As their slogan reads – ‘Notcutts have been helping gardeners since 1897’. They were nurserymen for over fifty years before they opened one of the first garden centres in the 1950s and today they continue to advise gardeners and source quality British-grown plants. One way and another, there is a pretty impressive level of expertise within the company, which is now owned by the 4th generation of the family. I’ve used the Notcutts Book of Plants (now in its 17th edition) as an invaluable source of reference all of my gardening life and visited several of their garden centres over the years, always leaving with a fine plant or two. So, as a company that is good at reinventing itself, it’s good to see that they have come bang up to date and you can now shop online from their extensive collection of garden tools and plants, as well as delving into their Garden Library where they share their knowledge and expertise.
It’s clear that Notcutts understand their customer base. There are sections of the new site that look to inspire as well as provide ideas.The shopping pages have clear imagery featuring products in use. In the instance that you can’t find what you’re looking for visitors can consult the online help centre. Or of course you could use their online facility for finding your nearest Notcutts should you wish to talk to the experts face to face. Why not visit Notcutts Today.
The all-encompassing title gives some idea of the content of this entertaining and informative new online gardening magazine. It has been created by an independent group that includes some of the finest garden photographers and writers, together with a miscellany of other talented people who contribute to the mix in many and various ways. Needless to say, the photography is always eye-catching and sometimes downright gorgeous and the variety of topics covered makes it a great read. So, whether you want to know how Cleve West creates his show gardens, have a yen to grow some peas, marvel at the magnificence of magnolias, or make a beetroot cake, you will find all of these and much more contained within its digital pages. The pace changes nicely from practical to inspirational, with many stopping off points in between. Initially I found myself leafing through it quickly to admire all the images, but I soon realised that this wasn’t the digital equivalent of fast food – what I really needed to do was sit down and digest it page by page. Which I did – and very satisfying it was too. Garden * Life * Love is available online from www.gardenlifelove.com at £3.80 per issue or £12 for an annual subscription.
I’ve just taken delivery of my second lot of plants from Plant Me Now. There’s Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’, a gorgeous deep blue herbaceous salvia that I’ve lusted after ever since I saw them in an Ulf Nordfjell Chelsea garden a few years ago. The other plants are Digitalis ‘Dalmation Rose’ which are also most welcome as you can never have too many foxgloves in the garden as far as I’m concerned. They are all sturdy young plants and in a normal spring I would have planted them straight into the garden, but given the continued Siberian conditions, I’ve potted them up in the greenhouse where they join the current log jam of plants that are waiting for spring to arrive. The same is true of any bedding plants that might tempt you on their website, pot them up and keep them undercover so they can carry on growing until it’s warm enough to plant them out.
Slightly off-piste from my usual reviews, but I want to share a link to a website that I’ve just tried and liked. Orchard Cards is an online shop that specialises in cards, ribbon and wrapping paper, with lots of wildlife, countryside and garden themes on offer. If you are anything like me, when an event takes you by surprise you will find yourself scrabbling through a drawer, or dashing off to the shops looking for a suitable card. It would be especially useful if you live nowhere near a decent card shop. I thoroughly enjoyed making my selection which arrived in the twinkling of an eye once I’d placed my order. I’ve now got myself a stash of appropriately floral (what else would friends expect) cards, some very pretty auricula wrapping paper and a reel of rather classy brown organza ribbon. Bring on the birthdays!
When the time comes to reconnect the hose (hard to imagine at the moment) I will be trialling the new Handheld Gun Plus from Pure Rain, which rather cleverly oxygenates the water by adding millions of minute bubbles to the water, emulating what happens when raindrops gather oxygen as they fall through the air. Apparently the extra oxygen helps the plants to absorb nutrients faster and more efficiently, which is why plants look so perky after a shower. This also helps them to grow stronger and be more resistant to disease. I save as much rainwater as I can in waterbutts, but it’s never enough, so it’s good to know that there’s a simple way to improve tap water so that when I do need to use it, it isn’t second best. The Pure Rain range, including handheld guns, a watering wand and a water station, is available from RRP £19.99. You can find stockist details and more information about the products at www.purerain.co.uk.