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.

 

September Plant of the Month – Kniphofia

Kniphofia

Kniphofia-uvaria-Group

Commonly known as Red-Hot Pokers or Torch Lilies, these excellent perennials are often forgotten, which is a real shame because the tall spikes of colour are as useful an addition to a garden border as the cottage garden favourites such as foxgloves or hollyhocks.

Kniphofia
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

The vibrant tall spikes of colour are a great addition to a border. They work well in hot, zesty themed displays with their multitudes of vivid orange, red and yellow tones.

Kniphofia-Alcazar
Kniphofia Alcazar

With their tall grassy foliage they work particularly well planted amongst contrasting ornamental grasses to add a dramatic burst of colour and texture.

Kniphofia-Ice-Queen
Kniphofia Ice Queen

Planting

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Native to Africa, they will thrive in a sunny spot in the garden and are very easy to grow and maintain. Plant in humus-rich, well drained soils. They will cope with dryer soils, they don’t like waterlogging. Water as well when they are growing but keep dry.

Kniphofia-Traffic-Light-
Kniphofia Traffic Light

They will do well in coastal climates.

Kniphofia-Sunningdale-Yellow
Kniphofia Sunningdale Yellow

Deadhead after flowering but leave the plant alone over winter. Give them a tidy in mid-spring, remove any dead leaves, slugs and snails that you find attacking the new flowers, and cut the dead flower spikes right out at the base of the plant, any stumps left behind are a nice house for pests so best avoided!

kniphofia-nancy's-Red
Kniphofia Nancy’s Red

August Plant of the Month – Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

JOBS-AUG

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

(Russian Sage)

 

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These spectacular plants, also known as Russian Sage are incredibly popular right now, and it’s easy to see why.

Perovskia-atriplicifolia-Blue-Spire-with-bee

 

Producing impressive tall spires of silvery leaves topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny, violet purple bell-shaped flowers bloom in late summer. Loved by butterflies and bees, it makes a great cut flower with its lovely scent, which is a mixture of sage and lavender. Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

 

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Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains and they are natural sun lovers. They are deciduous shrubs which, once established, are hassle free, drought tolerant (in fact they prefer it) and need an annual pruning in spring.

Planting

POTM-Planting

Perovskia will grow well in any soils, even poor or chalky, as long as they get really good drainage, water-logging will lead to root rot. They like to be in full sun and can withstand seaside air.

Prune hard annually in early to mid-spring for a healthy plant and better flowers that year. If you don’t they will come back week and floppy and generally be an untidy mess.

Cut back previous years flowering stems to within one or two buds of the older woody framework. Remove thin, weak and damaged growth. Then mulch and feed. For the first year keep them moist but not soggy to get them established. In following years they will withstand significant neglect!

They are best planted out in autumn when dormant – if you buy one that is in leaf in the spring be sure it hasn’t been growing in a poly tunnel as it may struggle when you expose it to the elements in your garden.

Perovskia-Little-Spire

Companion planting

Russian sage is mainly used as an ornamental plant and is pretty versatile for pairing with lots of late summer ornamental grasses and perennials. You can create a really powerful display planting near other silver leafed perennials, near a lavender bush for example, and as both are bee magnets they are a great choice for wildlife friendly gardens. Tall bright coloured perennials will also look great with it in a mixed border, for examples look at Geums, Rudbeckia and Helenium to name a few!

You can also try under-planting with spring bulbs, such as Tulips or Alliums, as they will do well at hiding the bulbs foliage as it dies off in the summer.


 

July Plant of the Month – Geum

Geums

Geum blooming in the garden. Totally Tangerine

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.

 

Geum Mrs Bradshaw. One of the most popular and well-known varieties. Holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Geum Mrs J. Bradshaw. One of the most popular and well-known varieties. Holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

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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.

 

Geum Totally Tangerine. Multiple award winning Geum, featured regularly at the Chelsea flower show. New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!
Geum Totally Tangerine. Multiple award winning Geum, featured regularly at the Chelsea flower show. New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!

 

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.

 

Geum chiloense Lady Stratheden
Geum chiloense Lady Stratheden

 

New bright and zesty colours making them suitable to star in the garden instead of juts filling the gaps!

 

Geums are perfect for attracting butterflies and bees.
Geums are perfect for attracting butterflies and bees.

Geums don’t tend to come true when seed raised, which is why there are lots of interesting crosses out there so a great variety on offer.

Cocktail Geums

This beautiful Cocktail range of pastel coloured Geums are great for growing in pots with their neat habits and mature height of just 30cm.

 

Planting

 

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Position: There 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.

Helenium Mixed

 

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.

Gardener Favourites: Alliums

Allium Violet Beauty

Allium Violet Beauty

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 will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

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

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

Not just a pretty flower…

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.

Bee-on-alliums-from-customers

Loved by bees…

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

Planting

POTM January Alliums

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.

Allium Superglobe Mixed

Allium Superglobe Mixed
Allium Superglobe Mixed

This spectacular mixture of medium and tall Alliums varying in shades of creamy white, pink, mauve to the deepest purple-violet to create an amazing firework like display in your summer garden.

Those beautiful leaves…..when they’re no longer beautiful!

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.

 Unusual Alliums

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

Allium Purple Sensation

However the more you delve into the species, the more weird and wonderful specimens you will find!

Can’t decide which Alliums to plant?

In this guide, our resident gardening expert Jeff shares his knowledge and advice on the different varieites of Alliums, to help you choose which Alliums are best suited for your summer garden displays.

Click here to view our full range of Alliums!

Plant of the Month – Oriental Poppies

Papaver Orientale

Oriental PoppyPapaver-Place-Pigalle

 

These stunning, long prized flowers are grown for their beautiful brightly coloured bowl shaped flowers. The silky, long lasting flowers have the texture of crepe paper and their introduction into the summer and autumn garden is a great way of making a statement. Perfect for a border or rock garden display, they also make excellent cut flowers.

Papaver Scarlet O’Hara

(Dwarf variety)

Papaver-Scarlet-O'Hara-®-edit
The most compact Papaver ever! A really tidy perennial plant with hairy leaves producing large double satin like bright scarlet ruffled flowers in late spring and early summer. A border plant that is also perfect for pots. Height 30-40cm.

Papaver orientale Little Dancing Girl

Papaver-orientale-Kleine-Tanzerin_Dancing-Girl
Beautiful oriental poppy, unusual in both shape and colour native to Turkey and northern Iran. A vigorous grower on sturdy stems 60-80cm flowering from May to July.

Papaver orientale Patty’s Plum

 

Papaver-Poppy-Patty's-Plum
Rich plum coloured Poppy, which is one of the most popular cultivars. Height 70cm.

 

Papaver orientale Harvest Moon

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Unusual in both shape and colour. Vigorous and free flowering from May to July. Height 60-80cm. Dislike saturated ground.

Planting

POTM-May-Papaver

We supply as loose roots, much easier to grown than from seed, and once established these are very low maintenance and last for years.

Plant in prepared soil, with a hole large enough to firmly hold the roots. They will do well in any fertile soil but it must be well drained. Taller varieties may need support.

For best results plant in an area where they will get at least 6 hours in full sun. Choose your location carefully, once planted they really don’t like to be moved! Oriental poppies thrive in the cooler spring temperatures and will go dormant once the high heat of summer sets in so it’s best to plant amongst late summer bloomers that will fill the gap they leave behind. Deadhead as needed, but when their season is over allow to die back and don’t overwater during summer as they won’t come back next year.

The brilliant scarlet poppies are probably the most well known but there have been several different colours breed from pure milky white to beautiful shaded picotee varieties. Find all our Papaver varieties here.

Companion Planting

Oriental Papaver bloom from spring to mid-summer, dying back in the height of summer. After being the crowning glory of your beds and border, the loss of the beautiful flowers and luscious bushy foliage can leave quite a gap in you garden. The best solution for this is to plant them among some late flowering perennials that will happily take their place. We’ve selected a few of our favourites that flower at the right time to fill the gap.

Cosmos Choca Mocha

Cosmos-Choca-Mocha

 

A perfect replacement for an oriental poppy. This new and improved compact variety of the Chocolate Cosmos produce beautiful velvety chocolate coloured flowers and a much stronger chocolate scent. Flowering from July to October and producing lots of bushy, compact foliage, as well as the gorgeous rich maroon coloured flowers, this is a great choice to fill the gap when the oriental poppies die back in June.

Helenium Sahin’s Early

Helenium-Sahins-Early

The lovely rust-like effect on the petals of this Helenium make it a really interesting choice in the garden and a great flower to perk up the gaps left by striking Oriental Poppies. Flowering from June to October, its tall, daisy-like fiery orange and yellow petals contrast dramatically with its striking brown centre. A hardy and vigorous plant, and very easy to grow.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

 

Dahlia-Bishop-Of-Llandaff-

One of the most popular Dahlias, and a perfect replacement with its gorgeous red flowers and masses of dark foliage flowering from June to October. A great performer that with its colouring will blend harmoniously with your garden design. Highly attractive to bees and as an extra bonus, this variety is an award winner holding the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Kniphofia Red Hot Poker

 

Red-hot-Poker-Kniphofia

 

Kniphofia are a great late summer flowering perennial and we’ve chosen Red Hot Poker as a great companion plant, flowering from June right through to October. It is a statuesque, upright perennial which produces fiery red clusters of spiked buds on its tall, tubular stem, opening into orange flowers which slowly fade to yellow. Its lush, evergreen foliage, flaming colour palette and impressive stature make it the perfect addition to gardens in need of height and vibrancy.

Plant of the Month – Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf-Rhododendrons

 

The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.

This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.

Rhododendron Princess Anne

Rhododendron-Princess-Anne
A dwarf evergreen shrub variety with soft primrose yellow flowers which appear in spring, sitting nicely alongside the green foliage. A very reliable performer, its holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Height and spread only 50-60cm as adult plant.

 

POTM-AGM-April

Rhododendron Dwarf Collection

Dwarf-Rhododendrons
Our collection brings together Scarlet Wonder (red), Moerheim Lilac (lilac/mauve) and Pink Drift (cool-toned, light pink). A burst of colour for your border or patio, all three are exceptionally compact and manageable. These varieties produce trusses of up to three funnel shaped, vibrant flowers from April-June, against a lush background of ovate, glossy dark green leaves.

Planting

POTM-April

 

You can plant out in March/April or in October.

Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.

Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.

Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.

Rhododendron Praecox

Rhododendron-Praecox-without-label
Technically this one will reach a mature height of 150cm, so not quite as dwarf as the varieties above but this stunning variety shouldn’t be missed out. Its one of the earliest flowering varieties, producing an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. It holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons – what’s the difference?

In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.

March Plant of the Month – Aubrieta

Aubrieta

To view our full range of Aubrieta, click the link here. http://bit.ly/2D2AepP

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Aubretia Cascade Collection

Nothing creates a carpet of colour like an Aubrieta in early spring! These fantastic, very low growing plants range from deepest vibrant shades to the palest almost white hues in a range of violets, purple and pinks.

The traditional single Aubrieta produce dainty four-petalled flowers over mounds of hairy foliage.

Aubrieta

 

They used to be a common sight on rockeries, although rockeries are a less common sight themselves these days. They are very eye-catching trailing over walls and can even be grown in containers and will last right into May.

Named after Claude Aubriet, a French botanical painter they are commonly known as Aubretia. They grow in the wild in Europe and Central Asia.

Planting

POTM-March

Aubrieta are quite happy in most soils and can handle a little shade, but for the best results they like alkaline soils and a position in full sun.

Trim right down after flowering to around half its size and you’ll get a fresh growth of foliage for the summer followed by masses of new flowers in the spring. Apart from that they will happily look after themselves for the rest of the year.

For more tips on planting watch our video tutorial with plant expert Jeff Turner on growing Aubrieta HERE.

Products

Aubrieta Red Cascade

Aubretia-Red-Cascade-Adjusted

Clusters of dainty red-pink single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. The Royal Horticultural Society has given Red Cascade their Award of Garden Merit. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

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Aubrieta Blue

Aubrieta-Blue

Sweeping clusters of dainty blue-violet single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

Looking for something a little bit different….?

Double Flowered Aubrieta. If you’re already a dab hand with Aubrieta why not try these lovely new double varieties?

Aubrieta Double Pink

Aubrieta-'Double-Pink'

Lovely lilac-pink double flowers with a dainty yellow centre. A great low maintenance creeping perennial plant that will quickly produce a thick mound of extravagant ground cover. Ideal for rockeries and borders, will also grow well in containers. Although it will tolerate partial shade, Aubrieta is happiest in full sun light in well-drained soils. 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.

 

Aubrieta Blue Beauty

Aubrieta-'Blue-Beauty'

A beautiful vibrant double flowering Aubrieta. This royal blue Aubrieta will spread rapidly, producing a mound of dense ground cover. Ideal for the border, overhanging walls or in rockeries, loved by bees. . Aubrieta is naturally suited to cool climates so is at its best in the spring, it will thrive if you plant it in well-drained sweet (or alkaline) soils in full sun. Try planting with Helianthemum (Sun Rose), another brilliant creeping ground cover plant that will flower in summer when the Aubrieta starts to decline. 3cm plug plants supplied.

Aubrieta Collection

Two double-flowering Aubretia varieties that produce beautiful shades of pink and purple toned ruffled blooms, which includes our Double Pink and Blue Beauty varieties to create a dense carpet of colour.

Companion plants

Aubrieta prefer cooler conditions so will start to look bedraggled as the summer draws in so choose a ground cover plant that will cheerfully follow it and enjoy the warmer weather!

Here’s a selection of some great ground cover plants that like similar conditions to Aubrieta and flower from May.

 

Helianthemum Sun Rose
Helianthemum Sun Rose A hardy shrub like perennial that’s great for rockeries or filling a gap at the front of a border. Flowers May – June.

 

Geranium Cinereum (Jolly Jewel Night)
Geranium Cinereum (image of the Jolly Jewel Night variety) A colorful, compact plant perfect for suppressing weeds. Hardy and disease resistant. Flowers May to September.
Sedum Kamtschaticum
Sedum Kamtschaticum A great rockery creeper, producing a mound of glossy green leaves with star shaped yellow flowers – really good for suppressing weeds. Flowers May – July.
Cerastium (Snow in Summer)
Cerastium (Snow in Summer) A rampant creeping mound of flowers that will grow anywhere – even in very poor soils. Flowers form May to July.

February Plant of the Month – Snowdrops

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrops are the start of it all!

The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come. Happening on them in the wild is a real treat, but they are easy to grow and radially available so why not grow them in your own garden?

There are a huge variation in size and shapes, and they are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year.

You can buy Single or Double Snowdrops in the Green in January – March.

Snowdrops-in-the-green-and-bulbs

Single Snowdrops (Glanthus nivalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most common and easiest to grow is….. Glanthus nivalis, also known as the common or garden snowdrop. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit. These are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy grass like foliage. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. 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. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact temporary display. Top quality plants supplied. Flowers January to March. Height 10cm.

AGM-Snowdrops

Giant snowdrops

The same features as the common variety but much taller, perfect for use as cut flowers. Galanthus elwesii is a spectacular giant snowdrop originating from eastern Asia. Elwesii’s honey scented nodding flowers are formed from an outer whorl of snowy white tepals encasing smaller inner tepals, flared and marked green at the tips. Fine 15-20cm stems sport dainty strap shaped leaves. Galanthus Woronowii, also known as the Broad Leaf Snowdrop, is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads can appear as early as January. Both varieties hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit. At this time of year we can only offer Snowdrops in the Green but these varieties will become available as bulbs in our autumn catalogues.

Double Snowdrops (Flore Pleno)

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The double form of the common snowdrop is a hardy and reliable variety that also holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Russian Snowdrops (Puschkinia Libanotica)

2-Russian-Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puschkinia are a little known spring bulb, however, it is one of the easiest to grow and is very reliable. They produce dainty white flowers with a blue blush that forms a stripe effect on the petals. This hardy bulb will naturalise and multiply like snowdrops producing a carpet of colour in March and April after the snowdrops have flowered, but before the bluebells. This fabulous pretty flower holds the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. These can be brought as bulbs from June, throughout Autumn.

Planting

POTM--Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Bulbs: 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.

They 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.

Video Planting Tutorial

In this video, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how-to plant Snowdrop bulbs into pots for advice on achieving a great early addition to your garden.

Tip

eranthis-snowdrop-mixed-EDIT

 

Team Snowdrops with Winter Aconites for a cheerful burst of colour, the sudden appearance of milk white and zesty yellow in February can’t help but bring cheerful thoughts of spring to mind!

January Plant of the Month – Sarcococca

Sarcococca

(Sweet box or Christmas box)

main-image

Also known as the sweet box or Christmas box, these fabulous evergreen shrubs are one of the most underrated!

A member of the Buxaceae family, its most grown for their sweet honey scented flowers in winter, however this unassuming shrub has a lot of other terrific features.

sarcococca-humilis_christmas-box_with-text

An Evergreen fountain of foliage

They produce broad, glossy dark green leaves with scattered spidery fragrant flowers throughout winter followed by glossy black or red berries throughout the summer, which are highly favoured by flower arrangers as they will last up to two weeks in a vase.

Native to eastern and south eastern Asia and the Himalayas they are naturally found in woodlands, where they thrive in shade. Useful for planting under shade, particularly under trees with extensive roots, in fact, these vigorous and hardy plants will cope in most situations!

sarcococca-purple-stem_with-text

Most propagated through suckering and left alone will become dense and bushy so are great for hiding any unsightly parts of the garden, or for screening.

Neat, bushy habit – use for formal borders or as an alternative to box hedging

A great evergreen alternative to box hedging, they work well in a formal border. Unlike box they are resistant to box blight, which is a current problem in the UK, although it’s worth noting they create a softer look when considering your gardens design.

Most sucker freely, but are easily manageable if you are going for a more formal look as they grow slowly. Pull up any new shoots and pot them up or plant elsewhere.

Easy to grow in pots or in the border

sarcococca-winter-gem

They can tolerate pollution, can be grown in pots, and being evergreen create all year round interest so are a great choice where space is limited.

They will survive dry shade, you could also plant in full sun where the ground is moist, although it may seem a shame to give a sunny spot over to a plant that is happier in shade and will cope in less hospitable situations where other plants would fail.

They also cope with neglect! Perfect for a novice (or busy) gardener.

Planting

 

potm-january-sarcococca

Very easy to grow. They will survive any soils, even chalky. In moist soil they will cope with full sun but will thrive in full or partial shade and can cope with dry shade. As you can see from above they have many attractive qualities, added to that they are very low maintenance, needing little to no regular pruning. If you do need to prune out dead wood do it in mid to late spring.

They really are an underrated gem that deserve a little more notice!

Companion Plants

Sarcococca are evergreen and are often grown as ground cover or for screening. They are easy to grow, and very successful so will put other evergreens to shame, so think about that before you pair it with more delicate foliage plants, Hostas for example!

Sarcococca provide really good coverage so are really helpful for deciduous and ornamental plants that have peaks rather than all year interest, which is perhaps why they tend to be overlooked by some gardeners. Pick taller shrubs which are top heavy, Hydrangeas for example which will create a shady space beneath that a Sarcococca will happily fill.

Fragrant companions

Daphne mezerum and Clematis viticella Huldine

Shade loving companions

Cyclamen and Hellebores

 

Ornamental shrub companions

Camellias, Euphorbia, Hydrangeas and Japanese Maples