5 Essential Summer Gardening Tips

The sun is out, spring flowers are at their peak, and summer is on its way! With June just around the corner, learn how to keep your garden looking beautiful all-season long with our top 5 essential summer gardening tips.

1. Watch the Weeds!

Weeds can be inevitable, even in the most well-kept gardens. As the weather gets warmer, the weeds come out, but there are ways of deterring them from growing in your garden. We recommend:

  • Applying mulch
  • Weed after it rains when the soil is moist
  • Cultivating

2. Fertilise

There are many types of fertiliser on the market, so make sure to find a fertiliser will work best in your garden. The healthiest gardens use some type of fertiliser because most soil does not provide an adequate amount of nutrients to plants and flowers. A mid-summer application to boost the colour and condition during the hottest months

3. Watering Schedule

The very best time to water plants is in the early morning or late evening, while it is still cool. This will allow the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots of the plant without too much excess water lost to evaporation.

4. Pruning Shrubs

Early summer is the time to prune many of the spring-flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Weigela. Prune off growth that has just finished flowering down to an outward facing bud, along with any damaged or crossing branches within the shrub, which should be removed either to suitable growth or completely. 

5. Finish Planting Annual Bedding Plants

If you didn’t have time to plant out your tender bedding plants in May, there’s still time to get them into the ground or their new containers as soon as you can in June. Make sure to place them in good light, so they do not become drawn and spindly in the shade.

Throughout summer, regular deadheading will keep them looking fresh and neat and you will quickly realise what brilliant value for money bedding plants are.Have a happy, flower-filled summer.

Summer Garden Essentials

With Spring upon us and summer on the way, plan a spectacular garden with our list of essential summer garden plants. From colourful, pollinator-friendly blooms to gorgeous leafy foliage plants, discover our top choices for transforming any space into a nature haven in the summertime.

Essential Container Plants

Container plants are so versatile, add a flash of colour to patios, create a focal point in the garden and they’re perfect for smaller spaces; the possibilities are endless. Here are our favourite compact plants for summer pots:

Geraniums

Noted for their fragrant, bright flowers, Geraniums have become increasingly popular in the summer garden. Versatile and long-flowering, our Patio Geraniums are perfect for summer pots.

Dahlias

With a rich assortment of flower colours, shapes and sizes, along with their amazing bloom time, are what makes Dahlias a staple of the summer garden. Our Dwarf Dahlia range are ideal for patio pots or the front of the border.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas in pots and containers bring a burst of elegant beauty to any corner of the garden. Their compact floral clusters make an impressive display in containers.

Essential Border Plants

Planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening, where you can truly let your creativity flow. We’ve selected our favourites plants that are guaranteed to add colour, texture and character to the summer border.

Hostas

Create a border full of natural beauty with Hostas. These amazing perennials are easy to grow and are perfect for shaded borders.

Petunias

One of the most popular and easy to grow summer bedding plants. These prolific bloomers are superb way of introducing fun and bright colours to your beds and borders.

Carex

These evergreen grasses bring height and texture to the border. These easy to care for plants are great for softening harsh landscapes and adding a contrast against summer blooms.

Essential Basket Plants

Hanging baskets, with their colourful flowers and lush plants, add an extra dimension to houses, patios and garden walls. From bringing bees and butterflies flocking to the garden, to adding a burst of colour for small spaces, here are our top hanging basket varieties.

Fuchsias

Blooming non-stop from early summer to autumn, Fuchsias are great for attracting pollinators and look amazing in baskets. With a colourful assortment of shades and sizes to choose from, the options are endless.

Begonias

A traditional garden favourite. Trailing Begonias will give endless months of bright colour and look especially eye-catching in hanging baskets. Easy to grow and long-flowering bloomers.

Million Bells

Fill your summer garden with the cascading blooms of beautiful Million Bells. With a rainbow of colours to choose from, add a dose of vibrancy to the summer garden with these prolific-flowering plants.

Beautiful Summer Flower Companions

Are you in search of long-flowering, easy to grow flowers to add a burst of energy to your summer gardens? With Spring just a few weeks away, it’s time to get your summer bulb lists together in time for the spring planting season. With just a little planning, you can assemble a collection of summer flowers to bring joy and colour to your beds and borders.

To help you in your summer bulb quest, we’ve done all the hard work for you and put together a useful list of summer bulb companions to inspire you and your gardens:

Crocosmia and Agapanthus

A beautifully bold pairing. These glowing perennials combine vibrant shades and shapes of flowerheads to create a spectacular effect in borders. As an added bonus, most of these two wonderful varieties are drought tolerant too!

Crocosmia ‘Sunglow’
Agapanthus ‘Back in Black’

Echinacea and Rudbeckia

A colourful and easy to grow pairing. These wildlife-loving partners are perfect for livening up any garden with bees and butterflies in the peak of summer. These low maintenance flowers are perfect for beds and borders.

Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’
Rudbeckia ‘Little Goldstar’

Salvia and Verbena

Plant a mix of these perennials and welcome to your very own wildlife haven. Both varieties are easy to grow, low maintenance and drought tolerant, what more could you want in the summer garden?

Salvia ‘Gigantimo Bluestripe’
Verbena ‘Pink Spires’

Dahlias and Hemerocallis

Inject a dose of colourful drama into the summer garden with these bold bloomers. Even though both varieties are eye-catching on their own, together they are a real burst of joy in the border.

Dahlia ‘Great Silence’
Hemerocallis ‘Double Dream’

Monarda and Geraniums

A fantastic plant combination for a long lasting display. These plants grow harmoniously together in soft pink and purple shades to add a fresh colour palette to borders and containers. Most of these perennials are top performers and some are award winners too!

Monarda ‘Blaustrumpf’
Geranium ‘Rozanne’

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Our Favourite Flowers for Summer Containers

The summer garden wouldn’t be complete without some beautiful containers. Whatever style you prefer, we’ve done the hard work for you, selecting a range of different flowers and colours to suit any garden.

Buddleia ‘Purple Lion’

A stunning, fragrant Buddleia. This compact variety is low maintenance and will bring pollinators racing to your garden.

Skimmia ‘White Dwarf’

Thisa hardy evergreen shrub produces striking creamy white buds against stunning foliage. Perfect for year round containers.

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’

An award-winning Hydrangea. Producing 6 times more flowers than the average Hydrangea, the white lace-cap flowers on this beautiful plant are a true summer showstopper.

Escallonia ‘Pink Elle’

This wildlife-attracting evergreen blooms with pretty clusters of white, pink and red flowers, which will certainly add a splash of colour the the summer garden.

Begonia Splendide ‘Ballernia’

A myriad of warm apricot, orange and yellow blooms. This improved strain of cascading Begonias will brighten up any summer window box or container.

Lily ‘Majestic Joy’

A lively dwarf-growing Lily. Lily Majestic Joy produces wonderful golden dark pink/yellow flowers that will bring a touch of exotic beauty to summer pots and containers.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

For a chance to WIN our Begonia Fimbriata Mixed (worth £8.99), Follow us on Facebook and LIKE our Giveaway post!

One lucky winner will be selected at random on Tuesday the 25th February!

10 Gorgeous Purple Perennials

Add class and colour to your summer garden with some pretty purple perennials! Take a look at a selection of our favourite purple, violet, mauve and lilac perennial plants below and spruce up your garden.

Iris

Our Iris perennial plants are supplied as First grade loose roots, and are a hardy summer alternative to more common Iris.

Campanula

Campanula are very effective and reliable perennial plant ideal for ground cover, for use in rockeries, or at the front of a border.

Geranium

Hardy Geraniums are perfect for summer border displays: adding traditional colour and beauty when they flower from late summer to early autumn.

Salvia

Our Salvia are supplied as First grade loose root plants and produce an abundance of compact dense spikes of purple flowers, perfect for borders.

Verbena

Verbena produce tight clusters of brightly coloured flowers and vivid green foliage. This is a beautiful plant that is loved by butterflies and attracts wildlife.

Sedum

Sedum plants are perfect for covering the ground, rockeries or dry stone walls. They are a great plant for attracting butterflies and insects.

Thalictrum

This unusual plant produces attractive foliage that blooms in shades of lilac with contrasting lemon-yellow stamen. Thalictrum flowers from June through to August.

Lavender

Lavender is a beautiful, fragrant shrub which produces masses of scented flowers from June through to September. Perfect for planting at the edge of a path or walkway.

Prepare for your summer garden and have a look at our entire Spring 2020 range here!

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

February in the Garden

February invites the first signs of spring into our gardens; days are lengthening, bulbs begin to emerge from the ground, and colour in the garden is just around the corner. This month is about cleansing (after the Latin word februum which means purification), and there’s no better time than now to give your garden a little TLC in preparation for spring.

Tidy Up

Flowers

  • Remove faded flowers, such as Winter Pansies and Violas, from containers to encourage them to flower more during spring and prevent from going to seed.
  • Deadhead early flowering plants such as Primulas regularly to encourage fresh flowers.
  • Remove any dead or decaying leaves from container plants to avoid encouraging slugs and snails in early spring.

Grasses

  • Deciduous grasses which have been left unpruned over winter should now be cut back to the ground.
  • Remove dead material from evergreen grasses to make space for new growth in the coming months.
  • Tidy up decaying material around perennials and remove any leaf litter to discourage the slugs and snails as they arrive in early spring.

Cutting Garden

  • Prepare your cut flower beds by removing any stubborn perennial weeds, such as brambles or bindweed, which may be hiding.
  • If the soil is particularly stony, it can be sieved and raked until the texture is nice and fine.
  • Borders can also be given a boost by adding organic feed such as chicken manure and seaweed.

Looking after your lawn:

  • Remember to keep off the grass when there’s a frost, as the blades are more susceptible to damage which could lead to lawn diseases and other problems.
  • Ensure you brush off any debris or leaves which have fallen onto your lawn, as they can smother and cause discolouration to the grass.
  • Towards the end of the month, if the grass has produced some growth, you may be able to give your lawn a light trim with the lawnmower.

Planting Summer Bulbs

There are many lovely late-spring and summer bulbs which although usually planted in the autumn, if you missed that slot, early spring provides another opportunity. Below are some beautiful bulbs suitable for planting this month.

Allium

Alliums are easy to grow and once established return reliably every year; if planted in February will flower in late spring and early summer.

Lilies

Lilies can be planted in February and March and make a great scented display. If your garden has wet, heavy soil they are better planted in containers.

Anemone

Anemone can be planted from February onwards. The best chance of ensuring summer bulbs flower the following year is to feed them during the growing season.

Crocosmia

Crocosmia can be planted in the spring for flowering in late summer and make a great display. They’re easy to grow and return reliably each year.

Prepare for your summer garden by shopping our New Spring 2020 range HERE!

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

A Guide to our Pre-Planted Hanging Baskets

Adding colour to your summer garden could not be easier with our exciting range of 10 premium UK-grown hanging baskets. These summer flower baskets have been pre-planted to save you time and effort, meaning they’re ready-to-hang for an immediate display.

On arrival simply unpack our pre-filled hanging baskets, hang them up securely in their chosen location and then after watering they are ready to go. A simple, easy and carefree approach that is quickly becoming all the rage. Buy online now for £19.99 each or order two of one mixture for only £29.98, saving £10.00 off RRP.

Our Pre-Planted Hanging Basket Range

FUCHSIA

Fuchsia Trailing Mixed

An enticing mixture of of trailing Fuchsias in pale pink, deep pink, and striking purple.

GERANIUM

Geranium Ivy Leaf Mixed

Our combination of red, pink and white double Geranium flowers will reach a trailing habit of 30-60cm.

PETUNIA

Petunia Tumbelina Mixed

A selection of beautiful Petunias ranging in shades of purples, pinks and reds.

SURFINIA

Surfinia Trailing Mixed

A mixture of velvety Surfinias in a range of shades, with a trailing reach of 60-90cm.

BEGONIAS

Begonia Apricot Shades

Zesty orange and yellow hues make up our beautiful Begonia hanging basket.

Begonia Illuminations Mixed

Our Illuminations Mixed basket includes a bright array of red, orange, yellow and white Begonias.

MIXED

Eton Mess Mixed

A selection of Calibrachoa, Verbena and Surfinia in beautiful pink and purple shades.

Fruit Salad Mixed

This basket includes Calibrachoas and Lobelias in delicate purple, white and apricot colours.

Palma Violet Mixed

Gorgeous Verbenas, Petunias and Lobelias make up this basket in varying tones of purple and violet.

Sherbet Lemon Mixed

Our Sherbet Lemon basket is a mixture of cheerful Lobelia Dark blue, Verbena White and Bidens Goldita.

Caring for your Hanging Baskets

WATER OFTEN:

Hanging baskets typically need more water than flowers in a garden, as any excess water drains from the bottom of the basket – meaning it is fairly hard to overwater them. How much you water your baskets will depend on temperature and time of year. In spring, watering your baskets

DEAD HEAD:

As the flowers die, make sure to remove them by pinching them off where they meet the stem. Not only does this make your baskets look better, but it will also promote the formation of new flowers.

FERTILISE:

Fertiliser will replenish any nutrients in the soil which are depleted with watering and will help to keep full, healthy looking baskets. Make sure you fertilise when the soil is moist, not when the plants are wilting, and follow the directions on the specific fertiliser you’re using.

TRIM:

If your plants are starting to look a little straggly, don’t be afraid to trim them back once or twice a season. Trimming your hanging plants will increase denser new growth and create a fuller looking basket for the rest of summer.

ROTATE YOUR BASKETS:

It can be a good idea to rotate the location of your hanging baskets occasionally – particularly if one spot receives more sunlight than another. Swapping their location every week or so can ensure that when having multiple baskets, they each receive equal opportunity for sunlight and growth.

Bulbs to Plant in February

Spring is usually the most popular time for planting out summer flowering bulbs. However! February is a great time to begin planting some of the hardier varieties, or for putting them out into pots and containers for a fabulous display. Generally, bulbs prefer a light, well-draining soil – so try to avoid wet and heavy soils. But don’t worry if your garden soil isn’t well-drained, as all the bulbs below are suitable for pots and containers.

LILIES

Lily bulbs can be planted any time from autumn to spring in a sunny spot, in rich well-drained soil, around 15-20cm deep. If your soil is heavy, wet or badly drained then you could plant in pots or containers for a lovely patio display.

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Lily Gran Tourismo

This deep pink oriental Lily has a striking green centre and a wonderful fragrance. This unusual giant star-shaped flower is brilliant for a cut flower display.

Martagon Hansonii

A beautiful Lily with delicate golden flowers and small burgundy markings. This flower has unusual recurved petals, making it a lovely feature.

Short Stemmed Lilies Mixed

This bright and attractive mixture will produce upright flowers that will add a splash of colour to your garden in the summer. This selection is perfect for exotic-looking pots, containers and borders.

EUCOMIS

Eucomis bulbs are usually planted in spring, however February is not too early to plant them into pots and containers. If planted in well-drained soil the bulbs should be hardy to around -6 °C . Plant the bulbs 15cm deep in pots for a summer display, or out in the border once actively growing – but only after the last frosts.

Sparkling Rosy

This extraordinary Eucomis produces contrasting deep purple and delicate pink flowers. The star-shaped blooms are accompanied by bold green foliage.

Autumnalis Alba

Our Autumnalis Alba is a more elegant Eucomis, with a refreshing colourway of crisp white flowers and bright green foliage. It makes a beautiful patio plant.

LIATRIS

Liatris are tough herbaceous perennials originating from North America, and are great for attracting wildlife such as bees and butterflies. They produce large blooms which eventually form a clump and can be later divided in spring. Plant in light, well-draining soil around 5cm deep.

Spicata

Our Liatris Spicata produces a mass of bright spike-shaped blooms in a bold purple-pink colour. The flowers stand tall at 80cm from July to September.

Spicata Alba

The Spicata Alba is a beautiful white variety of Liatris, which looks superb when complementing the pink. These blooms are wonderful for attracting bees and butterflies.

MISCELLANEOUS

Here are a few more summer-flowering beauties for you to plant NOW!

Ixia Mixed

Our fun mixture of Ixias produce wonderful candy-coloured flowers for a cheerful summer display. Their star-shaped blooms in brilliant and varied colours. 

Butterfly Gladioli Mixed

This stunning mixture of miniature Gladioli will add a splash of colour to your garden this summer. They produce delicate florets that are shaped like the wings of a butterfly. 

Decorative Dahlia Mixed

This delightfully bright and huge blooms of our Decorative Dahlia mix will bring months of joy to the summer garden. Plant in a border for an eye-catching, rainbow display.

Quick Guide to Bulb Planting:

Generally bulbs need to be planted approximately three times the depth of the bulb itself, though if you’re unsure it’s better to dig a little deeper than not.

  • Dig a hole deep and wide enough for the bulb size.
  • Place the bulb with the shoot facing upwards into the hole. Space your bulbs at least twice their width apart.
  • Fill the hole with soil and gently firm. Avoid stepping on the soil as this could cause damage.
  • After planting, water bulbs once and then regularly once in active growth.

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A Guide to the Best Begonias

Begonias are a fantastic summer plant to grow, and very rewarding. In the British climate they will flower abundantly from June right through to October. As such versatile plants they look fabulous in pots or containers on the patio, or equally as beautiful in a flower bed. At J. Parker’s we have a huge range of Begonias to add colour to your garden. Take a look below where we have compiled a few of our favourites from each variety.

Our Begonia Top Picks

DOUBLE BEGONIAS:

Double Exhibition Orange

This Exhibition Begonia has a stunningly large, zesty orange flower which is sure to add “wow” factor to beds and patio containers. The double blooms can reach a huge 15cm in diameter.

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Double Exhibition White

Our White Double also reaches a giant 15cm in diameter. Its pure white petals look angelic against the fresh green foliage, and is great to mix with a brighter colour for an eye-catching display.

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CASCADING BEGONIAS:

Cascading Pink

These pretty pink Cascading Begonias are a lovely addition to hanging baskets, where they will delicately trail over. A favourite of gardeners, the frilled flowers will be in bloom all summer long.

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Cascading Yellow

Our yellow Cascading Begonias add vibrancy to your summer garden. They look beautiful as they spill over hanging baskets and their colourful blooms last all summer long.

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FANCY FRILLS BEGONIAS (FIMBRIATA):

Fancy Frills Red

This Begonia produces luxurious large double blooms with crimped edges, in a beautiful deep crimson colour. Sat upon crisp green foliage it really is a wonderful sight.

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Fancy Frills White

Our pure white Fimbriata Begonia resembles a double carnation in appearance, with its ruffled petals and serrated edges. This flower is ideal for pots, containers, and borders alike.

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MIGHTY MINI BEGONIAS (SUPERBA):

Mighty Mini Superba Orange

The salmon-orange petals of this Superba Begonia add zing to borders and patio pots. These giant flowers look wonderful in the garden or make equally as beautiful cut flowers. Flower from June to October.

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Mighty Mini Superba Yellow

Our Superba Yellow Begonia has giant flowers with exquisite yellow ruffled petals. Blooming all summer, from June to October, it’s sure to add delight to borders and patios.

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NON STOP BEGONIAS:

Non Stop Pink

Non Stop Begonias produce fantastically vibrant flowers, and our Pink variety contrasts beautifully against its green foliage. Flowers from June right through to October.

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Non Stop Salmon

Our Salmon Non Stop Begonia has bright and lively orange coloured petals which blooms virtually non-stop throughout the summer months. They are a lovely addition to pots, bedding and window boxes.

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How to Grow Begonias

TUBEROUS BEGONIAS:

  • 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.
  • They should be started in shallow boxes in light soil; the saucer-like tubers should be planted very shallow with the hollow side up.
  • As soon as any danger of frost has passed they can be transferred to their position in the garden, at least 30cm apart.
  • Begonias are great lovers of moisture and during dry weather they should be water in the early morning or in the evening.

Our Spring 2020 range is out NOW! To shop our lovely collection of Spring plants and bulbs, click here.

Alternatively, you can request our Spring 2020 catalogue here.

The Best Time to Plant Fruit Trees

Growing your own fruit trees has so many benefits, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t got one in your garden already. In addition to delicious, healthy and organic produce, planting trees also improves air quality, reduces flooding, increases soil quality, and provides a wonderful habitat for birds, bees, insects and wildlife. Shop our gorgeous range of fruit trees here, we have something for every garden!

Depending on where you choose to plant your fruit tree, the time of year varies. When planting into a pot or container, the best time is from mid-August to the end of May. Whereas bare rooted trees should be planted anywhere from late October to March.

Our Top Picks for 2020

Apple Trees

Our apple trees produce high yields of gorgeous tasting fruit with little maintenance, and are suitable to be planted into large containers or straight in the ground.

 Apple Spartan

Spartan is a flavourful dessert apple with a distinct maroon red skin. The delicious fruit is excellent for eating fresh or for making refreshing juices. The fruit ripens in October and November.

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Apple Api Noir

This striking deep burgundy apple blossoms with pretty white flowers in spring, and follows with sweet dark fruit in October. The attractive colour of Api Noir makes it a popular choice for decorative gardens.

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Plum Trees

Plum Czar

Our Plum Czar produces fantastically large, juicy and plump dark purple plums which have a lovely  flavour. This reliable early fruiting tree has white blossoms in Spring and the fruit arrives early August.

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 Plum Imperial Gage

Also known as Denniston’s Superb, this tree is reliable and hardy and holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Its fruits are small and have a wonderful flavour with overtones of sweet honey. Blossoms from April and fruits in August.

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Patio Trees

 Cherry Kordia (Patio)

Also known as Prunus Kordia, this compact dwarf cherry tree was awarded an RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2014. It has pretty white blossom in early spring, followed by large glossy fruits in April and May.

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Patio Nectarine (Prunus)

Our patio Nectarine tree produces plump, juicy fruits with a wonderful flavour. This compact variety allows anybody to grow their own produce, regardless of garden size. It has pretty pink blossom in Spring, followed by fruit in the Summer.

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How To: Planting Bare Rooted Trees

All of our full sized trees are provided as 2 year old bare rooted top-quality fruit trees ranging in height from 4-6 foot on arrival, depending on variety.

Planting instructions:

  • On receiving your tree you need to soak the roots in a bucket of water for at least two hours, though ideally overnight, to give a head start on soaking up as much moisture as possible before planting.
  • Choose a planting location which has access to lots of sun, as the more it gets the healthier it’ll be. It’s also worth planting in areas with shelter from harsh winds.
  • Dig a hole which is large enough to accommodate the roots without cramping them. Drained, fertile soil is best and we recommend that you add some manure or compost when planting.
  • Place your tree into the hole and fill around the roots, being careful that no air gaps exist.
  • Stake the tree to keep it secure and provide protection from unexpected winds. Always tie the stake low down so that the tree is able to move in the wind, but the roots are firmly held.
  • You can also grow your tree individually in a large pot following the same instructions – though it may reduce the fruiting of it slightly.

Our new Spring 2020 range is available online NOW. Take a look at our fabulous collection and happy shopping!

Alternatively, you can request a copy of our Spring 2020 Catalogue here.