How to Prune: Climbing Plants

Climbing Plants

Climbing plants can benefit from regular pruning to ensure that they do not become too overgrown and out of control.

Clematis, will need to be pruned to about 20cm on planting. Most Clematis plants will require you to remove dead heads and stems, cutting back to where strong buds appear (in late winter).

 

 

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ and ‘Ville de Lyon’ only require light pruning (in February) in subsequent years. Clematis jackmanii should always be pruned back hard while Montana type Clematis such as Montana Mayleen, which is very vigorous, just needs to be cut back to control.

 

Lonicera, commonly known as the fragrant Honeysuckle, just need you to trim out the wood occasionally after flowering, removing the longer wayward shoots that have become overgrown or beginning to die off.

 

 

Evergreen Trachelospermum jasminoides  can be pruned in late winter and early spring when the flowering has finished.

 

 

 

 

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How to Prune: Fruit Trees

Fruit Treespruning-fruit-tree

The best time to cut back and control most large Apple, Apricot, Cherry and Pear trees will be between winter and early spring. Once autumn has passed and all leaf has fallen and the trees become dormant. This will indicate the most appropriate time for pruning to occur.

Apple-Tree_Red-Apples

To encourage healthy growth and to encourage a bumper crop of fruit. It’s critical to prune before the buds appear from mid-late spring. Make sure than 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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How to Prune: Roses

Roses

pruning-roses-yellow-and-red

How – In General…

For most roses you can prune in late winter. Take care to remove dead/diseased wood and deadhead faded blooms which can be done with your annual pruning. Cut no more than 5mm above a bud with a clean, sloping cut away from the bud so water cannot gather there. Trace any suckers back to their roots and pull them away.

When…

Bush, Floribunda and Hybrid Tea Roses

Bush Roses should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England and as one proceeds 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.

Rose Arthur Bell

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Hybrid Tea – 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 un-pruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.

Rose Climbing Compassion

 

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. Best to prune in autumn.

 

 

 

Standard Roses – 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.

Rose The Fairy Pink

Miniature Roses – These are miniature versions of Hybrid Tea or Floribunda types 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.

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How to Prune: Hedging Plants

Hedging Plants 

The success of hedging plants and regular trimming/pruning is invariable interlinked. To maintain a compact and healthy formation to the boundary effect of a hedge will require careful planning and attention.  Hedges can be formal or informal and this can determine the extent of trimming required.

Common Laurel

Evergreen formal hedging plants such as Buxus sempervirens, Ligustrum Ovafolium (Privet) and Conifers will benefit from a regular trimming twice a year to keep a flat top and compact sides. Prunus rotundifolia (Common Laurel) requires a little less frequent pruning but once a year will help to get rid of any potentially damaging shoots.

 

Rose Stromboli

Informal hedging plants such as Rose Stromboli and Rose Queen Elizabeth can be trimmed once a year in late winter and early spring, removing any wayward of unattractive shoots.

 

 

 

 

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

Berberis thunbergii Atropurpura is a wonderfully unusual purple leafed hedge and can be pruned annually, best in February if all signs of frost have disappeared.  Be careful however when pruning Berberis as they are thorny by their very nature so make sure to wear protective gloves.

 

 

Lavender Munstead is becoming a superb option for low growing boundaries because of its wonderful fragrance and versatility.  If growing in rows for a low screening effect we suggest pruning lightly in spring each year.

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Plug Plants in Trays – Which size should you choose?

A selection of our top quality bedding and basket plants are available in a choice of up to three different plug sizes. We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you choose which one is best for you.

Rapid Plugs

at-a-glance-rapid-plugs

These are the smallest plugs we offer and the earliest to be delivered. Exceptional value, we supply these in trays of 120, each robust 4-7cm plug has strong roots.

rapid-plug-with-measurements-jpg-small

Care

All our rapid plugs are delivered from March/early April.

They require potting on in a light humid atmosphere at a temperature above 15C while they establish, and can be planted out into their final location once rick of frost has passed, these plugs are supplied at a height of 4-7cm and plug diameter of 1.7cm.

Click on the link below to watch our helpful how to video tutorial with our garden expert Jeff Turner on planting Petunia Frenzy supplied as Rapid Plugs.

Maxi Plug Plant Trays

alt-a-glance-maxi-plugs

These incredibly popular plug high quality plants are grown in Maxi Trays of either 33 or 66 plants, each plant measuring from 6 to 8cm in length, depending on the variety, the plug itself is 3.7cm in height as illustrated.

Our specially designed blister packs are delivered in a specially designed sleeve for added protection to get them to you nursery fresh.

 

maxi-plug-with-measurement-trey

Care

Plant straight away upon arrival into pots or containers. 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. Perfect for pots, containers, borders or window displays. Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed.

Click to watch our helpful how to video tutorial with our garden expert Jeff Turner on planting Dianthus barbatus / Sweet William supplied as Maxi Plugs.

Garden Ready Plant Trays

at-a-glance-garden-ready

This year we are introducing a new plug plant option to our budding range, the garden ready plug.

These premium plants are out easiest to grow, and are supplied in trays of 30 at a height of up to 15cm. Each plug plan measures 5cm in diameter. These are delivered individually and later than our Rapid or Maxi Plugs – from mid-May.

_garden-ready-tray-and-plugs-with-measurements

Care

They are ready to be planted straight into their final location on arrival. This makes them the best choice for novice gardeners as they don’t require the same time and effort as smaller plugs.

Jumbo Plug Plants

Many of our summer bedding and basket plants are supplied as jumbo plugs, please see in catalogue or in the copy of individual varieties on our website to check this. Where this is the case, you will receive our quality jumbo plugs which are between 7 and 11cm from base to tip, ready for planting straight into baskets, borders and pots.

Care

Please see individual varieties for extra planting tips, but we recommend you plant 3 or 4 in an average 30cm basket or pot and put outside from early May. If the weather is cool on arrival, pot on for 2/3 weeks before transplanting in to a basket outside.

How to Plant: Peonies

Peonies (Paeonia)

Bold, beautiful and easy to grow

Peony Garden in Dayan Tower, Xi'an, China

Peonies really are a must have perennial garden plant. The enormous and gorgeous blooms are a real sight when in flower and they are so versatile that they can be grown almost anywhere.

Paeonia Sorbet
Paeonia Sorbet. The most spectacular Peony available. Breathtaking and fragrant giant triple layered blooms are produced in early summer. Height 80cm.

The beloved Peony has been around for years of course, but their relevance and place within any modern garden is never in question. Grown for their giant majestic flowers, they look amazing as part of a late spring or early summer border and are accommodating enough to compliment various other perennial plants such as Heleniums, Lupins, Digitalis, Salvia and Poppies.

Companion plants

The staying power of these perennials is amazing and can offer endless pleasure for many years after planting (with stories of lasting over 40 years in parts of America).

We are now entering late autumn and the weather is a little cold outside but no frosts have arrived yet in what we all must agree has been a relatively mild autumn this year. Temperatures are still in double figures in some parts of the country and conditions are perfect for planting Peonies. In fact autumn and spring are ideal times for planting, in preparation of a great show in late spring and throughout the summer months. Loose rooted plants are great for planting now and with three or four growth buds you normally find they are more reliable and establish quicker than pot grown Peonies.

Tree Peony suffruticosa Collection

Planting

Paeonia Coral Sunset. The most exciting colour development in Peonies for years. Deep orange-coral, semi double and highly fragrant giant flowers, are produced on this attractive 80cm plant. A deserved gold medal winner with the American Peony society
Paeonia Coral Sunset. The most exciting colour development in Peonies for years. Deep orange-coral, semi double and highly fragrant giant flowers, are produced on this attractive 80cm plant. A deserved gold medal winner with the American Peony society

Planting Peonies from loose bare roots is quite an easy task and is suitable for gardeners of all skill levels, and is actually a great introducing to growing perennials for a beginner. They will tolerate neutral to slightly acidic soil, provided good drainage is present and the soil is well drained. It is often best to start them in autumn in pots, then transplant into their final position in the border once they have been established in late winter or early spring.

Peony ‘Celebrity.’ What an amazing sight when in flower. Ruffled pink blooms with a dash of white blended throughout. Height 80-100cm.
Peony ‘Celebrity’. What an amazing sight when in flower. Ruffled pink blooms with a dash of white blended throughout. Height 80-100cm.
  • Unpack the rooted plants on arrival and prepare the soil by adding some organic matter. Alternatively you can use multi-purpose compost (such as John Innes) which will have an added feed that will be beneficial to encouraging the foliage to grow quicker.
  • Add a couple of crocs to the bottom of the pot. This will allow the moisture to drain away regularly during the growing period.
  • Add compost or soil to approximately one third the height of the pot. Place the roots with the buds facing upwards.
  • Mix some fish and bone meal with the remaining compost and fill firmly around the roots, right up to top of the pot. The fish and bone meal will act as a feed, encouraging vibrant and healthy foliage.
  • As the roots supplied are hardy field grown, the pots should be moved outside and not kept indoors or in a warm greenhouse. They are used to the cold weather so will easily survive outdoors
  • Plant outdoors in sheltered areas as they don’t like windy locations too much, although choose sunny location if possible. Choose a place where you know you are unlikely to move them again such as near larger shrubs, trees or a fence.

Jeff video

Top Tip : Peonies hate being disturbed! To avoid this make sure that once the foliage is well establish and ready to plant outdoors into their final location, gently remove the entire contents of the pot and replant into a hole the same depth of the pot (replant all in one go, no division of roots from soil). This essentially tricks the plants into thinking they haven’t been disturbed and won’t result in a slowdown of growth.

Paeonia suffr. 'Dao Jin'

How-to Tutorial

Jeff Turner offers helpful advice and tips for creating a magnificent colour display with these terrific plants.

Aftercare

Peonies are relatively easy to care for and provided you don’t move them too much you will find they offer little problems. Because of the large sized heads they produce, you may find that you will need to offer the plants some support and staking the stems can be beneficial. Water lightly on a regularly basis during the early periods but they are drought resistant once established, provided the soil is getting enough moisture.

Paeonia Top Brass
Paeonia Top Brass. Amazing tri-coloured giant blooms, a real first for Peonies. These highly fragrant flowers make this a cut flower must. The plant has a very strong and compact 70cm habit.

You can provide a liquid feed in spring to encourage more vibrant and colourful flowers, however provided the soil is relatively fertile, this doesn’t need to be more than once or twice a season. Once flowers begin to fade you can deadhead blooms and cut back to a strong leaf and at the end of the flowering season it’s probably best to cut right back to ground level after flowering has finished. This will help to avoid any overwintering diseases that may occur, while also looking neater and tidier on the whole.

Peony Sarah Bernhardt. Giant scented double pink flowers in June-July. A fantastic, popular border plant that increases in size and beauty year after year. Height 90cm.

You can apply a light winter mulch in the first year if very cold frosts exist to avoid the new roots from heaving out of the soil during frozen periods. The roots are field grown and very hardy so a mulch is not a requirement but can be extra protection if you feel it is needed. After the plant has become fully establish and survived a full calendar period, then there is no need to mulch at all.

Grow Your Own: Potatoes

Solanum tuberosum 'Maris Piper' in wooden trug
Solanum tuberosum ‘Maris Piper’

Potatoes! Where better to start than with a classic staple. Whether in an allotment or your own garden there is an undeniable joy in growing your own produce. One of the most versatile vegetables, potatoes feature in the most traditional and creative dishes and can be a great addition to a healthy diet plan.

The potato is healthy – FACT!

  • Potato skins are a great source of fibre and potassium.
  • Salt free
  • Low in sugar
  • Potatoes are naturally saturated fat free (You can even find machines these days that will fry them into chips using as little oil as possible! Not that that makes them healthy!)

Potatoes are gluten free – great news for coeliacs!

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

Coeliac disease can be difficult to cater for, gluten free products are getting more varied (and tasting better) than a few years ago but they are often very expensive. The humble potato is cheap and gluten free.

You can grow potatoes in the smallest of spaces! If you have a smaller garden or simply want to keep your potato gardening organised try using grow bags. Our 40 litre Patio Potato Sacks will grow 5-7 seeds per sack. Find out how to grow potatoes in sacks here!

(See here how you can use the Patio Sacks to grow Asparagus or Rhubarb!)

SO …. now we’ve established potatoes are the best (!) we need to help you choose the right potato for you – because there are a lot of options!

Potato Varieties

  1. Salad Potatoes (harvest June –September)
Potato Charlotte

Charlotte are a favourite of all chefs, very useful for more than salads. A long oval shape, with a beautiful floury taste. Pink Fir Apple are a more traditional variety, suitable for boiling, baking or steaming. They are long knobbly in shape, with pink skin and a creamy coloured flesh.

Salad potatoes ‘Maris Peer’ in trug

2. Second Early Harvest (June-July)

They take a little longer to harvest than the first Early varieties – from late June. Bonnie is a very popular all-rounder. Maris Peer has a firm white variety with a high yield. The award winning Kestrel is very smooth in texture with purple eyes. Great old fashioned variety.

Solanum tuberosum ‘King Edward’ – Potatoes

3. Main Crop Varieties (harvest August-October)

These take the longest to harvest and take up slightly more space in the growing patch. King Edward and Maris Piper are well known all round favourites, while Cara is a heavy cropping variety with the added bonus of being very drought/disease resistant. Desiree is the best of all the red main crop varieties, ideal to boil, mash, chip or sauté.

Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!

Grown Your Own: Asparagus in Patio Growing Sacks

Asparagus
Asparagus Backlim – End of season variety, thick spears. Excellent flavor.

 

You don’t have to use our Patio growing sacks for just potatoes – they work equally well for growing Asparagus! (you can even grow Rhubarb in them).

 

 

 

You can get Asparagus all year round in supermarkets BUT recently there has been a huge drive to ‘support local’ so from April to June (British cropping season) the shelves will be full of UK varieties.

Asparagus will produce their first real crop 12 months after planting. If you are growing your own you can buy varieties to cover the whole cropping season – see J Parker’s range here.

 

Asparagus Gijnlim
Asparagus Gijnlim – Early, high yielding, medium size spears. Quality favorite for commercial growers.

Asparagus grow in trenches in fields and the border so we need to replicate this in the grow bag. Make sure the bag has drainage holes, if not make some.

Step 1 – Create a hole 6-8 inches deep in the middle of the bag with a small mound of compost at the bottom. Well-rotted manure or general fertilizer can be used in the compost.

Asparagus Herkolim
Asparagus Herkolim – Mid season variety. Large uniform spears . Premium quality and flavor

 

 

 

Step 2 – Spread the roots over the mound you have created at the bottom and cover the crown with 2 inches of soil, try and use fine soil for this or sieve/riddle before you cover the crown.

 

 

 

Step 3 – Fill up with compost as the shoots grow, gradually filling up the hole whilst still leaving a small part of the shoot exposed. When the shoots reach the main level the hole can be filled completely.

Step 4 – Water newly planted crowns thoroughly and keep damp during dry weather.

Step 5 – Any stems produced within the first 12 months should be left to produce bushy stems, the foliage will look like ferns.

Asparagus Pacific Purple
Asparagus Pacific Purple – Purple variety with sweet, string-less spears in May-Early June

Step 6 – Cut down the stems in autumn to 5cm above soil level.

Step 7 – The following year the stems can be harvested. When they are 12cm/5 inches long cut the stems 7cm/3 inches below the soil. Do not let the spears grow too tall.

Step 8 – By mid-June stop harvesting, let any remaining spears fully develop to fortify next year’s crop.

 

Grown Your Own: Seed Potatoes in Sacks

Potatoes in Growing Bag

We sell certified seed potatoes which are
supplied as grade
33-55cm seeds. 30 seeds weigh
approximately 2-2.5kg (salads 1.5-2kg).

Step 1 –

Fill one third of your Patio Potato Sack (15-20cm) with the damp compost
and place the seed potatoes on top of the compost. Then cover the seed potatoes
with a further 10cm of compost up to half of the sack.

Step 2

As plants start to grow and green foliage appears add more compost
around them to slowly fill up the potato sacks to a few inches
from the top. We do this as the potatoes grow from the stem beneath the
soil level so we want to keep that stem covered.

Every time that you add more compost you can feed the bag
with a general potato fertilizer which is high in potash.

Make sure you keep the compost moist at all times, but not too moist
as the tubers/seed potatoes will rot if over watered at this stage.

Step 3 –

For a bumper pack, increase watering when the plants
flower (this is when the tubers begin to form). They will usually be ready
for harvesting once the flowers begin to open.

Step 4

About two weeks before the potatoes are ready to harvest
you should cut all the growth off at ground level to prepare
the potatoes for lifting, making the skins tougher and less
likely to break on lifting.

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Woman harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

How-to Tutorial

In this easy to follow video planting guide, Jeff demonstrates how to grow your own potatoes in a grow bag.

Our Top Choices

1. Potato Casablanca

Potato Casablanca

Casablanca are a superb new First Early Variety producing white skin and creamy coloured flesh. A great all-rounder. Casablanca has good resistance to common scab, blackleg and golden eelworm. This new variety is bound to become a household name and be one of the top potatoes in the kitchen.

2. Potato Desiree

Best red, main crop variety. Desiree potatoes have a firm, creamy tasting flesh making them ideal for smooth mash or being cooked in a sauce, such as our favourite Potato Dauphinoise/Dauphinoise Potatoes. Desiree are easily recognisable by their lovely red skin and light yellow flesh. Desiree are normally larger, longer and oval shape.

Potato Maris Piper

3. Potato Maris Piper (Main Crop)

This is the best option for beginners and the best chipping variety available, and a versatile ‘all rounder’. Potato ‘Maris Piper’ produces dry, floury tubers with creamy-white flesh of good flavour, that rarely discolours on cooking.

 

 

Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!

 

How to Grow Dahlias: Summer Flower Guide

Dahlias have become a very fashionable and valuable summer flowering plant, that will work perfectly with almost all types of plants. They compliment any garden wonderfully regardless of size and can be incorporated into a border or into patio pot/container displays.

Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlia plants have been around for many years and are 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.

Benefits of Planting 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.

Pom Pom Dahlia Mix (Jill varieties)

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.

Types of Dahlias to try Growing this Year

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Dahlia Blue Bayou ®
Dahlia Cabana Banana

 

Anemone Flowering Sometimes referred to 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 Dahlias Mixed

 

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.

 

 

Dahlia Arabian Night

 

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.

 

Dahlia Gallery Art Fair ®
Dahlia Lilac Time

 

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.

 

 

Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

 

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.

How to Grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

Dinner Plate Dahlia Fleurel

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. Supplied as tubers (as illustrated).

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.

When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.

Dahlia-Tuber
Tubers as supplied

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.

5. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

Dahlia Planting Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Click HERE to view our full Dahlia range!