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Spring has sprung! This knowledge, this feeling that our gardens are slowly waking up is what makes gardeners excited, engaged and creative, and so they start to plan the year. And it is this that brings us all the physical and mental benefits, because gardening is both energetic and soothing.

Mentally, it helps you because it exercises your brain functions by involving time organisation, problem-solving and learning new skills. Research has also shown that spending as little as 20 minutes in green spaces can have a positive effect on mental attitude and even looking through the window at green plants can have an positive impact.

Physically, gardening often involves moderate workouts and even spending 1 or 2 hours every few days working in our gardens has benefits that range from strengthened muscles to improved dexterity and fitness levels. Physical activity is also one of the best ways to reduce the chance of cognitive decline in later life; plus exposing our skin to sunshine for 15-30 minutes can help produce many benefits including the essential Vitamin D that aids calcium absorption for strong bones, as well as nitric oxide that has been shown to reduce blood pressure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

Spring-flowering Violas
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A garden is also a place where you can relax and wind down or, conversely, party and entertain your family and friends, enjoying your colourful garden borders or productive vegetable beds.

For an instant impact in the garden, bright and colourful bedding plants are a good place to start – primroses, violas and pansies give you quick results and most of them are fully hardy so they can cope with spring frosts. From April/May onwards, summer bedding plants can provide colour into the garden. Alternatively, you can plant your garden borders or pots with herbaceous perennials, all in preparation for a dazzling summer display. Introducing evergreen flowering shrubs also creates structure in the winter. Fragrant shrubs such as Daphnes and Honeysuckle can enliven your senses especially in the evenings when their scent fills the air. Sowing or planting out vegetable seedlings or fruit plants can fill you with a sense of achievement when you harvest them and produce healthy, homegrown food to eat throughout the year.

Amelanchier lamarckii

The post The Health Benefits of Gardening appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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Spring has come early this year, with Magnolia and early Flowering Cherries in bloom all around Somerset.  The early February sunshine has brought lots of customers into the garden centre and our online hedging sales have been busy as well. The dry spell also meant we have had to turn our irrigation system on in January this year – the first time we’ve ever had to do that in the 20 years we have been here. Still, as Storm Freya batters us, we are now getting some welcome rain, if not so welcome wind.

New batches of herbaceous perennials (cottage-garden plants), shrubs and climbers are starting to fill the display tables in the garden centre and we have new varieties of summer-flowering bulbs ready to plant now.  As always, we are trying to find new, exciting and different plants for your gardens so we hope to see you again soon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Clover Multipurpose Compost

Clover Multipurpose Compost was tested for the first time by Which! Magazine and was voted Best Buy for seed sowing. Given a 5 out of 5 star rating, the magazine said “It couldn’t be faulted in the sowing seed tests, with very high germination rates and excellent growth for both the basil and the petunias. It was also good in the young plant tests”. We’ve always known it is an excellent compost and that is why we grow all our plants in Clover Compost.  Clover Multipurpose Compost 60 litre – 2 for £10 or 4 for £18 or £5.99 each.

The post Spring 2019 has sprung appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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When autumn gales have stripped the final few ochre leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs, evergreens offer their reliable leaf cover for colour and structure in the garden.

They are also useful as Christmas decorations, fragrant bouquets, bird cover and for hosting a spectacular display of hoar frost. Some evergreen leaves can also be used for culinary purposes. Leaves from Bay and Rosemary plants infuse slowly into cooked dishes with an evocative perfume reminiscent of medieval banquets; great to welcome guests in the New Year. After the festive dining has subsided, thoughts perhaps turn to eating more healthily and detoxing. Try the edible and delicious, aromatic, mahogany red berries of the evergreen shrub Ugni molinae otherwise known as Chilean guava “Butterball” which will provide an inspiring source of Vitamin C and antioxidants to kick start your healthy New Year.

How about creating an alternative to the traditional Holly wreath by including Abelia Grandiflora, Eleagnus Limelight, Euonymous Ovatus Aureus, Leucothoe Rainbow, Nandina, Osmanthus Goshiki and Pittosporum Tom Thumb, all shrubs with variegated leaves. Or for winter table decorations: Photinia Red Robin, with Juniper and Spruce (Picea), both emanating distinctive fresh winter fragrance.

Viburnum tinus will quickly grow into larger shrubs, making them suitable for hedging or an elegant border specimen with a profusion of flowers through the winter and spring. Some varieties such as  the more compact Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ also carry attractive black shiny berries. The larger leaved Viburnum davidii has bright turquoise blue, egg shaped fruits which are particularly striking during winter.  A cold frosty morning may present you with a quandry: stay in the warm and look out at the beauty through glass, or get out there and feel the clean air in your lungs and the afterburn of touching frosty plants with bare hands. Whichever you decide, there’s little better sight than to see Sweet-scented Box (Sarcococca confusa) and Skimmia ‘Rubella’ adorned with multiple spikes of hoar frost. These two slower growing smaller shrubs can be grown close to the house as they are unlikely to be tall enough to exclude light and the fragrance of the Sweet-scented Box will waft through an open window.

Spare a thought for the birds whose summer garden, fully clothed with deciduous leaves to hide in, has now been laid to bare branches. Evergreen shrubs provide cover from the elements and a hideaway from predators at a time of year when this much needed for birds. Our house sparrows particularly favour Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’  with its large waxy, bright-green leaves speckled with yellow, standing strong against biting winds without succumbing to leaf damage. Birds find it bone dry underneath the shrub’s thick strata which also provides multiple perching layers for the sparrow hierarchy to watch out for feeding time!

For all year round colour, don’t forget the often-overlooked conifers. There is much to offer in terms of different colours, shape, texture and form. Some of our favourites are the Blue Spruces (Picea) and the Dwarf Pines (Pinus mugo) with their striking spiky needles.

Lime tolerant heathers (Erica x darlyensis) are also great in borders or pots for long-lasting winter colour and Hollies (Ilex) brighten any garden.

Skimmia Rubella
Elaeagnus Limelight
Nandina Obsessed
Picea pungens Hoopsii
Erica Kramer's Red

The post The Winter Beauty of Colourful Evergreens appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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Our British-grown, freshly-cut Christmas trees are available again from Greenshutters Garden Centre, Fivehead, near Taunton in Somerset, with a range of different types and sizes including cut and pot-grown trees.  We have two different types of firs – the Nordman Fir (Abies nordmaniana) and the Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri) – and three different types of Spruces –  the traditional Norway Spruce, the Omorika Spruce (Picea omorika) and Blue Spruce (Picea glauca). The firs tend to hold their needles much better than the spruces when cut but all types hold their needles well if they are pot-grown (as long as they are watered) or are kept in water.

This year we have three different qualities of the most popular low-needle drop Nordman Fir to suit all budgets with the Premium Quality Nordman Fir being our best-selling tree.

We are also busy making bespoke wreaths to decorate your door for the festive period. If you would like one decorated to your own taste, please come and see the range of decorations we have available that can be added to your wreath.

We hope to see you soon.

The post British Grown Christmas Trees appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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We have added some new varieties to our ever expanding range of trees this year. Here are a few of the most notable additions.

Laburnum Yellow Rocket (Picture courtesy of Frank P Matthews)

Laburnum ‘Yellow Rocket’ – Golden Chain or Golden Rain Tree

This new variety of the Golden Chain Tree was crowned Best in Show in the New Plant Awards category at the HTA’s (Horticultural Trades Association’s) National Plant Show this year. It is a compact, columnar, upright form of Laburnum. Its narrow habit means it doesn’t take up much space, making it suitable for smaller gardens, avenues and patios. Laburnum Yellow Rocket has bright yellow, pendular flowers in spring followed by long seed pods in late summer and autumn. It is hardy and heat tolerant and will grow in any free-draining soil.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Mojo Berry

Mojo Berry – Dwarf Japanese Mulberry – Morus rotundiloba

This compact tree won Plant of the Year at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2017 but wasn’t available last year. We now have it in stock. The Mojo Berry fruits on both new and old wood, even when young. It fruits all summer from May until Sept/Oct. It has attractive white flowers in spring, is self-fertile, seedless and hardy. It is good in the garden or can be kept in a pot. You can eat the delicious mulberries fresh or make jams, wine or mix them into a smoothie or cocktail.

Glastonbury Thorn – Crataegus monogyna ‘Biflora’

We now have in stock this interesting ancient variety of tree that, as the name suggests, can flower twice a year – once around Christmas and again around Easter. Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea climbed Wearyall Hill when he arrived in Glastonbury and planted his staff in the soil while he rested. In the morning it had grown shoots! Unsurprisingly, they were regarded as holy thorns. During the English Civil War, many were destroyed by Cromwell’s troops as a symbol of superstition but a few survived.

Since the 17th Century, when James Montague, the Bishop of Bath & Wells sent a budded branch of a Glastonbury Thorn to Queen Anne, King James I’s consort, a spray of flowers from a Glastonbury Thorn has been sent to the reigning Queen every Christmas.

It is fully hardy and will grow in most soils in full sun or partial shade.

Calycanthus Aphrodite

Calycanthus ‘Aphrodite’

Calcycanthus or Sweetshrub is a small tree or large shrub with scented, large red, magnolia-like flowers from mid-summer and into early autumn. Aphrodite is a new variety with larger, beautifully scented flowers. Its eventual height is only 2.5m (8ft) meaning it is suitable for a small garden.

Calycanthus will grow in full sun or partial shade in any free-draining soil and is hardy down to -15ºC, although it is best sheltered from cold winds.

The post Trees | New and Ancient appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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The introduction of new varieties of hydrangeas are bringing this once popular shrub back into vogue. They are easy to grow and the flowerheads can be left on in the autumn and winter, as they dry out, they change colour and are good in flower arrangements. Here is an explanation of the different types of Hydrangeas and the new varieties we have available.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Hydrangea macrophylla (Macro = Big, Phylla = Leaves)

These are the most common form of hydrangeas. There are two types within this species, Mophead Hydrangeas (also known as Hortensias) and Lacecap Hydrangeas. Mopheads have large, rounded flower heads of red, pink, blue, white and now, green flowers. New varieties include ‘Sweet Fantasy Violet’, ‘Hopcorn Blue’ and the green-flowered ‘Green Cloud’.

Lacecap Hydrangeas have tiny flower buds in the centre of the flower surrounded by showy flowers that circle the edge of the flowerhead (see image Hydrangea Teller Red). Some of the best varieties are still the traditional Teller series including Pink, Red and White. ‘Love Me Kiss’ is a superb new lacecap variety.

Hydrangea macrophylla tend to grow between 1.2-1.8m (4-6ft) tall.

Hydrangea macrophylla Green Cloud
Hydrangea macrophylla Sweet Fantasy Violet
Hydrangea macrophylla Teller Red

Hydrangea paniculata

The paniculata species have panicle or cone-shaped flowers and grow to above 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft) tall. The popular traditional variety being ‘Limelight’ that comes out as a lime-white colour and turns to white and then pale pink. There are many new exciting varieties with different size flowers that open white and turn varying shades of pink. Some of the best new varieties being ‘Pinky Winky’, ‘Diamant Rouge’, ‘Phantom’, ‘Vanilla Fraise’, ‘Levana’ and ‘Polar Bear’.

Hydrangea paniculata Pinky Winky
Hydrangea paniculata Diamond Rouge
Hydrangea paniculata Vanille Fraise

Hyrangea aborescens

The very popular Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ has masses of huge, globular white flowers that put on a real show in summer. There are now new varieties or H. arborescens including ‘Sweet Annabelle’ that produces balls of pink flowers that change colour throughout the season (see front cover photo), ‘Ruby Annabelle’ (a darker shade) and, also, ‘Pink Annabelle’.

Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle
Hydrangea Sweet Annabelle
Hydrangea macrophylla Hopcorn Blue

The post High-Class Hydrangeas | New and Traditional Varieties appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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Westland Autumn Lawn Care

This summer has been unprecedented for our lawns. Hot temperatures and lack of rain have caused serious stress to our familiar green spaces. All lawns require special care measures during dry weather. When deprived of water, lawn grasses stop growing, start to go brown and continue to stay brown. Especially once the top 10 cm (4”) of soil dries out.

If your lawn has been badly affected by the drought, you may need to over-sow with new lawn seed. September is a good month to do this as the soil is still warm but be aware, you may need to water the lawn seed to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

A well-maintained lawn usually recovers rapidly with the onset of autumn rainfall, especially if the appropriate Autumn Lawn Care is given. A good autumn lawn treatment such as Westland’s Autumn All in One will ensure your grass is fed with a high potash and phosphate fertiliser for the autumn which will strengthen roots and better protect the grass from frost and icy conditions in winter. Any surviving moss will also be killed out.

Additionally, it is important to ensure your lawn is healthy, so a regular programme of spring, summer and autumn lawn maintenance will help your lawn to recover from a summer drought and will also make it more drought resistant the following year.

Here is our summary on autumn lawn care:

De-thatch your lawn:  De-thatching your lawn with a fork or rake to remove any moss, leaves and debris and let the light get to the grass.

Aerate your lawn: Using a garden fork or a manual or power aerator to spike holes into the lawn will improve drainage and reduce moss growth in the future.

Brush in sand: Horticultural grade, dry fine sand brushed into the holes created by aerataion helps prevent them closing up, allowing air and water to pass freely into the root zone.

Level with top soil: Spread top soil oover the surface of the lawn to level out any hollows. Grass can be left to grow through or where the soil is deep, over sow with fresh grass seed.

Feed: Apply a fertiliser or all-in-one feed in the spring and autumn to help the grass grow.

Cut Regularly: Regularly cutting your lawn helps keep it looking good. Weeds don’t like being cut but grass benefits from it, so by cutting regularly to will naturally give the grass an advantage over the weeds. However, if you want to encourage wild flowers or create a meadow, leave the grass to grow naturally.

Water:  If you have a plentiful supply of water and there is no hosepipe ban in your area, then watering your lawn will keep it growing well.  “Grey” water can be used from baths or collect rain water in water butts to use on the lawn. To minimize evaporation, give your lawn a good soaking either first thing in the morning, evening or even at night.

Weed Control: As mentioned above, many weeds can be controlled by cutting your lawn regularly as weeds do not like this, whereas grass does. Dig up deep rooted weeds such as dandelions or use weedkillers or all-in-one applications to control them.  Do not use weedkillers on drought-affected lawns until they have recovered sufficiently.

Rake: Keep leaves off the lawn by raking them up regularly to ensure light gets to the grass.

For more advice, please ask a member of our staff who will be happy to help.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The post Autumn Lawn Care | Drought affected Lawns appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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The extremely dry weather from May to July has been a challenge for most gardeners with many plants suffering from the drought and heat. Even the cooler weather in August has not brought us much rain, although just enough to get the grass growing. Thankfully, in the spring, we made the decision to replace the oldest section of our nursery’s sprinkler irrigation system with 6,000 new drippers. These use approximately half the water that the overhead sprinklers use and are much more efficient as they deliver the water directly into each pot, thus saving water and helping with our bid to go greener.

We were at Taunton Flower Show again, which was a great success with the  sunny weather bringing out lots of people. We were delighted to receive the Beggars Roost Cup for Best Outdoor Horticultural Stand for the second year in a row. We had a lot of interest in our stand where we showcased all the different types of plants we sell including our mature hedging plants, herbaceous perennials and large shrubs.

At Greenshutters Garden Centre, we there is still plenty of autumn flower in the garden centre to brighten up your autumn garden including shrubs, herbaceous perennials, climbers and trees. As usual, we also have plenty of autumn bedding and basket plants available to refresh your baskets for autumn and winter.

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Greenshutters Garden Centre at the Taunton Flower Show 2018
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The post Autumn News | Winners of Best Stand | Taunton Flower Show appeared first on Greenshutters Garden Centre.

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