Things to do in September …

My goodness, the year bounds onwards towards Autumn and hopefully some of that lovely Indian Summer weather! We have certainly had our share of ‘weather’ this year … some of the coldest, wettest and hottest I can remember for a long time. All of which all makes for interesting times for gardeners. At home we had a singular failure with runner beans this year, but a massive glut of courgettes, and Andy has grown the biggest pumpkin ever! We are going to be running a competition as soon as it is ripe, to guess the weight of this giant, with proceeds going to Mad Men 2 Munich who are raising money for The Haemochromatosis Society, Force and Children in Need. The prize will be an Afternoon Tea for Two in our café. I do hope you will be able to support this truly worthy cause run by one of our lovely customers, Mark Holmes. Sometimes we all need time for reflection, and I was lucky enough to take a couple of days off in August (short pause while you all get up again!). I rarely get to spend any time in my own garden, but I managed to wage war on the bindweed infesting my flower border. Actually it was quite therapeutic pulling yards of root out (is she mad!). Having found that I lost quite a lot of plants to the Beast from the East, I now have the opportunity to re-plant with some new things which is always very exciting! September is also our main month for Trade Shows, which mostly means travelling to and from Birmingham...

Things to do in August …

How did it get to be August already … the year is running away with me. So, the children have broken up from school, the weather is lovely (we hope, fingers crossed!), and the garden is beginning to bear all the fruits of our hard labour earlier in the year. There is nothing quite like the taste of a tomato plucked from your own greenhouse, and eaten warm from the vine (the way my daughter, Rachel, much prefers to eat them, and always did when she was little)! For myself, it was always the first runner beans, dripping with butter … The weather this year has been extreme methinks! From the Beast from the East to one of the hottest summers on record … all of which has taken its toll on the garden. However, most plants will recover and even if your grass is looking pretty brown and dead, it will come back eventually. On the bright side, the grass hasn’t been growing so no mowing needed! What I want to know is, why when the garden plants are so dry and almost dead does the bindweed look so fresh and green? Grrrr … August also brings Honiton Show on Thursday 2nd. This is always a really good day out for all the family, and if you would like to buy early bird tickets, then we have them in the shop for sale. Price is £14.50 (£17.00 on the day), and accompanied children under 16 go free. If you have not been before, then this is a real treat of an agricultural show. And a small reminder; now...

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...