October Plant of the Month: Heather

A terrific plant that deserves a spot in any garden. They may be small, but Heather are inexpensive, evergreen plants that provide colour even in the coldest months. Originating from the Scottish Hylands, transform any garden border, patio or rockery with the vibrant floral clusters of Heather and turn any garden into a carpet of dazzling colour.

To celebrate Heather as our plant of the month, we have selected our best Heather mixtures and collections on offer, as well as ideal planting partners, a planting guide and even some traditional folklore about Scotland’s national flower.

Top Varieties

Winter Flowering Collection

These small Heathers make a big impact with their masses of tiny blooms that flower all winter long into the spring. This collection of low-growing evergreen shrubs make excellent and colourful ground cover.

Click here to view online.

Winter Mixed (Erica)

One of the hardiest of the Heathers. This wonderful mix of Erica Heather are low and quick growers, which will form eye-catching mats of pink, white, purple of red blooms. The perfect plant to compliment early spring bulbs.

Click here to view online.

Summer/Winter Collection

Fill your garden with beauty all year round with this collection. Our summer Heathers bloom from July-October, while our winter Heathers flower from December to February. Plant en masse on a slope and an impressionist’s landscape will burst into life.

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Summer Mixed (Calluna)

Among the most hardiest and most varied of all Heathers. Appearing from mid-late summer, these showy flowers practically glow with their bright and beautiful shades. An easy to grow contender for adding to cottage gardens or as ground cover.

Click here to view online.

Looking for some floral inspiration? Here are some tips on companion planting with Heather…

When planted en masse, Heathers and Heaths make a swath of tones and foliage with easy appeal and graceful texture. Adding some dimension to such plantings further enhances the garden area and increases interest year around.

Rhododendrons & Azaleas

A classic Heather companion. They crave the same acidic soil and consistent moisture on which Heather thrive. You can even feed Heather with a Rhododendron fertiliser.

Click here to view online.

Pansies

When planting Heather in containers, keep it simple by accenting them with beautiful hardy Pansies. An excellent pot plant that grow well with Heather.

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Lavender

Smaller flowering plants compliment Heather and bloom at different times, thereby extending the bloom show. The look of Lavender and Heather together is a real showstopper.

Click here to view online.

Planting Guide

Planting Time: Autumn-Early Spring 📆

Soil Type: Well drained, lime-free soil 🏡

Location: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Flowering Time: July-October & December-February 🌸

  • Space Heathers as far apart as their mature width and at least 60cm away from other shrubs (to ensure good air circulation).
  • Dig a hole about twice as wide as the plug and half again as deep.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water-in.
  • Water the plant once or twice a week when the soil is dry throughout the first season.
  • Mulch after planting.
  • Trim faded flower stems back to bases straight after flowering.

  • Plant them in a large, wide pot with good drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Use ericaceous potting mix (they enjoy highly acidic soil).
  • Shelter from strong winds and water when the two-inch later of soil is dry.
  • Protect from frosts by moving small pots indoors or cover the plant with polystyrene foam, then mulch the plant heavily.

Folklore 🌟

Here are some fascinating tales about these wild blooms.

Our Favourite Bulb For Planting This Month – Double Daffodils

Incredibly charming and beautiful, Double Daffodils are more than your average daffodil. Their peony-like ruffled blooms are often fragrant and appear packed with rows of petals and thrills in an assortment of delicate colours, from peachy pinks to white and yellows. These exceptional flowers are perfect for adding a burst of romance to your beds and borders, and even for naturalising under shrubs, trees or the lawn.

Check out our favourites for 2019:

Narcissi White Lion

Undoubtedly one of our finest varieties. This award-winning variety produces sweetly scented double flowers in mid-late spring. With warm yellow centres surrounded by creamy-white petals, these pretty blooms will delight in the garden.

Click here to view online.

Narcissi Sweet Pomponette

This gorgeous double Daffodil is one of the prettiest in the Narcissi family. Radiate sunshine in the spring garden with these creamy yellow blooms. These sweet scented flowers are great for the border, or why not enjoy them potted up in containers.

Click here to view online.

 Daffodil delnashaugh

This incredibly romantic Daffodil produces pretty creamy-white petals surrounding ruffled, warm apricot-pink segments. Also, their wonderful scent will attract pollinators to the mid-late spring garden.

Click here to view online.

 

Narcissi Calgary

Create gleaming spring borders with our Narcissi Calgary. These stunning double blooms shine in the garden with their ruffled and wavy white flowers. Not only will they brighten up borders, but they also look great in pots or as cut flowers.

Click here to view online.

Make bulb planting easier with these cheery Double Daffodil Collections:

Daffodil Cheerfulness Collection

Two of our most popular, fragrant varieties together. Our mid-late spring flowering duo Cheerfulness (white) and Yellow Cheerfulness (yellow) are the perfect partners for bringing vibrant colour and sweet scents to the garden.

Click here to view online.

 Narcissi Fragrant Poeticus Collection

Delight your senses with this highly fragrant Narcissi collection. Flowering later than most varieties (April-May), this Actaea and The Bride pairing will liven up your spring borders right up until the end of the season.

Click here to view online.

Need some planting advice?

Planting time: September-November 📆

Flowering time: Mid-late Spring 🌸

Soil type: Well-drained soil

Location: Partial shade/full sun ☀

For a better visual, check out our tutorial for planting daffodil bulbs in the border.

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).

How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

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

Hyacinth Benefits:

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

Bedding Hyacinths 14/15cm

Hyacinth Fragrant Sea Mixed 14/15cm

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

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

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

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

 Hyacinth Autumn Colours Mixed

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

 

Hyacinth Double Mixed

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

 

Top-Size Hyacinths 17/18cm

Hyacinth Jan Bos 17/18cm

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

Planting Guide

Planting time: Autumn (September to December)

Position: Full/Partial Sun

Flowering time: March-April

Instructions

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

Click the video below for a full planting tutorial.

Our top choices:

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

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

 

Hyacinth Delft Blue

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

 

Continue reading How to Plant: Outdoor Hyacinths

Fragrant Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Fragrance can add a whole new dimension to the spring garden. By planting some fragrant plants this autumn you can create a peaceful, secluded scented garden spot for relaxation, a wonderfully fragrant walkway, or create vibrant and sweetly-scented beds and borders to great you in the spring.

Fill your spring garden with colour and fragrance with these beautifully scented bulbs.

Daffodil Cheerfulness

An award-winning double flowering Daffodil with flecks of sunny yellow nestle within the central cluster of the frilly crisp white petals. This English-grown variety is extremely sturdy and will liven up any borders or containers with their wonderful fragrance.

Click here to view online.

Narcissi Derringer

Soft butter-yellow blossoms complement the bright yellow cup for a charming display. ‘Derringer’ is a fragrant bloomer that smells of spring. We recommend planting in containers or in a location where the sweet aroma can be appreciated.

Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

This award-winning Hyacinth produces fragrant bell shaped blooms perfectly formed from compact clusters of violet star shaped flowers. With its deep, rich purple color, ‘Miss Saigon’ brings a cheerful sight to the dull days of late winter.

Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Fragrant Sea Mixed

A lovely mixture of fragrant Hyacinth in a soothing blend of white and blue shades for a contrasting display of sea breeze colour. These lovely highly scented flowers are excellent for bedding in early spring.

Click here to view online.

Tulip Orange Princess

You’ll soon see why this double early Tulip has won the Award of Merit. ‘Orange Princess’ Tulips are among the most scented tulips and have a light, pleasingly sweet scent. This garden royalty is a sight for sore eyes!

Click here to view online.

 

Tulip Purple Peony

With wonderful large, peony-like blooms, this gorgeous double Tulip blooms with sweetly fragrant, deep purple flowers. Pair alongside ‘Orange Princess’ for a eye-catching and contrasting spring display.

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Galanthus Elwesii

A spectacular giant Snowdrop. At the end of a long gloomy winter there is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a carpet of snowdrops. These award-winning honey scented nodding white flowers are an essential part of the winter/spring garden.

Click here to view online.

Puschkinia Libanotica

Winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, these small and fragrant starry, bell-shaped blooms can create a beautiful blanket of white and blue striped flowers under trees and in the grass.

Click here to view online.

 

Ipheion Uniflorum White Star

These sweetly scented, star-shaped flowers produce silvery white blooms that will brighten up the spring garden. Beautiful and long lasting, these cheery flowers are great for the edges of borders and rockeries.

Click here to view online.

 

Ipheion Uniflorum Mixed

These simple yet elegant blooms are an absolute delight in the spring garden. With bright colour and a sweet fragrance, these hardy flowers are great for naturalising in the garden.

Click here to view online.

Muscari Cupido

Add clusters of these sweetly fragrant flowers to your spring garden. This easy to grow perennial bears densely packed blue pea-like flowers, edged in white, which can create a beautiful combination when planted with other spring-flowering favourites.

Click here to view online.

Muscari White Magic

These heavily scented flowers will create a glorious carpet of fragrance that will shine in the spring garden. These white spherical blooms are perfect for partnering alongside richly coloured Tulips.

Click here to view online.

Lily of the Valley (Giant)

Nearly double the height of the traditional Lily of the Valley, there’s no surprise this variety is a spring favourite. With a lovely honey scent, these woodland flowers bloom with nodding white flowers that will gleam in the spring sunshine.

Click here to view online.

This stunning pale-pink Lily of the Valley will certainly earn its place in any garden. With an strong fragrance, these woodland blooms will certainly pack a fragrant punch in the spring time. An excellent choice for shady borders.

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Crocus Snow Bunting

As white as the name suggests, this award-winning Crocus is considered one of the best spring-flowering Crocus varieties. With a sweet scent, their pretty ivory flowers and rich golden hearts are a sight to behold in the garden.

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Crocus Cream Beauty

These award-winning, creamy yellow fragrant flowers are perfect for planting under taller shrubs and trees in beds or borders. A pure delight in early spring that, if left undisturbed, will multiply year after year.

Click here to view online.

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

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum
Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia
Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum
Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium
Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia
Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather
Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas
Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria
Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone
Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops
Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore
Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood
Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE
Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac
Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender
Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

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