North Dorset’s leading Garden Centre with Florist, Café and award-winning Farm Shop
Tel: 01747 835544

Flowers for my Valentine

There are many stories as to how the Valentines tradition of receiving a red rose from a known loved one, or a secret admirer, was started and the modern day celebration of the day has evolved and been shaped throughout history.

The red rose is considered to be the flower of love and passion, featuring in songs, poetry and paintings for many years and therefore it’s only logical that it should be the bloom of choice for Valentines!

Here at Orchard Park we have some beautiful red Naomi Roses with their smooth, perfectly red velvety petals they are the ultimate rose for those extra special romantic gestures.  Out of all commercially grown roses Naomi Roses are the only ones that are scented and have a sweet yet subtle perfume.

The red Naomi Rose has an excellent vase life which means you can enjoy their beautiful large head of subtlety scented petals for longer!  They have a strong stem and are incredibly striking making them the ideal bloom for your loved one.

April at Orchard Park

Everyone writes of the joys of spring but it is truly undeniable and such a relief after the winter months. The equinox is behind us and the daylight hours have begun to exceed the night which means we can look forward to some great growing weather!

Our weather is predictably unpredictable; the first 24 hours of April have already delivered strong winds, heavy rain and glorious sunshine! You’ll notice our team working in the garden centre wearing anything from a heavy jacket, fleece and gloves to short-sleeved polo tops and gilets!

Don’t forget we have post a regular gardening month-by-month blog to help you plan your jobs.

Garden Plants

It’s a fantastic time of year for plant growth! The soil is moist and early flowering shrubs, fruit trees and bushes will produce flowers before leaves. Bulbs and early flowering perennials are taking advantage of the space before it becomes occupied by summer flowering plants. These spring flowerers are something special as they really have to try hard to attract the early insects if they want to get their pollen spread about.

Something different to see every day makes spring the most exciting of seasons!

Garden Centre Plants for sale

Anything in a pot can be bought and planted throughout the year, as long as you are ready to water it! You’ll start to see more bedding plants around the garden centre during this month, and we’ve hit grow your own season! Whether you’re looking to grow fruit and vegetables from seeds or small plants, we should have what you’re looking for.

Herbaceous perennials such as geraniums, hollyhocks and delphiniums are in season now and will live from year to year. We’ve also got some lovely big shrubs such as rhododendrons, cytisus and prunus for a big, showy effect in your garden!

Meat Boxes, Dorset

Exciting news from the farm shop this month as meat boxes have landed in Gillingham! You can now become the proud owner of a box bursting with the tastiest, freshest, most local meat in town, hand-selected and prepared by our very own skilled team of “proper” butchers! We will even deliver for free to the local area.


Flowers online, Dorset

Cut out the middle man and order flowers directly from our brand new online flower shop! We can make beautiful flower arrangements for any occasion and deliver them to the local area.


How to pick the perfect rose for your Valentine


Valentine’s Day: the most popular day to say it with flowers. Red roses are still the traditional way to say ‘I love you’, with an estimated 257 million produced for Valentine’s Day 2014 alone!


Red roses date back to Greek mythology, and are attributed to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Legend has it that one of Aphrodite’s lovers, Adonis (who was apparently quite pleasing to the eye!), was killed by a wild boar that he was hunting. As Aphrodite ran to him, she was scratched by a thorn. The rose, which had been white before, turned red.

When choosing your roses this year, remember to check with your florist which variety and length of rose they will be putting in to the bouquet. If ordering online, most companies will list the variety in the description. Generally, the higher grade and length of the rose, the more expensive the bouquet should be. However, we’ve noticed that sadly lots of florists and supermarkets charge premium prices for mid-low quality flowers, and we want to help you get rose savvy to avoid getting caught out! [clear]

Close UpA long-stemmed rose is better quality, with a longer vase life and a beautiful large, showy head. Many shops will tell you that they are using a long-stemmed rose but do double check the variety to be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth for the bouquet.

We have put together this handy guide below so you know what to expect from each of the common types of cut rose this Valentine’s Day. You will note that as the stem length decreases, so does the quality. [clear]



AquaRemember to check if your bouquet comes with foliage and the style of packaging. Foliage and packaging should complement, rather than overshadow, the arrangement.

Don’t panic if roses really aren’t your Valentine’s thing, florists will be offering alternative arrangements and you can always call your local florist for inspiration if you’re stuck. Good luck!

Joe Massie captivates florist enthusiasts, what a great day!

Joseph Massie with flower umbrella We opened our doors to very special guest last Thursday in the form of one of Europe’s top floral artists Joe Massie.

Joe is just 26 and already has a number of prestigious awards and accolades under his belt, including 5 gold medals and 4 ‘Best in Show’ awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!

He helped to decorate the White House one Christmas (and met both the First Lady and the First Dog!), has demonstrated in hundreds of different countries and was even surprised with a ‘selfie’ booth set up especially for him in Japan so that his fans could grab a chance to get a picture taken with him! Understandably the team here at Orchard Park were all very excited indeed that he had agreed to spend the day with us and demonstrate his work to our customers.

The day before Joseph was due to be demonstrating at Orchard Park he said he would spend a day with us so that he could get a feel for how we worked and decide what bits and bobs he’d like to use from around the store to make his arrangements even more special. This provided a really personal experience for the ticket holders as they were able to buy items from the store to take home and recreate the masterpieces Joe made.

The morning he was due to arrive we were all feeling very excited and quite nervous, and were frantically trying to check that we had arranged everything that he may need… it’s not often that we get an international star in rural North Dorset!

We needn’t have worried. When Joe arrived he was equally as excited to be here! He immediately fit in with the team and we were happy to make him part of the family. Joe loved the banner we had displayed, and had shared a picture of it on his Instagram and Facebook account before he had even walked in to the store! Our florists found it incredibly inspiring to work alongside him, and he has even given them the confidence to make an entry into an RHS Chelsea competition next year, so stay tuned…

Joe Massie at work

On the morning of the event as the lucky ticket holders piled in Joe confided in us that he still got nervous before demonstrating! He was a true professional though and breezed through his introduction, entertaining both guests and staff with his witty anecdotes.

He certainly held a captive audience!

Demonstration 1

Demonstration 2Rustic flower display Silk flower displayEach session included the demonstration of 6 arrangements, some of which were traditional and some more modern. Joe mostly worked with fresh flowers, although he did create some displays with silk flowers to demonstrate the versatility of them and fantastic quality. This won even some of the more dubious guests over, who were all amazed at how artificial flowers have improved over the years.

Flower bowl display Fresh flower cupcakeRed silk poppy display Fresh flower display




We had a short refreshment break half way through the session which included a meet and greet session with Joe and a chance to ask him any questions. Fresh cakes were made by the Orchard Café baker Anya, and were very well received indeed!

And that’s not all! Three lucky guests in each session were chosen at random to take home an arrangement made by Joe, and they were pleased as punch!

A lucky winner 1A lucky winner 3

A lucky winner 2

We had an absolutely fantastic day, and we are looking forward to holding similar events here regularly in the future. We’ll keep you posted; sign up to be a member to make sure you hear about it first!

Orchard Park Garden Centre, Shaftesbury Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 5JG
Tel:01747 835544
© 2013-2015 Orchard Park Garden Centre
Site designed by The Graphic Edge
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Delivery Terms | FAQ & Returns Policy