Weird and Wonderful Halloween Themed Plants

Put away the jack-o-lantern carving planning for a second because it is time for a very special Top Ten. This countdown is filled with plants that put the orangeblackfreaky and frightening back into Halloween.

Tulip QUEEN OF NIGHT

Bring the dark side to your garden. This Tulip variety is a luxurious bloomer with deep velvety maroon/black petals. Plant exclusively with other black tulips such as Paul Scherer for an dramatic look.

Click here to view online.

Folklore: Use this variety in full moon rituals, for workings related to power, ambition, or even banishing spells.

Sambucus ‘Black Lace’

With lacy, black-crimson leaves, this elderberry makes a dramatic appearance in the autumn garden. With red berries in autumn and pink flowers in summer, you can enjoy this shape shifting shrub year round.

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Folklore: The leaves could protect a home or a person from evil spirits when dried and hung in a doorway or around the neck.

Iris ‘Oktoberfest’

This beautiful pumpkin orange Iris variety is the perfect Halloween partner. Their ruffled petals are a perfect choice for adding a touch of zesty colour to the summer garden.

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Folklore: The ancient Greeks planted purple iris flowers on the graves of women, believing they would entice the Goddess Iris to lead their loved ones in their journey to heaven.

Corylus avellana Contorta

Otherwise known as Corkscrew Hazel, its dormant, spindly form will produce green-yellow catkins from the tree’s twisted branches, followed by a covering of bright green leaves in spring and summer.

Click here to view online.

Folklore: Magic wands were fashioned from hazel, and it was once thought that if you wore a crown of hazel twigs and wished very hard, your wish would come true!

Lysimachia Atro Beaujolais

The long slender finger-like stems of Lysimachia bloom in profusion for a striking summer display.  Flowering in shades of plum and maroon, this perennial is perfect for bringing pollinators into the garden.

Folklore: In Irish folklore, lysimachia was believed that its use would discourage bad feeling and discord between the inhabitants of a house.

Hemerocallis ‘Voodoo Dancer’

You’ll be cast under a spell once you feast your eyes on the world’s first black double flowering Hemerocallis. One of the most sumptuously vibrant and usual flowers you’ll ever see.

Folklore: A very old Chinese belief was that a woman who wore daylily flowers in her girdle (belt) while pregnant would give birth to a boy.

Athyrium Ghost

Lift your spirits with this ghostly white fern. A cross between a painted fern and the traditional lady fern; the deciduous silvery white leaves darken to a silver green as the plant matures.

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Folklore: Ferns tied to the ears of horses protect them from the devil.

Hamamelis mollis (witch hazel)

Bring a touch of magic to the garden with Witch Hazel. With tiny firework-like flowers exploding all over the branches from winter, look for these spidery golden flowers blooming on the most magical of all witchy night.

Click here to view online.

 

Folklore: An extract of the bark is useful in banishing spells, to make something go away.

salix melanostachys (Black Pussy Willow)

Let your garden come alive with the unique claw-like blooms of Black Pussy Willow. Boasting with rich purple and black winter stems, this mounded willow will make a bewitching focal point in the spring border.

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Folklore: Willow leaves act as charms against jealousy.

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button Bush)

 

The ball-shaped, spiky blooms of the Button bush as a sight to behold. These sweetly-scented cream flowers will certainly bring a touch of uniqueness to the garden.

Click here to view online.

 

 

Folklore: The bark was chewed to relieve toothaches.

Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’

Cast a love spell over your garden with the romantic, heart-shaped flowers of Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’. These enchantingly pretty blooms are so vibrant and eye-catching that it is almost impossible not to fall in love with them.

Click here to view online.

 

Folklore: Dicentra flowers are known to symbolise a connection that goes between life and death.

Halloween Tips:

Pumpkin Plant Pots

Why not upcycle some old plant pots with a dose of acrylic paint and transform them into spooky pumpkin planters? A group of these little ghouls around the porch look amazing!

 

Floral Pumpkin centerpiece

No idea what to do with your pumpkin after Halloween? Make the most of your pumpkin by turning your jack-o-lantern into a vase for a floral display?

 

Little Leaf Ghosts

Create some DIY decorations this Halloween by gathering up fallen leaves from the garden and turn them into little ghostly ghouls. All you need is some white paint and a marker, and abracadabra!

 

 

The Benefits of Garden Ready Plug Plants

 

Light up your garden this winter with colourful winter/spring bedding plants. These hardy plants are perfect for brightening up those cold and cloudy winter months with their vibrant rainbow of blooms.

Throughout this blog, we will share the benefits, planting guides and top varieties of our amazing Winter/Spring garden ready plants, so you can bring long lasting, bright blooms back into the garden this winter.

What are Garden Ready plants?

Our easy to grow Garden Ready plants are ready to be planted on arrival. They’re ideal for people who don’t have a greenhouse or want instant results in a short growing season. After planting they establish quickly, so you can sit back and enjoy their flowers.

Top Varieties

Pansies

Pansies are one of our most popular bedding plants, being an indispensable plant for a winter bedding scheme when most other plants are dormant. Colourful and compact, Pansy plants are certain to produce a delightful display in any garden border, pot or window box

Pansy Can can

A stunning, double-flowering Pansy. With dazzling, layered wavy blooms, Pansy Can Can is a radiant addition to the winter garden due to their bright, rainbow blooms. This fun and unusual variety will add a touch of joy to window boxes, containers and garden borders.

Click here to view online. 

Pansy Cool Wave

These delightful pansies are strong growers and prolific bloomers. This new Pansy has exceptional overwintering performance and is the first to re-bloom in spring. Fill your hanging baskets, window boxes and pots with them for a sensational winter/spring display.

Click here to view online. 

Pansy Winter/Spring Mixed

A reliable, high performing mixture of Pansies. Blooming in a bold variation of beautiful shades, these  hardy plants carry on flowering from winter and last throughout spring. For those who like it bright in winter, this mixture of classic Pansy colours will bring nothing but cheerful colour to your winter garden.

Click here to view online. 

Primula

Primula flowers provide you with bold and vibrant colours all through winter and spring. Blooming for weeks, these easy to grow flowers are a fantastic, versatile bedding plant.

Primula Colour Carnival

Create a wonderful display with this sensational mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Plant these flowers where you can enjoy their beautiful fragrance, such as window boxes or in containers by the front door for greeting guests. They are also perfect for attracting bees and butterflies to the garden.

Click here to view online. 

 

Primula Primlet

Almost resembling a mass of miniature roses, Primula Primlet bloom with stunning double and semi-double flowers in a variation of pretty yellow, red and violet shades. These vibrant, hardy perennials may look delicate, but they will thrive all throughout the tough late winter weather.

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Primula Wanda Mixed

This compact and semi evergreen perennial bears masses of vibrant flowers with contrasting yellow centres. Enjoy their fragrant flowers in patio containers or plant them as a bright showstopper in the front of the border. This versatile plant is also perfect for edging or under-planting shrubs and roses.

Click here to view online. 

Violas

A modern favourite of the British gardener. Viola are spectacular performing trailing plants that flower in bright, vivid colours and really make an impact in any garden. Free flowering with a soft fragrance they are perfect for winter hanging baskets and containers where their trailing habit will thrive.

Viola Teardrop Mixed

Create a cascade of bright colour in the winter garden with the beautiful clustered flowers in our Viola Teardrop mixture. The scented blooms, each looking rather like a smiling face,  will cascade over the edge of your pots and baskets from October to April, an absolute delight to behold.

Click here to view online. 

Planting Guide

  • Plant in well-drained soil.
  • For Pansies, plant plain-faced types en masse in beds and borders, and bicolours and whiskered types along paths where you can appreciate the delicacy of their pretty patterns.
  • Water and feed regularly during the growing season.
  • Deadhead as required to ensure further growth spurts is facilitated.

  • Plant straight away upon arrival into pots and use either freshly prepared soil (with organic matter) or a balanced potting compost.
  • Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry. This will also help to produce a bigger plant with greater flowering potential.

  • Placing your empty hanging basket on a bucket so it is held firmly in place whilst you add the plants.
  • Fit basket with liner and trim off any excess material that protrudes above the rim.
  • Use a balanced potting compost and fill your basket until it is level with the first layer of slits and gently firm the compost down.
  • Insert your trailing plants by pushing the plants head-first from the inside through the slits.
  • Continue to plant until all the slits have been filled, and then gently tease out the roots of the plants.
  • Add more compost and work it around the roots of the plants until the basket is almost full.
  • Fill in around the roots with further compost mix; aiming to keep the soil surface an inch below the rim of the basket to prevent compost spilling out when watering.
  • To finish, water your hanging basket thoroughly.

Liven Up Winter/Spring Beds with Colourful Primulas

Lift your spirits in the dull days of winter with the bright colours of Primulas. No garden is complete without these cheerful and hardy perennials as they are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in every colour imaginable. These easy to grow blooms are perfect any type of garden, whether you need to fill some ground space or adding some wonderful colour to the front of the border.

In this blog post, we will guide you through our favourite Primula varieties, planting tips and aftercare, so that you can grow a rainbow of beautiful Primulas even during those cold, winter months.

Top varieties

Primula Colour Carnival

Packed with vibrant shades, our ‘Colour Carnival’ are an exciting mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Their fragrant blooms are perfect for attracting pollinators to the spring garden. Easy to grow, robust plants for beds and borders.

Click here to view online.

Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

Brighten up the winter garden with the bursting brilliant pink hues of Primula ‘Raspberry Punch’. Flowering from January through to April, these cheery flowers will add a kick of colour to borders, pots, or why not plant them en-masse for a real eye-catching feature.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Primlet

Producing masses of stunning double and semi-double flowers, these blooms almost resemble a miniature rose in the midst of the winter/spring season. From yellows to violet hues, these hardy perennials are ideal for creating a rainbow in the winter border.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Showstopper Lime/Cream

A bright and delicate perennial. Our beautiful new ‘Showstopper’ is a pure delight in the late winter garden when their lime tinted cream flowers are on show. Ideal for the border, beds and containers.

Click here to view online.

Primula Wanda

Fill the winter garden with the beautiful fragrance of Primula Wanda. Plant them where you can enjoy their scent, such as in patio containers or the front of the border. Wanda is a beautiful mixture of vibrant, ruffled flowers that are perfect for any garden.

Click here to view online.

 

There are many benefits to growing Primulas:

  • A wide range of colours are available. 🌸
  • Fragrant varieties available.
  • Versatile plants – great for beds, borders or containers. 🏡
  • Varied flowering times – winter/spring/early summer  ☀❄

Planting Guide

Planting Time: August – October 📆

Flowering Time: February – May 🌸

Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well-drained soil. 🏡

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Beds/Borders

  • Best results are achieved by potting up into 9cm pots for 2-3 weeks upon arrival.
  • Allow them to establish a good root system.
  • Gradually harden them off before planting outside.
  • Water well after planting.

Containers

  • Using a good quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost, fill a pot around 10cm from the rim with compost.
  • Plant them so the top of the rootball and compost are level.
  • Fill in any gaps between the plant with more compost.

Aftercare Tips

  • Water regularly.
  • Prune dead leaves and spent blooms regularly.
  • For potted Primulas, transplant them to your borders in the spring, where they will flower gain next year.
  • For container Primulas, feed with a high potash feed every fortnight.
  • Keep them moist but not sodden to avoid moulding.

Essential Garden Jobs for August

With the bank holiday weekend upon us and a heatwave on the horizon, it is the perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh air, enjoy the garden and finish off your summer gardening jobs in time for bulb planting season.

There’s lots to be getting on with in the garden, so here are our essential jobs for August.

Pruning

  • Prune shrubs and climbers (Wisteria, Pyracantha) to keep your garden tidy.
  • Prune and shape hedges and evergreen hedges before they stop growing in the autumn.
  • Cut long-flowering perennials to the ground, such as Hardy Geraniums.
  • Trim back lavender after it has finished flowering.

Weeding

  • Sweep your patio and trim any small weeds as they germinate.
  • Hoe the soil to keep weeds down. This should be done in warm, dry conditions to ensure that any weed seedling left on the surface will dehydrate and die.
  • Remove pond weeds with regular debris cleaning.

Watering

  • Water plants that need it regularly.
  • Water in the morning or late afternoon/evening to prevent the water evaporating in the heat.
  • During hot spells, splash water on the floor of your greenhouse to bring the humidity up.

 Lawn Care

  • Mow weekly but reduce frequency and raise blades if the weather is hot and dry.
  • Lawn weeds are usually prominent and need pulling or treating.
  • Apply a high phosphate fertiliser at the end of the month to benefit the grass roots.

 Wildlife

  • Keep bird baths topped up with fresh water.
  • When deadheading, leave some flower seedheads as food for birds and small mammals.
  • Deadhead Buddleia bushes to keep them flowering into the autumn for bees and other insects.

Bulb planting

  • Start ordering your spring-flowering bulbs now. You can start planting bulbs such as Narcissi, Crocus and Hyacinths from September onwards.
  • Order Prepared Hyacinth and Indoor Narcissi bulbs and pot them up so that they will be ready for December.

 

Bonfire Night in the Garden

It’s that time of the year again, Bonfire Night! As tradition on November 5th, we light sparklers, fireworks, bonfires and eat candy apples and treacle toffee for the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Since it’s a common fact that the vast majority of firework bursts and effects are named after flowers/plants/trees. There are for example Chrysanthemum, dahlia, willow, palm and peony bursts. In fact, several firework arrangements are known as bouquets. So, if you don’t want to head out to the local park to see the community fireworks display, you can lay out in your garden and just look at nature’s version. The colors are just as spectacular, except it’s a lot quieter.

10 Explosive Blooms to Light Up Your Night

Allium Fireworks

Could these Alliums have a more apt name? This stunning firework collection consists of Pulchellum (reddish violet), Pulchellum Album (white) and Flavum (yellow). These beautiful plants flower in Summer for an explosion of colour in any garden display.

Agapanthus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agapanthus, fondly known as the African Lily, are bold hardy perennial plants which are superb for containers or borders. The plants have dark green foliage and will produce vibrant white or blue flowers throughout the summer time.

Allium Schubertii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real firecracker, the Allium Schubertii. Splayed tendrils in pinky-lilac burst from a compact cluster of star shaped flowers. The flowers are produced at the end of May to early June. These make excellent cut flowers and can be dried and used indoors for a unique Winter display.

Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a burst of colours from pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of colour every year from August to well into October.

Monarda Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The striking Monarda plant comes in a great mixture of colours. They are also know as the Bee Balm Plant. Their spikey blooms resemble the loud, explosive bangs of fireworks, and will flower from June to September, with aromatic leaves. They are a striking and useful addition to the garden, thriving in shade or semi-shade where other perennials struggle.

Euphorbia Bonfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most amazing Euphorbia ever with foliage that turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again changes to a bright red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large yellow flowers for many weeks. The fiery colours and bursting foliage would earn a warm welcome to any garden.

Pieris Forest Flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evergreen shrub produces brilliant flamed red young shoots in spring and white ‘Lily of the Valley’ flowers in late spring. The foliage mirrors the flowers, bright red in the spring, maturing to pink and cream and finally green. Holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form, and good resistance to pests and diseases.

Salix caprea pendula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lovely branches of the Salix caprea, or pussy or goat willow as its commonly known, can provide you garden with all year round interest. Stiff, arching brightly coloured shoots form a mound or ‘mophead’ shape in winter. In spring come long silver fuzzy catkins that open to soft silky flowers with yellow anthers, before the gracefully hanging lush foliage appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning red pincushion flowers on greenish white filaments surrounded by a rosette of red bracts flushed deep purple at the tips. Strikingly beautiful and extremely photogenic, these are a great blast of colour in any garden bed or border, as well as a must have addition to any summer bouquet.

Aquilegia Barlow Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Striking new double Aquilegia varieties. These showy blooms are perpetual flowering from May to July and look great planted en-masse in a border, the dainty Dahlia-like blooms nodding above lacy fern like foliage. Remove the stems when the flowering time is over and the foliage will remain attractive for a spectacular display right through till the winter.

Bonfire Night Garden Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

  • Consider wind direction and the way the smoke will drift once lit.
  • Build it on open ground away from buildings and other flammable items.
  • Keep windows shut so that the smoke does not drift into your home.
  • Have a hose pipe or water supply ready should it get out of control to dampen it down or extinguish the flames.
  • Keep the bonfire small.
  • If you have been building your bonfire for sometime, check that animals have not taken shelter under it before lighting.
  • Use the wood ashes for fertiliser on the garden flower beds.

Tips

  • Bonfire Material Waste Disposal

These seasons celebrations are the perfect time to dispose of garden waste lying around. Bonfires make the perfect disposal unit for dry, woody material infected by disease like canker and fire blight. Be sure to conduct when weather is calm for smoke safety.

  • Garden Protection

Be sure to prepare all bonfires away from beneath overhanging trees as the hot air is damaging to venerable buds and tree leaves and will cause large dead areas in the following year.

Have a great bonfire night!

Halloween In the Garden

It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 12 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.

1. Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakeshead)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snakes head Fritillaria is a popular variety due to their unusual drooping pendants, flowering in the spring. This spellbinding plant displays a mixture of white and purple bell shaped flowers.

Fact: The nodding, pink-and-purple-checkered flowers of the Snake’s-head Fritillary are said to resemble a snake, hence the name!

2. Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’ is a truly magical variety producing velvety petals of deep lilac and rust atop robust, fleshy stems. These exquisitely mystical blooms are guaranteed to add a touch of intrigue to your borders.

Fact: Iris take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

Superstition: Iris symbolize eloquence. Purple iris are symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolize faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolize passion while white iris symbolize purity.

3. Tulip Black Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Black Parrot is a mysterious and elegant variety, with large flared heads draped in rich, velvety maroon-black petals. Once the flower matures and opens, their serrated appearance of the petals edges become symbolic of a parrot’s plumage.

Fact: These tulips were developed from mutations of certain varieties of late-flowering and Triumph tulips!

Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricyrtis ‘Dark Beauty’ adds an exotic edge to any borders with their strikingly unique bruised purple/blue spotted petals with a dusky white accent, and their tentacle-like tepals bursting from the center with their yellow and white stamens and purple anthers.

Fact: Known in England as Toad Lilies, this wonderful perennial is native to eastern Asia and the Himalayas. A wonderfully weird introduction to the garden.

5. Hemerocallis ‘Whoopy’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dark and mysterious day lily is a popular perennial flowering garden plant, producing a velvety purple edge surrounding a dark black core and green throat.

Fact: The genus name is derived from Greek, meaning beauty and day, referring to the fact that each pretty bloom lasts only one day.

Superstition: Wearing lilies and poppies was thought to lighten people’s distress, causing the wearer to forget all their troubles.

6. Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as hot temperatures arrive. The attractive foliage and shape of this fern provide colour, contrast and texture.

Fact: Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers)

7. Sedum Spurium ‘Dragons Blood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as ‘Caucasian stonecrop’ or ‘Dragons blood’ this creeping perennial bursts to life with blood red flowers from June through to August. The large simple shaped leaves create a glossy evergreen that are thick, flattened, rounded, succulent and toothed or lobed near the tips.

Fact: In autumn, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ earns its name as the leaves turn from greenish-red to dramatic deep red!

8. Tulip ‘Kingsblood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark cherry red edged scarlet. Tulip Kingsblood is a striking tall, strong tulip that will bring a hit of colour to the late spring garden. Mix with dark maroons and oranges for an eye-catching combination or planted on it’s own for a bold statement.

Fact: The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love . Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.

Superstition: In Persia, Tulips are used as a ward against evil.

9. Dicentra Spectabilis ‘Bleeding Heart’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bleeding Heart is both bold and dramatic which makes a fabulous border plant producing fern-like foliage and arching sprays of heart-shaped deep Pink and White flowers.

Fact: The Royal Horticultural Society has given this plant the Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

10. Rose Black Baccara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add some dark glamour to your summer border with Rose Black Baccara, a striking fragrant variety of Hybrid Tea rose with petals of deepest maroon which fade to luxurious red as the plant matures. The Black Rose Bush produces large, velvety blooms and glossy foliage from its tall, statuesque stems, making it favourite cut flower of florists.

Fact: According to the Language of Flowers or floriography in the 19th Century, a black rose implies hatred, death, and despair. It can also signify rebirth or farewell for good, in certain situations.

Superstition: Rose petals falling unexpectedly without any cause is a negative omen, potentially portending death.

11. Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bushy evergreen shrub with palmately lobed leaves, dappled with white, making it look as though it is covered in a ‘spiders web’. In autumn it produces clusters of white flowers that give way to black berries. Fruits persist on the prominent stalks for several weeks.

Fact: These evergreens are happiest in light shade, although it will still thrive where it is verging on the gloomy.

12. Tulip Perfect Partner Collection

Tulip ‘Havran’ is a truly beautiful, silk-satin almost black tulip with two to three flowers to a stem, providing that elusive darkness of colour for your patios, pots and borders. Pictured along side ‘Grand Perfection’, which flames blood red on a soft yellow background. As they mature, the yellow fades and turns creamy white.

Fact: In magical traditions, tulips appear in spells and rituals aimed at love, joy, safety, success and meaningful dreams. You can carry tulips as a charm that attracts prosperity.

Superstition: There is a superstition in Holland that Pixies live in tulip beds.

 

Happy Halloween!

Creative Gardening: How-To Start Lasagne Planting

Planting layered spring bulbs, also known as lasagne planting or double decker pots, is a great way to get a fabulous spring display or a staggered display that lasts several months and keeps delivering colour to your patio.

You can do this with any spring flowering bulbs and really get creative with the combinations you choose. We selected some traditional favourites for our own display, with Triumph Tulips, Dwarf Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, Bedding Hyacinth Mixed and finally large flowering crocus mixed.

Getting a long lasting pot display really couldn’t be easier, and we’ve put together this guide along with a complete video tutorial from our expert Jeff Turner to show you exactly how to get the best from your spring patio displays.

All you need is a large pot, some crocks or grit for drainage, good multi-purpose compost and some quality J. Parker’s bulbs. Watch the video below to see how Jeff gets on;

The trick is to plant the larger, later flowering bulbs towards the bottom so that the small, early flowering varieties can flower first early in the season, and as they die off the next lot comes through to continue the display.

In this case we plant our Triumph Tulips first, as Tulips prefer to be planted that bit deeper. We’ve used Triumph Tulips for their tall, strong wind resistant stems and the fantastic variety of colour that goes into our Parker’s mixture.

Next add another layer of compost, and plant your next set. We’ve gone for Narcissi Tete-a-Tete, the most popular dwarf Daffodil known for its versatility and reliability. This will produce traditional golden trumpets on short stems.

The next layer was Hyacinth, specifically a bedding sized mixture for a strong display, and finally the top layer is large flowering Crocus Mixed. This will be the last planted and the first to flower, as these beautiful early spring bulbs will produce a carpet of low-growing colour.

Have you tried this at home? Let us know how you got on!

Complete Guide: How to Prune

Pruning is an essential job that is often overlooked, but with a little planning and preparation in advance then we can easily maintain the long term health and vibrancy of the garden.  For larger trees it can sometimes be safer and easier to consult a professional, but most pruning is a simple do it yourself job.

Why do I need to prune?

  1. Promotes healthy development – By removing the old, dying or weak branches from the trees/shrubs this will allow the structure to become stronger and flowering thus to become more prolific and less prone to disease.
  2. Maintain the ornamental appearance – Removing damaged or wayward shoots will stop the branches from becoming entangled and messy.
  3. Controls height and shape – If you are looking to keep certain plants, such as climbers or vigorous growing shrubs from becoming unmanageable, then regular and hard pruning will be a must.
  4. Promotes flowering and fruiting – Proving can improve air circulation, should result in more flowers or a much better and larger crop year on year for fruit.

How to Prune

As a starting point cut back and remove all dead and diseased wood.  Always work with the natural habit and structure of the tree or shrub, to encourage continued natural growth. This can be followed up with removing any crossing or rubbing branches at the centre of the plant.  By removing these branches which can act as a barrier to further growth, you will in fact improve circulation around the shrubs/tree, helping to reduce the likelihood of plant disease.

When removing stems, we suggest cutting at a little above healthy buds, cutting back around 0.5cm above.  Never cut back and leave short stubs.  Make all cuts perpendicular to the branch and close to the branch collar to facilitate rapid healing.

For fruit trees, its important to encourage healthy growth and a bumper crop of fruit. It’s critical to prune before the buds appear from mid-late spring.  Make sure that any rubbing or branches that cross each other are trimmed back completely.  Identify damaged or weakened branches and remove these also. Create a simple open structure where the side shoots can develop and become stronger.

SHOP SHRUBS AND TREES NOW

For more information, follow the links below to read our previous posts on pruning different plants;

How and when to Prune Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

How and when to Prune Climbing Plants

How and when to Prune Fruit Trees

How and when to Prune Roses

Top Ten Garden Quotes

For when you need a little inspiration…

 

From the inspiring and profound, to the practical or the downright silly! We’ve collected some of our favourite quotes to feed your enthusiasm and get you out into your gardens.

 

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

– Greek proverb

Man-and-Boy-planting-tree

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Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Doug-Larson

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One of the least arduous but most productive of gardening jobs, the magic of deadheading never fails to delight me. It was a revelation when the principle was explained to me: that flowers are the attempt by the plant to reproduce itself. So if you cut the heads off before the flower turns into seeds, the plant will continue to flower.

Tom Hodgkinson

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Clive-Anderson

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Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

Butterflies--duo

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My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.

Claude Monet

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Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.

Rudyard Kipling

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Top 10 Exotic Plants for your Garden

Our top ten exotic plants to liven up your patio and garden displays in 2017.

There’s nothing like bringing a taste of the exotic to your garden in summer, and when these plants come to life they cannot be beaten for vibrancy and interest!

1. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird-of-paradise-flower-shutterstock

Where better to start than with this attractive ornamental plant, also known as a Crain flowers for its tropical bird like shape. Surprisingly easy to grow, they hold an RHS Award of garden merit.

2. Datura Hybrids or Brugmansia

Datura

These impressive patio plants are also known as Angel’s Trumpets. The magnificent flowers on this tree like plant are perfect for growing in large tubs on a sunny patio. Best to move indoors or to a greenhouse in winter.

3. Passiflora

Passiflora

An amazing sight on a summers day – these climbing plants, commonly known as Passion Flowers, produce a constant flow of exotic shaped flowers throughout summer. The summer fruit is edible and can be used for making jam, for a good crop grow in a greenhouse.

4. Zantedeschia

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An increasingly popular choice, these distinctive flowers, known as Calla Lilies, are an expensive treat that can be grown indoors, or outside.

5. Mimosa Acacia

Acacia-Mimosa-

This fragrant beauty is heavy with masses of dainty yellow flowers bubbling over its feathered foliage. Only when its growing on your patio will you appreciate why its name was given to a very popular cocktail!

6. Dipladenia Sundaville

Sundaville-Red-and-Pink-Mandevilla

Sensational patio or conservatory plants that can also be trained up a trellis. They will flower from spring to October outdoors and up to Christmas in a conservatory.

7. Callistemon Citrinus ‘Splendens’

Bottle_brush_Callistemon-Citrinus

Add a dramatic flash of colour to your garden with this vibrant red flowered plant, also known as the Red Bottle brush plant.

8. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

These stunning flowering plants have become an increasingly popular patio choice, producing an abundance of bright tubular flowers in summer and autumn.

9. Canna Tropicanna®

Tropicanna

These vigorous growing Canna grow really well in the UK. The spears of foliage are an amazing sight caught in sunlight, with tropical flowers simply an added bonus!

10. Patio and Greenhouse Fruit

Grape-Cabernet-Sauvignon

Ever thought of growing your own Grapes? They are a magnificent treat and will grow really well in a greenhouse. Or if you don’t have a greenhouse and are a little short on space we have a whole range of Dwarf Fruit Trees that will make an excellent addition to your patios or conservatory. For exotic flavours try Figs, Limes, Lemons, Mandarins, or our new Pepino Melon.