Welcome to Ferndale Garden Centre

We love plants and gardens, and love to make your gardens more beautiful too.

While we’re refurbishing our web presence, feel free to nab some helpful gardening tips (provided courtesy of our very own BBC Radio Sheffield’s Garden Expert Neil Grant), and take a look at some of the stunning offers coming up in store.

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Reasons to visit

The Ferndale team know their stuff

Formal training, a passionate interest in plants and gardens and a love for helping customers all combine to create the Ferndale Customer Care Team. With heaps of ideas and knowledge, each one is ready and willing to help both the novice and the experienced gardener to create their own beautiful garden.

The in house gardening expertise is further enhanced with Neil Grant’s input, managing director and BBC Radio Sheffield’s Garden Expert.

Put a group of garden & plant lovers together and you’ll see bursts of colour and creative ideas that you can copy at home. Revitalise your garden simply by placing different plants together, in ways not usually seen. Get ready to be surprised!

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Join the Club

Bonus cardBecome a Bonus Card Member for FREE!

It’s a win win situation when you become a Bonus Card Member. We’ll send you free e-newsletters packed full of gardening tips provided courtesy of our very own BBC Radio Sheffield Garden Expert, Neil Grant. Plus you’ll receive plenty of money-off vouchers to brighten your day!

To become a member for FREE, just click here and sign up now.

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Ideas and departments

Garden Plants

The plants in the garden plant department are arranged in logical groups including:

Grow your own

You will find everything you need to ‘grow your own’ crops. You could be picking your own juicy tomatoes, lovely crisp apples & even health-giving blueberries all from pots on your patio.

Garden Health

You garden health can be maintained & improved through a well balanced & essential range of garden care products. Using their expertise the Ferndale team hone the vast range available to make choice simpler for you, and of course there is always someone on hand to offer extra advice.

Colour & Fashion

Colour is one of the major drivers for the business and though out the garden centre you’ll find lots of colourful ideas for home & garden. The Ferndale team are also very up to date on the latest fashionable colours and trends and they select the ideal plants and products for your lifestyle. Outdoor living ranges of furniture, barbecues and lighting (in season), and indoor living items including indoor plants plus many home enhancing ideas, compliment the plants to dress your home and garden.


At Ferndale you will find a large, award winning coffee shop where you can relax & refresh. The all day gardeners breakfast, Pollards coffee, homemade cakes, and daily specials draw thousands of people every year.


Ferndale has an innovative approach to garden retailing that has been recognised by trade magazines in the UK, USA, Australia & Holland. International garden retailers have made a detour to visit Ferndale to see the innovative ideas. Ferndale is a regular finalist in UK Garden Centre awards & was awarded Retailer of the Year for 2009 by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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Ask the Expert!

Question: If you are short of time, a novice and have lots of pots, what would you recommend for colour and interest throughout the year?

What a good question and one that demands more attention than a quick answer! So, how many pots is good and not just too many?

Growing in pots is great especially if your garden is small, or has little or no ‘soil’. However watering lots of pots is a nightmare in summer (more later). I’d start by looking at pots you already have through the eyes of an interior designer. Do your pots match? For example do you have pots made of different materials in many different colours? Decide on one colour or hew of colours. For example select all the terracotta pots (material and colour if they work together) or remove the obviously clashing ones, say white plastic or blue ceramic. That’s reduced your work load already!

Compost needs changing occasionally so when you change it, make sure you select only one type of compost for all the pots, as it’s easier for you to water them equally. Soil based or not? Soil based is very good for permanent planting such as woody fruit or shrubs. It holds moisture reasonably well and more importantly holds ‘spare’ nutrients. Remember that some plants require compost without any lime in it. These are called ericaceous plants and surprise, surprise you use ‘ericaceous compost’. A good long term one is a mix called ‘John Innes’ Ericaceous compost. Plants that need this compost include Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, most heathers and Blueberries (a must for any patio). If you are growing vegetables the new vegetable composts are very good.

To help with summer watering add a ‘water holding gel’ to the compost before filling the pots. These gels only need to be added once and last the lifetime of the compost. The other point of water holding in the compost is that plants are fed via their roots with the fertiliser dissolved in the soil water. Dry plants are starved of food as a consequence.
“I only asked what plants I could put in my many pots!”
I know I’m getting there (or am I putting it off?).

Feeding them

Permanent plantings are most easily fed with ‘controlled release’ feeds. Sometimes mistakenly called slow release feeds, which they are but the clever science is that they vary the amount of food released with the fluctuations in soil temperature. This means less wasted feed and the right amount of food for the stage of growth. These feeds are added once a season, usually at the beginning. A tip though; for hardy, permanent plants that flower before June, feeding with the hanging basket controlled release feeds in late June promotes next year’s flowers successfully. This includes patio fruit.

Edible crops are best fed with a liquid feed weekly. Leafy crops with Miracle Gro and fruiting crops with tomato food. Summer bedding/flowering pots are best fed with the controlled release hanging basket tablets.

Watering; there are three ways, watering cans twice a day, (or a hose if you stand there long enough to put sufficient water into the pots), adding water holding gel reduces the watering down to daily or less, or micro irrigation systems with a timer. Watering with a watering can ensures that you add enough water. A hose pipe looks like it is supplying a lot of water but usually isn’t, unless you stand there for ages.

Pots dry out quickly and have no reserve from the ground soil. Plants in your borders can root deeper to draw water up and even in rainy British summers, pots dry out rapidly due to the high evaporation levels (even in Britain). This means regular watering is essential. The minimum for ease and great plants would be to add the water holding gel to the compost.

Automatic micro irrigation systems are catching on. Most pubs that have summer hanging basket use them. The initial outlay seems expensive but the bonuses are you don’t have to water at all, it works on very hot days when you forgot to water and it carries on while you are away. Relying on relatives and neighbours to water your pots are always a risky option.

“And plants?”

Nearly there! Now look at your garden. Where have you placed your pots and more importantly how are they arranged? They will look better in groups rather than straight rows and by varying the heights are more interesting. You would normally plant hardy, permanent plants in the larger pots so they can grow for a few years before re-potting or replacing. You can use these as an all year round focal point for groups of pots. The best results are probably gained with these plants towards the back of the group to frame the smaller more colourful pots.

Are some of the pots going to be in shade most of the day? If so you need plants that tolerate shade. These spots aren’t ideal for edible crops as growth and ripening are affected adversely.

There are many hardy/permanent plants as well as bedding plants that tolerate shade. Place your groups in spots that brighten dull areas, including those that can be seen from important views from your house, such as the kitchen sink, lounge windows or patio doors. You can ‘dot’ some pots of summer or winter bedding into your borders to add extra colour at times when the border flowers or interest is poor.

Now the last think to consider (here come the plants). What style of garden is yours and what type of 'look’ do you want to create?


Some looks created by placing groups of pots together

Notes hardy plants (h) can stay in the pots all year round, some winter protection in severe winters (e.g. 2010) may be needed. Tender perennials (tp) can be used for many years but need taking in for frost free storage over winter. Other plants listed are added for seasonal colour.



Lush and exotic
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Hardy Palm, Fatsia Japonica, Bamboo Lilies (h), Ginger (tp), Canna (tp), Zantedechias (tp), Petunias (ta) and begonias (tp) (for summer) Winter pansies (after summer colour), Harts tongue fern (h)


A simple, clean look
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Trimmed and Shaped box, Thuja Smaragd (pyramid conifer), Thuya ore. Nana (dwarf round conifer) Patio roses(h), Geraniums(tp), Tulips (h), (winter pansies and wallflowers for winter), Deliphiniums (h), Iris germanica (h)


Summer grasslands look
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Bamboo, Miscanthus zebrinus, Descampsia, Stipa tenuissima, Phormium Astrantia (h), Alliums (h), Scabious (h), Hakonechloa mac. Aureola (h), Eryngium (h), Echinacea (h), Rudbeckia (h). There is little you can add for winter but spring bulbs such as snowdrops, dwarf Iris, and dwarf tulips keep the theme in spring.


Vibrant colours to warm you up
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Eleagnus Limelight, Heuchera Tealeaf, Ceanothus Harlequin, Euonymous jap. Aurea Lychnis (h), Japanese Acer (h) (a little shade please), Bright patio roses (h), Potentilla, (h), Red or orange geraniums (tp), Papaver (annual poppy) (ha), Yellow winter pansies (ha)


Productive yet attractive. Removable in winter. Check out the variety of reusable veg bags
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Strawberries, Blueberries, Coronet family patio apples, Rosemary, Sage, Goji Berry Various herbs (mostly hp + ha), short carrots, beetroot, Swiss chard, Lollo rosso lettuce, Red cabbage, Potatoes, spring onions. Look out for TandM Urban seed range of smaller veg. seeds. Tomatoes, courgettes etc. chilli. All the above are are grown as tender perennials (tp) or hardy annuals (ha).


Scents, aromas, and cooking
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Rosemary, Goji berry, Lavender, variegated Sage, Borage, Chives, Apple Mint, Thyme, Fennel, Parsley, the choice is vast. Don’t start a herb collection until at least April when the range available is wide and fresh.


Because colour isn’t just for the sunny side
Hardy/permanent/Evergreen Seasonal highlights (h =hardy) (tp=tender perennial) (ta =tender annual) (ha = hardy annual)
Dwarf Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Variegated Holly (trimmed annually), Camellia, Pieris, (all need John Innes Ericaceous compost) Fuchsias (h or tp), Heuchera (h), Athyrium nipponicumm (Japanese painted ferns) (h), Epimedium (h), Hostas (h) Vinca Illumination (h), Sarcococca (Christmas box) (h) Brunnnera Jack Frost (h).
Summer additons, Lobelia, Begonias, Busy Lizzies.
Winter Pansies and Violas. Snow drops, Crocus, Dwarf Narcissus.

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I have a new catch phrase!

It’s not going to catch on with anyone but I find myself repeating it over and over again since the turn of the year especially on BBC Radio Sheffield. It’s “we will have to wait and see”. It’s almost my standard introduction to any question regarding winter damage to plants.

I’ll qualify my ‘catch phrase’. Plants fall into 3 categories of hardiness.

Fully and normally hardy

Good faithful plants such as roses, apples, forsythia, heathers, rhododendrons and most herbaceous plants are fully hardy. Pretty much this group has made it – and will make it through the winter. They come with winter survival techniques built in. Losing your leaves in autumn is a good way of reducing water loss during frozen periods. A sort of built in anti-freeze or tough cells that aren’t punctured by frost crystal helps too. We probably won’t need to do anything to this group. Occasionally on very wet soils some of these plants might suffer. ‘Evergreens’ such as privet fall into this category. Their response is to shed their leaves after the cold and regrow them in spring.

‘Urban hardy’

A new phrase I have stolen from a nursery representative. It sort of says it all. Urban gardens are more sheltered than open areas and some heat from our homes seeps out to help too. Plants that have been hardy over the past 15 years in Sheffield’s urban areas include Cordylines (Torbay palm), and Penstemons. However many are dead already this winter. If we continue with the trend for much harder winters, we will need to think of them as tender’ plants too.


Tender plants include Tomatoes and Busy Lizzies that are ruined by the first frost. Some tender plants such as Osteospermums, will survive a few frosts but get caught by the prolonged freezing temperatures later on. Tender plants need protection. Tender perennials are worth keeping if you can protect them. Geraniums (Pelargoniums) fall into this category. They all need frost free protection. A heated greenhouse or more likely a frost free conservatory is good. A spare bed room would work too. Big plants such as bananas (and Cordylines now?) can be wrapped up in situ and is worth it if the plant is large and more costly to replace. Wrapping up should become an October job. Alternatively we might need to accept they will need replacing regularly. It sounds expensive, but not really, especially if compared to how we spend money on eating out, entertaining and fashion. They are really good value.

Snow damage

The weight of the snow was extreme in early December. This has torn branches from many established plants. If the damage is minor and you can prop the branches up and bind them then they may heal. If the timber is split open completely then careful pruning is required. This often leaves an unbalanced look to the plant. This might result in a total trim to reshape the plant. If it’s a large, tall specimen then employing a tree surgeon is advised. Smaller plants that are misshaped can be pruned to shape and we can “wait and see” if there is any regrowth to fill in the gaps. I’d recommend leaving the pruning until late winter, as late as April. Sometimes replanting will be required.

The only qualifying statement I can add is that autumn hadn’t quite finished when the snow fell and then the -10ºC + temperatures occurred. This might catch fully hardy plants too, that hadn’t hardened up for winter.
So all together now: “we will have to wait and see”.

Success Saturdays

In response to our customers feedback we’re introducing ‘Success Saturdays’. These Saturdays are dedicated to providing you with live demonstrations, advice and great offers on seasonal topics. We’re dedicated to seeing our customers enjoy their homes and gardens to the max, so keep an eye out for our live ‘Success Saturdays’ and come down to Ferndale to enjoy free demos, money-off coupons (for Bonus Card Members) and much more!

Opening hours and how to find us

Ferndale Garden Centre,
Dyche Lane,
Coal Aston,
Dronfield S18 3BJ

Tel: 01246 412 763,

Click here to view map

Open Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 17.30
Sundays 10.30 - 16.30

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