Contrasting Colours: Summer Garden Guide

Looking for a fun and eye catching colour scheme for your summer gardens this year? Bold, vibrant colours are set to make a return to our summer gardens in 2019. One natural way to combine colours in the garden is to choose complementary colours. That means selecting plants in colours that are across from one another on the colour wheel. The colour wheel is a gardener’s best friend when it comes to creating a pleasing garden palette. For example, red is across from green, orange is across from blue, and, as in this bright array, yellow is across from purple. So here are some of our favourite contrasting pairings for you to consider for your garden displays this year.

Red and Green

Red and green create a striking combination of colour. The green allows for a natural, calm feel. A landscape design of various shades of green, emphasizing tone, shape and texture, can be subtle and beautiful. Paired against the vibrancy of bright red flowers, the soothing tones of green really allow the red shades to create an impact. Here are some of our favourite pairings:

Bessera Elegans & Asarum europaeum (wild ginger)

We think these two plants are a match made in heaven. The vivid coral red flowers of the Bessera Elegans provide a burst of colour against an attractive ground cover of the glossy evergreen Asarum Europaeumwhich will create a truly magnificent exotic colour combination for the summer garden.

Euphorbia martinii & Gladioli Holland Pearl

This perfect pairing is ideal for your borders. These plants grow to similar heights and with the contrasting tones of the lime-green bracts of the Euphorbia Martinii against the deep red flowers of the Gladioli Holland Pearl, they are guaranteed to dazzle in summer gardens. An added bonus of this pairing, is that they both can be used in gorgeous cut flower arrangements.

Clematis ville de lyon & Chive Staro

A lovely plant combination for a lasting display from mid to late summer. This butterfly attracting, deep red blooming Clematis Ville de Lyon is perfect for pairing alongside edible plants. Clematis plants prefer growing in full sun which makes the area around the base an ideal spot for growing edible plants like our Chive Staro, and as an added bonus, these contrasting plants create a stunning, fragrant summer display of colour and shapes.

 

Orange and Blue

Create some visual excitement with the glow of orange blooms against the stark contrasting cool, bold tones of blue. These two shades seem like they are almost made for one another. Paired in garden pots, beds or borders, this spectacular colour combination is sure to add interest this summer.

Festuca ‘elijah blue’Crocosmia Mistral

The hot orange funnel-shaped blooms of the Crocosmia Mistral create a fiery contrast paired against flowering grasses, such as the silver-blue foliage from the superb evergreen Festuca ‘Elijah Blue’ that blooms giant spiked flowers during the summer. This perfect pair is ideal for containers and borders for an attractive combined display.

Hemerocallis apricot beauty & Campanula Glomerata Superba

The beautiful blue hue in the flower clusters of the Campanula Glomerata Superba create a stunning stark contrast against the bright orange ruffled blooms of this perennial companion, Hemerocallis Apricot Beauty. These stunning flowers will continue to flower all through the summer months for a beautiful and reliable summer bed pairing.

Dahlia Ludwig Helfert & Agapanthus Back in black

Dahlias look fabulous on their own or combined with other plants and Agapanthus are an excellent vertical choice for brightening up the backgrounds of Dahlias. Dahlia Ludwig Helfert produces spiky orange blooms that provide a dramatic burst of contrasting colour alongside the dark blue flowers and glossy black stems of the Agapanthus Back In Black. This vibrant pairing would make an amazing additions to the summer border.

 

Yellow and Purple

The bright cheery shades of yellow flowers juxtaposed against bold and rich purple blooms make a beautiful colour contrast that excite the senses when you gaze out in to your gorgeous summer garden. Here are some of our favourite combinations that we’ve picked out for you.

Lavender Little Lady and Echinacea Golden SKipper

Lavender has very specific growing requirements that would need to share its space with a plant with similar needs, of which one is Echinacea. They both perform well in full sun and in less-than-rich soil. On top of being great growing companions, the vibrant yellow blooms of Echinacea Golden Skipper against the Lavender Little Lady‘s traditional purple blossoms will produce a striking and fragrant display.

Digitalis Hardy Ambigua YellowHydrangea Zaza

When choosing plant companions, it is best to choose ones that have similar cultural requirements. Shade-tolerant annuals can be massed together to create a bed of rich flowers in front of Hydrangeas. For pairing with the luscious purple-blue clustered blooms of our Hydrangea Zaza, our creamy yellow Foxglove (Digitalis Hardy Ambigua Yellow) grows gorgeous tall stalks lined with bell-shaped flowers which together are certain to create a gorgeous contrasting mass of floral shapes and form.

Geranium Birch Double & Crocosmia Sunglow

The amber-yellow funnel shaped flowers of the Crocosmia Sunglow are ideal for planting in bold swathes along summer borders, and when accompanied with the stunning and delicate purple blooms of Geranium Birch Double as a low flowering addition, these two create an ideal companionship in the garden.

 

Contrasting Shapes

Matching the colours of two or more flowers, while varying their shapes, is another way to guarantee a winning combination.

Phlox Paniculata Pink & Echinacea After Midnight

The pink hues of the coneflower and the phlox are closely identical, but their flower structure offer a striking contrast. Echinacea After Midnight‘s single blossoms are reminiscent of coarse daisies, while the lush, pyramidal clusters of Phlox Paniculata Pink‘s florets add an imposingly beautiful contrast of shape combination.

Hosta Fire and Ice & Verbena Samira Lavender Star

The soft lavender hues of the Verbena Samira Lavender Star matches beautifully with the dainty spikes of flowers in the Hosta Fire and Ice. The identical floral tones are set apart by their drastically different shapes and sizes. The beautiful Verbena flowers planted around this Hosta variety in the border would make an enchanting yet bold statement in the border.

HEMEROCALLIS FRAGRANT RETURNS & IRIS SIBIRICA BUTTER AND SUGAR

Siberian Iris grown in clumps can create a beautiful contrast with Day lilies like our Hemerocallis Fragrant Returns. The stunning trumpet-like blooms of the Hemerocallis offset against the demure, drooping petals of the Iris Sibirica Butter and Sugar. These beautiful plants when paired together in summer borders are guaranteed to bring the sunshine to your garden with their unique shapes and cheerful, pale yellow blooms.

Happy Planting!

Complete Guide: How to Plant Buddleia

Looking for advice on how to plant Buddleia this spring? Through this informative guide, we will share all our best knowledge and tips on the planting, arrangement and aftercare for your Buddleia shrubs. When it is covered in butterflies, no other garden plant brings so much pleasure on a summer’s day!

Buddleia, also known as Butterfly Bush, is one of Britain’s most popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia comes from Asia and there are more than 100 species that have spread from northern India, China and South Africa to Central and South America, largely after being introduced by the great plant hunters around the beginning of the 20th century.

Planting

Buddleia are superb additions to the garden for attracting wildlife with butterflies and bees being big fans of this shrub. Known for their burst of colour and their distinct tubular fragrant flowers, this vigorous, deciduous shrub is the perfect choice for summer blooms. Here are our guides to planting out in the garden and in containers for easy planting this spring.

In the Garden

Great for long-term borders/rockeries. They perform best when planted in full sun (or at least in partial shade) and in fertile, well-drained soil. Dependent on the variety, plant around 5 to 10 feet apart for a gorgeous display. Plant Buddleia in Spring or in Autumn before the first frosts and water thoroughly after planting.

Buddleia Mixed (Hardy)

Tips

  • When planting, loosen the soil and mix in compost and dig a hole twice the diameter of the plant container.
  • They will not perform well if grown in soil that tends to retain a lot of water in the winter.
  • Do not plant under trees.

In Containers

Use a pot deep enough to contain the roots and heavy enough to weigh the plant down. Make sure the pot has a good amount of drainage holes to allow the roots to breathe. Place the pot in full sunlight and water regularly. Cut the plant back around 10-12 inches in late winter or early spring.

Our Tips

  • Whisky Barrels make great planters
  • Avoid garden soil which becomes heavy/compact in containers.
  • Dwarf varieties like our Minature Collection are the best choice for pots and containers.

Video Tutorial

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how to plant Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) for summer flowering and shares his tips and tricks for getting the best results out of these beautiful shrubs.

Aftercare

  • When in bloom, you can snip their stems for honey scented cut flower bouquets.
  • Buddleia can be pruned hard after flowering, and you should cut shoots back to strong buds/younger growth.
  • We recommend reducing plants by half in Autumn when they are grown in windy positions.
  • Removing the dead blooms and watering the plants in very dry conditions will bring butterflies flocking to your Buddleia plants.
  • You can take softwood cutting in late spring just as the stems begin to harden up a little.

Our Top Picks

Flower Power

This magical hybrid showcases a mix between the usual blue-purple varieties along with a yellow flowered species. This plant’s gorgeous spikes of flowers blend perfectly from purple to orange for a sensational display of multi-coloured shades and sweet scent to radiate your summer garden.

Buddleia White Swan

The stunning fragrant white flowers are displayed on strong arching branches that are amazing for attracting wildlife in to the garden. Ideal for brightening your summer gardens in patio pots and containers.

 

 

Buddleia Purple Lion

Purple Lion is a stunning, fragrant  dwarf variety of Buddleia. This compact plant bears large purple flower spikes along with attractive silver-green foliage making Purple Lion the perfect long term addition to borders/rockeries and patio pots.

 

 

Companion Plants

Lantanas

The green foliage of Lantanas are topped with clusters of tiny, vibrant little flowers that are superb plants for attracting birds, butterflies and bees to the garden, making them a perfect pollinator companion for Buddleias.

Lantana Esperanta White

This variety is the perfect colour complimenting partner for white and purple Buddleias. These snow white, compactly formed flowers with bright yellow centers are an ideal plant for filling your landscape as ground cover or in containers to bring the wildlife swarming to your beautiful pollinator friendly garden.

Lantana Esperanta Yellow

The cheerful sunny yellow blooms of this Lantana variety are bound to become a showstopper in your garden when planted alongside purple Buddleia for a stunning contrast of colour.

 

 

Asters

A border of Asters creates a truly unforgettable spectacle. Combine with Buddleia for a truly delightful show of colour. They are bound to liven up your garden as Asters are great pollinator attracting plants with their bright colours and nectar rich, wide open blooms.

Aster Alpinus Dark Beauty

These vibrant violet blue, daisy-like flowers with their sunny yellow centers are the perfect partner to a white or purple Buddleia for a bold cluster of vibrant colour to the summer garden.

 

 

 

Aster Alpinus Pinkie

This vivid pink variety of these tough, sun-loving perennial plants are a great easy to grow pairing with Buddleia. Their cheerful ornamental cluster of flowers will certainly bring a pop of colour to summer rock gardens, borders and pots.

 

Click here to view our full range of Buddleia

Valentines in the Garden

St. Valentine’s Day, popularly known as Valentine’s Day, is celebrated as the lovers day every year all over the world on February 14. The celebration of this day is thought to have originated from a Roman festival called ‘Lupercalia’, which celebrated the start of their springtime. Later on, the festival changed into a Christian celebration where they decided to use it to remember St Valentine too, and gradually, St Valentine’s name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.

Valentine’s is a time where people share their affection with gifts, such as chocolates, cards and flowers (traditionally red roses). Sure, roses are the flower of love, but they’re not the only flower that has romantic symbolism. You can show your valentine how much you really care with a bundle of beautiful romantic themed flowers, as many varieties from the traditional Rose, to Dianthus and Dahlias.

So, in honour of the date, here are 14 of our favourite love themed flowers to add that Valentines feeling to your garden all year long.

1. Hemerocallis Cherry Valentine

This beautiful soft pink petalled flower has a red centre and is one of our loveliest, large flowering plants from our Day Lily range. Flowering through June to September, Hemerocallis Cherry Valentine is guaranteed to bring romance to your garden all through the summer months. First grade loose roots supplied.

2. Dahlia My Love

The Dahlia is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Dahlia My Love is a beautiful pure white Cactus Dahlia that will add a delicate beauty to any summer garden display. Dahlias are known for being a symbol of commitment and grace, making them the perfect loving addition to your garden. Top grade tubers supplied.

3. Dianthus Scent First Romance

Fill your summer gardens with romance. Our Dianthus ‘Scent First’ Romance is a wonderfully fragrant plant producing delicate pink flowers, which blend in to a dark pink in the centre. 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

4. Dicentra Valentine

Is your summer garden in need of some love? The Dicentra Valentine‘s heart shaped pendant flowers make a distinct and eye catching addition to patio pots and borders. Blooming with deep red tones on fantastic burgundy stems, these flowers are guaranteed to make you fall in love with your garden this summer. First grade loose roots supplied.

5. Hebe Wild Romance

A compact evergreen shrub; Hebe Wild Romance boasts an abundance of cream edged, dark green leaves which fade in to a deep pink/maroon in the winter, and then lighten in the spring to a luminous hue of bright pink. This colour evolving plant is bound to enchant in your summer gardens. 9cm pot grown plants supplied.

6. Rose For Your Eyes Only

Would this be Valentine’s if we didn’t include Roses? The most popular flower gifted for Valentines as this flower has long been a symbol for love and passion. This colourful floribunda rose produces expansive blushed orange/pink blooms that will flower all through the summer. An added bonus of Rose For Your Eyes Only is that their flowers emit a delicate, sweet aroma to add a special charm to your patios and paths this summer. Top quality 2 year old bare rooted plant supplied.

7. Hydrangea hovaria Love You Kiss

This affectionate plant is a unique lace cap variety of Hydrangea. Hydrangeas are known by some to represent anything that’s sincerely heartfelt, and alongside geraniums are gifted as a 4th wedding anniversary flower. The near white and red margin blooms of Hydrangea hovaria Love You Kiss are the perfect showstopping addition to your garden this summer. 14cm pot plant supplied.

8. Rose Lover’s Meeting

The ancient Greeks and Romans associated Roses with Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love, and have been used for hundreds of years to convey the message of love. Each colour of rose can convey different meanings. The orange Rose represents passion and desire. A beautiful summer time bloom, our Rose Lover’s Meeting is bound to captivate with its striking twist on the traditional Hybrid Tea Rose shape with their pointed outer petals of exotic Indian Orange to add a touch of glamour to your summer garden. Top quality 2 year old bare rooted plant supplied.

9. Gladioli Adrenaline

Symbolizing strength and moral integrity, Gladioli also represent infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion and known as a 40th wedding anniversary flower. Blooming a stunning blend of pale pink and white flowers, our Gladioli Adrenaline is bound to enchant all summer long. 12/14cm corms supplied.

10. Dianthus Scent First Passion

With its scientific name, Dianthus roughly translates to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”, this flower is one that has been revered for centuries. Known for their spicy fragrance, compact habit and long season of bloom, Dianthus First Scent Passion is a striking variety with amazing, deep rich red flowers, ideal for bringing the passion back in to your summer borders, patio pots or containers. 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

11. Hydrangea Together Collection

 The beautiful Hydrangea is known to be a symbol of deeper understanding between two people, that doesn’t have to be of a romantic kind. This connection can be between friends and family members but it can also apply to romantic couples as well. This exciting pairing in our Hydrangea Together Collection produces masses of magical pink and blue blooms make the perfect pairing in summer pots and containers. Supplied in 15cm pots.

12. Lily Casa Blanca

Lily Casa blanca, which shares its name with one of the greatest romantic movies of all time (Casablanca), is one of the finest oriental hybrids with large pure white blooms and brownish-orange anthers. Lilies are known as the 30th wedding anniversary flower as they symbolise humility and devotion. Enjoy this flower in the garden or be captivated by this oriental lily’s spicy fragrance indoors as part of a spectacular cut flower display. 14/16cm bulbs supplied.

13. Anemone The Bride

Add a touch of elegance to your gardens with these stunning traditional white Anemone, Anemone The Bride. These beautiful cup-shaped flowers bloom through April and May, perfect for pots, borders and containers. In Victorian times, people used this flower to represent a forsaken love of any kind in their intricate Language of Flowers, and in modern times this flower is used in bouquets for special occasions such as marriages (which would link with this flowers name) or the birth of a baby. 5/6cm bulbs supplied.

14. Eremurus Romance

Often known as a symbol of endurance, the dramatic soaring habit of Eremurus Romance is guaranteed to take your breath away with their giant, salmon pink flowers, which provide a real treat in the summer. Top Size Bulbs supplied.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Lilies: Varieties & Planting Guide

Lilies are one of the truly great garden plants for their flower forms, diversity, extended season of bloom, graceful stature, and reliable disposition. Their bulbs can be planted in spring for bloom the same year, or in fall for bloom the following year. Lilium/Lilies are ideal for large, showy displays and many are fragrant varieties, and will naturalise each year for continued pleasure. Since summer flowering Lily bulbs have become a real British favourite for producing the best sights in the garden, keep reading to learn more about our different lily varieties and advice on how to plant them.

Asiatic Lilies

These lilies are very cold hardy and often the earliest bloomers. They are usually 3 to 4 feet tall and produce unscented flowers in almost every colour imaginable. Asiatic lilies are an excellent choice for borders or rockeries as they produce very strong stems and are available in several exciting colour combinations, these little garden beauties provide the earliest lily blooms of the year by appearing in June-July each year. Asiatic Lily bulbs produce sturdy and colourful flowers that make cut flowers. Supplied as top sized Lilium bulbs.

Asiatic lilies come in a variation of tall, dwarf, double and bi-colour varieties.

One of our favourite tall varieties is the stunning Lily Yellow Country. This Asiatic lily produces beautiful yellow flowers and a lovely scent, which stand upon tall, strong stems and an added bonus of this plant is that they are usually pest free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A favoured dwarf variety of ours is the Lily Foxtrot. A beautiful pale pink, Dwarf Asiatic lily. Ideal for growing in groups at the front of the border or in pots scattered around the patio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A gorgeous Double Asiatic variety in our Lily collection is the Lily Red Twin. A stunning double flowering Asiatic Lily, it has deep orange-red flowers. It has a slight fragrance and is ideal for patio pots and containers. They grow to a height of 100-110cm and make wonderful cut flowers for indoor arrangements as they stand on strong sturdy stems.

Oriental Lilies

These amazing Oriental Lilies can grow to 5 feet high, bloom in late summer, and have a strong, enchanting fragrance, flowering in summer (August-September). The colour and markings of Oriental Lilies are very unusual and unique, but still with an abundance of flowers per bulb. Fragrant Oriental Lily bulbs can be planted in late autumn through to spring.

The stunning giant flowers that are a staple feature of this plant are available in double and dwarf varieties.

Our top pick for the Double Oriental Lilies is the Lily Lotus Beauty. Lotus Beauty is from our new range of double flowering oriental lilies that produces large flowers that resemble a lotus in appearance. The ruffled white flowers are speckled with burgundy spots and flower from July throughout August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our favourite dwarf varieties is the Lily Gold Band. This oriental lily is an excellent choice for adding beauty to your summer borders with their gorgeous fragrant flowers and eye catching white and gold banded petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OT Lilies

Fragrant giant Goliath Lilies are a cross between Giant Oriental Lilies and Giant Trumpet Lilies.  These Interspecific crosses between Oriental and Trumpet lilies have produced lily bulbs that easily weather late Midwestern frosts without bud kill but have the sweet fragrance and shape of Oriental lilies. They have large flowers with thick petals that open wide, are extremely fragrant, and tend to last a long time. These beautiful Lilies can be incorporated into the back of your garden borders where they can act as a wonderful backdrop for your display.

One of our top picks for Giant Oriental Lilies is Lily Debby. A stunning red and orange oriental trumpet lily variety that grows to roughly 2m tall and produces up to 30 giant flowers with a diameter of roughly 20cm; a perfect addition to borders and large pots for summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trumpet Lilies

Our popular Trumpet Lily bulbs produce large scented, huge trumpet shaped blossoms on very sturdy stems, and these lilies can grow up to 5 feet high. Trumpet Lilies like the same suggests exhibit large trumpet shaped flowers, often with a combination and blend of colours. Fragrant and easy to grow. Flowering early summer from June onwards. Trumpet Lilies are supplied as top size bulbs.

One of our favourite Trumpet Lilies is Lily Anastasia. A new hybrid of oriental and trumpet lilies which reach heights of 2.5m with up to forty 20cm diameter flowers per bulb. Large pale pink flowers with a deep stripe of magenta at the centre of each petal and dappling at the throat giving the lily a bruised, blushing effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Species, Tiger and Unusual Lilies

We have a selection of unusual yet beautiful Lilies in some breath-taking colours that are simply hard to ignore. This range of summer flowering Lilies flower all summer long, offering wonderful sights and fragrance. You can choose from Tiger Lily bulbs like our vibrant Lily Tiger Babies, which produce colourful, speckled brown blooms. The name Tiger refers to the spots inside the petals. Tiger Babies will produce delightful orange flowers, smothered in small spots that we come to expect from Tiger varieties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martagon Lilies are a species that varies very little in shape and form, but colours range from dark maroon to mauve and white, with different spotting on the petals, depending on where they’re growing. This was one of the first lilies to be grown in British gardens: Gerard described it in 1596. One of our top picks in this variety is the Lily Martagon Arabian Knight; a striking plant with a mix of gold, red and purple hues, which makes a fantastic choice for cut flowers or as a focal point in the summer garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting Guide

Though lilies look like they’d be fussy plants, they are actually very easy to grow. All of our Lilies are supplied as bulbs, ready to plant on arrival. Lilies are best planted from October up until April/May. Lilies like a lot of sun but not direct sunlight. Therefore, you should place the flowerpot in partial shade. The soil in the plant pots should be loose and permeable. Ensure that the holes in which the lily bulbs are placed are twice as deep as the diameter of the bulb.

Looking for help on planting specific lily varieties? Here are some of our video planting guides to help give you more knowledge on lily planting and how you get the best results out of your Lilies for summer.

Make sure you know which plants are toxic for animals, so be sure to keep out your lily plants out of contact with your animals to avoid your dog or cat from harm! 

Asiatic Lilies

Giant Goliath Lilies

Ground Cover Oriental Lilies

Or click here to view our collection of Lily planting tutorials on our website here: https://www.jparkers.co.uk/videos/lilies

Aftercare

After planting, they require little care. But you should not forget to water them. However, always avoid watering too much. Depending on the variety, the lily flowers themselves grow 60 to 140 cm tall. Lily varieties which grow tall are unsuitable for pots. For pot plants, you should choose lily varieties which do not grow taller than 60 70 cm. Popular, small tub varieties include Mona Lisa or Cordelia lilies. The flowering period of lilies is from June onwards. Always cut off withered petals immediately, so that no seeds form which would cost the plant unnecessary energy.

Click here to view our full lily range.

Winter Care: Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.

General Tips

  • During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
  • If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
  • In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.

Daffodils/Narcissi

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  • For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
  • Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
  • If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
  • Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.

Crocus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
  • In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
  • In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.

Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
  • You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.

Flower Aftercare

  • After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
  • When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
  • Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.

Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?

Click HERE to check out our garden job list.

Good luck with your flowers this spring!

How to Plant: Cannas

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.

Planting

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.

Tips

  • 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.

Video

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.

Aftercare

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannas Mixed (Image Above)

Click here to view our full Cannas range

How to Plant: Cactus Dahlias

Need help on how to plant Cactus Dahlias? In this blog, we’ve compiled a guide full of tips and advice on planting, arrangement, and aftercare for your Cactus Dahlias, to allow you to get the best performance from your plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This special, eye-catching variety of Cactus Dahlias are distinctive by their unusual shaped summer flowers, which look fantastic planted together for  colour bursting garden displays and borders, as well as when planted as a standalone item. They can flower until Autumn and have a wide range of interesting varieties, all with very showy flower shapes and rich colour shades.

Planting

Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. If you plant before the frosts are over, they may get frosted and die, so pot in March or early April for flowering in early July. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart.

Tips:

  • Dahlias start blooming about 8 weeks after planting, starting in mid-July.
  • Some gardeners start tubers indoors in containers a month ahead to get a jump on the season.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff covers how to plant Cactus Dahlia tubers in to pots and shares helpful tips and advice on how to achieve the best results out of your Dahlia plants.

Aftercare

  • There’s no need to water the soil until the dahlia plants appear; in fact, overwatering can cause tubers to rot. After dahlias are established, provide a deep watering 2 to 3 times a week, preferably more in hotter, dry climates.
  • In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter and then replanted the following year.
  • Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Click here to view our full range of Cactus Dahlias.

12 Days of Christmas In The Garden

Winter is coming and to celebrate the season and the upcoming festivities filled with mulled drinks, festive foods and presents, we’ve selected our 12 favourite Christmas themes flowers to bring an extra hint of magic and sparkle to your homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Amaryllis Christmas Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amaryllis is a perfect festive plant because it naturally flowers in both spring and winter. This striking Amaryllis, Amaryllis Christmas Gift, is named after it’s stunning snow-like blooms that are guaranteed to add character to your household in winter.

  • The amaryllis was quite revered in Victorian times and carries strong associations of pride. During the Victorian era proud women were thought to be beautiful so this was certainly a compliment to the amaryllis.

2. Crocus chrysanthus Prince Claus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These stunning goblet shaped flowers bring one of the first bursts of colour to the garden in spring, and Crocus chrysanthus Prince Claus blooms beautiful white flowers with purple cores rising from the centre. Crocus are sometimes referred to as the ‘snow crocus’ and are viewed as the herald of spring.

  • Crocus have a natural insulation. Crocus plants can cope with the cold weather and occasional frosts as their leaves and petals are covered by a waxy cuticle.

3. Dahlia Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fun and festive Dahlia is the Dahlia Santa Claus; a stunning bi-coloured Dinner Plate Dahlia, the largest of all the varieties, with red and white striped blooms. A wonderful summer plant that suits all garden borders and patio pots, as well as making perfect cut flowers.

  • These colourful spiky flowers bloom from midsummer to first frost, when many other plants are past their best.

4. Crocus Chrysanthus Snowbunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starch white golblet shaped flowers with an orange throat. The RHS have given the Crocus ‘Snowbunting’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit. This beautiful crocus variety is perfect for creating a blanket of snow in rockeries or containers.

  • Saffron-based pigments have been found in the prehistoric paints used to depict beasts in 50,000-year-old cave art in what is today Iraq. Later, the Sumerians used saffron as an ingredient in their remedies and magical potions.

5. Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty (Honeysuckle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty (also known as the winter flowering Honeysuckle) produces masses of creamy-white fragrant flowers in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, with flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs of this honeysuckle are perfect for those festive winter flower arrangements!

  • During Victorian era, Englishmen often planted honeysuckle in front of their houses to keep evil spirits and witches on the safe distance.

6. Holly Blue Angel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do as the classic Christmas Carols says and “deck the halls with boughs of Holly”. A classic winter wonder, Holly Blue Angel. This shrubs shiny evergreen, blue tinted foliage producing masses of red berries in winter is a staple of Christmas plants.

  • The idea of decorating your home with holly for Christmas dates back to ancient Druids. They believed that the protective qualities of the plant would safe guard them against bad luck and evil spirits.

7. Phlox Peppermint Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like cinnamon and ginger, peppermint is a staple theme of the Christmas festivities. This unique Phlox Peppermint Twist is not dissimilar from the stripes of those well-loved Christmas treats candy canes, with their prolific pink flowers with distinctive white stripes.

  • Phlox make great plants for wildlife, and tend to attract hummingbirds in bird gardens.

8. Rose Hot Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love some hot chocolate in the winter time? Rose Hot Chocolate is a beautifully unique coloured Rose that produces blooms of rusty orange with velvety smoked chocolate brown, reminiscent of a delicious winter sweet treat.

  •  Ancient Romans used roses as room decorations, and sometimes wore the flower as a necklace. It was also believed in Roman circles that anything said “under the rose” was deemed to be top secret.

9. Tulip Peppermint Stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tulip ‘Peppermint Stick has striking candy cane colours of red and white, which make ideal candidates for a christmas bouquet. As the season progresses, the flowers slowly open to produce colourful star shapes and then almost a complete white star when they fully open.

  • The Tulip is a classic flower of love, although it was considered more of a symbol for charity by the Victorians.

10. Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the first flowers of the new year, the snowdrop is one our most endearing flowers. The much loved traditional Snowdrops produce honey scented nodding flower heads with pure white outer petals surround small inner petals with green tips.

  • Snowdrops were named after earrings not drops of snow. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries women often wore dangly, white drop-shaped earrings known as ‘eardrops’ thus inspiring the flowers name. Some other common names of snowdrops are: Candlemas Bells,  White Ladies and Little Sister of the Snows.

11. Tulip Christmas Orange

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Christmas Orange is a flaming orange colour with a broad cherry flame. These flowers are also in demand for forcing around Christmas time for festive displays of colour.

  • Because tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, they can mean rebirth.

12. Petunia Chameletunia Cinnamon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for something warm up your garden like the tasty cinnamon treats at Christmas time. Our Petunia Chameletunia Cinnamon has a beautiful profusion of orange-red flowers adding that perfect amount of sweet spice to your summer gardens.

  • All types of petunia can be divided in 4 major groups: grandiflora, hedgiflora, multiflora and milliflora.

Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!

Bonfire Night in the Garden

It’s that time of the year again, Bonfire Night! As tradition on November 5th, we light sparklers, fireworks, bonfires and eat candy apples and treacle toffee for the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the Gunpowder Plot.
Since it’s a common fact that the vast majority of firework bursts and effects are named after flowers/plants/trees. There are for example Chrysanthemum, dahlia, willow, palm and peony bursts. In fact, several firework arrangements are known as bouquets. So, if you don’t want to head out to the local park to see the community fireworks display, you can lay out in your garden and just look at nature’s version. The colors are just as spectacular, except it’s a lot quieter.

10 Explosive Blooms to Light Up Your Night

Allium Fireworks

Could these Alliums have a more apt name? This stunning firework collection consists of Pulchellum (reddish violet), Pulchellum Album (white) and Flavum (yellow). These beautiful plants flower in Summer for an explosion of colour in any garden display.

Agapanthus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agapanthus, fondly known as the African Lily, are bold hardy perennial plants which are superb for containers or borders. The plants have dark green foliage and will produce vibrant white or blue flowers throughout the summer time.

Allium Schubertii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A real firecracker, the Allium Schubertii. Splayed tendrils in pinky-lilac burst from a compact cluster of star shaped flowers. The flowers are produced at the end of May to early June. These make excellent cut flowers and can be dried and used indoors for a unique Winter display.

Asters Alpinus Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cheerful ornamental flowers are daisy-shaped with bright yellow centers surrounded by petals in a burst of colours from pinks, blues, violets and creamy whites. The leaves are narrow and dark green. The heavy cluster of flowers will produce an ever increasing mass of colour every year from August to well into October.

Monarda Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The striking Monarda plant comes in a great mixture of colours. They are also know as the Bee Balm Plant. Their spikey blooms resemble the loud, explosive bangs of fireworks, and will flower from June to September, with aromatic leaves. They are a striking and useful addition to the garden, thriving in shade or semi-shade where other perennials struggle.

Euphorbia Bonfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most amazing Euphorbia ever with foliage that turns from green/purple to burgundy in summer, then again changes to a bright red in late summer. In late spring it will produce large yellow flowers for many weeks. The fiery colours and bursting foliage would earn a warm welcome to any garden.

Pieris Forest Flame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evergreen shrub produces brilliant flamed red young shoots in spring and white ‘Lily of the Valley’ flowers in late spring. The foliage mirrors the flowers, bright red in the spring, maturing to pink and cream and finally green. Holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form, and good resistance to pests and diseases.

Salix caprea pendula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lovely branches of the Salix caprea, or pussy or goat willow as its commonly known, can provide you garden with all year round interest. Stiff, arching brightly coloured shoots form a mound or ‘mophead’ shape in winter. In spring come long silver fuzzy catkins that open to soft silky flowers with yellow anthers, before the gracefully hanging lush foliage appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning red pincushion flowers on greenish white filaments surrounded by a rosette of red bracts flushed deep purple at the tips. Strikingly beautiful and extremely photogenic, these are a great blast of colour in any garden bed or border, as well as a must have addition to any summer bouquet.

Aquilegia Barlow Mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Striking new double Aquilegia varieties. These showy blooms are perpetual flowering from May to July and look great planted en-masse in a border, the dainty Dahlia-like blooms nodding above lacy fern like foliage. Remove the stems when the flowering time is over and the foliage will remain attractive for a spectacular display right through till the winter.

Bonfire Night Garden Tips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

  • Consider wind direction and the way the smoke will drift once lit.
  • Build it on open ground away from buildings and other flammable items.
  • Keep windows shut so that the smoke does not drift into your home.
  • Have a hose pipe or water supply ready should it get out of control to dampen it down or extinguish the flames.
  • Keep the bonfire small.
  • If you have been building your bonfire for sometime, check that animals have not taken shelter under it before lighting.
  • Use the wood ashes for fertiliser on the garden flower beds.

Tips

  • Bonfire Material Waste Disposal

These seasons celebrations are the perfect time to dispose of garden waste lying around. Bonfires make the perfect disposal unit for dry, woody material infected by disease like canker and fire blight. Be sure to conduct when weather is calm for smoke safety.

  • Garden Protection

Be sure to prepare all bonfires away from beneath overhanging trees as the hot air is damaging to venerable buds and tree leaves and will cause large dead areas in the following year.

Have a great bonfire night!

Halloween In the Garden

It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 13 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.

13 Frightening Plants

1. Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakeshead)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snakes head Fritillaria is a popular variety due to their unusual drooping pendants, flowering in the spring. This spellbinding plant displays a mixture of white and purple bell shaped flowers.

Fact: The nodding, pink-and-purple-checkered flowers of the Snake’s-head Fritillary are said to resemble a snake, hence the name!

2. Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’ is a truly magical variety producing velvety petals of deep lilac and rust atop robust, fleshy stems. These exquisitely mystical blooms are guaranteed to add a touch of intrigue to your borders.

Fact: Iris take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris.

Superstition: Iris symbolize eloquence. Purple iris are symbolic of wisdom and compliments. Blue iris symbolize faith and hope. Yellow iris symbolize passion while white iris symbolize purity.

3. Tulip Black Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulip Black Parrot is a mysterious and elegant variety, with large flared heads draped in rich, velvety maroon-black petals. Once the flower matures and opens, their serrated appearance of the petals edges become symbolic of a parrot’s plumage.

Fact: These tulips were developed from mutations of certain varieties of late-flowering and Triumph tulips!

Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tricyrtis ‘Dark Beauty’ adds an exotic edge to any borders with their strikingly unique bruised purple/blue spotted petals with a dusky white accent, and their tentacle-like tepals bursting from the center with their yellow and white stamens and purple anthers.

Fact: Known in England as Toad Lilies, this wonderful perennial is native to eastern Asia and the Himalayas. A wonderfully weird introduction to the garden.

5. Hemerocallis ‘Whoopy’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dark and mysterious day lily is a popular perennial flowering garden plant, producing a velvety purple edge surrounding a dark black core and green throat.

Fact: The genus name is derived from Greek, meaning beauty and day, referring to the fact that each pretty bloom lasts only one day.

Superstition: Wearing lilies and poppies was thought to lighten people’s distress, causing the wearer to forget all their troubles.

6. Tulip ‘Queen Of Night’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a dramatic cloak of darkness to your gardens with Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, with deep velvety maroon flowers that give the appearance of a silky black sheen. ‘Queen of Night’ is classified as a single late tulip, meaning it has a single, rather than double row of petals and blooms in late spring.

Fact: The Queen of the Night is the closest that hybridists have come to creating a pure black tulip.

Superstition: Carrying Tulips in your pocket brings good luck.

7. Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fronds are a soft grayish-green with an overlay of silvery hues accented by contrasting dark maroon midribs. Silvering is best for several weeks in the spring, with fronds becoming greener as hot temperatures arrive. The attractive foliage and shape of this fern provide colour, contrast and texture.

Fact: Genus name comes from Greek athyros meaning doorless in reference to the slowly opening hinged indusia (spore covers)

8. Sedum Spurium ‘Dragons Blood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as ‘Caucasian stonecrop’ or ‘Dragons blood’ this creeping perennial bursts to life with blood red flowers from June through to August. The large simple shaped leaves create a glossy evergreen that are thick, flattened, rounded, succulent and toothed or lobed near the tips.

Fact: In autumn, ‘Dragon’s Blood’ earns its name as the leaves turn from greenish-red to dramatic deep red!

9. Tulip ‘Kingsblood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark cherry red edged scarlet. Tulip Kingsblood is a striking tall, strong tulip that will bring a hit of colour to the late spring garden. Mix with dark maroons and oranges for an eye-catching combination or planted on it’s own for a bold statement.

Fact: The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love . Like many flowers, different colors of tulips also often carry their own significance. Red tulips are most strongly associated with true love.

Superstition: In Persia, Tulips are used as a ward against evil.

10. Dicentra Spectabilis ‘Bleeding Heart’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bleeding Heart is both bold and dramatic which makes a fabulous border plant producing fern-like foliage and arching sprays of heart-shaped deep Pink and White flowers.

Fact: The Royal Horticultural Society has given this plant the Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases.

11. Rose Black Baccara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add some dark glamour to your summer border with Rose Black Baccara, a striking fragrant variety of Hybrid Tea rose with petals of deepest maroon which fade to luxurious red as the plant matures. The Black Rose Bush produces large, velvety blooms and glossy foliage from its tall, statuesque stems, making it favourite cut flower of florists.

Fact: According to the Language of Flowers or floriography in the 19th Century, a black rose implies hatred, death, and despair. It can also signify rebirth or farewell for good, in certain situations.

Superstition: Rose petals falling unexpectedly without any cause is a negative omen, potentially portending death.

12. Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bushy evergreen shrub with palmately lobed leaves, dappled with white, making it look as though it is covered in a ‘spiders web’. In autumn it produces clusters of white flowers that give way to black berries. Fruits persist on the prominent stalks for several weeks.

Fact: These evergreens are happiest in light shade, although it will still thrive where it is verging on the gloomy.

13. Tulip Perfect Partner Collection

Tulip ‘Havran’ is a truly beautiful, silk-satin almost black tulip with two to three flowers to a stem, providing that elusive darkness of colour for your patios, pots and borders. Pictured along side ‘Grand Perfection’, which flames blood red on a soft yellow background. As they mature, the yellow fades and turns creamy white.

Fact: In magical traditions, tulips appear in spells and rituals aimed at love, joy, safety, success and meaningful dreams. You can carry tulips as a charm that attracts prosperity.

Superstition: There is a superstition in Holland that Pixies live in tulip beds.

 

Happy Halloween!