Top Tips

  1. Top tips for February gardening

    1. Do start off dahlia cuttings: if you want to take cuttings, it's time to get your tubers sprouting! Start them off as soon as you receive them by placing them in large pots or deep trays with a generous helping of a general purpose compost. Partly fill your container to half cover the tuber and water - without allowing the water inside the tuber. When the shoots are around 8 cm use a sharp knife to cut them away from the crown just above where they join the tuber. Trim off any growth under the top pair of leaves, dip in hormone rooting powder then pot up using John Innes No.2.  As the stems develop, pinch out any growth from the middle of the cutting to help create a bushy plant. Harden off before planting out around May and do keep an eye out for slugs and snails that will feast on your young plants.

    2. Do care for your soil: healthy soil is the key to all good growing so take some time to enrich yours before the spring gets started. Dig in plenty of well-rotted farmyard manure or leaf mould and, if your soil tends to be heavy, add some sharp sand or grit.

    3. Don't cut back perennials: it's still too early to cut back the old growth from perennial plants. Leave the old growth to protect the new emerging shoots until early spring.

    4. Do move shrubs: if you have any shrubs in the wrong place, now is the time to move them while they're still dormant.

    5. Do deal with pests: look out for any pests that have been hibernating and destroy them before they have a change to breed and cause havoc.

    6. Don't use old compost: old compost is a favourite hiding place for vine weevil larvae that destroy plants by munching on their roots. Clean pots with soapy water to ensure there are no germs left behind and fill with fresh compost.

    7. Do remove weeds: emerging weeds can be pulled up as they start to appear to prevent them from sowing seeds and becoming an invasive problem over the summer months.

    The celebrity dahlia Cafe au Lait
  2. Top tips for April gardening

    1. 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.

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

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

    4. 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.

    5. Treat yourself to the Yellow Book 2015 (National Garden Scheme) in which you will find a huge variety of creative gardens tended by ordinary people to visit for inspiration for your own garden.
  3. Top tips for planting bulbs

    Spring flowering bulbs should be planted in the autumn. 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 us to add to the list!

    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.

    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.
    1. Tulip China Town
      • £4.10 for 10
      • £15.50 for 50
      • £72.50 for 250
  4. Why should you plant bulbs in the green?

    Many experts believe that planting snowdrops, aconites and bluebells in-the-green (in their growth phase) provides for the fastest and most successful way of introducing these lovely spring flowers to your garden. We have chosen these commercially grown garden favourites to fill any gaps you might have in your planting scheme. Plant them on receipt to ensure their delicate roots stay moist, this will provide you with stronger bulbs for next year.

    Our lovely Lily of the Valley “pips” are not strictly “in the green” but also need to be planted on receipt. These pips produce fabulously scented flowers and will naturalise easily even in shady areas. To increase their success, plant in pots beforing planting them out when the leaves are well established. By doing this you will ensure good leaves this year and a host of flowers next spring.