We are delighted to confirm that planning permission for our new shop and polytunnels has now been approved and we are busy putting our fundraising plans in place for the year ahead, perfectly timed to combine with our 15th birthday celebrations.
Located in a conservation area, our new retail unit has been sympathetically designed by Footprint Architects in Bournemouth to complement our local surroundings and reflect the charity’s work and history. The 200sqm retail unit will largely be constructed from natural materials consisting of stone gabion walls and sweet chestnut cladding in reference to the nursery and our charitable work, with the addition of green and purple polycarbonate panels to acknowledge the condition of the site prior to our establishment, overgrown with buddleia. With new facilities, we will have the opportunity to stock a wider variety of products all year-round, such as horticultural sundries, gifts, houseplants, wildlife-friendly items and a coastal product line to complement our existing range of outdoor plants.
There will be plenty of opportunities for our Volunteers to learn new retail skills from stocking and merchandising, to customer service and till work. We can also look forward to inviting new Volunteers to the nursery who would be keen to gain work experience indoors, extending our reach to more adults in need of our support. New polytunnels to replace our ageing greenhouses will create a comfortable working space for our Volunteers where they can continue to learn their horticultural skills, growing and caring for our plants.
It is our continued aim to make Chestnut Nursery more self-sustaining and less reliant on grant-making organisations, ensuring that we can provide essential continued support in the local community for the long-term.
So, it’s time to get started on our fundraising to ensure we can start our project by October 2016. Our application has now been submitted to the Reaching Communities BIG Lottery Fund which, if successful, will cover the costs of our polytunnels but our target for the retail unit is £352,000! We are lucky to have the support of two local trusts to get us started but we would welcome your help along the way …
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Come along to our special events throughout the year. Dates for the diary are:
9th July 2016: Chestnut Nursery 15th Birthday Open Day and Fundraising Event. We’ll be celebrating in style with plenty of activities, workshops, talks, tours, cream tea and live music. We’ll keep you posted on all the events on the day and let you know how can join in the fun closer to the time!
19th March and 3rd September 2016 : Plant Bonanza Days with great offers on our top quality plants, teas/coffees and cakes and free parking.
- Grand Prize Draw 2016 : We are in the process of gathering top-notch prizes for our prize draw which will be held after our Open Day. We would be hugely grateful to anyone who might be able to provide us with a special gift or experience to put into the draw, maybe a weekend away, trips to special events, an overnight stay in a hotel, golfing or spa experience. Donations will be acknowledged through social media, newsletters, promotional literature and PR leading up to the main event and go along way to raise funds for the new build.
- Would you be able to nominate us as your charity for a fundraising event that you are completing during 2016? Bike rides, sponsored walks, marathons and fun runs, cake bakes … whatever you fancy, all contributions would be hugely appreciated.
- Are you or do you know a local craftsperson or horticulturalist who might be able to spare an hour or two of their time to provide a demonstration or hold a workshop during our open day? We’re keen to focus on outdoor crafts and garden related themes … perhaps hurdle-making, willow-weaving, building bird boxes, propagation etc? We would welcome any suggestions of suitable persons or donations of skills and time.
- If you wish to donate directly to our project, you can do so via the button on our homepage of the website or via post.
Thanks for reading! I’m sure you’ll agree we have exciting times ahead at Chestnut Nursery, if you are able to support us in any way, we look forward to hearing from you. For more information, please call us on 01202 685999 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the weather starts to become more challenging, it is beneficial to spend some time out in the garden preparing for winter before it becomes too cold. There’s plenty to do, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you get started.
- There’s still time to plant spring flowering bulbs for a colourful display once spring arrives.
- Winter bedding is now available – liven up containers with a display of pansies, violas and primulas. Combine with evergreen shrubs and trailing plants for additional interest.
- Bare root trees and roses can be planted between now and February.
- Remove decayed foliage on perennials. You can lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain vigour and produce additional plants.
- Apply a mulch on flowerbeds.
- Protect any tender plants by bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory.
- Lightly prune shrubs to neaten their appearance prior to their hard pruning in spring.
- Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs and trees.
- Take root cuttings from your favourite perennials to help fill the gaps next year. You can store them in a cold frame or greenhouse to take root.
- Clean out the greenhouse, washing the glass, floor and staging with horticultural disinfectant. Replace any broken glass before winter sets in.
- You can insulate the inside of the greenhouse with bubblewrap if you are overwintering tender plants in it.
- Insulate outdoor containers with hessian or bubblewrap.
- Tools, seed trays and containers can be washed, dried and stored away to protect from overwintering pests and diseases.
- Insulate pipes and taps to prevent freezing.
- Gather leaves from the lawn and pond to make your own leaf mould. Don’t be too hasty to take leaves from the borders, grubs and bugs amongst them will provide a good source of food for birds.
- If you have a vegetable garden, apply well rotted manure to the across the beds to rot down over winter.
- Provide fat balls in wire cages for birds – remove from plastic nets to prevent birds getting caught in them.
- Put out finely chopped bacon rind and grated cheese for small birds such as wrens. Sunflower hearts and peanuts are ideal for sparrows, finches, nuthatches and tits, whilst thrushes and blackbirds will favour fruits such as over-ripe apples and raisins. Blue tits and robins prefer mealworms.
- Keep a bird bath topped up through winter.
- Hollow stemmed perennials will provide homes for overwintering insects, leave unpruned until spring.
- Consider planting shrubs that will provide fruit over winter and to provide cover at a boundary – perhaps cotoneaster or pyracantha?
- Check bonfires for sheltering animals, such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs and be careful when turning compost heaps. You can provide leaf and log piles in a sheltered corner for hibernation.
- Shallow dishes of water at ground level in the garden will provide a drink for all garden wildlife.
- Hedgehogs should be settling down to hibernate now, if you see one they will probably benefit from some food and then left to find suitable shelter. Feed with dog or cat food and put a dish of water out to drink.
An apple a day…
As autumn brings the main harvest season to the close, it also provides the perfect opportunity to consider adding a fruit tree to the garden for you to benefit from your own bounty. Apple trees are easy to grow and there is a size and variety to suit all gardens and tastes. See below for a few tips on how to choose the right tree, plant it correctly and guarantee a productive crop.
When choosing an apple tree, the main things to consider are ;-
- The kind of apples you like.
- The area in which you live
- Pollination groups
- The eventual size of the tree
1. Whilst some apple trees are self fertile, the marjority require pollination from a different cultivar that flowers at the same time. Apple varieties are categorised in pollination groups according to the time they flower. If you have space for two apple trees, pick two varieties in the same or adjacent pollination group. If you are only planting one tree, take a look in neighbouring gardens or parks to track flowering times.
Details of pollination groups can be found here.
2. Apples are grown on rootstocks which will effect the overall size of the tree, allowing you to grow them in containers, small garden and larger open spaces. The following table can be used as a guide.
|Desired mature height of your apple tree|
|Up to 1.75m||Up to 2.5m||Around 3m||From 3m-4m||5m above|
|Rootstock||M27||M9||M26 / M116||MM106 / MM111||M25|
For a more detailed explanation on advantages and disadvantages of specific rootstocks. There is more information here.
3. If space is limited, you might like to consider growing cordon or espalier apple trees that can be trained against a sunny fence or wall. These can be bought as pot-grown and already trained on a support that can be planted directly into the ground
4. Living in the South will allow you to choose from a larger selection of dessert and cooking apples, with warmer temperatures through spring and summer. The further North you are, consider growing early to mid-season cultivars to provide a more substantial yield.
5. Apple trees can be bought in the following forms.
Standard – the tallest option that will have a clear trunk of approximately 2m.
Half standard – slightly shorter and easier to pick, they have a clear trunk of approximately 1.35m
Dwarf – they have a clear trunk of around 0.75m, with the final size dependant on the rootstock.
1. Apple trees grow best in a sunny, sheltered area of the garden.
2. Ideally, it is best to plant a tree during its dormant stage between November and March, when soils are moist and free from frost. If you buy a bare-root tree, soak the roots for 2-3 hours and plant immediately (unless the ground is frozen). If your tree is container grown, ensure it is well watered prior to planting.
3. Dig the planting hole approximately one third wider and ensure the tree is planted to the depth that it was in the container or at the nursery, with the grafting point above ground level. Backfill with the surplus soil from the hole and firm well to prevent air pockets.
4. If you are staking the tree, they can be secured with ties at this stage. Permanent stakes are recommended for M27 and M9 rootstocks, or temporary ones can be used for newly planted trees until they can self-support.
1. During the first spring or summer, regular watering is recommended whilst the tree becomes established. Apply a bucket of water every week, particularly in dry spells as the root system develops.
2. Initial pruning will sometimes be required, following which a regular pruning will be essential to ensure good health. Contact a reputable garden maintenance company for advice on how and when this should be done.
3. Check tree ties on an annual basis to ensure they are loosened sufficiently as the tree grows.
Bulbs can be used in many ways throughout the garden, whether you plant tulips and alliums ‘en masse’ to provide a vibrant display, or scatter crocuses and snowdrops into the lawn to indicate the first signs of spring. Here are a few tips when buying or planting bulbs.
- Purchase bulbs from a reliable supplier and aim to plant within a week of buying them.
- Try to pick bulbs suitable for the location. Most bulbs prefer sunny locations with good drainage, although woodland bulbs such as bluebells and snowdrops can tolerate damper conditions.
- Plant spring bulbs from October to December, leaving tender summer bulbs until early spring.
- If you are planting a formal border keep to a maximum of three colours for the best effect.
- Plant bulbs approximately two-three times deeper than the length of the bulb.
- For a naturalised look in the lawn, release a handful of bulbs from waist height and plant each one where it lands. Use a bulb planter to dig out a plug and place the bulb in, crumbling the plug back in place.
- Feed the bulbs with a high-potassium fertiliser, from when the shoots first appear until the flower dies back. This will help to provide a good display the following year.
- To brighten up a dull corner, plant a container of your favourite bulb – a more showy variety often looks best. You can ensure good drainage by adding horticultural grit to the compost.
We now have a selection of spring bulbs in store for your selection – feel free to pop into Chestnut Nursery to take a look!
Autumn can be one of the most visually striking times of the year in the garden and is the opportunity to add new shrubs to ensure colourful displays for the months ahead. As the temperatures cool and top growth slows, the soil remains warm after absorbing heat from the summer sun and increased rainfall promotes good root development of newly-planted shrubs, helping them to settle in prior to harsh winter weather.
Far from being a time when things wind down, with a varied palette of autumnal foliage colours available, from deep crimsons to burnt oranges and fiery reds, autumn can be an inspiring time to visit your favourite plant nursery. If you find and buy your plant when they are showing their autumn colour, this will give you the best idea of their potential in years to come.
There is also the chance to identify plants that will provide a longer lasting display of flowers and radiant fruits well into autumn. With soft, warmer sunlight, colours throughout the garden will glow and come to life so now is the time to take advantage of what the season has to offer at Chestnut Nursery!
Trees for autumn colour
Shrubs for autumn colour
Ceanothus ‘Autumnal Blue’
Cottinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’
Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’
Perennials for autumn colour
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant
Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’
Anemone x hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’
Written by Cath Morford.
Our next event at Chestnut Nursery is our Plant Fair on 3rd October with lots of special offers on a great range of plants. We are a project of SWOP (Sheltered Work Opportunities Project, reg charity 900325) which provides meaningful for adults with enduring mental illness. The nursery is open 7 days a week selling a wide variety of perennials, shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses and bedding plants. Find us at 75 Kingland Road, Poole. BH15 1TN (adjacent to Poole Park).
As many of us are aware, spending time in the garden can do wonders to improve our mood, aid relaxation and reduce stress, in addition to the aesthetic benefits of providing natural surroundings to enjoy but it has become more evidential in recent years that gardening has a direct impact on our physical and mental health. So, how can gardening have such a positive impact on our well-being?
Most would agree that time spent in the garden is hugely beneficial to physical health and whilst gardening won’t do much for cardiovascular fitness, movements like digging, weeding, sowing and similar repetitive actions require strength and flexibility helping to prevent health problems especially in the senior years, with regular gardening cutting the risk of heart attack or stroke prolonging life by as much as 30% among the 60 plus age group, irrespective of how much formal exercise was taken. As a pleasurable and goal-orientated outdoor activity, gardening has another advantage over other forms of exercise as those taking part are more likely to continue on a long-term basis and reap the rewards. Unsurprisingly, a healthier diet is often the by-product of gardening, with freshly-grown produce becoming easily accessible, it provides the perfect opportunity to include the fruit and vegetables carefully tended throughout the year in nutritious and well balanced meals.
In addition to the more obvious benefits, there are emotional, cognitive and mental health benefits to gardening which can be particularly helpful to those suffering with conditions leading to social isolation and lack of self-esteem and confidence, for example people with additional needs, those with mental health problems or recovering from a physical illness.
It has been shown that gardening can reduce stress, reducing cortisol levels with improved moods and greater feelings of relief from traumatic experiences such as dealing with illness or a death of a loved one. The production of cortisol by the body is directly linked to stress levels but it also influences more than just the mood; chronically elevated levels of the hormone have been linked to immune function, obesity and memory problems to name a few.
Recent studies support the belief that gardening can also play a vital role in alleviating conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and even dementia. Researchers found daily gardening to represent the single biggest risk reduction in dementia, reducing incidence by 36%. Whilst investigations into the cause, symptoms and prevention of dementia continue, it is clear that by keeping the mind and body active, gardening can provide a protective measure against such a degenerative disease.
The restorative nature of gardening is also highlighted from investigations into a harmless soil borne bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae which has been identified to boost the production of serotonin, a mood regulating brain chemical, indicating that contact with soil may actually elevate mood and decrease anxiety, common symptoms of depression and it is though that exposure to this bacteria may help to boost the immune system.
With the health benefits of gardening becoming more apparent, there are numerous voluntary organisations and charities across the UK which continue to introduce horticultural initiatives to vulnerable people who are likely to gain from the social interaction and sense of purpose in which working on a plant-based project can offer.
A key project, established in 2009, was introduced by NHS Lothian to involve the community in and outside the hospital growing food on up to 15 acres of derelict land belonging to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. The key elements of the project is the promotion of physical and mental health, and building inclusive communities. The project gives scope for patient And NHS involvement alongside the community, with emphasis on creating opportunities for people who might otherwise face barriers to become involved with such activities. The site includes growing plots, field cultivation, a forest garden, a recovered orchard, woodland walks and hospitality areas, with the project offering therapeutic gardening work and training days to develop skills and knowledge for the people attending. Available for local community groups, patient groups and local health projects, if successful, there are genuine hopes that the ideas will be replicated with other health boards in Scotland.
However, you don’t have to go too far from home to find initiatives with a similar ethos and commitment to physical and mental well-being as those described above. Here in Dorset, Chestnut Nursery is based in the centre of Poole, under the charity name of SWOP (Sheltered Work Opportunities Project) providing adults with severe and enduring mental illness with voluntary work through the therapy of horticulture. At Chestnut, volunteers are keen to fill their time constructively but feel unable to cope with the stresses and pressures of open employment. It is the belief of SWOP, that sheltered work in a realistic but pressure-free environment is a great way to promote self-esteem and confidence, providing mutual support, helping to dispel boredom and loneliness, and restore dignity.
Sharon, a volunteer, says about Chestnut Nursery “What a lifesaver it has been, as the logo says ‘Caring for People, caring for plants’, although that is a bit of an understatement. I arrived depressed, lost and despairing yet their empathy, ethos and the nurturing environment to both the volunteers and the plants, allows you to reconnect to yourself and others. My coping and confidence abilities have been re-discovered, whilst gaining a sense of self-worth by helping to run the Nursery, returning the recognition of myself, my smile and the very precious will to enjoy life.”
Humans are social creatures so providing such opportunities to vulnerable members of the community can help to reduce social isolation, develop co-operation and improve communication skills. As well as charitable initiatives, we can all profit from an improved sense of community that gardening might bring, whether that might mean becoming involved in a community gardening scheme, heading to the allotment or merely talking with the neighbour over the garden fence and whilst the evidence is not definitive, studies would suggest that the combination of physical, social and mental benefits associated with gardening, it can only have a positive influence on a person’s balance and wellbeing.
A garden can provide a harmonious place to unwind, relax and restore ourselves, often providing us with a calm and peaceful environment in which we can learn to slow down and forget our daily worries and concerns. Senses are awakened and with the opportunity to escape form technology and the hectic lives that we lead, it provides us with the time to connect with nature, giving us a sense of satisfaction and contentment.
Published August 2015 – Country Gardener magazine
With summer well underway, it is the ideal time of year to add flowering plants to the garden for that extra splash of colour, attracting beneficial insects in the process. A great, adaptable option would be lavender, with plenty of varieties to choose from and guaranteed flowering throughout the summer.
COMBINE … with rosemary, thyme, sage and mint amongst others to develop your own herb garden.
CREATE … a prairie-style or Mediterranean garden with tall, floaty grasses, architectural phormiums or euphorbias and ground-covering sedums.
EDGE … your pathways with a row of lavender to form an attractive, scented low-growing hedge. Planting in swathes will attract more bumblebees and the like.
CHOOSE … complementary colours to make an attractive mixed border. Purple-flowering plants work well with the silver foliage of others, or perhaps try gold and yellow flowers of other plants to provide the perfect contrast. Planting with pinks and whites will give a calmer, more relaxed colour scheme.
There’s lots of options available for using lavender in the garden, why not give it a go? Feel free to pop into Chestnut for any further advice or inspiration.
Thanks for reading!
The Chestnut Nursery team
“Caring for people, caring for plants”
If you’re reading this article then you may well be among the lucky 3 million people who live on the British coast and even if you don’t have a beach front property, sharing only a little proximity with the salty brine that surrounds us can have some huge impacts for our gardens and the plants we can grow.
Here at Chestnut Nursery in Poole, we hear many gripes from local gardeners who struggle to deal with the extreme environment posed, whether it be savage winter storms and salt laden air or impoverished sandy soils, with very little moisture and nutrition, it can be challenging. However, there are many types of plant, both heavily flowering and/or architecturally flamboyant that thrive in these tough conditions.
In fact these seemingly impossible conditions actually present an opportunity to grow a far greater range of plants than the accepted norm would have us believe. There are many southern hemisphere varieties that have proven surprisingly hardy in cold winters offering year round colour. Such plants as the Marlborough Rock Daisy – Pachystegia insignis from New Zealand with its unusual felted shoots bearing oval, glossy, leathery, dark green leaves and solitary white daisy flowers with yellow centres, or the Kerosene bushes – Ozothamnus species from Tasmania with their aromatic Rosemary like leaves of varying shades and brilliant honey scented flowers (to mention but a few), can handle the full brunt of a whipping gale or long summer drought.
So rather than struggling with the ill-suited, let us embrace our coastal conditions, gardening on the edge has never been more fun.
Written by Andrew Verreck
Horticultural Supervisor at Chestnut Nursery
Further tips when choosing coastal plants ….
* In exposed conditions, consider planting evergreen shrubs to act as a windbreak from prevailing coastal winds.
* Grow suitable plants for sandy soils.
* Incorporate organic matter, such as blood, fish and bone to increase nutrients in the soil.
* Adding a mulch in autumn and spring will help to retain the moisture.