How to Plant: Pansies

Pansies are exceptionally colourful plants and these specially selected winter and spring flowering varieties will present a splendid display of colour over a very long period and in such a beautiful variation of shades. A cool-weather favorite, pansies are great for both spring and autumn garden displays! Supplied in both maxi plug and garden ready varieties, their compact growing habit and prolific flowering ability also make them a perfect choice to complement your gardens. This guide will help you on planting your pansies as well as how to keep your pansies growing and blooming.

Planting

  • Plant straight away upon arrival into pots or containers into either freshly prepared soil (with a little organic matter added) or else using a balanced potting compost.
  • Pot up for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three) and then plant out into final position once the roots have become established.
  • Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry. This will also help to produce a bigger plant with greater flowering potential.
In this easy to follow how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant winter/spring flowering pansies step by step, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your pansy plants.

Aftercare

Here are a few tips on caring for your pansy plants.

  • Remember to water your pansies regularly. One of the most common reasons pansies fail is because they are not watered enough, so if your pansies are not doing well, try watering them more.
  • You can use a general, all-purpose fertilizer around your pansies to help them grow.
  • Always deadhead your pansies as they go over and be sure to pinch off the whole flower to the base of the stem and you’ll then get more flowers.

Our Top Picks

Need help deciding which pansies to buy? Can Can or Cool Wave? Maxi plug or garden ready? Here is a selection of our favourite varieties to simplify your gardening.

Pansy Cool Wave (Garden Ready)

The next generation of trailing pansy from seed, Pansy Cool Wave. Simply plant in a hanging basket or container and the plants will naturally spread and trail to create a stunning spring display as illustrated. This pansy has exceptional overwintering performance and is the first to re-bloom in spring, and another highlight of this variety is it’s light scent. Height 15cm. This pansy is supplied as garden ready plug plants, our largest sized plugs on the market and are very easy to grow making them perfect for the novice and experienced gardener alike. Each plug plant supplied is 10-15cm in height and 5cm in width, supplied in trays of 30.

Pansy Can Can (Maxi Plug or Garden Ready)

Our stunning double winter flowering Pansy Can Can is an extravagant frilled pansies, which will make your winter basket, patio containers and borders a sight for sore eyes. The ruffled semi-double flowers are exquisitely marked with shades of yellow, red blue, white and orange, perfect for adding a flair of colour to your garden display. Available as Maxi Plugs, a small but robust variety, and Garden Ready plants , which are our easiest plug plant to succeed with, ready to plant on arrival and are the quickest of all to establish and grow. Maxi plug height 15cm. Garden Ready height 20cm.

Winter/Spring Pansy Select Mixed (Garden Ready)

 

Winter and Spring pansies never fail to perform, they show a splendid display of multi-colour over a very long period. Pansies really are super hardy plants and don’t mind being covered with a dusting of snow in the winter – they just carry on flowering right through to spring. Height 15-20cm.

 

Click here to view our full Pansy range!

How to Plant Tulips: Red Riding Hood Tulips

Looking to add a vibrant splash of character to your spring garden displays?

This Greigii Tulip has strikingly beautiful, oriental scarlet flowers. It is highly compact, growing to a height of only 20-30cm, and flowers in spring between March/April. The inner petals are brighter, with a dark base and flecks of yellow in the centre. The spectacular, grey-green mottled purple foliage is a highlight of these tulips. These tulips are easy to grow, and create a warm welcoming addition to garden beds, borders, containers, rock gardens and make stunning cut flowers too. These Red Riding Hood tulips are excellent alongside contrasting tulips of a similar style, such as Albion Star, or beside your other red varieties.

Tulip Red Riding Hood (Greigii)

Planting (including Tutorial)

Our Red Riding Hood bulbs come in packs of 15 and 60 and are supplied as 10cm+ bulbs. We recommend you plant around 8 to 10cm deep and approximately 15cm apart in well drained, fertile soil, and in a sunny or partially shaded location in the autumn from September to December.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff shows you how to plant our Red Riding Hood tulips, specifically in pots, with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs.

Aftercare

Red Riding Hood tulips are fairly low maintenance plants for aftercare as they do not require pruning. After the tulips have bloomed and the leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

How to Plant: Fritillaria (with Video Tutorial)

Looking for help and advice on planting Fritillaria bulbs? Look no further, we’ve compiled this handy guide full of information on Fritillaria planting, tutorial guide and aftercare advice.

Fritillaria Lutea (Crown Imperial)                 Fritillaria Meleagris

Fritillaria are a stunning accompaniment to any garden display with their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers that are particularly effective when grown in groups, as well as being versatile enough to add charm to rockeries, borders, flowers beds or even on the patio in pots. Our extensive range of Fritillaria includes smaller varieties such as Fritillaria Meleagris, which produce a mixture of white and purple flowers, and taller varieties such as Fritillaria Imperialis and many bi-colour favourites such as Fritillaria Uva-Vulpis and Michailovski.

Our beautiful Fritillaria bulbs flower between April and May in the spring, and our bulb sizes vary between 5cm up to 24cm, with certain varieties growing up to 120cm. They can be planted at 8-10cm deep and 10-15cm apart in well drained/light and moist soil. They can be planted in areas with full sun access or preferably with partial shade, and can be left to naturalise in grass, borders or even cold greenhouses. Fritillaria are very hardy and are an excellent choice for border displays, rockeries or for woodland areas, where their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers are likely to add that little something different to your garden.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff shows you how to plant Giant Fritillaria with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs!

Aftercare

When established in the right environment you can easily begin to see fritillaria plants multiply. In good growing conditions crown imperials will readily form large clumps. If a well-established colony begins to flower poorly then lifting in early autumn when dormant, thoroughly improving the soil and replanting, or moving to a new site may be enough to restore satisfactory flowering. The bulbs may take a year or two to re-establish.

Click to view our Fritillaria range!

How To Plant: Iris Reticulata Pixie

If you’re looking for an easy to grow bulb that will bring some vibrancy to your garden in early spring, you can’t go wrong with Iris Reticulata.

 

Of all our spring flowering Iris, Iris Reticulata Pixie is a particularly popular variety for a number of reasons. This beautiful Iris Reticulata flowers early in spring when little else in the garden is in flower, bringing vibrant violet-blue hues to your borders and patio pots. Each petal is delicately marked with golden yellow and white flecks. These exquisite flowers are sure to brighten up the garden in February and March.
You can plant these beautiful Iris in the front of your border, or in pots for the patio. Jeff talks us through both options in the below video so you can get the most out of your bulbs.
Bulbs are to be planted 8cm deep and around 10-12cm apart, in well drained soil. It is often best to try to position then with plenty of access to sun. For best results, plant in September through to November.

 

Take some care to prevent slugs and snails from attacking the Iris once planted, Jeff uses fine alpine grit to get the job done!
Most Iris can naturalise well if left undisturbed or alternatively bulbs can be lifted and separated in autumn. After flowering feed with a high potash fertilizer to encourage large bulbs to form.

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 Plant Dahlia Tubers

Dahlias are an essential choice for the summer garden. The easy-to-grow tubers will produce a phenomenal display of colour in a range of styles with beautiful dense foliage. Dahlia work perfectly with almost all types of plants, and complement any garden wonderfully regardless of size.

Whether you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your summer, decorate your patio with impressive pot/container displays or grow a ready supply of cut flowers – Dahlias can do it all.

Background

Dahlias are native to Mexico, and the country’s national flower. The Aztecs grew Dahlia tubers as a food crop, and they were widely used there for their nutritional and medicinal properties long before being propagated for their beauty.

It wasn’t until 1789 when the plants were sent to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid, that they got the name we know them by today. Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlias were then developed and cultivated to the wide selection of hybrids and varieties we have today – with 42 different species.

Why Choose Dahlias?

  1. They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).
  2. They 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.
  3. They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.
  4. Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.
  5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
  6. They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.

Varieties

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of 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 Powder Puff.

Cactus – A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.

Dark Leaf – These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

Decorative – The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.

Dwarf Gallery – 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 together 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). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.

Pompom – Love the unusual, then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.

Dahlia Tubers

All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.

Dahlia tubers can 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.

How to grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon.

  1. 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.
  2. When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.
  3. 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.
  4. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
  5. 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.
  6. Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.
  7. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
  8. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

More Dahlia Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Complete Guide: How to Plant Roses

Roses are a much loved addition to the garden and are guaranteed to add that classic, often times rustic feel to the summer. Few shrubs/plants will add the elegance and beauty to the British garden quite like these classic beauties.

Roses can come in a number of colours, shapes and sizes and are grown for their attractive and often fragrant flowers, flowering mainly in summer and autumn. Roses are ideal for planting as stand-alone specimens, planted together in groups, miniature roses can be used in raised beds and climbing varieties to climb a wall, trellis or a fence. All make perfect cut flowers.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know about how to plant Roses from choosing which variety is for you, to getting them in the ground and on-going maintenance.

Hybrid Tea (HT) Roses – Prolific flowering, scented well-formed blooms, these classic and popular roses are prized for their distinctive colour and shape.

Floribunda Roses – Produces in clusters these really give you more roses for your money! Great bedding plants and good in the vase, the blooms are open and less of a classic rose shape than the HT varieties but they do have a real charm that’s all their own.

Climbing Roses – Ideal for potting up and growing against a garden wall, fence or trellis, excellent for bringing a fairytale look and a romantic feel to your garden display.

Hedging Roses – When growing a hedge or low screen, Roses may not necessarily be a plant which jumps to mind, but we have been able to source a number of specially selected hedges which produce roses. This is an exciting and novel way of introducing not only a hedge for practical reason, but also something that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Standard Roses – Grafted onto stems of approximately 80cm with three or more strong branches are available to buy now, a fantastic way of adding some impact the summer garden. They are perfect where space is a premium, as these compact beauties can be grown in large pots on the patio.

Miniature Roses – Small but perfectly scaled, growing to just 40-50cm. These beautiful miniature roses are ideal in containers and rockeries where space can be an issue. Despite their small size, miniature roses are extremely hardy.

Cascading Roses – Rose the Fairy form well branched plants smothered in glossy, dark green foliage. They make excellent plants, as once established require little care. They are ideal for adding to summer flower arrangements, flowers are individually small, but form double petals in large clusters giving a big impact.

Shop our full range of Roses

How to Plant Roses

To plant, dig a hole large enough to take the roots when fully outspread, remembering that the point at which the plant was originally budded should be sufficiently low in the hole to be 2.5cm below the surface of the soil when it is filled in. Distribute the roots evenly round the hole and put in a little fine soil to which has been added a small amount of bone meal.

Fill in a further 5cm of ordinary soil over the roots and tread in firmly. Tread in additional soil firmly at each stage as the hole is filled. Roses must be firmly planted. If they are not the winds of winter will loosen the roots and may cause the newly planted rose to die.

Generally speaking, the depth of holes in which the roses are to be planted will vary between 10-20cm but examination of the plants will show quite clearly the depth to which they were originally planted and this depth should be adhered to provided that it does place the point at which the stock was budded just below the surface of the soil.

How to Prune Roses

Tips for Pruning Bush Roses, Floribunda or Hybrid Tea

Bush Roses should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England and further north this should be deferred at such a rate that in the North of Scotland it is done in the second week of April.

Floribunda Roses are a little tenderer and should be pruned one week later than the above dates.

Newly planted Hybrid Tea Roses should always be pruned back hard in the spring, provided the roots are firmly established, leaving only three or four eyes per stem, generally leaving about 15-25cm in length. Roses are roughly pruned in the nursery to approximately 35-45cm of stem. If left unpruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.

Tips for Pruning Climbing Roses

Do not prune for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unrequired growing tips. Weak or dead wood should be removed.

Stake well with expandable ties, driving in the stake below the head of the tree. Plant Rose Tree to old soil mark level. Put liberal amounts of planting medium in hole. Prune back well in spring to good bud.

Tips for Pruning Miniature Roses

Miniature versions of Hybrid Tea or Floribunda and should be treated the same, allowing for the difference of scale. Miniature Roses are ideal for borders and rockeries or as pot plants, though they should be in the dry atmosphere of the house only for limited periods. Prune hard after planting.

Read our Pruning Guide for More Info

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.

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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

Complete Guide: How To Plant Begonia Tubers

With the winter months coming to an end and spring on the horizon, you may well look to the garden and start plotting another year of beautiful borders and overflowing hanging baskets.

In recent years, Begonias have soared in popularity for their versatility and reliability. These colourful favourites will solve all your summer garden needs, from hanging baskets and window boxes to borders and pots. With such a shining reputation, its an easy choice to make but you may be wondering which variety is for you.

This week we’ll help you get a head start on that summer planning with our comprehensive guide to Begonias.

History

Although it has been theorised that Begonias have been around for thousands of years, the plants first got their name in 1690. The renowned botanist Charles Plumier named the plant after his colleague and friend Michael Bégon, a fellow plant collector.

Native to the slopes of the Andes, tuberous Begonia thrived naturally in the cool mountain temperatures and moist shade of the Amazon rainforest. Hundreds of years of propagation and hybridisation has given us the larger, more colourful and diverse Begonia. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice, with everything from giant, double flowering show-stoppers to unusual, fringed favourites.

Variations

Begonia Double Mixed 3/4cm

 

 

Double Flowering – Ruffled, double flower heads. Clusters of brightly-coloured, delicate petals create a cheerful rainbow of colour on a bed of attractive green foliage.

 

 

Begonia Splendide Mixed 5/6cm

Cascading and Splendide– This range includes our cascading, exhibition size cascading and Splendide, which will create a truly graceful display. Trailing double begonias with a graceful, trailing habit, perfect for hanging baskets, large pots on the patio. The Giant Cascading Begonias produce an avalanche of  large double blooms which can reach up to 15cm across. Our Splendide variety boasts large, double flowered blooms and a vigorous cascading habit.

Begonia Non Stop Collection 5/6cm

Non-Stop – As the name suggests, these beautiful Begonias will keep producing endless flowers throughout summer, making them a premium choice for your garden displays. These summer flowering plants are ideal for pots, bedding, containers and window boxes where the almost endless addition of flowers will be hard to miss.

 

Begonia Odorata Mixed (Exhibition Size)

Fragrant Odorata – A range of premium cascading begonias in elegant shades of pink, red and white with the added bonus of a very pleasant fragrance.

Begonia Multiflora Richard Galle

 

 

Multiflora – A cheerful selection of low-growing, bold, brightly-coloured flowers with lovely olive green foliage. These lovely Begonias are ideal for front of border or containers where they will flower all summer long.

 

Begonia Superba (Mighty Mini) Mixed

Superba (Mighty Mini) – Our range of premium upright Superba Begonia, Mighty Mini Begonias are a great addition to the summer garden. This colourful upright favourite produces a dwarf and compact habit, coupled with large sixed flowers that catch the eye easily. Supplied as 4/5cm tubers, unless otherwise indicated, they really will produce a superb display, as the name suggest!

Begonia Fancy Frills Pink 3/4cm

 

Fimbriata – Large vibrant blooms with serrated edges stand upright on a bed of spades shaped foliage. Give your patios charm throughout summer with their red, pink, yellow, white and orange frilled blooms, also known as Fringed Begonias.

Tubers

Tubers can even be stored over winter and reused year after year, making the Begonia plant excellent value for money. Preferring half-sun and rich, moist soil with good drainage, we recommend that Begonias are grown indoors first and planted outdoors only when all traces of frost have disappeared.

Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results. We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.

Begonia sizes are measured by the diameter of the tuber. The tubers are counted into breathable bags and carefully packed to be delivered to you. Many of our varieties are supplied either as standard size (3/4cm) great for mass planting or exhibition size (5cm+) excellent for large flowering displays. We always state the tuber size so please check the description before ordering.

How to Grow

You can follow some top tips for success with Begonias below, or watch our video series with Jeff for his sage advice on planting cascading Begonias for hanging baskets.

  1. You can start planting Begonia tubers from February onwards. Mix some good top-soil with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. Once you’ve prepared the soil, add some leaf mould in a mix of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated.
  2. As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.
  3. Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.
  4. You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.
  5. Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.
  6. Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.

Click here to view our full range of Begonias!

7 Ways to Help Wildlife in your Garden

For many people, wildlife is a welcome addition to the garden, bringing a cheerful breath of life and character to your very own backyard.

It is especially vital at this time of year, in the cold frosty months, to keep supporting your local wildlife with the space you have. Taking just a little time out of your day to make some easy changes in your garden can attract a flurry of wildlife and help do your bit for the environment.

Here are seven easy ways to make it happen;

  1. Leave a snack

Food can be scarce for animals during the winter, so this time of year is the perfect time to begin attracting wildlife to your garden. Even something as simple as adding a bird feed or scattering monkey nuts on the lawn can easily attract various wildlife to your garden. A bird table is a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden.

  1. Choose Shrubs for shelter and food

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months.

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  1. Choose nectar-rich flowers

Bees and butterflies will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed. Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

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  1. Don’t forget water!

Just a little water left out can help out passing critters. Remember if you have a water feature or are near bodies of water, be sure to provide water and shelter for Toads. These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs.

  1. Use an old Tennis Ball

Having a space for a water feature in your garden is a fantastic way to attract wildlife, but in the colder months freezing temperatures can create lethal conditions for your pondlife. A great tip for preventing your water feature from completely freezing over is to float several old tennis balls on the surface.

  1. Offer Shelter

Critters and bugs appreciate a little homemade shelter. A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants! 

  1. Go Wild

Wild gardens and meadows have been popular in recent years for their stylish swathes of summer colour. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife.

Read Some of our Best Reader-submitted Tips