Are you in search of long-flowering, easy to grow flowers to add a burst of energy to your summer gardens? With Spring just a few weeks away, it’s time to get your summer bulb lists together in time for the spring planting season. With just a little planning, you can assemble a collection of summer flowers to bring joy and colour to your beds and borders.
To help you in your summer bulb quest, we’ve done all the hard work for you and put together a useful list of summer bulb companions to inspire you and your gardens:
Crocosmia and Agapanthus
A beautifully bold pairing. These glowing perennials combine vibrant shades and shapes of flowerheads to create a spectacular effect in borders. As an added bonus, most of these two wonderful varieties are drought tolerant too!
A colourful and easy to grow pairing. These wildlife-loving partners are perfect for livening up any garden with bees and butterflies in the peak of summer. These low maintenance flowers are perfect for beds and borders.
A fantastic plant combination for a long lasting display. These plants grow harmoniously together in soft pink and purple shades to add a fresh colour palette to borders and containers. Most of these perennials are top performers and some are award winners too!
There are always things to do in the garden in December. These simple gardening tasks will offer some calm and relief amid the busyness of the festive season. So, here are our top jobs to get done in the garden this month.
Don’t smash the ice on a pond with a spade as the shock waves could kill fish or other wildlife. Create a breathing hole by putting a rubber ball in the water before it freezes, removing it once ice forms.
Incredibly charming and beautiful, Double Daffodils are more than your average daffodil. Their peony-like ruffled blooms are often fragrant and appear packed with rows of petals and thrills in an assortment of delicate colours, from peachy pinks to white and yellows. These exceptional flowers are perfect for adding a burst of romance to your beds and borders, and even for naturalising under shrubs, trees or the lawn.
Undoubtedly one of our finest varieties. This award-winning variety produces sweetly scented double flowers in mid-late spring. With warm yellow centres surrounded by creamy-white petals, these pretty blooms will delight in the garden.
This gorgeous double Daffodil is one of the prettiest in the Narcissi family. Radiate sunshine in the spring garden with these creamy yellow blooms. These sweet scented flowers are great for the border, or why not enjoy them potted up in containers.
This incredibly romantic Daffodil produces pretty creamy-white petals surrounding ruffled, warm apricot-pink segments. Also, their wonderful scent will attract pollinators to the mid-late spring garden.
Create gleaming spring borders with our Narcissi Calgary. These stunning double blooms shine in the garden with their ruffled and wavy white flowers. Not only will they brighten up borders, but they also look great in pots or as cut flowers.
Two of our most popular, fragrant varieties together. Our mid-late spring flowering duo Cheerfulness (white) and Yellow Cheerfulness (yellow) are the perfect partners for bringing vibrant colour and sweet scents to the garden.
Delight your senses with this highly fragrant Narcissi collection. Flowering later than most varieties (April-May), this Actaea and The Bride pairing will liven up your spring borders right up until the end of the season.
With their heady, sweet perfume and an assorted rainbow of colours, Hyacinths are an extremely popular choice for brightening up the spring garden. For outdoor planting, we have a marvellous range of Bedding and Top-SizeHyacinths. 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.
Bedding Hyacinths 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 time: Autumn (September to December)
Position: Full/Partial Sun
Flowering time: March-April
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
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 time: Autumn (September to December)
Position: Full/Partial Sun
Flowering time: March-April
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.
Do you have a shaded area in your garden where it seems like nothing will grow there? Full shade areas can look dreary but don’t worry, there are plants to suit every garden, and all you need is a little creativity. From ground cover to perennial flowers and grasses, check out our favourite shade-loving plants to add to any shaded spot in the garden.
Is my garden full shade or partial shade?
To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light.
Partial Shade: A garden with half sun and half shade. There is some direct sun but for less than half the hours of daylight.
Full Shade: Under trees, shrubs, and buildings. Less than 2 hours of direct sun a day.
Looking for a beautiful perennial to brighten up a shaded spot? Acanthus mollis Whitewater produces tall spikes of white flowers against their backdrop of dark green variegated foliage; a perfect addition to borders or large patio containers.
This fascinating clump-forming perennial produces mint scented flowers in a deep purple shade. Monarda Blaustrumpfmakes the perfect addition for flower beds and borders and thrive in semi or full shade where other perennials may struggle.
GeraniumVersicolor is ideal for borders or patio pots to add striking and unusual blooms to your garden with their vivid pink veined white flowers. These beautiful shade-loving plants are great for brightening up a dark space.
Not all Euphorbias do well in shade but Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is an exception. This rapid growing ground cover plant produces amazing dark purple foliage with lime-green flowers in Spring. Ideal for borders, patio pots or containers.
This reliable evergreen shrub is perfect for bringing some colour to shady areas. Vinca major Variegata produces pretty violet-blue flowers from late spring in to summer; a perfect plant for growing anywhere in the garden, even underneath trees.
Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern with luscious upright green foliage. This hardy evergreen needs little attention in the garden, provides colour all year round and can even be grown in woodland/under trees or shady borders.
With a mass of golden yellow leaves and striking red stems, this exotic Athyrium Vidalii is guaranteed to provide a dash of unique colouring to even the shadiest parts of the garden. Beautiful shade-loving plants for adding texture to the garden all year round.
An RHS award-winning evergreen. This beautiful foliage plant will bring a touch of exotic colour to your garden with their vivid copper-bronze tinted fronds. Perfect for shaded borders or containers.
Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’s’ extraordinarily eye-catching green leaves with bright orange tips change into a dark orange colour with brown flowers in the summer time. This stunning evergreen perennial grass is perfect for containers or a shady border.
With stunning needle-like leaves, Festuca Golden Toupee produces grey-green leaves that turn a bright yellow in the spring. Great for adding stunning vibrant hues to shaded spots. This versatile grass is ideal for containers, in gravel, in the border or alongside other grasses.
Brighten up any shady spot with Anemones. These joyful, daisy-like blooms flower in beautiful shades of blue, pink and white. Perfect for a rockery or spring-flowering containers.
With pointed green leaves and slender, soft yellow bells that drop from its branched stems, Uvularia grandiflora makes a great addition to pots, containers and this variety even makes excellent cut flowers. This hardy perennial excels in partial or full shade.
A smooth cocktail of colours, purple buds opening to apricot, with rose shadings. Geum Mai Tai have fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems holding the semi double flowers. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September and are suitable for partial shaded borders in the garden.
American Ivy brings a douse of colour to the garden with their reddish-bronze foliage. A vigorous shade-loving climber that can add beauty to any wall, trellis or building.
Are you planning your summer garden display and looking for advice on how to plant Cannas? In this handy blog guide, we will share our best knowledge and advice on how to plant Cannas in all areas of gardening from planting, arrangement to aftercare to make your gardening as simple and as easy as possible.
Cannas Mixed (Image Above)
Cannas are a fantastic addition to any summer garden. They are an excellent perennial that will add plenty of exotic style and colour to your garden displays. Their attractive dark leaf foliage with bright coloured showy flowers. They come in a range of vibrant colours from orange, red, pink and yellow which make great summer bedding as well as a part of your summer borders or patio display.
Cannas can be planted in April/May at a depth of between 7 and 10cm. They are often best started in pots and then transplanted in borders or beds towards the end of May. The best placement for them is to plant them in a sunny position, preferably out of the wind. Be sure to water during warm weather.
After your cannas settle in to the ground, roots and sprouts will form within a few weeks, or you can start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms as cannas need heat to keep them growing.
In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates the best way to plant Canna corms into pots to achieve an amazing display of colour in the summer.
After planting, water your Cannas generously to settle the soil around the rhizomes. After blooming has finished for the season, leave the foliage in place, do not cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s blooms. Remove leaves when they begin to turn. Your Cannas will rest for a few months before beginning their next cycle of growth in the Spring.
Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.
Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.
Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.
In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.
After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.
Fritillaria are a stunning accompaniment to any garden display with their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers that are particularly effective when grown in groups, as well as being versatile enough to add charm to rockeries, borders, flowers beds or even on the patio in pots. Our extensive range of Fritillaria includes smaller varieties such as Fritillaria Meleagris, which produce a mixture of white and purple flowers, and taller varieties such as Fritillaria Imperialis and many bi-colour favourites such as Fritillaria Uva-VulpisandMichailovski.
Our beautiful Fritillaria bulbs flower between April and May in the spring, and our bulb sizes vary between 5cm up to 24cm, with certain varieties growing up to 120cm. They can be planted at 8-10cm deep and 10-15cm apart in well drained/light and moist soil. They can be planted in areas with full sun access or preferably with partial shade, and can be left to naturalise in grass, borders or even cold greenhouses. Fritillaria are very hardy and are an excellent choice for border displays, rockeries or for woodland areas, where their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers are likely to add that little something different to your garden.
In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff shows you how to plant Giant Fritillaria with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs!
When established in the right environment you can easily begin to see fritillaria plants multiply. In good growing conditions crown imperials will readily form large clumps. If a well-established colony begins to flower poorly then lifting in early autumn when dormant, thoroughly improving the soil and replanting, or moving to a new site may be enough to restore satisfactory flowering. The bulbs may take a year or two to re-establish.
There are few things so lovely as enjoying a colourful garden in full bloom during the warmer summer weather. That’s especially true when said garden is the product of your own hard work. Summer is a time to reap the rewards of your labour and finally just sit back, relax and enjoy your surroundings.
If you’re looking for a reliable plant that can really bring that ‘wow factor’ to your summer display, Geraniums are the perfect choice and one of our most popular plants for summer baskets and bedding.
That popularity stems from the wonderful range of colours available at relatively low costs, compared to more expensive pot grown varieties. These summer bedding Geranium (Pelargoniums) are tender young plants, raised from either seeds or cuttings, making them just fantastic value for money.
Versatile Summer Plants
The benefit of incorporating Geraniums into the summer garden is their versatility. Our range can offer solutions for everything from pots and window boxes, to borders or hanging baskets.
We have had many customers send us photos over the years, where they have been growing summer bedding plants in some unique ways such as in wheelbarrows, slippers, wellington boots, old teapots, etc. Get thinking of some other great places and make a statement that few others will be able to boast of and let us know in the comments!
How are Summer Bedding Geraniums supplied?
Pelargoniums, or more commonly known as tender Geranium plants, are not to be confused with the hardy perennial types who share the same name.
Our great range of Geraniums (Pelargoniums) are supplied in one of four ways as follows
Garden Ready Plants – Our new premium range of bedding can be planted straight into their final location in your garden. These large, easy-to-grow plants come in trays of 30 at a height of up to 15cm, with each plug measuring 5cm in width. They will establish fast when planted straight into their final location, and are the best choice for last minute summer colour or novice gardeners.
Maxi plug plants – Our award-winning Maxi plus plants are supplied in trays of 33 or 66. They produce unbeatable value, with a volume per tray of up to 50% more than competitors. They can be potted up for a number of weeks to enable the roots to become even stronger before planting out into their final location.
Rapid plug plants – Trays of 120 young seed raised plants which are fantastic value for money. They are smaller than Maxi plugs but can be potted up in advance of planting outdoors in their final location. All delivered from March, through early May.
Jumbo plug plants – Supplied as large 3cm or 4cm diameter plugs which are ready for planting straight into the border or patio pots. Available in packs of six per variety or in some great money saving collections. Delivery is made from April, through early May.
How to plant Summer Bedding Geranium plants
Your Geranium (Pelargoniums) should be unpacked and allowed to breathe upon arrival. If the weather is dry, give the plugs a little water on arrival and they will be ready to pot up or plant out within 48 hours.
Once ready for potting up we recommend that you use a well-balanced compost mixture, such as John Innes Number 2. It is best to avoid a mixture that is too peaty as this often means the soil can become crusty/dry and thus will repel water.
Make sure the soil is well watered and make a hole deep enough to firmly hold the root ball of the Geranium. Make sure during the late spring and early summer that the plants are kept watered (but take care not to over-water) and if growing in pots, make sure that the pots allow for good drainage. It often can help to raise the pots off ground level to maximise drainage.
Plant in areas with as much light as possible to assist with healthy flower development. Once buds begin to appear you can consider applying a liquid feed once a week, such as a high potash feed. This should help to encourage more colourful flowers.
It is beneficial during the summer months to deadhead the plants to help encourage and improve growth. Remove dead flowers heads to allow for new growth to push through and to keep looking tidy and healthy
Hardy Geraniums are separate from their tender, bedding counterparts. These hardy perennial plants are great as ground cover plants and will flower throughout the summer with bright colours framed by their dark green foliage. In the wild these Geraniums are often found in sand dunes and on rocky slopes so unsurprisingly they dislike overly moist soils and will do better in any well drained moderately fertile soil.
These hardy plants are supplied slightly different, such as first grade loose rooted or larger potted plants, so be sure to check out individual listings for the full information or if in doubt get in touch with us for more advice.
Geranium Ballerina, often called Cranesbill Ballerina, is a fabulous herbaceous perennial that is perfect for ground cover, low border or patio containers. It produces masses of dark green foliage which contrast well with the lovely veined pink flowers. The blooms are great for attracting bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.