October Plant of the Month: Heather

A terrific plant that deserves a spot in any garden. They may be small, but Heather are inexpensive, evergreen plants that provide colour even in the coldest months. Originating from the Scottish Hylands, transform any garden border, patio or rockery with the vibrant floral clusters of Heather and turn any garden into a carpet of dazzling colour.

To celebrate Heather as our plant of the month, we have selected our best Heather mixtures and collections on offer, as well as ideal planting partners, a planting guide and even some traditional folklore about Scotland’s national flower.

Top Varieties

Winter Flowering Collection

These small Heathers make a big impact with their masses of tiny blooms that flower all winter long into the spring. This collection of low-growing evergreen shrubs make excellent and colourful ground cover.

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Winter Mixed (Erica)

One of the hardiest of the Heathers. This wonderful mix of Erica Heather are low and quick growers, which will form eye-catching mats of pink, white, purple of red blooms. The perfect plant to compliment early spring bulbs.

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Summer/Winter Collection

Fill your garden with beauty all year round with this collection. Our summer Heathers bloom from July-October, while our winter Heathers flower from December to February. Plant en masse on a slope and an impressionist’s landscape will burst into life.

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Summer Mixed (Calluna)

Among the most hardiest and most varied of all Heathers. Appearing from mid-late summer, these showy flowers practically glow with their bright and beautiful shades. An easy to grow contender for adding to cottage gardens or as ground cover.

Click here to view online.

Looking for some floral inspiration? Here are some tips on companion planting with Heather…

When planted en masse, Heathers and Heaths make a swath of tones and foliage with easy appeal and graceful texture. Adding some dimension to such plantings further enhances the garden area and increases interest year around.

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

A classic Heather companion. They crave the same acidic soil and consistent moisture on which Heather thrive. You can even feed Heather with a Rhododendron fertiliser.

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Pansies

When planting Heather in containers, keep it simple by accenting them with beautiful hardy Pansies. An excellent pot plant that grow well with Heather.

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Lavender

Smaller flowering plants compliment Heather and bloom at different times, thereby extending the bloom show. The look of Lavender and Heather together is a real showstopper.

Click here to view online.

Planting Guide

Planting Time: Autumn-Early Spring 📆

Soil Type: Well drained, lime-free soil 🏡

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: July-October & December-February 🌸

  • Space Heathers as far apart as their mature width and at least 60cm away from other shrubs (to ensure good air circulation).
  • Dig a hole about twice as wide as the plug and half again as deep.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
  • Water the plant once or twice a week when the soil is dry throughout the first season.
  • Mulch after planting.
  • Trim faded flower stems back to bases straight after flowering.

  • Plant them in a large, wide pot with good drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Use ericaceous potting mix (they enjoy highly acidic soil).
  • Shelter from strong winds and water when the two-inch later of soil is dry.
  • Protect from frosts by moving small pots indoors or cover the plant with polystyrene foam, then mulch the plant heavily.

Folklore 🌟

Here are some fascinating tales about these wild blooms.

Our Favourite Bulb For Planting This Month – Double Daffodils

Incredibly charming and beautiful, Double Daffodils are more than your average daffodil. Their peony-like ruffled blooms are often fragrant and appear packed with rows of petals and thrills in an assortment of delicate colours, from peachy pinks to white and yellows. These exceptional flowers are perfect for adding a burst of romance to your beds and borders, and even for naturalising under shrubs, trees or the lawn.

Check out our favourites for 2019:

Narcissi White Lion

Undoubtedly one of our finest varieties. This award-winning variety produces sweetly scented double flowers in mid-late spring. With warm yellow centres surrounded by creamy-white petals, these pretty blooms will delight in the garden.

Click here to view online.

Narcissi Sweet Pomponette

This gorgeous double Daffodil is one of the prettiest in the Narcissi family. Radiate sunshine in the spring garden with these creamy yellow blooms. These sweet scented flowers are great for the border, or why not enjoy them potted up in containers.

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 Daffodil delnashaugh

This incredibly romantic Daffodil produces pretty creamy-white petals surrounding ruffled, warm apricot-pink segments. Also, their wonderful scent will attract pollinators to the mid-late spring garden.

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Narcissi Calgary

Create gleaming spring borders with our Narcissi Calgary. These stunning double blooms shine in the garden with their ruffled and wavy white flowers. Not only will they brighten up borders, but they also look great in pots or as cut flowers.

Click here to view online.

Make bulb planting easier with these cheery Double Daffodil Collections:

Daffodil Cheerfulness Collection

Two of our most popular, fragrant varieties together. Our mid-late spring flowering duo Cheerfulness (white) and Yellow Cheerfulness (yellow) are the perfect partners for bringing vibrant colour and sweet scents to the garden.

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 Narcissi Fragrant Poeticus Collection

Delight your senses with this highly fragrant Narcissi collection. Flowering later than most varieties (April-May), this Actaea and The Bride pairing will liven up your spring borders right up until the end of the season.

Click here to view online.

Need some planting advice?

Planting time: September-November 📆

Flowering time: Mid-late Spring 🌸

Soil type: Well-drained soil

Location: Partial shade/full sun ☀

For a better visual, check out our tutorial for planting daffodil bulbs in the border.

Plant of the Month: Crocus

With bulb planting season on the horizon, it’s perfect time to start planning your spring displays, and what better than beautiful, bold blooming Crocus flowers? As one of the well-loved staples of spring, Crocus are one of the first flowers to appear in spring. From bold and rich purples, lilacs, cheerful yellows, to striking blends and patterns, Crocus have every colour you need to create an eye-catching garden display.

Scroll down to view our favourite bestsellers, a run down of the different varieties on offer and for planting tips and tricks for bulb planting season.

Winter/Spring Flowering

📆 Flowering time: February – March. 

In the dull days of late winter/early spring when there is little in flower, these cheerful little blooms represent a sign of the beginning of spring. Easy to grow and will multiply year after year, these small-but-mighty plants will bring a much-needed burst of colour after a long winter.

Crocus Orange Monarch

Named after the Monarch Butterfly for their enchanting orange and black colour combination, these flowers are certain to bring warmth to the garden during the colder months. Perfect for planting in large groups or pots.

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Crocus crysanthus ‘blue pearl’

This award-winning Crocus displays fragrant and luminous soft blue flowers with a bronzed yellowy base. Reaching a mature height of just 6cm, this variety is versatile enough to be planted in borders, around shrubs or in rockeries.

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Crocus Spring Beauty

The name truly speaks for itself. Blooming with white tips and deep purple petals, which then open to a lovely soft mauve inside throughout the season, these little beauties will make a big impact in the garden.

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Large Flowering Crocus (Vernus)

📆 Flowering Time: February – March.

With similar habits to the Winter/Spring Crocus , the difference with these Crocus is the huge blooms that they boast, which spread up to 10cm.  Growing to a mature height of 15cm, Large Flowering Crocus create a truly striking effect when planted together, making them a must-have for the border.

Crocus Yellow Mammoth

The bright yellow flowers of ‘Yellow Mammoth’ will bring the first bit of warmth to the new year. They will bloom in profusion when planted as edging, where they will naturalise and produce showstopping flowers for years of enjoyment.

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Crocus Grand Maitre

A gorgeous, deep purple Crocus. As one of the best early-flowering plants of spring, the rich colour of ‘Grand Maitre’ will add a blast of seasonal colour. The perfect low-maintenance bloom for naturalising in clumps through the border.

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Crocus Striped Beauty

A stylish Crocus with a unique look. These vivid purple and white striped flowers will create a real talking point in the garden. An ideal partner for low borders, pots or containers and will multiply each year.

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Autumn Flowering

📆 Flowering time: September – October.

As the summer blooms start to fade, nothing adds more joy to the garden than the beautiful colours of autumn flowering Crocus. Growing to a mature height of 10cm, these delightful gems will sparkle with colour in rockeries, borders, or even under shrubs and trees.

Crocus Kotschyanus

An RHS Garden Merit Award winning Crocus. The stunning lilac-pink petals surround a warm yellow centre that will add a soft touch of beauty to the autumn garden. Plant en masse or in drifts for the best impact.

Click here to view online.

Crocus Sativus (Saffron)

Celebrated for more than 2000 years, Crocus sativus has been grown for it’s expensive red ribbons since the Tudor times. Their vibrant, fragrant purple blooms are delightful and you can even grow your own Saffron at home.

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Crocus Autumn Flowering Mixed

A mixture of pretty cup-shaped flowers in a myriad of stunning colours, from shades of lilac, deep purples and whites. Create a sparkling mixture of autumn joy by planting this mixture in beds, borders or containers.

Click here to view online.

 

Continue reading Plant of the Month: Crocus

Plant of the Month: Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are the jewels of the late spring garden. Rhododendrons and evergreen azaleas provide interest all year round, while deciduous azaleas produce excellent autumn leaf colours. There are literally thousands of species and varieties and a huge range of flower colours. Their exquisite blooms bring notes of exotic colour to pots and containers, beds and borders and lightly shaded areas under trees.  Some are compact enough for the smallest gardens, others require the space of a woodland where they can reach massive proportions.

What’s the difference between Azaleas and Rhododendrons?

Our Top Picks

Azalea Homebush

• RHS Garden Merit Award winner

• Huge pompom-like trusses of double pink star-shaped flowers

• Easy to grow, highly fragrant and pollinator friendly

• Yellow-green deciduous foliage

• Perfect for borders, flowering hedges and containers

Rhododendron Sappho

• Purple buds open to wavy-edged white flowers with deep purple markings

• 9 flower trusses

• Easy to grow and evergreen

• Dark green, glossy ovate leaves

• Perfect for borders, hedging, screening and containers

Azalea Anneke

• Highly fragrant, large, lemon yellow flowers with gold spotting and yellow stamens

• 9 flower trusses with each flower spanning 8-10 in diameter

• Easy to grow

• Perfect for pots, containers and the border

Rhododendron Norfolk Candy

• Large, apricot-orange flushed maroon flowers

• Broad glossy forest green foliage

• Low maintenance and pollinator-friendly

• Perfect for borders or containers

Azalea japonica Pink Spider

• Large pink flowers with a white edge

 Dark, narrow foliage

• Compact, bushy shrub

• Hardy and evergreen

• Perfect for growing in the border, pots on the patio or balcony

Rhododendron Collection

• Includes one each of Sappho, Nova Zembla, Norfolk Candy and Marcel Menard

• Perfect for spring borders, pots or containers

Azalea Dwarf diamond japanese collection

 • Includes one each of Lilac, Red, Pink, White and Orange.

• Compact, small leaf Japanese Azaleas

• Masses of brightly coloured blooms

• Small, dark green foliage

• Perfect for patio pots or borders.

Planting

Planting time: October – March/April 📆

Location: Full sun/Partial shade 🏡

Flowering Time: April – July 🌸

Rhododendrons and Azaleas prefer well drained and light/acidic soil. Before planting, dig-in plenty of neutral or acidic organic matter (composted tree bark, leafmould, decomposing pine or spruce needles), and mix in well with the soil. Do not plant too deeply; all rhododendrons are surface-rooting and the roots should be just covered. Apply at least an 8cm (3 inch) mulch of chipped conifer bark or another acidic material. The mulch should be well-aerated, not firmed down.

Video Tutorial

Aftercare

Here are some handy aftercare tips to get the best performance out of your Rhododendron and Azaleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW RHS AWARD WINNING RANGE

July Plant of the Month: Geums

Geums were once a severely overlooked plant, often used to plug the gaps in a cottage garden scheme. But then suddenly everyone started noticing new bright, zesty flowers colours appearing all the time at flower shows boasting spectacular long flowering times turning these beauties into stars in their own right.

A fantastically useful plant, they are disliked by slugs and snails so are very useful deterrents in the garden. Boasting disease free foliage with a neat compact habit and the pretty flowers, they are a great addition to any display. The evergreen/semi evergreen foliage with is excellent for smothering weeds making them very useful groundcover all year.

Each stem produces lots of buds that will flower in succession, giving you a long summer display. Good for cutting but get the most out of them in the garden first.

Planting

Yhere are three different groups of cultivars rivale, coccineum and chiloense. The rivale have nodding, bell-like flowers. They like moisture retentive soils and prefer to grow in shade or semi shade. Coccineum are an alpine plant, flowering well after a cold winter and have upward facing flowers. The choloense are tall, sturdy plants producing large double flowers and can tolerate full sun as well as semi shade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soil and propagation: Geums like moisture retentive soils and will benefit from an annual mulching. Low maintenance but if you divide them when they start to loose growth from the middle they will last much longer, bringing years of pleasure. You can also take cuttings from the base in early spring.

They may succumb to powdery mildew at the end of the summer, just remove any affected stems. Prune back hard after flowering to give the foliage a boost for the rest of the year.

Companion Plants

Geums are very popular for Cottage Garden style designs and work really well with lots of perennials. Featuring a few well places Dahlias amongst your Geums will make them more of a colourful backdrop to the main event. Make them pop by paring the red, yellow and gold tones of Geums against purples from Alliums or Pulmonaria. You can enhance the golden shades by planting daisy like Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Coreopsis or Helenium.

If you need good coverage in a shaded area why not try planting with Helleborus, which boast a similar stock of healthy evergreen foliage but will flower earlier in the year, giving you dashes of colour throughout the seasons as well as a constant lush green coverage.

Click here to shop Geums now

June Plant of the Month: Alliums

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, Alliums they really will pack a punch and are a must have impact plant for spring and summer.

Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.

Why we love them

The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums, which will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Beyond the garden, Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative, they can also be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Bee Friendly

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this year’s competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Where and when to Plant

For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.

Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.

Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.

Flowers and Foliage

One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer, or you could plant alongside Ornithogalum for a contrasting display as illustrated below.

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Sphaerocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Click here to browse our full range of Alliums, delivered from mid-August onwards.

March Plant of the Month: Magnolia

After the gloomy grey of winter, its always a joy to see the garden return to its glory in spring. Magnolia delivers that joy in abundance, bursting into life in early spring with large, magnificent blooms.

Magnolia plants are wonderful ornamental trees, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with something to suit any garden. These easy to grow beauties are very low maintenance, making them perfect for experts and novice gardeners alike.

Even so, here are some tips on getting the most out of your plant.

Planting tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

On arrival, plant in moist, acid-to-neutral soil in full sun or partial shaded areas. Shallow planting is required for magnolia bushes, in areas that have great drainage. It is often recommended that you provide some protection from strong winds, and provide a mulch in early spring. Do not allow plants to dry out in hot weather and water regularly.

Little pruning is required for these magnificent shrubs, but if required you can prune lightly once the flowers have faded.

Varieties

We have several varieties of Magnolia available to buy online from just £9.99, so you are sure to find the perfect choice for your garden. Here are just a few of our favourites;

Magnolia soulangeana, also known as the Saucer Magnolia or Chinese Magnolia, is probably the most popular of the Magnolia family. It has dark green leaves and deep saucer shaped flowers that are white to rosy-pink. Great for smaller gardens, as it remains a shapely shrub for many years.

Magnolia liliiflora Nigra is a compact shrub native to Southwest China and Japan, also known as the Black Lily Magnolia. The flowers are held erect on sturdy branches amongst glossy elliptic shaped leaves. Deep purple-red outer petals in a narrow tulip shape gently reflex at the tips like a lily revealing a paler colour within. Flowering April to June, later than other magnolias.

Nigra 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.

 Magnolia loebneria Merril is another award winning Magnolia, with branches laden with dainty buds in spring open to milky white flowers, abundant and smaller than most other magnolias. Later, oblong deciduous leaves cover the branches when the fragrant flowers have fallen. A hybrid of the magnolia kobus and stellata varieties loebneri Merrilli is prized for the upright habit and robust natures of its parents although is smaller and more free flowering than both, its mature height and spread rarely growing beyond 2m.

Click here to shop the full range now.

February Plant of the Month: Snowdrops (Galanthus)

There’s nothing quite like the sight of delicate Snowdrops bursting into flower to signal that winter is almost at an end. The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come.

Galanthus nivalis are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy, grass-like foliage. These traditional small-flowering Snowdrops give a barren winter garden a breath of life, and give a wonderful woodland feel if planted in drifts beneath a deciduous tree with Hostas. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact display.

Double Snowdrops boast all of the same features, but with novelty double flowers as a twist to the early spring favourite.

Both are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Planting

You can plant dry Bulbs in the autumn or from January to March you will be able to buy snowdrops in the green.

In the Green simply means that you plant the snowdrops whilst they are in leaf. You can buy them like this, or when your bulbs come through you can lift dense clumps of snowdrops and transplant them elsewhere which will create a better display but also give the snowdrops more space and encourage them to flower better next year.

Snowdrops prefer shade, and work really well amongst shrubs or under trees. Ideally they like fertile, moist but well drained soils.

Bulbs: You can buy and plant Snowdrop bulbs in the autumn for the following early spring. Plant in moist, well-drained soil at least 5cm deep and 5cm apart. They can be grown successfully in pots and containers but only temporarily and will need to be lifted after their growing season.

In the Green: transplanted with their green foliage intact giving you a guaranteed 100% success rate. Make sure to water well once planted, to encourage their roots to re-establish with the soil.

These RHS award winners will naturalise well and you can just let them die back at the end of their season so require little after care. If you get heavy, dense clumps of snowdrops in one place lift and divide the clump when the foliage starts to fade, careful not to break any of the roots.

Make sure the soil does not fully dry out in summer.

Our Snowdrops in the Green offer guaranteed pre-grown success, supplied in the green ready to be planted straight in the ground.

Click here to shop Bulbs in the Green

 

January Plant of the Month: Eranthis

January’s plant of the month is a cheerful, early-flowering bulb that will bring some much needed colour to your garden in these gloomy months.

Also known as Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconites beam a golden glow into the garden at a time when the sun rarely breaks through the clouds. These golden yellow flowers bloom the earliest of all spring flowers and will delight you with vibrant yellow flowers in January and February.

We strongly recommend trying Winter Aconites to kick off your spring display, and they are particularly recommended for rockeries and naturalising. These gorgeous yellow blooms are contrasted by beautiful green foliage, which covers the ground long after the flowers have disappeared.

Although bulb planting season is at an end, there is still time to get some last-minute colour in your garden. If you’re looking out at a wintery garden and can’t wait for spring, consider investing in our Eranthis in the Green available now ready for planting and flowering this year.

Our Eranthis in the Green offer guaranteed pre-grown success from these Eranthis hyemalis, supplied in the green ready to be planted straight in the ground.

Click here to shop Eranthis in the Green

October Plant of the Month: Heuchera

Heuchera are famed for their superb range of spectacular foliage and attractive late spring/summer flowers. Uusually bought for their amazing coloured and veined foliage, the vibrancy of leaf colour alone makes these semi-evergreen perennials a must have.

Hosta2

When many plants in the garden are fading in October, the beautifully coloured and marked foliage of Heucheras really stand out and often become more vibrant.

Hosta1

We have a huge range of Heuchera and Heucherella available, our largest selection yet. These beautiful, colourful perennials will brighten up your garden with a vibrant range of colours and distinctive foliage. Try growing in pots on the patio or at the front of any border (even in shaded locations).

POTM Planting

Planting and Care

Choose an area of partial shade for best results, but Heuchera are also versatile enough to cope in the full shade of tricky, hard to fill spots in the garden as well as full sun. They like nutrient rich, well-drained and slightly acidic soil, so be sure to give the space a bit of preparation. Heuchera prefer a site with good drainage so be sure not to over-water and stick to damp soil.

Given their low-growing, compact habit Heuchera are perfect for the front of a border but they will also grow well in pots and look stylish decorating the patio in containers.

Choice Varieties

Ideal for growing in border, rockeries or in patio containers, try mixing Heuchera together for a rainbow colour effect. The variation and range of colours available is unmatched by any other dwarf evergreen perennial. We have sourced the best varieties to offer, perfect for adding real style to your garden.
black jam
Blackberry Jam produce rich purple and maroon foliage, with deep veins. Try growing in pots on the patio or at the front of any border (even in shaded locations). Height 30-40cm.
heuch mix
Our luxury mixture is the perfect choice if you want to get started with Heuchera. A spectacular mixture of 10+ premium varieties, these plants are sure to brighten any border or patio container. When many plants begin to fade, this mixture will bring you remarkable colour all year round. Height 30-40cm.
You can also shop our full range of Heuchera online here.