The directory of community and business organisations in Broadstone Dorset

Residents Association MagazinearrowSummer 2003 - 1


Beecroft Nursery has its roots in Broadstone. Its founders John and Rita Soffe had a house of that name on the site of what is now Hadleigh House surgery in Story Lane with grounds extending into what is now Somerfields' car park. When the council wanted to acquire the site they offered the Soffes a four acre site in Queen Anne Drive, mainly woodland and rough pasture.

The nursery seems to have evolved almost by chance out of John's landscaping business, fuelled by the demand for trees, shrubs and plants on the new estate then being built at Merley. Areas of woodland and pasture were cleared as the need arose for potting sheds, growing areas and greenhouse. This has led to the current rather informal layout - with no right angles, few straight lines and several different levels - a source of intense frustration to 'He who must be obeyed' (tho' he rarely is!). Not the easiest site to work with, still enclosed by the green beech hedges of the original gardens has a certain charm and intimacy - a quality not found at the supermarket!

Today the nursery continues under the ownership of Damon Corio who started his horticultural career as a mere lad working with John and Rita. Nowadays it is a much more difficult world for the small independent garden centre but despite increasing competition from the big 'multiples' and DIY stores we still have a role to play. Using smaller growers who often have their own special fields of expertise, we can offer that 'something different' usually grown to a high standard and while we cannot offer the hugely discounted 'loss leaders' of the large stores we do maintain very competitive prices. Above all we try to provide a personal service giving advice where we can, we may not always know the answers but will endeavour to find out and can sometimes source that hard to find plant. We may not tell you "to have a nice day" but will give friendly helpful service.

The nursery trade is, by its nature, very seasonal and we are always looking at least two seasons ahead. By the time this magazine is printed, spring bulbs will be on sale and we will be reviewing the season's successes and weeding out the poor performers. August is a good time to be doing this in our own gardens too, the summer's main glory is fading but we can look at ways of extending it into the autumn. Many grasses come into their own at this time with often spectacular seed/flower heads particularly stipas, miscanthus, briza and deschampsia. A wonderful prairie effect can be achieved by intermingling these with daisy flowered types such as rudbeckia, echinacea, helenium asters and erigeron, all flowering well into the autumn - for a vibrant summer show use poppies - icelandic, welsh or annual all work well. Keep your summer bedding working by dead heading and watering. If you remembered to feed through the season you will still be enjoying a good display. But the most important advice at this time is, to sit back and enjoy what you have created. There won't be many more balmy summer days so make the most of them!

P.S. September is a good time for taking cuttings of your favourite roses. Take a 9" cutting; cut off the soft tip above a leaf; trim the base at a slant; use a spade to make a slit in the soil in a sheltered part of the garden; trickle some sand in; insert your cutting and firm the soil around. In six months you should have a well-rooted cutting.

Readers presenting the voucher during August or September will receive 10% discount at Beecroft. We look forward to meeting you.

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Last Updated: 20th February 2004