Complete Guide to Planting Hydrangeas

Irresistible summer shrubs. Hydrangeas showcase large, billowy blooms in an array of bright and beautiful colours and never fail to bring the wow factor to the summer garden. Easy to grow and vigorous growers, they are an easy way to create a wonderful summer display.

In this blog, discover our essential Hydrangea planting guide, from planting to aftercare, as well as our top Hydrangea varieties to plant for summer.

Where can I plant Hydrangeas?

With so many Hydrangeas on the market, from large shrubs to compact varieties, there aren’t many places these plants can’t go. For location, our advice is to plant them where they well receive morning sun and afternoon shade.  Here are some ideas for where you can plant Hydrangeas:

  • Shrub borders
  • Potted plants on the patio
  • Pathways
  • Large containers

How do I plant Hydrangeas?

Our potted Hydrangea plants can be planted straight away upon arrival. Here are our step-by-step planting instructions:

  • Plant in Spring or Autumn.
  • Plant in well-drained soil (if soil is heavy, add roughage such as pine bark mulch).
  • Dig a planting hole 2 feet wider than the plant (keep the depth of the hole consistent with the size of the plant so your plant sits level with or just higher than the surrounding soil).
  • Do not over water, esp. in clay soil. This can lead to root rot.

How do I care for Hydrangeas?

  • Water at a rate of 1 inch per week throughout the growing season. Deeply water 3 times a week to encourage root growth. Big leaf and smooth hydrangeas require more water, but all varieties benefit from consistent moisture. Watering in the morning will help prevent hydrangeas from wilting during hot days.
  • Add mulch underneath your hydrangeas to help keep the soil moist and cool. An organic mulch breaks down over time, adding nutrients and improving soil texture.
  • Apply fertiliser based on your specific hydrangeas. Each variety has different needs and will benefit from different application timing.
    • Big leaf hydrangeas need several light fertiliser applications in March, May and June.
    • Oakleaf and panicle hydrangeas do best with two applications in April and June.
    • Smooth hydrangea plants only need fertilisation once, in late winter.
  • Prune in late winter and early spring. Prune as far back as you want right above the first leaf joints. It will grow from that point onward, getting larger each year.

Looking for recommendations?

Check out our favourite Hydrangeas that will make eye-catching additions in any garden.

Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’
Hydrangea ‘Confetti’
Hydrangea ‘Revolution Blue’
Hydrangea petiolaris

White Garden: Best Plants for White Flowers

There is a timeless elegance in white flowers that will never fade. They brighten up dull spots, add contrast to colourful plants and add a subtle glow to the garden in the evenings.

Here are our favourite white bloomers to fill your garden with ethereal beauty all year round.

For hanging baskets:

These stunning flowers create a real eye-catching effect in summer hanging baskets. 

Scaevola Albanico ‘White’
Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’
Surfinia ‘White’
Million Bells ‘White’

For flower pots:

Our perfect pot partners bloom with masses of white flowers to cheer up any patio pot, porch or garden space.

Dahlia ‘Toto’
Heuchera ‘White Cloud’
Hydrangea ‘Confetti’
Echinacea ‘Milkshake’

For beds & borders:

For a carpet of snowy blooms or large and in charge feature plants, these are our top picks for white-flowering beds and borders.

Lily ‘Pretty Woman’
Dianthus ‘Confetti White’
Gypsophila ‘White’
Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’

For shrubs:

Add beauty year-round with these amazing pure white blooming shrubs.

Pearl Bush
Buddleia ‘White Swan’
Snowball Bush
Euonymus ‘Paloma Blanca’

5 Great Summer Plants for Shade

Finding plants that can thrive in shade can be tricky, but there are plenty of beautiful options available. Instead of you searching the internet for shaded plants, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a selection of our favourite shade-loving plants.

From colourful bloomers to fresh foliage, discover our top five plants to brighten up those difficult shaded corners of the summer garden.

1. Viburnum

Many Viburnums are perfect for shady spots. They’re great for wildlife, produce gorgeous flowers and fruit and make a fantastic focal point in beds and borders.

We recommend:

Snowball Tree
Viburnum Kilimanjaro

2. Hardy Fuchsias

Hardy Fuchsias are a hanging basket staple in the summertime. Their elegant drooping blooms brighten up baskets and window boxes, and thankfully, they can be planted in shade! Since they don’t like too much heat, these tender perennials can be placed in partial/full shade.

We recommend:

Fuchsia ‘Heidi Anne’
Hardy Fuchsia Mixed

3. Heucheras

These fabulous shade-tolerant beauties are some of the best-kept secrets in the garden. You can easily set a shady spot alight with colour by planting bright and beautiful Heucheras. What’s more, these foliage plants perform all year round too, making them a magnificent choice for so many spots in the garden. 

We recommend:

Heuchera sanguinea ‘Firefly’
Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

4. Hydrangeas

Can Hydrangeas grow in shade? Absolutely. In fact, many of the most common varieties of these bright and beautiful shrubs, like mophead and lacecap, are perfect for shaded environments.

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Hydrangea Magical ‘Revolution Blue’

5. Ferns

Ornamental foliage plants have become a big trend in modern gardens. Low maintenance and high performing, they add bring a fresh and natural look to the summer garden. Ferns thrive in the shade, so they’re the perfect plants for growing fantastic displays in pots and borders.

We recommend:

Japanese Painted Lady Fern
Hardy Fern Collection

What to Plant in May

Ready to get planting in the garden?

With the warm spring sunshine finally here, now is the perfect time to finish planting those summer-flowering plants/bulbs. Check out our top picks for planting in the garden this May.

Cannas

These flamboyant tender perennials produce fantastic ornamental foliage that will bring a burst of exotic colour to any garden, whether that be as a statement focal point or in a border.

  • Great for pots and the border
  • Prefer sunny spots

Salvia

Add amazing colour to your early Summer borders with hardy perennial Salvias. Fragrant and available in an array of eye-catching colours, these plants are a great, characterful choice for the garden.

  • Great for borders and containers
  • Prefer full sun/partially sunny locations

Dahlias

There’s still time to get your Dahlias planted! These modern summer garden favourites are well-loved for their amazing assortment of colours, shapes and sizes. Blooming from Summer into late Autumn, Dahlias add colour to the garden well after others have finished flowering.

  • Great for borders, pots and as cut flowers
  • Prefer full sun/partially sunny locations

Calla Lilies

Loved for their large, trumpet-shaped flowers and gorgeous range of colours, Calla Lilies are understandably a classic summer garden favourite.

  • Great for pots, beds and borders
  • Prefer full sun/partially sunny locations

Delphiniums

J1J0CR DELPHINIUM ‘KING ARTHUR’

Tall and elegant, Delphiniums are the perfect plants for bringing height and texture to summer-flowering borders. Hardy, versatile and attractive to butterflies, the benefits are endless for this statuesque plant.

  • Great for beds, borders and cottage gardens
  • Prefer full sun/partially sunny locations

Bedding Plants

Late Spring is the perfect time to plant bedding plants. Grow colourful Primulas, Petunias and Primroses to perk up pots and flower beds and you’ll see the impact almost immediately without having to invest a great deal of time and effort.

  • Great for beds, pots or hanging baskets.
  • Prefer full sun/partially sunny locations

Guide to Planting Maxi Plugs

Looking for a quick fix for those gaps in your flower beds or baskets? Our top quality maxi plug plants are a great way to grab a range of flowers to create a beautiful summer display for bargain prices.

In this blog post, we will be sharing our maxi plug planting guide, from plug sizes to our planting tips, that will fill your garden with beauty this summer.

What Size are Maxi Plugs?

Height: 6-9cm from base of plug to the top of the foliage.

Width: 2.2 cm at the top of the plug.

Quantity in tray: Available in 33,66 or 132 trays.

Where Can I Plant Them?

Available in an amazing array of varieties, maxi plugs make the perfect partners for pots, containers, borders or window displays. Our Lavender plants are perfect for growing fragrant pots for the patio or why not try planting a carpet of Verbena for a vibrant border.

How Do I Plant Maxi Plugs?

Learn how to get the best from Maxi plug plants with our step-by-step planting guide:

  1. On arrival, give them a little water (if required) and light and they will be ready to plant within 48 hours.
  2. Pot up the plugs for a number of weeks (minimum of two-three).
  3. Once the roots become established, plant out into final position ( Only plant outside when all risk of frost has passed).
  4. Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry.
  5. Cut back in spring when new shoots emerge from the base of the plant

7 Ways to Make the Most of Small Spaces

Struggling what to do with your small outdoor space? You don’t need to have a big, expansive garden to grow something spectacular. Update any compact area with these tips on how to make the most of any space.

1. TEXTURE TACTICS

Textured plants can create the illusion of depth and distance. Bold-leaved plants, such as Hostas, Cannas or Elephant’s Ears, draw the eye. Position finer leaves in the background and coarse ones in front, to create the impression that the space is deeper than it actually is. This trick works particularly well in shallow, sloping gardens.

We recommend:

Hosta ‘Summer Fragrance’
Canna ‘Durban’

2. GROWN YOUR OWN

Make the most of even the tiniest patch and you’ll be surprised at how many of your own fruit and vegetables you can grow. Especially in urban gardens, where there is limited outdoor space, transform a balcony, patio or garden patch into an edible haven. Patio trees, compact plants or planting in raised beds are a great way to make the most out of limited space.

We recommend:

Apple ‘Elstar’
Cherry ‘Sylvia’

3. FILL IT WITH FRAGRANCE

Scented plants are the perfect way to bring any space to life and that is only intensified in a smaller garden. Discover fragrant plants with different seasons of fragrance to provide scent all year, and grow them near the door or paths for best effect. Plant pots where you can enjoy their scent, either next to a bench or around a patio, and squeeze plants that release their scent when crushed, such as Thyme, into gaps in paths.

We recommend:

Lavender ‘Munstead’
Buddleia ‘Sugar Plum’

4. PLAY AROUND WITH POTTED PLANTS 

Pots, tubs, and barrels overflowing with flowers add appeal to any garden, big or small. Plants lend instant colour and provide a focal point in the garden. Their versatility means you can place them on the ground, on a pedestal, mount them on a windowsill, or hang them from your porch; the possibilities are endless!

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Lily ‘Majestic Joy’

5. GET CREATIVE WITH SHELVES AND HOOKS 

Vertical gardening is a great space-saving style of gardening. Instead of cluttering a compact floor space with plants, why not build garden shelves and create colourful floral walls. Window boxes and hanging baskets offer even more ways to add instant colour and appeal.

We recommend:

Surfinia ‘Trailing Mixed’
Bacopa ‘Topia Mixed’

6. USE DIFFERENT LEVELS

Placing plants at different heights help to broaden the view of the garden and can help break it up smaller areas, giving the impression that the space is bigger than it really is.

We recommend:

Festuca Grass Collection
Helenium Collection

7. HIDE BOUNDARIES FOR MORE SPACE

To open up a small space, hide boundaries with evergreen hedges, trees or climbers. They soften unsightly features and create a super environment for wildlife.

We recommend:

Star Jasmine
Clematis ‘Mayleen’

A Guide to Growing Lavender

Long-flowering, beautifully scented and easy to grow, there’s no wonder Lavender is a beloved plant of the Mediterranean garden. They are prized for their heavily scented bloom and aromatic foliage, and they are also well known for their culinary and medicinal properties.

Find out how to plant, grow and maintain Lavender in our step-by-step planting guide.

What You Need to Know

Step 1: Choose Your Plants

First things first, you need to choose what Lavender plants you want to grow to create a wonderful scented garden. To help you out, we’ve selected our favourite versatile Lavenders that you can use for edging, hedging, pots, containers or as an accent plant!

Our top picks:

Lavender ‘Blue Spear’

All your Lavender needs in one plant! These beautiful, fragrant blue flowers are easy to grow, attract pollinators and their compact nature makes them versatile for planting.

Lavender ‘Munstead’

This English Lavender has a well-earned reputation as tough, reliable and heavily scented. Their compact nature make them perfect for pots or the front of a border.

Lavender ‘Stoechas Papillon’

This romantic pink French Lavender bring an extra flair of style to the garden. These blooms make an elegant addition to pots and borders.

Step 2: When and Where to Plant

Lavender plants love the sunshine. Plant them in a full sun position of the garden, and don’t worry, these lovely plants are drought tolerant. You can plant your lovely Lavenders anytime in the Spring, from March to May, or you can plant them in the Autumn.

Step 3: How to Plant

Our beautiful Lavenders are sold as UK-grown plug plants, and here’s how to plant them. For ground planting, a well-drained soil is best as they do not like to be waterlogged, and for pots, use a container with large drainage holes and a multipurpose compost.

Plant at the same depth as the plant was in its pot; it’s as simple as that.

Step 4: Give your Plants some TLC

Once you’ve got your Lavender planted, water well during the growing season at around once or twice a week. After your plants become established in the ground, their drought tolerant nature means that you can cut back on watering as much. For container plants, the soil can dry out quicker, so regular water checks should be made.

Step 5: Pruning and Maintenance

Prune your plants after flowering in August, but you can also leave them in place as food for seed-eating birds! If you want to prune, your Lavenders will benefit from being cut back quite hard as long as there are still green shoots below your cut.

In winter, hardy Lavenders can withstand the cold temperatures but containers require more care. Move your containers to a sheltered spot over winter (greenhouse, garage, patio), so they aren’t exposed to really harsh weather.

Summer Garden Essentials

With Spring upon us and summer on the way, plan a spectacular garden with our list of essential summer garden plants. From colourful, pollinator-friendly blooms to gorgeous leafy foliage plants, discover our top choices for transforming any space into a nature haven in the summertime.

Essential Container Plants

Container plants are so versatile, add a flash of colour to patios, create a focal point in the garden and they’re perfect for smaller spaces; the possibilities are endless. Here are our favourite compact plants for summer pots:

Geraniums

Noted for their fragrant, bright flowers, Geraniums have become increasingly popular in the summer garden. Versatile and long-flowering, our Patio Geraniums are perfect for summer pots.

Dahlias

With a rich assortment of flower colours, shapes and sizes, along with their amazing bloom time, are what makes Dahlias a staple of the summer garden. Our Dwarf Dahlia range are ideal for patio pots or the front of the border.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas in pots and containers bring a burst of elegant beauty to any corner of the garden. Their compact floral clusters make an impressive display in containers.

Essential Border Plants

Planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening, where you can truly let your creativity flow. We’ve selected our favourites plants that are guaranteed to add colour, texture and character to the summer border.

Hostas

Create a border full of natural beauty with Hostas. These amazing perennials are easy to grow and are perfect for shaded borders.

Petunias

One of the most popular and easy to grow summer bedding plants. These prolific bloomers are superb way of introducing fun and bright colours to your beds and borders.

Carex

These evergreen grasses bring height and texture to the border. These easy to care for plants are great for softening harsh landscapes and adding a contrast against summer blooms.

Essential Basket Plants

Hanging baskets, with their colourful flowers and lush plants, add an extra dimension to houses, patios and garden walls. From bringing bees and butterflies flocking to the garden, to adding a burst of colour for small spaces, here are our top hanging basket varieties.

Fuchsias

Blooming non-stop from early summer to autumn, Fuchsias are great for attracting pollinators and look amazing in baskets. With a colourful assortment of shades and sizes to choose from, the options are endless.

Begonias

A traditional garden favourite. Trailing Begonias will give endless months of bright colour and look especially eye-catching in hanging baskets. Easy to grow and long-flowering bloomers.

Million Bells

Fill your summer garden with the cascading blooms of beautiful Million Bells. With a rainbow of colours to choose from, add a dose of vibrancy to the summer garden with these prolific-flowering plants.

April in the Garden

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

–  William Shakespeare 

April is a magical month in the garden; Tulips are showing their cheery faces in a rainbow of colours, the weather gets warmer and it’s the peak month for planting all your summer-flowering favourites.

To keep yourself busy in the garden this month, here’s a list of our essential gardening jobs to do this April.

Add Instant Colour

Enjoy instant colour in the spring garden by planting Primulas and Polyanthus. These pretty plants are perfect for brightening up pots and the front of border during the spring months.

Keep on top of Deadheading

With early spring flowers beginning to fade, keep on top of deadheading garden Daffodils, Crocus and Pansy flowers; this will help the plants conserve their energy for next year’s blooms.

Water as the Weather Warms Up

When it comes to watering, there are no hard or fast rules. It’s a judgement call that depends on the type of plant, the soil and the weather. Ideally, it is best to increase watering during the plant’s growth, and water in the morning to avoid evaporation loss during the day.

Mulch Shrubs and Trees

Mulch Rose and shrub beds with a 3 inch layer of organic matter. This will help retain moisture during dry spells, reduce weed build-up and over time improve soil structure. Take extra care around Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias, as their flowering will be impaired if they are allowed to dry out during their growth in the Spring.

Plant out Dahlia Tubers

Prep for beautiful summer blooms by starting off your Dahlia tubers in the Spring. From early April, start your dahlias off in pots. If you are using tubers that have been stored over winter, give them a thorough inspection and cut off any diseased or soggy pieces with a clean knife. Pot them up, keep them well watered, and after all risk of frost has passed, plant them out in the garden.

HAVE FUN GARDENING THIS APRIL!

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Garden

Starting a garden is one of the most rewarding things one can do and anyone do it. From creating a cut flower garden, growing your own sustainable veg patch or planting an amazing border display, getting your hands dirty in the garden has so many benefits, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are our 7 easy steps to guide you through the process of starting your own garden!

1. Make a Plan

First things first, what do you want to grow? A vegetable garden? An herb garden? A flower garden? All of the above? All are great choices but have different maintenance requirements. I’d recommend for all beginners to start small until you know what you’re getting into.

2. Pick the Perfect Spot

Your garden location, soil type, amount of sun exposure and access to water will play a big part in what plants you’ll be able to grow. Most plants, vegetables and fruit thrive in sunny spots but if you garden is shaded for most of the day, there are still plenty of plants (Hostas, Heucheras, Grasses) that can thrive in the shade. Go outside and study your outdoor space, learn about your soil type, and then research which plants would be the best fit.

3. Start the Ground Work

Get rid of the top layer covering the area you plan to plant. If you want quick results (e.g., it’s already spring and you want veggies this summer), cut it out. With a spade, cut the ground into sections to make it easier to remove, then put it on your compost pile to decompose. Now, you have your planting area ready to go!

4. Choose Your Plants

Choose your shopping style. Some gardeners like studying plant catalogues to create their shopping list, others head to the garden centre to select their plants, or you can simply shop online. The key planting seasons are Spring and Autumn, so choose your plants according to their planting times. Summer-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Spring (Dahlias, Begonias, Roses) and Spring-flowering bulbs/plants should be planted in the Autumn (Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus).

5. Hydration is Key

Close care and attention is essential for young plants. Once plants establish a strong root system in the ground (usually a few weeks after planting), they tend to be less needy. After that, how often you need to water depends on your soil, humidity, and rainfall; although once a week is a good place to start.

6. Mulch for Protection

Mulching is life-saving for gardeners. Mulching your plants helps them retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Cover the soil with a couple of inches of mulch after planting and you won’t have to water as often. Also, by preventing sunlight from hitting the soil, you’ll prevent weeds from forming in your soil.

  • For annuals: Choose a mulch that decomposes in a few months.
  • For perennials: Use a longer-lasting mulch such as bark chips.

7. Care, Grow and Enjoy!

Now that all the planting is done, now is the time to care for your garden and watch it grow.

Don’t forget to keep up with common garden jobs such as:

  • Watering plants regularly. 
  • Pull out any weeds.
  • Prune dead blooms, or leggy growth on plants/shrubs.
  • Remove garden pests (e.g. Aphids) by picking them off the plant, hosing them off with water, or spraying on an insecticidal soap.
  • Support tall plants (e.g., tomatoes) with a trellis, stake or pergola.