The Spring Garden – 10 must have plants for spring colour

So Spring is officially here, getting home from work to the light and warm makes everyone feel great and there is nothing better than sitting out in the garden with your cup of tea to just enjoy the colour that is starting to emerge at this time of year.

I have created a few gardens over the years and always to seek to add certain plants which I know are fairly low maintenance but will give the earliest colour.

My 5 recommended shrubs which give colour at this time of year would have to be;

  1. Photinia – this is a woody shrub which is evergreen, so will remain green all year round, but the new leaves when they emerge are this lovely bright red. I tend to leave this to its own devices generally although I do give it a good prune around August time and again in October else it would grow huge.Photinia
    2. Ceanothus – This is another woody evergreen shrub, but with gorgeous blue flowers which gets brighter as the weeks pass. You can buy slower or faster growing varieties but either way produce this lovely blue colour.ceanothus
  2. Forsythia – This time a yellow flower which is formed before the leaves emerge. The plant loses its leaves over winter so the bright yellow colour is the first sign of growth on this plant. Its a very easy plant to multiply, just cut a branch off and plant in in the ground alongside and it will form a whole new shrub which can then be planted.forsythia
  3. Ribes – A fantastic pink flower on another woody shrub. Its deciduous plant and again the pink flower appears before this years leaf growth.                                                                                 ribes
  4. Kerria Japonica – A bright yellow flower with heads that look like pompoms. This is a very pretty plant which is deciduous and again the flowers emerge before the leaves. Another easy plant to propagate, just cut a branch off and plant alongside and it will soon grow to create a whole new plant.                                                                                kerria Japonica

My 5 recommended flowers to give colour at this time of year are;

  1. Daffoldils – You can’t fail to love the earliest yellow blooms that pop up year after year. Pop in some bulbs one year and as long as you don’t disturb them they will grow year after year.                                                                                                                                          Daffodil
  2. Tulips – Similarly with tulips, once the bulbs have been planted they’ll keep growing every year with so many lovely colours to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.                                                                                                                                              tulips
  3. Primrose – you can pick primroses up for any garden centre or flower shop so cheaply at this time of the year, but the key to these coming back year after year is that they love the shade.                                                                                                                          
  4. Forget-me-not – These lovely delicate flowers are quite weed-like really they pop up suddenly and then spread everywhere. I let them flower with their beautiful blue colour and once they start getting a bit mildewy, I pull most of them up. This makes sure they don’t take over the entire area but still give lovely colour at this time of the year.                                                                                                                                         forgetmenot
  5. Bluebells and Fritilery – Easy to grow bulbs which if undisturbed will pop up every year, adding extra heads each year. The key to any bulbs is they don’t like being disturbed so I like to plant them at the base of a tree where I’m not going to dig the soil over .                                                                                                                                                                                                          SONY DSC                         FRITILLARIA MELEAGRIS 2

All of this colour will last for the next month or so before the summer flowering plants start to come into bloom.

Enjoy your spring garden

Sarah x

 

 

My 72 perennials have arrived!

Just in time for the Easter weekend and my special offer perennials have arrived, those of you who regularly follow my blog know that I am very impulsive over buying plants. When a Thompson and Morgan email hit my in box with a one day special, 72 perennials for £9.99 I couldn’t resist.

thompson and morgan email

So today they finally arrived, little plug plants a mere 2 or 3 cm tall with with great potential to be full grown flowering plants by the summer.

image image

All the plants are great for adding lots of summer colour, year on year, to attract insects particularly bees.

My first job was a quick trip to the garden centre to buy multipurpose compost as I ran out only yesterday! Not really looking forward to the prospects of a garden centre on a rainy Easter Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t actually too busy.

Back home and straight to the greenhouse to start potting on. I tend to use pots with 6 or 10 cells and at this stage put a couple of plugs in each cell. This is for 2 reasons, mainly because I run out of space if I have too many pots, but also it uses less compost at this stage and if the plants get too big before the summer, I can always divide them again before planting them out.

image

Lovely rich multipurpose compost, put into the cells and watered well ready to receive the plugs.

image image

I use a dibber to make just the correct sized hole, which means the plug drops in beautifully without too much fuss.

image image

Once in, press the compost around the plug and onto the next, only 71 more to go…..

image

An hour or so later all 72 are potted on, with labels added and another good watering done. Now just to check on them daily, watering when needed (every day) and hey presto by May 1/2 term we’ll be ready to plant them out in the garden.

I’ll let you know how I get on……

Sarah x

image

 

 

 

 

 

Best Days out – Burford Garden Centre

Burford is a beautiful little Cotswold market town on the A40 between Gloucester and Oxford. It has gorgeous historic buildings and lots of little independent shops and cafes to visit. Just on the outskirts however is a hidden little gem of a garden centre. Well I say garden centre in the loosest terms as apart from the beautiful displays as you approach,

image

it is a good while into your visit before you really see the plants for sale. Not a bad thing in my opinion as there are so many delightful finds which all compliment the plants.

The gorgeous gift and home wares are divided into sections as you move around the store.

Whether it is Art and Antiques & Collectibles;

img_6862                            image

Or cosmetics and bath products

img_6820

All the items are displayed in such beautiful unique display cabinets. Each area is well defined with the best of products stocked.

Lots of the items are handcrafted by local crafts people and artists.

image

The delicious candle section smells lovely and again stocks unusual and often unique products.

img_6821

There is a clothing section stocking brands such as Joules, Hunter, and other well known brands along with the more unusual such as these Christys top hatsimg_6843

There is a section selling vintage china, a perfect place for a rummage through all the different colours and patterns to find just the pieces for you. Everything is so beautifully well displayed you can easily find just the perfect thing.

img_6836

Finally getting to plants..again so well displayed there is so much inspiration to be gained at every corner. One of my favourite indoor plants is the orchid, here they have a large orchid section and I have never seen them displayed quite like this before.

img_6832

Whether its ferns, pots, baskets, house plants there is something for everyone.
img_6840img_6828img_6829And eventually getting outside to the array of colour and variety again you can’t fail to be impressed with how everything is so well displayed.

img_6841

Exhausted you will want to visit their award winning cafe for hot meals, snacks or cakes.

img_6838

Of course there were many more departments selling lots more individual items, I think I’ve probably only touched the surface here, so I would thoroughly recommend a visit so you can see for yourself just how unusual this hidden gem is….

A quick tip for ensuring summer colour in your garden this year

I know it’s only February but it’s time to be thinking about the summer garden. I had a little mooch around the garden this weekend despite the strong winds and drizzly rain and was very shocked to see that one or two of my perennials, which were trying to throw up new shoots, had already been eaten! Oh no disaster! if these plants can’t get started we are certainly not getting any summer colour from them.

Tip – get out there this weekend and put slug pellets around any emerging plants. Snails have been hibernating all winter by burying into the soil and slugs which have been dormant whilst the temperatures have been below 5° are suddenly starting to emerge already. If you can kill them now before they lay eggs …..double wammy!Now I know the purists amongst you may disagree with slug pellets, harmful if birds eat the dead slugs and snails. Although I’ve never actually seen evidence of this for myself, I do still go out each morning and pick up any dead slugs and snails and put them in the bin. Result – I put the slug pellets around on Thursday evening, Friday morning I collected at least 10 adult slugs and snails, hmmm maybe my perennials are safe again….for the time being.
summer garden

Garden Bargain – Act fast- today only

“How do you get your garden so colourful” I get asked this on a fairly regular basis during the summer months.

IMG_1959.JPG (2)

The answer of course is that I plant lots of flowering plants which attract all the bees and insects which in turn go on to pollinate more and so the cycle goes on. One of the easiest ways of starting this is by using perennials which flower each year, die off over winter and come back healthier and stronger the following year. After a while you have lots of lovely colour from plants which largely speaking look after themselves.

I was so pleased to receive an email this morning from one of my favourite website suppliers Thompson and Morgan promoting a 24hr offer.

thompson and morgan logo

thompson and morgan email

I thought I would share this offer with you as it is the perfect was to get your perennial flowers started.

The offer is 72 plug plants (only tiny when they arrive) of varying types of perennial. There are 6 of each type that will be fully flowering by the summer.

perennial offer

The offer works out at 14p per plant, which by the time they are fully grown in the garden center they would be typically £2.50 per plant.

perennial offer description

Ordered now the plug plants won’t be delivered until around April time, which is perfect as when you receive them of course there is some work to do.

plug plants

Its not as easy as receiving your plants, planting them and hey presto, you will have to pot them on. I put them into module trays filled with compost, both of which can be purchased cheaply from shops such as Wilkinsons and put them in the greenhouse.

module trays

If you don’t have a greenhouse, a sunny windowsill will work just as well.

If you water them regularly, they will be ready to plant out in May. I tend to use the May 1/2 term holiday for planting all my summer colour, that way I know the risk of frost has passed.

IMG_2008.JPG (2)

And hey presto, a lovely flowery garden for the summer, and summers to come……