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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips to Watering Acid Loving Plants

With regards to watering rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and other lime-detesting, corrosive adoring, ericaceous plants, they require some additional care and consideration. This is particularly valid in the late spring.

Clearly, you’ll say, plants require watering – particularly in summer. Be that as it may, ericaceous plants are more particular than most. Numerous ericaceous plants are extremely shallow established. Unquestionably rhododendron, camellia, azalea and pieris don’t deliver profound, looking roots. This implies they are near the dirt surface and, subsequently, extremely inclined to drying out, dry season conditions and high temperatures in summer.

This implies you have to play it safe to guarantee the dirt doesn’t dry out and plants are watered routinely (more often than not an intensive watering once every week) at whatever point delayed dry periods are likely. More normal watering – likely every day amid hot climate – will be required for plants developing in compartments as fertilizer dries out snappier, particularly in earthenware and different permeable holders.

Mulching around the plants with a lime-free ericaceous compost or bark will help conserve soil moisture, insulate the roots from heat and sun, and keep weeds down at the same time.

Although allowing the soil to dry out at any time of the year can cause problems with these plants, this is especially true in summer. This is the time when rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are setting their flower buds for the following year’s floral display.

It has been shown with camellias, for instance, that allowing them to dry out for for just 24 hours at any time during June to mid-August will affect flower bud production. Then, come spring, the flower buds either don’t open, fall off or partially open and then fall off. So, keep the soil moist and feed with an ericaceous plant feed throughout this period.

Which water?

If your tap water is ‘hard’ or limey – for instance if it furs up your kettle or produces limescale deposits – watering with it will make the soil or compost more alkaline, and lead to plant problems. To get over this, use a liquid ericaceous feed at the same time as watering or use water saved in a waterbutt. Or you can try to acidify the compost. The best way to do this is to apply sulphur chips twice a year – once in spring and again in autumn.

Hardy Annual Seeds

Solid annuals are the ideal method for making bright summer fringes rapidly and effortlessly. You just sow the seeds where you need the plants to bloom, with no requirement for growing inside in pots with warmth.

Numerous plant specialists don’t have the offices to develop half-strong sheet material plants, for example, begonia, occupied Lizzie, lobelia, petunia and salvia from seed, as they should be sown inside with warmth. Others might not have any desire to purchase youthful plants to develop on, or spend a fortune purchasing bigger plants prepared to plant out. That is the place strong annuals come in.

Hardy annual seeds are sown directly outside. There’s no fiddly sowing seeds in containers in propagators, pricking out the young seedlings, hardening off the plants and planting out. You simply sow the seed directly in the soil where you want the plants to grow and flower.

There are dozens of varieties to choose from, including Calendula (pot marigold),Eschscholzia (Californian poppy), Godetia, Linaria (toad flax), Lobularia (sweet alyssum),Nemophila and Nigella (love-in-a-mist).

Sowing Hardy Annuals

There are two basic ways of sowing hardy annuals.

You can either mark out areas of the bed with a bamboo cane or stick or dry sand and then broadcast sow drifts of each variety over the soil in each area. This gives a natural, ‘cottage garden’ look.

Alternatively, you can sow in rows in these marked out areas. This can make it easier to distinguish between flower and weed seedlings, as you know where the flowers have been sown. It does create a more rigid, formal look.

Hardy annuals can be sown any time in spring, providing weather and soil conditions are conducive for germination and most can also be sown in early autumn, for earlier flowering the following year.


Herbaceous Perennials

Herbaceous perennials are the pillar of quaint little inns, giving incredible sprinkles of shading, alongside shape and structure.

Perennials are hard to beat for their shading, frame and intrigue, and there are such a large number of to browse you can pretty much certification shading lasting through the year. There are low-developing structures, which give essential ground cover, to tall, forcing sorts giving incredible structure and eye-getting central focuses, for example, lupins and delphiniums..

Some people believe that the word herbaceous means that plants die down to ground level in autumn, coming back in spring. While many perennials do this, there are also lots of evergreens to choose from. And, of course, being perennial, they will go on flowering for many years.

How to plant perennials

Choosing plants that enjoy the conditions in your garden is the first step, but investing some care and attention at planting time and during establishment will ensure better performance for many years.

Although spring and autumn are regarded as the best times to plant, container-grown perennials can be planted all year round – just keep them well watered during dry weather.

  • Make sure the soil has been prepared well with lots of planting compost and all perennial weeds have been removed.
  • Ensure that the soil is loose enough to allow the roots to grow out.
  • Soak the plants with water before planting.
  • If necessary, if pot-grown plants look potbound, gently tease out some roots from the rootball.
  • Plant with a trowel, firm the soil around the plants by hand and water in thoroughly.
  • In large borders it pays to plant herbaceous perennials in groups of three or five for best effect.

Routine maintenance

The other great thing about herbaceous perennials is that they need minimal maintenance if you’ve chosen the right plants for your conditions and planted them well. But some simple routine maintenance will ensure better performance and a more attractive display.

Apply a mulch in spring, which will help prevent weed problems and maintain soil moisture levels, especially important with those plants that prefer a cool, moist root run, such as hostas and hellebores.

Some taller perennials, such as delphiniums and lupins, and those with heavy flower heads, such as peonies, usually need staking, especially in exposed areas. Supports should be put in place in spring, so that they soon become hidden by the foliage. Also, putting them in place later is more difficult and some damage may already have occurred.

Young spring growth is vulnerable to slugs and snails, so take action early in spring before damage occurs. Hostas, for example, are often attacked while the new shoots are still below ground level and as they unfurl.

Keep weeds under control – not only do they look unsightly, but also compete for space, light, food and water.

Keep young plants well watered and established plants may need watering during prolonged dry periods.

Giving the plants a good feed with a continuous release feed in spring will improve growth and flowering.

Deadheading faded flowers keeps plants tidy and can lead to further flushes of flowers later in the year.

In autumn, cut back dead and dying foliage and flower stems, unless you want them for winter effect, such as the flower heads of sedums or ornamental grasses. In cold areas and with not totally hardy plants, cutting back is best left until spring, as the top growth provides some protection against the cold.

Division and propagation

After a few years some perennials will have grown into large clumps, and eventually the mass of congested roots can mean reduced vigour, dying out in the centre, less flowering and problems with disease, such as powdery mildew. More invasive perennials will also start growing into their neighbours.

At this time, you will need to lift and divide the plants.Not only will this improve performance, but you’ll also have a greater number of plants, which can either be planted elsewhere in the garden or given away.

  • Divide perennials during their dormant season, usually between late autumn and early spring.
  • Dig up the clump and divide the roots by teasing the clump into separate pieces by hand, with a hand fork, or for large clumps, two garden forks used back to back.
  • Plants with fleshy roots are usually best divided with a sharp knife – each section should have at least three to five growth buds.
  • The youngest, outermost portions are the most vigorous; the central section is the oldest and should be discarded.
  • Make sure that each piece has more roots than top growth to ensure good re-establishment.

Tips to Protecting Plan Over Winter

We grow an extensive variety of plants in our patio nurseries – from plants that are completely solid and ready to withstand all way of solidifying chilly winter climate to those that need full ice insurance.

Absolutely solid plants require practically zero winter security, however marginal tough, tropical and sun-cherishing Mediterranean plants may require a little TLC to get them through the winter months unscathed. Indeed, even some alleged “tough” plants can be powerless in colder locales and greenery enclosures presented to solid, cool winds. “Hardy” is with respect to where you are in the nation and how serious and for to what extent the solidifying climate proceeds.

Indeed, even recently planted solid plants can be harmed or murdered in a drawn out cool spell, particularly when there are frosty winds, while new development place on in early spring amid a time of gentle climate is defenseless against sear if the climate turns colder later.

It’s the profundity of the chilly time frame, as well as its length – solidifying conditions that continue for a little while will be more harming than comparable or much more terrible conditions for only two or three days.

Tender Plants

Plants that will not tolerate low or close to freezing temperatures, such as most of our perennial  summer bedding plants, have to be overwintered frost free in a greenhouse or similar, where the temperature doesn’t dip down lower than 4-5°C (40-42°F).

Slightly Tender Border Plants

Most winter damage occurs when the roots become frozen solid for extended periods. You can protect the roots of penstemons, phygelius, ‘hardy’ fuchsias and other slightly tender plants from damaging winter frosts by covering the soil around them with a 7.5-10cm (3-4in) deep layer of mulch.

Also, don’t cut down the old stems until spring, as they can provide some extra frost protection of growth buds lower down on the stems, which may otherwise be killed.

Wrap up Warm

You can protect plants vulnerable to cold and frost with an enclosure made from windbreak netting and/or bubblewrap lined with garden fleece. Not-so-hardy wall shrubs can be insulated from the cold by spreading a sheet of fine-mesh netting over the plants and stuffing it with insulating material, such as straw or even dry leaves.

When using bubblewrap or other plastic coverings, make sure you remove it during warm periods or the plants may ‘sweat’ and start to rot.

Or, for quick and easy protection, cover the plants with a double layer of well secured garden fleece. Wherever possible, don’t allow the fleece to come into direct contact with the foliage, hold it away from the leaves using supporting canes or other structures.

Patio Plants and Pots

Even otherwise hardy plants can be damaged when growing in containers. The roots don’t have the protection from cold and frost provided by the surrounding soil when grown in the ground. You can protect the roots and container from severe weather by wrapping them in bubble wrap, hessian or, better still, home-made ‘duvets’ made from plastic bags filled with shredded newspaper, polystyrene chips, roofing insulation or similar materials and tied securely around the container. If possible, move the containers against a sheltered, south-facing wall or close to a building to provide extra protection. Raise the containers onto pot feet or bricks to avoid them sitting in the wet, which can lead to further root damage and cracking of terracotta pots.