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Back in the black

According to Horticulture Week (a rather boring trade mag, which I rarely read; it is pro-peat and seems pro-big biz) last week's sales in garden centres were as good as 2017's Easter Weekend. I'll go along with that analysis; Bud was nicely busy, and the bank account is looking much healthier. Thanks shoppers!

We're well stocked with perennials, roses, climbers, shrubs, herbs, fruit trees/bushes and more: I've placed a small order for summer bedding, which will be available by the end of the week, but it's still early, and it pays to be cautious as the weather could take a turn for the worse. Our Bud-grown, peat free tomatoes are a little later this year due to the cold weather, but 'Tumbling Tom' is ready if you want an easy outdoor variety to grow in a pot.

As I type it is very warm and breezy, so make sure you water any new plant purchases well.

Very best wishes,


Hydrangea Heaven

I try to ignore the 'What's hot? What's not?' obsession, both in my professional and private life... but hydrangeas have been making a bit of a comeback over the past few years. We currently have a dozen different varieties in stock, though of course, they are far from flowering stage, and some may still be semi-naked. It is better to plant them early so that their roots can settle and grow, for maximum floriferousness later on. Here's Bunny Guiness on hydrangeas, where she dispels the myth that they need copious amounts of water to thrive, though they do seem to do well in Manchester...

I've picked out four of my favourites, from our current stock:

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' - pictured above
Oh Annabelle. A gorgeous shrub, with soft, apple green leaves. She can grow to 6ft tall, but if cut back hard each year, she will be shorter with larger flowers, which can reach a whopping 25cm across. The photo was taken at Scampston Hall, North Yorkshire last year.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'You and Me Together'
If you like frou-frou, you'll love this cultivar: the double-flowered heads change colour as the season progresses, and like many of the macrophyllas (AKA mopheads, AKA hortensias), the colour will vary depending on your soil's pH. Initially the 'petals' are a fresh green, turning soft pink. As summer continues, the colour becomes a richer shade of pink before turning deep rose-red towards autumn. It is a compact shrub at just 3ft x 3ft, and perfect for a pot - if you fancy blue flowers, use ericaceous compost.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ice Crystal'
A compact, upright shrub which grows to 5ft tall, with oak-like (quercus is Latin for oak), silvery-tinged leaves. It bears conical clusters of stunning, pure white flowers. The leaves turn a fantastic plum-red in autumn before they drop. A plant for all seasons.

Hydrangea serrata Kiyosumi - pictured below
A very attractive hydrangea with purple/bronze foliage in spring that deepens to dark green, followed by white lace-caps with pink margins. The margins gradually spread into the white to become entirely deep pink as the flowers mature. This plant will not turn blue if planted in acidic soil.

New stuff

I'm plugging my husband's coppice business again, this time to promote his locally made lumpwood charcoal, which is now available to buy at the garden centre, in addition to the very brilliant Unicorn Grocery, in Chorlton. Did you know that 90% of charcoal bought in the UK is imported? And although often FSC approved, working conditions can be hellish for the burners in South America. Jason has been involved at every stage of the charcoal making process: he felled the trees in Clayton Vale, transported the wood to the kiln in Philip's Park, loaded the kiln and oversaw the burn, emptied the kiln, graded the finished product, and then bagged it up.

We now stock German company Neudorff's range of eco-friendly gardening products, including a granular plant food, organic slug pellets, liquid seaweed, a cat repellent based on garlic, fly sticks for houseplants, and an off-the-shelf nematode for vine weevil and chafer grub control. If you've used nematodes before, you'll know that they usually have to be kept refrigerated, but not in this case. If you need more information on how to use nematodes, and their mode of action, pop in for a chat.


There seems to be a lot going on at Bud over the next few months, so I thought I'd better make a list:

Sunday 29th April // 12-3pm Let's Talk About Our Herbal Heroes
Sunday 6th May // 12-2pm Pinch Pot Workshop with Margo.Ceramics
Sunday 3rd June // 11am-5pm Levenshulme and Burnage Open Gardens
Thursday 7th June // 6.30-8.30pm Colour In The Border
Sunday 10th June // 12-4pm Pottery Sale with the Clay Studio

Open Gardens' programmes will be on sale from Wednesday 2nd May, and are available to buy from Bud and Trove; hopefully we'll have another venue, but that has yet to be confirmed. They cost £5 per person, and will gain you entry to 25+ gardens, yardens, alleys, and community spaces in this diverse area. Proceeds from the sale of the programmes will be donated to Burnage Good Neighbours, Perennial and torture survivors in the northwest. As in previous years, there will be a botanically themed pop-up Garden Cafe at Bud, run by local Freedom From Torture volunteers. Cake donations welcome!

Below: Brecon Avenue Alley, Burnage, which received a Gold Award in 2017's Britain In Bloom competition. The alley can be visited as part of Levenshulme and Burnage Open Gardens.

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Bud Garden Centre · Omer Drive · Burnage · Manchester, Greater Manchester M19 2JN · United Kingdom

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