Plant of the Month: Petunias

Petunias have been one of the most popular summer-flowering annuals for many years. Their popularity is due to their several desirable traits. They’re easy to grow, reliable bloomers and are available in a wide range of patterns and colours. With a flowering time from June all the way through to October, Petunias are guaranteed to liven up your garden all through the summer time. Their many varieties range from beautiful border varieties to stunning trailing hanging basket partners. Here are some of our favourites.

Petunias make excellent patio, bedding and border plants. Producing wonderfully bright flowers with beautiful markings and contrasting colours, these versatile flowers will make a showstopping display in any garden.

Petunia Duo Mixed

With rippling double blooms in shades of rosy-pink, coral, white and bi-coloured raspberry and white, these sweetly coloured Petunias are ideal for adding beautiful long-lasting clusters of colour to your borders and containers all summer long. UK-grown Garden Ready Plug plants supplied.

 

Petunia Crazytunia Moonstruck

This new versatile variety of Petunia produces vibrant bi-coloured flowers that will add an impact to any summer basket, border or container display. The large blooms have sunny yellow centres that gradually fade in to a deep purple edging around the outer petals. UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.

Petunia Crazytunia Collection

Our beautiful collection of bi-coloured Petunias are the ideal plants for brightening up your summer garden.  The collection of 12 includes 3 each of Cosmic Purple (purple), Knight Rider (purple/cream), Maniac Lilac (white/lilac) and Cosmic Moonstruck (purple/yellow). UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.

 

Bright, bold and bursting with life, these elegant trailing Petunias are the perfect partner for summer hanging baskets. These trailing varieties will reward you with masses of bright colour all summer long.

Petunia Tumbelina Anna

This unique trailing Petunia produces double, ruffled hot pink flowers with a thick pale pink band around the edge. These prolific flowering blooms also have a pretty deep pink veining and a beautiful fragrance, which makes this variety a delight in summer hanging baskets. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

Petunia tumbelina double Mix

Petunia Tumbelina is a very distinctive variety. Their large, double ruffled blooms are a perfect solution for adding a dose of colour to your summer baskets. This highly fragrant trailing Petunia can even be planted in window boxes and containers for endless display possibilities. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.

Petunia purple flash

Does a mass of magenta purple flowers sound like something for you? Petunia Purple Flash will add a splash of vibrancy to your summer displays with their distinctive star-shaped white marking at the centre of their purple petals. These hardy blooms are guaranteed for months of enjoyment. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.

Planting

Here is our guide for planting these popular annual flowers.

Borders

  • Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
  • Use a light, fertile soil that provides good drainage.
  • Plant in a good-sized hole that can easily accommodate the plant.
  • Add a layer of organic matter (compost) to the base of the hole and fork it in.
  • Give the plants a weekly deep watering.
  • Use a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks.

Hanging Baskets

  • Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
  • Use a sturdy container with at least one drainage hole.
  • Fill the container with a lightweight potting mix to promote healthy drainage.
  • Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the potting soil.
  • Water daily and deeply, then let the pot drain. (Water the soil and not the foliage.
  • Weekly, feed with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Video Tutorials

Petunia Frenzy

Plant of the Month: Geranium (Perennials)

Are you looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance plant for your summer garden? As one of the most popular garden perennials on the market, hardy Geraniums will sail through the challenges of the seasons. Bursting with flowers, hardy Geraniums also enjoy a lush foliage which adds valuable texture in the garden. Incredibly tough, pest and disease resistant, perennial Geraniums give a lot and require very little.

Benefits 💡📝

  • Flowering from late summer to early autumn.

  • Thrive in all soil types.

  • Suitable for growing in full or partial shade.

  • Wide range of colours.

To beautify your landscape and since there is a broad array of colours and textures to choose from, here are some of our most delightful varieties.

Geranium Ballerina

Geranium Ballerina is a fantastic herbaceous perennial that stuns with their masses of dark green foliage, which contrasts beautifully against their lovely vein patterned pink flowers. These flowers are ideal for ground cover, low borders or patio containers.

Geranium Birch Double

This luxury Geranium variety produces wonderful double flowers in a mix of rose pink and violet purple shades. These low-maintenance beauties will tolerate most conditions, making them a great versatile flower for all around the garden. Whether planted as ground cover, around rockeries or in pots, these flowers will brighten up any summer garden.

Geranium Johnsons Blue

These great clump-forming perennials showcase large, deeply lobed leaves and deep lavender blue flowers on long stalks. This hardy ground cover plant is perfect for under-planting at the front of the border and will perform well in any well-drained, moderately fertile soil.

Geranium Rothbury Gem

This delicate and delightful hardy Geranium produces pale pink veined flowers which have beautiful crimson and green centres. Their compact spreading nature make these plants an ideal candidate for borders, rockeries or patio containers and will flower all through summer into early autumn.

Geranium Sanguineum Alba

Looking for a lighter option? You can’t go wrong with this lovely RHS Garden Merit award winner. This lovely, sprawling perennial produces small dark green leaves with pure white clusters of perfectly formed flowers and has been awarded for its reliable performance, colour stability and pest resistance.

Geranium Springtime

Geranium Springtime is guaranteed to add some drama to the garden with their dark maroon flowers and unusual, marbled foliage. These fabulous hardy perennials are certain to create a fantastic display when planted either in your garden borders or patio containers.

Geranium Versicolor

This superb mound-forming ground cover Geranium produces an abundance of unusual white flowers with vivid pink veining that makes them a true sight to behold in the summer time. Their hardy, compact nature makes them ideal for borders, patio pots or containers.

 

Geranium magnificum Rosemoor

 

This stunning dwarf perennial produces a dense carpet of vibrant violet coloured blooms that spring to life during the summer months. These versatile flowers are ideal for planting as ground cover, in borders and rockeries, as well as in patio containers.

 

Collections & Mixtures

Geranium Hardy Collection

Enjoy a low-growing profusion of our most popular varieties of hardy Geraniums. This beautiful collection includes three each of Cinereum Giuseppe (purple), Sanguineum Alba (white) and Johnsons Blue. These varieties are perfect for adding reliable and low maintenance colour and beauty to the front of the border.

Geranium Hardy Mixed

This attractive mix of hardy Geraniums blooms with bright and cheerful flowers will bring beauty to the garden all throughout the summer months. This popular British garden favourite is sure to add a vibrant touch to your summer garden borders.

 

 

 

Planting Guide

  • General rule: Plant in location with early morning and afternoon sun. ☀
  • Planting time: From Autumn to late Winter (to ensure they establish well).

Instructions

Dig a hole big enough to easily accommodate the rootball.

Add a layer of organic matter such as compost to the base of the hole and fork it in.

Place the rootball in the planting hole and position the top of the rootball so that it is level with the soil surface.

Mix in organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.

Water thoroughly.  💧

TIP ✨ Apply bark chippings around the root area to conserve soil moisture and help keep down weeds.

Aftercare

Most hardy geraniums are easy-going plants that don’t require a ton of extra attention, however here are just a few tips to get the best possible performance out of your Geraniums year-round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Planting! 🌸

Complete Guide: How To Plant Dahlia Tubers

Dahlias are an essential choice for the summer garden. The easy-to-grow tubers will produce a phenomenal display of colour in a range of styles with beautiful dense foliage. Dahlia work perfectly with almost all types of plants, and complement any garden wonderfully regardless of size.

Whether you’re looking to add some vibrancy to your summer, decorate your patio with impressive pot/container displays or grow a ready supply of cut flowers – Dahlias can do it all.

Background

Dahlias are native to Mexico, and the country’s national flower. The Aztecs grew Dahlia tubers as a food crop, and they were widely used there for their nutritional and medicinal properties long before being propagated for their beauty.

It wasn’t until 1789 when the plants were sent to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid, that they got the name we know them by today. Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlias were then developed and cultivated to the wide selection of hybrids and varieties we have today – with 42 different species.

Why Choose Dahlias?

  1. They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).
  2. They are versatile and will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.
  3. They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.
  4. Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.
  5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.
  6. They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.

Varieties

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Anemone Flowering – Also known as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.

Cactus – A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.

Dark Leaf – These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

Decorative – The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.

Dwarf Gallery – A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border. They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed together in pots on the patio.

Dinner Plate – As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.

Pompom – Love the unusual, then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.

Dahlia Tubers

All our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.

Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart. In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter. Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

How to grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon.

  1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.
  2. When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.
  3. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes.
  4. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards.
  5. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.
  6. Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.
  7. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.
  8. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

More Dahlia Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

June Plant of the Month – Alliums

Allium Violet Beauty

Allium Violet Beauty

The striking, showy flower heads of the humble Allium have long been a favourite of the modern cottage gardener. Blending beautifully into a summer perennial border, tall statuesque Alliums will cheerfully tower above lower growing plants just a seamlessly as smaller Alliums will add a zing to the front of a low border or edge.

Easy to grow and versatile enough to be able to be grown in borders, flower beds, patio pots and containers, where they really will pack a punch. A must have impact plant for spring and summer.

Beyond the garden Allium flowers and seed pods are excellent additions to cut flower displays. If you’re feeling creative they can be dried and sprayed to use as festive decorations.

Not just a pretty flower…

Also known as Ornamental Onions, Alliums are from the onion family and are a fantastic addition to any garden. They are great for deterring Aphids, protecting other plants in your garden as well as themselves making them excellent companion plants.

Bee-on-alliums-from-customers

Loved by bees…

Over the last few years we’ve been running a Spring flowering Bulb Competition (see details for this years competition here) and as these past entries show, (above) Alliums are highly attractive to bees! Great for the wildlife friendly gardener.

Planting

POTM January Alliums

For the best results position in full sun, and in well drained soils. For poorer soils treat with potash feed in the spring, which will help all your spring flowering bulbs and encourage them to return the following year.

Plant from early autumn at three or four times their own depth. The gaps you leave between Alliums will depend on their mature size, as well as your overall design ideas! For smaller Alliums plant 10cm apart, the larger varieties will need at least 25cm in between. We indicate planting depths/distance for individual varieties on their own product pages.

Most Alliums will do well in containers as long as you give them enough space. They need a good 4cm of compost beneath each bulb, so choose deep pots, and for soil use any multipurpose compost, such as John Innes No 3. Some prefer to mix equal parts soil to horticultural grit. Re-pot each autumn.

Allium Superglobe Mixed

Allium Superglobe Mixed
Allium Superglobe Mixed

This spectacular mixture of medium and tall Alliums varying in shades of creamy white, pink, mauve to the deepest purple-violet to create an amazing firework like display in your summer garden.

Those beautiful leaves…..when they’re no longer beautiful!

One of the most striking features of Alliums is the long, sturdy stems that keep those amazing pom-pom like balls of flowers suspended on high. From the base of the Alliums grows lush, lance like swords of green foliage. As the flowers fade the basal foliage will wilt and turn brown. Unsightly as it is, don’t try to remove the leaves until they have all completely died off or you will stop the bulb taking enough food for winter to ensure it comes back the following year. If you are including Alliums in your flower bed and border design it’s a good idea to ensure to surround them with low growing plants that flourish in late summer to screen the foliage as it browns. Lavender likes similar conditions to Alliums or Hardy Geraniums will come in after the Alliums and continue to the end of summer.

 Unusual Alliums

Thanks to their increasing popularity, Allium varieties such as Purple Sensation, the huge Globemaster variety, and Spharocephalon – more commonly known as The Drumstick Allium – have become staples for many gardeners.

Allium Purple Sensation

However the more you delve into the species, the more weird and wonderful specimens you will find!

Can’t decide which Alliums to plant?

In this guide, our resident gardening expert Jeff shares his knowledge and advice on the different varieites of Alliums, to help you choose which Alliums are best suited for your summer garden displays.

Click here to view our full range of Alliums!

Plant of the Month – Oriental Poppies

Papaver Orientale

Oriental PoppyPapaver-Place-Pigalle

 

These stunning, long prized flowers are grown for their beautiful brightly coloured bowl shaped flowers. The silky, long lasting flowers have the texture of crepe paper and their introduction into the summer and autumn garden is a great way of making a statement. Perfect for a border or rock garden display, they also make excellent cut flowers.

Papaver Scarlet O’Hara

(Dwarf variety)

Papaver-Scarlet-O'Hara-®-edit
The most compact Papaver ever! A really tidy perennial plant with hairy leaves producing large double satin like bright scarlet ruffled flowers in late spring and early summer. A border plant that is also perfect for pots. Height 30-40cm.

Papaver orientale Little Dancing Girl

Papaver-orientale-Kleine-Tanzerin_Dancing-Girl
Beautiful oriental poppy, unusual in both shape and colour native to Turkey and northern Iran. A vigorous grower on sturdy stems 60-80cm flowering from May to July.

Papaver orientale Patty’s Plum

 

Papaver-Poppy-Patty's-Plum
Rich plum coloured Poppy, which is one of the most popular cultivars. Height 70cm.

 

Papaver orientale Harvest Moon

Papaver_Orange-
Unusual in both shape and colour. Vigorous and free flowering from May to July. Height 60-80cm. Dislike saturated ground.

Planting

POTM-May-Papaver

We supply as loose roots, much easier to grown than from seed, and once established these are very low maintenance and last for years.

Plant in prepared soil, with a hole large enough to firmly hold the roots. They will do well in any fertile soil but it must be well drained. Taller varieties may need support.

For best results plant in an area where they will get at least 6 hours in full sun. Choose your location carefully, once planted they really don’t like to be moved! Oriental poppies thrive in the cooler spring temperatures and will go dormant once the high heat of summer sets in so it’s best to plant amongst late summer bloomers that will fill the gap they leave behind. Deadhead as needed, but when their season is over allow to die back and don’t overwater during summer as they won’t come back next year.

The brilliant scarlet poppies are probably the most well known but there have been several different colours breed from pure milky white to beautiful shaded picotee varieties. Find all our Papaver varieties here.

Companion Planting

Oriental Papaver bloom from spring to mid-summer, dying back in the height of summer. After being the crowning glory of your beds and border, the loss of the beautiful flowers and luscious bushy foliage can leave quite a gap in you garden. The best solution for this is to plant them among some late flowering perennials that will happily take their place. We’ve selected a few of our favourites that flower at the right time to fill the gap.

Cosmos Choca Mocha

Cosmos-Choca-Mocha

 

A perfect replacement for an oriental poppy. This new and improved compact variety of the Chocolate Cosmos produce beautiful velvety chocolate coloured flowers and a much stronger chocolate scent. Flowering from July to October and producing lots of bushy, compact foliage, as well as the gorgeous rich maroon coloured flowers, this is a great choice to fill the gap when the oriental poppies die back in June.

Helenium Sahin’s Early

Helenium-Sahins-Early

The lovely rust-like effect on the petals of this Helenium make it a really interesting choice in the garden and a great flower to perk up the gaps left by striking Oriental Poppies. Flowering from June to October, its tall, daisy-like fiery orange and yellow petals contrast dramatically with its striking brown centre. A hardy and vigorous plant, and very easy to grow.

Dahlia Bishop of Llandaff

 

Dahlia-Bishop-Of-Llandaff-

One of the most popular Dahlias, and a perfect replacement with its gorgeous red flowers and masses of dark foliage flowering from June to October. A great performer that with its colouring will blend harmoniously with your garden design. Highly attractive to bees and as an extra bonus, this variety is an award winner holding the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Kniphofia Red Hot Poker

 

Red-hot-Poker-Kniphofia

 

Kniphofia are a great late summer flowering perennial and we’ve chosen Red Hot Poker as a great companion plant, flowering from June right through to October. It is a statuesque, upright perennial which produces fiery red clusters of spiked buds on its tall, tubular stem, opening into orange flowers which slowly fade to yellow. Its lush, evergreen foliage, flaming colour palette and impressive stature make it the perfect addition to gardens in need of height and vibrancy.

How to Grow Dahlias: Summer Flower Guide

Dahlias have become a very fashionable and valuable summer flowering plant, that will work perfectly with almost all types of plants. They compliment any garden wonderfully regardless of size and can be incorporated into a border or into patio pot/container displays.

Named after the famous 18th Century botanist Anders Dahl, Dahlia plants have been around for many years and are all our Dahlias are supplied as top quality dormant tubers which can be planted straight into the place where they are bloom (their final location). Success rate from these dahlia tubers is extremely high and they are a relatively inexpensive way to create a large number of flowers from one tuber.

Benefits of Planting Dahlias:

1. They are easy to grow, and suitable for gardeners of all skill levels. They are fast growing by their nature and will flower in the first year and for many years to come (just keep them stored and frost free over the winter).

2. They are versatile and will tolerate most types of well drained, fertile soil or compost. They can be grown successfully in pots, tubs, window boxes and in borders.

Pom Pom Dahlia Mix (Jill varieties)

3. They are one of our favourite summer bulbs because of the many different types/sizes/colours available, which all look slightly different in shape, but are all equal in beauty.

4. Year after year sees many new exciting new varieties introduced which means once hooked on Dahlias, you will continually be able to find and try something new.

5. They flower continuously through the summer, right up until the first frost of the autumn.

6. They look fantastic as cut flowers and are great for lovers of something a little different.

Types of Dahlias to try Growing this Year

The main types of Dahlias available can be classified into a number of different categories, representing the main characteristics of the flower blooms themselves.

Dahlia Blue Bayou ®
Dahlia Cabana Banana

 

Anemone Flowering Sometimes referred to as Powder Puff Dahlias, these beauties produce unique flowers with double feathered central petals resembling a Powder Puff.

 

 

 

 

Cactus A favourite for many years, Cactus Dahlias produce fully double pointed petals which turn backwards to create a tubular petal effect. Sometimes referred to as Spiky Dahlias, they are perfect for the border.

 

Dark Leaf Dahlias Mixed

 

Dark Leaf These Dahlias are a little different in that their foliage is not the usual green colours of most varieties. They create an abundance of flowers through the summer as expected, however the blooms appear on darker (usually purple/black) foliage.

 

 

Dahlia Arabian Night

 

Decorative The largest range of large, fully double flowers with rounded petals through the summer right up until the first frosts. They produce masses of flowers for cutting purposes.

 

Dahlia Gallery Art Fair ®
Dahlia Lilac Time

 

Dwarf Gallery A range of smaller, more petite Dahlias which are perfect for the front of the border.They are prolific flowering varieties, look also great planted mixed together in pots on the patio.

 

 

 

Dinner Plate As the name suggests these are the largest flowers within the range, often up to as much as 25cm in diameter (see illustration below). Try these as cut flowers and be certain to draw attention.

 

 

Dahlia Boom Boom Yellow

 

Pompom Love the unusual? Then these are certainly for you. Almost spherical flowers (like balls) appear through the summer. The petals have rounded tips and are curved upwards at the edges. The flower heads are also slightly flattened towards the centre.

How to Grow Dahlia plants in pots or containers

Dinner Plate Dahlia Fleurel

A fantastic way to brighten up your patio is to introduce some Dahlias in pots/containers. The colour range is fantastic, with many unusual bi-colour varieties which will brighten up any space. Simply beautiful to sit back and look at during a warm summer afternoon. Supplied as tubers (as illustrated).

1. Once your tubers arrive safely in the post, they can be soaked overnight in a bucket of water to soak up as much moisture as possible.

When all signs of frost have passed they are ready to pot up, giving plenty of time to get well established before the summer.

Dahlia-Tuber
Tubers as supplied

2. It is recommended to place some pebbles at the bottom of the pots before adding the compost to help with drainage, by ensuring the compost doesn’t block the drainage holes. Fill in some compost and then add the tuber with the growing tip facing upwards. Continue to fill in the rest of the compost to firmly hold the tuber, making sure the growing tip at the top is peeping out and is not completely covered. This is now ready to be moved to the patio or garden area, with access to as much sun as possible.

3. Water well after potting and then keep compost moist but not waterlogged as tubers will rot. You can add a liquid feed weekly during the growing season and provide some protection from slugs as they really love Dahlias.

4. If growing tall varieties, insert a cane to help with growth and to keep secure.

5. Little pruning is needed on Dahlias, however you can deadhead as flowers begin to fade.

Dahlia Planting Tutorials

Dwarf Gallery Dahlias

Decorative Dinnerplate Dahlias

Cactus Dahlias

Bishop Dahlias

Click HERE to view our full Dahlia range!