Website for the over 60s  October 2017
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Garden Tips from
National Garden
Gift Vouchers

One of the most exciting group of plants to brighten up any part of the garden is Heuchera

October is one of the most colourful times of the year. Many flowers are still blooming and the leaves on trees and shrubs are beginning to change to fiery colours like red, yellow and orange.

It’s a good time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials as the soil still has some warmth and will help to get them established and an excellent time to plant conifers.

National Conifer Week, which takes place in October, highlights the many benefits of growing conifers in your garden. Conifers are cone-bearing seed plants and include cedars, cypresses, firs, junipers, larches, pines, spruces, and yews. Whilst being practical and useful, conifers are also visually stunning and can transform a garden into something quite magnificent.

They are a wonderful way of adding colour and shape to your outdoor space especially as many conifers change colour throughout the year. With several hundred varieties of conifers available in the UK, there is one to suit every type of garden, and they are easy to look after. They need good drainage and water to get them established, but once growing will need little attention as they are pretty disease resistant and maintenance free.

In addition to conifers, another way to bring colour to the garden at this time of year is with Autumn bedding plants. One of the most exciting group of plants to brighten up any part of the garden is Heuchera. Native to North America where their roots, know as alumroot, have been used in traditional medicines for years, Heuchera were originally grown for their flowers – dainty spikes of red, pink and white bells. They carry their plume like flowers high above their crowns of leaves, but gardeners are now mainly interested in their foliage which comes in a variety of colours.

Heucheras grow in full or partial sun, in well composted soil and are fairly pest resistant. They can be established as ground cover in many garden situations like under trees where grass could struggle.

October is often a time spent clearing up after the Summer and preparing for the Winter and Spring ahead so on the ‘to do’ list for this month is…

Garden Checklist

· Plant Autumn colour

· Create a bird feeding area

· Move tender plants inside or into a greenhouse to protect against frost, or fleece

· Harvest autumn vegetables

· Collect falling leaves

· Plant spring flowering bulbs

· Prune tall growing roses

· Dead head all faded flower heads and remove any parts of plants that have died back

National Garden Gift Vouchers

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Visit to see the outlets that sell and accept them.

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Brilliant Bulbs
for Christmas

Hippeastrum, commonly known as Amaryllis, have large flowers and are easy to grow which makes them a popular choice for novice gardeners

This month, The Potted Garden, tells us about growing bulbs indoors so that they are in flower in time for Christmas.

Growing bulbs in containers to enjoy in the home at Christmas is one of the seasonal traditions that a lot of gardeners really enjoy, but it does take a little bit of planning.

For bulbs to be in flower for Christmas you need to plant them in pots now – and two favourites are the Amaryllis and Paperwhite.

Hippeastrum, commonly known as Amaryllis, have large flowers and are easy to grow which makes them a popular choice for novice gardeners. They are tender plants so are best grown indoors and generally flower within six to ten weeks of being planted. They come in a variety of colours - red, white, pink, salmon and orange – and there are many striped and multicoloured varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

You should grow amaryllis in a pot only slightly bigger than the bulb itself. Use multipurpose compost and plant the bulb so that about a third remains above the compost surface. Water the compost lightly and place in a warm, bright and draught-free position.

As the amaryllis bulb starts to grow, keep the compost moist but don’t let it sit in water. It’s a good idea to turn the pot regularly which will prevent the flower stem bending towards the light. As soon as the flowers start to open, move your amaryllis plant to a cooler position to prolong its flowering period.

Paperwhites are pretty, sweet-smelling, small flowered daffodils that produce an avalanche of pure white, paper thin flowers. More at home in the Mediterranean region, they have become a fragrant addition to the home in the UK.

To grow Narcissus ‘PaperWhite’ make sure you buy bulbs sold for growing as pot plants indoors.. Use any good multi-purpose compost or bulb fibre and plant several bulbs in each pot, packed closely together, with their tips just below the surface of the compost.

Water well, but be careful not to over water. Place in a cool place for around eight weeks, check regularly to see if the soil has dried out, before watering. At the beginning of December bring the pot into a warm position – such as a sunny windowsill - for the best flowering. When the plants grow to their full height they may need to be supported.

Gardening Gifts from Finch & Crane

Glass Bulb Vases from Finch & Crane

Check out the fabulous range of gifts for your home and garden from Finch & Crane.

Add some floral delight to your home with these stunning recycled Glass Bulb Vases. Perfect for hyacinth bulbs.

Available in a selection of colours. Dimensions are 16cm x 9cm. Price is £11.95 each.

Herb Drying Rack from Finch & Crane

This rustic Herb Drying Rack is ideal for the rustic kitchen gardener. Practical for hanging herbs, lavender and flowers these charming drying racks will also fill your home with beautiful fragrances while also creating a really eye-catching decoration.

Please note the dryer does not include the wooden hanger. Measurements are 25cm diameter. Price is £5.00.

Vegetable Brush from Finch & Crane

This handy rustic Vegetable Brush is perfect for cleaning up muddy potatoes and other home grown vegetables.

Practical and handy for preparing food in the kitchen, the brush is beautifully crafted from high quality materials.

Vegetable Brush from Finch & Crane

Robust, well designed and hard wearing. Price is £8.00.

For more information about Finch & Crane visit

Homes & Gardens


Retired Couple Make the Move to Stockton

Mike and Kathleen Key with their Labradoodle, Murphy

      Mike and Kathleen Key with
       their Labradoodle, Murphy

A couple from Kent are making the most of their retirement in a new home at the landmark Vivo development at Northshore in Stockton-on-Tees, from Lovell and sister company Muse Developments.

Mike (70) and Kathleen (68) Key, along with their Labradoodle Murphy, can now enjoy walks along the river Tees with views of the iconic Infinity Bridge, after making the 280 mile move in order to live closer to their youngest daughter Caroline.

Mike and Kathleen were originally looking to downsize from their three bedroom house to a second hand home, but they found the brand new homes at Vivo much more appealing.

Mike and Kathleen Key with their Labradoodle, Murphy

Mike says, “We found it more convenient to move into a new build home as we didn't want to deal with the repairs and upkeep of a second hand home. The design of our new home is ideal for us to enjoy our retirement, as it is spacious and the walks along the river are easy to access.

“We both also like the layout of the development as it is spacious and we don't feel closed in by lots of houses. We also don't need to travel as far to see our youngest daughter who lives in Middlesborough.

“The whole process of buying a home and the customer service has been fantastic. The sales advisers at Vivo have been very patient and understanding and helped us to make our move from Kent up to Stockton as easy as possible.”

Hollie Reynolds, Senior Residential Sales and Marketing Manager for Vivo says, “The homes at this development are ideal for homebuyers looking for somewhere quiet to retire. The development is situated right next to the river, and is only one and a half miles away from Stockton-on-Tees city centre.

“We believe in the importance of delivering excellent customer service. It has been a pleasure helping Mike and Kathleen in their move up North and we hope they both enjoy their retired life in their new home.”

Vivo is part of Muse's Northshore development, which includes offices and opportunities for leisure, as well as a new Hampton by Hilton Hotel, which is due for completion in July 2018. Mike and Kathleen now live in a two bedroom Aura style home.

Located five miles west of Middlesborough, the development has excellent national and international travel links and is close to the A66, A1 (M) and A19.

For more information about Vivo homes visit

Save on Heating Bills With Energy Saving Window Blinds

Duoshade Thermal blinds from Blinds 2 Go

Concern about our environment is certainly a major issue. But hitting home more directly is the cost of heating bills. There are several ways to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of your home, particularly in areas where heat escapes more easily, such as through windows. One of them is to fit thermal window blinds which provide good insulation properties.

Duoshade Thermal blinds from Blinds 2 Go are the most energy efficient blinds you can buy! The Duoshade blind will keep your home insulated all year round and also reduce your energy bills. Made from a double pleated structure with Aluminium lined honeycomb pockets it helps keep rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. What's more they're blackout and water-resistant too making them as practical as they are pretty.

Duoshade Thermal blinds from Blinds 2 Go

Available in a wide range of colours and also a cordless 100% child safe option Duoshade blinds are the perfect choice for bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms in fact anywhere where you have an issue with heat escaping through the windows.

Prices start at just £16.00 for a made to measure Duoshade blind measuring W40cm x D40cm.

For free fabric samples and further information visit

Warm up Your Home with a Ludlow Stove

The Penman efficient Vega 100 Stove

Warm up your home and stay warm and cosy in the cold weather with a Ludlow Stove.

The Penman efficient Vega 100 Stove is perfect for most room sizes and has an output of just under 5kW, meaning there is no requirement for additional room ventilation. It is available in a variety of options including gas with realistic ceramic coals, standard multi fuel, or a wood burning clean burn model.

The Charnwood Skye Stove

The Charnwood Skye is a new state-of-the-art stove with a remarkably efficient combustion system. It’s innovative burn technology ensures efficiencies of up to 86% and exceeds the new Eco Design standards and Defra exemption limits; allowing wood to be burnt cleanly in smoke control areas. The Skye has a refreshing design aesthetic; classically minimal with landscape proportions and a soft modern edge.

Available in eight colours and two sizes, the Charnwood Skye's innovative combustion system ensures it burns cleanly with outstanding efficiency. An exceptionally clean wood burning and multi-fuel stove. Materials include plate steel, cast iron, fire bricks and ceramic glass.

The Charnwood Island 2 is a middle sized stove

The Charnwood Island 2 is a middle sized stove. This stunning double door stove produces a rated heat output into the room of 8kW and it can also take a log length of up to 440mm (17").

A revolution in multi-fuel heating was created when the Island range was first launched with its clean burning, single controlled stoves. Producing a rated output into the room of 8kW of heat it can take a log length of up to 440mm. It can burn logs in smoke control areas if fitted with a smoke reduction kit.

laze Hearth Plates create a clean, modern platform to stand your stove

Vlaze Hearth Plates create a clean, modern platform to stand your stove. An excellent alternative to glass or polished stone they can be used on their own or alongside heat shields and insert surrounds for a seamless floor to wall solution.

The smooth gloss surface finish is heat resistant, easy to clean and available in a full range of colours, overlays and designer patterns. Each hearth features a smooth radius edge and is insulated with fire rated fibreboard to take the heat and weight of the stove while still being light to handle.

For more information about Ludlow Stoves click on 


  Pretty Planters and
      Gifts from The
Contemporary Hom

Dark Pink Rose Bush Artificial Plant from The Contemporary Home

Brighten up your home with the pretty range of artificial plants and vases from The Contemporary Home.

This Dark Pink Rose Bush Artificial Plant is a great way of adding the look of fresh plants without the worry of keeping them alive! The dark pink rose artificial plant is realistic in its fake soil and terracotta pot. Price is £18.00.

Cream Rose Bush Artificial Plant from The Contemporary Home

The Contemporary Home also offers this elegant Cream Rose Bush Artificial Plant, perfect for those who don't have 'green fingers'.


A great way of livening up a dull conservatory, dark hallway or bringing warmth to a guest bedroom. Price is £18.00.

Heavy Weighted Plant Pot from The Contemporary Home

If you prefer nurturing your own plants, this Heavy Weighted Plant Pot in rustic stone concrete with a printed flower design is a great buy for both indoor or outdoor use.

A fantastic present for any green fingered enthusiast. These pots would look great filled with a plant and given as a gift. Available in two sizes, price is £5.00 for the Small and £9.00 for the Large plant pot.

Set of Two Grey Storage Baskets from The Contemporary Home

This set of Set of Two Grey Storage Baskets is an essential for any country house or room with a rustic rural feel to it. Why not fill them with brimming bunches of flowers, either fresh or faux, pine cones scented with your favourite essential oil, or use them to store hand towels and toiletries in the bathroom.

Even stood alone these artisanal decorative baskets add a lovely touch of traditional charm to any nook and cranny in the house. The Small Basket is 25.5cm x 22cm x 20cm and the Large Basket is 35cm x 29cm x 27cm. Price is £20 for the set of baskets.

Bubble Wrap Glass Vase from The Contemporary Home

This statement Bubble Wrap Glass Vase is the perfect way to display cut flowers. The vase is gloriously textured with a repeated dimple effect that gives the impression of hundreds of bubbles rising up from its surface.

Not only would this clear glass vase look good filled with flowers, but you could really create a seaside style by filling it with pebbles, shells and other beach combing curiosities. Height is 20cm, top diameter is 11cm and bottom diameter is 10cm. Price is £12.00.

White Fish Bowl from The Contemporary Home

Bring a fresh beach style look to your home with this gorgeous White Fish Bowl. Part of an extended range of nautically themed kitchen ware that is both subtle and stylish whilst managing to be just that little bit different, it looks stunning filled with lemons, fresh fruit or dried flowers.

Perfect for displaying in your kitchen, guest room or conservatory, this fabulous bowl with a fish design is lightly brushed back where embossed to reveal a rustic brown hue. Price is £9.00.

For more information about The Contemporary Home click on

  Seedball Launches
 New Plantlife Garden
     Wildflower Mix

Plantlife Garden Wildflower Mix from Seedball

  New Plantlife Garden Wildflower Mix
      from Seedball helps fundraise for
           Habitat Restoration Project

Award-winning eco outfit Seedball has just launched its new Plantlife Garden Wildflower Mix

The special mix of British wildflower seeds has been created in collaboration with the wild plant conservation charity, Plantlife and includes wildflowers that are most likely to thrive in nutrient rich soils commonly found in gardens - Meadow Buttercup, Oxeye Daisy, Red Clover, Self-Heal and Yarrow.

The special mix of British wildflower seeds has been created in collaboration with the wild plant conservation charity, Plantlife

Sale proceeds will be donated to Plantlife to help fund habitat restoration at their newest reserve, Greena Moor in Cornwall. Greena Moor is an excellent example of culm grassland found only in Cornwall, Devon, the New Forest and South Wales.

Simply throw the seed balls onto soil or compost in a garden bed or planter, on local wasteland as part of a community project or scatter them along the roadside - water well (or wait for rain) and watch them grow.

Made from clay, peat-free compost, seeds and chilli powder, seed balls have their own mini ecosystem, protecting seeds from birds, ants and slugs and giving them the nutrition they need to get a head start and germinate easily.

The special mix of British wildflower seeds has been created in collaboration with the wild plant conservation charity, Plantlife

Each tin has 20 seed balls with 30 seeds per ball, RRP £5.99

Information on the complete Seedball wildflower and edible range and stockists is available at 

 Sort out your Clutter
  with the RowHouse
Shelf from Red Candy

Sort out your Clutter with the RowHouse Shelf from Red Candy

Sort out your clutter, ornaments and collectibles in style with this cheerful style RowHouse Shelf from Red Candy.

This unique wall storage cabinet is shaped like a four-storey town house; complete with chimney, staircase and different rooms to ensure your trinkets are kept as safe as houses.

Perfect for storing mementos such as thimbles and pebbles and other bits and bobs such as keys and loose change, this unique shelving unit adds homely charm to proceedings.

There is even a tall room inside the shelf with a high ceiling which is ideal for a small vase!

This delightfully imaginative design will get on like a house on fire with existing décor, and is sure to be a hit with your guests.

The shelf is made from epoxy-coated iron, and comes complete with mounting hardware.

The RowHouse Shelf is available in a choice of black or white finish. Made from epoxy-coated iron, dimensions are 36.2cm x 9cm x 59cm. The shelf includes mounting hardware for easy fixing to your wall. Price is £80.

For more information about the RowHouse Shelf click on