‘Heat’ is a powerful sensory stimulus – look at how it is used in advertising everything from perfumes to cars. Heat equates to danger, excitement, sexual attraction. Plants can very much evoke a sense of heat too, with vivid colours setting the pulse racing.
The many meanings of roses
The rose is deeply embedded in folklore and its association with romance and love is core to western traditions, as anyone who has tried to buy roses around Valentines day knows all too well! In England it has strong connections with nationhood as Henry VII created the Tudor rose from the old symbols of the Houses of York and Lancaster to engender a sense of unity within the country following decades of fighting.
Allotment Diary Aug 1st Veg plot, Polytunnel, Greenhouse & Giant Veg update
Perennials are the wonderful leafy plants that put on gorgeous displays of flowers and foliage. Their enormous variety of colours, shapes and characteristics offer an incredibly wide range of combinations and potential applications. Plus some perennials have added benefits too such as lovely fragrance, or they attract butterflies or are suitable for use in cookery or as a cut flower. In short, with perennials in the garden it’s a celebration all year round!
Colour your life in April
As the sun strengthens and more and more plants are flowering, it’s delightful to watch the garden coming back to life. Its now that you start to see the fruits of your earlier efforts.
Garden Plant of the Month of March: Wallflowers
Our Garden Plant of the Month for March is actually a small group of plants descriptively known as the ‘wallflowers’ – a well known name with a completely non garden-related meaning! The term ‘wallflower’ is often used to describe an introverted person that likes a party but prefers to blend in rather than be the centre of attention. However, this is most certainly not the case when we are looking at the garden plants of the same name. Our March plant choices, Aubrieta and Saxifraga like to put themselves very much in the spotlight. These early flowering garden plants provide welcome colour in the March garden. Their compact and hanging shape make them ideal for planting along walls or raised borders.
Ornamental grasses and bamboo
Ornamental grasses work very well in a border. They bring a sense of tranquillity and at the same time lend natural movement to the overall look. They also work well because of their colour and fine structure. Grasses are decorative almost all year round. There are a host of varieties and shapes to choose from.
Enjoy (the tree of) Life
In February most gardens are still hibernating and there is little sign of green growth. It’s a safe bet that your garden would benefit from a dose of 'green vitamins’. We are putting Thuja (Tree of Life) at the top of the list this month for delivering this. Also popular to use for hedging, these beautiful, compact conifers bring the garden to life with sprays of bright green... and boost your enjoyment and well-being. This little tree is evergreen, requires virtually no care and is reputed to have a calming effect too.
Evergreen hedges ... Just conifers?
There is a terrific range of hedging plants to choose from. For evergreens, conifers are often the first thought most people have. The species and cultivars that are suitable for hedging generally fast growing quickly and therefore quickly produce a dense barrier. They also tend to be fairly inexpensive. Talk to staff at the garden centre or nursery about the choice of species, the required growing conditions and the growing habit of particular species. It’s all down to what you need for your particular situation.
The growth of apples
Apples grow best in nutrient-rich, free-draining soils which must be slightly acidic. Apple trees are supplied in standard (full-size), half-standard, cordon and bush form. The cordon is ideal for a small garden, also because cordons can yield fruit as early as the third year. The size and speed of growth is determined by the rootstock onto which the tree is grafted. For example, for slightly larger trees the M9 rootstock is ideal because apple varieties on that give a substantial harvest, whilst the trees do not grow too large. There are early, intermediate and late flowering varieties and the harvest times can also vary considerably.
Perfect hedges (to frame your garden!)
Nothing completes a fabulous painting better than a complementary border or frame - the same goes for your garden. Put the finishing touch to your masterpiece by growing the right kind of hedge around it! Hedges also have great potential within the garden. The French renaissance style of ‘potager’ is experiencing a revival in garden design. Could you create a beautiful kitchen garden delineated into compartments with a decorative hedging pattern?
Bulbs in pots for instant garden happiness
Well, what do you know! The first signs of spring are already popping up - all around, flower bulbs are beginning to grow. Do you also want to enjoy the splendour, even though you haven't planted any bulbs in autumn? No problem! Bulbs in pots bring instant joy into your garden. With a minimal amount of work and time, turn your garden into a cheerful and happy place and spruce up your spirits now that the long and dark days are leaving!
When I think of the word ‘Erica’ a few things come to mind – who could forget Erica Roe, the Twickenham streaker, Lou Bega’s Mambo No5 with ‘a little bit of Erica by his side’ and finally the under-sung Erica plant with its fabulous winter flowers (known popularly as heath or heather).
Pyracantha & Cotoneaster: Bright and beautiful
Remember, remember the 5th of November? It’s bonfire and fireworks all round and explosions of colour lighting up the skies. For those of us who like our colour explosions without the bang – this month’s plant choices are for you. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are not only bright and beautiful; they are useful too, providing an excellent source of food and shelter for the wildlife in your garden and a significant source of nectar when the bees have slim pickings in the June Gap. The magnificent fiery orange and ruby red berries are set on a backdrop of dark, evergreen, glossy foliage that can brighten up the gloomiest November day or sparkle in the winter sunshine!
This is the month to add colour and texture to the newly ‘naked’ garden with these colourful conifer choices. This month we are focusing on varieties of Juniperus, Each is compact and easily managed, guaranteed to surprise with their colour effects and all are tough. Conifers like these really will look after themselves and bring beauty in every season.
As the colder months approach, now's the time to start thinking about bringing some of your outdoor plants inside for the winter. Whilst outdoor greenhouses aren't always the most attractive things, we've found some simple ways to style indoor greenhouses into your home decor.