Best Plants for Gravel Gardens

A gravel garden is a great option for a low maintenance garden. It also lends itself to Mediterranean-style drought-tolerant planting so plants like Lavender and Euphorbia are ideal and provide plenty of nectar and pollen for visiting insects.

Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden

One great example is the Beth Chatto Gravel Garden. What was once an old car park is now a famous garden, due to the fact that is has never been watered! Despite being situated in one of the driest parts of the country and with poor, free-draining soil, it has become renowned for its spectacular display of drought-tolerant plants.

Here are our top plant picks for gravel gardens…

Euphorbia

Euphorbia Bonfire

A popular spring perennial. The foliage turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again to a bright fiery red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large vivid yellow flowers. Excellent for edging in rock gardens or in mixed containers.

Click here to view online.

Euphorbia polychroma

Long lived and incredibly showy, ‘Polychroma’ produces bright yellow flowers against a backdrop of contrasting dark green foliage. This award-winning shrub’s green leafy foliage turns to a red, purple or orange in the autumn providing a long, seasonal interest.

Click here to view online.

Nepeta

Nepeta Faasenii

With slender spikes of lavender-blue summer flowers and aromatic, sage-green leaves, this dwarf catmint releases an intoxicating aroma when trodden underfoot. Ideal for attracting wildlife and creating a low growing border when planted in rows.

Agapanthus

Agapanthus Midnight Cascade

A bold, hardy herbaceous plant. Known as the African lily, this unique, drought tolerant plant produces beautiful pendulous flowers in shades of rich purple throughout summer. An excellent addition to Mediterranean beds and borders. Can also be featured in containers.

Agapanthus Melbourne

A stunning bi-colour addition with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Their vibrant, colourful flowers and shiny green leaves can really spruce up a deck by planting in borders and improve the look of fence lines or garden beds as edging.

Lavender

Lavender Hidcote

A reliable and popular English Lavender. Their natural bushy habit makes it superb for mass planting within a border or flower bed. Producing an array of sweetly-scented lilac-blue flowers in summer, coupled with evergreen silvery-grey foliage that adds interest throughout the year.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

A beautiful compact and extremely fragrant variety. Producing rosy-purple flowers during the summer months, they can be planted en-masse to produce ground cover/low screening or in lines to create a great border effect. Excellent for rock gardens and herb gardens.

Gaura

Gaura Rosy Jane

A wonderful, free-flowering perennial that will produce bi-coloured blooms in a very pretty-pink and white throughout the summer. It makes the ideal border or pot plant, being clump forming with a neat habit. It is nectar and pollen rich and ideal for attracting bees to the garden.

Gaura Whirling Butterflies

Delicate and incredibly pretty, but tough none the less. This amazing perennial produces beautiful white star-shaped flowers (which resemble the wings of a butterfly) that stand against green foliage. Drought and heat tolerant, this Gaura is perfect for sunny borders and rock gardens.

Do you have any gardening questions or need any planting and care tips/advice? We have created a new Facebook group where you can write your burning plant queries and we’ll help solve them.

Click here to join and check it out!

 

 

RHS Award-Winning Blue Spring Bulbs

Blue can be a difficult colour to find naturally in a flower and is traditionally seen as an emblem of peace and calm. From baby soft blues to dark navy blooms, our selection of award-winning spring-flowering bulbs will surely bring some serenity to your garden.

Each of these bulbs have received an award of Garden Merit by the RHS for their quality, reliability and outstanding performance, so you can guarantee that these spring blooms are the best choices for your spring displays.

Here are our 7 beautiful award-winning blues…

1. Scilla siberica

One of the earliest blooms of spring. Boasting with an intense, true blue colour, these nodding bell-shaped blooms will add a touch of woodland magic to the spring garden. A great naturalizing bulbs for creating a sea of blue in your beds and borders.

 

Plant Scilla Siberica with…

Winter Heather

Loved for their outstanding upright and bushy habit, this mixture of Heather adds a touch of glistening colour to the winter/spring garden.

 

Narcissi ‘February Gold’

Always the first to blooms, this beautiful award-winning Narcissi’s vivid yellow nodding flowers will add a beautiful contrast of colour when planted with Scilla. A great naturalizer too.

 

2. Muscari Latifolium

An increasingly popular, bicolour species. This unique variety produces beautiful, scented flower spikes that transform from a light green, to blue and then open to an unusual plum purple. These bold blue flowers are perfect all by itself or can be used to create a lovely colour combo.

Plant Muscari latifolium with…

Tulip Fashion

Vibrant compact Tulips. These Kaufmanniana beauties bloom an empire rose with purple veins, a perfect companion to blue Muscari for dreamy, romantic spring bedding.

 

 Anemone Nemorosa ‘Royal Blue’

An easy-to-grow naturalizing Anemone. These vivid royal blue flowers will add a beautiful variety of shape and texture to a spring woodland-style when planted alongside Muscari.

 

3. Hyacinth Delft Blue

This extremely fragrant, award-winning Hyacinth has the most beautiful soft, porcelain blue flowers that are guaranteed to create a show-stopping display in spring. These easy-to-grow flowers will make a welcome addition to beds, borders or for the best visual impact, plant in groups with other spring bulbs.

Plant Hyacinth Delft Blue with…

Tulip Apricot Beauty

This award-winning Tulip is an early bloomer with soft apricot flowers. A perfect, sweetly fragrant companion for planting alongside the beautiful scent of Hyacinths.

 

Euphorbia polychroma

Incredibly showy, Euphorbia polychroma is a mounding perennial that bears attractive golden yellow flowers in the spring time. A lovely contrasting companion for the beautiful blue blooms of ‘Delft Blue’.

 

4. Muscari azureum

This lovely compact Muscari will brighten up the spring garden with their light powder puff blue flowers. This long-flowering early spring award winner looks spectacular when planted en masse to create a beautiful drift of colour, for an unforgettable visual impact.

Plant Muscari azureum with…

Tulip Orange Angelique

Make a statement in your garden by pairing the pale blooms of ‘Azureum’ with the soft peachy shades of this beautiful double-flowering Tulip. They also produce a light fragrance and will pair well with Muscari’s fragrant flowers.

 

Hyacinth Pink Pearl

Create a riot of colour with these delightfully bold pink Hyacinths. These highly scented blooms paired against scented Tulips and Muscari will create a heavenly carpet of sweet fragrant spring flowers in the border.

 

5. Puschkinia Libanotica (Russian Snowdrops)

Release an impressive display with this lovely, naturalizing bulb. These award-winning spring favourites will make a striking impact with their blue-striped white fragrant blooms. Ideal for planting in groups for years of spectacular blue flowers.

Plant Puschkinia Libanotica with…

Narcissi Surfside

Create a subtle and elegant display by pairing Russian Snowdrops against the pale yellow and snow white blooms of Narcissi Surfside. These beautiful pastel flowers will brighten up any spring garden.

 

Crocus ‘Snow Bunting’

This award-winning Crocus blooms is well-loved for its sweet scent and clump-forming nature. They bloom with crisp white petals that surround a fiery orange throat. A beautiful fragrant companion for Snowdrops in the early spring.

 

6. Chionodoxa Luciliae

These breath-taking blue flowers are a charming addition to the early spring garden. Their star-shaped blooms create a stunning woodland display when left to naturalize and it’s a wonderful way to add a blue sea of colour to rock gardens or the front of the border.

Plant Chionodoxa Luciliae with…

Cyclamen Coum

Bursting with beautiful charm, these low-growing pink Cyclamen are the perfect companions for planting with Chionodoxa to create a superb woodland-style carpet of colour in early spring.

 

Galanthus Woronowii (Broad Leaf Snowdrop)

A true staple of spring. For planting as a backdrop against low-growing Cylamen and Choinodoxa, the snowy white giant blooms of these snowdrops will make a beautiful fragrant accent plant to a spring woodland display.

 

7. Muscari Armeniacum

These electric blue flowers are guaranteed to liven up any  garden this spring season. As well as their beautiful fragrance, these award-winning blooms are easy to grow, naturalizing and create an amazing colourful impact when planted in drifts around shrubs or under trees.

Plant Muscari Armeniacum with…

Narcissi Jack Snipe

Hardy and striking. The frilled golden-yellow cups are surrounded by delicate pure white petals that deepen to a creamy shade at the base. This free-flowering award winner will create a striking, contrasting colour combination that will dazzle in the spring.

 

Tulip Ballade

This incredibly beautiful award-winner is a spectacular Tulip. Showcasing violet-mauve and white blooms, this unusual colour combination will stand out in borders or containers. An elegant variety for naturalizing in the late-spring garden.

How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

With their heady, sweet perfume and assorted rainbow of colours, Hyacinths are an extremely popular choice for brightening up the spring garden. For outdoor planting, we have a marvelous range of Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths. To help you decide which options are the best fit for your spring garden displays, we have created this guide with the benefits and planting recommendations for both Bedding and Top-Size Hyacinths.

Hyacinth Benefits:

  • Easy to Grow
  • Strong, sweet fragrance
  • Hardy & Perennial
  • EXCELLENT CUT FLOWERS

Bedding Hyacinths 14/15cm

Hyacinth Fragrant Sea Mixed 14/15cm

Our bedding Hyacinths are a magnificent compact option for the spring garden. They are ideal for planting in groups in flowers beds and borders for a cluster of bold and beautiful colour. Growing to a mature height of approx. 25cm, their shorter growing habit is that they are less likely to become battered by the wind, and the planting options are endless. Beds, borders, containers or window boxes, the wonderful fragrance and vibrant colours of our Bedding Hyacinths are guaranteed to brighten up your spring garden.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulbs pointed end up at approx. 10cm deep and 10-12 cm apart.
  • Plant in well-drained soil (mix in some compost for peak performance).
  • Ideal for spring borders and containers.
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.
  • Protect from frosts in Winter.
  • Leave undisturbed after flowering for years of spring colour.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

 Hyacinth Autumn Colours Mixed

Add the beautiful warm tones of autumn to your garden with this beautiful mixture of orange, yellow and purple Hyacinth blooms. These fantastic hardy spring flowers are great for filling your spring beds and borders with stylish colour and sweet fragrance.

 

Hyacinth Double Mixed

The same beautiful colours and fragrance as a normal Hyacinth but double the blooms! The fluffy whorls of colourful double-flowers are the perfect eye-catching Hyacinth plants for creating sweet-smelling, vibrant summer bedding.

 

Top-Size Hyacinths 17/18cm

Hyacinth Jan Bos 17/18cm

Is there anything better than being greeted at your front door by beautiful tall, sweet-smelling pots of Hyacinths? Top-Size Hyacinths are supplied as giant 17/18cm bulbs. Their enormous flower heads are perfect for planting outdoors in patio pots and containers to create a dramatic showcase of colour. They are ideal spring garden flowers as they produce amazing large blooms that are not too heavy to need support.

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

  • Plant bulb with the pointed end facing upwards.
  • Plant at least 10cm deep and approx. 10-12cm apart.
  • For garden planting (beds, borders), plant in well-drained soil.
  • For container planting, use a soil-based compost (e.g. John Innes No.2).
  • Once planted, cover with soil and firm down lightly.

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

With deep, rich purple flowers, Hyacinth ‘Miss Saigon’ bring a cheerful sight to the spring garden. This RHS award-winning Hyacinth produces dense floral spikes with starry, violet florets. Plant near a doorway, path or on the patio, where you can enjoy its beautiful perfume daily.

 

Hyacinth Delft Blue

The extremely fragrant, award-winning ‘Delft Blue’ features soft blue, densely spiked florets that will add some stunning colour to the spring garden. For best visual impact, plant in groups in patio pots, window boxes, or even in the garden border.

 

Continue reading How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

Complete Guide: How to Plant Petunias

Petunias are a superb way of introducing bursts of fun colour into your garden beds, containers and yes, even hanging baskets. The Petunia can do it all. There is a Petunia for every type of summer display and they are available in every colour and colour combination imaginable. These prolific flowering plants can thrive in a range of soil PH levels and will do well in sunny locations as well as partially shaded ones.

Originating from the South Americas, the Petunia is linked to colourful folklore tales. The ancient Mayan and Inca people held the belief that the Petunia’s fragrance had powers and would ward off evil underworld monsters and spirits. According to the folklore, Petunias will thrive where there is positive energy and will not grow in places where there is negativity.

Why choose Petunias

  • They establish themselves without difficulty
  • They flower prolifically from June through to October
  • They thrive and look spectacular in patio pots, containers, hanging baskets and in borders
  • Our huge range offers many colour, size and form options as well as veined and bi-coloured flower options
  • They are easy to care for and will thrive in full sun or partially shaded locations

Border and Patio Petunia

Petunias make excellent patio, bedding and border plants, producing wonderfully bright flowers with varieties that also have markings in contrasting colours. They flower prolifically during the summer months with colourful blooms against a background of distinctive foliage.
With our complete Petunia collection you can enjoy the impressive Petunia Star with their defined white star overlays, the classic Petunia Select with their trumpet shaped blooms, the ruffled double blooms of Petunia Duo and the delicate markings tracing each petal of the Petunia Veined. These Petunias come in a harmonising selection of luscious raspberry, blue, purple, rose, red, cream, white and lavender tones. How about mixing them all together in a bedding tray, for a summer frenzy of colour and variety? Alternatively, you could pot each variety separately and admire on the patio. Whatever you decide to do with your Petunias – you can be sure you won’t be short of flowers this summer with our spectacular collection.

Creating a fabulous Hanging Basket display

Petunia are the perfect hanging basket plant, and will create an avalanche of fabulous colour. They also work well in baskets or containers where the blooms can spill and trail over.

Our Petunia Double Tumbelina Mixture is a fantastic easy and affordable way to fill your baskets. The Double large ruffled blooms of the Petunia Tumbleina have distinctive veining and colours. These Mixed collections are a great value way of filling your summer baskets with the excellent Tumbelina series. Plant them in hanging baskets, window boxes and patio containers, where they will produce masses of colour all summer long. They will flower from late May to the first frosts and require only occasional dead-heading to prolong displays.

Popular Petunias

There are so many varieties of Petunias to choose from that we couldn’t possibly do them all justice, so here is just a small selection of our favourite and most popular Petunia varieties.

If you like veined Petunias and double flowering plants then have a look at the Petunia Tumbelina range. A double flowering series which has stunning veined flowers such as Petunia Double Tumbelina Clara (sherbet pink), Priscilla (pale purple) and Margarita (white with purple veins). Ideal for gardeners who want something classical yet a little bit different this year.

Petunia Star is one the most popular bi-colour Petunias. With the option of pink, red or rich purple petals that have a defined white star overlay, Petunia Star is a natural choice for gardeners aiming to create a fun and modern look in their summer garden.

If you’re a fan of darker coloured foliage, then have a look at one of our favourites, Petunia Designer Cappuccino. The creamy-white flowers have delicate coffee coloured veins and a rich dark foliage. You can even opt for the full collection of veined Petunia for a complementing display.

Petunia Titan Giant are perfect if you like larger flowerheads. Producing some of the largest possible single blooms, we adore their bold and bright colours.

A new and unusual award-winning variety, Petunia Night Sky is the first speckled flowering Petunia. They are deep purple and have pure white, star-like speckles across the petals hence its name.

 How to plant Petunias:

  1. Petunias can be planted outside from early May, once all danger of frost has passed. We recommend planting three or four plugs in a 30cm diameter basket or pot for a full display come June. Plant in a hole deep enough to accommodate the plug.
  2. Use freshly prepared soil or a balance potting compost when planting. Place in a sunny or partially shaded location.
  3. To start with, water every three to five days, take care not to get the foliage wet when watering as this can damage the plant and promote disease. It is best to water carefully from the base of the plant, close to the soil.
  4. Ensure drainage is good to avoid waterlogging and rotting the roots, check the wetness of the soil beforehand so that you do not overwater them.
  5. Feed them with a slow release liquid fertiliser every 7 to 10 days throughout the growing season. Deadhead as needed to prolong flowering and encourage new growth.

Shop Petunias Now