The Benefits of Garden Ready Plug Plants

 

Light up your garden this winter with colourful winter/spring bedding plants. These hardy plants are perfect for brightening up those cold and cloudy winter months with their vibrant rainbow of blooms.

Throughout this blog, we will share the benefits, planting guides and top varieties of our amazing Winter/Spring garden ready plants, so you can bring long lasting, bright blooms back into the garden this winter.

What are Garden Ready plants?

Our easy to grow Garden Ready plants are ready to be planted on arrival. They’re ideal for people who don’t have a greenhouse or want instant results in a short growing season. After planting they establish quickly, so you can sit back and enjoy their flowers.

Top Varieties

Pansies

Pansies are one of our most popular bedding plants, being an indispensable plant for a winter bedding scheme when most other plants are dormant. Colourful and compact, Pansy plants are certain to produce a delightful display in any garden border, pot or window box

Pansy Can can

A stunning, double-flowering Pansy. With dazzling, layered wavy blooms, Pansy Can Can is a radiant addition to the winter garden due to their bright, rainbow blooms. This fun and unusual variety will add a touch of joy to window boxes, containers and garden borders.

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Pansy Cool Wave

These delightful pansies are strong growers and prolific bloomers. This new Pansy has exceptional overwintering performance and is the first to re-bloom in spring. Fill your hanging baskets, window boxes and pots with them for a sensational winter/spring display.

Click here to view online. 

Pansy Winter/Spring Mixed

A reliable, high performing mixture of Pansies. Blooming in a bold variation of beautiful shades, these  hardy plants carry on flowering from winter and last throughout spring. For those who like it bright in winter, this mixture of classic Pansy colours will bring nothing but cheerful colour to your winter garden.

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Primula

Primula flowers provide you with bold and vibrant colours all through winter and spring. Blooming for weeks, these easy to grow flowers are a fantastic, versatile bedding plant.

Primula Colour Carnival

Create a wonderful display with this sensational mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Plant these flowers where you can enjoy their beautiful fragrance, such as window boxes or in containers by the front door for greeting guests. They are also perfect for attracting bees and butterflies to the garden.

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Primula Primlet

Almost resembling a mass of miniature roses, Primula Primlet bloom with stunning double and semi-double flowers in a variation of pretty yellow, red and violet shades. These vibrant, hardy perennials may look delicate, but they will thrive all throughout the tough late winter weather.

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Primula Wanda Mixed

This compact and semi evergreen perennial bears masses of vibrant flowers with contrasting yellow centres. Enjoy their fragrant flowers in patio containers or plant them as a bright showstopper in the front of the border. This versatile plant is also perfect for edging or under-planting shrubs and roses.

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Violas

A modern favourite of the British gardener. Viola are spectacular performing trailing plants that flower in bright, vivid colours and really make an impact in any garden. Free flowering with a soft fragrance they are perfect for winter hanging baskets and containers where their trailing habit will thrive.

Viola Teardrop Mixed

Create a cascade of bright colour in the winter garden with the beautiful clustered flowers in our Viola Teardrop mixture. The scented blooms, each looking rather like a smiling face,  will cascade over the edge of your pots and baskets from October to April, an absolute delight to behold.

Click here to view online. 

Planting Guide

  • Plant in well-drained soil.
  • For Pansies, plant plain-faced types en masse in beds and borders, and bicolours and whiskered types along paths where you can appreciate the delicacy of their pretty patterns.
  • Water and feed regularly during the growing season.
  • Deadhead as required to ensure further growth spurts is facilitated.

  • Plant straight away upon arrival into pots and use either freshly prepared soil (with organic matter) or a balanced potting compost.
  • Water regularly and make sure soil does not become too dry. This will also help to produce a bigger plant with greater flowering potential.

  • Placing your empty hanging basket on a bucket so it is held firmly in place whilst you add the plants.
  • Fit basket with liner and trim off any excess material that protrudes above the rim.
  • Use a balanced potting compost and fill your basket until it is level with the first layer of slits and gently firm the compost down.
  • Insert your trailing plants by pushing the plants head-first from the inside through the slits.
  • Continue to plant until all the slits have been filled, and then gently tease out the roots of the plants.
  • Add more compost and work it around the roots of the plants until the basket is almost full.
  • Fill in around the roots with further compost mix; aiming to keep the soil surface an inch below the rim of the basket to prevent compost spilling out when watering.
  • To finish, water your hanging basket thoroughly.

Liven Up Winter/Spring Beds with Colourful Primulas

Lift your spirits in the dull days of winter with the bright colours of Primulas. No garden is complete without these cheerful and hardy perennials as they are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and come in every colour imaginable. These easy to grow blooms are perfect any type of garden, whether you need to fill some ground space or adding some wonderful colour to the front of the border.

In this blog post, we will guide you through our favourite Primula varieties, planting tips and aftercare, so that you can grow a rainbow of beautiful Primulas even during those cold, winter months.

Top varieties

Primula Colour Carnival

Packed with vibrant shades, our ‘Colour Carnival’ are an exciting mixture of bi-coloured Primula. Their fragrant blooms are perfect for attracting pollinators to the spring garden. Easy to grow, robust plants for beds and borders.

Click here to view online.

Primula Husky Raspberry Punch

Brighten up the winter garden with the bursting brilliant pink hues of Primula ‘Raspberry Punch’. Flowering from January through to April, these cheery flowers will add a kick of colour to borders, pots, or why not plant them en-masse for a real eye-catching feature.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Primlet

Producing masses of stunning double and semi-double flowers, these blooms almost resemble a miniature rose in the midst of the winter/spring season. From yellows to violet hues, these hardy perennials are ideal for creating a rainbow in the winter border.

Click here to view online.

 Primula Showstopper Lime/Cream

A bright and delicate perennial. Our beautiful new ‘Showstopper’ is a pure delight in the late winter garden when their lime tinted cream flowers are on show. Ideal for the border, beds and containers.

Click here to view online.

Primula Wanda

Fill the winter garden with the beautiful fragrance of Primula Wanda. Plant them where you can enjoy their scent, such as in patio containers or the front of the border. Wanda is a beautiful mixture of vibrant, ruffled flowers that are perfect for any garden.

Click here to view online.

 

There are many benefits to growing Primulas:

  • A wide range of colours are available. 🌸
  • Fragrant varieties available.
  • Versatile plants – great for beds, borders or containers. 🏡
  • Varied flowering times – winter/spring/early summer  ☀❄

Planting Guide

Planting Time: August – October 📆

Flowering Time: February – May 🌸

Soil Type: Fertile, moist, well-drained soil. 🏡

Position: Full Sun/Partial Shade ☀

Beds/Borders

  • Best results are achieved by potting up into 9cm pots for 2-3 weeks upon arrival.
  • Allow them to establish a good root system.
  • Gradually harden them off before planting outside.
  • Water well after planting.

Containers

  • Using a good quality, peat-free, multi-purpose compost, fill a pot around 10cm from the rim with compost.
  • Plant them so the top of the rootball and compost are level.
  • Fill in any gaps between the plant with more compost.

Aftercare Tips

  • Water regularly.
  • Prune dead leaves and spent blooms regularly.
  • For potted Primulas, transplant them to your borders in the spring, where they will flower gain next year.
  • For container Primulas, feed with a high potash feed every fortnight.
  • Keep them moist but not sodden to avoid moulding.

January Plant of the Month: Eranthis

January’s plant of the month is a cheerful, early-flowering bulb that will bring some much needed colour to your garden in these gloomy months.

Also known as Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconites beam a golden glow into the garden at a time when the sun rarely breaks through the clouds. These golden yellow flowers bloom the earliest of all spring flowers and will delight you with vibrant yellow flowers in January and February.

We strongly recommend trying Winter Aconites to kick off your spring display, and they are particularly recommended for rockeries and naturalising. These gorgeous yellow blooms are contrasted by beautiful green foliage, which covers the ground long after the flowers have disappeared.

Although bulb planting season is at an end, there is still time to get some last-minute colour in your garden. If you’re looking out at a wintery garden and can’t wait for spring, consider investing in our Eranthis in the Green available now ready for planting and flowering this year.

Our Eranthis in the Green offer guaranteed pre-grown success from these Eranthis hyemalis, supplied in the green ready to be planted straight in the ground.

Click here to shop Eranthis in the Green

Winter Favourites

winter-birdbath

 

When autumn leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air and gardeners across the country are frantically trying to get the last of that yeas plants in the ground before a frost settles in you know that winter is well on its way!

With some careful planning there is no reason for the cold winter months to mean the drab winter months in your garden!

Our favourite Winter Shrubs…

This is a rundown of our favourite winter flowering shrubs guaranteed to breathe some life and colour back into a winter garden.

Viburnum

Very hardy, deciduous shrubs which produce dense clusters of richly perfumed flowers, often followed by berries. There are a dizzying array of viburnum varieties, with huge variations in leaf shape and forms of flower heads, some are evergreen and some deciduous, some flower in winter – others late in spring! The variety and versatility make them invaluable for gardeners seeking all year round interest – Viburnums are our 2016 November Plant of the month – you can find that article HERE.

Our Top choice Viburnum | Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn

viburnum-bodnantense-dawn

 

A very hardy, deciduous shrub which produces dense clusters of richly perfumed, deep rose pink flowers which eventually fade to candyfloss pink, and eventually white by late spring. In summer, attractive round purple berries are produced. Foliage is huge, ovate and toothed, with deeply scored veins which give it an almost quilted look. It boasts a particularly long season of interest, one of the many reasons it was awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Skimmia

Fairly compact evergreen shrub that flowers from spring into early summer. Known for being hardy they are equally happy in a border or in containers on a patio. With a compact habit they are fairly low maintenance, perfect for growing in borders or containers on a patio.

Sarcococca (Christmas Box)

sarcococca-humilis-christmas-box

Amazingly easy to grow, dense and reliable evergreen. It has slender, tapering shiny leaves and produces sweetly fragranced flowers from December to February. After flowering, Christmas Box produces an abundance of attractive berries. Excellent in partial shade, even in drier soils.

Ilex (Holly)

 

Evergreen Hollies (or Ilex) will give all year round pleasure from the vivid new growth in spring and early summer to the berries in winter. When birds can’t find anything else to eat they will flock to the holly bush. Stems of holly are ideal for winter floral arrangements, and look particularly dazzling when painted silver or white. English Holly (Ilex aquifolium) is our December Plant of the Month.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

Edgeworthia chrysantha

This winter flowering gem was named after Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, who collected it in the Himalayas and brought it back to Britain in the mid-1800s. Cinnamon coloured branches provide a stunning contrast to the clusters of fragrant, tubular yellow flowers. A great plant for the winter garden, they rarely succumb to pests and diseases, but will need a sheltered spot.

Chinese Witch Hazel

Exotic Chinese witch hazel (also known as Hamamelis) are deciduous, winter flowering shrubs that produce clusters of sweetly scented, crinkled flowers in a range of fiery shades, bursting into life like mini firework displays from December to March.

Corylus avellana Contorta (Corkscrew Hazel)

 

corylus-contorta-with-catkins

 

A real conversation piece. This unusual and resilient deciduous shrub has the most amazing twisted stems and branches earning it the common name corkscrew hazel. In summer the branches bear a tangle of broadly ovate green leaves followed later by nuts. In late winter and early spring a mass of weeping yellow catkins unfurl. This curious variety has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. A great architectural plant and an ideal choice for creating a wildlife garden attracting moths, butterflies and a variety of insects as well as birds and squirrels. A slow growing shrub, it will reach around 1.8-2m after ten years.

Chimonanthus praecox

Chimonanthus praecox - Wintersweet

 

These are a truly striking sight, producing unusual pendant yellow flowers on leafless branches in winter. The flowers have a strong spicy fragrance, and last from November until February. It will grow into a good sized rounded shrub, or can it can be trained to grow against a trellis or wall. Introduced from China it is also known as ‘wintersweet’ or ‘Japanese Allspice’. They are hardy and noted for being able to survive a frost, although will appreciated a sunny, sheltered spot in the garden where they will make the most of the summer heat, ripening in winter where, after a good summer they will produce abundant flowers. These are a real winter beauty, and will not carry the same impact when it has lost its flowers, so it is worth considering their position carefully where space is at a premium – although its brilliant fragrance and particular beauty in the winter make it well worth growing.

Dogwood (Cornus)

Spectacular bushy shrubs, ideal for creating a showy feature in the garden, they bring a burst of colour that is particularly valuable in a drab winter garden. The shoots can also be used as part of an imaginative indoor cut-flower display, perhaps even spraying them gold and silver for a festive look. We’d recommend planting in groups of three for a truly fantastic show in winter once all the other colour is gone.

Our top Cornus Choice: Cornus Midwinter Fire

4.1.2

Cornus Midwinter Fire (commonly known as dogwood) is a shrub which produces ovate, mid-green leaves and small, cream/white flowers in May and June – however, the flowers are not the star of this show. In autumn, Cornus Midwinter Fire stays true to it s namesake, slowly revealing brilliant flame-coloured stems as the leaves fall away. Shoots begin a yellow-orange, with the tips turning a brilliant red as the season goes on, giving the shrub a flaming look.

Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty

honeysuckle-lonicera-purpusii

Also known as the winter flowering honeysuckle. Masses of creamy-white, fragrant flowers are produced in midwinter. This plant flowers reliably by Christmas year after year, flowers lasting until early spring. Sprigs can be used for scented winter flower arrangements. We’d recommend planting Winter Beauty as a standalone specimen in the border, but it can also be trained up a wall or fence.

Mahonia

Fabulous evergreen shrubs producing large leaves, autumn flowers followed by colourful berries all throughout the winter months. With their compact habits they will work well in a mixed border, ideal for partnering with over evergreen shrubs such as Buxus, Camellia or a Photinia Red Robin.

Our Top Mahonia Choice | Charity Cabaret

The Mahonia Nitens Cabaret also known as Oregon Grape, is an amazing new introduction to the Mahonia range. It will produce the usual glossy holly like evergreen leaves you would expect from a Mahonia. It is a compact variety and produces its flowers from the end of summer and right through the autumn, with stunning oranges and reds. After the flowers have bloomed, blue berries will form, these work wonderfully with the winter foliage.

Jasmine

This marvellous fragrant shrub will flower throughout the summer and into the winter months. it presents gorgeous dainty star shaped flowers, usually pure white, pale buttery yellow or very rarely deep pink. A stunning adornment for any trellis, fence or wall, the pretty flowers bring a distinctive sweet scent. It will do well in most soils, can be pruned in early spring to keep to a tidy shape and keep it nice and healthy for repeated stunning displays year after year.

Our Top Choice | Trachelospermum jasminoides (Jasmine)

Trachelospermum jasminoides. Star Jasmin

A highly fragrant, vigorous climber that produces clusters of beautiful, star shaped pure white flowers from June throughout the summer months, which turn to cream with age. It has dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. It is best to grow Trachelospermum jasminoides against a warm, sunny wall. Can climb to 8m, however prune after flowering to size required. This Jasmine is a stunning addition, for a wonderful display throughout the summer months perfuming the air with its sweet fragrance.

Callicarpia profusion

callicarpa-profusion

Also known as ‘Beauty berry’, it is a beautiful eye-catching medium sized deciduous shrub which produces masses of tiny star shaped lilac flowers in summer. When pollinated, these start to form the outstanding clusters of vibrant purple, almost metallic berries we see in autumn and winter. Not only do these berries bring a welcome splash of colour at a time when there is very little, they also provide a valuable source of food for birds during the colder months which they will thank you for. It is not just the berries that are showy- young leaves begin a bronzy purple colour, maturing to deep green in summer and fading to lime green, then eventually plum purple in autumn. We’d recommend planting in groups of three.