Crocus: Spring Garden Guide

CROCUS-VERNUS-MIXED

There’s nothing like the first crocus sighting of the year. While it doesn’t necessarily mean spring is right around the corner – it certainly pushes the winter gloom away!

Whilst I love sightings in parks and woodlands, it’s rather lovely to create your own display at home. In a larger garden a secluded out of the way patch with a host of naturalizing bubs is a delight, and where space is limited crocus lend themselves well to creating a lively potted display.

1-Crocus-mixed

Of course, one of their best features is that they are great naturalisers, creating a bigger display each year as they mature.

How to plant

Crocus corms like good drainage and are really well suited to rock gardens as well as beds and borders. Plant 5-7cm deep in a good sunny position. The bottom of the corms are flat, but if you plant them upside down nature will sort itself out so don’t worry too much!

Crocus-Mixed-bed

The natural look…

Crocus will come back year after year, making them ideal if you want to ‘naturalise’ an area in your garden. Pick a well-drained spot that gets plenty of sunshine, toss your bulbs into that area, then plant them where they land. The idea is to get a natural clumped and haphazard display rather than neat rows you would find in a more formal setting. They will do well if you fertilize your crocus every other year, and you should only cut down the foliage when they have fully died off naturally for the season, other-wise you may not get as good a showing of flowers the following year.

Fun Fact

You can save money by growing your own luxury items!

Grow you own saffron

Saffron is a rare and highly coveted spice and if you’ve ever brought it you’ll already know it’s literally worth more than its own weight in gold! To grow your own is quite easy – however it takes quite a lot of flowers for a good crop. One flower will produce three strands or ribbons of saffron – so to get a pounds work (450g) you would need about 50,000-75000 flowers! So unless you have an acre of land…..

Saffron-field

If you’re planning on growing saffron for your own use however, 50-60 flowers will probably get you a tablespoons worth.

Saffron

Harvest by hand – even commercial growers have to harvest saffron by hand – that’s why it’s so expensive.

Harvesting-saffron-by-hand

The good news is thanks to crocus’ brilliant ability to naturalise –each year they will multiply and flower again giving you an ever increasing display – and stock of spice!

Autumn Flowering Crocus

Autumn Flowering Crocus
Autumn Flowering Crocus

Crocus Sativus Saffron

 

Our fragrant autumn flowering crocus Sativus has been grown for their expensive spice in Britain since the Tudor times. These beautiful purple flowers bloom in Autumn where you can remove their red ribbons with tweezers to collect the spice for your own use.

Crocus Species (Winter/ Flowering)

Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus
Winter/Spring Flowering Crocus

Crocus chrysanthus Advance

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Advance’

 

This unique colouring of bronze and yellow blooms are shaded with lilac along the outside with a creamy yellow inside. A pure delight for early spring that, if left undisturbed will multiply year after year.

Large Flowering Crocus

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Large Flowering Crocus

Crocus Flower Record

 

This gorgeous Crocus has deep purple blooms with contrasting orange stamens and stigma and is a pure delight for brightening up the garden in the spring time.

 

Daffodils & Narcissi: Spring Garden Guide

 

The Narcissi or daffodil as is it more commonly known, is one of the most recognisable perennial bulbs in the British garden, and has been for centuries. The joy that these simple to grow bulbs can bring is no more prominent that in the poem entitled “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth where he stumbled across “a host of golden Daffodils”. The sight of Daffodil flowers dancing adds thoughts of joy and pleasure to the poet and to millions of British gardeners for centuries. Plant bulbs in the autumn for a superb spring show, ideal for borders, rockeries, pots on the patio, or even in hanging baskets.

Narcissus-Tete-a-Tete-2

Easy to plant

Daffodils are one of the easiest bulbs to have success with and are suitable for gardeners of all levels of experience. Plant at least 10cm deep or approximately three to four times the depth of the bulb. Space as desired or plant in clumps for a cluster display. Daffodils prefer a spot well sheltered from the wind, preferably with plenty of access to sun. Daffodils are best planted in well drained, fertile soil. It is important that you keep the soil moist during the growing season and allow the leaves to die back naturally before deadheading. They can be lifted and moved once the foliage has died off or they can be left to naturalise when planted in grass or under trees, where they can be left undisturbed for years.

Hardy Bulbs which can naturalise

Daffodils are a great choice as they are hardy perennial bulbs which will come back year after year. They are very simple to grow and will even naturalise if left undisturbed for years.

Narcissus-Cheerfulness-Yellow-Cheerfulness-edit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wordsworth even makes reference in his famous poem to their ability to naturalise and multiply, as they stretch in a “never-ending line” along the fields and below the trees.

Peom-fine-and-faded

 

Daffodil Varieties

Cyclamineus Narcissi

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These dainty daffodils have small cups with swept back petals and usually flower in early spring. Perfect for en masse planting or a rockery.

Double Daffodils

Narcissus-Delnashaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Double Flowering Daffodils are cultivated for one or more flowers per stem and are perfect for creating that ruffled effect that stands out from the crowd. We have some great varieties available for flowering in early spring or mid spring. Double Daffodil and Narcissi bulbs are suitable for planting in autumn and flowers burst onto the scene in spring. Perfect for planting in a colourful border!

Indoor Daffodils and Narcissi

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Incredibly popular, these are specially treated so that they will flower during the winter months. If you get your timings right, you can have a fabulous Christmas display!

Fun Fact

Anniversary-flowers

Daffodils are the 10th year wedding anniversary flower.

Jonquilla Narcissi

Jonquilla-Narcissi

Sweetly scented daffodils that come in a great variety of shapes, sizes and colours.

Miniature Rockery Narcissi

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These dainty daffodils are fragrant and charming! A great choice for patio containers and pots, or the front of a border. Available in a range of golden yellow and traditional white Narcissi bulbs. Plant in autumn and wait for a colourful spring display.

Multi-headed & Triandrus Narcissi

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These can offer up to five pendants on each stem and a superb naturalising Daffodil perennial bulb. Browse our range below and plant in autumn. They make a great border Daffodil but are also suitable for planting in areas where little else grows such as under trees and woodland scenes.

Tall Daffodils & Narcissi

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Perfect impact plants for the border or rockery. Taller varieties can tower over miniature spring flowering bulbs and help create a colourful setting that can be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

Trumpet & Cupped Narcissi

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Cupped and Trumpet Daffodils produce an array of small or large sized cups (or coronoas as they are also known), perfect for all situations where the petals really do jump out at you.

Fun Fact

Daffodils-in-vase-cropped

Daffodils are poisonous – so don’t eat the bulbs and don’t arrange with other flowers without soaking them for 24 hours first.

Orchid Flowering Narcissi

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Breath-taking flowers that really do offer something a little different than traditional varieties. Orchid Daffodils propel a gorgeous split cup or cornona that gives the flower the appearance of being an orchid, hence their name. They are a great addition to any spring garden display and are also very effective as cut flowers. A real Jewel in the Daffodil bulb range.

Poeticus/Tazetta Narcissi

Poet_tri

Free flowering, these produce amazing shows in spring. Tazetta Daffodil bulbs can produce up to an amazing 20 small flowers per stem making them superb value and ideal for growing in border, rockeries and patio containers. Fragrant Poeticus Daffodil bulbs are great for naturalising and will create an abundance of small cups in a variation of colours with large white petals.

Top 10 Exotic Plants for your Garden

Our top ten exotic plants to liven up your patio and garden displays in 2017.

There’s nothing like bringing a taste of the exotic to your garden in summer, and when these plants come to life they cannot be beaten for vibrancy and interest!

1. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Bird-of-paradise-flower-shutterstock

Where better to start than with this attractive ornamental plant, also known as a Crain flowers for its tropical bird like shape. Surprisingly easy to grow, they hold an RHS Award of garden merit.

2. Datura Hybrids or Brugmansia

Datura

These impressive patio plants are also known as Angel’s Trumpets. The magnificent flowers on this tree like plant are perfect for growing in large tubs on a sunny patio. Best to move indoors or to a greenhouse in winter.

3. Passiflora

Passiflora

An amazing sight on a summers day – these climbing plants, commonly known as Passion Flowers, produce a constant flow of exotic shaped flowers throughout summer. The summer fruit is edible and can be used for making jam, for a good crop grow in a greenhouse.

4. Zantedeschia

calla-2

An increasingly popular choice, these distinctive flowers, known as Calla Lilies, are an expensive treat that can be grown indoors, or outside.

5. Mimosa Acacia

Acacia-Mimosa-

This fragrant beauty is heavy with masses of dainty yellow flowers bubbling over its feathered foliage. Only when its growing on your patio will you appreciate why its name was given to a very popular cocktail!

6. Dipladenia Sundaville

Sundaville-Red-and-Pink-Mandevilla

Sensational patio or conservatory plants that can also be trained up a trellis. They will flower from spring to October outdoors and up to Christmas in a conservatory.

7. Callistemon Citrinus ‘Splendens’

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Add a dramatic flash of colour to your garden with this vibrant red flowered plant, also known as the Red Bottle brush plant.

8. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

These stunning flowering plants have become an increasingly popular patio choice, producing an abundance of bright tubular flowers in summer and autumn.

9. Canna Tropicanna®

Tropicanna

These vigorous growing Canna grow really well in the UK. The spears of foliage are an amazing sight caught in sunlight, with tropical flowers simply an added bonus!

10. Patio and Greenhouse Fruit

Grape-Cabernet-Sauvignon

Ever thought of growing your own Grapes? They are a magnificent treat and will grow really well in a greenhouse. Or if you don’t have a greenhouse and are a little short on space we have a whole range of Dwarf Fruit Trees that will make an excellent addition to your patios or conservatory. For exotic flavours try Figs, Limes, Lemons, Mandarins, or our new Pepino Melon.

Plant of the Month – Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf Rhododendrons

Dwarf-Rhododendrons

 

The stunning flowers of the Rhododendron have earned them a legion of fans, and quite right too! Some varieties of full size Rhododendrons will simply keep growing until they grow into giant trees, although you can prune them down, these larger varieties may not be an option in your garden.

This month we’re taking a look at some stunning dwarf varieties. The compact growth habit of these shrubs give them an outstanding formal appearance, making them ideal for small city gardens or courtyards where space is at a premium. They’re even small enough to slot nicely beneath taller shrubs in the border, or grow nicely in a rock garden.

Rhododendron Princess Anne

Rhododendron-Princess-Anne
A dwarf evergreen shrub variety with soft primrose yellow flowers which appear in spring, sitting nicely alongside the green foliage. A very reliable performer, its holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Height and spread only 50-60cm as adult plant.

 

POTM-AGM-April

Rhododendron Dwarf Collection

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Our collection brings together Scarlet Wonder (red), Moerheim Lilac (lilac/mauve) and Pink Drift (cool-toned, light pink). A burst of colour for your border or patio, all three are exceptionally compact and manageable. These varieties produce trusses of up to three funnel shaped, vibrant flowers from April-June, against a lush background of ovate, glossy dark green leaves.

Planting

POTM-April

 

You can plant out in March/April or in October.

Prepare the ground by digging in plenty of compost, neutral or acidic organic matter, or leafmold etc. Plant so the roots are covered, not too deep and apply a good layer of mulch lightly over the surface, don’t pack it down. Re-mulch and feed with an ericaceous fertiliser each spring.

Ericaceous fertiliser? This is for plants that are not as happy in limey soils. It’s a lime-free acidic compost that was habitually made with peat – however as awareness that adding peat to soils is bad for the environment you can now easily find peat free varieties to buy.

Dwarf varieties can cope with positioning in full sun but need evenly moist, well drained soils so keep on top of watering them in the hottest part of summer. Rhododendrons like lots of water and use rain-water if you can – you should particularly avoid tap-water if you live in a hard water area. As with larger Rhododendrons they won’t do at all well subjected to frost so take care to protect them and avoid areas you know are prone to it in your garden.

Rhododendron Praecox

Rhododendron-Praecox-without-label
Technically this one will reach a mature height of 150cm, so not quite as dwarf as the varieties above but this stunning variety shouldn’t be missed out. Its one of the earliest flowering varieties, producing an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. It holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons – what’s the difference?

In truth not very much! Azaleas are a group within the Rhododendron family and they have some small differences. Rhododendrons will have ten or more stamens, while an Azalea will usually have five stamens. Rhododendrons have larger leaves and they will be paddle-shaped, Azalea have smaller, elliptical leaves. Also Rhododendrons are evergreen, whereas Azaleas can be evergreen or deciduous.

March Plant of the Month – Aubrieta

Aubrieta

To view our full range of Aubrieta, click the link here. http://bit.ly/2D2AepP

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Aubretia Cascade Collection

Nothing creates a carpet of colour like an Aubrieta in early spring! These fantastic, very low growing plants range from deepest vibrant shades to the palest almost white hues in a range of violets, purple and pinks.

The traditional single Aubrieta produce dainty four-petalled flowers over mounds of hairy foliage.

Aubrieta

 

They used to be a common sight on rockeries, although rockeries are a less common sight themselves these days. They are very eye-catching trailing over walls and can even be grown in containers and will last right into May.

Named after Claude Aubriet, a French botanical painter they are commonly known as Aubretia. They grow in the wild in Europe and Central Asia.

Planting

POTM-March

Aubrieta are quite happy in most soils and can handle a little shade, but for the best results they like alkaline soils and a position in full sun.

Trim right down after flowering to around half its size and you’ll get a fresh growth of foliage for the summer followed by masses of new flowers in the spring. Apart from that they will happily look after themselves for the rest of the year.

For more tips on planting watch our video tutorial with plant expert Jeff Turner on growing Aubrieta HERE.

Products

Aubrieta Red Cascade

Aubretia-Red-Cascade-Adjusted

Clusters of dainty red-pink single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. The Royal Horticultural Society has given Red Cascade their Award of Garden Merit. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

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Aubrieta Blue

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Sweeping clusters of dainty blue-violet single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

Looking for something a little bit different….?

Double Flowered Aubrieta. If you’re already a dab hand with Aubrieta why not try these lovely new double varieties?

Aubrieta Double Pink

Aubrieta-'Double-Pink'

Lovely lilac-pink double flowers with a dainty yellow centre. A great low maintenance creeping perennial plant that will quickly produce a thick mound of extravagant ground cover. Ideal for rockeries and borders, will also grow well in containers. Although it will tolerate partial shade, Aubrieta is happiest in full sun light in well-drained soils. 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.

 

Aubrieta Blue Beauty

Aubrieta-'Blue-Beauty'

A beautiful vibrant double flowering Aubrieta. This royal blue Aubrieta will spread rapidly, producing a mound of dense ground cover. Ideal for the border, overhanging walls or in rockeries, loved by bees. . Aubrieta is naturally suited to cool climates so is at its best in the spring, it will thrive if you plant it in well-drained sweet (or alkaline) soils in full sun. Try planting with Helianthemum (Sun Rose), another brilliant creeping ground cover plant that will flower in summer when the Aubrieta starts to decline. 3cm plug plants supplied.

Aubrieta Collection

Two double-flowering Aubretia varieties that produce beautiful shades of pink and purple toned ruffled blooms, which includes our Double Pink and Blue Beauty varieties to create a dense carpet of colour.

Companion plants

Aubrieta prefer cooler conditions so will start to look bedraggled as the summer draws in so choose a ground cover plant that will cheerfully follow it and enjoy the warmer weather!

Here’s a selection of some great ground cover plants that like similar conditions to Aubrieta and flower from May.

 

Helianthemum Sun Rose
Helianthemum Sun Rose A hardy shrub like perennial that’s great for rockeries or filling a gap at the front of a border. Flowers May – June.

 

Geranium Cinereum (Jolly Jewel Night)
Geranium Cinereum (image of the Jolly Jewel Night variety) A colorful, compact plant perfect for suppressing weeds. Hardy and disease resistant. Flowers May to September.
Sedum Kamtschaticum
Sedum Kamtschaticum A great rockery creeper, producing a mound of glossy green leaves with star shaped yellow flowers – really good for suppressing weeds. Flowers May – July.
Cerastium (Snow in Summer)
Cerastium (Snow in Summer) A rampant creeping mound of flowers that will grow anywhere – even in very poor soils. Flowers form May to July.

How to Prune: Trees and Shrubs

When and how to prune trees and shrubs

 

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Ask most gardeners to name the task that fills them most with dread and fear, and pruning will almost certainly come to mind. This doesn’t of course need to be the case. With a little planning and preparation in advance then we can easily maintain the long term health and vibrancy of the garden.

Pruning is the process of removing particular parts of a tree, plant or shrub on a regular basis, such as branches, shoots, buds, etc. The overall goal of pruning should be that of extending the life cycle of the plant.

Most pruning is a simple do it yourself job, and it’s very important …..

Pruning


Why do I need to prune?

  • To promote healthy development – removing the old, dying or weak branches from the trees/shrubs will allow the structure to become stronger and flowering to become more prolific leaving your with a more healthy and disease free plant.
  • To help maintain the ornamental appearance – Removing damaged or wayward shoots will stop the branches from becoming unnecessarily entangled and messy.
  • To remove diseased or dying wood – Essential, and will make the tree/shrub less appealing for insects to live within.
  • To control height and shape – If you are looking to keep certain plants, such as climbers or vigorous growing shrubs from becoming unmanageable, then regular and hard pruning will be a must.
  • To promote flowering and fruiting –pruning back helps to improve flowering and air circulation. With fruit trees in particular this should result in a much better and larger crop year on year.
  • To identify problems – By keeping regular pruning you will in turn identify any potential problems which may occur from time to time.

Click here to view our range of Trees & Shrubs!

How to Prune: Climbing Plants

Climbing Plants

Climbing plants can benefit from regular pruning to ensure that they do not become too overgrown and out of control.

Clematis, will need to be pruned to about 20cm on planting. Most Clematis plants will require you to remove dead heads and stems, cutting back to where strong buds appear (in late winter).

 

 

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ and ‘Ville de Lyon’ only require light pruning (in February) in subsequent years. Clematis jackmanii should always be pruned back hard while Montana type Clematis such as Montana Mayleen, which is very vigorous, just needs to be cut back to control.

 

Lonicera, commonly known as the fragrant Honeysuckle, just need you to trim out the wood occasionally after flowering, removing the longer wayward shoots that have become overgrown or beginning to die off.

 

 

Evergreen Trachelospermum jasminoides  can be pruned in late winter and early spring when the flowering has finished.

 

 

 

 

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Winter Favourites

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When autumn leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air and gardeners across the country are frantically trying to get the last of that yeas plants in the ground before a frost settles in you know that winter is well on its way!

With some careful planning there is no reason for the cold winter months to mean the drab winter months in your garden!

Our favourite Winter Shrubs…

This is a rundown of our favourite winter flowering shrubs guaranteed to breathe some life and colour back into a winter garden.

Viburnum

Very hardy, deciduous shrubs which produce dense clusters of richly perfumed flowers, often followed by berries. There are a dizzying array of viburnum varieties, with huge variations in leaf shape and forms of flower heads, some are evergreen and some deciduous, some flower in winter – others late in spring! The variety and versatility make them invaluable for gardeners seeking all year round interest – Viburnums are our 2016 November Plant of the month – you can find that article HERE.

Our Top choice Viburnum | Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn

viburnum-bodnantense-dawn

 

A very hardy, deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of richly perfumed, deep rose pink flowers which eventually fade to candyfloss pink, and eventually white by late spring. In summer, attractive round purple berries are produced. Foliage is huge, ovate and toothed, with deeply scored veins which give it an almost quilted look. It boasts a particularly long season of interest, one of the many reasons it was awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Skimmia

Fairly compact evergreen shrub that flowers from spring into early summer. Known for being hardy they are equally happy in a border or in containers on a patio. With a compact habit they are fairly low maintenance, perfect for growing in borders or containers on a patio.

Sarcococca (Christmas Box)

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Amazingly easy to grow, dense and reliable evergreen. It has slender, tapering shiny leaves and produces sweetly fragranced flowers from December to February. After flowering, Christmas Box produces an abundance of attractive berries. Excellent in partial shade, even in drier soils.

Ilex (Holly)

 

Evergreen Hollies (or Ilex) will give all year round pleasure from the vivid new growth in spring and early summer to the berries in winter. When birds can’t find anything else to eat they will flock to the holly bush. Stems of holly are ideal for winter floral arrangements, and look particularly dazzling when painted silver or white. English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is our December Plant of the Month.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

This winter flowering gem was named after Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, who collected it in the Himalayas and brought it back to Britain in the mid-1800s. Cinnamon coloured branches provide a stunning contrast to the clusters of fragrant, tubular yellow flowers. A great plant for the winter garden, they rarely succumb to pests and diseases, but will need a sheltered spot.

Chinese Witch Hazel

Exotic Chinese witch hazel (also known as Hamamelis) are deciduous, winter flowering shrubs that produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades, bursting into life like mini firework displays from December to March.

Corylus avellana Contorta (Corkscrew Hazel)

 

corylus-contorta-with-catkins

 

A real conversation piece. This unusual and resilient deciduous shrub has the most amazing twisted stems and branches earning it the common name corkscrew hazel. In summer the branches bear a tangle of broadly ovate green leaves followed later by nuts. In late winter and early spring a mass of weeping yellow catkins unfurl. This curious variety has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. A great architectural plant and an ideal choice for creating a wildlife garden attracting moths, butterflies and a variety of insects as well as birds and squirrels. A slow growing shrub, it will reach around 1.8-2m after ten years.

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox - Wintersweet

 

These are a truly striking sight, producing unusual pendant yellow flowers on leafless branches in winter. The flowers have a strong spicy fragrance, and last from November until February. It will grow into a good sized rounded shrub, or can it can be trained to grow against a trellis or wall. Introduced from China it is also known as ‘wintersweet’ or ‘Japanese Allspice’. They are hardy and noted for being able to survive a frost, although will appreciated a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden where they will make the most of the summer heat, ripening in winter where, after a good summer they will produce abundant flowers. These are a real winter beauty, and will not carry the same impact when it has lost its flowers, so it is worth considering their position carefully where space is at a premium – although its brilliant fragrance and particular beauty in the winter make it well worth growing.

Dogwood (Cornus)

Spectacular bushy shrubs, ideal for creating a showy feature in the garden, they bring a burst of colour that is particularly valuable in a drab winter garden. The shoots can also be used as part of an imaginative indoor cut-flower display, perhaps even spraying them gold and silver for a festive look. We’d recommend planting in groups of three for a truly fantastic show in winter once all the other colour is gone.

Our top Cornus Choice: Cornus Midwinter Fire

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Cornus Midwinter Fire (commonly known as dogwood) is a shrub which produces ovate, mid-green leaves and small, cream/white flowers in May and June – however, the flowers are not the star of this show. In autumn, Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to it s 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.

Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty

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Also known as the winter flowering honeysuckle. Masses of creamy-white, fragrant flowers are produced in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs can be used for scented winter flower arrangements. We’d recommend planting Winter Beauty as a standalone specimen in the border, but it can also be trained up a wall or fence.

Mahonia

Fabulous evergreen shrubs producing large leaves, autumn flowers followed by colourful berries all throughout the winter months. With their compact habits they will work well in a mixed border, ideal for partnering with over evergreen shrubs such as Buxus, Camellia or a Photinia Red Robin.

Our Top Mahonia Choice | Charity Cabaret

The Mahonia Nitens Cabaret also known as Oregon Grape, is an amazing new introduction to the Mahonia range. It will produce the usual glossy holly like evergreen leaves you would expect from a Mahonia. It is a compact variety and produces its flowers from the end of summer and right through the autumn, with stunning oranges and reds. After the flowers have bloomed, blue berries will form, these work wonderfully with the winter foliage.

Jasmine

This marvellous fragrant shrub will flower throughout the summer and into the winter months. it presents gorgeous dainty star shaped flowers, usually pure white, pale buttery yellow or very rarely deep pink. A stunning adornment for any trellis, fence or wall, the pretty flowers bring a distinctive sweet scent. It will do well in most soils, can be pruned in early spring to keep to a tidy shape and keep it nice and healthy for repeated stunning displays year after year.

Our Top Choice | Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

Trachelospermum jasminoides. Star Jasmin

A highly fragrant, vigorous climber that produces clusters of beautiful, star shaped pure white flowers from June throughout the summer months, which turn to cream with age. It has dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. It is best to grow Trachelospermum jasminoides against a warm, sunny wall. Can climb to 8m, however prune after flowering to size required. This Jasmine is a stunning addition, for a wonderful display throughout the summer months perfuming the air with its sweet fragrance.

Callicarpia profusion

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Also known as ‘Beauty berry’, it is a beautiful eye-catching medium sized deciduous shrub which produces masses of tiny star shaped lilac flowers in summer. When pollinated, these start to form the outstanding clusters of vibrant purple, almost metallic berries we see in autumn and winter. Not only do these berries bring a welcome splash of colour at a time when there is very little, they also provide a valuable source of food for birds during the colder months which they will thank you for. It is not just the berries that are showy- young leaves begin a bronzy purple colour, maturing to deep green in summer and fading to lime green, then eventually plum purple in autumn. We’d recommend planting in groups of three.

Gardening for Shaded Areas


Shade Gardening

If you find that your garden has limited access to natural light then fear not, there are still many plants available for growing in partial or even fully shaded areas.

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Highly shaded areas need not be a deterrent to getting active in the garden and are in fact increasing becoming more popular as gardeners in many urban areas are finding ways of making the most of every possible little piece of space. Be creative and you will easily find something that can fill almost every little corner of the garden.

Balcony in Ang Mo Kio area. Growing flowers and herbs in hanging pots balcony/corridor is very popular in Singapore .
Balcony in Ang Mo Kio area. Growing flowers and herbs in hanging pots in a balcony or corridor is very popular in Singapore.

Creating your own border when light is restricted can actually be an easy process and doesn’t differ too much from planning a sunny border.

But first!

Two essential considerations when selecting shade loving plants….

  • Good drainage
  • Make sure the soil receives a good level of nutrients

During the wetter periods of the year and in particular when little light is present to absorb the extra moisture on the surface, good drainage will help maintain a good growing environment and provide the best chance possible for the roots. Because the sun is restricted then you can help the plants in shaded areas by adding a natural organic substance or fertiliser to the soil to help enrich the soil. This will help replace the nutrients that may be missing and hopefully help avoid the soil from drying out.

shadey garden path

Creating your own border when light is limited can be an easy process. When choosing plants have a check to see if they will tolerate partial shade or full shade, then let your own preference be the guide. Have a look now at some of our suggested plants and bulbs, all suitable for planting now in preparation for flowering next year.

Perennials

The range of perennial plants and shrubs available is quite extensive and there is sure to be something for everyone.

Hosta

Hosata smaller

Designer Hostas are a popular choice because of the wonderful foliage they offer and can really add a touch of class to the border.

Ferns

Mixed ferns

Ferns will prosper beautifully and come in such a variety of colours that they must be worth a try.

Tricyrtis

Toad lilies

Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies) can also be used to add an unusual effect with their truly amazing spotted flowers in autumn.

Heuchera

Heuchera

The front of a border can benefit from the stunning foliage that Heuchera can bring, particularly since recent developments in breeding have introduced new colourful varieties such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ (bright ruby red foliage) and ‘Plum Royale’ (shiny purple foliage). These low-growing plants will easily fill gaps and spaces in the border that may be left between larger trees and shrubs.

Convallaria Bordeaux

4.1.2

If you would like to add little fragrance in spring then we suggest trying the very reliable Convallaria Bordeaux (Giant Lily of the Valley), great for planting in groups where the white flowers show themselves from the middle of spring on wards.

Monarda

Monarda

Monarda are a superb choice for fragrance in summer and autumn, where the spiky head flowers are complimented by a wonderful mint aroma.

Bergenia Erioca

Bergenia Erioca

A new improved version of the more common Bergenia. The hardiness of Bergenia makes it suitable for gardens all over the country, even in some of the colder parts of northeast Scotland.

Shrubs

Popular shrubs for a shade-loving border come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be grown as stand-alone items in a border, while all those listed below will work side-by-side with many perennials and shrubs to add a really varied showing.

Big leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea Magical Revolution Blue

The big leaf varieties will do well in shade. Our pick is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Magical Revolution Blue,’ which will tolerate even fully shaded areas where almost no natural light gets in. This variety produces large headed blue flowers, which actually turn deep purple as the flowers mature.

Juniper Sky Rocket

Juniper Rocket Juniperus

A marvellous narrow conifer tree that can grow up to 3m, and because of its slender column shape it will not restrict light for other areas of the garden.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia - Virginia Creeper growng with Hedera - Ivy on house wall

If you have a south-facing or a wall where light is obstructed then why not try growing a climber up the wall, with Virginia Creeper the ideal candidate because of its remarkable leaf colourings, especially in autumn.

Vinca major ‘Variegata’

Vinca Major Variegata

A great variegated leafed evergreen shrub that will grow in almost any garden soil and location. Wonderful for growing underneath trees as well, where the blue flowers appearing in spring can last up until autumn.

Pachysandra terminalis

Pachysandra terminalis

For year around appeal you could also try the increasingly popular Pachysandra terminalis, which will save hours of intensive garden labour by suppressing weeds and acting as a ground cover shrub. The vivid green, succulent foliage is a real sight when planted in rows and can act as a low growing path boundary or screen.

Bulbs

A good way to make the most of shaded areas under trees and large shrubs is the introduction of naturalising bulbs, which left undisturbed over time will often multiply to create a beautiful woodland effect.

English grown Daffodils and Narcissi bulbs

Narcissi

Many varieties are suitable to grow is shaded areas and our favourites to give a try are ‘Cheerfulness’ (Showy double white variety), ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ (Lemon yellow blooms) and the original native UK Daffodil ‘Obvallaris’, fondly known as the Tenby Daffodil. (Illustrated in order mentioned from left to right).

Crocus and Miscellaneous bulbs

misc bulbs

Great for planting en masse and leaving to multiply in highly shaded areas. The dwarf nature of these perennial bulbs make they great for adding a little bit of colour where needed. For some spring colour try planting Crocus ‘Prince Claus’ (colourful blend of white and blue) or the wonderful yellow Crocus ‘Fuscotinctus’. Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ will offer an enchanting pale blue display or the popular Muscari armeniacum will create a sea of lavender blue/purple.

Bluebells

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The perfect flower to round up our list. Coming across bluebells in the wild is a real treat and many people like to grow their own. They love being planted under trees and are a real delight in dappled shade. Also supply these in the green for easy transplantation and reliable results.

September Plant of the Month – Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea mixed

Echinacea are incredibly vibrant coloured cone flowers with giant heads on tall stems. Their bright colours will attract wildlife to your garden, as bees and butterflies love this plant as much as we do. The purpurea varieties are the only Echinacea grown from root stock, producing those thick stems that make them perfect for use as cut flowers. Echinacea are a tough plant, their eye catching colourful blooms that draw so much attention actually love to be ignored, a great hassle free choice for you garden.

The delightful shades of Echinacea purpurea are ideal for a summer border. The cheerful flowers look great mixed in with other plants and bulbs, or can be planted en-masse for a bold splash of colour. They will even do well in pots – plant in a deep container and position where they will get plenty of sunlight.

Companion plants

colourful mixed perennials flower bed

Echinacea are spectacular in a mixed border – as illustrated above. They partner really well with Rudbeckia varieties, as you can see above, the bright purples look particularly striking against the bright yellow of the Rudbeckia Goldsturm. We’ve highlighted a few more great companion plants in the gallery below.

Planting

POTM September Echinacea Quick facts box

Echinacea need to be grown in full sun, they won’t thrive at all in shade but will cope with a little. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it is well drained and they are drought tolerant once established. Deadhead to prolong flowering. You can propagate by division in spring and autumn but they prefer not to be disturbed and can become more bushy in habit but less floriferous.

How-to Tutorial

Jeff demonstrates how to plant border perennials together in this easy to follow video. Rudbeckia and Echinacea complement each other exceptionally and both make excellent summer border plants.

Aftercare

Pinch off spent flowers on a regular basis — or use them as cuttings in flower arrangements — to extend the blooming period. Apply a quality flower fertilizer several times during the gardening season to promote big, beautiful blossoms. Mulch to prevent weeds, conserve moisture and improve aesthetics.

Cut plants to the ground in late winter after flowers have gone to seed.

Click HERE to view our full range of Echinacea!