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Family fun day with Birds

Join us for an action-packed day this Saturday 10th Feb!

We’ve invited our feathered friends from Wise Owl to join us!

From 10am – 4pm, come & meet Wise Owl, who’ll be flying some of their beautiful birds & performing a few tricks; we’ll need you, as it’ll require some audience participation!

You can get up close to the birds & meet the team who do the incredible rescue & rehabilitation work.

Free event for all the family so no need for tickets. Just let us know that you are coming on our Facebook Event Page.

If you are planning a full day out make the most of our Tea Room & reserve a table on 01457 764686. You can see our menu options on our Tea Room website page.

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Guide to Rose health

Bee on a pale pink rose. Small blossom with double petals.

Our guide to rose health will keep your roses the most beautiful flowering shrubs grown in our gardens.

While roses bear blooms in many varieties, shapes & scents, it can be agreed that they also ooze class and elegance. Unfortunately, they’re also amongst the plants most likely to be oozing with sticky sap, spattered with powdery splotches of mildew, or cheerfully festooned with browning, soggy blooms, like so many broken Christmas lights.

If you’ve ever had roses in your garden, you’ll know the pain of trying to nurture a favourite rose through a dizzying array of different illnesses in the hope that it will put on a good show despite a wet summer. The first Gardeners’ World Awards, held in 2009, summed up the frustration of growing roses, with the embattled plants topping the “Most Loved” and the “Most Hated” categories of the gardening poll!

Here at Lymefield, we want to help you to get the most out of your roses, both new and old by creating a guide to rose health. Roses can be very easy to look after, and their versatility and old-fashioned charm, make them an indispensable addition to the garden. The real challenge to growing roses is pinning down what the problem is.

So, to help get you started, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the most common problems affecting roses in the garden, to explain what to look for, why it happens, and how you can keep it from happening again.

So without further ado, here’s Lymefield’s Most [Un]Wanted: Rose Pests & Diseases in our Guide to Rose Health.


I can see little green insects on my rose!

What it looks like

Hungry droves of tiny green (or black) insects cluster under leaves or swamp the vulnerable top-growth of the rose bush. The adult bugs may have wings, depending on species. You might find your buds and foliage covered in a sticky substance that the insects secrete.

Why it happens

These insects are aphids (sometimes known as greenfly or blackfly), an extraordinarily successful group of sap-sucking insects that are capable of rapidly reproducing throughout the year by a process known asparthenogenesis (‘virgin birth’), through which a female aphid can reproduce without the need of a male. This means that a single aphid landing on a new host plant can give birth to literally thousands of new aphids for the growing season. Some aphid species can even give birth to live young that are already pregnant with the next generation!

Unfortunately, with all of those tiny sucking mouthparts to feed, plant health is affected. The main things to watch out for are:

  • Reduced growth and vigour
  • Tender new shoots that wilt or new buds that bear curled, warped leaves in heavy infestations
  • Secondary infections, such as the spread of unsightly black sooty moulds over the sticky honeydew or frass produced by the aphids

How you can keep it from happening again

A spring and summer infestation of aphids ought to be added to Benjamin Franklin’s famous idiom, ‘…nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and aphids’. To preserve your sanity, it’s easiest to accept that there will always be aphids present somewhere in your garden (even over winter, although usually as eggs), and they will always ultimately converge on your roses when the opportunity presents itself. However, there are still a variety of options available to treat or reduce infestations:

            Organic Solutions:

  • Try growing nasturtiums or cosmos as sacrificial plants – plants that are so irresistible to pests like aphids that their presence as a food source might reduce the burden on your roses. Nasturtiums and cosmos are available as part of our bedding range in the Garden Centre.
  • Aphids aren’t very fast, so they’re very easy to squash by hand. If you’d rather not be caught green-handed and sticky by a vengeful giant aphid (nb: currently unknown to science), then a variety of gardening gloves are available to buy in the Garden Centre, to help you hide the evidence.
  • Soapy water in a spray bottle can put a dent in aphid numbers, as it seems to either suffocate the hapless bugs or disrupt their cell membranes. The liquid solution has to coat the insects themselves, and it doesn’t last long, so there’s slightly less risk of affecting beneficial insects like pollinators or predators. Spray bottles are available in the Garden Centre.

Chemical Solutions:

  • A systemic insecticide can be applied to the plant, rather than the aphids specifically. Aphids feeding on your roses will die, and the plants will remain toxic to future generations of aphids (reapplication may be necessary). Probably best reserved for extreme outbreaks, as the solution is also toxic to pollinators.

My rose has black spots on its leaves!

What it looks like

Black lesions appear on the leaves in spring, often fringed with yellow. Leaves are readily shed, and unsightly black, textured scabs can also appear on the stems in more severe infections.

Why it happens

Ah, the creatively-titled Rose black spot. This fungal infection is met with dread by gardeners, but the disease is rarely fatal. The spores colonise new parts of the plant by wind and by rain-splash (whereby water hits infected leaves and splashes across uninfected areas of the plant). The loss of leaves in severe infections can greatly reduce the vigour of the plant.

How you can keep it from happening again

Black spot is often credited with the decline in popularity of the English rose garden. It spreads rapidly from rose to rose, and many strains of Diplocarpon rosae (the fungus responsible) exist, making treatment difficult. However, a good treatment regime might include:

           Organic Solutions

  • Carefully remove all infected plant matter, including leaves and stems. Where a rose has many stem lesions and plant health is already so poor that it is unlikely to withstand a hard prune, then disposal of the plant may be necessary. Secateurs and hard-wearing leather gloves are available in the Garden Centre for particularly thorny encounters.
  • Mulch around the plants with manure every spring, improving plant vigour and smothering fallen leaves to prevent the spread of spores.
  • Choose a resistant rose variety! Whilst far from immune, disease-resistant cultivars such as ‘ Sexy Rexy’, and ‘Loving Memory’ promise less of an uphill battle against fungal infection.
  • Avoid monoculture (where only one kind of plant is grown, as in a rose garden), and incorporate your rose into a mixed planting with a variety of herbaceous perennials such as Salvias, Geraniums and Foxgloves. A beautiful and savvy solution!

Chemical Solutions

  • A systemic fungicide will protect plants for up to 3 weeks, and will also control for other fungal infections. Water or spray on to the plant according to the recommended dosage.

There are tiny orange spots on my rose plant’s leaves!

What it looks like

Plants show yellow lesions or splotches on the surface of leaves. On the underside of the leaf, below the yellow lesions, are the telltale mounds of powdery orange spores. The infection can also warp young stems and gird them with the same orange dust.

Why it happens

Older rose varieties are more commonly infected by Rose rust fungus than newer, more resistant varieties. Outbreaks are most likely to occur in cool, wet spells. Whilst rose rust is less common than black spot, its resting spores can overwinter on objects other than the plant itself, such as fences and the soil surface. These spores are spread by wind and rain splash.

How you can keep it from happening again

Rose rust infections are unlikely to cause serious injury to a plant, but they are unsightly and in some extreme cases, a rose may have to be replaced. Treatment is largely the same as for black spot, so refer to the advice above. We’ve generally found that cultivars that are resistant to black spot hardly seem to develop rose rust at all, but we might just be lucky!


I don’t actually have any roses so I don’t need your Guide to Rose Health!

What it looks like

A gaping hole where a rose ought to be.

Why it happens

Cowardice.

How you can keep it from happening again

 *Ahem*

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Growing your Potatoes from seed potatoes

Pile of seed potatoes on soil with potato leaves next to them

Seed Potatoes are the key!

Seed Potatoes arrived in our garden centre this January.

They are the first thing to kickstart our thinking towards the new season of growing, a timely reminder during a usually barren month to get preparing for Spring. It is time to be looking to get prepared for planting your seed potatoes.

Building raised beds, improving the soil in existing beds with manure or compost, adding nutrients, and improving the drainage of borders will all help when planting time comes around.

Choosing Your Type of Seed Potatoes:

There are two main types of potato. Earlies and Maincrops.

The difference between the two is the time taken to reach the stage of harvesting.

The early varieties go into the ground first and will be ready to be lifted around June/July. Maincrop varieties will be planted around mid to late April and be ready for harvesting in August for immediate use, although potatoes being grown for storage over the following winter should be lifted from September to October.

If you have room enough to grow varieties of both types, you will be able to have potatoes throughout the summer and through to the next year if stored.

If space is limited, choose Early varieties for growing. Although they may not produce as large a yield as Maincrop potatoes, the fact that they can be harvested at a time when potato prices are higher, as well as taking up less space and missing the period most susceptible to blight means that they are the ideal choice.

Chitting Your Potatoes

If you have bought your Seed Potatoes nice and early, ‘chitting’ them is a way of giving them a great start. A few weeks before planting, usually around mid to late February, place your seed potatoes on an egg tray or a wooden tray. Then move them into a light (but not sunny) room, safe from frost. After 5 to 6 weeks they will have developed several shoots (chits) meaning that they have a good head start for when they are planted into the ground. For Early varieties especially, this is a vital process. The great thing about growing potatoes is that they will succeed in almost any type of soil. Having said this, there is no harm in trying to provide them with the best growing media possible, for the best possible results come harvest time.

Planting Your Seed Potatoes

When you are ready to plant your Seed Potatoes, dig a 10cm deep, V-shaped trench. Make sure that there is room to pile earth back on to the exposed tubers. The covering of the potatoes whilst in the ground is vital.

Guide to planting times:

Plant First Earlies and Salad Crops from March-April

Plant Second Earlies and Maincrops from April-May

For those of us in the north, it is usually best to wait a little later than March, until early April to plant First Earlies due to the colder weather.

Planting Distances For Seed Potatoes

Plant First Earlies, Second Earlies, and Salads are 30cm apart with 45cm between your rows.

Plant Maincrops between 35-40cm apart with 65cm between rows.

Maintenance

Firstly, in the early stages if there is a chance of frost or snow when chutes have begun to poke through the surface, draw some soil over them. The main bit of ‘maintenance’ to perform on your potatoes is known as ‘earthing up’. Green stems and leaves will grow up out of the ground from your potatoes and ‘earthing up’ is the process of drawing up a mound of soil along either side of these stems or ‘haulms’. It should be done when the haulms are around 9 inches in height. Use a hoe, and break up and loosen the soil between each row of potatoes, removing any weeds. Then draw the soil inwards towards each haulm creating a flat-topped ridge around 6 inches in height. Some people do this gradually over the season as the plants grow further, some just once. Either method is sufficient.

Earthing up not only helps to prevent weeds around your potatoes, but it also aids drainage. The biggest advantage though is that any sunlight exposure to the actual tubers themselves will turn them green thus making them poisonous. Be sure to water the potatoes liberally during any dry spells, especially once the tubers have started to form.

Harvesting Your Potatoes

Earlies – Wait until flowers have opened before examining the tubers. Do this by removing soil from a small part of the ridge. They are ready for harvesting as new potatoes when they are the size of hen’s eggs. Insert a flat-tined fork into the ridge well away from the haulm and lift the roots forward into the trench.

Maincrops – If you are storing your Maincrops, cut off the haulms once the foliage has turned brown and the stems have withered. Wait for 10 days before lifting the roots. Dry the tubers by laying them on the soil for a few hours after you have dug them up, then store them in a cool, frost-free, airy place away from direct sunlight. Sheds can be fine, but don’t leave them directly on the floor as they may get damp. Hessian and paper sacks are good for this but steer away from using plastic as this may cause them to sweat. Be sure to remove all tubers, however small, to avoid any problems the following season.

Potatoes Grown In The Container

Container growing is an easy method. Plant your seed potatoes about 10cm from the base of your container, (multi-purpose compost will be fine for this, add well-rotted manure if you are feeling lavish), then add about the same amount of soil above them. As the plant grows, keep adding compost until you reach the top of your container then allow the plant to grow normally. As a rough guide, it is recommended that 2 seed potatoes be planted in a container of 40cm depth and 40cm diameter, so use this as a basis for how many you will plant.

For any more help or advice get in touch via our contact page, come into the Garden Centre or ring us on 01457 764686.

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Food Delivery to your Door!

Food Delivered to your Door!

Lymefield Farm Shop can create food boxes from our locally sourced products covering basic needs to meal deals. These boxes contain everything you need and can now be delivered to your door!

Whether its a pizza box, a cheese & biscuit box, or a boozy box, Lymefield have you covered with their range of food. All of our food can be collected from the Farm Shop when ordered online but now this food can be delivered home to you. Minimum spend for delivery: £25.

Postcode for your Lymefield Delivery

Depending on your postcode, order your box and your Lymefield food will be delivered to your door.

Order online or email food@lymefield.com and our team will contact you within 48 hours to confirm the date/day of delivery.

Our team is out delivering Wednesday & Thursday within the local area. Each local postcode will have deliveries on a specific day as detailed below. Other postcodes will be accommodated when contacting the food delivery team direct at food@lymefield.com.

Now it’s time to work out which food box to have!

Delivery days

Day Postcode
Wednesday  SK13, SK14 (e.g Broadbottom, Glossop & Hollingworth)
 SK14, SK15, SK16, SK6 (e.g. Mottram, Godley, Staybridge, Romiley & Marple)