Author Archives: Tammy Falloon

Hydrangeas

Heavenly Hydrangeas

We’re having a late spring/early summer show of heavenly hydrangeas at our Clyst St Mary Garden Centre.
At St Bridget’s we grow six different species of hydrangea! The most showy of these are Mop-heads (Hydrangea macrophylla).
Hydrangea plants are versatile shrubs for any garden, they can put up with soils many other plants can’t tolerate so they’re a great go-to shrub for that problem patch.
Hydrangea flowers change colour depending on the acidity of your soil.
Acid soils turns the blooms blue whilst alkaline makes them pink!
Pink Hydrangea Plants

When planted in alkaline soils hydrangeas will turn pink in colour.

Hydrangea colourant and simple soil testing kits are available in store though we always suggest checking before making a special journey. Simply email us via gardening@stbridgetnurseries.co.uk
White Hydrangea

Stunning white hydrangeas create a bright impact and work well when underplanted with silver foliage plants like helichrysum.

Primrose Festival 2020 Results

Primrose Festival 2020

During February Half Term we held our third Primrose Festival. Despite the rather grim weather, the week celebrated the glorious colour from the primula family of plants. We had over 12 different varieties of primrose and polyanthus on display and asked visitors to vote for their favourite variety.

The results

Every variety received at least one vote but this year gave the clearest win we’ve had! APPLE BLOSSOM is our primrose of the year 2020.

Primula Apple Blossom

The stunning Primrose Apple Blossom – voted by our customers as their favourite variety 2020

In second place we had no less than FIVE varieties sharing the podium spot

Red Stella, Champagne Stella, Romance and Harlequin Purple.

In third place was Wanda.

One of our Primrose Festival 2020 displays

The 2020 Primrose Festival varieties.

Winner

Congratulations to Ms Leverton and Mr Cann who were our prize draw winners. They each receive a planted container worth £20.

We look forward to many more varieties on show next year. Thank you to everyone who voted.

 

 

Boy choosing his family Christmas tree

Christmas Trees 2019

How to choose a Real Christmas Tree

There is nothing like the aroma of real Christmas trees to give that magical Christmas feeling we love.

Preparation – measure up

Before choosing your real Christmas tree, measure the space in your home (remembering that the tree stand could add height).

Visit our Exeter garden centres

Once you know your height (and diameter of space available) visit one of our Exeter garden centres between the 26th November and 24th December to buy your tree.

We will have four types to choose from:

  1. Nordman Fir. This is the UK’s number 1 selling tree. It has a bushy shape, strong branches for big baubles and is great for retaining it’s needles.
  2. The Fraser Fir – Quickly approaching the number 1 spot this fir is also great for retaining its needles but it has a slightly narrower shape and a beautiful fragrance.
  3. The Norway Spruce – the traditional tree as sent to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1844. It’s probably what you grew up with!
  4. The Blue Spruce (only available pot grown)  – like the Norway spruce but with a gorgeous silver-blue colour to its needles. Very elegant.

Once you have picked your tree our staff will net it for you (for free) and then help you to your car. If you find you can’t get it home then ask one of our team about delivery charges to your address.

Order your Christmas tree from home

Know what you want but can’t get to us? Don’t worry you can order your tree over the phone. Rest assured our fussy elves will always choose the best shape available as we want know this is important. We generally need at least two working days notice to cut a special order tree and we will advise you of available delivery dates and costs when you call. To order your Christmas Tree please call 01392 873672.

Getting your tree home

Once home, leave your tree upright outdoors for as long as possible. If you have a cut tree it pays to saw another 2cm/inch off the bottom to make a fresh cut, which will aid the uptake of water and keep your tree fresh for longer.

Ensure the stem is in water at all times. It is easiest to get your tree indoors and in the stand whilst still wrapped in its net. Get the tree straight and firmly in place before cutting the netting away. If you find it won’t fit in the space you want it to, take a pair of secateurs and cut off the necessary branches where they join the stem. These offcuts are great for making wreaths and other natural decorations around the house. Ensure your tree is not near a direct heat source (i.e. a fire or radiator). Water your tree daily.

All you have to do now is decorate and we’ve got a lovely selection of lights and decorations awaiting your visit.

Christmas Tree 2019 Prices

PREMIUM CUT CHRISTMAS TREES 2019 Height in feet Price
NORDMAN FIRS – PREMIUM DELUXE GRADE CUT TOPS     

The UK’s number 1 selling Christmas Tree. Bushy shape, soft needles with high needle retention.  Premium Deluxe grade trees are well tended during growth and are pruned to give optimum shape.

120-150cm     (Yellow Label)  4-5ft £25.00
150-175cm    (Blue Label) 5-6ft £35.00
175-200cm    (Pink Label)  6-7ft £45.00
200-225cm      (Purple Label) 7ft £60.00
225-250cm (Green Label) 7-8ft £75.00
250-300cm     (Orange/White Label) 8-10ft £85.00
300-360cm 10-12ft £100.00
NORDMAN FIRS – STANDARD GRADE CUT    

St Bridget’s homegrown in Exeter – left to grow naturally in the field, as a result they are not so uniformly shaped as the premium deluxe grade ones)

210-240cm 7-8ft £50.00
240-270cm   8-9ft £80.00
270-300cm SPECIAL ORDER 9-10ft £115.00
300-365cm SPECIAL ORDER 10-12ft £155.00
360-420cm SPECIAL ORDER 12-14ft £170.00
420-480cm SPECIAL ORDER 14-16ft £195.00
460-600cm – collection only  SPECIAL ORDER 15-20ft £230.00
610-914cm – collection only SPECIAL ORDER 20-30ft £320.00
SPECIAL ORDER = only available by advance order. These will not be in our centres
NORWAY SPRUCE PREMIUM DELUXE CUT TOPS      

The traditional Christmas Tree as sent to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1844! Premium deluxe grade trees are well tended during growth and are pruned to give optimum shape.

150-175cm    (Red Label) 5-6ft £20.00
175-200cm    (Blue Label)  6-7ft £25.00
200-225cm      (White Label) 7ft £30.00
NORWAY SPRUCE STANDARD CUT TOPS     

As above but grown in our fields in Exeter. Standard grade trees are left to nature and so will not be as uniformly shaped as premium ones. 

90-120cm 3-4ft £15.00
120-150cm  4-5ft £18.00
210-240cm SPECIAL ORDER 7-8ft £30.00
240-270cm  SPECIAL ORDER 8-9ft £35.00
270-300cm SPECIAL ORDER 9-10ft £45.00
300-365cm SPECIAL ORDER 10-12ft £55.00
360-420cm SPECIAL ORDER 12-14ft £65.00
SPECIAL ORDER = only available by advance order. These will not be in our centres
FRASER  FIRS PREMIUM GRADE CUT TOPS     

Rapidly chasing the popularity of the Norman fir, the Fraser Fir has a slightly narrower base and a beautiful fragrance. Great needle retention. 

120-150cm     (White Label)  4-5ft £25.00
150-175cm    (Red Label) 5-6ft £35.00
175-200cm    (Blue Label)  6-7ft £45.00
PREMIUM POT GROWN CHRISTMAS TREES

Our living trees have been pot grown in the UK – this means that they can be transplanted into your garden after Christmas. Be careful not to buy inferior potted trees as they are less likely to survive the move. 

height in feet Sell price 
BLUE SPRUCE 80-100cm (Red Label) 2-3ft £35.00
BLUE SPRUCE 100-120cm (Pink label) 3-4ft £45.00
NORDMAN FIR 100-120cm (Pink Label) 3-4ft £45.00
NORWAY SPRUCE 120-150cm (Yellow Label) 4-5ft £36.00

 

 

Cyclamen are perfect for autumn colour in the garden

Hardy Cyclamen

Our home grown cyclamen are always our best selling plant in autumn and winter but what makes these tiny plants so popular?

What are Hardy Cyclamen?

Cyclamen are a tuberous plant and as such are perfect for naturalising under trees or banks in a shady border. What this means is over time (years) the plant will duplicate underground, producing more tubers and consequently they will cover a larger area with flowers and leaves. They flower for a very long period when really there isn’t many other flowers about. Best of all is that these plants are really hardy meaning that they can survive frosts. 

How to get the best from your cyclamen…

To get the best from your cyclamen, plant them soon after you get home. Simply remove the plant from its pot and plant in a fertile well drained multi purpose compost with added John Innes. You always plant to the same depth as the soil was in the pot. We love planting cyclamen in planted containers for the autumn and winter and then when the plant dies back in spring, transfer the plants to your borders and under trees. They then give you a nice surprise next autumn when they reappear in their new position. 

 Cyclamen are available in white, red, shades of pink and purple. 

 Available from both our Exeter garden centres while stocks last. Please call 01392 873672 to check stock levels before making a special journey. 

Four different tree forms

How to plant a tree

Preparation

When preparing your ground to plant a tree you need to make a hole about 1 metre (3-4ft) in diameter. If planting in the middle of a lawn, skim the turf and dispose and then take out the top foot (30cm) of soil and set to one side. Fork your sub soil to a further 1ft (30cm) to loosen it thoroughly.

Add the support

Drive your tree stake into the hole and replace some of the top soil with a little tree compost, which normally incorporates some peat. It is also beneficial to mix in about 120g/4oz of bone-meal or similar granular fertiliser. Place your tree next to the stake and ensure that the top roots are level with the undisturbed soil level. If so, continue to replace the top soil giving the tree a gentle shake to avoid air pockets and ensuring the soil is going around the roots (this is particularly important with bare root specimens, with containerised trees you should remove the tree from the pot and gently pull out the roots a little before planting). Firm the soil a little around the stem with your foot and tie your tree to the stake using a rubber adjustable tree tie.

Finishing off

Spread a thick layer of mulch or bark around the tree to suppress weeds. Water your newly-planted tree frequently, particularly in warm weather.

Some of our favourite trees for autumn colour are: Acers, Carpinus, Liquidamber (Sweet Gum) & Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’.

Hyacinths make a great floral gift

Hyacinths for Christmas

How to grow Hyacinths for Christmas

Today (27th September) is just 88 days from Christmas. One of our favourite Christmas Gifts to grow are Hyacinths.

Hyacinths have beautiful tiny star shaped blooms that amass to create a bold floral display with the added bonus of a sweet fragrance. To get them to flower by Christmas you need to follow a process known as ‘forcing’. Here’s our handy guide on what to do…

What to do..

  1. Buy some prepared hyacinth bulbs from one of our Exeter garden centres. These are bulbs that have been ‘prepared’ through a cooling process to trick them into believing winter has been and gone and therefore that it is time to grow!
  2. Put some broken crocks in a bottom of a pot of your choice to help drainage.
  3. Add some bulb fibre compost available from our garden centres. until it is about 10cm from the top of the pot
  4. Place the bulb with the pointed end facing upwards onto the bulb fibre.
  5. Add more bulb fibre but stop when you get to about 1-1.5 cm from the top of the bulb.
  6. Place your pot in a cool dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks. Kitchen cupboards are usually ideal.
  7. Water when required, you want a moist soil (not bone dry but certainly not wet).
  8. Once shoots have established bring your pot out into a warm room with plenty of daylight.
  9. Add a box and voila – you have a home grown gift to give this Christmas.

For everything you need to grow hyacinths for Christmas, visit one of our Exeter garden centres today.

Celebrating Family Business Day

Family Firms make Britain Great!

As a family firm here in the UK we are delighted to be taking part in National Family Business Day 2019.

Family firms across the UK come in all sizes and sectors and many have been around for hundreds of years, successfully passing from generation to generation.  This longevity is the result of good governance, strong values, innovative families and a focus on the long term and as such family firms have become the bedrock of communities all over the country.  We ourselves, are a fourth generation family firm spanning 94 years. Other family firms may be younger in age but share similar values and are part of the very fabric of the communities in which they operate.

Cumulatively, the statistics stand for themselves and family firms are the engine room of the UK economy.  Studies have shown that there are more than 5 million family firms in Britain (Source: IFB Research Foundation), that they account for more than 25% of UK GDP, employ more than 12 million people and contribute significantly to regional economies too.  It is also recognised that the greatest part of Britain’s wealth is held within family businesses and that the family business sector is a force to be reckoned with.

Recent 2019 research undertaken by Family Business United (‘FBU’) shows that the largest ten family firms in the UK generated £51 billion of turnover between them. WOW!

What is Family Business Day?

The contribution made by the family business sector deserves to be recognised.  National Family Business Day is a national campaign that seeks to put family businesses on the map.  Organised annually by FBU it really does help to put family firms on the map.  As Paul Andrews, founder of FBU adds, “This is a day of real celebration of the firms that are at the heart of the UK economy, on high streets and at the heart of towns and villages across the UK.  Family firms have a story, a real narrative, and it is their very essence and the family connection that makes them special.  Add the fact that they are significant economic generators and are recognised as the engine room of the UK economy and you can see why they deserve to be celebrated too.”

National Family Business Day helps to raise the profile of the positive contribution that family firms make on a daily basis across the UK.

This year, St Bridget Nurseries was proud to receive the award for the UK’s Homes & Gardens Family Business of the Year. We were also runner up for the Best Family Business in the South West Region. This is a huge achievement for our small family run company and we are honoured to support Family Business Day.

As Paul concludes, “FBU is all about the family business sector and it is a real privilege to champion family firms each and every day, not just on #GBFamilyBizDay.  Family firms are special, they are the backbone of the UK economy and will be for generations to come and we look forward to celebrating their contribution on September 23 and for many years to come too!”

 

 

Why so popular?

Our home grown cyclamen are always our best selling plant in autumn and winter but what makes these tiny plants so popular?

Cyclamen are a tuberous plant and as such are perfect for naturalising under trees or banks in a shady border. What this means is over time (years) the plant will duplicate underground, producing more tubers and consequently they will cover a larger area with flowers and leaves. They flower for a very long period when really there isn’t many other flowers about. Best of all is that these plants are really hardy meaning that they can survive frosts.
To get the best from your cyclamen, plant them soon after you get home. Simply remove the plant from its pot and plant in a fertile well drained multi purpose compost with added John Innes. You always plant to the same depth as the soil was in the pot. We love planting cyclamen in planted containers for the autumn and winter and then when the plant dies back in spring, transfer the plants to your borders and under trees. They then give you a nice surprise next autumn when they reappear in their new position.
Cyclamen are available in white, red, shades of pink and purple.
Available from both our Exeter garden centres while stocks last. Please call 01392 873672 to check stock levels before making a special journey.

Spring flowering bulbs

Now’s the time to plant spring flowering bulbs

The majority of spring bulbs benefit from being planted early from September onwards. Even though tulips should not be planted until November it is best to buy them now so you guarantee getting the varieties you like. Planting tulips later in the autumn helps reduce the risk of the fungal disease commonly called tulip fire. 

 

So what are ‘spring bulbs’?

Well they aren’t light bulbs but they are a similar shape! Flower bulbs are a modified plant stem, which have the purpose of storing food and water for the plant through the cold or dry season. Think of it as an underground holding tank if you will. During the growing season the bulbs will send down roots and send up shoots. These then die back and the energy stored in the bulb until the following year. Bulbs are a great investment as they cost far less than plants and if cared for correctly, should give you years of pleasure and surprises as they pop up!

Planting spring bulbs is an easy way of achieving a colour coordinated spring display. They are also perfect for planting in tubs and containers or in borders. 

 

How to plant

On the back of each of our bulb packets you will find a handy diagram showing you how far apart and how deep to plant your bulbs. Most bulbs are easy to identify which way they go up. If you use the light bulb image in your head – the bulb goes down and the tip/screw end goes upwards – just like in a ceiling light! Generally you plant bulbs three times their own diameter in depth. It is advisable to use a bulb fibre compost when planting your bulbs. 

 

What varieties?

We have lots of varieties in stock, from old favourites to new and exciting hybrids. So come and see what takes your fancy and get planting this weekend!

 

Making a bulb lasagne

If you want to know how to make your own bulb lasagne, take a look at our blog post from November  Here

 

Get out in your garden, maintain what you have and enjoy the great outdoors

It is August, children are still on school holidays and so this month we focus on getting out in your garden, maintaining what you have and most importantly enjoying the great outdoors.

 

 

HERE IS A BRIEF OUTLINE OF SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES YOU MAY WANT TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN THIS AUGUST:

 

  • Although we have had a few showers your plants may need a bit of watering if it has been hot so keep an eye on fruit and vegetable plants in particular.
  • Whilst you have your watering can out don’t forget to top up your pond, water features and bird baths too.
  • If your summer flowering shrubs have finished flowering, now is the best time of year to give them a prune. Make sure your secateurs are nice and sharp and carefully clean the blades when you have finished using them.
  • If you have any camellias or rhododendrons, we suggest giving them extra watering as they will be setting their buds for next year.
  • Keep dead heading the flowers on your perennials and summer bedding plants to get the most from them.
  • Trim your lavender plants after they have finished flowering to prevent them getting tall, leggy and woody.
  • Get children involved in weeding and clearing away any diseased and dead parts of plants. Maybe they could earn some pocket money for each bucket they fill? We have a lovely range of children’s gardening gloves in stock to help with the job.
  • Give your crops a feed with a high-potash fertiliser (such as Tomorite) crops to feed will include sweetcorn, cucumbers, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers.
  • Start harvesting your maincrop potatoes and store in hessian sacks that exclude light but allow air to flow through.
  • Replace any colour gaps where your summer bedding may have ended. New season autumn bedding plants are arriving weekly to include our gorgeous home grown cyclamen as well as violas, pansies and garden mums (Hardy Chrysanthemums).
  • If your onion and garlic foliage is yellowing and flopping over it is time to lift them and dry them.
  • Pick your beans regularly to prevent them becoming stringy and from going to seed.
  • Turn the compost in your composting bin.
  • Get children involved on a pest hunt. What beneficial and non-beneficial insects will you find? If you find any ‘nasties’, come and visit us as we have lots of control methods (mechanical, biological and chemical) in stock and can help advise. Particular nasties to watch out for include slugs, aphids, lily beetles and vine weevils.
  • From your sunlounger you may want to start thinking about what spring flowering bulbs you would like next year. We will soon be receiving our supplies and you need to get planting them in September to October for best results.