Tulips: Spring Garden Guide

banner

The many shapes and shades of the Tulip have helped to make it one of the most popular spring flowers. A familiar sight in British gardens, Tulip bulbs are so versatile that they can be planted with any other spring bulb, as well as having multiple uses in borders, patio pots and flowerbeds.

IMG_4216

Equally useful in the garden or the vase, planting tulips in the autumn will give you a guaranteed display of vibrant colour throughout the spring.

Tulipa-'Princess-Irene'2

Uses

  • Bedding and borders
  • Pots and Containers
  • Naturalising (some varieties – see below)
  • Cut Flowers

tulip feaver fun fact

Planting Tutorials

How to Plant Tulips

How to Plant Tulip Companions

How to Plant Darwin Hybrid Tulips

Varieties

There are a lot of different types of Tulip to choose from, each boasting their own unique qualities.

Double Early Tulips

Tulip-Willemsoord-and-William-of-Orange_0686_2664_2665_0687_2666_2667

These are dwarf growing varieties that flower prolifically in April through to early May each year. They produce massive peony-like flowers with delicate and brilliant colours which are very effective in flower beds and borders, and make a lovely cut bouquet. Double Early Tulip bulbs are supplied as top quality bulbs ready to plant in autumn and flower in spring.

Double Late (Peony) Tulips

Tulip-Carnaval-De-Nice-and-Golden-Nizza_

Double Late Tulips flower later than most Tulip varieties, usually from late April into May. They produce giant peony shaped flowers on very sturdy stems of around 40-60cm and look spectacular when used as cut flowers. Double Late Tulips bulbs can be planted in autumn and will flower in spring. A really beautiful and unusual Tulip!

Fosteriana Tulips

Tulip-Orange-Brilliant

Fosteriana Tulips, also commonly known as the (Emperor Tulip) are chosen for their brilliant oriental colours and large flowers, creating a startling effect wherever planted. Sensational flowers on very stocky stems, perfect for a sunny border. Flowering in April/May every spring.

Fringed Tulips

Tulip-Cummins---Huis-Ten-Bosch

Fringed Tulips (also known as Crispa Tulips) have a very compact habit with extremely sturdy stems that produce colourful and vibrant flowers which have unusual fringed edges that give a ruffled effect. Flowering a little later than some Tulip varieties, they add colour and charm in late April into May. Height 50-70cm.

Greigii/Kaufmanniana Tulips

Page-4-Tulip-Kaufmanniana-Mixed

Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips are colourful and exciting dwarf growing botanical Tulips which grow to only 20-25cm tall, producing unusual glossy green or mottled foliage that look stunning grown in any area within the garden. Greigii and Kaufmanniana Tulips flower earlier than many other short stemmed Tulips, from as early as March onwards into April. Try planting in rows along a path, driveway or in a flower bed, where the sturdy stems and bright colours will easily catch the eye.

Lily Flowering Tulips

Tulip-Burgundy-(2)_3966_3967_3968

Lily Flowering Tulips produce spectacular Flute shaped flowers that produce gracefully reflexing flowers, all on tall and very strong stems. They are particularly useful for cut flower arrangements and look amazing as part of a flower bouquet. Also known as Fluted Tulips.

Multi-Headed and Praestans Tulips

Tulipa-Multiflowering-Mixed-FA-12-0804

Multi-Flowered Tulips are one of the most popular and effective Tulips for flower bouquets where their amazing variations in colours, coupled with strong stems allow them to really make a statement. They produce three to six flower heads per stem offering great value for money. Praestans Tulips are a popular botanical Tulip producing 25-30cm flowers which are a great naturalising bulb that multiply profusely.

Parrot Tulips

Tulip-Black-Parrot-0000801

Quite possibly one of the most unique but equally splendid Tulip varieties has to be the Parrot Tulip, producing giant irregular shaped flowers with petals that resemble the feathers of a tropical Parrot. Flowering from April into May, Parrot Tulips really do produce some of the most beautiful colour shades and are excellent for bedding purposes, where they can create an exotic look and feel.

Rembrandt Tulips

Tulip-Rembrandt-Mixed

Originating back to the time of Rembrandt, when Tulips were first introduced to Holland, Rembrandt Tulips are a combination of colours used to create a flamed effect that will delight almost like a flicker of a rainbow. Modern Rembrandt Tulips bulbs are 100% virus free and produce streaky bi-coloured blooms from May onwards. Height 50cm.

 

Rembrandt-fun-fact

Single Early Tulips

Tulip-Yokohama

Single Early Tulip bulbs are a traditional dwarf growing Tulip with a smaller habit than many varieties, but just as effective when grown in groups in a border or rockery. They are excellent for bedding and are one of the earliest of all Tulip types to flower outdoors in spring. Height 30-40cm.

Single Late Tulips

Tulip-Single-Late-Mix

There is probably no Tulip more versatile as the Single Late Tulip, commonly referred to as a Cottage Type of Tulip. Single Late Tulip bulbs produce very bright coloured large blooms on long, graceful stems. A wonderful variety grown for their beauty and attractiveness, with no cottage garden in spring being complete with some of these.

Species Tulips

Tulip-Praestans-Mixed

Tulip Species bulbs, also known as Dwarf Botanical Tulips, with their fascinating colours are natives of Asia Minor. These beautiful varieties are highly recommended for rockeries and borders, while also being suitable for patio containers and pots.

Triumph Tulips

Tulip-With-Love-Coll

The Triumph Tulip is a result of a crossing between two premium varieties, Single Early and Darwin varieties. One of the largest range of Tulip varieties, Triumph or mid-season Tulips as they are known produce outstanding outstanding colours, with a very strong neat habit. A superb Tulip for planting in large groups in the border, flowerbed or also in patio container pots.

Viridiflora Tulips

Tulip-viridiflora-Mix

Viridiflora Tulips are one of the most elegant and stylish bi-colour Tulips on the market. Viridiflroa comes from the Latin words ‘viridis’ meaning green and ‘flos’ meaning flower. Combined together they represent the wonderful blend of colours we have come to love from this popular Tulip. Each Viridiflora Tulip bulb has a certain degree of green blended into each flower and is colourful enough to brighten even the darkest day in spring.


March Plant of the Month – Aubrieta

Aubrieta

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

Aubrieta-Arabis-Low-Perennial-0004807
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.

POTM-AGM

 

 

Aubrieta Blue

Aubrieta-Blue

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.

February Plant of the Month – Snowdrops

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrops are the start of it all!

The sight of snowdrops appearing late in January is a cheerful reminder of the warmer, brighter days to come. Happening on them in the wild is a real treat, but they are easy to grow and radially available so why not grow them in your own garden?

There are a huge variation in size and shapes, and they are great naturalisers, so will multiply and come back year after year.

You can buy Single or Double Snowdrops in the Green in January – March.

Snowdrops-in-the-green-and-bulbs

Single Snowdrops (Glanthus nivalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most common and easiest to grow is….. Glanthus nivalis, also known as the common or garden snowdrop. They are robust and easy to grow and have earned a RHS Award of Garden Merit. These are single flowering, with three inner petals marked green at the tips encased in milky white outer petals and strappy grass like foliage. The flowers has a sweet, honey scent that will attract bees. These traditional small-flowering Snowdrops give a barren winter garden a breath of life, and give a wonderful woodland feel if planted in drifts beneath a deciduous tree with Hostas. You could plant in patio pots or window boxes for a neater, more compact temporary display. Top quality plants supplied. Flowers January to March. Height 10cm.

AGM-Snowdrops

Giant snowdrops

The same features as the common variety but much taller, perfect for use as cut flowers. Galanthus elwesii is a spectacular giant snowdrop originating from eastern Asia. Elwesii’s honey scented nodding flowers are formed from an outer whorl of snowy white tepals encasing smaller inner tepals, flared and marked green at the tips. Fine 15-20cm stems sport dainty strap shaped leaves. Galanthus Woronowii, also known as the Broad Leaf Snowdrop, is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads can appear as early as January. Both varieties hold the RHS Award of Garden Merit. At this time of year we can only offer Snowdrops in the Green but these varieties will become available as bulbs in our autumn catalogues.

Double Snowdrops (Flore Pleno)

3-Snowdrops-Double-EDIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The double form of the common snowdrop is a hardy and reliable variety that also holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Russian Snowdrops (Puschkinia Libanotica)

2-Russian-Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puschkinia are a little known spring bulb, however, it is one of the easiest to grow and is very reliable. They produce dainty white flowers with a blue blush that forms a stripe effect on the petals. This hardy bulb will naturalise and multiply like snowdrops producing a carpet of colour in March and April after the snowdrops have flowered, but before the bluebells. This fabulous pretty flower holds the prestigious Award of Garden Merit. These can be brought as bulbs from June, throughout Autumn.

Planting

POTM--Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

They prefer shade, and work really well amongst shrubs or under trees. Ideally they like fertile, moist but well drained soils.

Bulbs: Plant in moist, well-drained soil at least 5cm deep and 5cm apart. They can be grown successfully in pots and containers but only temporarily and will need to be lifted after their growing season.

In the Green: transplanted with their green foliage intact giving you a guaranteed 100% success rate. Make sure to water well once planted, to encourage their roots to re-establish with the soil.

They naturalise well and you can just let them die back at the end of their season so require little after care. If you get heavy, dense clumps of snowdrops in one place lift and divide the clump when the foliage starts to fade, careful not to break any of the roots.

Make sure the soil does not fully dry out in summer.

Video Planting Tutorial

In this video, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how-to plant Snowdrop bulbs into pots for advice on achieving a great early addition to your garden.

Tip

eranthis-snowdrop-mixed-EDIT

 

Team Snowdrops with Winter Aconites for a cheerful burst of colour, the sudden appearance of milk white and zesty yellow in February can’t help but bring cheerful thoughts of spring to mind!

How to Prune: Trees and Shrubs

When and how to prune trees and shrubs

 

Gardening-prunning-trees

 

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: Roses

Roses

pruning-roses-yellow-and-red

How – In General…

For most roses you can prune in late winter. Take care to remove dead/diseased wood and deadhead faded blooms which can be done with your annual pruning. Cut no more than 5mm above a bud with a clean, sloping cut away from the bud so water cannot gather there. Trace any suckers back to their roots and pull them away.

When…

Bush, Floribunda and Hybrid Tea Roses

Bush Roses should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England and as one proceeds further north this should be deferred at such a rate that in the North of Scotland it is done in the second week of April.

Rose Arthur Bell

 

 

Floribunda Roses are a little tenderer and should be pruned one week later than the above dates.

 

 

 

 

Hybrid Tea – Newly planted  Hybrid Tea Roses should always be pruned back hard in the spring, provided the roots are firmly established, leaving only three or four eyes per stem, generally leaving about 15-25cm in length. Roses are roughly pruned in the nursery to approximately 35-45cm of stem. If left un-pruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.

Rose Climbing Compassion

 

Climbing Roses – Do not prune for two years after planting and then only sparsely, removing unrequired growing tips. Weak or dead wood should be removed. Best to prune in autumn.

 

 

 

Standard Roses – Stake well with expandable ties, driving in the stake below the head of the tree. Plant Rose Tree to old soil mark level. Put liberal amounts of planting medium in hole. Prune back well in spring to good bud.

Rose The Fairy Pink

Miniature Roses – These are miniature versions of Hybrid Tea or Floribunda types and should be treated the same allowing for the difference of scale. Miniature Roses are ideal for borders and rockeries or as pot plants, though they should be in the dry atmosphere of the house only for limited periods. Prune hard after planting.

Back to Top of Article


Winter Favourites

winter-birdbath

 

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)

sarcococca-humilis-christmas-box

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

4.1.2

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

honeysuckle-lonicera-purpusii

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

callicarpa-profusion

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.

August Plant of the Month – Oriental and OT Lilies

Oriental and OT Lilies

For a large, showy display you can’t go wrong with a beautiful Lily and this month we’re focusing on the Oriental and Oriental Trumpet (OT) Lilies. Native to Japan, these highly fragrant beauties are often called stargazers as their flowers tend to be outward and upward facing, as if they are looking up.

Oriental Lilies

Lily Fields of Gold

With their unusual and unique colour and markings Oriental Lilies are truly exquisite specimens, producing an abundance of flowers per bulb. Hardy and easy to grow, they will reach heights of two to six feet tall, excellent additions to a beds or borders and they can even be grown in pots. Oriental lilies will bloom late in the summer season, July – September.

OT Lilies

Lily Anastasia

OT lilies are a cross between Oriental and Trumpet varieties producing very tall plants, up to 2.5m mature height, perfect for the back of you borders. These beautiful Lilies can be incorporated into the back of your garden borders where they can tower over other bulbs and plants and act as a wonderful backdrop for your display. They will reach their full height by their third year and will naturalise if left undisturbed.

Planting

POTM August Oriental & OT Lilies

Plant at least 15cm/6in deep. Liliums prefer fertile, well drained soils, they’re not keen on lime in the soil. Surround each bulb with a little sharp sand under and above to keep off slugs and excessive wet. They give a much better display when planted in clumps of 3, 6 or 12 bulbs, 45cm apart. They appreciate the shelter of low growing shrubs or other plants near their roots. Planting time is from October to April/May. You can also plant lilies in pots. As they can get quite tall use a large pot that will fully accommodate the roots and you may also need to stake the plants for a bit of extra support. Stake at the time of planting to avoid damaging the bulbs.

How-to Video Tutorials

Oriental Lilies

Giant Goliath Lilies

Worse pest: The Red Lily Beatle. The adult bugs will eat away the foliage and flowers. Look out for orange-red eggs or black larvae under the leaves or late for full size (8mm) bright red adult Beatles. You can protect your lilies by spraying them or by hand you can remove and crush them but a large infestation could be very time consuming as you need to check daily!

Lilium Romantics collection
Lilium Romantics collection – These fabulous dwarf lilies are ideal for growing in pots or at the front of a border – perfect for smaller gardens that would be overpowered by the taller varieties.

Click HERE to view our full range of Lilies!

July Plant of the Month – Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa caucasica

Scabiosa Mixed

Introduced to the UK over 200 years ago Scabiosa caucasia are a striking alternative to the sunny yellow, orange and red shades that tend to dominate the summer months. They become a beautiful sight once their amazing and colourful blooms appear during the summer, flowering perpetually from June through to the first frosts in autumn. They make excellent cut flowers, but left in the garden are highly attractive to butterflies and bees.

POTM July Scabiosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planting

Scabiosa like a sunny position. They will do best in temperate weather conditions, do not allow to get over wet in winter. In a really hot summer they can die back but as the weather cools towards October they may start to flower again. Extremely hardy and free flowering; they will thrive in most well drained soils – particularly good for chalky soil.

Aftercare

Deadhead to promote flowering. When established they will be more drought tolerant.

Will naturalise if left undisturbed making them a good addition to a wild garden.

Top Picks

Scabiosa Caucasica Snow Cushion

‘Snow Cushion’ is a mound-forming, deciduous to semi-evergreen perennial with broadly lance-shaped, variably-lobed, grey-green leaves and upright, wiry stems bearing semi-double, white flower heads from early summer into autumn.

This attractive perennial will produce pincushion type flowers from June through to late October. They are very hardy plants and free flowering, and Scabiosa thrive in most types of well drained soil.

Click HERE to view our full range of Scabiosa!

How to: Attract Wildlife to the Garden

butterfly on violet scabiosa
Wild butterfly on a violet scabiosa

By allocating just a little bit of time and space to your garden this Autumn, you can easily attract various wildlife to your garden all year around. For many people wildlife is a welcomed addition to the garden providing extra character and also the knowledge that they are doing their bit to help with British conservation.

Online now you will find many varieties of plants and shrubs which will help you along the way, by both attracting and providing food/shelter for various forms of wildlife. Composting and letting a few patches of your garden grow a little wild will help to encourage visitors (and what gardener needs to be told the virtues of compost!).

If you have the space grow trees and big shrubs. By devoting even the smallest part of your garden to attracting wildlife you can turn it into a paradise for beneficial birds, mammals and insects.

bird hanging under peanut birdfeeder (goldfinch)Birds

Birds are attracted to areas where they find both food and shelter. A good way of doing so in the autumn/winter is by planting up shrubs and trees which produce berries, such as Ilex (Holly), Pyracantha or Gaultheria. Not only will they produce valuable food but they also produce some much needed ornamental value in the Winter months. A bird table is also a fantastic way of enticing birds into a specific area of the garden. Ornamental grasses are also a popular way of making the garden appealing to seed eating birds.

Butterflies

They will visit most gardens, especially if they find plants in sunny or sheltered locations. The secret here is to make available nectar rich, fragrant flowers which are colourful and from which they feed.

Perennail strip for Blog pollinatoors
Lavender, Buddleia, Syringa, Forsythia and Echinacea are just a few fantastic garden favourites for attracting butterflies and all look great in the garden!

SquirrelSquirrels

Of course, they are fascinating wildlife to watch as they scurry around during the day. They feed off acorns, buds, nuts, berries and seeds. They will initially appear scared and frightened but with regular feeding they will soon feel at home in your garden. They are easily found around woodland areas, large trees, beech tress and are especially attracted to your bird feeders, although take caution as they can damage them over time.

Toads

Provide water and shelter for Toads! These are great for keeping unwanted pests at bay and if you have a pond or one nearby its likely you already have Frogs and Toads living nearby. (If you have a dog remember Toads will release skin secretions which are toxic to dogs).

 

Hedgehogs

A pile of old logs or bricks, some overgrown grass or turned over empty pots can all help with providing shelter for animals – Hedgehogs will happily take advantage of your hospitality and thank you by eating pesky slugs and snails – an ideal natural defender of you Hosta plants!


 

Grow Your Own: Potatoes

Solanum tuberosum 'Maris Piper' in wooden trug
Solanum tuberosum ‘Maris Piper’

 

Whether in an allotment or your own garden there is an undeniable joy in growing your own produce – and where better to start than with a classic staple – the potato! One of the most versatile vegetables, potatoes feature in the most traditional and creative dishes and can be a great addition to a healthy diet plan.

 

The potato is healthy – FACT!

  • Potato skins are a great source of fibre and potassium.
  • Salt free
  • Low in sugar
  • Potatoes are naturally saturated fat free (You can even find machines these days that will fry them into chips using as little oil as possible! Not that that makes them healthy!)

Potatoes are gluten free – great news for coeliacs!

Woman harvesting salad potatoes 'Bambino' grown in patio planter bag
Harvesting salad potatoes ‘Bambino’ grown in patio planter bag

Coeliac disease can be difficult to cater for, gluten free products are getting more varied (and tasting better) than a few years ago but they are often very expensive. The humble potato is cheap and gluten free.

You can grow potatoes in the smallest of spaces! If you have a smaller garden or simply want to keep your potato gardening organised try using grow bags. Our 40 litre Patio Potato Sacks will grow 5-7 seeds per sack. Find out how to grow potatoes in sacks here!

(See here how you can use the Patio Sacks to grow Asparagus or Rhubarb!)

 

SO …. now we’ve established potatoes are the best (!) we need to help you choose the right potato for you – because there are a lot of options!

Potato Varieties

  1. Salad Potatoes (harvest June –September)
Potato Charlotte

 

Charlotte are a favourite of all chefs, very useful for more than salads. A long oval shape, with a beautiful floury taste. Pink Fir Apple are a more traditional variety, suitable for boiling, baking or steaming. They are long knobbly in shape, with pink skin and a creamy coloured flesh.

Salad potatoes ‘Maris Peer’ in trug

 

2. Second Early Harvest (June-July)

They take a little longer to harvest than the first Early varieties – from late June. Bonnie is a very popular all-rounder. Maris Peer has a firm white variety with a high yield. The award winning Kestrel is very smooth in texture with purple eyes. Great old fashioned variety.

 

Solanum tuberosum ‘King Edward’ – Potatoes

3. Main Crop Varieties (harvest August-October)

These take the longest to harvest and take up slightly more space in the growing patch. King Edward and Maris Piper are well known all round favourites, while Cara is a heavy cropping variety with the added bonus of being very drought/disease resistant. Desiree is the best of all the red main crop varieties, ideal to boil, mash, chip or sauté.

 

Click HERE to view our full range of Potatoes!