Category Archives: Gardening News

Winter Gardening

The Winter Garden

The Winter Garden

Many may feel the depths of winter are not a time to be in the garden and the only type of gardening jobs that should be considered, are flicking through seed catalogues while sitting cosy in front of a fire. But the winter is in fact a good time to carry out remedial and repair work in the garden and get the garden ready for the next growing season.

 falling down fences

falling down fences

The first thing to look at is the garden boundaries, now that a lot of plant cover will have died down, check all walls, remove any large quantities of ivy, it is good for wild life so leave some, but it can be a disaster with old mortar particularly on flint walls. Also check fences and posts, that they will be up to winter winds. If repair work is needed, then while plants are dormant this is the time of year to have the work carried out.

 Over grown wall

Over grown wall

Now that it is mid winter, take time to walk round your trees and check all trees ties, which may have become loose in the autumn gales.

check tress ties

check tress ties

While large sections of the garden are dormant, now is the time to add a thin layer of garden compost or well rotted farm yard or horse manure, over whole beds or round the base of shrubs and trees, Also top up mulch on flower boarders. Be sure not to build up the height of compost round trunks and crowns.

 adding compost

adding compost

Now is the time of year to get cracking on pruning your Apple and Pear trees. Removing dead and diseased wood, branches that rub and prune to fruiting spurs, for full details on fruit tree pruning see January 2016 blog.

 fruit tree pruning

fruit tree pruning

Check climbing plants and wall shrubs, make sure they are tied in well and will not be pulled off the walls and fences in the winter storms.

tieing in wall shrubs

tieing in wall shrubs

If you have free standing structures in the garden like archways, pergolas, trellis sections, now is a good time to check them, and repair where needed also carry out any re-staining, while most of the planting has died down.

 staining trellis and fences

staining trellis and fences

So as you can see there is a lot of gardening to carry out in January, but hopefully you have planted some good scented winter shrubs and hellebores and snow drops which will cheer the sole while you work.

Winter Garden Magic

Winter Garden Magic

Happy Gardening.

Elegant Camellias

A mass of Camellias

A mass of Camellias

By the time mid-winter comes about with short and dull days anything in the garden that adds a splash of colour, is to be grabbed and celebrated. So Camellias, with varieties that flower from October through to April are a good choice. With evergreen glossy foliage and attractive habit, whether grown in the garden as specimen shrub or on mass or even as an individual specimen in a pot are a must. Here are a few favourite

Camellia 'Cornish Cream'

Camellia ‘Cornish Cream’

C. ‘Cornish Snow’: This lovely Camellia rightly has a AGM award. With a good strong upright habit which can become a large shrub. Delicate single white flowers with gold stamens, which are produced on mass.

 Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

C. sasanqua ‘Yuletide’: This is one of my top favourites, a medium sized shrub with an open habit. Flowers are borne in a succession a few at a time from mid -October until the end of January. Small single red flowers with a mass of yellow stamens, add a real splash of colour in the depths of winter.

 Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'

Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’

C. japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’: This camellia has a good compact habit forming an upright shrub. This Camilla packs a punch with large loose paeony like flowers in red and has a delicate fragrance, wonderful in an enclosed space or a pot by the back door.

 Camellia japonica 'Lady Vansihart'

Camellia japonica ‘Lady Vansihart’

C.japnica ‘Lady Vansihart’: this upright camellia has unusual holly like twisted foliage, which is a real talking point. With small sauces blushed pink flowers.

Camellia japonica 'Lavinia Maggi'

Camellia japonica ‘Lavinia Maggi’

C. japonica ‘Lavinia maggi’: A dramatic camellia which grows into a large shrub. Large double blousy flowers, some white, some, pink, some red. But most striped and blotch in all 3 colours. It is as if someone has had a mad Alice and Wonderland joke with a couple of paint pots. If you want a statement shrub this is the camellia for you.

Camellia sasanque

Camellia sasanque

C. sasanque: A graceful open habit, with sauce shaped white flowers with rich yellow stamens from late autumn through to early spring, giving a long display.

 Camellias grow well in containers.

Camellias grow well in containers.

Tips: All Camilla like a neutral to slightly acidic soils with a rich humus compost that retains moisture well but dose not become water logged. They do best in dappled shade but will cope with some full sun. It is best to avoid early morning sun so that frost covered buds and flowers do not brown. The important thing to remember is that even when they have stopped flowering they need a good water through the summer months and must not dry out as this is when the flower buds are forming for the following year. A good helping of rotted leaf mould and feed should be added as a topdressing after flowering to help with flower bud development for the following year.

 Beautiful flowers of Camellias

Beautiful flowers of Camellias

If you would like help developing a winter garden, then I know just the person to give you a hand. Give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753 to disuses all your garden design needs.

I hope I have inspired you to add Camellias to your garden, weather in a boarder or a couple in pots by the front door. Enjoy!

Ornamental Bark

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Birch Bark

Birch Bark

As the leaves finally fall it is the skeleton of deciduous trees that give structure to the winter garden and distinctive and colourful bark in the rosy lights of the winter can be a truly stunning addition to the garden and are well worth considering when choosing trees to plant.

Acer capillipes

Acer capillipes

Acer Calliopes: The ‘snake bark’ maple, this hansom tree has real wow factor at all times of the year, with the new growth a lovely coral red and leaves turning a strong red in autumn. But the bark is truly magnificent, the mid green stems, have vertical stripes of white to light green and soft pink shades. This small tree makes a good focal point for a small to medium sized garden. Grows best in good humus rich soil in dappled shade.

 Betula 'Jermyns'

Betula ‘Jermyns’

Betula ‘Jermyns’: A dramatic medium sized tree with mop headed habit. With superb creamy-white pealing stems and trunk, showing coppery coloured bark beneath. Good golden yellow autumn colour, any free draining soil.

 Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula: ‘The Tibetan cheery’, this beautiful small tree has a lot going for it and is a great addition to a small garden. It has glossy mahogany coloured bark, which positively shines. With elegant small white blossom in April any good soil that dose not dry out.

 Acer griseum

Acer griseum

Acer griseum: The ‘paperbark maple’, A striking tree particularly if grown as a multi-stem. With attractive bronze coloured pealing bark, with qualities similar to papery birch. The trifliolate leaves have wonderful fury autumn colours. A small tree, which likes humus rich soil.

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne: the ‘Grecian Strawberry tree’: This small evergreen tree, is tender and needs a sheltered spot, to get it started, but becomes hardy once mature. With dark green glossy leaves and delicate bunches of waxy bell shaped flowers in a stunning red, it is a dramatic tree. The added bonus is the smooth cinnamon brown bark. It needs an acid soil which is humus rich.

 Salix daphoides

Salix daphoides

Salix dalphnoides: The ‘Violet Willow’ This is a fast growing and striking tree for a small garden. It will grow in most soils although dose not like drying out. The new growth is a rich purple which matures with a white bloom. Catkins are produced in spring before the leaves.

 Group of hansom Eucalyptus

Group of hansom Eucalyptus

 Close of Eucalyptus

Close of Eucalyptus

With deciduous trees you have over five months with out the leaves, so the bark is well worth considering particularly if your garden is small as everything you plant needs to work hard for you. I hope I have given you food for thought. If you would like help choosing and planting trees as part of a new planting plan, I know just the woman to help you. As the bare root season will be starting shortly, there is no time like the present, give me, Emily a call on 01273 470753, to discuss all your garden needs.

Keeping Everyone Safe- Covid 19

 

All government and local government guide lines and advice are to be adhered to. As much as possible, all meetings are to be held outside. This means entering your garden through a back or side gate if possible. If the garden can only be reached by walking through the house, then I/we will wear face masks.

Some sections of the meeting will involve paper work and the presentation of plans, this is to be outside if possible, on garden tables, or inside porches or garages or conservatories etc. If due to weather or the time of day, it means a meeting does have to be inside your home, then everyone present at the meeting should wear a face mask.

Landscapers and all site contractors will also follow all COVID-19 guidelines and best practice outlined by government and local government, at the time of landscaping. They will avoid entering your home as much as possible. If they need to come into your house they will wear a face mask at all times.

Clients Please Note: Due to the COVID-19 shut down and reduced working practices, some supplies of materials may be harder to source and there may be longer lead in times. Also work may be disrupted if a landscaper has to self-isolated, quarantine or is ill, due to COVID-19. Also, government guide lines may change without notice and work on a garden may have to stop. All of these things are beyond the control of Arcadia Garden Design. We will do our upmost to keep you informed if any of these problems arise and will be in discussion with you.

Fabulous Ferns

Fabulous Ferns

Fabulous Ferns

Ferns are often an over looked group of plants, but since their Victorian heyday they are quite rightly beginning to have their turn back in the limelight. They are much more than the go to plant for a shady difficult spot. They go from the large and dramatic, to small and delicate foliage. Although most do like damp humus rich conditions in partial shade, some do well in full sun and even dry shallow chalk. Here are a few to consider.

Asplenium trichomanes

Asplenium trichomanes

Asplenium trichomanes: The maidenhair fern, is a stunningly delicate fern, it is evergreen with mid to dark green pinnate foliage on elegant black stems. Reaching 15cm in height, and with spreading rhizomes. In fact they will sneak in and populate small crevices in walls and will cope well with lime and tolerate dry shade.

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum

Athyrium niponicum var.pictum: The Japanese painted fern. Is a stunningly beautiful fern. The leaves blend from pale grey through to powdery blue with splashes of soft pink and sliver. This deciduous fern likes light shade and moist humus rich conditions. Growing up to 30cm tall is makes good dense ground cover.

 Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum: Japanese Holly Fern, a striking evergreen fern forming a strong growing clump growing up to 60cm. With dark green glossy fonds with a holly like appearance. Ideal for a shady spot. It is a acid lover and thrives in humus rich soil.

 Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum: Soft shield fern, this is a wonderfully tolerant garden plant, it will cope with deep shade and bright sunshine, good in humus rich soils but will also thieve in thin drying chalk soils. An evergreen fern which produced a wide clump of mid green pinnate fonds up to 60/90cm high. Brilliant as a back drop plant as well as a evergreen statement in a winter planting and also dose very well in a pot in a shady corner, it has much to commended it.

 Dryopteris cycadina

Dryopteris cycadina

Dryopteris cycadina: The Buckler fern, A deciduous fern, with a dramatic habit of upright growth. Mid spring sees bright green shuttlecocks unfurling into mid green fonds. Growing up to 60cm tall, it will cope with some sun and tolerate dry shade. A dramatic addition to the garden setting.

 Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antaretica: The tree fern. This is the big daddy of the fern world, and it has that wow factor in spades, whether seen in it’s native habitant of temperate rain forest in Australasia or as a lone specimen in a garden. An erect rhizome covered in a mass of roots, forms the ‘trunk’. It is very slow growing taking 10 years to grow 30 cm. From the top of the trunk unfurl, a reset of long mid green fonds, you really can imagine a Dinosaur., wondering between them! It is possible to grow this fern in the warmer parts of England, as long as they are grown in a sheltered position in semi-shade in humus rich moist conditions and the crown of the fern and trunk are insulated with straw and well wrapped in the winter months. It is a worthy addition to any shade garden.

A fernery

A fernery

I hope I have inspired you to think again about these wonderful plants that should be set for a resurgence even if not quite on the level of the enthusiastic Victorians. Happy Planting!

Crazy About Crocosmia

 Fiery colours

Fiery colours

As high summer approaches, many gardeners feel that colour socked boarders of mid-summer are over and July into August is a difficult time to injected summer brightness into the garden. Crocosmia can be your saviour. As hardy as hell, putting up with must soil conditions and creating great sweeps of colour there is much to love about this dependable old favourite.

 Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Emily McKenzie'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily McKenzie’

C.x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily Mckenzie’: clumps of sword like green foliage and very long lasting orange trumpet shaped flowers with a green throat, from August to September.

 Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Geogre Davison'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Geogre Davison’

C. x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’: Darker green leaves in dense clumps up to 75cm, with rich butter yellow flowers, July to August.

C. x crocosmiiflora ‘Solfatare’: Bronze foliage up to 60cm, with soft apricot trumpet flowers from July to September.

 Crococsmia 'Lucifer'

Crococsmia ‘Lucifer’

C. Lucifer: This is the big Daddy of Crocosmia, due to it’s height and the smack you in the face colour, it can’t be missed. Tall clumps of leaves 1/1.2m tall with flowers of vibrant red produced June to July.

 Croccosmia mansoniorum

Croccosmia mansoniorum

C. masoniorum: Arching stems and leaves up to 90cm tall, with bright vermilion orange flowers produced July to September.

 summer show stopper

summer show stopper

This herbaceous plant loves a bright sunny spot , but will cope with a little shade although they will not flower quite so well. So get planting and brightening up your high summer garden.

If you want help with designing planting and re-designing your garden, do give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753.

Architectural Plants

Architectural Planting

Architectural Planting

Architectural plants, are plants from herbaceous to trees that has stand out ‘star’ quality and can be used as a statemented at the corner of a boarder or edge of the path or bang slap in the meddle of the lawn, they are meant to stop you in your tracks. All of the plants listed below if used in the right spot have the ability to do that.

Abies koreana

Abies koreana

Abies koreana: the ‘Korean Fir’ is a very slow growing medium tree, with a broad crown. It has a mass of short blunt dark green needles held on white stems. The foliage looks very dramatic, It has dense barrel shaped blue crones that are held on the branches for a long time. This is a beautiful conifer which can be planted even in a smallish garden due to it’s very slow growth. It can be enjoyed for many years as a shrub. Good rich soil slightly acidic, in full sun or partial shade.

Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge'

Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’

Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’: Stiff lanceolate slightly glaucous leaves with creamy margins are held in wide rosette spirals up the stem/trunk of the shrub. A tall flower spike in hotter summers is produced in July/ August and rises up to a 1m above the plant. It is this shrubs striking form that makes it so eye catching. Although be careful when gardening with it, as it has sharp spikes on the end of the leaves. Good draining soil in full sun

Gunnera manicata

Gunnera manicata

Gunera manicata: This is the wow factor plant of any bog garden or waterside planting. With huge palmate leafs of up to 1m across held on stout stems reaching 1.5/2m high, Strange conical flowers that are brown/green are produced in July to August. Good humus rich damp soil part-shade, protect the crowns in the winter.

Cortaderia selloana 'Sunningdale Sliver'

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Sliver’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’: Pampas grass, it may have had bad press in the past, but in the right place this really can be a specimen plant. It makes a dense clump of arching 1.5m long thin leaves, which have a creamy white edge. Flower plumes of white to creamy flowers are produced from August to October and will last through the winter.

Tachycarpus fortunei

Tachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei.: This is a striking addition to the English garden, this ‘Palm’ adds a touch of the exotic! It has wide palmate leafs of dark green palm like fond on 30cm long stems edged with spikes. These leaves are produced in a spiral round the central trunk It can be either grown as a tree, or as s shrub in a planting or does equally well as a container plant. It is hardy and will cope with sea winds. Grow in good free draining soil in full sun.

Miscanthus x giganteus

Miscanthus x giganteus

Miscanthus x giganteus: This a huge grass and not for the faint hearted gardener. It has broad arching green foliage that hangs from statuesque stems reaching up to 3m tall, it make dense tickets of stems and can form a grass forest. It has white plumes of flowers held upright above the stems and produced in late summer. It is a great screening plant and although the leaves fall in the winter the dense stems remain.

Phyllostachy aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Phyllostachy aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis: Please note always plant bamboo with a bamboo barrier round it it help to prevent spreading. Remember these are very vigorous plants and can become a pest if they start to take over. Having said all that this really is a striking form and you expect to find Pandas, lurking round the back of the odd stem. Up to 8m in height it can’t be missed, making clumps of dense golden yellow stems with good green foliage, this is truly an architectural plant.

Picea pungens 'Hoopsii'

Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’

Picea pungers ‘Hoopsii’: A stunning conifer for the smaller garden, it makes a small to medium sized conical tree. It has brilliant sliver blue foliage, the branches have a wonderful stiff structure, adding to the over all effect of this striking tree

Like with all good things, moderation is key, a statement plant is only a statement if there is one of it or it is used sparingly, to get that wow factor. A lot of the plants I have suggested are large and have thuggish qualities so plant with care. But they can truly own a space and be that talking point, just make sure they don’t over run it!

If you would like help with designing and planting your garden or a section of it. Then do give me, Emily a ring 01273 470753.

Culinary Herbs

 Mixed Culinary Herbs

Mixed Culinary Herbs

Culinary herbs are easy to grow and no matter how large or how small your garden, even if it is just a window box.

 Bouquet Garni

Bouquet Garni

You can enjoy the added bonus of fresh herbs in your cooking, here are the top easy to grow favourites, which appear in many dishes.

 Curly leafed Parsley

Curly leafed Parsley

Curly leafed Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): A universal herb, possible the most widely used in Britain, from stews to salads or the last flourish as a garnish, it has a crisp fresh flavour. An easy to grow biannual, sow directly into drills in a moisture retentive soil in dappled shade to gentle sun, from April to August. Thin with care. The younger leaves of the first year are the most tender, remove flower spikes to length the cropping yield. To help continue harvesting into the late autumn, cover with a clouch. Also the harvest can be lengthened by cutting the remaining leaves at the end of the season and either freezing them or drying in paper bags hung in a warm space like a linen cupboard.

Marjoram vulgare

Marjoram vulgare

Marjoram (Origanum vulgare): A strong favourite in Italian cooking, with it’s distinctive flavour. From cooking fish to vegetable dishes and what rich tomato sauce would be complete with out it. A vigorous low growing preannual, grows well in any free draining soil, in full sun. It’s flowers are much enjoyed by butterflies and its pretty purple flower heads can turn great sections of poor chalk down land a rosy purple hue. Dries well, use the same method as above.

 Chives

Chives

Chives ( Allium schoenoprosum); This delicate flavoured member of the onion family is a must in many dishes from potato salads to garnishing spring and summer soups. The flowers can also be used in salads. This preannual seeds freely, and will seek out pavement cracks. Grow in full sun in most soils except very wet ones. To lengthen the harvest freeze.

 Mint

Mint

Bowles Mint ( Mentha x villosa nm. Alopecuroides): A wonderful herb this it just one variety out or a cornucopia of different flavours and colours, but according to Edward Augustus bowels who it is named after, this is the variety that makes the best mint sauce. As with all mints they can be vigorous thugs, plant them in open ground at your peril. So always plant in a good sized container, grow in good moisture retentive soil and in dappled shade. To lenghten the harvest, dry as above.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinallis: This is the common Rosemary, producing a strong growing evergreen shrub up to 1.3m in height and at least the same in width. Grow in free draining poor soils in full sun. This aromatic herb can be used to flavour both meats and puddings.

 Thymus

Thymus

Thymus vulgaris: the common thyme, a wonderfully versatile herb, a staple of a wide range of Mediterranean cuisines, from fish, meat and vegetable dishes and also adding a fragrant note to puddings and sweets. A low growing evergreen herb, it will grow well in most poor soils in full sun and has a mass of pink/purple flowers in mid summer.

pots of Herbs

pots of Herbs

This selection of herbs would be my starter kit of culinary herbs, all can be grown in pots, in fact apart from the Rosemary I would in courage this as it means the herbs are above cat and dog level. Culinary herbs are best as close to the kitchen as growing conditions will allow, so you can pop out and harvest them mid cooking.

cooking with herbs

cooking with herbs

Growing herbs is easy and can be achieved in little to no space and most important of all, fresh herbs can bring an extra dimension to your cooking. Enjoy!

Amazing Alliums

 A mass of Alliums!

A mass of Alliums!

The ornamental members of the onion family put a big wow into the flowering month of May, whether a mass of wild garlic, white below a woodland canopy or the statuesque tall purple globes of some varieties threaded through mixed planting. The Allium is a late spring bulb which packs a large punch and is easy to grow.

A. hollandicum’Purple Sensation’: A good garden favourite, which is very reliable. Reaching 70-90cm tall with dense round heads of rich purple. Full sun. Flowering May to June.

 Allium 'Moly Jeannine'

Allium ‘Moly Jeannine’

A. ‘Molly Jeanninne’ : A low growing showy allium which will cope with a bit of shade. Reaching 25/30cm tall. With 1 to 2 stems of umbel headed flowers in bright sulphur yellow flowering May to June.

 Allium 'Mont Blanc'

Allium ‘Mont Blanc’

A. ‘Mount Blanc’: A giant of an allium, reaching 1/1.2m in height, with large globe dense heads of white flowers. A stunning talking point to any boarder.

 Allium cristophii

Allium cristophii

A. Cristophii: an impressive allium with large round heads reaching dinner plate size, the flower heads have flowers in spaced clusters evenly distributed over the whole flowering head. A light mauve colour reaching 50/60cm, flowering mid May to June.

 Allium schubertii

Allium schubertii

A. Schubertii: A show stopper if an allium, with a flower head of up to 20cm in size, with different length flowers making the round globe, producing an explosive firer work effect. With light purple flowers, it also looks stunning dried. Reaching a height of 35/40cm. Flowering end of May into June.

 Allium atropurpureum

Allium atropurpureum

A. Atropurpureum: An elegant allium standing at 90cm/1m tall, with rich dense heads of dark purple flowers June.

 Amazing Alliums

Amazing Alliums

Alliums, add a flowering punch into the late spring boarder when the earlier bulbs have died down and before the main flush of herbaceous planting has taken off. Most prefer full sun, they will cope with most soil conditions, but don’t like drying out and equally will rot in very wet conditions.

I hope I have inspired you to add this easy to grow bulb to your planting schemes. If you would like help with planning and planting a new planting scheme, then give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753, I will be delighted to help you with you planting project.

Magnificent Magnolias

 Magnificent Magnolia

Magnificent Magnolia

Nothing says spring quite like the magnificence of Magnolia shrubs or trees in full flower and April into May is the time to enjoy their full glory, although there are also a few summer flowering varieties. Hansom, lovers of slightly acid soil their beauty is unmatched, there are a few varieties that will cope with neutral to slightly alkaline soils. There are even some smaller varieties on offer so they can become the specimen shrub in smaller gardens. Here are a few to consider.

 Magnolia x brooklynenis 'Yellow Bird'

Magnolia x brooklynenis ‘Yellow Bird’

M x brooklynensis ‘Yellow Bird’: A large deciduous shrub which starts life with a conical habit before maturing into a wide speeding shrub, that needs the room. It has mid-green leaves, with large cup shaped flowers of soft yellow up to 15cm across in late spring. Needs a good humus rich soil which holds moisture in part shade.

 Magnolia grandiflora 'Exmouth'

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’

M.grandiflors ‘Exmouth’: A large shrub of elegant pyramidal habit, which is evergreen with glossy dark green leaves with brown felt under sides, this is a stunning magnolia. It has large floppy, creamy white, highly fragrant flowers, which are born intermittently from July to September. Grow in full sun in a humus rich soil, do not allow to dry out.

 Magnolia liliiflora 'Nigra'

Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra

M. liliiflora ‘Nigra’: A large shrub, with a dense upright habit, this large shrub or small trees makes a wonderful statement plant. Deciduous with mid-green foliage. Dramatic Purple tulip flowers are held upright on the stems from May to June with some extra flowering in August. Slightly acid soil with good leaf mould. Part-shade.

 Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

M. x Leonard Messel: A large deciduous shrub or if pruned to be a small tree. With mid-green foliage. Flowers are star shaped, which are dark pink in bud but open into a gentle soft pink. This is one of the few magnolias that can cope with chalk. Grow in part shade for best results and add lots of humus and do not allow to dry out.

Magnolia stellata

Magnolia stellata

M. Stellata: This is a small garden favourite, with a compact habit this small to medulla sized shrub is a good choice for a lot of gardens. It is deciduous with an elegant habit and good green foliage. White star shaped flowers are produces, April-May and it grows well in chalky gardens, as long as it is not allowed to dry out. Grow in part shade.

Magnolia x Soulangeana

Magnolia x Soulangeana ‘Lennei’

M. x soulangeana ‘Lennei’: A large vigorous shrub with spreading habit, it needs room to get to it’s full glory. It has large leaves up to 25cm across. With big fleshy goblet shaped rose-pink flowers which are creamy white inside. Flowers April to May and again some flowers in October. A good humus rich soil in part shade.

 Magnolia tripetale

Magnolia tripetale

M.tripetale: A small deciduous tree with an umbrella like habit. With huge leaves and strongly scented creamy yellow flowers from May to June. Followed by clusters of red fruits. Grow in part shade in a rich soil and do not allow to dry out.

 Stunning Magnolias spring is not complete without them!

Stunning Magnolias spring is not complete without them!

I hope you are feeling inspired to plant your own Magnolia, they really are the most magnificent addition to the spring garden.

If you would like help, planning and planting a spring boarder, I know just the person who can help. Give Emily a ring on 01273 470753.

Container Gardening

 container gardening

container gardening

Of course the best place for plants is in the ground, but if your garden is a small paved courtyard, or a a bit of pavement by the front door or even a balcony, then pots and containers will form your garden. The container garden can be a vibrant and stunningly beautiful place with good plant choices and containers and growing medium to match the plant requirements, you can create a wonderful garden.

 Pots of vegetables

Pots of vegetables

A few golden rules: Think about your pots/containers carefully, bigger is better, they will dry out less quickly and the growing medium will not get exhausted as quickly either. Funky shapes with bulging sides and narrow necks look great, but are a real problem when the time comes to re-pot your beloved specimen into a larger pot. Pottery and terracotta look lovely and are very traditional but are  heavy so it you have seasonal displays or you want to move pots about after they have flowered or into a more shelter position for the winter months, they can be very heavy. Also be warned even frost proof terracotta can ‘blow’ in a very cold winter. So consider lighter weight options such as ,GRP, plastic planters, Resin-stone composite, from www.potsofplanters.co.uk Also the plant will need regular turning say once a week so the growth is even all the way round. It is also important to think about the colour of your containers, all in a similar hues, shades of blue for example, or traditional colours or contrasts, and consider the colours of foliage and flowering colour going in them. There is lots to think about,

 mix and match colour, size and shape of containers

mix and match colour, size and shape of containers

Container gardening has advantages as there is possibly less weeding and less chance plants are going to grow beyond the size you want. But it dose mean diligent planning of watering and feeding, as you are expecting your plant to put in a top performance on limited resources. For extensive container gardens a simple irrigation system running off an out side tap may well be the answer.

The other main point to consider is that for most container gardens, a few plants have to do a lot of work, as normally they are small areas so you want a plant that looks good all year round. For that reason all the plants I am going to suggest here are evergreen with good foliage as well as flower.

 Camellia x vernalis 'Yuletide'

Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Camellia x vernalis’Yuletide’: This is a ‘must have’ camellia, it grows well in a container and will brighten any semi shady shelter corner. It is moderately slow growing with dark green shiny leaves and small single red flowers with a mass of golden stamens and it flower intermittently from mid -October the the end of January. Plant in a good ericaceous compost, top dress with bark chip feed with ericaceous plant feed and most important of all keep it moist.

 Rhododendron 'President Roosevelt'

Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’

Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’: This is a hansom Rhododendron and makes a very good container specimen with large green leaves with a vibrant golden splash in the middle. It produces cluster of deep pink/soft red flowers with a deep white throat, mid March to early May. The same growing conditions as above, in semi-shade. PLEASE NOTE with both camellias and Rhododendrons it is very important to keep them well watered in the summer months as this is when they produce flower buds for the next year.

 Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra

Phyllostachys nigra: This is a statuesque bamboo, that can thrive in a container, with tall upright stems up to 2m and above, the green stems when mature turn a shiny black, with rustling mid-green foliage, keep it in a more sheltered position so the leaves do not get scorched in the winter winds. Semi-shade it will struggle in full sun. A good humus rich compost, keep moist.

 Laurus nobillis

Laurus nobillis

Laurus nobillis: The humble Bay, but what a wonderful container plant it makes especially if clipped into an elegant cone. Glossy dark foliage a great foil for seasonal bedding. A must have addition to many Italian recipes, it deserves its place in the container garden. Good multi-purpose growing medium, will cope with some drying out, full sun or dappled shade.

 Lavendula angustifolia 'Hidcote'

Lavendula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

Lavendula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’: A small neat lavender with silvery foliage, and short flower stems of dark purple lavender flowers from June to mid August. Wonderful for the bees and insect life, brilliant for adding scent to your container garden. A great ingredient in home baking and as lavender bags to keep the months out of your woollen jumpers. A must for a sunny spot. A good multi-purpose compost, add 2 parts grit, and keep on the drier side, grows well in full sun.

 Phormium cookianum 'Flamingo'

Phormium cookianum ‘Flamingo’

Phormium cookianum ‘Flamingo’: Adds a bit of drama to your container garden. Grows well in a container, with soft arching leaves up to 70cm tall, with central mid-green and cream stripes, giving way to pink and red edges. This shrub looks good year long. Grow in good multi-purpose compost, add good crocks to aid drainage, but keep moist, best in full sun, but will cope with some shade.

olystichum polyblepharum

olystichum polyblepharum

Polystichum polyblepharum: a hansom fern for a shady to semi-shady spot. Arching fronds up to 50cm tall, mid green, with yellow edging hairs and in spring dramatic shuttle cocks of new growth. A humus rich compost, slightly acidic and keep damp.

 dramatic planted containers

dramatic planted containers

I think it is important for a good container garden to have a good back bone of dramatic evergreen shrubs of different heights and textures and to add seasonal colour with small pots of bedding and bulbs to ring the changes. I hope I have inspired you to get creative, no matter how small your outside space is, there is always room for a garden.

Winter Walls

Winter Wall

 The joy of winter walls

The joy of winter walls

When everything has died back the winter garden can look a bleak place, particularly in a small garden when boundaries can dominate, and you may feel the view from the kitchen window, is just of the fence. But there are varying climbers and wall shrubs that can enhance the winter garden and come into their own with delicate flowers and fine scents. Here are a few to consider.

 Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens 'Freckles'

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’

Clematis cirrhosa var.purpurascens ‘Frekles’: This is a vigorous clematis, with fine feathery evergreen foliage and very delicate creamy white nodding bell like flowers, flecked with red spots. It flowers intermittently from October to January. The roots should be in a shady spot with a good moisture retentive soil in full sun.

Garrya elliptica 'James Roof'

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’: When grown as a wall shrub, this Garrya is a hansom specimen, with evergreen,dense, dark green holly like foliage. This male form has long dramatic greenie grey catkins in February to March. A good humus rich soil in sun to part-shade.

 Jasminum nudiflorum

Jasminum nudiflorum

Jasminum nudiflorum: The winter flowering jasmine is the main stay of clothing winter walls, it produced a scraggy shrub, which responds well to being clipped into order. The bare green stems produce small buttercup yellow flowers from December to early March. Sun to part shade on almost all soils.

Chaenomeles x superba ‘Crimson and Gold’: One of the must dramatic of the ornamental quinces, this wall shrub can grow in to a hansom large specimen engulfing a large wall or can be neatly trimmed to fit round a front door. A deciduous shrub with neat gloss dark green foliage, bright red flowers with rich golden stamens are held on the bare branches from mid February to mid -March. Golden fruits appear late summer into the autumn. It will tolerate most soils, but dose not like drying out, on thin dry chalk it will need feeding well. Grows best in full sun, but will tolerate a bit of shade.

 Camellia 'Cornish Snow'

Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’

Camellia ‘Cornish snow’: This is a very reliable Camellia and an old favourite that has a vigorous habit and will do very well trained up a sheltered wall. Glossy green evergreen foliage with clear white cup shaped single flowers, February to March. Good humus rich soil which is slightly acidic, do not let dry out. Grow in semi shade and not on an east wall.

 Lonicera fragrantissima x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'

Lonicera fragrantissima x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’

Lonicera fragrantissima x purpusii’Winter Beauty’: This is a shrub form of Lonicers not to be confused with the climbing ‘honeysuckle’ It will make a slightly shaggy wall shrub with mid green foliage. Highly scented small cream flowers appear on bare stems from December to February, will grow in most soils, do not let it dry out at the foot of a wall or fence, full sun to part shade.

Winter wall shrubs

Winter wall shrubs

So rather than having a view from your kitchen window in January of a bare fence, get inspired and get planting.

If you need help planning and planting a new area of your garden, I know just he woman to help you. Give Emily a ring on 01273 470753.