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: Indoor Hyacinths

Why not fill your home this winter with the sweet smell of beautiful Hyacinth flowers? As one of the most popular indoor flowering bulbs on the market, these beautiful star-shaped blooms are well-loved by gardeners for adding a burst of colour and fragrance to the home, even as early as Christmas. Through this guide, we will provide an easy step-by-step instructions (including video tutorial) on how to grow these specially prepared indoor-flowering Hyacinths.

What are Prepared Hyacinths?

16/17cm Hyacinth Bulbs

Our Prepared Hyacinths are treated in a special way through a cooling process to trick them to believe that winter has been and gone and it is time to grow. Through this process, this makes these Hyacinths perfect for early forcing and indoor flowering. They can add beautiful blooms to the home as early as late November/Early December.

Planting Guide

Planting time: September-October

Bulb Size: 16/17cm

Flowering time: Late November to March

Instructions
  • Add crocks to the bottom of a pot or container.
  • Plant in fibre.
  • Plant the bulbs (pointed end up) at approx. 10cm deep.
  • Add more fibre, up to the neck of the bulbs.
  • Press the soil down firmly.
  • Place your pot in a cool, dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks.
  • Water when required, do not allow them to dry out.
  • Once shoots have established, bring the pot into warm daylight.

Click here to view our video tutorial on Indoor Hyacinth planting.

Our favourites:

Prepared Hyacinth Delft Blue

Our Prepared ‘Delft Blue’ will fill your home with beautiful blooms and an intoxicating fragrance. Showcasing tightly packed, porcelain blue, star-shaped blooms, these sweetly-scented floral spikes bring joy on any dull winter day.

 

Prepared Hyacinth Aiolos

The glistening, pure white blooms of Hyacinth ‘Aiolos’ will brighten the home this winter. With densely packed clusters of highly fragrant flowers, this variety is perfect for creating an elegant and scented table centre for special occasions, or can be used to create a beautiful cut flower bouquet.

 

Hyacinth Prepared Collection

Bring an abundance of fragrant and colourful blooms into the home this winter with this fantastic collection of Hyacinths.  This vibrant selection includes five each of Delft Blue, Aiolos (white), City of Haarlem (yellow), Woodstock (purple), Jan Bos (red), and Fondant (pink).

Plant of the Month: Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Azaleas and Rhododendrons are the jewels of the late spring garden. Rhododendrons and evergreen azaleas provide interest all year round, while deciduous azaleas produce excellent autumn leaf colours. There are literally thousands of species and varieties and a huge range of flower colours. Their exquisite blooms bring notes of exotic colour to pots and containers, beds and borders and lightly shaded areas under trees.  Some are compact enough for the smallest gardens, others require the space of a woodland where they can reach massive proportions.

What’s the difference between Azaleas and Rhododendrons?

Our Top Picks

Azalea Homebush

• RHS Garden Merit Award winner

• Huge pompom-like trusses of double pink star-shaped flowers

• Easy to grow, highly fragrant and pollinator friendly

• Yellow-green deciduous foliage

• Perfect for borders, flowering hedges and containers

Rhododendron Sappho

• Purple buds open to wavy-edged white flowers with deep purple markings

• 9 flower trusses

• Easy to grow and evergreen

• Dark green, glossy ovate leaves

• Perfect for borders, hedging, screening and containers

Azalea Anneke

• Highly fragrant, large, lemon yellow flowers with gold spotting and yellow stamens

• 9 flower trusses with each flower spanning 8-10 in diameter

• Easy to grow

• Perfect for pots, containers and the border

Rhododendron Norfolk Candy

• Large, apricot-orange flushed maroon flowers

• Broad glossy forest green foliage

• Low maintenance and pollinator-friendly

• Perfect for borders or containers

Azalea japonica Pink Spider

• Large pink flowers with a white edge

 Dark, narrow foliage

• Compact, bushy shrub

• Hardy and evergreen

• Perfect for growing in the border, pots on the patio or balcony

Rhododendron Collection

• Includes one each of Sappho, Nova Zembla, Norfolk Candy and Marcel Menard

• Perfect for spring borders, pots or containers

Azalea Dwarf diamond japanese collection

 • Includes one each of Lilac, Red, Pink, White and Orange.

• Compact, small leaf Japanese Azaleas

• Masses of brightly coloured blooms

• Small, dark green foliage

• Perfect for patio pots or borders.

Planting

Planting time: October – March/April 📆

Location: Full sun/Partial shade 🏡

Flowering Time: April – July 🌸

Rhododendrons and Azaleas prefer well drained and light/acidic soil. Before planting, dig-in plenty of neutral or acidic organic matter (composted tree bark, leafmould, decomposing pine or spruce needles), and mix in well with the soil. Do not plant too deeply; all rhododendrons are surface-rooting and the roots should be just covered. Apply at least an 8cm (3 inch) mulch of chipped conifer bark or another acidic material. The mulch should be well-aerated, not firmed down.

Video Tutorial

Aftercare

Here are some handy aftercare tips to get the best performance out of your Rhododendron and Azaleas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR NEW RHS AWARD WINNING RANGE

8 Flowers for Mother’s Day

Mother’s day is this weekend and giving flowers has long been a tradition on this holiday.  Giving flowers is a universal gesture for all cultures, societies and ages. They enrich our lives with their variety of colours, shapes and scents. 

Origin

Your seemingly simple gesture of sending mum floral wishes on the second Sunday in May has a rich history behind it!

In 17th century England, the fourth Sunday of Lent was celebrated as Mothering Sunday, where people attended a prayer service in honour of the Virgin Mary, followed by giving their own mothers gifts and flowers. The idea caught global attention in American in 1908, when Anna Marie Jarvis, held a church memorial for her peace-activist mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, and distributed white carnations, her mother’s favourite flowers. Over the next few years, Anna campaigned for a day to celebrate mothers. Her efforts bore fruit in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day, flowers are the perfect gift to show your Mum just how much she means to you, but instead of the usual cut flowers, why not give her flowers that she can treasure in the garden for years to come. Here’s a look at some of the symbolism behind certain flowers to help you find the one best suited to gift to the wonderful woman that brought you in to this world.

Roses have been historically linked to mythological and religious related maternal figures across both ancient and modern times. During the time of the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, roses were attributed and considered sacred to the goddess Isis, the mother of Horus the tutelary deity of the Egyptian pantheon. Choosing this flower is never the wrong choice, especially when you find the perfect colour.

Rose miniature Collection –

Within our dwarf Rose Miniature Collection are the varieties Coralin (pink), Pour Toi (white), Lavender Dream, Yellow Doll (yellow) and aptly named Mothers Day (red). This mix of varieties creates the perfect balance between adoring symbolic meaning and visual beauty. Loose rooted plants supplied.

 

 

In Australia, the traditional Mother’s day flower gifted is the Chrysanthemum, not only because the flower has the word “mum” in it but also because they are also associated with friendship and support from one’s family. Their different coloured bloom symbolise different meanings. Pink Chrysanthemums stand for honest love, red Chrysanthemums mean motherly love and gratitude and white Chrysanthemums stand for loyalty and honesty.

ChrYSANTHEMUM MID SPRAY COLLECTION

 

This collection of Chrysanthemums (or Garden Mums), produce masses of beautiful colour in pots or in the border. As an added bonus, they also make excellent cut flowers as they are long-lasting and have glorious rich colour. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.

 

 

Lilies have gathered a multitude of meanings over time, which differ depending on their colour, shape and variety. Amiability, purity, femininity, unity and transience; it represents all of them. So with these cheerful and loving meanings in mind, here is our top pick for adding cheer to your mother’s garden this summer.

Lily Happy Memories

Bring joy this summer to pots with Lily Happy Memories. These bright and beautiful, yellow star-shaped blooms with blushed red edges are a stunning option for adding some extra sunshine to your summer gardens. This dwarf Asiatic variety is perfect for versatile planting, whether it is patio pots, beds or borders. 12/14cm bulbs supplied.

Lily Perfect Joy

What flower could be more perfect for your mothers summer garden than Lily Perfect Joy? This stunning dwarf growing Asiatic Lily produces vibrant pink blooms with white centers that would be ideal for brightening up patio containers, pots or for the front of the border. 14/16 cm bulbs supplied.

As one of the most widely bred flowering shrubs, there are now over 10,000 unique and recognized varieties of Azalea. The Azalea is renowned as being a Chinese symbol for womanhood, and the Azalea flower is also celebrated annually by cultures all over the world for its beauty and association with love. Yellow Azaleas are primarily focused on friendship and more so family relationships, making them a perfect gift for a mother who has a patio or a terrace she’d like to brighten up with a bold bloom.

Azalea Anneke

This highly fragrant Azalea blooming with large, lemon yellow flowers is truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day, where the yellow flowers seem to glow in the sunlight. A perfect present to cheer up a gloomy spot in your mothers garden or on a patio in a container. Supplied in 13cm pots.

Similar to Azaleas, Day Lilies are an Asian emblem for mothers. The Day Lily is famous for its beautiful appearance and symbolic association with motherhood and Mother’s Day. Because they come in a variety of bright colours, including vivid oranges and yellows, you can find the perfect Day Lily best suited for your own mother.

Hemerocallis Mixed (Day lilies)

A fantastic gift to make the perfect addition to any rockery of border in the summer garden. The flowers of Hemerocallis produce spectacular vibrant colour with their trumpet-like blooms. These hardy perennials are the perfect long-lasting present for your mother this holiday. First grade loose roots supplied.

 

The soft blue colour of these beautiful spring flowers have come to represent everlasting love , gratitude and constancy; so why not show your mother some gratitude this holiday by gifting her some beautiful spring flowers for the garden.

Bluebells in the green

The original and much loved English Bluebell is perfect for naturalising underneath trees; a spot where other plants struggle. These stunning spring flowers are seen in gardens, parks and natural woodland during April/May so why not treat your mother with these lovely little flowers this holiday and give the gift of a lovely, country feel to her spring garden.

 

If your mother prefers plants over fresh-cut bouquets, the long lasting Camellia plant is a wonderful option. Camellia plants are native to China, and come in a variety of rich and vivid colours and give off a beautiful, light and delicate fragrance. Camellias are believed to represent longevity and gratitude; making them a perfect way to say thank you to your mum this Mother’s Day.

Camellia Chameleon

This marvelous evergreen shrub presents beautiful soft pinky-white double blooms with dark red markings. A great low maintenance shrub for the border, hedging or even for large patio containers to bring that well-needed pop of colour in the spring garden. Supplied as 20cm grown bush plant in 9cm pots.

 

 

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

Grow Your Own: Blueberries (A Modern ‘Super Food’)

Fruit_BlueberryIt’s inevitable that each New Year we will constantly read and see ways in which we must improve our lifestyle and become healthier all around. In gardening terms this often means going “organic” and what can be more organic than growing your own fruit and vegetables. There are of course many wonderful choices of fruit and vegetables to get you started, and personal choice should always be the best reasoning for choice. Reading through the usual Sunday papers in early January got me thinking about my own personal favourites, and right up there on top of my list has to be the Blueberry, or Vaccinium to give them their proper name.Great tasting fruit to give you a health kick

The deliciously sweet tasting fruit grown from the Blueberry bush is the most appealing part of this summer fruit. The lovely small, round and colourful fruit appears in abundance throughout the summer, into autumn, providing months and months of enjoyment. Almost all Blueberry shrubs are self-fertile, but to enhance production and yield then why not try growing with partners/pairs. By planting with multiple varieties and various harvesting dates, this allows you to extend the season and allow for more wonderful fruit. Once established and properly cared for they will fruit easily year on year. By growing fruit yourself you can allow them to fully ripen on the vine prior to harvesting for a sweeter taste, a luxury that many large scale growers cannot achieve due to economic restrictions.

We have all come to refer to the Blueberry has one of the most healthy fruits around and it’s easy to see why. Recent research have helped shine light on the high levels of antioxidants, minerals and vitamin C present within Blueberries and often sees this labelled as a modern day ‘Super Food’. By growing your own fruit you control the level of pesticides used within your product, a major concern for many when buying mass produced products.


Blueberry_DixiHow to grow your own Blueberries

Blueberries are versatile enough to accommodate growing in the ground or in containers spread out around the patio. Planting in acidic soil is vital to the success of Blueberries, with a PH level of four/five. Make sure the soil is well aerated and rich in humus. If planting in containers then make sure they are large enough to allow the roots to fully spread, and add a handful of crocs or pebbles to the bottom of the container.

Looking after Blueberries is relatively easy and suitable for all skill levels. Make sure the soil is kept moist throughout, but never allowed to become waterlogged. Many organic gardeners choice to use recycled or rain water instead of tap water, to save the environment and in fact this should help keep PH level of the soil a little more balanced. We suggest applying a liquid feed once a month to help encourage larger and more successful fruit.


Top Varieties to Try

1. Blueberry Top HatThe versatile and compact Blueberry Top Hat produces white flowers during spring which develop slowly into fruits come summer before its foliage finally turns reddish-green as autumn approaches. One of our best-selling varieties, the Top Hat Blueberry plant will thrive in a patio container, and grows to a mature height of just 50cm tall making it the perfect choice where space in minimal.

 

2. Blueberry Pink LemonadeBlush white flowers are followed by flavoured and good textured Pink Blueberries in August. Although self-fertile, you can plant in pairs to achieve a greater crop. A real garden novelty, equally effective as an ornamental shrub with all year round interest. Height 1.5m.  

 

 

3. Blueberry Spartan (Early season Flowering)Blueberry Spartan is a popular early fruiting variety, reaching heights of 1m. The fruit is high in Vitamin C and can be eaten fresh of the tree or for culinary purposes such as creating a pie or tart. Pot grown plants supplied.

 

4. Blueberry Dixi (Late season flowering)The versatile and compact Blueberry Late Season Fruiting Dixi shrub, also known as the ‘vaccinium corymbosum’, is an intensely flavoured variety, producing fruit in August and September as well as fragrant foliage which is highly attractive to bees and other pollinators.

 

5. Blueberry Giant Patriot The largest and juiciest of all blueberry shrubs, Patriot fruits July/August. Blueberry Giant Patriot produces some of the largest and most flavoursome fruits of all blueberry varieties. This impressive specimen  produces fragrant foliage which is highly attractive to bees and other pollinators. Grows to a mature height of one metre, supplied as a 9cm potted plant.

Fruit & Veg: What to Grow in your Allotment this Year

AllotmentAs more and more people are actively taking an interest in looking after their health and the food that they eat, the UK is rapidly seeing an increase in the use of allotments in urban areas. These little pieces of oasis in built up, often highly populated areas offer a superb way of getting back in touch with nature, growing your own fruit and vegetables and creating an area which allows you relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.Allotments are often allocated to people by their local councils, and one of their key benefits is that they bring people together, allow people to enjoy a shared space and also to share ideas/tips. I love the thought, at the end of the week watching people locally escape to their allotment, getting stuck in and trying to create (and maintain) something wonderful. The maintenance can at times be time consuming and hard work (especially trying to keep on top of those dreaded weeds), but the rewards really can be worth the effort.


What to grow in the allotment this year?

Now summer is almost here, there is still the opportunity to get the allotment into shape and start to transform the area. Don’t worry if the area is small, you

Allotment 2

can still grow many varieties of fruit and vegetables in even the smallest of sections.Walking past the allotments near my house recently I stopped and began to chat to a local lady who had made such a lovely, open planned display of her own space. She had Strawberry plants growing in almost perfectly controlled rows, raised beds with Potatoes growing from seed, Blueberry and Blackberry plants growing in containers by a bench, Vegetables on show in garden shed (almost ready to come outside) and she also had a penned in area for her own chickens (seven of them no less).This got me thinking about what would be worth a try this year if you have the space available and here are some top suggestions and tips:

1. Grow some Strawberry Pineberry in multiple rows. Supplied as 7cm pot plants for easy planting, try growing in rows for a successful large crop. Each plant should be space around 40cm apart in a straight line, with around 60-70cm between each row. Strawberry Pineberry is a real novelty, with the look and feel of a white Strawberry but with a smell and taste more closely associated with a pineapple.

2. So if your garden needs a fresh look and feel then why not also make these changes productive by planting your very own Apple Trees. Their striking spring blossoms are a valuable bonus to the allotment, but ultimately it is the crop from this mini fruit orchard that is appealing. Plant your Apple trees in an area with has as much sun as possible, as the more sun they get the healthier the tree will grow. My personal favourite is Apple James Grieve, because of the juicy taste. Grow the varieties you like, that’s the best advice anyone can offer when growing fruit and vegetables.
Asparagus3. Asparagus are becoming all the rage in Britain and a beautiful vegetable to accompany most dishes.  Plant in a trench approx 5-6inches deep with the crowns covered by 2inches of fine soil. As the plants grow, the trench should be filtered gradually and should be level by the autumn. You can choose from three varieties to cover the full season, the early yielding Gijnlim, mid season yielding ‘Herkolim’ and the late season yielding ‘Backlim’.

4. Create your own Herb Garden in containers and pots.

By growing your own herbs you can easily improve your culinary skills and become more creative. Growing herbs is easy and low maintenance and because you can grow them in containers they can easily be moved around the allotment. Basil ‘Wild Magic’ really caught our eye last summer as a standout new variety to try. Not only is it extremely tasty and heavily scented, but it makes a fantastic ornamental plant with extremely dark green leaves tinged with purple and purple flowers throughout summer.5. Miniature Plum ‘Black Amber’ can be grown in containers or in the ground. Smaller than your average Plum trees, they are ideal for an allotment where space can be at a premium. Growing in pairs will add effective spring blossom in spring and dark-purple thick skinned fruit will pop up in late summer and early autumn. Miniature Plum Trees are a must for lovers of plum trees.

6. Blueberry ‘Pink Lemonade’ are another unusual twist to a popular soft fruit. Blush white flowers are followed by sweetly flavoured and good textured Pink Blueberries in August. A real garden novelty, equally effective as an ornamentalshrub with all year round interest.

Fig Ficus carica Panachée nr 3

7. Striped Tiger Fig is a reliable cropping dwarf fruit tree that produce unusually striped figs on miniature stems. They love fertile, humus rich soil or if planting up into containers you can use a loam based potting compost.

 

 

 

8. Goji Berry (The Miracle Berry), or Lycium Barbarum, to give it its full name can be introduce because of the incredibly high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants found within each berry produced. A very easy plant to succeed with, they will fruit from their second season onwards with a significantly higher yield year after year. A very popular, pleasant tasting fruit that can be eaten straight of the vine, with an almost herbal scent. Originating in the Himalaya, it can easily be added to breakfast cereal, yoghurts, fruit salads.

Click here to view our full range of Fruit and Vegetable range!

Planting Begonias: Summer Containers & Baskets

With March having arrived and with the weather finally beginning to warm up a little, it is now time to begin putting our gardening plans into action for the summer. Bluebells have sprung in abundance, Snowdrops are as reliably present as ever and the sight of the beloved Daffodil in the past few weeks has offered much encouragement to us gardeners (in a year were we have seen unusually high levels of rainfall earlier this year).

Spring is always one of our favourite seasons and equally one of the busiest, let’s get planting and let’s get preparing!
Each year in our own garden we love to test and trial new varieties and introductions, it keeps things new and interesting for us, but our garden is never without one of our most popular and best-selling summer flowering plants of all time – Begonias. The versatility, vibrancy of colour and relative inexpensiveness of Begonias, especially when grown for tubers, make them a must for the garden this summer and for many years to come. Whether grown for hanging baskets where they can trail beautifully or for containers and troughs where upright varieties will provide character and charm, please consider these perennial plants, we hope you will agree that once tried that you will find them difficult to ignore in the future.

A reliable, star attraction

Non Stop Begonia
Non Stop Begonia

Begonias, part of the Begoniacea family. have been around for many years and although some varieties can be grown indoors, typically here in Britain they have become one of our most commonly grown summer flowering perennials outdoors. Begonias, named by the famous botanist Charles Plumier, are well worthy if their place in the garden, flowering continuously through the summer months, often right up until the first frosts of autumn.

Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results, they are very reliable and can easily be lifted and stored indoors over winter, then replanted the following spring for continued flowering.We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.
Fill your hanging baskets with cascading Begonias

Begonia splendide geel/oranje
Begonia splendide Apricot

When looking to fill your summer hanging baskets we often look to traditional trailing plants such as Surfinia, Million Bells and trailing Geraniums. A superb way of mixing things up while still achieving excellent blooms is to try some trailing Begonias.Cascading or Pendula Begonias produce giant sized flowers through the summer months and are easy to plant on arrival. Ideal for hanging baskets mounted to the wall or for containers raised of ground level. For the largest blooms possible try growing on the Giant Exhibition sized 5/6cm tubers, guaranteed to produce up to 100% larger double flowers from each tuber. Chosen and used by the professionals at most garden shows and in large country homes, they are certainly worth that little extra money.

You can add a touch of fragrance to your trailing baskets with our range of Begonia Odorata tubers, which come in a range of colours. You can choose from ‘Odorata Red Glory’, ‘Odorata Pink Delight’ or the hard to ignore classic white ‘Odorata Angelique’. For the premium ‘Shower Bouquet’ effect we recommend the Balcony Begonia Collection, Gold and Pink ruffled edged petals, with a gentle cascading habit. Mix together for a wonderful blend as illustrated.

Try planting three 5/6cm tubers into an average hanging basket, in moist compost for a display that will cascade beautifully over the edges. Begonias are great lovers of moisture and during dry weather they should be watered in the early morning or the evening.

Give your patio pots and containers a splash of colour

Begonia Multiflora Melange
Begonia Multiflora

The versatility of Begonias makes them great for the patio as well as in flower beds. By growing in pots and containers around the garden you can easily add a dash of colour, while having the added benefit of being able to move them around if the need arises. You can choose more compact and upright varieties which can be grown in pots, such as Double Flowering Begonias or for larger blooms with serrated edges why not opt for Fimbriata Begonias, a perfect choice for troughs on a windowsill.Non stop Begonias are compact enough for this but also are quite vigorous growers, so can virtually flower constantly through the entire summer, non-stop as the name suggests. Reaching heights of only 20cm they are great for the front of a border, with some Dahlias or Gladioli towering over them.One of our favourite varieties to grow in pots are the often ignored, but impossible to forget once you grow them yourself, ‘Maxima Switzerland’. The truly sensational dark leaves contrast effectively with the scarlet red flowers. A real treat for the container! ‘Bertinii Skaugman’ will offer your some of the most surprisingly large sized plants possible from a single tuber. ‘Flamboyant’ produces small flowers, but more than makes up for that by the abundance in which they appear.

Begonia fimbriata mixed
Begonia fimbriata mixed

Some top tips for success with Begonias 1. Begonia tubers may be started into growth from February onwards. The easiest way is to put them into shallow boxes containing a mixture of loam, leaf mould and sand. Meanwhile, prepare the potting soil.
Good top soil mixed with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. To this prepared soil add leaf mould in a proportion of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated. As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.

2. Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.

3. You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.

4. Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.

5. Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.