RHS Award-Winning Bulbs to Inspire your Garden

The RHS Award of Garden Merit is given to plants that have been tested and proven to be good garden worthy plants through a number of factors including: flowering performance, strength and disease and pest resistance.

We have a huge selection of award-winning bulbs and in our blog this week, we will be going through a selection of award-winning varieties, from Tulips to Alliums and Daffodils.

Popular Award-Winning Varieties

Alliums (Ornamental Onions)

A pollinator favourite that deserves a place in any garden. Easy to grow and undemanding, these late spring/early summer flowers have a great range of colours, shapes and height, so there’s an Allium for any garden.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: May – June 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Allium Sphaerocephalon (Drumsticks)

A truly unique Allium. This little showstopper was a popular choice at the Tatton Park Flower Show this year. With two toned purple and crimson blooms, these vibrant flower heads are great for the garden and as a cut flower for the home.  Click here to view online.

Allium Gladiator

Bring some glorious height to your beds and borders with these big clustered blooms. Their rosy-purple flowers form a large cloud-like ball of colour that can make a great feature in the summer border. Click here to view online.

Allium Mount everest

A stunning pure white variety. ‘Mount Everest’ towers above the rest with its enormous compact clusters of star-shaped flowers. Great for the back of the border. They will also bring wildlife flocking to the summer garden! Click here to view online.

Crocus

One of the first signs of spring. Crocus blooms bring the first bit of warmth to the new year, and autumn-flowering Crocus brighten up the garden once the summer blooms begin to fade.

Planting time: September – December 🏡

Flowering time: February – March 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade/Shade

Crocus Sternbergia Lutea

Fill your garden with waves of rich golden colour with Crocus Sternbergia Lutea. Blooming with distinct, golden cup-shaped blooms, these flowers are perfect for naturalising in the garden for a carpet of golden colour. Click here to view online.

Crocus Dorothy

These cheery golden flowers will bring the sunshine to the late winter garden. A herald of the brighter days to come with the spring season. Perfect for naturalising in rockeries, borders or containers. Click here to view online.

Crocus Tricolor

A stunning tri-coloured Crocus. With lilac petals surrounding a white base and pretty yellow centre, these compact ‘Snow Crocus’ flowers will brighten up the winter garden when little else is in flower. Click here to view online.

Daffodil/Narcissi

Narcissi, a firm favourite of the British spring garden. With a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes, they are perfect for beds, borders and containers in gardens, big or small.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – April 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Daffodil Carlton

Bring some modern beauty to the spring garden with Daffodil Carlton. With large, two-toned yellow flowers, they make a very effective addition to the border or in pots on the patio. Easy to grow and produce a lovely sweet scent. Click here to view online.

Daffodil Cheerfulness Mixed

Create a garden bursting with spring cheer with our combination of Cheerfulness Daffodils. With showy blooms and a sweet fragrance, these flowers will make a real impact in the border. They also make excellent, scented cut flowers. Click here to view online.

Narcissi Elka

These little award winners showcase long trumpets of creamy pale lemon flowers. A perfect compact variety for mass planting in rockeries or growing pots and containers. A reliable Narcissi for brightening up the spring garden. Click here to view online.

Hyacinths

Richly coloured and heavily fragrant, Hyacinths are beautiful spring-flowering bulbs that bloom in a rainbow of delightfully vibrant shades.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – April 🌸

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Hyacinth Delft Blue

A beautiful highly fragrant bloomer with a unique blue hue. Their large star-shaped blooms are the perfect choice for planting in patio pots, window boxes or in the garden border. You can even force them indoors as a scented Christmas feature. Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Jan Bos

With its distinct reddish pink colour, Jan Bos is a very cheerful and impressive sight. These dense, starry dark pink florets are best planted where you will be able to enjoy their perfume daily, either near a door way or along a path. Click here to view online.

Hyacinth Miss Saigon

Bring a cheerful sight to the dull days of winter with these vibrant and rich purple blooms. Easy to grow and brightly coloured, these pretty purple flowers are great for boasting in the garden border or as an indoor display within the home. Click here to view online.

Tulips

A true symbol of spring. No matter what the colour, Tulips will brighten up your garden with weeks of cheerful colour, patterns and shapes.

Planting time: September-December 🏡

Flowering time: March – May 🌷

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade

Tulip Calypso (Greigii)

Create a mesmerising sight in the spring garden with the bright and beautiful pink and orange shades of Tulip Calypso. This compact variety packs a punch through their large and showy flower heads. Easy to grow and will come back each year. Click here to view online.

Tulip Kingsblood

Add some romance to the garden with these cherry red flowers. This single late Tulip is ideal for a dramatic display of colour in the border and looks amazing as part of a cut flower display for the home. Click here to view online.

Tulip lambada

This Tulip is sure to bring a blaze of colour to the spring border. ‘Lambada’ showcases velvety coral red petals with fiery yellow-orange edges with a fringed detail, which are a real eye-catcher in the garden. A vibrant single late Tulip. Click here to view online.

Check out our spring-flowering bulb planting tutorials here…

How to Plant Greigii Tulips: Spring Garden Guide
How to Plant Greigii Tulips: Spring Garden Guide
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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.

Click here to view online.

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.

Click here to view online.

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.

How to Plant: Dwarf Tulips

Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.

Planting

Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.

Aftercare

After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

Click here to view our full Tulip range!

Halloween In the Garden

It’s that spooky time of the year again! Why go out and buy cauldrons, candles and pumpkins, when nature provides such bizarre and beautiful creations? To celebrate Halloween, we’ve conjured up our 12 creepiest, darkest varieties guaranteed to give your gardens a haunted makeover, along with individual facts and superstitions.

1. Fritillaria Meleagris (Snakeshead)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

2. Iris pumila ‘Hokus Pokus’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

3. Tulip Black Parrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Superstition: Wear Tulips for prosperity and protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

5. Hemerocallis ‘Whoopy’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

6. Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

7. Sedum Spurium ‘Dragons Blood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

8. Tulip ‘Kingsblood’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

9. Dicentra Spectabilis ‘Bleeding Heart’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

10. Rose Black Baccara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

11. Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

12. Tulip Perfect Partner Collection

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

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

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

 

Happy Halloween!

Daffodil Competition Gallery

Congratulations to our competition winners and runners up!

We’ve been thrilled with the quality and quantity of entries this year, and to share that enjoyment we’ve picked a selection of our e-mail entrants in the gallery below. You can also head over to our Facebook page for even more fantastic photography shots.

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and keep checking back for more opportunities to win!

Gardening Jobs for June

Summer Bedding
If you held off planting in May, now is the ideal time to clear these plants out of your greenhouse and get your summer bedding and hanging baskets finished. There is minimal chance of frost even this far north so line your baskets, prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil. Ensure you water regularly particularly if the weather is warm and dry.

Hot weather protection

Hot and dry weather can be just as dangerous as the harsh conditions of winter for your plants. Recent dry spells mean watering is more important than ever. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Regular watering of pots and baskets is essential to maximise your garden show this summer. You should also remember to keep your greenhouses cool and prevent scorch with shading and ventilation.
Perennial Work
Prepare to tie up tall border perennials with support. Tall varieties such as Hollyhocks, Delphiniums and Lupins will need a little help and stakes can help prevent wind damage. You might also like to cut back early-flowering perennials such as Papavers as this will provide fresh foliage and possibly even a second flowering.

Protect fruit trees
Protect the newly developing fruit on your fruit trees from birds. This can be tricky as netting suggested last month for soft fruit, is not a viable option. We recommend using some of those unwanted DVDs or CDs in newspaper supplements by hanging these from your trees on string. The changing reflections of light created in a little breeze should keep birds away.

Keep everything tidy
The warm weather and increased sunshine means that weeds are popping up everywhere and can be an eyesore in your garden. Keep an eye on these particularly during dry spells and it will make your garden look much neater. You should also now be cutting the lawn weekly, pruning many spring flowering shrubs and trimming hedges into shape. For bulbs, allow foliage to die down naturally before cutting back to ground level. Keep any waste for your compost bin!
Lawn Care
If you’ve been lucky enough to get some relaxation time in the garden, you may have had furniature such as lounger out on your lawn. Be aware that this could damage grass and cause patches of yellow damaged lawn. This is easily prevented simply by moving your lawn furniture regularly. Keep up trimming your lawn regularly, including the edges, and apply fertiliser for a healthy looking growth.

Click here to view our full list of jobs for June!

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

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


What to grow in the allotment this year?

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

Allotment 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fig Ficus carica Panachée nr 3

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

 

 

 

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

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

Gardening Jobs for May

Summer bedding plants

Mid-to-late May is the best time to plant out summer bedding plants. Prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil ready for the new bedding. You do need to keep an eye on the long term weather forecast when doing this, as a late strong frost can put pay to your hard work. You can keep plants in the greenhouse until the weather improves and move them out towards the end of the month. Just make sure they’re well watered and the greenhouse is well aired, vented and shaded during the day so that these plants don’t over heat in warm weather. The same rules apply for hanging baskets. You can plant these from April onwards, but until the last sign of frost has passed you may want to protect them in the greenhouse. If you don’t have one, hold off planting until the end of May. Line your basket well and add a fertilizer rich compost soil. There are plenty of varieties to choose from but trailing plants work well for covering the sides of your basket. Water well, add fertilizer weekly and keep any eye out for pests!

Tidy up

You may find you need to clip any hedging and topiary now to keep its shape neat and tidy. The warmer weather will also mean regular mowing of the lawn will be a necessity now and through the summer months. Once a week should be sufficient, keep on top this and your garden will look tidy all summer!

Deal with weeds

As the temperatures rise your prized plants will spring to life, but unfortunately so will any unwanted weeds! Pull up any seedlings and dig out perennial weeds with a fork to try and get rid of any roots. Time and effort spent on these perennial weeds will benefit not only your borders but also your lawn, as May is the ideal time to identify those nasty dandelions and deal with them.

Pond

If you have a pond, pond weed is equally important to deal with and should be removed regularly before it becomes too difficult to manage and harmful to pond life. Make sure you leave any weeds by the side of the pond for a good while before removing just in case any pond life is hiding there!May is a great time to begin stocking ponds with fish, just make sure any aquatic plants have established first.

Keep an eye on growth

Many growing plants may need your attention this month, add plenty of feed to keep them happy. Tall perennials may need trellis and support as they start to grow to keep them straight and upright.It is also important to tie up your clematis to control their climbing in the direction you would like them to grow. For rambling roses, try and tie as horizontal as possible as this will restrict the flow of sap and increase side shoots, thus causing more flowers. Spring flowered Montana type clematis need pruning after flowering to keep them tidy.

Click here to view the full May Gardening Job List!

Planting Begonias: Summer Containers & Baskets

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

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

A reliable, star attraction

Non Stop Begonia
Non Stop Begonia

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

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

Begonia splendide geel/oranje
Begonia splendide Apricot

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

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

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

Give your patio pots and containers a splash of colour

Begonia Multiflora Melange
Begonia Multiflora

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

Begonia fimbriata mixed
Begonia fimbriata mixed

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

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

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

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

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

How to Plant Roses

climbing-roses-on-trellis-2

Few shrubs/plants will add the elegance and beauty to the British garden quite like a Rose. Roses can come in a number of colours, shapes and sizes and are grown for their attractive and often fragrant flowers, flowering mainly in summer and autumn.

Ht-roses
HT Roses. Prolific flowering, scented well formed blooms, these classic and popular roses are prized for their distinctive colour and shape. From left to right Lovers Meeting, Black Baccara and Sunblest.

Roses are ideal for planting as stand-alone specimens, planted together in groups, miniature roses can be used in raised beds and climbing varieties to climb a wall, trellis or a fence. All make perfect cut flowers.

Rose-Tickled-Pink
Floribunda Roses. Produces in clusters these really give you more roses for your money! Great bedding plants and good in the vase, the blooms are open and less of a classic rose shape than the HT varieties but they do have a real charm that’s all their own. Image variety Tickled Pink.

How to Plant Roses

 

To plant, dig a hole large enough to take the roots when fully outspread, remembering that the point at which the plant was originally budded should be sufficiently low in the hole to be 2.5cm below the surface of the soil when it is filled in. Distribute the roots evenly round the hole and put in a little fine soil to which has been added a small amount of bone meal.

Fill in a further 5cm of ordinary soil over the roots and tread in firmly. Tread in additional soil firmly at each stage as the hole is filled. Roses must be firmly planted. If they are not the winds of winter will loosen the roots and may cause the newly planted rose to die.

Generally speaking, the depth of holes in which the roses are to be planted will vary between 10-20cm but examination of the plants will show quite clearly the depth to which they were originally planted and this depth should be adhered to provided that it does place the point at which the stock was budded just below the surface of the soil.

Page-2_Rose-Blue-Moon-and-rhapsody
Still impossible but highly coveted – the elusive blue Rose. These two are the closest you can get in nature, Rose Blue Moon and Rose Rhapsody in Blue.

How to Prune Roses

(Bush Roses, Floribunda or Hybrid Tea)

Bush Roses should be well pruned in mid-March in Southern England and 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.

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

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 unpruned they will die back along the stem and perish or produce leggy poor specimens.

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.

Standard Roses

Standard-Rose-Pascalli-0001746

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. You’ll find a helpful How To Video with our garden expert Jeff Turner here.

Miniature Roses

H390_H392_H394_-Three-Rose-Fairy

 

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.