|FLOWERING MONTH||BULB||COMMENTS||PLANTING TIME|
-Indoor Plant -Various colours
|FEBRUARY||Crocus ‘Golden Yellow’/ ‘Remembrance’
Narcissus ‘February Gold’
|-Dutch crocus large yellow/ large purple flowers
-Early miniature, pure yellow
-Glory of the Snow–white /blue star- shaped flowers
MAR-APR in the green
Minature Daffodil ‘Jet Fire’
Miniature Daff‘Jack Snipe’
Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’
|-White, purple veins
-Golden petals,orange trumpet
-Cream petals flat lemon cups
-Golden Yellow flowers
-Glory of the Snow–white/blue star flowers
|APRIL||Double Early Tulips
Single Early Tulips
Tulipa praestans ‘Fusilier’
|-‘Peach Blossom’ Pink
|MAY||Single Late Tulips
|‘Queen of the Night’(Purple)
Snakes Head Fritillary
Attractive cerise purple flower
|-wine red star flowers, ball shape
-similar to alliums
-Not hardy, treat as annual
|-Not hardy, treat as annual
-various types of lily
|AUGUST||Agapanthus africanus AGM
Schizostylis ‘Alba’ / ‘Jennifer’
|-African Lily – blue purple
-Various loud colours
-White/-AGM – Pink
|SEPTEMBER||Colchichum ‘Autumn Herald’
|-Autumn crocus – pink
-Pink flowers / purple eyes
|-Guernsey Lily – pink
|NOVEMBER||Nerine bowdenii||-Guernsey Lily – pink||FEB-MAR|
- Aconite (yellow)
Bulbs give great splashes of colour throughout the year and are easy to grow, and are at their best when planted in groups.
Now that we have wrapped up our tender plants ready for the winter, why not make those white-fleeced stumps look more attractive. Under this one is a cherished oleander that won’t cope with the freezing temperatures that we are expecting this month. Draw on a couple of eyes and buttons, stick in a carrot for it’s nose, a couple of twigs for arms and then hey presto, there’s your snowman.
Happy Christmas and heres to a great gardening new year.
Autumn is a fab time for planting and also for those spooky Halloween pumpkins. So this year, why not combine the two and enjoy your pumpkins as planters a few days before Halloween. Then simply convert them back into the traditional Halloween lanterns on Halloween night. Easy to do, you can get the kids involved, enjoy your plants presented in a fun way and then plant them out in the garden once you have finished.
Step 1 - Choose a large pumpkin
Step 2 - Draw your design on the pumpkin, the scarier the better
Step 3 - Cut the top off and scoop out the flesh and seeds
Step 4 - Carve out the design with care
Step 5 - Choose a grass or spikey plant such as a phormium and drop it
into the top of the pumpkin to make it’s hair
( If the pot is too big remove the plant from the pot, cut the pot in half, place one half at the back of the carved out face to create a black screen, then remove a little compost from around the root ball of the plant, place the root ball in a freezer or sandwich bag and simply drop into the pumpkin behind the black screen).
Step 6 - Once you have finished with it simply take the plant out and
plant it out in the garden. Don’t forget to recycle the pumpkin on
the compost heap, or wash it out and make into soup.
Meet The family – (Back row left to right, then front row left to right)
‘Witch Doctor ’ - We have used Carex ‘Comans Bronze’
‘Spike’ - We have used Phormium ‘Rainbow Queen’
‘Scarecrow’ - We have used the red grass Uncinia rubra
‘Banshee’ - We have used Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’
‘Smiler ’ - We have used Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’
Have Fun !
It’s enjoyable and it saves you money.
(a) Softwood Cuttings When: May-August
Examples : Lavender, Forsythia, Fuchsia, Pelargoniums etc. perennials, houseplants
-Usually taken in spring or summer. (Can be used to propagate tender plants such as bedding plants).
-Take cuttings of about 10cm (4in) in length, cutting below a leaf joint. (Shorter side shoots are taken with a ‘heel’, where the side shoot is pulled down and away from the parent shoot e.g Rosemary and Buddleia).
-Remove the bottom leaves from the lower third of the stem and insert into compost.
-Then place in a propagator (widely and quite cheaply available in garden centres) to get them growing away. You can also try placing the pot into a clear plastic bag to act as a simple propagator.
(b) Semi-Ripe Cuttings When: July & August
Examples: Argyranthemum, Camellia, Senecio maritima.
-These are taken in July and August when the plan’s growth is starting to slow down.
-Take cuttings from main stems or use strong, leafy non-flowering side shoots from the main stems. Cutting length should be about10-15cm (4-6in).
-Remove the lower leaves and dip the base in a hormone rooting powder.
-Then insert about 2.5cm (1in) deep into small pots with compost. Either cover with a clear polythene bag or place in a covered propagator to get them rooting.
(c) Hardwood Cuttings – When: Early Autumn
Examples : Easiest way to make new plants from shrubs and trees
-In early autumn, choose strong, straight shoots on this year’s growth.
-Cut just above a bud or pair of buds at the junction between the current season’s growth and the previous year’s growth.
-Remove any large leaves and side shoots from the stem and trim the cuttings to about 20cm (8in).
-Make an angled cut just above the top bud and a horizontal cut just below the bottom one.
-Insert the cuttings into a pot filled with compost and water it in well. Keep out of direct sunlight and with any luck the cuttings should be well rooted and ready for transplanting by the next autumn.
(d) Root Cuttings When: September-March
(Examples: Chaenomoles, Acanthus, Crambe, Dicentra, Eryngium)
-Take cuttings anytime between September and March.
-Use a sharp knife to cut off portions of root from the parent plant.
-Slice the roots into sections from 1cm to 7.5cm (0.5in to 3in) in length.
-Place root cuttings on a tray of moist compost and then cover with 1cm (0.5in) of compost.
-Once the shoots have emerged, lift the young plants from the compost and repot to grow them on.
(e) Leaf Cuttings
(Examples: Part Leaf Cuttings; Begonias, Streptocarpus, Sanseveiria)
Streptocarpus – cut the leaf in half along the midrib and then insert one half of the leaf, cut side down into damp compost and firm in.
Sansevieria – cut leaves horizontally into 5cm (2in) pieces and insert lower edge down into damp compost.
Begonia – cut across the main veins on the underside. Pin the leaf, cut side down onto the compost. Alternatively, cut the leaf into squares 2.5cm (1in) across each with a main vein. Water and then place in a propagator or a clear plastic bag in a light place out of direct sunlight . ‘Plantlets’ should form which can then be potted on.
2.Division When:Early Spring or Autumn
Examples: Many perennials such as Delphinium, Heuchera, Stocks, Asters, Iris, Geraniums
-In early spring or autumn, lift the plants, taking care not to damage the root ball.
-Divide each plant into several portions by gently pulling them away from the main plant by using 2 garden forks back to back (Hemerocallis) or splitting with a spade (Hellebores and Asters)
-Dig over the area that you want to put them back into and check over the divided plant for weed seedlings such as ground elder before you replant it.
-Firm in and then water it in well.
3.Layering When:Early Spring or Autumn
Examples: Cornus, Magnolia Acer, Camellia, Chaenomeles, Cotinus, Daphne, Forsythia, Hamamelis, Jasminum, Magnolia, Rhododendron (including azalea), Syringa and Viburnum.
Layering is a way of encouraging part of the plant to grow new roots, rooting it on and then removing the new section from the parent. Its a clone of the old plant.
-Choose flexible young shoots on the outside of the plant that can be bent over to ground level.
-In either autumn or spring make a 2.5-5cm (1-2in) cut through a leaf node approximately 30cm (12in) from the shoot tip. This will encourage roots to form. Apply hormone rooting powder to the cut.
-Dig a shallow hole, 10-15cm (4-6in) deep and ‘peg’ the section to the ground, using metal pins or wire. Alternatively, sink a small pot containing Seed Compost and peg into that.
-Back fill with soil and firm around it. Water it in.
-After a year or so the layered area should have developed a root system and then can be cut off from the parent plant and transplanted to where its needed.
4. Collecting Seeds and Growing them on When: Once Seeds are Ripe
(Examples; Most Perennials, shrubs, trees)
-Often the easiest way to make new plants is to collect their seed after they have flowered and set seed.
-Seeds are usually collected only once they are ripe. (Signs of ripeness include splitting and opening of the seedpods and a darkening in colour of the seeds themselves).
-Choose a dry day for seed collection, so that the seeds do not become damp and either rot off or start to germinate.
-Many hybridised plants will not come true to type from seed. Unlike with cuttings, where you get an exact clone of the parent plant, seedlings will be genetically different from their parents, and may have totally different flower colours or different levels of vigour.
-Cut off ripe looking seedpods, seed cases, fruits or cones from the parent plant.
-Remove any shrivelled or damaged looking seeds before storing.
-Many seeds are best stored dry, at fridge temperatures in paper bags so that they don’t sweat.
Sowing your collected seeds:
-Use specific seed compost for sowing in and water the compost before you sow into it. Sow thinly and not too deeply, roughly 1-2 times the size of the seed.
-Cover the seed lightly with compost and then cover the seed tray with a piece of glass and a sheet of newpaper until the seeds have germinated.
-Label the seedlings and make a note of the sowing date.
-When the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, carefully prick them out and transplant into a bigger pot.
-After potting on, it is important not to let the compost dry out. A hand held water sprayer can be useful for this.
Although all parts of the country will probably get some rain this Easter weekend, it is important to make sure your pots, tubs and hanging baskets are well watered to keep your plants looking good. We have noticed a few casualties this week with wilting pansies in dust dry compost and some struggling conifers so if you get time in the garden this weekend get your watering can out.
Its been a good gardening week this week for us here in Hertfordshire, although not for everyone in other parts of the country. The weather has been reasonably kind to us and we have dodged most of the heavy showers. It’s been good to get stuck into some gardening projects and we have just finished planting some new borders in a country garden. The grass is starting to grow as the temperatures have started to rise and its started to throw off it’s winter yellows. The mower came out for the first time this week and the lawns look better for a cut, keeping them sharp and tidy. The scillas in my front garden have just come out, as have my fabulous iris reticulata (what a beaufiful and elegant plant!) and at long last the daffs have started to spring into life. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!
-Use old tights or odd socks for tree and plant ties as they are nice and soft, flexible and won’t cut into the stem.
-When watering your plants, make sure that you give them a really good drink. Just giving them a short watering encourages the roots to develop closer to the surface of the soil, making the plant less drought tolerant and more susceptible to be rocked by the wind.
-Water hanging baskets by putting ice cubes on the top. As they melt moisture is slowly released.
-Age new statues by smearing on natural yoghurt
-Banana skins are good for feeding roses.
-Viagra dissolved in water can stiffen the stems of flowers in vases and stop them flopping. Not totally sure of this one as I have never needed to buy it but I have heard it a couple of times. Not sure how much you need, the more you use the stiffer they get I suppose!
-Stop cut tulips from flopping in a vase by putting a pin through the stem just under the flower.
-Fizzy, sugary drinks can be used as plant feed in vases and alcohol can sterilise the water just like a drop of bleach.
-Golden rule for planting vegetable seeds, don’t sow too early, too thickly or too deeply.
-Runner beans can be grown as an ornamental climber – originally they were grown as ornamentals in Victorian times before they were grown for food.
-Don’t plant cauliflowers in sandy soil or they will fail.
-Brussels Sprouts will fail on loose, infertile soil, so make sure the soil is enriched with well-rotted manure the winter before sowing. Also, ridge up the plants with soil and firm them in. Brassicas also like alkaline soils so lime if necessary the previous winter.
-Plant food-bearing plants when the moon is waxing (increasing to a full moon) and ornamentals when the moon is waning (decreasing).
-Plant some Marigolds around the vegetable garden and they will keep pests away. Companion planting.
-To keep rabbits away from your crops, it was said to plant a row of onions ,chives or garlic. (anything from the allium family).
-Plant garlic and chives among roses to keep greenfly away.
-Methylated spirits can be used to control wooly aphids.
-To prevent slugs getting to plants in containers, smear the outside of the container with Vaseline or WD40 .
-Ants nests can damage grass roots in lawns so apply ant gel or clove oil in a watering can. Ants don’t like water.
Planting and Sowing
-When sowing seeds, use a pencil dipped into water to pick up the seeds and place them onto the growing medium. That way you don’t lose any. Or use a match stick.
-Mix fine seed with sand for ease of sowing. You can also use non-scented talcum powder so you can see them as you are sowing them.
-When planting trees, dig a square hole rather than a round one as it allows the roots to spread out evenly.
-For a better looking lawn, mow it in two different directions. New turf should be mown against the way it is laid to get it to knit in well.
Have a go at making a simple Easter Nest centrepiece for your Easter breakfast table. Its colourful and fun and you can get the kids involved. Even better you can eat the display. (Easter Sunday is 12th April this year)
Step 1 – Get a plastic seed tray and fill part way with compost
Step 2 – Cover with turf and plant some miniature daffodils, a hyacinth and some colourful primroses through it at one end.
Step 3 – Hard boil some eggs and then colour them with edible food colouring. White eggs take the colour best
Step 4 – Place the eggs on the turf and sprinkle chocolate mini-eggs randomly around them
When to Plant
In general, you can plant trees and shrubs all year round as long as the soil isn’t frozen, covered with snow or waterlogged. Bear in mind though that if we have a hot summer and it is really dry you will need to keep the plants well watered. This applies to container grown plants, bare-rooted plants should be planted in the autumn when the soil is still warm.
The best time to plant trees is late autumn to early spring (October to March) when they are in a dormant state. Most apple trees are planted October to December.
Prepare the soil a couple of weeks before planting by digging in plenty of organic material. To plant simply dig a hole large enough to take the roots, generally twice the size of the pot, place the tree in the hole and cover the roots with soil up to the surrounding ground level. Trees should be planted in a square hole to encourage even rooting. The tree should be planted to the same depth as it was in the pot and not any deeper – the biggest cause of tree death is planting too deeply. Having planted the tree, firm down the soil using your boots to ensure the soil is in good contact with the roots and water well to wash the soil in around its roots.
(Note – when planting fruit trees the graft union should be at least 3-4 inches above soil level).
If necessary the tree should be staked, with the stake being driven into the soil at a 45 degree angle, being careful not to go through the root ball. Tie the trunk to the stake using plastic tree ties available from the garden centre. Do not use wire or string as this will cut into the tree trunk with time and damage it. You will need to check the ties in the first couple of years to ensure that they don’t become too tight.
You can’t go far wrong if you plant evergreens in early to mid-autumn or mid to late spring, and deciduous shrubs between mid-autumn and early spring when soil and weather conditions are favourable. Good soil preparation is important and it is a good idea to dig in good organic matter before you plant to give them a good start. Dig a hole about twice the size of the pot that the plant is in and loosely fork over the bottom of the hole. Tease out the roots so they are encouraged to grow into the surrounding soil and plant to the same level as they are in the pot and then back fill the hole with soil and firm in. Some shrubs should be planted slightly deeper such as roses and clematis, roses to cover the union of the graft and clematis to discourage wilt but on the whole most shrubs shouldn’t be planted too deeply. Rhododendrons for example always do better if not planted too deeply, as do phormiums, if in doubt check the label. Water in well.
Generally, perennials can be planted during autumn or spring, although containerised plants can go in at any time provided the ground is not frozen or waterlogged. Make sure that the root balls are thoroughly soaked before planting, if really dry soak in a bucket for a few minutes. Dig the planting hole of a shape and size to allow the roots to spread comfortably, and at a depth to the level of the crown – the point where the stems and roots join. Firm the plant in and water thoroughly if the soil is dry.
Annuals can be planted mid-spring to early summer, depending on the location and the type of plant. Begin with the hardier ones, such as sweet peas and pansies, and finish with the more tender types such as pelargoniums and fuchsias when the danger of frost has subsided. Before planting, water the containers and allow the plants to absorb the moisture before moving them. During dry periods, puddle them in – fill the planting hole with water and allow it to soak in, then set the plant in place and fill the hole with soil.
Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils and crocus should be planted in the autumn preferably by the end of September. Tulips are best planted in November but can be left to December at a push. As a general rule plant the bulb at a depth that is 3 times the size of the bulb itself ( if a bulb is 1 inch in size then there should be 3 inches from the surface to the top of the bulb). Plant in groups rather than singly. Dig a hole to the required planting depth and then space them at least twice the bulb’s own height and width apart. Carefully replace the soil and gently firm with the back of a rake.
Planting and Sowing vegetables
Growing vegetables from seed can be quite challenging, but basically the thing to remember is not to sow them too early, not too deeply and not too thickly. Sowing also depends on whether you sow indoors or outdoors directly in the soil. Decide on what you want to grow and have a good look at the seed packets for detailed growing information. You also may not want to grow from seed but buy plants from the garden centre if you are short of time and grow them on. Consider growing heritage varieties of veg such as purple peas (Lancashire Lad) or white carrots (White Belgium)
Sowing seed outdoors – Prepare the seed bed in early spring, wait until the soil dries out and doesn’t stick to your boots. Dig over the area you want to plant into (in some cases you will have done this already in the winter) and break down the clods of soil with the back of a fork. Rake level, removing large stones, aiming for the soil to have a consistency of coarse breadcrumbs.
Mark out the row with a taut piece of string and with the edge of a hoe draw out a drill to the depth recommended for the vegetable to be sown. Water the row before sowing, once sown cover the seed gently with soil with back of a rake.
Sowing seed indoors – Choose plastic rather than wooden containers, using trays, small pots or cellular trays and use a seed or multi-purpose compost. Firm the compost in place and water it. Sow according to the instructions on the packet. Do not cover very fine seed with compost. Other seeds should be covered with compost or vermiculite to a depth which is twice the diameter of the seed. Most seeds require a fairly warm temperature to germinate (about 70 degrees F). If you haven’t got access to a greenhouse most seed can germinate on the windowsill of a central heated room. Keep well watered with a fine sprayer ensuring the compost doesn’t dry out.
As soon as the first set of true leaves have opened the seedlings should be pricked out into small pots or cellular trays. Once they get to this stage high temperatures are not required and 50-55 degrees are OK. When the seedlings have recovered from the pricking out move, they must be hardened off to prepare them for life outside. Move to a cold frame and then open on dry frost free days. Later keep them open day and night for 7 days before planting out. Windowsill plantings should be moved into an unheated room before being stood out for a few days prior to planting outside in the garden.
- Sow Bulb Onions seeds under glass
- Sow early Carrot seeds in a cold frame
- Sow Bulb Onions and Lettuces under glass
- Sow Beetroot, Spinach and Carrots in the soil, will need protection
- Continue to sow Early Peas and Broad Beans in mild areas
- Sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
- Sow Summer Cabbages, Leeks and Brussels Sprouts in a seed bed
- Sow Tomato seeds in trays or pots and keep at 18°C (65°F)
- Sow Beetroots, Carrots and Turnips in the soil
- In the south, plant Early Potatoes and Onion Sets at the end of the month providing the soil is not excessively wet
- Continue to sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
- Sow Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes under glass
- Sow Winter Cabbages and Late Summer Cauliflowers in a seed bed
- Continue to plant Onion Sets
- Plant out Onions grown from seed under glass into the soil
- Plant out Asparagus crowns (will take 2 years for harvest)
- Sow leaf beet and chard outside
- In the north, plant Early Potatoes providing the soil is not excessively wet
- Plant Main Crop Potatoes
- Plant Onion Sets and Potatoes in the middle of the month unless the soil is excessively wet
- Plant Tomatoes in the greenhouse or in cold frame
- Continue to sow Lettuces, Radishes and Spring Onions in the soil
- In the north, sow Runner Beans under glass
- Sow French Beans, Runner Beans and Long Rooted Beetroot towards the end of the month when the frost risk has subsided
- Plant out Late Summer Cauliflowers
- In the north, plant out Brussels Sprouts
- Plant out Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes towards the end of the month
- Continue to sow French Beans, Peas and salad crops in the soil
- Continue to plant out Cucumbers, Marrows, Pumpkins and Squashes
- Plant out Brussels Sprouts and Winter Cabbages
- Plant out Tomatoes
- Plant out Leeks
- Continue to sow salad crops in the soil
- Complete planting Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Winter Cabbages
- Sow early Spring Cabbages
- Plant out Spring Cabbages towards the end of the month
- Sow autumn broad beans such as Aquadulce to provide beans for June