Garden And Gardener

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Monday, December 10th, 2018


Research from around the world has confirmed something many gardeners already know ­– gardening really is good for you!

So, it’s time to grow yourself healthy this year with support from the Gardening is good for you campaign. Month-by-month you can explore the many benefits of gardens and gardening to your health and wellbeing.

Gardens are great places to relax, and just being in or looking out onto gardens and green spaces has been shown to relieve stress, improving wellbeing and creativity. By creating a beautiful garden outside your own back door you’ll have a personal sanctuary to step out into, and somewhere to grow healthy food, welcome in wildlife, and spend time with family and friends.

In fact, gardening could be described as the Natural Health Service, as doctors recognise the numerous benefits gardening brings without the need for costly therapies and drugs, with their unwelcome side effects.

For instance, eating well can start by growing your own organic homegrown crops – all part of the ‘5 a day’ we all need. Herbs for example not only add wonderful flavours to our home cooking and teas but bring many health benefits too.

By choosing the right plants we can design gardens that encourage birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife to drop in for food, water and shelter, or even take up residence. Developing an all-year-round wildlife-friendly garden satisfies our own creativity and feeling of achievement, bringing us outside and closer to nature to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Contact with plants and the soil also enhances our health and boosts the immune system, too.

By creating a garden that looks great all-year-round you’ll not only have a beautiful outlook but more opportunities to be tempted outside throughout the year to stay active and grow yourself healthy.

To give your garden structure and form choose plants that offer more than one season of interest. In particular, pick evergreen plants and architectural shrubs with green, coloured or variegated foliage that also produce seasonal flowers, and perhaps fruits or berries too.

Plant these to form the backbone to your garden, giving it structure, and adding height at the back of borders. Use their bold shapes and sizes to obscure eyesores and cover boring fences, cut down noise from roads and neighbours, and create a sense of privacy and seclusion.

Choisya eg ‘Sundance’ AGM, ‘Aztec Pearl’ AGM
Hebe ‘Red Edge’ AGM
Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM
Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrans’ AGM
Photinia eg ‘Red Robin’ AGM
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’  AGM
Japanese spotted laurel – Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM
Osmanthus x burkwoodii AGM
Elaeagnus x submacrophylla ‘Limelight’
Euonymus, Pieris, etc, etc.
Follow ‘Gardening is good for you’ at

Being outside and getting your hands dirty is a great way of exercising. Pull those weeds out, do that pruning! Enjoy being outside, it’s good for you!

Well done Sophie! Runner-up in Cultivation Street’s Ambassador competition

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Haskins Garden Centre employee announced as runner-up in Cultivation Street’s Ambassador competition

Haskins Garden Centre employee announced as runner-up in Cultivation Street’s Ambassador competition

Sophie Lyall, customer services assistant at Haskins Garden Centre in West End has been announced as a runner-up in Cultivation Street’s national ambassador competition.

Cultivation Street is a campaign founded by David Domoney, celebrity TV Gardener and Broadcaster, to recognise and reward communities that are caring for their streets, as well as encouraging other communities to join together and start anew. The campaign was specifically introduced to celebrate community gardens and their ability to bring people together using nature to inspire, heal and connect the communities they are a part of. The annual ambassador competition rewards those that go the extra mile for their local communities.

Sophie has been a Cultivation Street Ambassador for Haskins in West End since February and co-ordinates the provision of compost, plants, bulbs, gloves, seeds and bird food to local schools. Working closely with Townhill Infant School, The Gregg School and Bitterne CE Primary School in Southampton, this summer Sophie worked with the children to increase their interest in gardening and helped them paint plant pots and grow sunflowers. In particular, Sophie helps out at Bitterne CE Primary School’s nature group, which sees a group of six children get together after school to learn more about gardening. Looking to the future, Sophie plans to refresh, replant and repaint Bitterne CE Primary School’s garden.

Delighted to have been announced as a runner-up in the competition, Sophie commented: “I’m passionate about teaching children what I know about gardening because they’re the next generation of gardeners. It’s great seeing how excited they get over a plant they have grown and it’s great to get children interested in being outdoors and enjoying nature, rather than sat in front of a computer screen. This is something Haskins is really keen on encouraging – getting children interested in gardening from a young age, which is evident from our ‘Garden Gang’ campaign.”

Before the school holidays, Sophie worked with Shamblehurst Primary School to help create a memory garden for a 7-year old pupil who passed away to cancer. Sophie sourced compost, large pots, herbs and wind chimes for the memory garden.

Sophie continued: “I’m proud to be a Cultivation Street Ambassador because I want the children I work with to have a garden they can enjoy and I want them to feel pleased that they have played a valuable part in creating it for others to enjoy. I hope that over the next few years, I can link up with more schools and community groups to see how Haskins can help.”

Alice Whitehouse, Cultivation Street’s campaign manager, commented: “This year’s campaign has seen more entries in all categories and we’ve been astounded by the level of gardens and projects entered into the competition, as well as the devoted ambassadors that have worked hard throughout the year. The Ambassadors are an integral part of the competition and Sophie from Haskins has been fantastic in her first year as an ambassador. We have no doubt that we will see more great work from her throughout the year.

“Sophie has been exemplary at interacting with local schools and community groups in her area. This included her hand delivering packs Calliope Geraniums, the official Cultivation Street sponsor, as part of the industry’s biggest plant giveaway, where 12,000 plants were given out to schools and community groups across the UK.”

Sophie Lyall is Haskins’ designated Cultivation Street Ambassador for the West End centre, serving as a dedicated point of contact to support local community groups and schools with a garden. To contact Sophie, visit Haskins in West End’s Customer Services department.

Haskins is located in Mansbridge Road, Gaters Hill, West End, SO18 3HW. For more information visit


Wednesday, August 8th, 2018


Staying fit doesn’t have to mean expensive gym memberships or fitness classes. Everyday activities around the home have huge physical benefits and can support mental wellbeing too.

Gardening is an excellent all-round exercise for improving strength, endurance and flexibility and can be of great help in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions.

To celebrate the warmer weather, AXA PPP healthcare has released an infographic, outlining just how beneficial an afternoon in the garden can be on the body.

For more tips on getting fit in the garden, visit AXA PPP healthcare’s benefits of gardening page.

Gardening for health

Gardening Jobs of the Month for June

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Wyevale Garden Centres reveals:

Gardening Jobs of the Month for June


Summer is here and we can’t wait to share with you our tips for making the most out of your garden this June. The sun is shining, fruits are ripe and flowers are in full bloom which means your garden will be attracting admirers both wanted and unwanted! Pests will be lurking to feast on ripe fruits so make sure your garden is protected, whilst you should also take action to make sure that your plants are getting the food and care they need to flourish.

Lilidh Matthews, horticulture buyer at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares her gardening jobs of the month, helping you to get one step closer to your dream garden:

  1. Snip off and spray your roses

June is the perfect time to deadhead your roses after they have flowered. This is a quick and easy job which stimulates the growth of new blooms and extends the flowering season. Make sure you snip off the old flower at the base of the bloom, this will encourage the plant to send new shoots from the leaves near the top of the bush, producing smaller flowers. Don’t forget to spray your roses too to ensure they remain healthy throughout the drier months.

  1. Protect ripe fruits from ravenous pests!

Your garden is looking particularly vibrant, packed full of exotic colours and scents, which mean it won’t just be friends and family flocking to enjoy it, but plenty of wildlife too. Birds and other species will be seeking out fruits and seeds to snack on, so be ready to protect your produce. Mesh netting is a great, non-chemical solution to deter pests and allow your fruit to fully ripen. Remember, it’s important to wait until the bees and butterflies have worked their pollinating magic before you cover your plants.


  1. Plant out tender vegetables

Make sure to plant tender vegetables such as cucumbers, courgettes, and peppers. June is the perfect time to plant up these vegetables as there is a significantly reduced risk of wind and frost, conditions which are detrimental to the growth of tender vegetables. The hot weather provides the perfect conditions for these vegetables to grow, ready to harvest in the following months!

  1. Start feeding and pinch out tomatoes

Pinching encourages branching on the tomato plants as by cutting off part of the main stem you encourage the plant to grow two new stems from the leaf nodes below the pinch. Simply use your fingernails to pinch off the new growth at the end of the stem (if you don’t want to use your fingers you can always use a sharp pair of pruning shears!).


  1. Feed baskets and containers

Check baskets and containers every day to avoid drying out in the hot weather. Ensure that they remain moist but not soggy as over-watering leads to poor quality plants. Make sure to also apply a liquid fertiliser once a week to ensure the containers and baskets maintain optimum conditions for plant growth.


  1. Offer your support!

June is the perfect time to support your tall-growing perennials. During these warmer months perennials are in full bloom and therefore vulnerable to collapse as their long stems and heavy heads make them top-heavy and prone to flopping. Make sure these plants have plenty of support to stay upright and prevent damage during windy or rainy days by using frames or canes and tying the stems securely using twine.

For more information and advice on May’s jobs of the month, along with all the tools you need to gain ground in the garden,

Five ways that gardening can improve your mental health

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Five ways that gardening can improve your mental health

It’s a well-known fact that spending time outdoors and being active can be beneficial for your wellbeing, and 56% of Brits say they like the Great British Outdoors*, but how many people overlook what’s on their very own doorstep?

Garden building retailer, Tiger Sheds, is encouraging Brits to get out into their back yard this Mental Health Awareness Week, with five simple tips on how to improve your mental health from your garden.

·         Find a personal space

The first step is to get out there and reconnect with the outdoors. Being in a peaceful space can help you to reset your mind and gather your thoughts. Sitting in a quiet space can have a similar effect to meditation, helping to lift stress. So, enjoy the green space in your own garden, as it can be a lot more relaxing and convenient than trying to find a peaceful spot in a busy park.

·         Get the whole family involved

Get the whole family to muck in! Gardening is naturally a fun activity for kids as well as adults, as they can work with their hands to dig, plant and harvest under adult supervision. It can also help to teach them key skills such as the importance of maintaining a garden and how to communicate with the people you’re working alongside.

Another benefit of gardening is that it can help develop the sensory system in young children; as lots of colours, aromas and textures can improve their senses and imagination.

·         Consider it a workout

Use the down time as an easy way to workout. As the saying goes, ‘a healthy body is a healthy mind’ and to an extent it is very true. Gardening can burn more than 300 calories during just one hour of light gardening work*. You’ll barely notice the workout and the exercise will help your body to produce endorphins, which help to improve mood and fight stress**.

·         Soak up the sun

Being outside will help your skin soak up all the vitamin D it needs. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer, seasonal affective disorder and cardiovascular disease. Spending time gardening is a way of making sure you get enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ that can seriously improve your mood and health.

·         Take satisfaction in your gardening achievements

Gardening can be one of life’s most satisfying activities. Being able to start a flower bed or vegetable patch from scratch gives you a sense of ownership, and seeing your hard work grow can fill you with a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Kiarna Benson from Tiger Sheds said “Taking pride in your garden and spending some time outdoors can really help you to unwind. This Mental Health Awareness Week it is worth remembering that one of the best places for you to relax is right on your doorstep.

“Here at Tiger Sheds we want to encourage people to make the most of their own back yard and use it as a tool to improve their mental health”

For more information on how gardening can help your mental health, please visit:


Spring is in the air!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Wyevale Garden Centres reveals:

Gardening Jobs of the Month for may


With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, it’s a busy time for gardeners putting in preparations for a beautiful summer garden. Seeds should be sown, vegetables and flowers should be planted, and lawns should be given some tender loving care to ensure they are looking luscious and well-nourished for sunny days spent outdoors.

Patrick Wall, buyer of box bedding, hanging baskets and planted containers at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his gardening jobs of the month, helping you to get one step closer to your dream garden:

  1. Prep your pots 

Plant up your outdoor pots and summer hanging baskets, but keep them in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting them outside. Establishing the plants encourages roots to grow out and increase their drought tolerance which means they will be able to withstand the drier months ahead.

  1. Full of beans  

Start sowing runner, dwarf and climbing French beans. All beans appreciate a rich, deep, well-drained soil in a sunny position, so before sowing make sure you dig over your plot to clear any rocks and large stones, and dig in a good amount of compost or well-rotted farmyard manure to encourage the beans to grow.

  1. Quench crops’ thirst  

Now that the weather is warming up it’s important to water thirsty crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes regularly. Make sure that the soil or compost stays moist but is not waterlogged and take care to water the ground around the plant and not the leaves.

  1. Mulch beds and borders

Not only does mulching lock in the soil’s moisture and improve its texture, it also works to supress weeds. By covering the soil with mulch, weed seeds struggle to come into contact with the soil when they land; this, combined with their deprivation of light means they cannot germinate and are prevented from growing. Make sure you apply enough mulch (around 2-3 inches) and ensure that the mulch is not pushed too closely up against your plants.

  1. Watch out for pests!

It’s important to check plants regularly for pests. Pay close attention to shoot tips to check for pests, such as capsid bugs, as well as the underside of leaves which can attract aphids, mealy bugs, red spider mites and thrips. There are plenty of ways to ward off those unwanted pests in an eco and wildlife friendly way without causing damage to your plants.

  1. Love your lawn

Apply nitrogen-rich summer feed to your lawn to encourage leafy growth. May is the best time of year to do this as the longer daylight hours and warmer soil create the perfect conditions for the grass to grow. Always fertilise your lawn after mowing to avoid disturbing the fertiliser on the surface.

For more information and advice on May’s jobs of the month, along with all the tools you need to gain ground in the garden,

Garden Gathering is a brand new fundraising initiative for Parkinson’s UK

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Garden Gathering is a brand new fundraising initiative for Parkinson’s UK – encouraging people to have ‘mini festivals’ in their gardens or open spaces this summer, raising money for vital research into Parkinson’s – a progressive neurological condition for which there is currently no cure.

Find out more here

Snowhill’s Haskins Garden Centre nominates Alzheimer’s Society as its Charity of the Year

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Snowhill’s Haskins Garden Centre nominates Alzheimer’s Society as its Charity of the YearThe team at Haskins Garden Centre in Snowhill has announced it will be putting all its fundraising efforts towards supporting Alzheimer’s Society this year.

Employees as the Centre aim to raise several thousands of pounds by running many events throughout the year as well as offering the charity the opportunity to host information and awareness evenings.

David Lilly, centre manager at Haskins Garden Centre in Snowhill commented: “Myself and the team are absolutely thrilled to be supporting such a worthy cause for 2017. According to statistics there are more than 14,000 people living with dementia in West Sussex and therefore we would really like to help raise awareness of the condition among our customers and in the wider area.

“We hope to be hosting lots of events throughout the year and would encourage local people to get involved when they can.”

Jess Hillicks, Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser for West Sussex, added: “It’s great that the Snowhill team is giving its time to support Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia can happen to anyone and there is currently no cure. But with the right support, people can live well with dementia.​

“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of businesses like Haskins Garden Centre to help us continue our vital work so that Alzheimer’s Society can continue leading the fight against dementia.”

Haskins Garden Centres are located in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. For more information, visit