Loch Lomond Garden Centre
Home The Centre Tips & Advice Roastís Cafe Loyalty Club News Offers Photo Gallery Contact Links

Tips and Advice

Tips and Advice from Paul Jelf our Botanist
 Be Prepared
Added: 20 Nov 2018
Like the Scouts say ’Be Prepared’. You know a little bit of planning goes a long way and this is no more true than in winter.

The problems in winter can be reduced with having a snow shovel, some rock salt, extra heating, warm clothing, lip balm, wood burning stoves.… All of which are available at our shop.
 Dealing With Diseases
Added: 26 Aug 2016
Plant Health
There are many different diseases that can affect your plants. Most of these are quite 4rare but every garden will suffer from its share of diseases at some point. In the main, most of these diseases are relatively easy to deal with, if you have made the correct diagnosis. As ever, it is best to be able to prevent disease rather them allowing it to take hold and spread in your garden. The best way to control pests and diseases is to stay one step ahead of them and prevent them from becoming a problem in the first place. Stay vigilant at all times, so that when they do occur, you will be able to take decisive action quickly and effectively.

How to Prevent Pests & Diseases
Practice good garden hygiene and you will go a long way to preventing outbreaks of pests and diseases. Clearing away fallen leaves and other debris and consigning any diseased material to the dustbin or bonfire will help to prevent these problems carrying over from one year to the next. It is also a good idea to keep weeds under control, which often acts as a sink of infection. Always keep your eyes for the first signs of pest and disease attack. When you are moving among your plants when watering, weeding or feeding, for instance, stay vigilant for tell-tale signs and symptoms of disease. Check them at night, too, since some serious pests, including slugs and vine weevils, are more active at night that they are at other times. If you see anything untoward, take action quickly so that you can nip stop any problems before they spread and become more serious. Individual pests can be picked up and destroyed, while isolated outbreaks of disease can be pruned off the plant. Similarly, initial colonies of small insects such as aphids can be rubbed out between your finger and thumb. You can also stay one step ahead of pests and diseases by putting down traps and barriers.

Nutrient Deficiencies
When plants run short of one or more particular nutrients, it can show up as leaf symptoms that are easy to confuse with disease symptoms. Magnesium and manganese deficiencies, for example, both cause yellowing between the leaf veins, while potash deficiency often causes the lead edges to yellow or leaf tips to scorch.
The other two main plant nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, are more difficult to spot, causing poor, often pale growth with small leaves that are sometimes discoloured. Fortunately, all these problems are easy to put right by feeding; use a balanced general fertilizer for the three main nutrients and opne containing trace elements to suuply your plants with extra magnesium and manganese.

Leaf Spots
There are several types of leaf spot, some with dark green, brown or black spots, sometimes round, sometimes angular, on leaf surfaces. Coral spot, for example, has distinctive small, coral-coloured pustules. A host of fungi can be responsible, but the problem will only be temporary. Treatment: Prune off affected growth if you find it unsightly and feed the plant to encourage vigorous new shoots. Generally, it is not usually worth spraying for these spots, but if you want you can tackle them by using a suitable systemic fungicide.

Powdery Mildew
These are white, dusty-looking deposits that can be found on the young leaves and stems of plants, usually on the upper surface, causing their growth to become stunted and discoloured. It is caused by a range of fungi. Attacks are most acute during long, dry spells. Treatment: Remove and destroy any affected foliage and keep susceptible plants well watered during drought. Weed carefully, as the disease can be spread by weeds. Spray with a suitable systemic insecticide.

Downy Mildew
Usually seen as yellow patches on the leaves, with grey or purple mould growing on the undersides, downy mildew is most prevalent in mild and damp weather. Treatment: Pick off and destroy any of the affected stems and try to encourage more air flow to flow between the plants by spacing them more widely. Spray healthy looking leaves with a suitable systemic fungicide to prevent a recurrence.

This is a common fungal disease that causes distinctive bright orange to brown spots on the undersides of leaves, with yellow flecks on the upper surface. The spots will eventually darken to black and the symptoms can sometimes spread to nearby plant stems. Different species of rust attack different plants, with roses being particularly affected. Treatment: To control rust, remove and destroy any affected foliage and clear fallen leaves in autumn to help prevent the disease continuing. Try to avoid overhead watering, as the rust spores can be carried back up to the plant by the splashing water. Instead, apply the water at the base of the plant. Spray healthy-looking leaves with a suitable systemic fungicide as necessary.

This disease causes dark spots on the leaves, often with a yellow edge, which can lead to premature leaf drop. It is a serious disease when it affects roses, as it can severely weaken the plant if it is allowed to flourish year after year. Treatment: to control it, remove and destroy any affected foliage and clear fallen leaves in autumn to help prevent the continuation of the disease. This may mean hard-pruning infected plants. Spray healthy-looking leaves with a suitable systemic fungicide.

Grey Mould
Also known as botrytis, this disease causes fluffy grey mould to appear on buds, flowers, leaves or stems and can occur on nearly any garden plant
 Top 20 Slug-Beaters
Added: 11 Aug 2016
We’ve found the following plants to be most resistant to slugs. Of course, resistance does not mean immunity, but if you pick from this list, it’s a satisfying way to repell slugs with extra cost, effort or chemical side effects.

Hardy Geraniums
Japanese Anemones
Lady’s Mantle

Top Tips For Foiling Slugs:

    • Don’t overfeed young plants in spring, as this only encourages soft growth, which slugs love to eat.

    • Try to water the garden in the morning, rather that the evening, as trails of water over the garden create night-time slug highways. Water at the roots if possible, or dip potted plants in buckets of water.

    • Piles of sweet bran under Hostas creates something of a mollusc free-for-all at night. Then just pick them off the piles in the morning.

    • You could grow a sacrificial offering, perhaps a tasty lettuce or two, in your borders, and ensure you regularly pick off the culprits.

    • Encourage natural predators. Plant trees to act as roosts, and berry-producing plants, such as Holly, to entice Thrushes into the garden. Create a pond to provide a habitat for frogs, newts and toads, all of which consume unfeasibly high numbers of slugs each night.

Rabbit Resistant PlantsRabbit Resistant Plants
Added: 11 Aug 2016
No plants can be said to be rabbit proof. Rabbits eat virtually anything, and most plants are vulnerable whe young. However, there are some plants which rabbits generally avoid, and we have drawn on several sources to provide the suggestions listed here.

We would like to expand and improve on this list and would be very interested to hear about your successes (and failures).

In general, rabbits are discouraged by:
Very aromatic plants; pricklesand spines; and tough, leathery leaves.

The following plants are well worth experimenting with:

Aucuba (Spotted Laurel)
Buxus (Box)
Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom)
Cornus (Dogwood)
Ilex (Holly)
Rhus (Spoke Bush, Sumach)
Rosa (Spiny Species)
Rosmarinus (Rosemary)
Ruscus (Butcherís Broom)
Sambcus (Elder)
Symphoricarpus (Snowberry)
Taxus (Yew)

Perennials & Bulbs
Aconitum (Monkswood)
Arundinaria; and other bamboos
Colchicum (Autumn Crocus)
Convallaria (Lily of the Valley)
Digitalis (Foxglove)
Eryngium (Sea Holly)
Euphorbia (Spurge)
Solomonís Seal

 Things To Consider For August - Houseplants
Added: 08 Aug 2015
Houseplant Care
• Many indoor plants benefit from being placed outside on the patio during the summer.
• Ventilate and shade sunrooms and conservatories to prevent scorch damage to leaves.
• Freely water, feed as necessary (as per manufacturers instructions.) Try and water early mornings or late evenings to avoid evaporation and scorch.
• Cyclamen that have been rested over the summer can be started back into growth for winter blooms. Water and carefully replace the top layer of compost.
• Hyacinths, ‘Paperwhite’ daffodils and freesias can be planted in bowls to flower for Christmas.
• Check plants for red spider mite, glasshouse white fly, mealy bug and scale insect on a regular basis.
 Things To Consider For August - Tips & Tricks
Added: 08 Aug 2015
Other Advice
• Collect grey water for watering containers and baskets.
• Hang yellow card sticky traps in greenhouses and conservatories.
• Feed soils with green manures.
• Don’t forget to remove faded flowers on marginal, aquatic plants and cut back any tatty leaves.
• Don’t neglect hanging baskets - keep watering and feeding as well as deadheading.
• Good regular watering of fruit and vegetables will help to avoid disease and splitting especially in the drier weather.
 Things To Consider For August - Vegetable Garden
Added: 08 Aug 2015
Jobs to do in the Vegetable Garden
• You can still sow quick maturing crops like Rocket, Lettuce and Radish, turnips and fennel.
• Carrot fly is still around so check crops carefully.
• Change to high potash feed for container grown fruit.
• Continue consistent supply of water to help avoid diseases, disorders and bolting.
• Water tomatoes and Peppers regularly to avoid blossom end rot.
• Watch out for potato blight and tomato blight.
• Don’t delay summer pruning restricted fruits (fans and espaliers).
• Hang wasp traps in apple, plums, damsons and gage trees.
• Lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners.
• Continue to harvest onions, garlic, sweet corn, figs, beans, carrots, potatoes, salads, raspberries, blackberries, courgette, cucumbers, tomatoes cherries, strawberries, early grapes, blueberries, gooseberries, red and white currents.
• Hoe off weeds in dry weather.
• Continue to cut out old fruited canes on raspberries.
• Treat apple scab.
• Pinching out the top of broad beans once the lowest flowers have set will help prevent aphid attack.
 Things To Consider For August - Greenhouse
Added: 08 Aug 2015
Jobs to do in the Greenhouse
• Remember to ventilate your greenhouse on sunny days and on the warmest days you may need to damp the flooring down to increase the humidity.
• Give plants more space as they grow to help avoid pest infestations.
• Check for vine weevil larvae in containers.
• Use shade paint on outside of greenhouse or blinds to stop temperatures soaring
• Check plants regularly for water especially on Tomatoes to stop blossom end rot.
• Regularly inspect plants for pest and disease.
 Things To Consider For August - Lawncare
Added: 08 Aug 2015
• Raise the mower blades before cutting fine lawns. This will help reduce stress.
• Lawns on thin soils may benefit from a high phosphate feed; this will help toughen roots for the winter period.
• New areas of grass, sown or turfed in the Spring, will need extra water to keep them going through their first summer so when using a sprinkler use a jam jar in the middle of the lawn as a measure. Once the jar has 10-13mm (½ in) in the bottom the lawn has had sufficient water.
• During dry periods cut the lawn a little longer and invest in a mulching mower to help the lawn retain moisture.
• Dig over areas which are due to be grassed later on in the year, leave for a few weeks so any weed can re-emerge and spray off with weedkiller or hoe off so the area is weed free before sowing or laying new turf.
• Avoid using lawn weedkiller in late summer; they are far more effective in the cooler damper autumn weather.
 Things To Consider For August - Garden
Added: 08 Aug 2015
Jobs to do in the Garden
• Water tubs and new plants if dry and liquid feed.
• Deadhead faded flowers to encourage more and prolong flowering period.
• Prune Wisteria.
• Hebes and Lavender can be lightly pruned after flowering.
• Pick over and cut back alpines.
• Make sure early flowering shrubs like Camellia and Rhododendron are well watered during dry periods to ensure good flower bud development..
• Set traps to protect Dahlia blooms from earwigs.
• Take cuttings of Pelargonium and Osteospermum as soon as possible.
• Start collecting seed from your favourite plants.
• Cut back perennials (stems and flowers) on plants looking tired or already starting to die back..
• Give hedges their final trim.
• Prune climbing and rambling roses, which do not repeat flower or produce hips (once flowering has finished).
• Check for first signs of vine weevil damage.
• Check for black spot on roses. It is very common this time of year - spraying many not work, remove fallen leaves and burn them to prevent the disease spreading to other roses.
 Pruning Roses
Added: 17 Jul 2015
Learn how to prune roses during the summer months (the scottish summer). Video is linked below.
Website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rIoUFKhspo
 How to Grow Tomatoes
Added: 17 Jul 2015
Here are a few wee tips on how to grow tomatoes! Just visit the link below.
Website: https://youtu.be/Y9_zIwJtKzI
 Winter interest for your garden
Added: 18 Jan 2015
Quite often in the winter months the garden can look a tad lifeless but there are things you can do to change that just by putting in a few plants that like to show off at this time of year. Plus, because there is little else in flower they really do stand out and look spectacular!
In store at the moment we have a great selection including Hellebores (large flowers that stay open for weeks), winter jasmine (a climbing shrub that produces bright yellow flowers in winter), sarcococca (a fantastic evergreen shrub with scented white flowers), snowdrops (a favourite all over the country) and primroses (a huge range of colours and great for tubs).
There are many others so please feel free to come into the store and ask for any hints and tips on what to get - or even just to come and look at the winter show!
 Looking After Your Christmas Tree
Added: 09 Dec 2014
Buying a Christmas tree should be fun and we hope that the guide below will not only help you to make it so but also make the tree even more rewarding in your home!
When buying a tree the first thing to note is the weight - if it is as light as a feather then it has lost all of itís moisture and so will not last indoors (outdoors it will be fine). Get somebody else to hold the tree and "give it a whirl", though it is good to remember that in most cases part of the tree will not be visible in the house!
Check the size of the stump also as some can be very wide making them difficult to get into a stand (this can involve a lot of sawing and chopping). Look out for low branches too as some of these may need to be clipped off.
Once the tree is home, leave it in a cold area (or outside) until you are ready to put it up. To keep trees fresh it is best to put water in the stand but to make this effective you need to cut off the bottom inch of the stump as this opens up the water transportation tubes inside the tree. Once the bottom has been cut off (best done while it is still wrapped) you have about an hour to get it into water or the base will seal back over again.
Pull the netting slightly up the tree but leave it on whilst it is being put in the stand as it is far easier for it to be bolted into a straight position whilst it is like this and it is also easier to fill the stand with water without getting branches in the way! Once the tree is straight and water is in, unwrap the netting and turn to get your best side - then decorate!
 Whether the Weather
Added: 02 Mar 2014
It seems in the world of gardening all we ever talk about is the weather but in the last few months we have definitely been joined in this conversation by the rest of society!
The rain has been almost incessant which has left the ground saturated and streams and rivers constantly on the edge of flooding (or occasionally, actually flooding), however the most significant thing from the garden centre point of view has been the almost complete absence of frost.

November was frosty but since early December we have only had two days where we have had to put salt down in the car park to prevent us from falling over as we move around! This lack of cold temperatures has resulted in everything coming out far earlier than usual – some of our crocuses have already finished for the year and shrubs such as Potentilla and Spiraea are already in full leaf.

Provided that the temperatures now gradually increase this will not present an issue but if we do get some sub-zero nights then these plants could do with some protection. Ideally this would be in the form of fleece fabric which is just wrapped over the plants at night to give the young leaves some protection, or placed over frames over the young shoots of herbaceous perennials such as Aquilegia, Lupins or Phlox.

If you don’t get a chance to protect these plants then all is not lost as although this set of leaves will get damaged, a replacement set will grow. The only issues will be that the growing season will be delayed and the first burst of nutrients will have been wasted leading to an earlier leaf drop at the end of the season as the plants build up their strength for the following year.

Returning to the matter of saturated ground, it is making it rather unpleasant to garden at the moment but that means it is a good time to get going with propagators and greenhouses as the milder temperatures will help the plants in these. Over the next couple of weeks it will be time to start growing fruit, veg and summer flowers from seed, transplanting seedlings that have already been started such as tomatoes and planting potatoes in tubs or under cloches. Check over your greenhouse, looking for breaks or missing panes and clean it either using a chemical cleaner or a sulphur candle. Also, even if you are not planting your seeds or seedlings right away, come down to the garden centre to select what you want to grow now whilst the full range is available – it is amazing how quickly the popular lines can sell out, even before they should be planted!

Hopefully in the coming weeks we will see more and more of the sun and less of the rain (obviously we do not want it to turn to drought conditions but a bit less rain would be about perfect) and I will see more and more customers coming into the garden centre to help get their garden growing!
Added: 11 Jan 2014
Despite the weather, this is a busy time in the gardening calendar and here are some things you should be doing to get ready for spring:

Get your greenhouse ready

Best practice is to take everything out from last year and wash the windows with detergent and fumigate with a sulphur candle. This ensures that the greenhouse is clear of all insect eggs and fungal spores. Also make sure that you donít reuse any compost bags or growbags that you used last year as they could reintroduce insects and fungus back in to the greenhouse.

Tidy up beds and borders

Cut back any dead branches or dead stems. Hoe the soil to remove any weeds that have grown in the mild winter weíve had so far and turn over to a depth of about 12 inches if possible (though beware of roots from established shrubs) and mix in a good quality compost.

Clear out your vegetable patch for new planting

The best thing to do is follow the advice above and turn over to a depth of around 12 inches and mix in a compost thatís relevant to the types of crop that you want to grow this year ie. potato compost for potatoes and a root vegetable compost for carrots, parsnips etc. If when turning over you start to get a backfill of water, you will need to add some sand or grit for drainage. Once the soil is prepared, cover with a black landscape fabric to prevent weed growth until you are ready to plant.
Autumn is Coming - Get Ready for WinterAutumn is Coming - Get Ready for Winter
Added: 18 Aug 2013
As any gardener will know, there’s always something to do in the garden all year round. Here Paul Jelf, botanist at Loch Lomond Homes and Gardens, shares his list of key autumn garden tasks to make sure you’re prepared for winter and planning for spring.

• To make sure that your lavender comes back strong next year, remember to cut back the flowers as they die off. Aim to cut back the stalks to where they join the shrub.

• With our current warm weather, roses are still going strong so remember to deadhead regularly to keep new flowers appearing. Also, whilst deadheading, keep an eye out for blackspot on the foliage as there’s been lots of it around this year and if you do find any, spray with a fungicide and remove any affected leaves and incinerate.

• Apples, pears and plums may need the fruit thinning out if the crop is heavy. To do this, simply remove the smallest fruit from the tree and make sure to leave a good spread throughout so that the fruit isn’t concentrated in one area. This allows the tree to focus the nutrients and water on the remaining fruit and means that they grow to full size.

• Get a head start on next year’s bedding displays by taking cuttings from summer flowering Pelargonium’s. Remove actively growing side branches with a clean, sharp cut and leave only the top two leaves on the stem. Dip the base of the stem in rooting compound and put plant in to seed and cutting compost. Ideally place in to a propagator or, if not, cover in a clear plastic bag to increase humidity. Once the cutting has started to grow the bag can be removed and the cutting should then be kept in a greenhouse or inside until next year. This procedure can also be followed for annual bedding such as Geraniums, Coleus and Fuchsias.

• We are fast approaching the time when you need to turn your attention to making sure your lawn is in good shape going in to the winter months. To do this you should apply a specific autumn lawn fertiliser that builds up the strength of the grass without encouraging fresh new growth that can get damaged by early frost. This means that even if this winter is severe, your grass will still look good come the spring.

• Now’s the time to think about planting your spring bulbs. These are just becoming available now and we recommend that gardeners pick up theirs soon so they can choose from the full range as well as take advantage of the better quality early season ones that are available at this time of the year.
Roast's Cafe
Monday to Sunday 10am - 5pm

Closed Till 14th Jan 2019 for planned maintenance

Latest News
New Mica Store now open in the Garden Centre
New Mica Store now open in the Garden Centre
22nd Aug

Read Article »
20/11 Winter Products
24/05 GDPR Privacy Policy
10/07 Loch Lomond homes and Garden pick up 2 national awards
Home The Centre Tips & Advice Roastís Cafe Loyalty Club News Offers Photo Gallery Contact Links
Copyright 2019 Loch Lomond Homes & Garden | login Website Design by SAMTEQ
Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook