Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
The PLANT OF THE MONTH for August is ... Penstemon 'Raven'
Penstemons are one of the easiest plants to grow and are great for a gap in the border that needs filling quickly! Flowering from June to first frosts they are one of the best performers in a garden and are rarely victim to attacks from slugs and snails.
They are also a great plant for anyone that is a beginner to taking cuttings!
There are a range of varieties but the one that I have chosen for today and that is also in my garden is called 'Raven'.

Photo from Crocus

Photo from my garden (You can also see the white variety growing alongside)

This particular variety is semi evergreen, happy in most soil types and aspects in either full sun or partial shade.
This plant will grow 50-100cm tall which is great for a border. This plant is clump forming and the flowers are similar to those of a foxglove which will flower from June right up until the first frosts. To make sure that flowering is continuous make sure that you deadhead once each flower spike has finished.
During the winter months it is best to leave the plants foliage intact and give it a dry mulch to protect the crown and roots. In Spring once you can see new shoots emerging you can cut the original stems down to the base to promote a fresh flush of growth.

This plant can be propagated in the Spring time by division, softwood cuttings in early summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in midsummer.
I took some cuttings myself on the 10th of July and they were ready to be potted on into individual 9cm pots yesterday ...

Generally disease free, can be prone to attacks from pests but usually pest free.


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Yet again it's been a while since I've posted here, due to work or feeling unwell I just haven't had the time to sit down let alone venture out into the garden!
Here's hoping that changes soon and here are a few suggestions of what you can be getting on with in the garden today ...

1. Tomatoes  - Your Tomato plants should've reached a height that you're happy with and setting plenty of fruits by now. To help focus the plant's energy on the fruits trim away any foliage restricting light to the ripening fruits, you can be pretty drastic with this but make sure that you leave some foliage on the plant. Continue giving them a weekly feed and you should be feasting on your tomatoes in no time!   

2. Wildlife - If like me you also like to look after the local wildlife in your garden make sure that you clean any bird baths regularly and maintain that water levels are always topped up. It can soon evaporate in hot weather! 
I also like to give bird feeders a good wash out when they need filling up to make sure that they are kept disease free and in a good condition for the birds.

3. Collect Seeds - If there are any plants that you've been particularly impressed with this year in the garden and you'd like more of next year then now is the time to start thinking about collecting seeds! 
Plants such as Foxgloves will be setting their seeds now and the seed can be sown as soon as collected in preparation for plants next year!

4. Deadheading - As always make sure that you keep up with the deadheading to prolong the flowering of your favourite Summer plants such as Dahlias, Pelargoniums and Basket Plants!

5. Watering - Keep up with the Watering, especially of pot plants. In hot weather plants may need a good drench daily to keep them happy and healthy.

6. Paperwhite Narcissus - If you want some Paperwhite Narcissus in flower this Christmas then it's time to start thinking about the bulbs and getting them potted up! The perfume can be love or hate but I think they make a great centrepiece for a table when in flower.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

July's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
Apologies for it being super quiet on this blog this month, the past couple of weeks have just been filled of following the recent checklist and constant watering due to the hot weather we've had recently!

The PLANT OF THE MONTH for July is ... Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
(This plant may also be known as Montbretia 'Lucifer')

This plant is happy in most soil types as long as it is moist but well drained, it will thrive well in any aspect except for the North and is happy in either Full Sun or Partial Shade.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' can also cope with exposure to windy weather.

The total height and width for this plant is 0.1 - 0.5m which is great if you are wanting a little height in your borders at this time of year. 'Lucifer' forms clumps of narrow green leaf spikes along with spikes of funnel shaped flowers which flower from late July - September.
This plant is a Hardy Deciduous Perennial so it will die back to ground level over the winter.
Protection may be needed during particularly cold winters, simply cover the crown with a mulch to protect against Frost damage.

This plant can be propagated in the Spring time by dividing the forming clumps into smaller groups and re-planting just before the growth starts at a depth of approx 4inches.
There is no need to prune this plant.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is generally Disease free but may suffer attacks from the Glasshouse Red Spider Mite.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Bumper Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
Are you looking for something to do in the garden this weekend?
Well here's a few suggestions that should keep you busy ...

1. Tomatoes  - If like me you are growing tomatoes make sure that you keep removing the side shoots produced on the Cordon varieties. Simply snap them off first thing in the morning to make sure the plant focuses all it's energy elsewhere. Your tomatoes should also be starting to set fruit so it's time to give them a weekly feed with either diluted tomato feed or liquid seaweed.

2. Roses - The weather has been rather variable over the past weeks and rain battered Roses are a frequent sight in my garden! Keep up with the deadheading and if you see any rose buds that haven't opened yet with brown outer petals, gently tease away them away in a downwards movement and your rose might just get the chance to bloom! If left more often than not the decaying brown petals prevent the bud from opening.
A Rose in the centre ready for dead-heading

3. Sweet Peas - Another plant that could do with a little care is the garden favourite Sweet Pea. 
Give them a weekly feed and keep up with tying them in to the their supports. Pick flowers every few days and make sure you remove any seed pods once seen to prolong flowering. 
Summer Bedding in Pots and Hanging Baskets will also benefit from a liquid feed once a week to keep encouraging blooms and healthy growth.

4. Winter Cabbages - If you sowed some winter cabbages last month such as January King into pots it's time to plant them out into their final positions. If like me you sowed them under cover gently acclimatise them to the outdoor positions by hardening them off over 7 - 10 days. Once this has been done plant them out with a distance of approx 50cm in a sunny position and provide protection from birds in the form of netting or fleece. You can also place a collar around the stems to protect from cabbage root fly.

5. Bulbs - It's time to start planting Autumn bulbs such as Nerines into Pots & Borders and whilst your doing so why not start thinking about the Spring Bulbs that you would like to have next year. Plant companies are starting to send out catalogues so if you know what you want it's best to order them now before they're out of stock! The same goes for Spring Bedding.

6. Watering - Even if it rains make sure you keep up with watering, some plants such as Celery, Beans, Peas, Tomatoes can be extremely thirsty and will suffer if they do not get adequate water.
Newly planted Shrubs, Tree's and Perennials this year will also benefit from extra watering to help them become established.

7. Apples & Pears - If the weather is warm and not too wet you can prune out any branches on Apple & Pear Tree's that may be crossing, damaged or diseased. 
You can also thin out the apples on trees that may be malformed or damaged to encourage a healthier crop.

8. Cuttings - Plants such as Fuschias, Pelargoniums and other tender perennials can be tricky to over winter if you only have a small space. Why not take some cuttings now from your favourite plants? This way you only have to over winter a smaller plant reducing the amount of space needed. 
Even if over wintering isn't something that you've considered cuttings are great for if you simply want more of a particular plant for free! Simply click HERE for a variety of posts on Cuttings.

9. Hedges -If you have any Hedges or Confiers that are needing a trim then now is the time to do it, however always make sure that there are no nesting birds before starting.

10. Ponds - Finally if you have a garden pond keep on top of removing any blanketweed or algea. Make sure that you leave it on the edge of the pond for atleast 48hours afterwards so that any creatures within can make their way back into the pond or water feature.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

June's Plant of the Month!

Good Morning!
I know that we are technically in the month of July now so I am a tad late with this post, but as the saying goes better late than never! 
The PLANT OF THE MONTH for June is or should I say was ... Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'

Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna' can also be known as the Balkan clary 'Caradonna' and this particular Salvia is a Hardy Perennial.
(Salvia's can be Annuals, Biennials, Herbaceous, Evergreen or even Shrubs!) 
As you can see from the photo of the plant that I have in my garden it has upright stems or 'racemes' of violet flowers which flower throughout the Summer months with a scented greyish green foliage.
If you are someone that loves Bee's then this plant is a must for your garden!

This plant is happy in most soil types as long as it is well drained, facing any aspect although it may struggle a little in a North facing position. Happy in either Full Sun or Partial Shade it can also cope with exposure to windy weather. Once established this plant becomes drought tolerant in a sunny position.
The total height and width for this plant is 10-50cm which means it remains quite compact.
However this plant is deciduous which means it will lose it leaves over winter.

In regards to upkeep all you need to do is give it a little mulch of well - rotted compost or manure in Spring and prune away any faded flower stems to prolong flowering throughout the Summer months.

This plant is generally disease free but like most plants can suffer attacks from the usual culprits ... Slugs & Snails!


Saturday, 25 June 2016

June's Floral Favourite's ...

Good Morning!
It's been a little while since I've had the chance to post on here so today I thought I'd share with you my favourite's from around the garden this month. 

Right back at the start of the month the Hebe 'Pearl of Paradise' of which i'd grown from a cutting came into flower. Even though they only flower for a few weeks of the year the blooms on this variety are well worth the wait.

Geum 'Tangerine' has also been flowering prolifically throughout the month ...

slowly followed by Geum 'Cosmopolitan'

My David Austin Rose 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' has produced some lovely blooms with a perfume to match.

The new variety of Cosmos called 'Xanthos' has recently come into bloom the past fortnight, so far the flowers are sparing but they are lovely to look at.

One of my favourite plants that I like to grow as an Annual each year are Nemesia's. Along with the Vanilla White variety dotted around the garden in Pots and Baskets I have a pot of the variety 'Easter Bonnet' of which you can smell straight away when walking past. 

The Hanging Baskets are slowly starting to fill out and establish themselves ...

Astrantias 'Rubra' and 'Buckland' have started coming into flower this past week ...

along with the Alstroemeria Inca Ice 'Koice' sitting outside the Greenhouse door ...

Finally followed by the first blooms from the Sweat Peas in the past 2 days.

Thanks for popping by, I hope you all get the chance to spend some time in your gardens this weekend!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Garden Checklist ...

Good Morning!
It's been a little while since I've been able to post but here's a few things that you can be getting on with this weekend in the garden ...

1. Tomatoes  - If you are growing Cordon Varieties of Tomatoes this year then right about now they will be needing a little help. Cordon varieties need to have something to climb up which is where Bamboo canes usually come into use! Simply place them into your Tomatoes final growing pot (making sure not to damage the roots) then tie the plant to the cane using string. It is also recommended that you tie a cane across the top of the canes to provide support for the canes which will be needed once the plants get growing!  

TIP - Make sure you remove any side shoots produced by the plant as soon as they are visible and don't worry if your plants develop curly tops, this is a perfectly normal things for a healthy plant to do!

2. Climbers - On the subject of support, climbing plants will be putting on a lot of fresh growth right now (e.g. Sweet Peas & Clematis) and the young shoots will need tying in. This is also one of the easiest times to do this as the new growth will be fairly flexible.

3. Faded Foliage - Foliage might be looking a little tired on plants such as Pulmonaria and Hellebores, cut back any of the foliage affected which will promote new growth and reduce the risk of disease.

4. Stronger Growth - Encourage stronger bushier growth on bedding plants by pinching out the growing tips. This will delay flowering for a couple of weeks but will prolong the flowering period for the year and the plant will be much bushier!

5. Biennials - In the Greenhouse now is the time to start sowing Biennials, these are plants which will develop vegetative growth in the current year then flower the next. 
These include plants such as Foxgloves & Wallflowers.

6. Hedging - Finally if you are planning on trimming or pruning any hedges this weekend make sure that you check them for any nesting birds first to ensure that you don't disturb them.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget you can find all the previous Checklists on the page tab above.