When to Plant Begonias

Begonias are a summer staple, bringing a plethora of colourful flowers to the garden all season long. Their bright blooms and easy to grow nature is exactly why the species is so beloved by gardener’s across the country.

However, knowing when, how, or where to plant Begonias can be a confusing task – especially for those new to gardening! Follow our guide to effortlessly grow your Begonias for the summer season.

When to Plant

Plant Begonias in early spring, once the threat of frosts has disappeared. Begonias aren’t a hardy plant, and can be damaged by cold weather.


More specifically, March and April are the best months to plant your Begonias, as there is less chance of frosts to appear.

How to Plant

Planting Begonias is an easy enough task. Most Begonias are supplied in a tuberous form, which are similar to bulbs in the way that they should be planted.


Plant your tubers in seed trays in March or April. Fill trays with moist potting compost, and place the tuber inside around 3cm deep and spaced apart 3cm. Once sprouting leaves, move into individual pots and harden off when all danger of frost has passed.

Where to Plant

Begonias can provide masses of blooms around the garden, regardless of where planted. They prefer sunny conditions, so take this into account when finding the perfect spot.


I’ts helpful to note that Begonias don’t like overly-damp conditions, and will rot if kept too moist. Whether you plant them in hanging baskets, patio pots, or simply in the border, your Begonias will thrive.

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How to Grow a Cut Flower Garden

Growing cut flowers has surged in popularity over recent years, along with the grow your own product trend. Growing cut flowers is so easy to do, there will be no need to hit the supermarkets for bouquets again! Discover the best cut flower tips, as well as the most popular summer blooms to grow for cutting.

Two ways to start growing cut flowers

Use existing borders

Utilise existing beds and borders by planting groups of annuals, perennials and bulbs suited for cutting to allow for picking without affecting the overall appearance of the border. Add in a few interesting shrubs and grasses for texture and extra interest!

Create a cutting garden

Dedicate an area of the garden to growing cut flowers. If space allows, the advantage of a cutting garden area over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders. Choose a sunny area of the garden, and apply moderate applications of general fertilisers over the space; this will help get tall healthy growth and abundant flowers.

The best cut flowers for summer

Bulbs

The most popular summer bulbs for cutting are dahlias, gladioli and lilies, due to their strong tall stems and assortment of shapes and colours. The huge blooms on decorate and dinnerplate dahlias are perfect for big, show stopping bouquets. Gladioli produce clusters of tall and colourful florets, and lilies provide fragrance and elegance to any cut flower display.

Perennials

Perennials are the perfect plants for cutting, because they’ll grow back year after year and provide wonderful blooms each summer. Peonies make wonderful cut flowers and have a long vase life. Why not plant large-flowering perennials like Delphinium and Echinacea? These beautiful flowers provide copious amounts of colour and interest in vases around the home. 

Shrubs

What about shrubs? Hydrangeas are especially long lasting and often show an intriguing colour change as they age. Roses are renowned for their fabulous fragrance and pretty blooms. Simply snip a few stems of your beautiful bushes in the summertime.

Check out some of our other blogs:

New introductions for Spring 2021

From dazzling dahlias to statuesque gladioli, in 2021 we have added dozens of new introductions to our spring range. To help you plan your summer displays this year, check out some of our new spring favourites.

Dahlias

Dahlia Hartenaas

Dahlia Hartenaas is a beautiful pink Collarette variety that blooms from July all the way until the first frost. A great pick for borders, containers or cut flowers.

Dahlia Pulp Fiction

There is nothing fictional about the beauty of this new dark-leaf dahlia. Producing beautiful scarlet florets, plant this stunning dahlia in beds, borders or containers.

Dahlia Crème De Cassis

This romantic decorative dahlia showcases magical pale lilac petals with deep purple centres. Perfect for cut flower fans!

Gladioli

Gladioli Amber Mistique

A stunning cream gladioli with violet centres. Ideal for cutting, this beautiful new sword-lily deserves a prime spot in beds, borders and containers.

Gladioli Lumiere

A flower that packs a punch. This large-flowering gladioli boasts the most vibrant plum purple and pink blooms. Perfect for cut flowers or bouquets.

Gladioli Lemonlicious

A statuesque gladioli that will brighten up any garden. These pastel yellow flowers with deep yellow centres are perfect for the back of a border or as cut flowers.

Cannas

Canna Semaphore

An exotic, easy to grow perennial. The bright yellow flowers of Canna semaphore will add plenty of colour to your summer containers.

Canna Triomphe

Stunning scarlet red blooms. This low maintenance perennial is not only stunning, but is a favourite amongst pollinators.

Canna Angelique

Stunning salmon pink blooms against a dark purple foliage. Canna Angelique is an excellent perennial that will add an exotic touch to beds and borders.

Lilies

Lilium Levi

A romantic Asiatic lily with delicate pink and white flowers. A lively lily which will look amazing in borders or planted in patio containers.

Lilium Martagon Purple Morning

This fragrant pale pink lily produces glossy petals on tall, erect stems. Ideal for summer landscapes, and perfect for cut flowers.

Lilium Tribal Kiss

An Asiatic lily that makes the perfect plant for adding exotic beauty to the back of a border. Boasting white flowers with violet centres, this amazing lily makes the most beautiful cut flowers.

When to Plant Early Potatoes

Potatoes are a British culinary staple. You can fry them, boil them, bake them – the list is endless, and there’s not a thing that potatoes can’t achieve. If you’re new to growing your own vegetables, potatoes are a great place to start.

However, being a new gardener comes with its own list of trials and tribulations, and knowing exactly when to plant different varieties of potatoes can confuse the best of us.

When to Plant Early Potatoes

Early potatoes can be harvested sooner than other varieties, making them perfect for beginners. Often known as ‘New Potatoes’, this variety can be softer and easier to cook.

Plant early potatoes in late-March, after they’ve had time to grow shoots when stored indoors.

How to Plant Early Potatoes

Before planting, it’s important to chit your potatoes. This means allowing them to grow shoots before planting. Each shoot should be around 3cm long.

To store, keep in a light and frost-free place. Place each tuber into an unused egg carton sprout side up to allow proper shoot growth. On new potatoes, rub off the weakest shoots – leave four per tuber.

The most common way to plant potatoes is to dig a trench 15cm deep, spaced 30cm apart and 60cm away from each row. Next, you can start to ‘earth up’ the tubers. Cover with a thin layer of soil and wait until the stems are around 10-15cm high and drag up to the stems, leaving a 15cm high ridge. As the shoot grows, continue the process until the ridge around 20-30cm tall.

Where to Plant Early Potatoes

You can plant your varieties in your vegetable patch or a grow bag. Although it’s common to grow in vegetable patches, we’re don’t all have the same space. Grow bags are a perfect way to remedy this problem.

Grow bags are upright and deep containers, perfect for those who don’t have an allotment or even a garden. To plant your potatoes, fill the bottom of the bag with 15cm of potting compost and pop the potato just below. Place one potato for every 30cm of diameter. Add compost as the shoots begin to grow until eventually, the grow bag is full. First early potatoes will be ready to harvest in June and July.

Ready to grow your own? Buy your seed potatoes today on our website.

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Dahlia flowers for every garden

cactus dahlias

One of the most beautifully versatile summer flowers. Blooming from summer into autumn, the colourful, long-lasting blooms of dahlias belong in every garden. Varying in size, colour and shape, discover our guide for choosing the best dahlia flowers for your garden.

For pots/containers

For pots and containers, the best choices are the shorter, dwarf varieties. With a more compact shape and low growing habit, dwarf dahlias provide beautiful bright coloured blooms at a smaller size, making the perfect companions for patio pots, containers, especially if you’re short of space in the garden.

For flower beds and borders

If you are passionate about vibrant summer colour in your flower beds and borders, dahlia flowers are the perfect solution. For the front of the border, low-growing dwarf dahlias or pollinator-loving mignon dahlias are the perfect options, and to get impressive blooms at the back of a border, dinnerplate and decorative dahlias are ideal due to their height and colourful flowerheads.

For cut flower beds

All dahlias can make exceptional cut flowers but narrowed down a list of the most desirable and popular types. Pompom dahlias work well for cutting. Their natural habit is to continually produce flowers as they go through the season. Waterlily types are also a great choice as they are free flowering, normally held on long stems, and any of the miniatures will make perfect cut flowers.

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When to Plant Cannas

Exotic, tropical creatures; the bright and beautiful blooms of cannas are hard to ignore. Cannas keep pumping out colourful flowers from late spring or early summer to frost. When most flowers can’t take the heat of late July and early August, cannas thrive. Discover when and where to plant gorgeous cannas in our gardening guide.

Canna rhizomes can be planted from spring through to early summer. Plant directly in the ground after the danger of frost has passed, or you can even start them off indoors as early as a month before the average last frost date (for earlier blooms).

Where to plant cannas

Plant cannas as a tall border; they are perfect for narrow spaces. Or, make cannas the focus of large patio pots filled with super bright annuals. Liven up plantings near water features or boggy areas where these cannas will happily thrive.

How to plant cannas

Dig a hole 2-3 inches deep and set the rhizome in the hole, eyes up. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil. Space rhizomes 1 to 4 feet apart. Cannas are slow to sprout and do not require much water until you begin seeing signs of growth

With the recent launch of our new spring range, check out our favourite new introductions to our Cannas range:

‘Semaphore’
‘Angelique’
‘Triomphe’

or check out our entire range online here:

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How to Start an Allotment

Have you ever thought about growing your own fruit and vegetables but lack the space in your own garden? Find out all you need to know about how to start an allotment from scratch along with our beginner planting suggestions.

How to start an allotment:

  1. Plan your plot

If there is no space for crops in your garden, contact your local council on allotment opportunities in your area. Once get your allotment, go for a plot size suited to your needs – half a plot is adequate for most people and ideal for beginners. Here are some initial plot planning steps:

  • Decide what style of vegetable beds you’d like
  • Decide what size of beds you’d like.
  • Make sure you include space for sheds / greenhouses / compost bins / water butts etc.
  • Make sure you consider where you’ll place trees, fruiting bushes, and other perennial (stay in the in the ground year on year) plants.

2. Weed maintenance

The biggest burden of an allotment owner…the weeds, and most allotments need continual hoeing and weeding. When prepping a plot, once you’ve cleared the weeds, dig the soil and remove weed roots. It’s worth investing in a push hoe and a draw hoe to be fully prepared for any weed problems.

  • Potatoes smother weeds, so plant them in the weediest areas.
  • Perennial crops such as fruit need no cultivation, but must be planted in areas that are clear of all perennial weeds.

3. Soil conditions

Once you get out all the roots of the weeds. Compost their foliage, and drown the roots in a bucket of water for 2 months (then you can add them to a compost heap). Turn a layer of compost into the first 5 –10cms of the soil and you are ready to plant!

Beginner plants for allotments:

Here’s our selection of plants for allotment beginners:

Allotment seasonal guide:

Winter ❄

In late winter, rains should have restored the soil to full moisture levels, if they have not left it soggy, battered and emptied of nutrients. You can get some crops off to a good start, although on difficult clay soils transplants raised indoors might be necessary.

Spring 🌸

Getting plants going well before late spring is essential. Crops grow best during the long, warm days and sunshine of late spring to late summer.

Summer ☀

Wet, but not too wet, summers are far better for allotments than hot, dry ones; crops need water to grow.

Autumn 🍂

By autumn, growth is tailing off in lower light levels, so little rain is needed; warm, dry weather is better for ripening produce now. Beware of wet weather that can lead to rots and unripe produce that won’t store well.

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How to Harvest Your Herbs

Harvesting herbs is an easy process, but those who are new to growing their own might wonder where to start. Herbs are often a cut and re-grow type of crop, perfect for beginners as they grow back effortlessly.

Luckily, growing and harvesting herbs is fairly straight-forward. However, different herbs might need different harvesting techniques.

Parsley

When cutting Parsley, it’s best to cut from the bottom of the stalk. Make a cut on the stalk where it joins the base and try to avoid cutting more than you’d need.

To store your freshly cut Parsley, put each sprig between two damp pieces of kitchen paper, pop into a zip-lock bag and keep in the fridge. This way they won’t wilt and become stale.

Chives

Chives are a culinary favourite that grow relentlessly throughout spring and summer. An easy one to harvest – simply trim at the base as and when you need them.

To store after cutting, place the ends in water and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze chives by placing them in freezer bags!

Basil

Harvesting basil is slightly more complex. To avoid withering of the stem and affecting further growth, trim the stem so that a couple of leaves are left behind.

To store, trim the ends, put in a glass jar filled with water and cover with a plastic bag. This should keep the herb fresh for up to a week.

Rosemary

Regularly cutting Rosemary prevents the stem going woody and prevents a healthy growth. Similar to harvesting herbs of any kind, try not to cut the stem too far down that it affects the growth later in the season.

Shop Our New Spring 2021 Range

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What to Do in The Garden in January

Although January is still a wintry month, there’s still lots you can get up to in the garden. From pruning to planting, there’s no shortage of work regardless of the cold weather!

With spring approaching, you may be conscious of how to get your garden ready in time. We’ve compiled this handy list of gardening jobs to do throughout January to prepare your garden for spring.

Damaged Plants

Now is the perfect time to throw away damaged and rotted plants to make way for new ones come spring. This can also be helpful as it will allow you to think ahead and decide what you need to order before spring begins, such as new plants or shrubs.

Move Your Strawberry Plants

January is the best time to move your strawberry plants indoors or in a greenhouse as it promotes early fruiting. You may have already moved your potted plants into your greenhouse before winter began, but if not then around now is the best time to get them under shelter.

Bird Box Maintenance

January is a great time to survey your bird boxes and make sure they’re not wobbly or need maintenance before the nesting season begins. If you don’t have any bird boxes around the garden and you’d like to add one before spring, find a nice sheltered spot in a tree or bush.

More Jobs for the January Garden:

  • Remove any weeds from your beds and borders, especially before planting new plants.
  • Throw away damaged pots and buy new ones before the season starts.
  • Top up bird baths regularly and defrost frozen water with warm water in the mornings or throughout the day.
  • Inspect plants for rot and throw away any if necessary.
  • Prune your pear and apple trees to remove dead or damaged branches before spring.

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Comforting Winter Vegetable Soup

When it’s cold outside, you can’t get much better than a nice, hot bowl of soup to keep you warm. This versatile vegetable soup is the perfect winter time meal, and it’s so easy to make that you can quickly whip up a batch on a weekday for the whole family.


Servings: 6

Time: 30 minutes


You will need:

  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 large pot
  • Blender (optional)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1x parsnip
  • 2x carrots
  • 6x potatoes
  • 2x spring onion
  • 1x celery stalk
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • sprig of rosemary
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Fry up the veg

    Chop and fry the vegetables and potatoes in a frying pan with the oil for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and go pale.

  2. Add flavour

    Once the vegetables have softened, add in garlic, ginger and season well.

  3. Simmer

    Transfer the veg into a large pot, cover with the stock and simmer for 10-15 mins until the veg is tender.

  4. Blend

    Blend until smooth (or don’t if you prefer a chunky soup), then season with rosemary and serve.


Tips

  • What can you add to this recipe?

You can make this vegetable soup your own by adding in different vegetables (e.g. cabbage or onions), fresh or dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano) or add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.

  • How long can you store soup?

Stick your soup in a sealed container in the refrigerator and it will keep for three to four days. 

Try out some of our other winter recipes: