Leading garden centre offers hints and tips on how to enjoy blackberries in peak season

Leading garden centre offers hints and tips on how to enjoy blackberries in peak season

The leading garden centre group, Haskins Garden Centres, wants to encourage gardeners to make the most of peak blackberry season with an easy and delicious blackberry crumble.

Blackberries are extremely versatile and can be used in numerous recipes as they have a rich taste. Best harvested at the beginning of September, blackberries can be preserved and made into jam, as well as being a tasty addition to desserts, smoothies, salads and cakes.

Alasdair Urquhart, in-house plant expert at Haskins, commented: “This year is due to be a bumper crop for wild blackberries so now is the perfect time to get the whole family involved in picking wild varieties.

“Even if you haven’t had time to grow your own blackberries, you can still follow our step-by-step crumble recipe and enjoy some baking while the juicy berries are in peak season.”

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

  • 400g blackberries
  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 75g light brown soft sugar
  • 170g plain flour
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 30g ground almonds
  • Clotted cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the blackberries in a baking dish and sprinkle the granulated sugar over the berries. Set to one side.
  3. Place the flour, brown sugar and almonds in a mixing bowl.
  4. Chop the butter into small chunks and then add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Use your hands to rub in the butter until fine breadcrumbs have been achieved.
  6. Add the crumble to the top of the blackberries in the baking dish and lightly press down with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Serve with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream (optional).

Haskins has centres in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. For more information visit www.haskins.co.uk

Haskins Garden Centre in Ferndown marks 25 years since opening with celebratory staff BBQ

Haskins Garden Centre in Ferndown marks 25 years since opening with celebratory staff BBQ

The popular garden centre in Dorset celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special staff BBQ.
With more than 150 staff in attendance including Chairman Warren Haskins, the celebratory BBQ was a huge success. The Ferndown senior management team joined Warren and his son, Jamie Haskins, Jamie’s wife and two daughters, to mark the occasion.
Warren Haskins, Chairman of Haskins Garden Centres, commented: “Thank you so much to each and every person that has helped make the Ferndown centre the success story that it is today. It was wonderful to see so many staff at our 25-year celebratory BBQ and I look forward to seeing what the next 25 years will bring.”
Haskins officially opened its doors in March 1994 at the Longham site, having moved from a smaller site at Trickett’s Cross in Ferndown previously. The family-run garden centre group has grown from the humble beginnings of a small market garden in Coy Pond in Branksome, to operating four popular centres located across Dorset, Hampshire and West Sussex. The business has grown from a turnover of £17,000 in 1969 to a multi-million pound turnover and from employing seven people in 1969 to employing over 600 people.
Warren added: “When we cut the ribbon on the day the Ferndown centre officially opened in 1994, there were three generations present – myself, my mother and my three children, Steve, Becki and Jamie, aged from 10 to 14. Fast forward to 2019, 25 years on, and my son Jamie was with me at our 25-year celebratory BBQ. To me, that is something really special; family is deeply rooted into our core at Haskins.”
Haskins was founded in 1882 by Harry James Haskins, the great grandfather of Warren. Chairman Warren Haskins is now celebrating 50 years in the business, after taking over the family retail nursery in 1969.
Haskins Garden Centre is located in Ferndown, Dorset. Visit www.haskins.co.uk for more information.

Haskins launches colouring competition of garden scene to encourage children to enjoy gardening

Haskins launches colouring competition of garden scene to encourage children to enjoy gardening

Leading garden centre group, Haskins Garden Centres, is delighted to announce the launch of a new Garden Gang colouring competition in time for the summer holidays.

 

The colouring sheet template can be downloaded and printed for free from the Haskins website www.haskins.co.uk/garden-gang or picked up in any of the Haskins centres from Monday July 15. To enter the competition, the sheet needs to be coloured and submitted via email to [email protected] or posted on Facebook with the tag @HaskinsGardenGang or on Twitter with the hashtag #HaskinsGardenGang.

 

Entrants are required to name the two main Garden Gang characters as well as colouring the sheet. The competition closes on Friday August 23 and the winner will be announced by the end of August. The chosen winner will receive a £25 gift card which can be spent in Haskins’ toy department.

 

Haskins’ Garden Gang campaign launched in 2016, with an aim to provide parents with gardening ideas for children, as well as providing free projects, activities and worksheets. Due to its marked success, Haskins launched a dedicated Garden Gang Facebook page in April this year to encourage children to get outside and involved in gardening.

 

Lisa Looker, brand director at Haskins Garden Centres, commented: “The Garden Gang colouring competition is designed to encourage little ones to have an interest in gardening. With summer holidays soon upon us, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the fun that gardens hold for all the family.

 

“Family is deeply rooted into our core at Haskins so we will continue to use Garden Gang to provide regular gardening updates and suggested activities, fun and educational worksheets and a selection of gardening games.”

 

Haskins is located in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. Visit www.haskins.co.uk for more information.

 

Celebrate National Cherry Day with Haskins’ homemade Cherry Pie recipe

Celebrate National Cherry Day with Haskins’ homemade Cherry Pie recipe

Haskins Garden Centres are encouraging gardeners to make the most of their homegrown cherries with a traditional cherry pie recipe.

With National Cherry Day just around the corner, on Tuesday July 16, it’s the perfect occasion to bake a fresh cherry pie completely from scratch, for all the family to enjoy.

Alasdair Urquhart, Haskins’ in-house plant expert, commented: “Cherries are an attractive fruit that are appreciated for their taste and sweetness – and fresh cherries work brilliantly in a sweet pastry pie.

“Cherries prefer a deep, fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acid pH of 6.5-6.7 and have a dislike of shallow, sandy or wet soils. The ideal time to pick cherries is between July and August. Even if you haven’t had time to grow your own cherries this year, you can still follow our step-by-step recipe.”

Ingredients

  • 1kg fresh cherries
  • Lemon juice
  • 2tbsp corn flour
  • 100g caster sugar (with extra for dusting)
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 1tbsp cherry brandy (optional)

For the pastry:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 150g cold unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Cold milk

 

Method

  • Make the pastry: rub or blitz (in a food processor) the flour and butter until you have crumbs.
  • Add the sugar, almonds and egg yolks. Knead or pulse into a dough – you might need a dash of cold milk to help bind it together.
  • Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Pit the cherries – add a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.
  • Mix the cornflour to a paste with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
  • Put the sugar in a wide pan and scrape in the vanilla seeds.
  • Over a low heat dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and cook without stirring until you have a dark caramel.
  • Lower the heat and add the cherries and liqueur (if using). Once you have a dark compote, add the cornflour mix and stir until thick. Set aside to cool.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and pop in a baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use to line a 20cm by 4cm deep pie dish.
  • Fill with the compote.
  • Roll out the rest of the pastry to make a lid, brush the edge of the base with water. Lay the lid on top of the pie and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with a little cold milk.
  • Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes.
  • Dust with caster sugar and serve while hot or cold with vanilla ice cream.

Alasdair added: “Cherries are highly nutritious and incredibly good for you; being low in calories, full of antioxidants, and containing melatonin to help regulate sleep patterns and anthocyanins to relieve inflammation and boron, which is helpful for bone health.

“Cherries are typically large trees and so the development of the new dwarfing ‘Gisela’ root-stock is great news for the home gardener, meaning cherries can be easily grown in compact spaces too.”

Haskins has centres in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. For more information visit www.haskins.co.uk

Lottie’s work experience placement at Liz Lean PR

Lottie’s work experience placement at Liz Lean PR

We’ve had Lottie Strickland with us for the past week and she’s been a real pleasure to have in the office! Lottie has been kind enough to write a review of her week with us…

I’m a year 12 student at Parkstone Grammar School studying Psychology, Geography and Business Studies. My school dedicates a week for students to find work experience placements so when I found out that I had been accepted at Liz Lean PR, I was delighted. I have had little experience in Public Relations, thus was very keen to start my week at Sandbanks!

My week here has been truly enjoyable, and I now have a great insight into the PR world. Throughout my time here I have sat in client meetings, drafted press releases, found new organisations’ contact details, and had input into social media audits. I particularly enjoyed creating new social media posts for clients and can’t wait for them to be released in due course. The variety of tasks I was given meant there was never a ‘boring’ moment of working here at Liz Lean PR.

Everybody at Liz Lean PR has made me feel very welcome to the team and I can’t thank them enough for being so supportive during my week. I felt at ease to ask them any questions and Alice was always there to check up on how I was managing the work. Every task was briefed to me in detail and because of this, I believe the work I did was actually helpful for the company.

Throughout my week I feel I have gained a great understanding of what it would be like to work in a PR agency. I am very happy that I chose to do my placement at Liz Lean PR because not only were the staff amazing, but I can now see myself working for a PR agency in the future.

I would like to thank the whole team at Liz Lean PR; Claire, Leila, Shona, Holly, Carol, Emily, Caitlin, Belinda, Cat, Alice and Liz! I have had a fantastic week and have enjoyed every moment thanks to you all. It has been an experience that I will never forget.

By Lottie Strickland