Author Archives: Chloe McLachlan

Getting the best from your garden in May

Getting the best from your garden in May

Thinking of doing some gardening this bank holiday weekend? Here’s a handy reminder of what type of garden tasks should be completed at this time of year….

 

Trees shrubs and flowers

  • Stay on top of weed growth by hoeing- ensure that the kitchen garden and ornamental garden is hoed often and efficiently
  • Plant summer bedding into containers with a good compost
  • Mulch beds and borders to improve the moisture of the soil and to prevent weed growth
  • Take cuttings of softwood from perennials such as Verbena, fuschia and geraniums to propagate for next year.
  • Regularly inspect plants for pests looking particularly at the underside of leaves and shoot tips
  • Cut back lavender plants by removing the old flower heads along with roughly 1 inch of new growth
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs that have finished flowering
  • Trim evergreen hedges that have overgrown
  • Ensure that tender and younger plants are covered or moved into a greenhouse if frost is forecast

Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

  • Begin earthing up potatoes that were planted last month, do so as soon as they break through. Be careful not to harvest potatoes too earl; wait until there are fully visible flower trusses.
  • Mulch under strawberry plants to act as a barrier between the moist and damp soil and the plant; this should help to prevent snails and mould. Feed the strawberry plants once a fortnight with Tomorite.
  • Sow cauliflower and leeks that will be ready to eat in the winter.
  • Sow bean varieties in a sunny position in well drained soil.
  • Salad crops and coriander and parsley can all be sown in succession with about 10 days in between.
  • Asparagus can be harvested when ready; spears no taller than 20cm.
  • Harvest rhubarb by pulling at the stalks. Take between half and a third of the growth at one time, never any more than half.
  • Water newly planted fruit trees well and encourage them to fully establish themselves by removing fruits and blossoms; allowing them to focus on growth.
  • Protect fruit trees such as cherries from birds with netting.
  • Once frosts are truly over plant out tomatoes.
  • Take softwood cuttings of shrubby herbs.

Lawn, pond, greenhouse and wildlife

  • Mow the laws once every week and apply a spring lawn feed if you haven’t already done so earlier this year.
  • If you desire a short lawn, gradually reduce the height of your cut. Leave lawns that have been recently sown for at least 5-6 week
  • Keep the greenhouse aerated by allowing airflow on sunny days.

For everything you need to get the best results in your garden, visit one of our Exeter Garden Centres today.

Part of the St Bridget 2018 Devon County Show display

St Bridget Garden Centres at the Devon County Show 2019

St Bridget garden centres will be attending Devon County Show (www.devoncountyshow.co.uk) again this year, in the Craft & Garden Marquee on Avenue R and we’re expanding this year!

Not only will be have our trade show exhibit of amazing home grown plants but our 1925 Kitchen Café team will be providing the catering in the marquee and our team will be selling our wonderful plants and garden sundries products. In addition, we’ve invited local singer songwriters to entertain you on both Friday and Saturday.

For a sweet treat, we’ll be serving traditional Devon Cream Teas and a selection of our ever-popular cakes. There’ll be plenty of liquid refreshment available including tea, coffee and Luscombe Devon made soft drinks.

You can buy food and drink to take-away, or sit and relax whilst taking in the beauty of the flower displays and the amazing recycled greenhouse exhibit. We look forward to seeing you there, you can’t miss us, we’re behind and to the left of the greenhouse as you enter the marquee.

Devon County Show 16-18 May 2019 9am-6pm

https://www.devoncountyshow.co.uk/

New range of Tropical Fish

Exciting news, we have a whole new range of Tropical Fish at our Clyst St Mary Aquatics Centre, available from 13th May 2019.

Aquarium Fish

Red Tailed Black Shark

Rainbow Shark

Albino Rainbow Shark

African Knifefish

Asst Angelfish

Firemouth Cichlid

Bronze Cory

Albino Cory

Julii Cory

Male Endler Red

Male Endler Pink

Neon Tetra

Male Flame Guppy

Red Top Platy

Zebra Danio

Halfmoon Male Betta

Female Betta

Cardinal Tetra

Asst Oranda (Large)

Bamboo Shrimp

Bumblebee Platy

Sterbai Cory

Full Red Male Guppy

Super Delta Metallic Betta

Rainbow Shiner (Pairs)

Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows

 

Pond Fish

Shubunkin 5-7cm

Goldfish 5-7cm

Gold Tench 7-10cm

 

All our livestock are quarantined for a minimum of 7 days prior to sale. If there are any fish of interest to you, please call (01392 876281) to check stock and avoid any disappointment before making a special trip. On occasion, livestock may be held in quarantine longer than 7 days if they do not meet our strict quality control criteria.

Read more about our aquatic department here.

 

New range of Tropical Fish

Exciting news, we have a whole new range of Tropical Fish at our Clyst St Mary Aquatics Centre, available from 3rd May 2019.

 

Aquarium Fish

Butterfly Fish

Reed Fish

Golden Gourami

Dwarf Gourami Pairs

Pearl Gourami

Male Endler Gold

Male Endler Blue

Asst Female Guppy

Asst Angelfish

Blue Mickey Mouse Platy

Coral Black Platy

Silver marbled molly

Dwarf Suckermouth cats (ottocinclus)

Red Crystal Shrimp

Red Onion Snail

Crowntail Male White Betta

Veiltail Male Betta

Weather Loach

 

Pond Fish

Shubunkins 5-7cm

 

All our livestock are quarantined for a minimum of 7 days prior to sale. If there are any fish of interest to you, please call (01392 876281) to check stock and avoid any disappointment before making a special trip. On occasion, livestock may be held in quarantine longer than 7 days if they do not meet our strict quality control criteria.

Read more about our aquatic department here.

Pond Plant of the Month for May – Harlequin plant “Chameleon”

Pond Plant of the Month: May

Harlequin plant “Chameleon”

Was £5.20 Each Now £4.00 Each

With its striking coloured foliage of red, yellow and green this variety of harlequin plant makes a colourful addition to a garden pond or boggy area. The harlequin plant is undemanding so will grow in a full sun to partial shade position and will eventually grow to a height of 50cm.

Tropical plant of the month – Echinoderms “Yellow sun”

Trop plant of the month: May

Echinoderms “Yellow sun”

Was £3.50 Each Now £2.00 Each

The “yellow sun” is an artificial hybrid of Amazon sword, which like other varieties is undemanding and easy to grow. This variety is identified by its striking yellow-green leaves and brown speckles.

Tropical fish of the month- Male Endler

Tropical fish of the month: May

Endlers are closely related to Guppies, so to avoid hybridization it is advised not to house the two species together. With their bright colours Endlers make an interesting addition to a small aquaria which contains other nano species such as Ember tetras.

Was £2.50 each Now £1.80 Each

All our livestock are quarantined for a minimum of 7 days prior to sale. If there are any fish of interest to you, please call (01392 876281) to check stock and avoid any disappointment before making a special trip. On occasion, livestock may be held in quarantine longer than 7 days if they do not meet our strict quality control criteria.

Read more about our aquatic department here.

Pond fish of the month – Shubunkin

Pond fish of the month: May

Shubunkin 5-7cm

Was £2.50 each Now £1.60 Each

Shubunkin are a variety of goldfish which are multi coloured with smooth/small scales. Shubunkins are a common fish to keep outside in a pond and can often achieve an adult length of 25-30cm. Due to their reasonably large adult size we advise housing them in a large pond with efficient filtration.

All our livestock are quarantined for a minimum of 7 days prior to sale. If there are any fish of interest to you, please call (01392 876281) to check stock and avoid any disappointment before making a special trip. On occasion, livestock may be held in quarantine longer than 7 days if they do not meet our strict quality control criteria.

Read more about our aquatic department here.

Growing Your Own Berries & Currants

Growing Your Own Berries & Currants

 

  1. What about a Gooseberry or two…

Gooseberries are one of the earliest fruits of the year. They’re so easy to grow. They aren’t fussy and each plant offers a very generous supply of fruit.

Three popular varieties:

  • ‘Invicta’ – green, heavy cropping, resistant to mildew
  • ‘Hinnonmaki Red’ – very flavoursome red fruit, hardy plant, doesn’t mind the cold and again provides a big crop and is resistant to mildew
  • ‘Hinnonmaki Yellow’ – produces large scented yellow fruits, resistant to mildew 

TIPS:

Plant gooseberry plants in Autumn or Winter. Allow 1 metre (3 feet) between each plant. Note an established plant (bush) in a good year can produce up to 4.5kg of fruit (10lb in old money) so you shouldn’t need space for more than 1 or 2 plants to provide you with more than enough.

Gooseberry bushes aren’t fussy; in fact they are very tolerant and will tolerate partial shade. They do like moisture retentive soil.

Mulch annually and prune annually (in autumn).

 

  1. Strawberries…a firm family favourite.

A freshly picked strawberry, warm from the sun is just too tempting to ignore. They really are one of the kitchen garden favourites.

Three popular varieties:

  • Honeoye’ produces a very deep red, full flavour fruit and it comes early in the season so having two or three plants among your crop allows you to spoil yourself for longer!
  • Cambridge Favourite’ truly is a favourite and it fruits in mid season and is a bountiful producer.
  • Florence’ is a late variety but importantly, a very prolific producer with very rich, sweet fruits. It also has a good resistance to disease.

 

TIPS:

Prepare your soil well and plant in the Spring placing each plant 30cms (12 inches) apart. The crown of the plant should be level with the soil surface.

Ten plants should produce 4.5kg (10lbs) of fruit. Mulch the plants with straw to keep the fruit away from the soil.

Pick your strawberries as they ripen. If you leave them on the plant too long they will spoil.

Strawberry beds are recommended to remain in situ for 3 years and then be re-planted in a different place.

Grey mould can affect the plants if conditions are too wet but watering in the morning instead of the evening can reduce this risk.

 

  1. Raspberries…delicious in so many ways.

Growing your own raspberries is a simple pleasure. Gardening doesn’t get much easier than this.

You can plant the canes pretty much anyway; a long row (or two if you have the space), a short row, along an edge, against a wall…you name it.  Twelve plants will give you a row of 4 – 5 meters (16 feet). Plant the canes approximately 25cm apart.

Raspberries should be planted in Autumn or early Winter however you can plant at any time although the soil should be moist.  Buy your plants as bare-root canes. Harvesting time is Summer and Autumn.

Two popular varieties:

  • Autumn Bliss’ is one of the popular raspberries and it’s been around for a very long time. It’s a traditional favourite, grows to a height of 1.5m, doesn’t need a support and is very disease resistant. Needless to say it fruits in Autumn…
  • Glen Ample’ is a high yielding summer fruiting variety with lovely flavour and the bonus is that it fruits over a longer than usual period of time.

 

TIPS:

Plant them in water retentive ground – somewhere without risk of drying out but they mustn’t become water-logged.

Choose a position that’s in part shade avoiding the sun, if possible, in the hottest part of the day during the height of summer.

Do not plant autumn and summer fruiting raspberries near each other. They have different pruning needs and may well become mixed up.

 

To check availability of any of the listed varieties before you visit please call either our Old Rydon Lane garden centre on 01392 873672 or Clyst St Mary on 01392 876281.

A guide to taking successful cuttings

Cutting is the most popular propagation technique for a huge number of plants and is reliable and relatively simple once you have got the hang of it following our simple guide. Cuttings can be taken throughout the year of different types of plants, this month is the right time to be taking softwood cuttings from late-flowering shrubs, namely Hibiscus and Hydrangeas.

Types of cuttings

The terminology surrounding cuttings can be very confusing, to simplify it ther are generally three types of cutting;

  1. Softwood cuttings;these are taken in spring. They are the soft growth of new stems, sideshoots or shoot tips. The ideal size for a softwood cutting is up to 4 or five leaves and a length of about 10cm.
  2. Semi-ripe cuttings; these are taken between midsummer and late autumn; within this time new stems will have got longer and stronger, they are thus firmer and more mature than softwood cuttings. The ideal size for these cuttings is slightly longer than before, between `0 and 15cm, this length must also have at least an inch of firm wood at the base.
  3. Hardwood cuttings; these are taken in late autumn and the beginning of winter. They are one-year old stems that will be woody by this time. The ideal length here is much longer; usually around 25cm but for some trees it can be up to almost a metre.

Taking the cutting general tips

  • Take cuttings early in the day when the plants still have plenty of water
  • Keep them in a polythene bag to prevent moisture loss
  • Take them from younger and healthier plants for the most successful rooting
  • Take non-flowering shoots from lower branches for heightened rooting

Methods of taking cuttings

The way the cutting is removed can affect its rooting ability. These are the most common methods;

  1. Nodal;this involves making a cutting at the bottom of a stem just below the node (a leaf joint) where there are a lot of hormones.
  2. Internodal;this is a cutting made between twio nodes (leaf joints)
  3. Heel;this is the best method for evergreens and thin stemmed shrubs. A heel cutting is made by carefully pulling a ripening shoot from the thicker stem so that some of the parent stem stays on the new shoot. The ‘heel’ from the parent plant means that more moisture is retained along with nutrients that help with the rooting.
  4. Wounding;this is not a method of cutting but instead a way to encourage successful rooting and can be done to any of the above cuttings. ‘wounding’ the cutting is the removal of some bark from one side of the base of the cutting. A larger surface area of the stem is thus exposed meaning that more moisture and rooting stimulants can be absorbed.

Rooting

Now that you have taken a cutting, you must put it in a suitable environment to promote root development. Here is our simply guide to the next steps;

  1. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting
  2. Dip the cutting in hormone rooting powder (see in store)
  3. In a container of compost make a hole for the cutting and place the cutting into the compost so that the first pair of leaves are just above the compost.
  4. Label the pot clearly, to avoid any confusion later, and when you took the cutting to track its progress.
  5. If you have a heated propagator then you will next use that, however a warm window sill will be sufficient. If you are using a windowsill, cover the container with a plastic bag to prevent wilting. If you are using this method it is important to allow the cutting two 10 minutes of ventilation each week.
  6. The cuttings should be in light, but not direct and hot sunlight. A fleece can be used in order to soften the light.
  7. Make sure that the compost is moist throughout the rooting period.
  8. Most cuttings will take between 6 and 10 weeks to root successfully
  9. After your cuttings have successfully rooted they should be hardened off for around 10-14 days whilst gradually increasing ventilation and then individually potted.

Young Plant in Sunlight, Growing plant, Plant seedling