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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Winter Flowering Tips

Is your garden looking a smidgen dismal in the winter months? Why not rouse it upwith some winter florals, for example, pansies and snapdragons? Winter doesn’t have to mean dull and boring. Perused on to find the most wonderful winter blossoms for the colder months that will add a sprinkle of shading to your garden.

  • Remember that plants grow very little in winter so make sure you pick good size plants to achieve the desired look for your garden.
  • Some may be evergreen, while others you may wish to plant in containers and rotate in accordance to the time of year. If you choose to grow your plants in containers – ensure you position your containers so that they will get the most light. Also, make sure to raise containers off the ground to aid drainage and prevent the pots from cracking.
  • Through prolonged frosts try to cover up plants such as pansies to ensure the best flowers for your garden.
  • Make sure to pinch out faded flowers to promote new buds to bloom.
  • Why not cut any favourite scented flowers and use for an indoor display that’s sure to light the drag of the shorter, colder days?

Abeliophyllum Distichum

This white flowering shrub is beautifully fragrant and stand at between 3 and 6 foot tall. Take care of this plant by pruning after flowering, and by protecting well from strong winds (we advise growing against a wall). You will begin to see the fragrant white flowers in February.

Daphne Mezereum

This winter flowering plant is commonly grown in household gardens because of their beautiful flowers, but be careful these are extremely toxic. Purple-red in colour these flowers will bloom between February and April with an array of bright red berries.

Hamamelis Intermedia

This winter flowering plant has several cultivars, many of which have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s award of garden merit. They stand tall and broad, with a zig-zag stem; flowering fragrant yellow orange flowers with twisted petals which will brighten up your garden between December and March.

Clematis Cirrhosa var. Balearica

These beautiful evergreen climbers have dark green leaves that transform to a bronze purple colour in winter. The slightly fragrant cup-shaped flowers are cream and spotted with red/maroon, blooming from November to March.

Bergenia

Known as ‘elephant ear’ (due to the shape of the leaves) this 10 species genus of flower plants is a much more attractive and vibrant family than the name suggests. Most of the varieties bloom cone shaped flowers in varying shades of pink, ruby red and purple, brightening up your garden between January and April.

Helleborus Niger

This winter flowering plant will bloom white flowers from December through to March. Standing at a height of 30-45cm, with large flat flowers, this evergreen plant is commonly known as the Christmas Rose. However, despite the name and its resemblance it is not part of the rose family.

Iris Unguicularis

If you’re after lilac flowers from October to March these are beautiful and sweetly scented. Lavender blue detailed with delicate markings these plants require south facing positioning, ideally against a wall.

Eranthis Hyemalis

This specie produces yellow flowers from January to March, and belongs to the buttercup family. Known as the winter aconite, this winter flowering plant is valued as one of the earliest winter flowers to appear.
Galanthus Nivalis

Galanthus nivalis Known as snowdrops this species produces white flowers from January to February. This specie is the best known and most wide spread of the total 20 species in its genus.

Scilla Mischtschenkoana ‘Tubergeniana’

These pale flowers bloom in February displaying a delicate silvery blue floret, decorated with dark blue stripes along each petal. Ideal for rockery, and a very low maintenance garden plant. However, be careful this species is harmful if eaten.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Compost

Some garden soils can be useful for developing plants/organic products/vegetables, in any case they can change significantly (even inside a similar garden) and not very many plant specialists are sufficiently fortunate to have culminate soil. Including manure or a dirt improver gives the correct developing conditions, which will guarantee you accomplish greater and more advantageous outcomes.

Picking the correct fertilizer is fundamental to get the most out of your plants/organic product/vegetables, however the fixings that make up various manures can differ drastically. For the best outcomes it is shrewd to utilize a fit for reason compost, which has been carefully fit for the employment close by.

The Do’s

  • Do choose a specialist compost for the task in hand, this will ensure you create the optimum growing conditions.
  • Do check out your garden soil pH balance before you get planting, and depending on the results, you may need to mix in Lime soil improver to get you started.
  • Do use any leftover compost and dig into your existing soil around your garden as a soil improver.
  • Do pot up your existing and new plants in fresh compost each year to minimise pests and diseases being carried over, this will also provide new nutrients that will have been used up.
  • Always water in your plants (even if the ground is moist) to remove air pockets and ensure the roots are in contact with the soil.
  • Do use gloves when gardening.

The Dont’s

  • Don’t sow seeds in standard compost for best results use a specialist seed compost that provides optimum root growth and contains plant food to help them develop.
  • Don’t be put off from growing fruit and vegetables by lack of space. You can achievehealthy crops in pots, hanging baskets and grow bags even in the smallest of areas.
  • Don’t forget that some acid loving plants such as azalea, camellia or rhododendron will require an ericaceous compost with a lower pH.
  • Don’t assume that there are enough nutrients in your garden soil to use for potting up containers and baskets. It may contain unwanted weeds, pests and diseases and also the soil won’t hold as much water as potting compost would, so your plants may suffer.
  • Don’t forget that decorative barks not only look great on beds and borders, but they suppress weeds and help retain valuable moisture too.
  • Don’t forget to follow the compost label instructions

Learn More about Sunflowers

The sunflower, or some of the time known as Helianthus (which is Greek for sunflower) starts from North America. It was just embraced in Western Europe in the late sixteenth century when it was transported in by Spanish adventurers and made notable by well known canvases by Van Gogh. From that point forward it has gone from being a mainstream elaborate plant in the UK to a valuable plant with basic fixings to our business items and additionally as yet being adored for its alluring properties.

When to Grow Sunflowers

Sunflowers typically grow in the Spring through to the Summer so it is best to plant in the Spring time. We would suggest planting in mid April through to the end of May. This will produce a grown plant that is liklely to flower during August.

Planting Sunflowers

Firstly, as with any planting, you will need to make sure that the soil where you are growing the sunflower is in the right condition to grow a healthy plant. Of course, if you are using a vegetable bed/ pre made garden then you need not worry about this step. If however you are planting straight into the garden, you will need to clear the area in question of weeds and condition the soil so that it is fine and crumbly. Keep in mind that sunflowers need diect sunlight for 6-8 hours a day, when picking the right place to plant your seeds.

Once the soil is in the right condition for planting it is time to drill holes for the sunflower seeds to be sown, we would recommend between 10-12mm deep. Sunflowers grow best when they are not crowded, so you must plant your seeds about 50cm apart, especially to cater for the low-growing varities which will branch out more. If you are planting very small varieties then you can plant the seeds a little closer together (around 40cm).

Caring for Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a versatile plant which will thrive in many soil types, so you have a wide choice of soil and compost which will all get the job done. Of course, it will always be best to make sure the soil is as nutrient rich as possible. Once the seeds have been planted they may attract some garden pests and birds may try and eat the seeds. You can prevent this by either using a barrier, some wire or container to cover the seeds.We recommend using a cut bottle top as it is transparent so light can get to it, and there top allows for oxygen to circulate whilst being small enough to prevent intrusion.

Once your sunflowers start to grow to an established height the stem will sometimes need support. It is good practices to use some cane or bamboo alongside the stem with some string lightly tied to the plant to ensure it grows as tall as it can.

What Can Sunflowers Be Used for?

You would be surprised by how many things that sunflowers are used for, more specifically the oil that is extracted from sunflowers. The obvious and most common use is sunflower oil which is very popular for cooking, but there are some which you may not have heard of too. For example sunflower oil can be used for fuel for automotive vehicles, as an ingredient in some types of glue and an ingredient in some types of soap.

As well as the oil, the seeds of sunflowers are very popular which can be eaten fresh. They are very popular for bird seeds, which you might want to keep in mind if you are looking to create a good environment for bird wildlife in your garden.

Aside from practical uses, sunflowers make a very attractive house ornament because of it’s large sun-like flower, which will brighten up any room and add something special to your home.

Flower Problems that You Should Know

Aphids

The most common of all pests and almost every plant from the smallest shrub to the tallest oak tree can be infested.

Earwigs

A pest that eats the developing buds of chrysanthemums and dahlias. These bugs cause damage to plants as they eat the young leaves and flowers. Damage is most easily recognised as irregular holes in leaves and petals.

Grey mould

This is an extremely common fungus and grows on many plants. As the name suggests a greyish fuzzy fungal growth develops over the infected area.

Rain Damage

Causes ‘balling’ of flower heads.

Red spider mite

Perhaps the smallest of the common sap feeding insects. Leaves first develop a pale mottling but as the infestation progresses so the leaves become increasingly yellowish white.

Smuts

Small dark spots on stems. Larger dark swellings again on stems often accompanied by leaf distortion. Sometimes swelling and distortion of a flower’s stamen. Black sooty powder.

Thrips

Thrips (sometimes called Thunder Flies) are yellow-black, very thin and about 2mm long. Yet another sap feeding insect but one with a difference. This one will happily feed on the surface of a leaf.