Fonthill or Lakeside and we will find plenty of jobs for you to do!
June 30, 2011
This morning was one of those beautiful sunny still mornings when even the ducks and geese were quietly seeking out the shade. The lake was reflecting the clear blue sky and despite the promise of a hot day to come, the trees and shrubs were looking their best having had a good watering recently by the rain.
Wandering around the garden centre before the customers arrive in the morning can put you in a reflective mood. You have time to take stock of the seasons. The hectic patio and bedding season has certainly peeked. The mad rush of customers taking bedding packs off the delivery trolley before we have had time to display them on the benches has gone. Now customers are, like me, taking a bit more time to browse through the massive amount of summer colour still available, such as the vivid Geraniums, the striking Dahlias, sweet smelling Lavender and the gorgeous Gaura which are all looking their best at the moment.
It seems this year our own Cranway Nursery and all the other nurseries we use have really benefited from the growing season. The plants appear to have responded well to the growing conditions they have been dealt. Many customers have commented on the wonderful ‘quality’ of plants on offer.
We are so dependent on the weather to fully enjoy all a garden can offer. If it’s too hot for the plants it’s perfect for barbequing into the evening. The Taste of Summer days we held at both garden centres recently certainly had a good mix of weather. It was a wonderfully sunny Saturday for Fonthill and on Sunday, despite the rain doing its best to dampen spirits at Lakeside, we managed to inspire many customers to have a go at barbequing dishes they perhaps wouldn’t have tried before with the help of a versatile Weber and wonderful meats from C. Lineham of Warminster.
Just a thought, but perhaps Weber could bring out a range of waterproofs and wellies!
May 24, 2011
It’s Chelsea flower Show week. The week when those of us not lucky enough to visit the show sit glued to the TV in the evening. As always most of the gardens would be rather difficult to copy or recreate. Very few of us have room for a 40ft crane in our back garden! However, whatever the size of your garden there are always one or two ideas we can try to replicate. Of the few gardens I have seen so far the colour palette seems to be very green with a few soft blues and whites sprinkled in, very tranquil. We will have to make sure we have plenty of clipped box balls, white Agapanthus, pale blue Iris and Hostas in stock to keep up with demand.
Something we, at the garden centres, have been fretting about this year with all the bank holidays arriving in a short space of time combined with the perfect gardening weather, is keeping up with the demand for our bedding and patio plants. So far the demand from our customers for our ‘Home Grown’ quality plants has been satisfied and I am pleased to report that the nursery still has plenty of wonderful plants to keep everyone happy.
On the subject of quality local produce, customers who have visited Fonthill recently will have noticed a fabulous new food area. With the help of ‘Resolution Interiors’ from Yeovil we have re-designed an area of the shop so we can offer our customers an extensive range of mainly local,tasty treats. Complementing our wonderful existing range are new suppliers such as, The Bath Soft Cheese Company, Gilberts Chocolates from Clutton and Mr Filbert’s Tasty Snacks from Dorset.
If reading about all of that delicious food has got your taste buds tingiling, don’t forget to visit Fonthill on the 11th June and Lakeside on the 12th June where you will be able to taste more local produce at our Taste of Summer event!
April 22, 2011
We had a busy day entertaining at both centres yesterday. The day kicked off with a presentation of prizes to our competition winners at Lakeside Garden Centre. Mrs Duncan was delighted to have won a limited edition Bulldog Digging Spade. The spade is a (smaller) replica of the World’s largest spade that Bulldog Tools built to celebrate 230 years of manufacturing tools. Cecily and Brooke who did some fantastic colouring in our colouring competition were also presented with their children’s gardening sets and seeds. All the entries of the colouring competition have been brightening up the garden centre for some days now and we are very reluctant to take them down.
Following this staff at both centres entertained representatives of Gardena. Gardena are manufactures of garden watering equipment. Brian and James from Gardena came along to chat through new products in their Micro irrigation range. Micro Irrigation is an ideal solution for gardeners who enjoy colourful patio pots and baskets as well as a productive greenhouse, yet may also enjoy a weekend or week away. Micro Irrigation will water all your plants wherever they may be uning some very inventive soloutions, allowing you to take time away from your garden safe in the knowledge that the plants are being looked after.
During the evening we entertained Bitton Gardening Club at Fonthill Garden Centre. Members were treated to a talk on seasonal gardening from Steve Cripps (Garden Centre Manager at Lakeside). Steve spoke on a variety of subjects including: How to care for your figs; lawn care; and how to prevent deer from eating your prize roses! After absorbing all this information club members were revived with a cup of coffee and home made biscuit from the staff at the Topiary Coffee Shop, after which they were ready for some late night shopping.
We had great fun entertaining our competition winners, Gardena, and Bitton Gardening Club and greatly look forward to also offering you a warm welcome on your next visit
March 1, 2011
As I settle down in the office to write this, my first ‘Blog’, the thermometer outside reads 19c, the ducks are dozing in the shade, the fish are basking in the sun, the grass has just been cut, the tulips and daffodils are zinging in the sun and plants are rolling in from the nurseries.
Winter seems a long time ago! Someone has flicked a switch and here we are in spring. So on with another season. And to go with the new season we have a brand new Fonthill and Lakeside Website. I hope you approve, I’m certainly very proud of it.
So after the long winter of wondering if your evergreens will ever shoot again or will the ground ever thaw out enough to get a spade in we can now worry if the evergreens have got enough water or will it ever rain again so I can get a spade into the baked soil. There is always something to challenge us in our gardens thanks to our climate. But its preciously this wonderful climate that makes our gardens bloom so well.
Spring is the time the garden centres are once more alive with gardeners itching to get started. What’s more, this weather inspires people who have not gardened before to have a go. It certainly seems that every one is having a go at growing their own fruit and vegetables, perhaps keen to feed the family with home grown goodness.
PS. If you are coming….. bring a brolly!