The Best Cut Flowers for Spring

Growing your own cut flowers is an easy way to create an outstanding seasonal bouquet! Not only will this save you money, but your home will be filled with glorious colours and fragrances.

These plants produce the best cut flowers throughout spring, providing you with an outstanding seasonal bouquet. Discover which blooms will look the best in your favourite vase below!

Bulbs

Spring bulbs are among some of the most popular cut flowers for the season! From classics like daffodils to essentials like lilies and tulips, there’s no limit to what you can create with these beauties.

Tulip Lily Flowering Mixed
Double Daffodil Collection
Lily Short Stemmed Collection

Perennials

Perennials are perfect for spring bouquet designs. Their ability to reappear every year makes them an exceptional money-saving option to grow in your gardens. They also look incredible in flower arrangements, making them some of the best cut flowers that grow throughout the season.

Cyclamen Hederifolium
Giant Flowering Snowdrops
Helleborus Orientalis mixed

Shrubs

These spring-flowering shrubs have the bonus of introducing a large number of flowers into the garden throughout the season, as well as growing perfect plants to add to any bouquet.

Magnolia Collection
Pittosporum tenuifolium Irene Paterson
Azalea japonica Diamond Pink

Climbers

Clematis climbers are among some of the few climbers that flower in the spring season, but when they do, they bring their A-game! Their attractive flowers and floral fragrance make perfect cut flowers. They also look incredible when grown up trellises and pergolas, providing months of interest to the garden.

Clematis armandii Collection
Clematis Montana Alba
Clematis urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’

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Daffodils: A Bright & Colourful History

Daffodil history blog header

Daffodils are THE spring bloom. Their bright yellow trumpets are recognisable across the globe, and no spring display is complete without them.

As you can imagine, they have always been a staple seasonal flower. The rich daffodil’s history even precedes the Romans, dating back to 300 BC. These powerful perennials can withstand harsh winters, are pest resistant, and look fabulous in any arrangement. But where did their long reign begin?

We’ve delved into the humble daffodil’s history, opening the historical window to one of the most popular bulbous blooms in the UK.

Echo & Narcissus

Echo and Narcissus at the pond

Daffodils, or Narcissi, indeed have a rich history. What’s most known is the Greek mythological story of ‘Narcissus and Echo’.

(Left Image: Echo and Narcissus by John Waterhouse)

As the legend recalls, Echo was a mountain nymph and had been recognised by the Greek gods for her natural beauty. Zeus particularly found her useful in distracting his wife, Hera, when participating in other affairs. Echo would talk to Hera for hours, giving Zeus plenty of time to escape from her watchful eye.

Eventually, Hera caught on to the Nymphs role in her husband’s activities. Enraged, the goddess cursed Echo to never again have a voice of her own, only able to repeat the last words that were spoken to her.

Echo sculpture, Labyrinth Park
Echo in the Grove of Narcissus & Echo. Labyrinth Park, Barcelona.

Distraught, Echo wandered into the outskirts of ancient Boeotia, where she set eyes on the handsome Narcissus. Narcissus was considered impossibly attractive and is believed to be one among the most beautiful mortals, with a face that rivalled the likes of Hyacinthus and Adonis.

Although Narcissus was blessed with otherworldly good looks, it came at a price. A blind seer prophesied that he could only remain attractive if he stayed humble. He was told to never look upon his reflection, lest he falls into despair.

As Echo observed Narcissus, she fell deeper and deeper in love. She longed to call to him but could only wait till Narcissus spoke. He cruelly rejected Echo when she eventually emerged and ran away from her into the depths of the forest.

“Good-bye, my love!”

Said Narcissus to his reflection, and in turn, Echo to Narcissus.
a daffodil history

Eventually, Narcissus was overcome by thirst and stopped by a pond. He laid on his stomach and leaned over the edge of the water, only to be met with the eyes of the most beautiful man he had ever seen.

Overcome with emotion, Narcissus tried to kiss the reflection but was met with water. Eventually, he realised the reflection was his own and fell into a deep depression. As Echo watched over him, Narcissus began to waste away until he, eventually, felt himself fading to death. His last words were to his reflection; “Goodbye, my love!” he cried. “Goodbye, my love.” Echo whimpered in return.

Nymphs searched for his body, but in its place, they found a beautiful flower. Its head was white, its trumpet orange, and henceforth it was known as the Narcissus.

Echo, distraught over the loss of her love, retreated to her mountain cave until she wasted away. Eventually, all that remained was her voice, which was doomed to repeat only the last words of whoever entered.

A European Favourite Since 300BC

The name ‘Daffodil’ actually comes from the Dutch phrase ‘affo dyle’. Translated, this means ‘that which comes early’.

Daffodils were cultivated in gardens from as early as 300 BC. Historically, these blooms could be found in areas of Europe, North America and North Africa. This heritage makes them incredibly hardy, surviving harsh weather conditions that you’d find in the early spring months.

The first recorded mention of daffodils was written by a Greek botanist in his book famously titled ‘Enquiry into Plants’.

Daffodils Were Smuggled into Britain

Romans brought daffodils to Britain

Throughout the daffodil’s history, different cultures would share their knowledge of the seasonal bulb. In fact, Roman soldiers were the first to introduce Britain to daffodils.

They believed that the sap of the flower had healing powers. We now know that daffodil sap does the opposite of heal and can cause skin irritation.

Britain is home to just one native daffodil out of thousands of cultivars. Commonly known as the Lent Lily, this classic bloom produces thin yellow flowers that are centred around a large and in charge trumpet.

However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that we started to see gardeners take advantage of the humble daffodil. The movement started in Cornwall, but the conditions were slightly too warm for the daffodil bulbs. Farmers soon realised that they had better results when bulbs were grown up north. Subsequently, daffodil farmers started to buy lands between Lincolnshire and Scotland to take advantage of the colder climates.

According to Heritage Calling, over 90% of Daffodils are grown and sold in Britain to this day.

William Wordsworth – The Daffodil Love Letter

William Wordsworth's Cottage in Cumbria in relation to daffodils history

Inspired by carpets of daffodils when strolling by Ullswater in the Lake District, William Wordsworth penned these immortal words.

(Left Image: Dove Cottage, Grasmere. Wordsworth’s home in Cumbria.)

FOR oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the DAFFODILS.


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

The Lake District is home to carpets of native daffs. These blooms can be seen in woodlands and around lakes through the early spring months. In 2003, the Grasmere community built the St. Oswald Daffodil Garden to raise money for the church. This garden is inspired by Wordsworth’s poem, and excerpts can be seen around the grounds.

Sold on the Streets of London

Daffodils history and the london flower girls
Pictured: A young girl selling daffodils in London. 
Photo Credit: Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

The early 19th century saw the start of the bloom boom. Extravagant flowers and plants were too expensive for the average person, and people profited off selling common crops that could be found in nearby parks and woodlands.

Children as young as ten years old could be found selling seasonal flowers on the streets of London to walkers-by. For many, selling flowers was their sole source of income and could only bring home around 1s 6d (one shilling and sixpence). In today’s money, this is worth around £5.86. However, this wasn’t enough to live on, and many went without food, water, or shelter.

Some of their favourite flowers to sell were the cheapest and most commonly found. This included daffodils, violets, pansies, and many more.

The Symbol of Spring

daffodils history as a spring symbol

Even when you take the daffodil’s history out of the equation, these flowers are still considered a spring favourite across the globe.

They’re even described as the ‘herald of spring’, as they’re one of the first flowers to bloom after winter.

In fact, Daffodils aren’t just a spokesperson for spring. In many cultures, these seasonal blooms can represent a myriad of connotations. For example, in China, daffodils represent good fortune and positive events, which is why it’s used as a symbol for Chinese New Year.

Throughout Europe’s medieval period, daffodils had a more sinister interpretation. It was believed that if you gazed upon a drooping daffodil, it signified your impending death. Cheerful, right

Luckily this is no longer believed, and the humble daffodil remains a symbol of good health, fortune, and happiness.


buy daffodil bulbs from our website

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Christmas Gift Inspiration

Heads up – Christmas is just 76 sleeps away! Although it sounds like more than enough time to plan your pressies, its also only 11 Fridays till the big day. Seems a lot sooner now, right?

Thankfully that still gives us ample time to grow our indoor flowering bulbs. These beautiful blooms are often found in spring gardens, but with some persuading they can appear just in time for Secret Santa!

Amaryllis

Amaryllis are well-known for their indoor growing abilities. Very few indoor bulb species can grow to the height and volume of amaryllis, making them an impressive gift to any floral enthusiast.

Even if their blooms don’t appear in time for Christmas, the promise of a single bud will be more than enough to keep your garden-fiend friends entertained for months.

Shop our selection of indoor-flowering Amaryllis here.

Daffodils

The ever impressive indoor daffodil can be enjoyed even earlier than your average spring-flowering outdoor varieties!

From the most notable Narcissi Paperwhite to other classic blooms, your friends and family can now enjoy the cheerful colour of the reliable daffodil in the thick of winter.

Browse our range of indoor flowering daffodils here.

Hyacinths

Hyacinths are classic indoor flowering bulbs. These fragrant and showy blooms make for an impressive display, whether in the spring or forced in winter.

That being said, they’re not the plant to give those who have pets as they can cause some harm if ingested. However, they are still perfectly safe to grow inside, giving you months of enjoyment.

Shop our entire selection of indoor flowering Hyacinths here.

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The Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This pumpkin pie recipe will really knock the socks off of your dinnertime guests this autumn!

An american classic that fulfills our cinnamon dreams in one beautiful triangle slice… Make your very own today by following this easy recipe.

Servings: Feeds 8/16 (depending on how generously you slice it!)

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes

You will need:

  • Large pan
  • Colander
  • 22cm tart tin
  • Baking parchment
  • Baking beans
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients:

  • 450g pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g butter
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Plain flour for dusting surfaces

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pumpkin – In your large saucepan, add your pumpkin chunks and cover them with water. Cook on a low/medium heat until tender and drain.  
  2. Prep the base – Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out your pastry on a lightly flour-dusted surface and line your tin with the pastry. Pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes, then cover it with parchment and baking beans and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. Take the parchment and beans off the pastry and then cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pastry is a golden colour.
  3. Make the Filling – As you wait for your pastry to cool down, now is the perfect time to prep your filling. Increase the ovens temp to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. In a bowl, combine your sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half your cinnamon. Puree the pumpkin in a food processor, and add it to the bowl once creamy. Then add your eggs, butter, and milk, and combine.
  4. Bake the pie! – Pour your mix into the pastry shell and cook for 10 minutes in the oven. Take it out and reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put your pie back in the oven and let it cook for 30-40 minutes so the filling can set.
  5. Enjoy – Remove your pie from its tin and set aside to cool. Mix your icing sugar with the rest of the cinnamon and sieve it over the pie. Enjoy cold with some whipped cream!

Tips:

How to take this recipe to the next level

  • If you’re not a fan of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream is a perfect alternative when serving.

Liked this pumpkin pie recipe? Discover more tasty recipes on our blog!

What To Harvest In October

Growing your own crops can feel like a long, and sometimes fruitless, process. Finally, you can reap the rewards from your months of labour! October has arrived, and with it brings the appearance of many fruits and vegetables.

Here’s what to harvest in October, whether it be in the garden or allotment.

Carrots

If successful, you can harvest carrots from as early as May, carrying through to December.

Apples

October is the best time to harvest apples. This is when they’ll be at their juiciest! Eat them soon after picking, or use them in recipes for desserts!

Potatoes (Main crop)

Maincrop potatoes can be harvested from August through to October, so grab them out of the ground this month to use them in all your favourite dishes!

Pumpkins

And who can forget the quintessential crop of the autumn months? Pumpkins will be ready to harvest through October, leaving you to fulfil your carving and baking needs!

More to Harvest This Month

  • Runner Beans
  • Pears
  • Beetroot
  • Squashes

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How to Plant Anemones

Creating an effortless woodland-inspired garden has never been easier. Anemones are perfect for any garden theme and design, adding a wholesome touch to your seasonal displays.

Not only are they a gorgeous bloom, but they’re also incredibly easy to plant. If you’re after something low-maintenance, then the humble anemone should be on your shopping list! With some varieties flowering in early spring and others in summer, there’s an anemone to suit everyone.

If you’re after some easy to digest tips on how to plant anemones, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get gardening!

When to Plant Anemones

The type of anemone will determine when you should be planting it. For spring-flowering varieties like anemone nemerosa and anemone blanda, you should try and get them in the ground around September and October.

Anemone japonica can be planted any time from May to September, flowering in the autumn months. Anemone coronaria, however, flowers in many months depending on when you plant it. To see it appear in summer, plant it in spring. For autumn, plant it in early summer, and for spring plant them in autumn.

How to Plant Anemones

You can get anemones in every which way you can imagine, from bulbs to loose roots. The way you prepare them and plant them will obviously differ depending on what you’ve bought.

For bulbs and corms, dig a hole that’s around 8cm deep and spaced 8cm apart. If planting in containers, leave around 10cm space from the edge of the pot.

Modules are the easiest way to plant anemones. Simply ease them from their container and plant them in the desired area!

For loose roots or rhizomes, soak them in water for about 2-3 hours before planting. This helps them to grow, flowering much quicker than if you planted them dry. Plant them flat about 2cm deep and 8cm apart.

If you’re looking to grow anemones for spring, add some mulch atop the soil to add some extra warmth through the cold winter months. However, anemone coronaria doesn’t do well in extremely cold weather and that may result in them struggling to bloom in the spring months, so this should be taken into account before planting.

Where to Plant Anemones

Wood type anemones can be planted anywhere in the garden, as long as they’re covered with leaf mould to emulate the conditions found in the woods. They can be planted in containers too. Anemone blanda especially likes good drainage, so a container is a good choice for their variety.

Anemone coronaria can be planted in light shade or full sun, as they prefer sunny conditions. Blanda and nemerosa don’t mind the shade as much, as that’s what they get in a woodland area. Plant your anemones in beds, containers, and borders, but just keep these points in mind when choosing your spot!

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How to Plant Shrubs

Shrubs make perfect additions to any garden, regardless of size and shape. Luckily, they’re also incredibly easy to grow too!

With help from gorgeous Azaleas to fragrant Magnolias (and many more!), you too can decorate your gardens with style throughout the year. Here’s how to plant shrubs in your garden.

How to Plant Shrubs

Shrubs, like we mentioned, are incredibly easy to plant. Many of our shrubs come in a plastic pot, which makes your life even easier! Follow these quick steps that will have your shrub in the ground in no less than 30 minutes.

Step 1 – Douse the shrub roots in water until completely soaked.
Step 2 – Dig a hole in your desired spot. This hole should be a bit deeper than the pot and three times as wide. Make sure you loosen the soil below and surrounding the hole so that the roots can fully establish themselves.
Step 3 – Gently tip the plant from the pot. Try not to disturb the roots and damage them in any way. Tease away some of the roots so they get settled easily.
Step 4 – Pop the root ball into the hole and cover with soil. Pat down until firm, but don’t damage the roots below.
Step 5 – Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep the roots warm through the winter months.

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What To Expect at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea flower show is finally upon us. Having been cancelled last year, the famous festival returns this month, and is bigger and better than ever! From gorgeous displays to professional advice, here’s what you can get up to at the UK’s most anticipated flower show.

What to see at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Whether you’re itching to see the many carefully designed floral displays, or simply want to soak up the atmosphere, there’s plenty to do at this years RHS Chelsea flower show. If you’re there simply for the flowers, and the flowers alone, then you’re in for a treat. This year’s designers have gone all out, and with the show being cancelled the year previous, we just know that the displays will be next level.

This year’s show falls in September, meaning that it coincides with the Chelsea History Festival. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love hearing about stories from war veterans and taking tours of buildings with a rich background.

The house plant studios reflect the ever-growing popularity of house plants. Have a browse of the stylishly posed leafy greens and learn how to utilise their natural appearance in your home.

There’s plenty more to see at the RHS Chelsea flower show, from the Italian Piazza to the discovery zone. And as always, enjoy the hustle and bustle that we’ve all missed over the last year and a half. With free food, drink, and endless shopping opportunities, you’re bound to have a wonderful time!

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What Is Permaculture Gardening?

Sustainability within our everyday lives is becoming more of a hot topic of discussion. Experts say that the average person can make a big impact by making small changes to their daily routines, whether that’s by recycling, reusing, being conscious of your carbon footprint, or even fine-tuning your gardening techniques.

Within the eco-gardening community prevails a tactic called ‘permaculture gardening’. This practice has been used for hundreds of years by agriculturalists and gardeners alike, concentrating on three main pillars: Caring for the earth, caring for people, and encouraging wildlife.

So, what is permaculture gardening?

Permaculture gardening is essentially creating a garden that co-exists with the environment around it. It focuses on minimal disruption to the soil, but enriching what’s already there, taking only what you need and replacing what you take.

This practice is to mimic nature, producing a sustainable and minimally invasive garden. So, now we know what permaculture gardening is. But how do you start?

There are 8 ways to begin your permaculture journey. These various methods encapsulate the meaning of perma-gardening and sustainability at its core.

  • Plant native. Purchase and grow plants that will thrive in your soil. If there are native plants already in place, leave them be.
  • Build raised beds. To avoid disturbing the ground and the soil, build some raised beds. This means you can till the soil without disrupting what’s already there.
  • Avoid chemicals and non-organic fertilisers. This one speaks for itself. Chemicals and harmful fertilisers do more harm than good, and it’s encouraged to find organic alternatives.
  • Develop a no-dig garden. If you’re working in an allotment and don’t have the space for a raised bed, then a no-dig approach might work for you. Sheet mulching is an easy way to achieve a no-dig garden. Simply lay compostable items on the tops of grass such as cardboard, leaves, and straw to create a layer between your crops or plants and the existing soil below.
Permaculture gardening isn’t a quick fix – It’s a lifestyle change
  • Practice companion planting. Companion planting is an old-age method of gardening. Planting two or more plants together encourages wildlife and will deter pests. Research your plants to discover which will partner perfectly in your area.
  • Consider creating a swale to collect rainwater where it gathers naturally. A swale, in short, is a way to catch rainwater. These can be made anywhere rainwater naturally pools, allowing you to reuse it on your plants. This could be as simple as putting out a bucket to catch rainwater to creating a thought-out ditch form. A perfect way to limit the amount of water you use in your gardening routine.
  • Concentrate on planting low-maintenance crops and plants. Permaculture gardening relies on the natural state of your land. If you struggle to keep up with your plants, then a low-maintenance approach is best. Buy plants that need very little pruning, or pick perfect naturalisers that reappear without encouragement.
  • Let some zones run wild. Wild gardens are a perfect way to preserve the natural state of your land. Let your garden grow freely, enticing wildlife to return to the garden (which will, in turn, improves the yield of crops).

Ready to Start Your Sustainable Garden?

Permaculture gardening is not about jumping headfirst into the unknown. It’s about sustainability. That goes for both the garden, and your consistency.

Small steps make a big impact. Implementing these methods to your daily gardening routine will help you achieve a more sustainable garden, helping the environment to repair itself naturally.

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What Is Sustainable Gardening?

Garden sustainability in its rawest form is simply being mindful of what we put into the ground. Sustainability aims to scrap the use of harmful products like pesticides and chemicals, replacing them with organic counterparts.

The practice of sustainable gardening can be as simple and as small as you can manage! All moves towards sustainability can positively impact our environment. Here are just a few easy ways to help you get started on your journey to sustainability.

Get Composting

Kitchen scraps, garden waste, leaves from the tree, you name it – it’s going in the compost! Making your own compost is an easy enough process (albeit slower than buying a bag from the shop) allowing you to rid yourself of stuff you’d normally just throw in the bin. It also helps add nutrients back into the ground, completing the circle of plant life. If you’ve ever wondered about composting, why not start today?

Be Anti-Plastic

Plastics and micro-plastics are an issue for the environment. As they don’t decompose, if they’re not reused they’ll be chucked away. These single-use plastics then find their way to landfills or even the ocean, affecting wildlife.

Using biodegradable products in place of plastics can make a bigger impact when practising sustainable gardening than you may think. For example, swapping plastic plant labels for wooden lolly sticks. These small steps come together to make a huge difference.

Use Peat Free Products

According to the RHS, peat filled compost causes severe harm to the environment. Switching to peat-free products protects your environment and is an easy switch to make.

Many people who have made the switch have noted that their soil seems to retain more water and produces more seedlings!

Go Organic

Pesticides and chemicals are harmful to wildlife, so it’s advised to avoid the use of them where possible. For example, you can use ground coffee to repel slugs from produce. The coffee then is absorbed into the soil, providing further nutrients! It’s a win-win.

Overall, any small change is a step in the right direction!

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