Peter Nyssen Blog
  • Top 5 hints and tips for April in the garden

    • Prepare the soil for the growing season ahead by digging in plenty of well rotted manure or compost. You can also add a general fertiliser like blood, fish and bone.

     

    • Tidy and cut back any old dead foliage from perennial plants to encourage new growth.

     

    • Lift and divide any large clumps of perennial plants to improve their vigour and continue to plant new perennials and summer flowering bulbs.

     

    • Carry a small note pad with you when out visiting gardens or shows to keep notes of the bulbs and plants you like. Write down the names as well as the colours and heights of your favourites.

     

    • Buy the Yellow Book 2015 (National Garden Scheme) and find a huge variety of creative gardens tended by ordinary people to visit for inspiration for your own garden.
  • Dahlia planting and growing guide

    Dahlias will grow in most soil types but are best planted in fertile, well-drained soil. Plant them outside from the end of April after the chance of frost has gone. Ensure they are in a spot that receives full sun and plant around 15cm deep adding well-rotted organic matter.

    Provide protection from slugs for your young plants to stop them feasting on the tender, fresh shoots.  It is also a good idea to ward off earwigs which are fond of young plants.  Simply fill small pots with straw and put on them on top of canes near your dahlias. The earwigs will shelter in the pots during the day and you can clear these little fellows out in the late afternoon.

    When the dahlias are around 30 cm high, pinch out the growing tips to encourage the plants to branch out and produce more flowers. Also remove any stems that look weak.  For stronger stems and longer flowering, pinch out the buds that develop in the base (axel) of the stem.  Larger dahlias will need staking. Always remove the flowers as soon as they show signs of fading in order to promote more flower production.

    Keep your dahlias well watered during the summer months and feed every couple of weeks with high potash feed as the flowers appear.

    In winter allow the first hard frost to turn the dahlias black. Cut them down to around 15cm then carefully lift them from the ground. Gently shake off any excess soil and turn upside down on paper to allow the water to seep from the tubers. After a few weeks they will be completely dry. At this point, shake loose any remaining  soil and dust with sulphur to protect them from mould and mildew. Store in a frost free place in a container filled with dry to moist peat or sand for winter.

  • Planting snowdrops, eranthis and English bluebells in-the-green

    The stunning eranthis can be very successfully planted in-the-green These stunning Eranthis can be very successfully planted in-the-green

    Many of our experienced customers prefer to plant snowdrops, winter aconites and English bluebells “in-the-green”. This means they are delivered, carefully wrapped to preserve moisture, in full growth with a little soil attached to the bulbs. By planting them in this state you can see exactly where you are putting them and they often establish themselves more quickly. It’s also an extremely useful way to inject flowers quickly into bare spots! They should be planted immediately on delivery and will flower readily. Here are our quick and easy planting tips for a successful show.

    Snowdrops in-the-green arrive either in flower or about to flower. They should be planted around 10-15cm deep in groups of 5 to 9. Snowdrops planted in open ground will naturalise at a quicker pace than those planted in grass.

    Eranthis (Winter Aconites) also arrive in flower or about to flower. They should be planted around 4cm deep in small clumps, in a moist well drained shaded place. When congested lift and separate after flowering.

    English Bluebells arrive before they flower. They should be planted around 8cm deep in a moist well drained sheltered site.

  • Dahlia Propagation Pass Notes

    Dahlia Jescot Julie We have a wonderful range of dahlia tubers available for sale online in our webshop

    Now is the time to start dahlias into early growth for cuttings. Plant your tubers in trays of damp compost covering just under half the tuber and let shoots grow to 3 to 5 cm. At this point you can divide the tuber into portions, making sure you have roots and shoots on each individual section. Pot each section separately using a good free draining compost like John Innes No.1. This method will produce several smaller dahlia plants from your original tuber.

    Alternatively, you can take basal cuttings from your dahlia tubers. This method will yield a smaller plant in the first year but will not compromise the vigour of the existing tuber. To do this, take a single, strong shoot and, with a clean sharp knife, cut it away from the mother plant making sure you take a small sliver of tuber with each one. Cut away the lower leaf and dip the cuttings into hormone rooting powder before planting them in free draining compost like John Innes No.2. Keep the cuttings warm until the roots are formed (this takes around two to three weeks). Once the roots are formed you can pot them in to individual pots.

    Plant your dahlias, propagated or purchased new from our wide range, out into the garden from around mid-April after the chance of frost has gone.

  • How to plant and grow dahlias - hints and tips from Peter Nyssen

    Dahlias are one of the best value plants available and will flower all summer (depending on the variety) if cared for properly. Their diversity of colour and shape are a real winner for every garden and a gift your family or friends can enjoy for months on end. Below are our top dahlia planting and care tips. Do let us know if you have any additional handy hints so we can add them to our website to share with other enthusiasts.

    1. Plant dahlia tubers at a minimum depth of 15cm adding good quality compost or manure to the soil especially around the roots to help with moisture retention.

    2. Dahlias can not withstand cold so plant them in the ground after the frosts or in sheltered pots ready to transplant when the soil temperature rises.

    3. Always stake the larger varieties as soon as you plant the dahlia tubers.  This will help keep the dahlias from rocking in windy areas and encourage long, straight stems.

    4. Dahlias love sun, don’t plant in the shade or you will loose the flower and end up with leggy plants.

    5. Dahlias are hungry plants and will need feeding regularly with high potash feed and water regularly. Do not use a nitrogen fertiliser as this will also restrict flower production.

    6. Always pinch out the side shoots of your dahlias when the plant is around 15-20cm this encourages the plant to produce a good bushy structure and many more flowers.

    7. In the autumn, allow the frost to turn the growth black then lift the dahlia tubers and trim the growth. Turn upside down on paper to drain any excess water and allow to dry for a few days. Finally,  dust the tubers with a fungicide and store in shallow boxes or trays with dry sand or peat free compost around the roots. Keep in a frost free dry place.

  • Our Top 10 Bulb Planting Tips

    autumn leavesNow Autumn has put in her first appearance and the summer gardens are coming to an end the time is now for planting spring flowering bulbs. To help you in your gardening efforts we’ve put our heads together and come up with our TOP 10 BULB PLANTING HINTS AND TIPS. Do let us know if you have any you’d like to share for the next edition of the newsletter!

    1) Prepare your soil by adding garden compost and, in heavy soils, horticultural grit and sand. For containers use a mix of John Innes No.2 with a little added grit.

    2) Squirrels, rabbits etc just love tulip, crocus and iris bulbs (amongst others). Aside from choosing Animal Resistant bulbs (use our special filter on the website) try planting your bulbs in an open weave net bag, such as an onion bag making sure the holes are big enough for the shoots to come through. Plant the whole bag in the ground and deprive the furry critters of their bulb feast.

    3) For a good rule of thumb, plant your bulbs three to four times as deep as they are high. Tulips and daffodils should be planted at least 15cm deep.

    Crocus Aitchisonii Naturalising bulbs such as crocuses look great in a lawn

    4) Running out of space in your garden? Try planting a mix of early flowering, naturalising bulbs such as snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in your grass. Plant them using a bulb planter randomly across the lawn for a natural splash of spring colour.

    5) If you’re not sure where you have gaps in your spring planting try planting a selection of bulbs in pots ready to transplant into the spaces once the shoots start to show.

    6) Not all bulbs need dry conditions to flourish. In damp areas try Camassias or Fritillaria Meleagris.

     

    7) Not all bulbs need sun! Erythronium, Wood Anemone and Scilla Bifolia or Siberica all do well in the shade.

    8) Try using layer planting in containers for weeks of flowers or plant en masse in your borders for dramatic effect. Give us a call if you’d like more help with choosing suitable varieties.

    9) Water your bulbs as soon as you have planted them. This encourages root growth.

    10) If left in the ground, tulips degenerate year on year. To preserve your favourites, remove the seed head after flowering and let the foliage die back before lifting the bulbs. Store in net bags in a cool, dry place until you plant them out in the following autumn.

  • Peter Nyssen Scores Highest in Which? Best Spring Bulb Suppliers Survey

    At Peter Nyssen we have always been extremely proud of our service and quality. We are now delighted to say that Pete Nyssen has received the highest score in the Which? Best Spring-Bulb Suppliers survey (89%).

    Which? Gardening surveyed 19 companies based on their website, cost, packaging, delivery cost and time as well as whether the bulbs were true to variety. They tested popular favourites Narcissi “Tête à Tête” and “February Gold” and Tulips ”Queen of Night” and “Red Riding Hood”. They said this about Peter Nyssen "The bulbs were all good quality, uniform, firm and healthy". "...in the spring... we were given a good show of true-to-variety blooms" (Which?, August 2014).

    One of our customers sent us this lovely congratulatory note: “The bulbs all arrived yesterday....  Thank you so much for the speedy delivery. I was so delighted to see today in my Which? Gardening magazine that Peter Nyssen has come top of the Spring Bulb Sellers 'Best Buys' table. We already knew, of course, that Peter Nyssen was the best - but now everyone else knows too!!  Congratulations!”

    Karen, General Manager at Peter Nyssen said “I am so proud of all the effort everyone has made to keep our quality and service the best on the market.  We’re certainly going to work even harder to maintain our dedicated customer service, excellent quality and wide variety of products we offer”.

    We think the recommendations we receive from our customers coupled with the finding of this Which? survey are the best accolades available. As you probably know, Which? don't accept any advertising, freebies or sponsorship and execute all their own research completely independently.

    Peter Nyssen is a family run business established in 1958 with a long history in the bulb industry. This is the latest of the many accolades we are proud to have achieved on our long journey.

  • The beauty of Iris Germanica and Siberica

    Iris Germanica or Bearded Iris have large blade like leaves and large flowers, the flowers have a beautiful structure, three upper petals and three lower petals, the lower petals have soft hairs at the top which gives the name “Bearded Iris.

    Iris Siberica are slimmer family members the flowers are beardless, no hairs on the flowers they have a more delicate look to them Iris Siberica love the sun but will tolerate partial shade they will also take more moisture than Germanica although they do not like waterlogged soil, the leaves are more grass like unlike the thicker fleshy Iris Germanica and they will tolerate any soil from light to heavy. Iris Germanica and Siberica are easy to grow, plant in a sunny position where their rhizomes can bake in the sun, don’t plant with ground cover plants as they can hide the rhizomes from the sun.

    Bearded Iris like a soil with good drainage they like a neutral soil but will cope if the soil is chalky or alkaline, if you have clay or heavy soil add in some grit to help with the drainage. Our iris are bare rooted if you can’t plant straight away put in some damp compost otherwise give then a light soak to plump up the rhizomes and plant at soil level spreading the roots a little; give them about 30cm spacing, give them a good high potash feed while they are growing always avoid high nitrogen fertilizer, once the flowers have faded bone meal will give them a boost to help see them through the winter.

    Iris Germanica (Bearded Iris) and Iris Siberica are excellent perennial plants perfect for the middle to back of the border where these statement perennial plants can bring pazzaz and a little of the wow factor; Iris are ideal for the cottage to the modern contemporary garden and because they divide so easily are excellent value for money.

    When the Iris have established after 3 to 4 years you can divided the Iris to make new plants this also stops them from becoming woody which results in fewer and fewer flowers, dig the clump up after flowering using a sharp knife to cut away the leaves to a fan shape around 15 cm in length, each piece should have a portion of the rhizomes around 15 cm long, if the rhizome looks withered they are best discarded.

    Their are not too many problems to look out for but keep an eye out for Rhizome rot this usually shows in the late spring, the first signs of rot start at the base of the stem and travel into the rhizome once infected it will become brown and soft with a distinct rotting smell, as soon as you see this cut away any patches back to good clean root and dust with fungicide.

    Grey mould is another problem you should look out for although it is easy to spot it’s a fuzzy off white or greyish brown spore usually in the leaves, it is vital you do not disturb the plant to much and release the spores in to the air to infect other plants a good idea if to use a fleece cover the iris to help prevent the airborne spread. Cut back and burn any infected growth and treat the plant with an appropriate grey mould fungicide, slugs, snails and thrips can also be a problem.

    Once planted all you have to do is sit back and wait for the show.

  • Planting Agapanthus

    9th February 2014
    Agapanthus Black Buddhist Agapanthus Black Buddhist

    Agapanthus (African Lily) are not just good looking flowers they bring a little of the exotic to the garden with their stately elegance, the colour choice is blue or white but there is a good choice of blue from the light blue to dark indigo blue and from pure white to silver white with a hint of blue. Agapanthus are not the hardest plants to grow but they are also not the easiest they will need a little help and encouragement but once established they will reward you from July to late August with an amazing display with their large open flower heads which are excellent for cut flowers.

    Agapanthus grow from rhizomes not bulbs or tubers they produce fleshy roots which like to be constricted, the leaves depending on the variety can have different shapes and colours from light to dark green, grey green and variegated. Like so many garden favourites choose the right variety for your garden, if you’re unsure Agapanthus Africanus Blue or white or Blue Giant are good hardy varieties they are excellent plants to start you off, you can always grown the other varieties in pots and bring them indoors for winter care.

    If planting Agapanthus in pots use a mixture of soil and compost mixed with a little sand and grit to help drainage. Feeding every couple of weeks or at least once a month when you see the green shoots appear with high potash feed Tomato fertilizer is excellent for this; it’s also important to add some general fertilizer as well to make sure the Agapanthus plants receive the best nutrients you can give them.

    If growing in the garden follow the same feeding tips for growing in pots, they are not hungry feeders but will reward you with a fabulous flower display, always leave the leaves to die back naturally and leave until at least March before you remove them, this will give some protection to the crown of the Agapanthus plants, a good mulch is required if you live in very cold areas. You can plant non hardy varieties in pots and sink them just below soil level which will hide the pots then after flowering remove them for winter; I have a few varieties in pots which I move around the garden to highlight different areas and plants. Agapanthus like a well drained soil/compost

    Agapanthus are tolerant of salty winds and so make good coastal plants, hailing from South African they love the sun so plant in a south facing position where they will produce stronger stems and more flowers over the years, they don’t suffer from major pests or disease, the taller varieties will do well in windy conditions. Agapanthus are drought tolerant but they will need some water at least twice a week, it’s important they are planted in a part of the garden that does not hold water as they do not like to sit in water, the best time to plant Agapanthus from bare root is from March to May

    Agapanthus plants can be slow to establish one or two years but when they do you will not be disappointed and the wait will have been worth it.

  • Garden thoughts

    IMG_3940_1 (1)

    Here we are in January turning our thoughts to summer and the floral display’s that will be the backbone of our gardens; with a wide choice of bulbs, plants, corms, tubers, ferns, grasses and small shrubs and trees available to tempt and inspire the imagination. The weather may trap us inside and it may be a little early for most items but we can still plan ahead and order in advance so we are not disappointed if stocks run short.

    For me Dahlia Tubers are a must have; they flower from July until the first frost the more you cut them the more they flower, there is a Dahlia for every garden from the small Gallery Dahlia to the tall Decorative & Cactus Dahlias the Bishop Dahlias and Classic Dahlias have foliage in a remarkable shade of blackish green bringing another dimension to the Dahlia plants.

    Lilium with their glamorous flowers bring a little of the exotic to the garden. Oriental Lilies, Orienpet Lilies, Longiflorum Lilies and Trumpet lilies will bring perfume to the garden, the tall Specie Lilium are perfect for back of the border where they can be left to naturalise.

    Gladioli and Begonia corms like the Dahlias a few years ago; lost favour with gardeners but they are now starting to take their rightful place back in our gardens I’m so pleased they are, Gladioli bring structure and stately elegance to the border and like Begonia corms make excellent starter bulbs for children. Gladioli are perfect for cut flowers. Begonias come in many different colours the flowers range from the blousy to the delicate they provide flowers from July to the first frost perfect for growing in pots, widow boxes or the edge of the border. Trailing Begonias give the wow effect to your hanging baskets.

    Then you have the stalwarts of the garden most of these come under the Miscellaneous category. Acidanthera “Callianthus” beautiful white elegance with a distinctive carmine purple blotch and soft fragrance. I can always find a place for Brodiaea an excellent bulb I think really overlooked, not too tall at 20/30 cm a distinctive blue flower in June/July try mixing with Alchemilla or any low growing plant especially lime green, yellow, orange or white. Crocosmia with their long arching spikes perfect for the middle to back of the border, their light airy habit are perfect in the middle of the border when you want to see what is planted behind they bring excellent composition to the border.

    Eucomis lush green leaves surround a thick stem of flowers often called the pineapple flower perfect for ground cover not to tall and exotic. Galtonia a back of the border bulb tall impressive spikes with white or green bell shaped flowers. Nerine also known as the Guernsey Lily planted just at the surface or they will never flower bring colour to the autumn garden. Ornithogalum excellent in the garden they make perfect long lasting cut flowers. Polianthes “Tuberosa” ideal for the garden border or pots they have a lovely strong perfume and for the woodland garden Trillium are perfect if you are north facing.

    The Perennials are the back bone of the garden they work hard providing colour, shape and foliage over the summer months they need little attention except for a little pruning to keep the shape improve the foliage and promote further flowering, every few years dig them up and split the plant to encourage better growth.

    There is an endless choice in perennials and mixed together they can bring a great effect a few examples are Alchemilla and Nepeta the lime green and lavender work well planted together plant Allium in the autumn then over plant with Hosta the wide leaves of the Hostas hide the Allium foliage and are an excellent foil for the allium flowers. Camassia planted in the autumn with Euphorbia planted in the spring are an excellent colour combination giving a fresh planting scheme. Pink Tulips planted in the autumn mixed with Dicentra pink and white, Tulip Flaming spring Green or Happy Generation planted with Aquilegia Nora Barlow

    Plant Hosta Patriot and intersperse them with Paeonies and red Pulmonaria mix in some deep red Monarda for a rich textured effect or mix complimenting shades of Hostas with lavender, purple and lilac flowers to bring a cool elegant look to the garden.

    Perennial plants have a limitless ability to fit into any garden from a small window box a city garden, suburban or woodland garden. Perennials have an excellent colour pallet to experiment with from cool whites, blues and pinks to the jewel shades of deep purple, red, orange with a touch of deep pink.

    Which ones to choose and recommend hmm like a box of chocolates it’s hard to know where to start you love them all?

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