Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Plant of the Month for March Vinca

Vinca minor is a very popular ground cover plant and is a smaller version of its vigorous relative the greater periwinkle.

Vinca minor’s leaves, flowers and growth rate are about two thirds those of Vinca major. This makes Vinca minor more suitable for a variety of uses.

It can be planted in smaller beds and borders, and is very useful in winter baskets and containers. It is also good at colonising poor, dry and slightly shady conditions. It’s creeping and arching stems soon make an attractive carpet of bright green foliage. The sky-blue flowers appear in spring and are very attractive set against the green leaves.

Vinca minor can also be used as under planting for shrubs, roses and any odd corner of the garden that requires some greenery to brighten it up.

Vinca will grow in most soil types but like most other plants, requires good drainage at all times.

It can even be grown as a substitute for grass under trees. Spring flowering bulbs like snowdrops and crocus can also be under-planted as companion plants to good effect.

We have Vinca for sale at our garden centre right now.  You can find them in our pavilion, along with a whole range of other ground cover plants.  If you would like more information about Vinca or any other plant please feel free to get in touch with Becky or any of here plant team here at the nursery.  Either email us on hardyplants@grovesnurseries.co.uk or give us a call on 01308 422654.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Allotment Blog

Today was my first visit to the allotment this year.
As you can see it’s all looking a bit overgrown
With the ‘help’ of my one year old (known as EMG) I attempted to clear the asparagus bed (the one at the top) so that we can cover it in manure. Unfortunately, I had to abandon ship halfway through clearing as EMG started to eat mud so I thought I’d better take her home for lunch. But it was good to get my hands dirty and be outside.

My jobs for the week are:

1)clear and mulch the asparagus bed

2)tidy the strawberry bed and cut off any offshoots
3) plant some broad beans.

I’ll leave clearing the large bed for the boys!! So watch this space and I will keep you posted on all that is happening on our plot.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Himalayas Trek in aid of Beating Bowel Cancer

Clive and Di Groves are off to Nepal to trek the Himalayas in March.

We will be starting our trek at Pokhara and will pass through thick rhododendron forest, rice terraces and picturesque villages before rising up to trek amongst the Annapurna range of mountains, home of the highest mountain peaks in the world.

This is a tough trek and we have chosen to do this for beating bowel cancer because we lost a very fit friend through this last year.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Plant of the Month for February Camelia

Camellias are one of the best garden plants to use for adding real splash of colour in the dark winter months.

A wonderful plant to grow in the garden, or as a specimen in a container. They grow particularly well in a container provided the container is placed out of the early morning sun in frosty weather. They prefer acid soil, so use ericaceous compost if growing in a container.
Camellias are woodland plants and do best when planted in a sheltered or shady position. They can be grown in a more exposed position if watered carefully.

They can be grown quite succesfully in the open ground here in West Dorset they will just need treating with sequestrine granules once a year to stop thier leaves yellowing.

Camellias thrive in a free draining spot with plenty of humus in the surrounding soil. Mulching with leaf mould is very beneficial. Depending on the cultivar, you can have flowering from November through to April. The range of flower types and colours is vast, from light pinks to dark reds and stunning whites.

There are singles, doubles, and other flower forms available to suit your taste such as Camellia japonica, x williamsii,’Donation’, ‘Debbie’ and ‘Anticipation’.
Camellias grow well with other ericaceous plants such as Rhododendron, Pieris, and Enkianthu, deciduous and evergreen azaleas.

One of the biggest problems with camellias is probably that of sooty mould. This is a black fungus that grows on the leaves of camellias that is actually the by-product of sap sucking insects that excrete a sugary substance called “honeydew” onto the leaves. The fungus then feeds on the honeydew. If you find that your camellia becomes covered in this black substance (it looks like soot) then you need to treat it with an insecticide. Soapy water will do the trick or even better a systemic insecticide such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer.

However whilst this will stop any more sooty mould being produced won't remove the mould that is already there. That I am afraid is down to a cloth and some soapy water. It will come off easy enough, it’s just a bit of a fiddle!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Planting Potatoes Using a Potato Planter

Our latest video is now live on our Youtube Channel.

Clive Groves is demonstrating how to plant potatoes using a potato planting tool. These are available on our website here

The planters are made locally in Dorset and hand produced. Made to an Old English design, this quality Potato Planting tool will save you time and back-ache. Crafted from steel, it is sturdy and hard-wearing. A pivoted opening cup allows hole penetration and planting to be done accurately and quickly. In fact, you'll wonder how you ever managed without one.