Growing cut flowers has surged in popularity over recent years, along with the grow your own product trend. Growing cut flowers is so easy to do, there will be no need to hit the supermarkets for bouquets again! Discover the best cut flower tips, as well as the most popular summer blooms to grow for cutting.
Two ways to start growing cut flowers
Use existing borders
Utilise existing beds and borders by planting groups of annuals, perennials and bulbs suited for cutting to allow for picking without affecting the overall appearance of the border. Add in a few interesting shrubs and grasses for texture and extra interest!
Create a cutting garden
Dedicate an area of the garden to growing cut flowers. If space allows, the advantage of a cutting garden area over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders. Choose a sunny area of the garden, and apply moderate applications of general fertilisers over the space; this will help get tall healthy growth and abundant flowers.
The best cut flowers for summer
The most popular summer bulbs for cutting are dahlias, gladioli and lilies, due to their strong tall stems and assortment of shapes and colours. The huge blooms on decorate and dinnerplate dahlias are perfect for big, show stopping bouquets. Gladioli produce clusters of tall and colourful florets, and lilies provide fragrance and elegance to any cut flower display.
Perennials are the perfect plants for cutting, because they’ll grow back year after year and provide wonderful blooms each summer. Peonies make wonderful cut flowers and have a long vase life. Why not plant large-flowering perennials like Delphinium and Echinacea? These beautiful flowers provide copious amounts of colour and interest in vases around the home.
What about shrubs? Hydrangeas are especially long lasting and often show an intriguing colour change as they age. Roses are renowned for their fabulous fragrance and pretty blooms. Simply snip a few stems of your beautiful bushes in the summertime.
Potatoes are a British culinary staple. You can fry them, boil them, bake them – the list is endless, and there’s not a thing that potatoes can’t achieve. If you’re new to growing your own vegetables, potatoes are a great place to start.
However, being a new gardener comes with its own list of trials and tribulations, and knowing exactly when to plant different varieties of potatoes can confuse the best of us.
When to Plant Early Potatoes
Early potatoes can be harvested sooner than other varieties, making them perfect for beginners. Often known as ‘New Potatoes’, this variety can be softer and easier to cook.
Plant early potatoes in late-March, after they’ve had time to grow shoots when stored indoors.
How to Plant Early Potatoes
Before planting, it’s important to chit your potatoes. This means allowing them to grow shoots before planting. Each shoot should be around 3cm long.
To store, keep in a light and frost-free place. Place each tuber into an unused egg carton sprout side up to allow proper shoot growth. On new potatoes, rub off the weakest shoots – leave four per tuber.
The most common way to plant potatoes is to dig a trench 15cm deep, spaced 30cm apart and 60cm away from each row. Next, you can start to ‘earth up’ the tubers. Cover with a thin layer of soil and wait until the stems are around 10-15cm high and drag up to the stems, leaving a 15cm high ridge. As the shoot grows, continue the process until the ridge around 20-30cm tall.
Where to Plant Early Potatoes
You can plant your varieties in your vegetable patch or a grow bag. Although it’s common to grow in vegetable patches, we’re don’t all have the same space. Grow bags are a perfect way to remedy this problem.
Grow bags are upright and deep containers, perfect for those who don’t have an allotment or even a garden. To plant your potatoes, fill the bottom of the bag with 15cm of potting compost and pop the potato just below. Place one potato for every 30cm of diameter. Add compost as the shoots begin to grow until eventually, the grow bag is full. First early potatoes will be ready to harvest in June and July.
Ready to grow your own? Buy your seed potatoes today on our website.
Dahlias are an ever-popular choice for many a summer garden. Their easy-to-grow tubers produce phenomenal displays of colour and texture in a range of styles throughout the season. However, if you’re new to gardening, you may be wondering how to plant these beauties.
Planting Dahlia tubers is a straight forward process, perfect for those with less experience. With their beauty and effortless maintenance, it’s easy to see why they’re a horticultural favourite.
Why Choose Dahlias?
Dahlias are easy to grow and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. These blooms are fast-growing by nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (keep them stored and frost-free over the winter).
Dahlia tubers are versatile and will tolerate most types of well-drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
They are a firm favourite due to the many different types, sizes, and colours available on the market.
New varieties are created each year. Once you’re hooked on Dahlias, you will always be able to find something new.
They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
They look fantastic as cut flowers, making any display a memorable one.
Before we move onto planting dahlia tubers, here are the main types of Dahlias. Each variety can be classified into several different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.
Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a fluffy ball.
Cactus– A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Are sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias.
Dark Leaf – As the name suggests, the foliage on this variety is not the usual bright green that you see on your average Dahlia. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer, with each bloom appearing on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.
Decorative – Produces large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. A perfect choice for cut flower displays.
Dwarf– A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed in pots on the patio.
Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Another popular choice as cut flowers.
Pompom – Love the unusual? Pompom Dahlias produce ball-shaped blooms that appear through the summer. Each petal has rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges, and are available in plenty of colours.
Planting Dahlia Tubers
All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted as soon as you receive them. The success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high. They are also an inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one plant.
Dahlia tubers should be planted 10cm deep in fertile well-drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.
Planting Dahlia tubers in Pots & Containers
Planting Dahlias in pots and containers is a fantastic way of brightening up your patios. Their unique colours and shapes will brighten any space, a perfect choice for gardens with less space to play with.
Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, leaving plenty of time to grow a well-established root before the summer.
It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
Water well after potting, keeping the compost moist but not waterlogged, as the tubers will rot. Add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they have a strong love for Dahlias.
If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
Very little pruning is needed with Dahlias. However, you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.
Exotic, tropical creatures; the bright and beautiful blooms of cannas are hard to ignore. Cannas keep pumping out colourful flowers from late spring or early summer to frost. When most flowers can’t take the heat of late July and early August, cannas thrive. Discover when and where to plant gorgeous cannas in our gardening guide.
Canna rhizomes can be planted from spring through to early summer. Plant directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed, or you can even start them off indoors as early as a month before the average last frost date (for earlier blooms).
Where to plant cannas
Plant cannas as a tall border; they are perfect for narrow spaces. Or, make cannas the focus of large patio pots filled with super bright annuals. Liven up plantings near water features or boggy areas where these cannas will happily thrive.
How to plant cannas
Dig a hole 2-3 inches deep and set the rhizome in the hole, eyes up. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil. Space rhizomes 1 to 4 feet apart. Cannas are slow to sprout and do not require much water until you begin seeing signs of growth
With the recent launch of our new spring range, check out our favourite new introductions to our Cannas range:
Harvesting herbs is an easy process, but those who are new to growing their own might wonder where to start. Herbs are often a cut and re-grow type of crop, perfect for beginners as they grow back effortlessly.
Luckily, growing and harvesting herbs is fairly straight-forward. However, different herbs might need different harvesting techniques.
When cutting Parsley, it’s best to cut from the bottom of the stalk. Make a cut on the stalk where it joins the base and try to avoid cutting more than you’d need.
To store your freshly cut Parsley, put each sprig between two damp pieces of kitchen paper, pop into a zip-lock bag and keep in the fridge. This way they won’t wilt and become stale.
Chives are a culinary favourite that grow relentlessly throughout spring and summer. An easy one to harvest – simply trim at the base as and when you need them.
To store after cutting, place the ends in water and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze chives by placing them in freezer bags!
Harvesting basil is slightly more complex. To avoid withering of the stem and affecting further growth, trim the stem so that a couple of leaves are left behind.
To store, trim the ends, put in a glass jar filled with water and cover with a plastic bag. This should keep the herb fresh for up to a week.
Regularly cutting Rosemary prevents the stem going woody and prevents a healthy growth. Similar to harvesting herbs of any kind, try not to cut the stem too far down that it affects the growth later in the season.
2021 has started off frosty, however as the weather starts to warm up towards the end of winter, there are actually quite a few plants you can start growing this January. Now is a great time to continue planting trees and shrubs, as well as planning for the coming gardening year
Planting during winter is usually the best time forfruit trees, but always avoid planting when the ground is frozen. You can plant new trees in containers this January and keep them in a cold garage or storage space until the weather improves, or as long as the ground isn’t too hard to dig a hole, you should be good to go. However, do not try to plant bare-root trees once the new season’s leaf buds have started to emerge.
Winter is the perfect time to plant dormant bare-root roses, specifically from late winter to early spring, before growth resumes. Planting bare-root roses during the dormant season allows the plants to establish quickly, because this is when the soil is moist. Simply avoid planting in the middle of winter when the ground is frozen
The perfect fruits to grow for beginners. Raspberriescan be planted any time during the dormant season, between November and March. Blackberry plants are also easy-to-grow, and can be planted up until mid-spring as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
Plan ahead for Spring
Get ready for spring planting season and pre-order your favourite summer-flowering bulbs & tubers online now. From beautiful new Dahlias,Gladioliand Begonias, our spring 2021 range has something for every garden.
Drying lavender is a wonderful way to preserve your beautiful blooms. There are so many wonderful uses for it too. It’s excellent for making tea, cooking and baking and crafting. Learn all about how to make dried lavender (a few different ways), including the best varieties to use, and when to cut it.
The best lavender to use for drying is English lavender. The reason is because it contains more oils than other varieties. But regardless, you can still dry any variety you have in your garden – whether it be English, Spanish or French.
The Hanging Method
Here’s how to dry lavender using hanging bunches:
Cut a bunch of lavender stalks making sure that you leave a few inches of stem on the cut stalk. Group about 15 – 20 stalks together and tie them with an elastic band or twine.
Once set, hang each bundle in a dark, warm, and dry place, like a basement or cellar. Make sure to hang it upside down to help retain its blossom shape. Don’t forget to leave enough space to allow air to travel between the stalks.
Now simply leave your lavender hanging until completely dry.
The Oven Method
Here are the simple steps for drying lavender in the oven:
Set the oven to low heat at around 100 degrees Celsius. Spread a thin layer of lavender on a baking tray and place it in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the stalks are completely brittle. Keep the oven door slightly open while drying (to allow moisture to pass through effectively). If it still feels moist after 10 minutes, rotate the stalks and then leave it for 5 more minutes to dry.
Once done, remove the dried lavender from the oven and run your hand down the dried stalks carefully until the blossoms fall into a container.
When summer ends and all our favourite blooms die back as the weather gets colder, our gardens can end up looking a bit tired and worse for wear. But, what if we told you that you didn’t have to wait for spring to breathe life back into your winter garden?
We’ve selected a few of our favourite winter garden flowers and plants that will help you add some colour to outdoor space, whatever the weather!
Winter Flowering Faves
It can be hard to find lots of flowers that bloom throughout winter, especially in the UK. However, there are a select few that can effortlessly add more colour and excitement to your flower beds and patio containers, even in the colder months.
Grasses and Shrubs
You don’t need flowers to create an exciting garden display! Ornamental grasses and shrubs are a brilliant way of adding some much needed colour to your garden in the winter, and we’ve got the perfect selection to choose from.
As the name suggests, Evergreen trees and shrubs are perfect for adding some greenery to your garden. Unlike our other winter garden flowers and plants, these beauties will last you all year round and need very little pruning and upkeep. A perfect choice for those who don’t tend to spend lots of time pottering around their gardens.
Early Spring flowers
If you prefer your spring garden displays, then why not start them early? There are plenty of spring-flowering bulbs that appear earlier in the season; a brilliant choice for adding some much needed colour and cheer to your garden towards the end of the winter.
Do you hate seeing your flowers fade? It always feels like a shame when you have to throw out cut flowers, but what if we told you that you don’t have to? By turning your blooms into pressed flowers, you’ll be able to keep them as an everlasting ornament. Pressed flowers also add personalised additions to greeting cards and invitations, or even jewellery if you’re feeling crafty! Here’s everything you need to know about pressing flowers.
Step 1: Choose your Flowers
Freshness is the key. Choose flowers that are either still in bud form, or that are freshly bloomed. If you’re picking them from a garden, do so in the morning right after the dew has evaporated. One thing to note is that flowers with naturally flat faces are the easiest to press.
Step 2: Prepping
Once you have chosen your flowers, it’s time to prep.
Hold the stems under water immediately after cutting. Then, recut the stems at an angle.
Remove foliage that will be below the waterline in the vase.
Place flowers in a clean vase with water and flower food (or a teaspoon of sugar). Keep them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for a few hours.
To press thick flowers like roses, split them down the middle with scissors or a knife.
Lay the flat face of the flower on your paper and you are ready to press.
Step 3: Making Pressed Flowers
You will need:
Open a book and line it with newspaper. Place your flowers (as flat as you can) on the page. Then, carefully close the book and weight it down (additional heavy books work well as weights). Store this pile in a warm, dry place and check on your flower specimens daily (this can take a couple of days to a few weeks for your specimen to dry completely). Finally, once your flowers are dry, carefully remove them and enjoy your pressed blooms!
Here are some of our favourite flowers for pressing:
One of the most popular summertime blooms. Dahlias are loved by gardeners everywhere for their cut flowers, long lifespan and beautiful colours and shapes. Since our Dahlia tubers are available for pre-order now, discover when to plant dahlia tubers and grow your own beautiful blooms.
When to plant Dahlias
Since dahlias struggle in cold soil, don’t rush to get them in the ground. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting out in the garden.
How to plant Dahlias
Position dahlias in sunny spots and plant in a rich, well-drained soil. Dig a hole around 6 to 8 inches deep. Place the tubers inside with the growing points, otherwise known as “eyes” facing up, and cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
How to Space Dahlias
Bedding (dwarf) dahlias can be planted 9-12 inches apart. Smaller types (approx. 3 feet tall) should be spaced 2 feet apart, and taller Dahlias should be planted around 3 feet apart to allow optimal growing room.