Although we do not sell Christmas trees any more, Thirty years of experience with them does not simply disappear. Therefore we still feel qualified to offer you some advice with regards to buying & using your tree.
Wear gloves & old clothing. Christmas trees are often very wet plus they exude sap which can stain skin or clothing.
Try not to buy a tree that is still wrapped. You have no idea what the shape is going to be like until it is un-netted & the branches allowed to settle for a while.
If you have no choice, try to select a specimen that looks even on all sides. Hold the tree vertically & rotate it on its trunk for someone else to view. This technique is also helpful for un-netted trees.
Be sure on the size you require. Scaling a tree by guess alone is not an exact method. Remember that you will need to factor in the size of your stand. Circumference is as important as height although you can often trim the lower branches back without spoiling the look of the tree.
Be aware of the trunk size also. Will it fit in your stand? Have you got a stand? A stand that hold water are the best ones to buy.
Most trees now sold are NON-Drop cultivars, the most popular being ‘nordmanniana’ or Nordmann Fir. Picea pungens (Blue Spruce) & Abies fraseri (Fraser Fir) are also non drop trees. It is important to remember that the term ‘Non-Drop’ does NOT guarantee that you will not lose needles merely that these cultivars are the most resistant to needle loss. Picea abies (Norway Spruce) was the most common, traditional Christmas tree in the uk but it has now been taken over by the non-drop forms. Picea abies does not suffer being indoors long term but is still fine for an outdoor tree or cool environment. Indeed, you can pick them up for very little money compared to the non-drops.
Potted trees are available in a pot with a partial root system. Generally these are smaller scale trees. The root system is no guarantee of survival but there is little doubt that the tree is able to maintain moisture longer which aides needle retention. Pot grown trees differ to ‘potted’ because they will have been grown for a number of months in the container which means that they will have a very well established root system. These are your best bet if you would like to plant the tree after Christmas although they are usually very expensive as they have been cared for on a nursery for a long time before maturing.
This advice is going to be unpopular… but it is the truth. If you put a REAL tree indoors during the first week of December, you are asking for problems. The less amount of time indoors the better. Try & aim for no more than ten days inside remembering that you want the tree to look its best for Christmas eve through to New Year. This advice is for non-drop trees. Picea abies may not last as long as ten days indoors in heated rooms.
Store your tree outdoor with the stem in some water. If you can un-net it, marvellous, but this isn’t always practical when it comes to bringing it indoors. Before you bring the tree inside it is a good idea if you trim a 2cm sliver off of the bottom of the stem. This is not absolutely essential but it does freshly open up the vessels in the stem allowing the trunk to draw up moisture more easily. Some good tree retailers will do this for you at the time of purchase.
Use a stand that holds water. Although your tree will not ‘drink’ much water, it will draw up some moisture which greatly aids needle retention & colouration. Check the water level every couple of days. If you cannot get one of these types of stands, a large tub with sand or earth tightly packed around the trunk will suffice. Remember to use a tub/bucket that has no holes or use a large tray/saucer underneath as you will need to keep the soil/sand moist.
Locate your tree away from heat sources. Dry warm air will greatly reduce the needle retention so if you cannot do without heating in a room, this will detrimental to the amount of time that you are able to keep the tree inside that room. All species of Christmas (conifer) tree are flammable, some more than others, but we advise that you DO NOT put one next to an open fire, real candles OR use real flame candles (no matter how traditional it looks) to decorate.
When you are done with your tree, dispose of it responsibly. If you are able to chop it up into small pieces then you can put it into your green/garden waste recycle bin. Most local authorities organise a tree collection or drop off point for you to dispose of your tree. DO NOT leave it in your local park, your alley, your local car park etc. Christmas trees are conifers which have high sap level in their wood which means that the branches & trunks take years to break down & rot. Leaving your tree in a public space is fly tipping.
If you purchased a potted tree, the chances of it continuing to grow after Christmas are approx. 60/40 against. Increase your odds by not having the tree indoor too long in the first place, then take it outdoors, re-potting with some decent compost. Do not over water. Often the weather is wet enough but in dry spells check that the compost is damp only. If the needles continue to turn brown & there are no fresh tips during the spring, then give up. Next year, if you really want to save grow a Christmas tree of your own, buy a pot grown tree. These have a much better chance as long as they have not been indoor to long either. Some nurseries sell these species of tree all year as container grown landscaping plants.
Potatoes are hugely versatile and a staple ingredient of many meals in one form or another - boiled, mashed, chipped or baked. Potatoes are classified as being either earlies or maincrops. Early varieties are ready to harvest much sooner than maincrops and are what we call ‘new potatoes’. Maincrop varieties are in the ground a lot longer. They have a better yield and produce larger potatoes.
Potatoes are grown from special ‘seed’ potatoes (also called tubers). These are just like potatoes you buy from the supermarket, but they’re certified virus-free. Buy seed potatoes from late winter onwards. You start them off indoors by setting them to sprout, before they are planted.
It’s important with earlies and a good idea with maincrops to ‘chit’ the seed potatoes first before planting; this means allowing them to start sprouting shoots. Stand them rose end up (the rose end is the one with the most small dents in the skin, or ‘eyes’) in egg boxes or similar in a light, frost-free place. The potatoes are ready to plant when the shoots are about 3cm (1in) long. On early potatoes, rub off the weakest shoots, leaving four per tuber.
Follow these guidelines for planting times of seed tubers:
First earlies: around late March
Second earlies: early to mid-April
Maincrops: mid- to late April
This varies slightly depending on where you are in the country. If you are planting in containers, start even earlier. Potatoes need a sunny site away from frost pockets - the newly emerging foliage is susceptible to frost damage in April and May. Prepare the ground the previous autumn or winter by digging in organic matter such as well-rotted animal manure. The traditional planting method is to dig a narrow trench 12cm (5in) deep. The seed tubers are spaced 30cm (12in) apart for earlies and 37cm (15in) for maincrop varieties in rows 24in (60cm) apart for earlies and 75cm (30in) apart for maincrop. Apply a general purpose fertiliser at this stage.
When growth emerges, start the process of ‘earthing up’. Wait until the stems are about 23cm (9in) high and draw soil up to the stems creating a ridge about 15cm (6in) high. As the stems grow, repeat the process. The final height of the ridges will be about 20-30cm (8in -1ft). Earthing up protects newly emerging foliage from frost damage. It also protects the developing potatoes from light that turns potato tubers green. Green potatoes are poisonous. Keep crops well watered in dry weather; the vital time is once the tubers start to form. Maincrop potatoes benefit from a nitrogenous fertiliser around the time of the second earthing up. Other planting methods Another method is to grow the potatoes under black polythene. The tubers are planted through slits in the polythene. The advantage of this method is that there is no need to earth up and the new potatoes form just below soil level which means there’s no digging to harvest them, they’ll lie just below the sheet. Small crops of potatoes can also be grown in large, deep containers, and this is a good way of getting an early batch of new potatoes. Fill the bottom 15cm (6in) of the container with potting compost and plant the seed potato just below this. As the new stems start growing, keep adding compost until the container is full.
First early potatoes should be ready to lift in June and July, second earlies in July and August, maincrops from late August through to October. With earlies, wait until the flowers open or the buds drop; the tubers are ready to harvest when they are the size of hens’ eggs. With maincrops for storage wait until the foliage turns yellow, then cut it and remove it. Leave for 10 days before harvesting the tubers, leaving them to dry for a few hours before storing.
All information freely available on https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/potatoes
Garden retail like it used to be.
Here at Clockhouse Nursery we pride ourselves in providing reasonably priced plants & the products you need to grow them effectively.
That is all.
So, no need to wade through the tide of unnecessary paraphernalia that you will find in most modern garden centres.
No need to worry about parking either as we have over 150 spaces available.
Not many Garden Centres can boast over ninety years of history, and yes, we have seen many changes over that period. Indeed change will continue as we strive always to supply the best in plants and facilities. One thing, however, will never change:
The core philosophy first introduced by Archibald John Mills way back in 1928 remains - the philosophy that built the company’s reputation, sustains it now, and will guide it in the future:
The best way to keep gardeners happy is to offer them plants of the highest quality, sold at reasonable prices.Read more