Things to do in May …

April always brings my annual visit to The Memory Café in Colyton which I absolutely love doing. There is something so therapeutic about pushing your hands into compost, that lovely sweet smell and the joy of bringing on a plant. Indeed, Monty Don maintains that gardening saved his life! We had great fun potting up violas and then gift-wrapping them for the ladies and gents to take home with them. A beautiful thing to brighten up a dull windowsill, lots of happy faces (and not just on the violas!). They also feed me with tea and cake, and cake is always good! They are a lovely group of volunteers who work tirelessly to provide some much-needed fun and social interaction, and I am sure they would welcome new helpers with open arms. My thanks also to everyone who made me so very welcome and for helping with the activity after my probably all too brief demonstration! A couple of top tips for this month … this one I passed onto the Memory Café. Keep your fingernails clean when gardening by scraping them along a bar of soap. This stops compost or soil getting into your nails, and when you wash your hands at the end of the day, the soap washes away leaving them lovely and clean. This tip was passed to me from the Memory Café … deep clean your hands by rubbing with a mixture of oil (can be vegetable or olive) and sugar. Leaves your hands feeling incredibly soft and the sugar scrubs off the dirt! Now then … we all have in our families that...

Things to do in April …

Well … didn’t we have some ‘Weather’ in March! I have lived in East Devon for most of my life, and can honestly say that I have not seen snow like that for many years. Then freezing rain! Amazing scenes in our garden where the trunks of our apple trees appeared to be coated in glass, and the birds were skating on the snow. We had visitors as well in the shape of a pair of Redwings, so they must have been hungry. I don’t think I have ever seen quite so many blackbirds and goldfinches, there were dozens!  Thank goodness it was all over and gone in a short while and we managed to soldier on. I think that April has to be one of the most optimistic months of the year. Seeds coming up, pricking out those baby plants, dreaming of what they will produce later in the year. I am looking forward to restocking the plant area for the new season, absolutely my favourite thing to do. Our Sunday lunches are proving to be very popular, and the next one will be on Eater Sunday (1st April) when we will be serving up Roast Leg of Lamb with all the trimmings, followed by Golden Egg Chocolate Tart (it has to be chocolate for Easter!) or Fresh Fruit Salad for £10.95. Please book early if possible to avoid disappointment. With Easter upon us (what happened to January, February and March?), I wanted to remind you that the new season summer bedding, perennials, shrubs, and vegetables will all be available, together with indoor Streptocarpus from the very famous...

Things to do in March …

Time was, when I was a girl growing up in the middle of nowhere just the other side of Axminster, that you could see wild primroses growing everywhere in the banks and hedges. I remember picking (shock, horror!!) posies for the ladies to take home on Mothering Sunday from our Church. Thankfully, this tradition continues but with flowers from gardens not the wild. Mothering Sunday is always the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family. It was also the day to visit your ‘mother church’, being the one where you were baptised, and to honour your birth mother as well. It has always been one of my favourite festivals of the year, as, to me, it is a real herald of Spring and hope. This year Mothering Sunday falls on 11th March, so if you would like to pamper your Mama by bringing her to lunch that day we will be offering Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, and Apple Crumble or Fruit Salad for £10.95. Booking is essential by the previous Thursday. We will also have in stock the new season, award-winning, Streptocarpus from Dibley’s Nursery. Having seen the catalogue, there are several new varieties and colours this year, and they would make an ideal gift to surprise a loved one. Our Roast in April will be on Sunday 1st which is also Easter Sunday so we will be traditional and have Roast Lamb followed by Golden Egg Chocolate Tart! I am hoping that the weather is improving...

Things to do in February …

So, here we are in the ‘Little Month’ already! How quickly this year is passing.  Time to get seed potatoes chitting and sowing seeds. Hurrah! My favourite time as there is just so much to look forward to and this is such an optimistic time of year for gardeners. Also many questions … wondering if the weather will be sunny, wet, cold … will the tomatoes come up … have I enough hours in my day (never!!), what roses and climbers to buy, can I fit everything in (quarts and pint pots spring to mind!), why is Easter sooo early this year … but exciting times ahead. February is traditionally the month when snowdrops appear, although I have seen them much earlier this year. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope when, according to legend, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and Eve was about to give up hope that the cold winters would never end. An angel appeared and transformed some snowflakes into snowdrops proving that eventually winter does give way to spring. One of my favourites, which used to grow in great profusion in my Nana’s garden, is a beautiful double snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis – Flore Pleno). Snowdrops are best bought ‘in the green’, but do ensure that they are obtained from a reputable source and not ripped from the countryside, or pinched from a garden.  Daughter Rachel works at a National Trust garden near Cambridge where they have one of the largest collections of snowdrops anywhere, and an annual Festival, which looks absolutely amazing. If you are around Cambridge, take a tour of Angelsey...

Things to do in January …

Happy New Year to everyone! We do hope that you all had an absolutely fantastic Christmas holiday with family and friends. We had a super day with family, which will be much remembered! I always use the days between Christmas and New Year to try and plan what to grow for the following season, and sitting by the fire with a pile of seed catalogues is my idea of heaven! Gardener’s are such optimists aren’t they? Some things fail, some things do better than ever hoped, but we always come back for more. I do love to challenge myself so always try something new and ‘hard to grow’, so I am going to try Echium pininana again, as I have in previous years failed to get this fabulous biennial plant (also called ‘Tower of Jewels’) through the winter into it’s flowering year. Also I am going to try Tacca chantrieri ‘Nivea’ (Cat’s Whiskers, Devil Flower or Bat Plant), for indoors. This plant is weirdly fascinating, and one I have for years wanted to try. I will let you know how I get on … And so to plans for the New Year. I was never one to stand still so we will be smartening up our plant area, and you may have noticed the new cane and log store at the rear of the shop. We are also developing a new area for our hosta’s and ferns which will be much more shady and to their liking and give us a lot more room for other plants, so I am trying to contain my excitement. What a great excuse...

Christmas 2017 is a-coming!

Christmas is coming, the season of good cheer We’ve lots of lovely gifts for you, and just the odd reindeer … We have coffee and tea And cake (gluten free!) A warm welcome awaits When you walk through our gates   Christmas is coming, we’ve fattened the turkey Eating mince pies, we’re all feeling quite perky There are presents to make But make no mistake At our Garden Shop You can shop ’til you drop!    ...

Things to do in October!

Finish planting evergreen shrubs. Mulching will help them to survive the winter too. Plant new climbers. Plant new perennials. Plant tulip and lily bulbs. We have a great range of spring bulbs now in stock. Divide overgrown perennials. Two forks back to back in the middle of the clump and then prised apart works really well. Lift and store dahlias, gladioli and summer flowering bulbs. Allowing dahlias to stand ‘upside-down’ to dry out will help them not to rot off during the winter. Cut down the dying tops of perennial vegetables Lift and divide rhubarb. Cover with a mulch to protect the crown during the winter. Rake up fallen leaves, and pile them up to make leafmould, or stuff into bags at the back of the compost heap. Remember to make a few holes in the bag first to let air in and water out! Continue clearing up the garden, and burn or bin debris, especially burn any that shows signs of fungal infection. Dig over empty areas of soil. I find it helpful to cover with old carpet or recycled black plastic to keep weeds down and the soil will warm up much more quickly in the spring. Alternatively, consider sowing a green manure. Tidy ponds and remove pumps for the Winter. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO…. Finish planting spring bedding Finish planting spring flowering bulbs GET IN FRONT…. Prepare for planting bare-rooted stock next month Make early sowing of broad beans for next year Sow sweet peas for next year under cover...
A great Christmas lined up…

A great Christmas lined up…

Just in … our new range of Moulin Roty toys. Sooo cute and fabulous gift for Christmas!! Come and visit The Garden Shop, Colyton – A warm welcome awaits … And, with lots of fantastic new gift ideas and fairy lights up, we’ll get you in the spirit. This is just the beginning so expect more great ideas...
Christmas is coming…

Christmas is coming…

Our first ever window display!! ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’!! Quite pleased … looks lovely late in the day when the lights all twinkle … loving Christmas already! Shop local … see you soon

Spring is in the air …

Whatever happened to January, February and March … it only seems five minutes since Christmas and here we are the other side of Easter! April arrives at last heralding the promise of better weather and a new optimism in the garden as the perennials start to come up and show their new leaves. I absolutely adore this time of year, it carries such hope and expectation, but then, I think gardeners must be the most hopeful people on earth! We have a brand new stand in the shop this month, which carries completely chemical-free pest control products. Aimed at being totally bee, butterfly and beneficial insect friendly, it also has a handy guide to all the different pests, and the appropriate defence. Please ask our staff for more information. We have also added a range of fruit bushes, and will be taking delivery of strawberries shortly. We do hope you have taken the opportunity to come and see our new outdoor plant display which has been constructed out of recycled pallets and sustainable timber, and that you enjoy the colours, and of course, the new plants. Please do let us know your thoughts. April is also the time for National Gardening Week (from 11th to 17th April). Launched five years ago by the RHS, it is now one of the biggest celebrations of gardening in the country. If you would like to get involved there is more information at http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/. Getting involved can be very simple, from providing a bug hotel in your garden to creating a whole new habitat. Or get together with a group or organisation to refurbish an...