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’
 

December in the Garden

There are always things to do in the garden in December. These simple gardening tasks will offer some calm and relief amid the busyness of the festive season. So, here are our top jobs to get done in the garden this month.

FROZEN PONDS
  • Don’t smash the ice on a pond with a spade as the shock waves could kill fish or other wildlife. Create a breathing hole by putting a rubber ball in the water before it freezes, removing it once ice forms.
Prep Beds and borders

 

potted plant care

• Potted plants are vulnerable to water logging over winter, which can cause root rot. Raise them up onto pot feet or stand on bricks, to allow excess moisture to drain away.

• Water pots when necessary to counteract the dry winter winds.

Trees and shrubs

• Cut off dead stems of wall shrubs and climbers, then tie in any wayward shoots to prevent them being snapped off in windy weather.

• Remove any dead, diseased or dying branches from deciduous trees.

 

HELP WILDLIFE
  • Leave out bowls of fresh water for wildlife to bathe and drink.
  • Don’t throw out any scraps, birds love bits of cheese, pasta, and bread.
  • Plant a feast of berry-filled bushes that birds and other wildlife can enjoy during the cold months.
GET FESTIVE

• Why not spruce up the bare branches in the garden with fairy lights or decorative baubles in spirit of the festive season.

  • Use broken twigs to make ornaments for your trees and gift toppers. Star twigs are a favourite.

 

fOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND WIN £50

Enter our Christmas Wreath Photo Competition by sharing snaps of your own festive wreaths on our social pages for a chance to win a £50 PARKERS VOUCHER!

Enter by midnight Sunday the 15th!

 

FILL YOUR 2020 GARDEN WITH BASKETS

We’ve just made your gardening so much easier! Our NEW premium pre-planted summer floral hanging baskets are the perfect way to enhance your displays and keep your garden looking fantastic all summer long!

Create a Wonderful Winter Haven for Birds

Birds can play a vital role in the garden’s ecosystem, from natural pest controllers to simply bringing joy and life to the garden. By choosing the right plants, you can produce both food and cover for garden birds all year round. There are lots of ways to give bird populations a boost, from creating nesting shelters to planting shrubs rich in berries.

In this week’s blog, we have listed the top bird-friendly shrubs to provide bird food and shelter to handy and simple crafts and tips to attract these wild visitors to the garden.

Top Bird-Friendly Shrubs

Holly Blue Angel

A classic winter wonder. Holly Blue Angel produces shiny evergreen foliage with an unusual blue tinge on the leaves and masses of red berries in the winter. When birds need a source of food in the winter, Holly berries are the perfect snack.

Click here to view online.

Holly Hedging (Ilex aquifolium)

A brilliant evergreen hedging plant. It is slow growing, low maintenance and acts as a deterrent with its dense prickly barrier. With bright red and orange berries in winter, this native plant is a great source of food and shelter for birds.

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Pyracantha Victory

A robust Pyracantha. Producing masses of red berries in summer and clusters of white blossoms in summer, this decorative shrub adds plenty of interest for wildlife as a spot for nesting birds and they contain an abundance of pollen for bees.

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Pyracantha Golden Charmer

A beautiful and useful shrub. With sprinklings of white June blossoms followed by masses of golden berries, this multi-tasking plant is a great climbing, specimen or screening plant and is also well-loved by birds in the winter.

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Quickthorn/Hawthorn Hedging

This popular British Native hedge can withstand harsh winds and temperatures and the thick and thorny branches make an excellent barrier. Red berries appear during the autumn months to tempt hungry birds to the garden.

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Crataegus Pauls Scarlet

This robust little shrub blooms with beautiful pink spring blossoms amongst bright green foliage. Even in the winter, the stout, interweaving branches and their red berries act as a nesting sight and food source for birds.

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Virginia Creeper

This climbing vine is perfect for adding autumn colour to the garden. At different times of the year, this vigorous creeper provides fruit, caterpillars and nesting material for birds. Its dense leafy cover also makes great shelter.

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Boston Ivy

You won’t find a more dramatic sight in autumn than a Boston Ivy. Their leaves change from a summer green to a bright crimson in the autumn. This variety produces clusters of dark blue berries that are a perfect food source for hungry birds.

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Lonicera ‘Winter Beauty’

This winter-flowering Honeysuckle produces masses of fragrant, creamy-white flowers. In autumn, it provides berries and shelter for birds and in summer, the scented flowers attract insects; a great food source for birds.

Click here to view online.

Lonicera Kamtschatica (Honeyberry)

When ripened in late-spring to early summer, Honeyberry fruit is a treat that shouldn’t be missed. This hardy, edible Honeysuckle is loved by birds and other wildlife for their delicious berries.

Click here to view online.

Bird Gardening Tips

It’s easy to attract birds to the garden, here are some bird-friendly gardening tips that you can do in any outdoor space, big or small.

DIY Bird feeders/boxes

Turn your garden into a desirable home for birds from winter through to spring with a cosy nestbox. You can even make your own  mini nature reserve for them if you’re handy. The best weatherproof and secure material for constructing your own is wood.

Install feeders

Garden birds benefit  from feeding all year round. Place feeders high off the ground. Use wire mesh feeders for peanuts and seed feeders for other seed. Where cats are a problem, use a bird table where cats cannot reach. You can even make your own by simply using sticking bird seed to a toilet paper roll using peanut butter and using string to hang them from a branch.

Bird baths

Many birds will use bird baths and ponds for bathing, so urge birds to seek out your garden as their one-stop shop for their daily routines. Keep an eye on your bird bath over winter to ensure they don’t freeze over in the cold temperatures.

Winter/Spring Bedding Plants for a Colourful Garden

Our range of winter/spring bedding plants will breathe life, colour and interest into your garden wherever you decide to plant them. Perfect for beds and borders, winter bedding plants are ideal for adding to plant pots and containers on the patio. With our amazing maxi plug plant range, you won’t find cheaper top quality winter bedding plants to fill your garden with bright blooms to chase away the cold winter weather.

Also, check out our planting guide below on tips and tricks on how to plant and grow plug plants and view our informative plug planting videos.

Primulas

Lift your spirits with the bright colours of Primulas. Hardy and easy to grow, these cheerful perennials provide a wide range of shapes and sizes in almost every colour imaginable and are perfect for any  garden, big or small.

Primula Cottage Cream

With their beautiful cream/white petals with orange centres, Cottage Cream Primula are an old-fashioned, much loved Primrose. These flowers are best planted in patio pots, containers or at the front of the garden border.

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Primula Emotions Mixed

Our new Primula mix will give you an amazing rainbow of colours until the late spring. Easy to grow, they make the ideal plant for borders, patio pots and containers. Slightly scented, these amazing flowers will bloom from January all the way through to April.

Click here to view online.

Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

A new and colourful Primula. Producing pretty pink flowers with a bright yellow centre, they will give the garden a burst of joy through the gloomy winter months from January until April. Perfect for dazzling in the front of the border.

Click here to view online.

Pansies

Pansies are the colourful flowers with “faces.” A cool-weather favourite, pansies are great for both autumn and spring gardens! Pansies have heart-shaped, overlapping petals and one of the widest ranges of bright, pretty colours and patterns.

Pansy Trailing Cool Wave

The Best Trailing Pansy Ever! This amazing large-flowered series keeps flowering all winter long, and well into spring too. Endless waves of simply gorgeous flowers in shades of golden yellow, violet, mauve, berry purple and white.

Click here to view online.

Pansy Can Can

A stunning double winter flowering plant. Can Can is a fun and unusual variety with frilly, layered blooms of wavy and vibrant petals. These beautiful bedding plants will provide long-lasting colour throughout winter.

Click here to view online.

Pansy Winter/Spring Mixed

A well-loved high performer. Creating a splendid display of colour, Pansies carry on flowering right through to spring and in such a beautiful variation of colours. Also, these super hardy plants can withstand a dusting of snow in the winter.

Click here to view online.

Polyanthus

One of the most popular bedding plant varieties on the market. Blooming their hearts out for weeks and brightening the dullest days, the highly versatile Polyanthus are perfect for creating impressive floral displays from autumn and throughout spring.

Polyanthus Fire dragon

Fire Dragon is a beautiful rosette-forming flower that produces large, yellow petals which are flamed and frilled orange-red at the edges. A delightful sight at the front of the border. What is unusual about this variety is its amazing scent.

Click here to view online.

Polyanthus Crescendo Spring Fever Mix

Create brilliant colour with our Polyanthus Crescendo Spring Fever Mix. Blooming with cheerful orange, yellow and white flowers throughout autumn and spring, they are ideal for brightening up containers and borders.

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Polyanthus Crescendo Rainbow Mixed

Paint a rainbow with the bold splashes of colour in this mixture of Polyanthus flowers. Flowering from autumn and providing vibrant flowers right through to spring, where it will compliment your bulb display beautifully.

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Violas

These little shining showstoppers are a beautiful modern flower for any garden. Free flowering and with a soft fragrance, Violas are perfect for adding something unique to the garden that provides a big impact.

Viola teardrops pink blush

Bring a touch of romance to the garden with Pink Blush. Their soft pink flowers with cheerful yellow centres are ideal for winter/spring baskets and window boxes. Flowering from January-April, enjoy this Viola’s lovely soft spring fragrance.

Click here to view online.

viola teardrops yellow jump up

Create a cascade of winter colour with these yellow and purple flowers. This free-flowering Viola is ideal for winter and spring baskets, containers and window boxes, flowering from January through to April.

Click here to view online.

Viola Teardrops Mixed

The perfect solution for brightening up the garden in the winter months. This semi-trailing bloomer showcases a range of bright and bold colours and is the perfect plant for winter and spring hanging baskets and containers.

Click here to view online.

Continue reading Winter/Spring Bedding Plants for a Colourful Garden

10 Drought Tolerant Plants to Beat the Summer Heat

With increasingly hotter summers in Britain, climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water. However, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions. These drought-tolerant plants are the perfect choice for sunny spots in your garden.

1. Nepeta

Nepeta are a reliable perennial, very hardy and tolerant of all conditions and it returns reliably each year. They are very effective even in dry and drought areas, so they are useful for even the most difficult spots in the garden.

Nepeta Six Hills Giant

This vigorous perennial produces clusters of aromatic, small lavender blue flowers. This variety is a perfect addition to borders and edging beds, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to the summer garden. With a grey-green foliage and masses of flowers, this Nepeta adds a lovely, soft, gentle touch to cottage gardens.

2. Mimosa

The very hardy and heat-loving Mimosa is ideal wherever a full, dense canopy is desired during the summer months. Native to Southeastern Australia and then widely introduced to the Mediterranean , these plants are no stranger to higher, tropical temperatures.

Mimosa Acacia

The beautiful feathered foliage of the Mimosa Acacia will delight in the spring time, with their masses of fragrant yellow flowers. Create a statement display in your garden by planting this variety in patio container, but equally they are suited at the back of a border.

3. Sedum

Sedums are superb drought-resistant succulents that produce domes of star-shaped flowers in the summer and autumn seasons. Sedums have evolved to live in exposed conditions, where soil is very well-drained and sun and wind dry everything out quickly, so over the centuries, they have developed some inbuilt coping mechanisms such as fleshy, water-storing leaves and stems.

Sedum Hot Stuff

This striking Sedum produces large bursts of vibrant pink flowers that are wildly-loved by butterflies and bees. This strong, compact forming plant makes a great border addition or make a bigger impact by planting in groups so they will really stand out in the late summer garden.

4. Lavender

A native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it’s no wonder that Lavender makes a great drought-tolerant addition to the garden. It can be used as a low hedge, specimen plant, or even a cut flower, and will add a beautiful fragrance to the garden.

Dwarf Lavender Munstead

This compact evergreen shrub blooms with spikes of small, highly fragrant, blue-purple flowers in mid to late summer. Plant en masse to produce ground cover, low screening, or in lines to create a great border effect.

5. Campsis Radicans

Also known as Trumpet Vines, these hardy plants are fast climbers that grow well even in poor soil and full sunlight, and the blossoms attract hummingbirds too. Campsis Radicans can live for decades and although they die back in the winter, they’re quick to spring back to life in the spring.

Campsis radicans

Blooming with clusters of showy, exotic warm red trumpet-shaped blooms, this self-clinging climber is ideal for a sunny wall or fence. These beautiful tropical flowers are marked with deep red insides appear above long, coarsely toothed, glossy dark green leaves with pointed tips and distinctive veining.

6. Ceanothus

Ceanothus, commonly known as California Lilac, are very drought tolerant shrubs and offer almost everything that a gardener could wish for in a shrub. They are free-flowering, drought tolerant, easy to cultivate and grow in most soils.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var repens

Beautiful in its simplicity, this fantastic award-winning shrub delights in the summer garden. Its rich glossy leaves nestle amongst sky blue florescence comprising of densely compact panicles that burst into bloom like tiny fireworks in spring and early summer. This evergreen variety looks beautiful in patio pots, or against a wall.

7. Jasmine

Jasmine provide more than delicate tendrils and sweet perfume, they create substance, structure and colourful blooms to the garden. This genus of shrubs and vines contains around 200 species, native to tropical and warm temperate regions and a number of species have become naturalised in Mediterranean Europe.

Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

This highly fragrant, vigorous climber produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped white flowers, which bloom from June throughout the summer months. This is a perfect climber for growing against a warm, sunny wall. Jasmine flowers are ideal for perfuming the air with their sweet fragrance in the summer garden.

8. Verbena

Native to the American Tropics, Verbena plants are beautiful examples of drought-tolerant plants. These popular perennials produce rich nectar, so butterflies and bees also love them.

Verbena bonariensis

Elegant and long lasting. This bestselling Verbena variety produces masses of small purple flowers in clusters. With a good pest resistance, this fantastic border plant will delight in the summer garden, flowering from June to October. They also will make a great addition to cut flower displays.

9. Russian Sage

One of the toughest plants that needs little care. Russian Sage loves direct sun, tolerates almost any soil and is extremely drought tolerant. Its fine texture makes Russian Sage a good choice if you’re seeking contrast with plants exhibiting a coarser texture.

Perovskia atriplicifolia Blue Spire

Native to central Asia, Russian Sage’s natural habitat is on dry plains. This variety produces highly scented silver leaves that are topped with spikes of gorgeous, tiny violet purple bell-shaped flowers in late summer. The impressive flowers and foliage look amazing planted in a border or patio pot in the summer garden.

10. Agapanthus

Agapanthus are some of the most beautiful and reliable summer plants you can grow. Once established, Agapanthus are tough enough to withstand dry spells without stressing. Originating from the cliffs of South Africa, they naturally enjoy lots of sunshine and are naturally resistant to wind.

Agapanthus Melbourne

This stunning bi-colour variety blooms in the summer with purple buds that open to reveal white flowers with a lilac purple stripe through each petal. Also known as the African Lily, these plants are drought tolerant and enjoy plenty of sunlight.

Summer Plant Care Tips

Plants for Different Soil Types

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing your soil type can be crucial to planning out the planting in your garden. The soil provides your plants with nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy growth and development, but depending on the plot of ground, that can determine what plants, shrubs or trees can grow their successfully.

3 Step System to Test Your Soil

  1. Dig a hole 6 to 10 inches deep in the soil.
  2. Separate an intact section about the size of a soup can and break it apart with your fingers.
  3. Determine whether the soil is cloddy, powdery or granular (ideally your soil should be made up of different sized crumbs that hold their shape under slight pressure).

 

  • Known as heavy soil (sticky when wet, rock hard when dry).
  • Feels smooth (not gritty) between the fingers.
  • Drains slowly after rain.
  • Takes a long time to warm up in spring.
  • Heavy to dig and cultivate.
  • Usually rich in plant nutrients.The following plants are well-adapted to clay soils:
Viburnum

Viburnum burkwoodii Mohawk

This shrub is an underrated evergreen shrub for clay soil. The opening of its flowers announce the end of winter and its white flowers (pink in bud) provide a pretty backdrop for a border in early spring. Dense, compact growth make this a useful plant for screening off a view and creating a feeling of enclosure in the garden.

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle Serotina

A sweetly scented honeysuckle is a true summer treat and this species of honeysuckle will grow well on clay soil. A scented climber is always a memorable plant, the perfume easy to access, especially if you grow it by your front door. The variety Serontina’ has flowers that display a vivid deep red colouring.

 

Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia Purpurea

This evergreen perennial produces spires of pink or red flowers in spring. The leaves (the ‘elephant’s ears’) are tinged with red in winter. A good plant for ground cover, it looks at its best planted in a block because the flowers have more impact in big numbers. A very tough plant for clay soil and tolerant of partial shade too.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Add Organic Matter (compost, aged manure) – this helps improve drainage, lighten heavy soil and adds nutrients. Before planting in spring add the organic matter to the soil with a 2-3 inch layer.
  2. Build Raised Beds – As clay soil holds water, raised beds can improve drainage by encouraging water to run off.
  3. Mulch Beds over Winter – Mulch with organic matter during the growing season and winter to help protect the soil from compaction and minimize weed growth.

Sandy soil is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well.

  • High proportion of sand and little clay.
  • Drains quickly after rain or watering.
  • Easy to work and cultivate.
  • Warm up quicker in spring than clay soils.
  • Low in nutrients – very acidic.

The following plants are well-adapted to sandy soils:

Sedum

Sedum Hot Stuff

There are an incredible diversity of Sedums available. They are succulents, so by nature they are adapted to dry, sandy soil. Most are ground covers that make great rock garden plants. There is also a taller variety called Autumn Joy that is a good choice for its extremely late bloom.

Allium

Allium Powder Puff

Giant Alliums will perform well year after year in sandy soil with little care, making them a great choice for a semi-naturalized meadow planting. Alliums are an easy to grow, very distinctive late spring and early summer flowering bulb, being very showy when planted in beds, borders or rock gardens.

Buddleia

Buddleia Empire Blue

One of Britain’s most beautiful and popular summer flowering shrubs. Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) is an excellent choice for sandy soils, since they can adapt to most soil types. These upright deciduous shrubs are a wildlife haven. Their tubular, fragrant flowers are a superb way of attracting butterflies and bees into the garden.

 

Tips 

  1. Prepare planting sites with moisture-retentive, well-rotted organic matter (farm manure, compost or leaf mould).
  2. When planting in spring, incorporate a slow-release fertilizer.
  3. Water thoroughly and regularly during dry periods.
  • Ideal soil for gardening.
  • Mainly organic matter.
  • Feels spongy.
  • Very fertile and hold moisture well.
  • Easily compacts.

The following plants are well-adapted to peaty soils:

Heather

Heather Summer Mixed

A fragrant and effective and colourful mixture of summer flowering Heathers offer an increasing superb display every year. This beautiful and colourful ground cover not only adds beauty to the garden but can help cut down on the weeding too.

Azaleas

Azalea Tunis

Nothing is more beautiful than an Azalea shrub in spring bloom and can be grown in nearly any garden. Azalea Tunis is a highly fragrant deciduous variety which has gigantic red flowers boasting long, decorative stamens. The blazing red, showy flowers are truly a sight to behold on a sunny spring day.

Witch Hazel

Hamamelis Witch Hazel Collection

Shrubs such as Witch Hazel do particularly well when planted in peaty soils. Our exotic collection of three Chinese Witch Hazel is the perfect way to breathe some life and colour back into the winter garden. These deciduous, winter flowering shrubs produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades.

 

Tips 

  1. Blend peat soil with rich organic matter, compost and lime to reduce the acidity.

  • Even mix of sand, silt and clay.
  • Feels fine-textured and slightly damp.
  • Adequate drainage, great structure and moisture retaining.
  • Easily cultivated and full of nutrients.
  • Ideal soil all year round.

The following plants are well-adapted to loamy soils:

Wisteria

Wisteria Multijuga

A vigorous climbing plant. Wisteria looks particularly effective when trained over a bare wall or pergola, making it a superb feature plant, and its exquisite aroma make it particularly attractive to bees and butterflies. Our ‘Multijuga’ variety produces delicate trailing clusters of highly fragrant lilac flowers from May through to September.

Rhododendrons

Rhododendron Praecox

One of the earliest flowering varieties, this lovely shrub will produce an abundance of rose-purple blooms as early as February and throughout March. For a truly stunning effect plant above a carpet of dainty white Snowdrops, which will flower around the same time.

Anemone

Anemone blanda White Splendour

These daisy-like flowers are one of the most familiar and renowned of all the Anemones White Splendour is excellent for naturalising in areas with full sun or partial shade. They bear large, pure white flowers with a pink flushed reverse in spring and will produce a superb carpet of white if left to multiply over the years to come.

 

 

Tips 

  1.  Maintain its fertility with regular dressings of manure or compost.

  • Feels soft and soapy.
  • Fertile and drain fairly well.
  • Rich in nutrients.
  • Hold more moisture than sandy soils.
  • Easily compacted.

The following plants are well-adapted to silty soils:

Snowdrops

Galanthus Woronowii

These spring-flowering bulbs are well-suited for silty soil. There is nothing to match the breath-taking sight of a sweeping carpet of snowdrops, a marvellous herald of spring.  Galanthus Woronowii is a giant white snowdrop with green markings. It’s beautiful nodding honey scented flower heads appear as early as January.

Hellebore

Helleborus Orientalis Mixed

Hellebore is a group of flowering perennials that are well-suited to the moist, well-draining conditions of silty soil. These fine Hellebore Orientalis Mixed produce pretty bowl shaped flowers in February to March in an array of hues, some will be spotted within. When left undisturbed, they can produce expanding clumps of evergreen foliage.

Dogwood

Cornus Midwinter Fire

Moisture-loving trees such as Dogwood perform well in silty soils. Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to its namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

 

 

Tips 

  1. Add an inch of organic matter (compost, decaying sawdust, or wood shavings) yearly, then add organic fertilizers and then cover with a further 2-3 inches of mulch.
  2. Avoid compaction – minimize walking on garden beds or consider planting on raised beds.
  3. Silty soil has a tendency to become waterlogged – avoid overwatering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lumps of white chalk or flint stones are visible in the soil.
  • Either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ depending if the soil mixed with the chalk is clay or sand.
  • Very alkaline.
  • Largely made up of calcium carbonate.

The following plants are well-adapted to chalky soils:

Mock ORANGE

Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’

Trees and shrubs such as Mock Orange perform beautifully in chalky soils. The heady fragrance of the beautiful ‘Belle Etoile’ is a fantastic addition to the summer border. This Mock Orange, prized for its citrusy scent presents an abundance of single, pure white flowers through late spring and early summer.

Lilac

Syringa meyeri Palibin

Lilacs are perfect shrubs that will thrive even in chalky soils. The delicious fragrant flowers of lilac are not to be missed in the garden in spring and they are one of the season’s best cut flowers. Lilacs can become very big plants so the best place to plant them is at the back of a border or at the perimeter of the garden.

Lavender

Lavender Hidcote

Lavender thrives in soils that are sandy, chalky or alkaline. A beautiful option for the summer garden is a traditional evergreen fragrant Lavender, Lavender Hidcote. Producing an abundance of purple-lilac coloured flowers in July through to September, they enjoy the free-draining soil provided by chalky soils. Grow them in full sun to get the best from them.

 

Tips 

  1.  Break up the chalk to a depth of 30 inches so that plant roots can spread out and establish.
  2. Add plenty of well-rotted organic matter (compost, composted green waste or manure) to improve the soil.
  3.  Attention to watering will be required for a longer period than other soil types.

 

Click here to Pre-Order your Spring Bulbs! 

Summer Gardens for Small Spaces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a compact garden and are looking to create an amazing summer display but don’t know how? In this guide, we will be sharing all our small garden tips and tricks to turn your miniature garden/tiny terrace and petite patios in to a show stopping display of shapes and colours.

Design Ideas

  • Vertical Planting: Create a Living Wall

With a little bit of creativity, a few plants and a vertical corner just waiting to be brought to life, there’s no reason for anyone to give up having a garden due to lack of space. If you don’t think your gardening skills are up to a whole host of plants, try growing a climbing plant up one wall for an easy display of stunning foliage and flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Top Choices

Honeysuckle American Beauty

Honeysuckle is a fantastic climber with the added bonus of attracting wildlife with their sweetly scented flowers. Our American Beauty variety is a beautiful, eye-catching plant for their mulit-coloured rich tones of blooms, making them a popular choice for the summer garden.

 

 

Clematis Viticella Huldine

 

This gorgeous variety of Clematis is a strong grower producing a dazzling array of white flowers with creamy yellow stamens. This climber makes the perfect addition to the summer garden for coverage on trellises and archways.

 

 

 

  • Think Big (Impact)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ample pathways can make a real statement in a small garden. Planting scented plants, flowers and herbs will create an impact on the senses with a variety of bold colours and fragrant scents, as well as attracting wildlife to the garden.

Our Top Choices

Lavender Rosea

 

This twist on the traditional lilac evergreen Lavender varieties, Rosea is ideal for planting in rows along pathways, around the patio and in the garden for a display of beautiful pale pink blooms and their staple lavender fragrance.

 

 

Penstemon Mixed

Bring a bright mixture of colours to your pathways this summer with there pretty foxgloves. Penstemon Mixed have a neat compact habit making them a versatile option for the summer garden as they are suitable for beds, borders and containers. Also, as an added bonus, they are loved by bees and butterflies!

 

 

  • Create Secluded Areas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divide the garden and make your own secluded areas of the garden to break up the space to make your garden feel larger by adding areas of interest. By using tall narrow plants or climbers you can create spaces for different functions like a place for contemplation or an edible garden.

Our Top Choices

Phyllostachys aureacaulis Yellow Bamboo

 

Noted for it’s fascinating yellow colour, this variety of yellow bamboo can create a striking structure in the garden when planted together for a captivating and contrasting effect. A fantastic strong plant for designing a beautiful summer garden structure.

 

Pennisetum Alopecuriodes ‘Hameln’

 

This ornamental grass produces strong green stems topped with pink cloud like flowers making this the perfect variety for creating an area of relaxation in the garden with their dense foliage and feathery flowers.

 

 

 

  • Smart Planting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t bombard your garden with plants. For smaller spaces, keeping clutter at bay is the best way of creating the feeling of more space. Choosing the right plants for your space can be detrimental to creating a beautiful garden design and hanging basket, potted and patio plants are perfect for small spaces as they do not take up too much room and can be placed on the ground or up on shelves for an explosion of blooms and colour.

Our Top Choices

Begonia Superba Mixed

The fabulous bright colours of our Begonia Superba are the perfect eyecatching potted plants for your garden spaces. Suitable for planting in pots on the patio, place these flowers in clusters around your front porch, corners of decking or on low walls for a burst of summer colour.

 

 

Calibrachoa Chameleon Pink Passion

 

The beautiful shades of pink blooms in our Calibrachoa Chameleon Pink Passion make a stunning addition to summer pots and hanging baskets. Pot up in clusters around corners or along walls for a pretty display or plant in baskets for wall hangings.

 

Types of Small Gardens

  • City Garden/Balcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With more and more people being drawn to urban living and if you’re lucky enough to have your own inner city garden or outdoor space, creating your own private green oasis is possible. Small city spaces can be challenging but it’s an opportunity to get creative. You could pot up a mini orchard on your balcony and grow your own produce, create a small herb garden for a delight on the senses, or pot up a selection of plants along narrow spaces to give an illusion of a larger space. Transform your small spaces with these compact design hacks for beautiful summer displays.

Tips:

  • Container planting to keep clutter to a minimum.
  • Try portable planters to allow for adjusting your garden plants.
  • Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the best easy growing options for urban spaces.

Our Top Choices

Miniature Patio Fruit Trees Collection

Fancy growing your own fruit produce on your own patio? Our Miniature Patio Fruit Trees collection is ideal for producing a reliable source of delicious fruit and bringing colour and variety to your spaces. Their compact proportions make them perfect for placing in small, compact spaces.

 

Herbs Mixed

With small gardens, any surface can be an opportunity for planting. For an easy herb garden, our Herbs Mixed provides a range of herb varieties in a lucky dip style to allow you to harvest your own herbs for cooking or just as a focal piece on your balcony, patio or garden.

 

 

  • Courtyard Garden

Courtyard gardens may be small but they can be beautiful spaces with strategic planning, they can become alive with colour and textures without looking cluttered. Why not draw the eye by using repetition of container plants along paths or paving? or since courtyards are often shady, why not plant up big, glossy green plants to create your own tropical jungle feel?

Tips:

  • Plant in Containers to establish usable space.
  • Evergreens are great year round choices for creating structure.
  • Go vertical and plant climbers along walls or fencing for a large garden feel.

Our Top Choices

Hosta Touch of Class

 

This beautiful patterned variety of Hostaceae is perfect for container growing or in the border for adding a tropical feel to your small spaces with their waxy bottle green and lime yellow striped leaves. As an added bonus, this variety produces light lavender flowers in late summer.

 

Euphorbia Silver Fog

 

This compact evergreen perennial produces an array of silver-grey foliage and small white flowers throughout summer, making this plant the perfect versatile option for borders, patio pots and containers. They can even be used as a filler for hanging baskets for a pop of delicate blooms.

 

Small Space Hacks

  • Pallet Planters

Wooden pallets are a great DIY idea for creating unique vertical planters to help save space in the garden. Turn an old pallet lying around your home in to a fun herb garden, vegetable patch or a unique floral display.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Verticle Vegetable Gardening

For a modern twist on the ordinary vegetable garden, using different variations of planters can help spruce up a cluttered garden to bring a touch of individuality and organisation to your green spaces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Windowsill Gardening

If you live in a city, space for gardening can be sparse, so why not try growing plants indoors? Succulents have become popular indoor plants but try growing some unique options like a windowsill herb collection and bring the green indoors.

 

 

Attracting Wildlife to the Garden

Encouraging wildlife into your garden is a winner all-round. They can help out your garden plants and you would be doing a good deed for all those creatures in need of a home or food throughout the winter. Flying visitors such as birds, butterflies and bees are pretty to look at and help improve your garden’s production. Encourage hedgehogs, toads and frogs too – they act as fantastic pest control, reducing the need for pesticides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what you can do to turn your garden in to a wildlife haven.

Bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bees are great to have around the garden. You want them in your garden to feast off your flowers to make them continue to pollinate and keep your garden looking spectacular. Bees love blue, purple and yellow flowers and plants so keep that in mind when planning your garden displays.

Here are some tips to keep bees doing their jobs as pollinators:

  • Plant single flower plants as most double flowers make it difficult for the bees to get the pollen and nectar.
  • Avoid using pesticides wherever possible.
  • Provide water for pollinators using a shallow dish filled with stones/marbles and water to provide a safe water source.

Bee Friendly Plants

  • Dahlias
  • Asters
  • Sedums
  • Cornflower
  • Heather

Birds 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Provide nest boxes/wooden houses for birds to nest in. (Place near trees or bushes so the birds can make a short flight to safety).
  • Improve soil with well-rotted compost to introduce worms and slugs and other soil insects to provide food for birds.
  • A simple bird bathe will give the birds somewhere to bathe as well as doubling as a water supply.

Bird Friendly Plants

You can plant different shrubs/trees/flowers that will either provide food for birds in the form of seeds, berries or nectar, give shelter and warmth under dense foliage or they will attract insects which birds and other wildlife can feed off.

Here are some of our top choices:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Rowan
  • Viburnum Opulus
  • Holly

Ladybugs 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladybugs are a great help in the garden for eliminating destructive and damaging crop pests like aphids, mites and scale. Here are some tips for attracting ladybugs to your garden:

  • There are several pollen plants that attract ladybugs that tend to be yellow and white, such as Angelica, Cosmos and Fennel.
  • Plant decoy plants what will attract aphids away from your desired bug free plants until the ladybugs remove them for you. Aphid attracting decoy plants could include: Early Cabbage, Marigold and Radish.

Ladybug Friendly Plants

Ladybugs eat two things: insect pests and pollen, and there are several pollen plants that ladybugs like, including:

  • Calendula
  • Chives
  • Cosmos
  • Marigold

Bats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that attracting bats to your garden is one of the safest and most efficient methods for natural insect control? One little brown bat can eat 1,200 insects per hour!

A great bat attracting method is to build a bat house to provide a warm cosy shelter for the creatures. Since bats tend to set up colonies in the early spring, building a bat house is the perfect winter project! Some tips are:

  • Use a rough, nontoxic wood (such as plywood or cedar) to make your box. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house.
  • Place in a warm, sunny position for warmth
  • Keep it close to a freshwater source (pond, stream)
  • Support on a pole or the side of a building

Bat Friendly Plants

The key to attracting bats to your garden is to plant night-scented flowers, such as:

  • Yucca
  • Evening Primrose

Frogs  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attracting frogs to your garden is beneficial for the welfare of your plants. Frogs make great inset killers so why not attract some garden frogs to help with those little pests.

  • Build toad houses – overturned flowerpots buried lightly in the soil make great shelters.
  • Avoid using pesticides in your garden. Frogs are sensitive to chemicals so use natural sources of nutrients in your garden such as compost.
  • Keep pets away from the part of the garden set up for attracting frogs.

Frog Friendly Plants

Toads and female frogs usually spend winter on land, under rockery stones (or in a log pile). Recommended rock plants are:

  • Aubretia
  • Hardy Geraniums
  • Sedums

Hedgehogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like the shrew and the vole, the hedgehog is an insectivore with a voracious appetite. An adult hedgehog can eat up to 200 grams of insects per night, making the perfect pest controller in your garden. So, why not attract them to the garden with a few small tips and help these little creatures as their population has dropped in recent years. Here are some tips to draw these little creatures into your garden:

  • Leave areas of the garden naturally unkempt with fallen leaves, twigs and dead vegetation, which they can use to build nests.
  • Leave bowls of water out in the winter as hedgehogs drink lots of water. Top the water up regularly.
  • Avoid using slug pellets as they are fatal for hedgehogs

Hedgehog Friendly Plants

Hedges provide a great habitat for hedgehogs as they provide free access between gardens, unlike walls and fences. Species with large deciduous leaves are great for hedgehogs collecting leaves for their nests. Here are some top picks:

  • Beech
  • Berberis
  • Buddleia
  • Pyracantha

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Winter Care: Spring Flowering Bulbs

Bulbs are the epitome of nature’s talent for packaging, containing within themselves all the essentials they need to grow to provide gorgeous blooms year after year if well cared for. Your spring bulbs may be snug underground awaiting the warm weather of Spring but they need to be cared for until then. Bulbs are designed by nature to withstand cold winter temperatures. Indeed they rely on winter’s cold to trigger the biochemical process necessary to bring the bulb to flower in spring, but to help you get the best height, colour and performance out of your spring bulbs, here are some must-know tips for caring for your spring bulbs after they are planted.

General Tips

  • During a warm winter spell, the bulb leaves may start to sprout but do not worry as the foliage and flower bulbs can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Only when brittle stems are broken, or the weather changes are too abrupt will be when the flowers suffer.
  • If you wish to feed your spring bulbs, feed them at planting time or just as they begin to emerge in the spring.
  • In colder areas, apply a nice layer of mulch over the bulb bed once the ground temperatures have dropped.

Daffodils/Narcissi

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  • For sprouting Daffodils, water sparingly as Daffodils do not require much care but some watering will help establishing roots.
  • Potted Daffodils require regular watering as the soil tends to dry out quicker.
  • If there is no snow cover, the bulbs will also need water throughout the winter.
  • Apply a low-nitrogen, high-potash (potassium) fertilizer after flowering if bulbs are not performing as desired.

Crocus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply fertilizer after bulbs flower if your spring is long and temperate; bulbs will have a chance to use the extra nutrients to produce bigger carbohydrate stores.
  • In late February, remove mulches from snowdrops and crocuses so the shoots can come through.
  • In February and March, keep plastic milk jugs or other coverings on hand to protect the flowers of crocuses and other early bloomers against the return of severe weather.
  • Do not let the soil dry out. If the ground is fairly dry in the spring, make sure to water sparingly.

Snowdrops

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Water during the autumn/ winter with a water-soluble fertilizer to nourish the bulbs as they develop new roots and top growth. Your bulbs will survive without fertilizer, but providing extra nutrients encourages more flowers, larger blossoms and longer life for your bulbs.

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After the tulips bulbs are planted, you need to water them thoroughly and then cover the area with a mulch of pine bark or shredded leaves to protect them.
  • You can build up their strength further by giving them a liquid feed every 10 to 14 days while they’re still in leaf.

Flower Aftercare

  • After your spring bulbs have bloomed, remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as Tulips or Daffodils, as soon as they fade.
  • When the season’s blooms are past, your snowdrops need to store energy for next year’s show. Allow the leaves to photosynthesize (process sunlight to produce food) until they yellow and wither, before removing the spent foliage. Trimming still-green foliage will reduce plants’ ability to nourish next year’s flowers, resulting in fewer, smaller flowers.
  • Six weeks after blooming is when it will be safe to mow the green leaves of any naturalized crocus and snowdrops on your lawn.

Have you completed your gardening jobs for January?

Click HERE to check out our garden job list.

Good luck with your flowers this spring!

How to Plant: Cactus Dahlias

Need help on how to plant Cactus Dahlias? In this blog, we’ve compiled a guide full of tips and advice on planting, arrangement, and aftercare for your Cactus Dahlias, to allow you to get the best performance from your plants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This special, eye-catching variety of Cactus Dahlias are distinctive by their unusual shaped summer flowers, which look fantastic planted together for  colour bursting garden displays and borders, as well as when planted as a standalone item. They can flower until Autumn and have a wide range of interesting varieties, all with very showy flower shapes and rich colour shades.

Planting

Dahlia tubers can be planted 10cm deep in fertile well drained soil, outdoors in spring when the frost has disappeared. If you plant before the frosts are over, they may get frosted and die, so pot in March or early April for flowering in early July. They prefer to be in a sunny location and spaced at approximately 45cm apart.

Tips:

  • Dahlias start blooming about 8 weeks after planting, starting in mid-July.
  • Some gardeners start tubers indoors in containers a month ahead to get a jump on the season.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardener Jeff covers how to plant Cactus Dahlia tubers in to pots and shares helpful tips and advice on how to achieve the best results out of your Dahlia plants.

Aftercare

  • There’s no need to water the soil until the dahlia plants appear; in fact, overwatering can cause tubers to rot. After dahlias are established, provide a deep watering 2 to 3 times a week, preferably more in hotter, dry climates.
  • In areas where there is extreme cold, dig up dahlias and store in a cool peat over the winter and then replanted the following year.
  • Apply a high potash fertiliser every few weeks in the summer to help growth and they can be dead headed when necessary.

Click here to view our full range of Cactus Dahlias.