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.

Click here to view online. 

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.

Best Plants for Gravel Gardens

A gravel garden is a great option for a low maintenance garden. It also lends itself to Mediterranean-style drought-tolerant planting so plants like Lavender and Euphorbia are ideal and provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting insects.

Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden

One great example is the Beth Chatto Gravel Garden. What was once an old car park is now a famous garden, due to the fact that is has never been watered! Despite being situated in one of the driest parts of the country and with poor, free-draining soil, it has become renowned for its spectacular display of drought-tolerant plants.

Here are our top plant picks for gravel gardens…

Euphorbia

Euphorbia Bonfire

A popular spring perennial. The foliage turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again to a bright fiery red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large vivid yellow flowers. Excellent for edging in rock gardens or in mixed containers.

Click here to view online.

Euphorbia polychroma

Long lived and incredibly showy, ‘Polychroma’ produces bright yellow flowers against a backdrop of contrasting dark green foliage. This award-winning shrub’s green leafy foliage turns to a red, purple or orange in the autumn providing a long, seasonal interest.

Click here to view online.

Nepeta

Nepeta Faasenii

With slender spikes of lavender-blue summer flowers and aromatic, sage-green leaves, this dwarf catmint releases an intoxicating aroma when trodden underfoot. Ideal for attracting wildlife and creating a low growing border when planted in rows.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus Midnight Cascade

A bold, hardy herbaceous plant. Known as the African lily, this unique, drought tolerant plant produces beautiful pendulous flowers in shades of rich purple throughout summer. An excellent addition to Mediterranean beds and borders. Can also be featured in containers.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning bi-colour addition with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Their vibrant, colourful flowers and shiny green leaves can really spruce up a deck by planting in borders and improve the look of fence lines or garden beds as edging.

Lavender

Lavender Hidcote

A reliable and popular English Lavender. Their natural bushy habit makes it superb for mass planting within a border or flower bed. Producing an array of sweetly-scented lilac-blue flowers in summer, coupled with evergreen silvery-grey foliage that adds interest throughout the year.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

A beautiful compact and extremely fragrant variety. Producing rosy-purple flowers during the summer months, they can be planted en-masse to produce ground cover/low screening or in lines to create a great border effect. Excellent for rock gardens and herb gardens.

Gaura

Gaura Rosy Jane

A wonderful, free-flowering perennial that will produce bi-coloured blooms in a very pretty-pink and white throughout the summer. It makes the ideal border or pot plant, being clump forming with a neat habit. It is nectar and pollen rich and ideal for attracting bees to the garden.

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

Delicate and incredibly pretty, but tough none the less. This amazing perennial produces beautiful white star-shaped flowers (which resemble the wings of a butterfly) that stand against green foliage. Drought and heat tolerant, this Gaura is perfect for sunny borders and rock gardens.

Do you have any gardening questions or need any planting and care tips/advice? We have created a new Facebook group where you can write your burning plant queries and we’ll help solve them.

Click here to join and check it out!

 

 

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.

 

Shade-Loving Plants for the Garden

Do you have a shaded area in your garden where it seems like nothing will grow there? Full shade areas can look dreary but don’t worry, there are plants to suit every garden, and all you need is a little creativity. Check out our favourite picks, from ground cover to perennial flowers and grasses, to add to any shaded spot in the garden.

Is my garden full shade or partial shade?

To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light.

Partial Shade: A garden with half sun and half shade. There is some direct sun but for less than half the hours of daylight.

Full Shade: Under trees, shrubs, and  buildings. Less than 2 hours of direct sun a day.

Here’s an easy checklist to decide whether the plants you are considering for a shady area are really a suitable candidate. They will need to be either:

  • Suitable for neutral to acid soils
  • Variegated foliage
  • Evergreen
  • Prefer moist or wet soil

Perennials

Acanthus mollis Whitewater

Looking for a beautiful perennial to brighten up a shaded spot? Our Acanthus mollis Whitewater produces tall spikes of white flowers against their backdrop of dark green variegated foliage; a perfect addition to borders or large patio containers. Tip – These pretty flowers can be cut for vase displays or dried floral arrangements.

Monarda Blaustrumpf

This fascinating clump-forming perennial produces mint scented flowers in a deep purple shade. Monarda Blaustrumpf makes the perfect addition for flower beds and borders and thrive in semi or full shade where other perennials may struggle.

Geranium Versicolor

This hardy plant does well in all types of shade. Geranium Versicolor is ideal for borders or patio pots to add striking and unusual blooms to your garden with their vivid pink veined white flowers. This variety makes for great ground-cover in full or partial shade.

Ground Cover

Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’

Not all Euphorbias do well in shade but Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is an exception. This rapid growing ground cover plant produces amazing dark purple foliage with lime-green flowers in Spring. Ideal for borders, patio pots or containers.

Vinca major Variegata

This reliable evergreen shrub is perfect for bringing some colour to shady areas. Vinca major Variegata produces pretty violet-blue flowers from late spring in to summer; a perfect plant for growing anywhere in the garden, even underneath trees.

Heuchera

Products: Lime Marmalade (left), Creme Brulee (middle) and Berry Smoothie (right)

These charming evergreen clumps of scalloped leaves come in every colour under the sun. Here we’ve picked out Heuchera Lime Marmalade, Heuchera Creme Brulee and Heuchera Berry Smoothie as our top recommendations for their vibrant hues. Heuchera are amazing for ground cover, borders or in front of shrubs.

Lamium White Nancy

Bored of plain foliage? This stunning silver touched deep green foliage that becomes dotted with spikes of pretty white blossoms in spring and early summer. This evergreen shrub is perfect for adding interest to any shaded spot in the garden.

Ferns

Asplenium scolopendrium

Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern with luscious upright green foliage. This hardy evergreen needs little attention in the garden, provides colour all year round and can even be grown in woodland/under trees or shady borders.

Athyrium Vidalii

This small and easy-to-grow fern is perfect for full or partial shade. With a mass of golden yellow leaves and striking red stems, this exotic Athyrium Vidalii is guaranteed to provide a dash of unique colouring to even the shadiest parts of the garden.

Dryopteris ‘Golden Brilliance

An RHS award-winning evergreen. This beautiful foliage plant will bring a touch of exotic colour to your garden with their vivid copper-bronze tinted fronds. Perfect for shaded borders or containers.

Grasses

Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’

This stunning evergreen perennial grass is perfect for containers or a shady border. With Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’s’ extraordinarily eye-catching green leaves with bright orange tips, this variety also changes into a dark orange colour with brown flowers in the summer time.

Festuca Golden Toupee

This versatile grass is ideal for containers, in gravel, in the border or alongside other grasses. With stunning needle-like leaves, Festuca Golden Toupee produces grey-green leaves that turn a bright yellow in the spring. Great for adding stunning vibrant hues to shaded spots.

Bulbs

Anemone Blanda Mixed

Brighten up any shady spot with our Anemone Blanda Mix. These joyful, daisy-like blooms flower in beautiful shades of blue, pink and white. Perfect for a rockery or spring-flowering containers.

Uvularia grandiflora

This hardy perennial excels in partial or full shade. With pointed green leaves and slender, soft yellow bells that drop from its branched stems, Uvularia grandiflora makes a great addition to pots, containers and this variety even makes excellent cut flowers.

Geum Mai Tai

A smooth cocktail of colours, purple buds opening to apricot, with rose shadings. Geum Mai Tai have fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems holding the semi double flowers. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September and are suitable for partial shaded borders in the garden.

Climbers

Virginia Creeper (Ivy)

A rustic charmer. This ‘American Ivy’ brings a douse of colour to the garden with their reddish-bronze foliage. A vigorous climber that can add beauty to any wall, trellis or building.

Hydrangea petiolaris

With giant showy milk-white lace cap type flowers blooming over vigorous glossy green foliage. This fantastic, self-clinging Hydrangea petiolaris is the best climber for a shaded north wall. Very low maintenance needing only an occasional trim, left undisturbed it can grow up to a height and spread of 5m+ but will withstand gentle pruning to any manageable height to suit your garden.

ENJOY PLANTING THIS SPRING!

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.

 

1

chinese-prov

 

2

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

3

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

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4

Doug-Larson

5

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

6

Clive-Anderson

7

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

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

 

Butterflies--duo

8

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.

Claude Monet

9

Shrubs_Horizontal

10

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

Rudyard Kipling

small-garden-with-wheel-barrow