It’s the beginning of Thompson & Morgan’s Fuchsia Festival; and we think you’re heading for a long, colourful and care-free summer!
In the UK, we know fuchsias quite well. Even if you’re a non-gardener, I bet you’ll have had a grandma or uncle who grew fuchsias of some kind in their garden. They are the quintessential English garden plant; for any area of the garden, sun or shade; they will sit quietly and do their thing, with minimum fuss, and often producing flowers up until the first signs frosts.
Let me take you on a tour of the fuchsia garden, right now! First up, think about adorning the walls of your house, whether it’s with hanging baskets or window-boxes. The trailing fuchsias really come into their own for this; we have the traditional varieties such as Swingtime, Marinka and Dark Eyes, which are still much-loved and purchased in their 1000’s every year. But, the newer kids on the block are gaining momentum too. Our Giants Collection is UK-bred, so you know these plants will perform during any UK summer! The blooms are 4-6 inches across, unapologetically showy and they drip like expensive jewellery from the cascading plants.
Fuchsia ‘Bella Nora’
Window boxes shouldn’t be overlooked either, and our new Fuchsia ‘Bella’ range is ideal. The dinky blooms are produced in their hundreds, and are upward and outward facing, so aren’t nestled in the foliage. Pot some up into small pots and sit them onto outdoor tables. We expect this range of fuchsias to grow over the next few years; they’re naturally bushy, zero maintenance and there’s many more colours to come!
Don’t forget to dress the patio too; there’s a range of bushy fuchsias which are compact and adorned with jewel-like blooms throughout the summer; I love Hawkshead, which can also be grown in the garden as a mini hedge. The dainty blooms are pure white, and quite different to the loud basket fuchsias. The hardy fuchsias are also great for large patio pots, or the border. Shrimp Cocktail and Delta’s Sarah are the pick of the bunch, with fun, colourful blooms. They’re almost like miniature shrubs for the border too; easy to prune and lasting for years!
Fuchsia Pink Fizz
Lastly, and how could we forget, we have climbing fuchsias, which can fit in towards the back of the border, covering fences, walls, or even for growing over archways and up patio obelisks. Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ is brand new, English-bred and grows up to 6 foot in a single season. Try something different to Clematis and Honeysuckle!
So, that’s our little fuchsia garden tour, what do you think? Will you be growing some this season?
Holly trees can be self-fertile, male or female; so some bushes may need a partner to ensure they can pollinate and produce berries. This is not usually a problem in home gardens though, as Holly trees are quite common in other gardens as well as in the wild, so there should always be a pollinator nearby!
Holly bushes are not only beautiful when in berry, but they can also make excellent security planting, you can surround your property with a hedge of Holly to create a ‘prickly barrier’, which could help stop trespassers reaching your property!
Holly ‘Garden King’
Of course, Holly bushes can also be purchased in ‘standard’ form, with a shape much like a lollipop. These will arrive from Thompson & Morgan ready-shaped, and only need to be trimmed lightly to be kept in shape. Holly standards make excellent container specimens, so why not consider placing one either side of the front door? We offer 3 different forms, each with very different coloured leaves, but all with shiny red berries; Green Alaska, Argentea Marginata and Golden King.
Holly ‘Argentea Marginata’
Before planting up your Holly, bear in mind that they can be slow-growing plants, and they resent disturbance, so make sure you plant them into their final position first time! On the plus side, they are easy to grow in most types of soil, just avoid water logging!
Holly ‘Green Alaska’
Then, there’s Ivy- with its carefree, speedy growth, and ability to grow in the darkest of corners. Choose a beaming variety with golden-edged leaves for the full lighting up effect in a shady corner. Do keep a watch on ivy’s quick growth, and don’t plant it anywhere that it could compromise building structures.
Don’t forget that you can use Ivy in hanging containers too, especially the smaller growth forms. They can be useful for jazzing up winter displays. Maybe even cut some stems and create a traditional Holly and Ivy display, just like the song!
Do you have any more questions? Then post them below, i will be happy to help.
Can I grow exotic fruit in my own garden? The answer’s yes! Do you find ‘exotic’ fruit expensive in the supermarket? If that’s the case, then why not have a look at these tropical-looking fruits that you can grow in your own garden? Here are 3 of the best!
First up, here’s one of my favourites! The Sharon Fruit (also known as Kaki or Persimmon), which has a sugary flavour. I like to eat my kaki thinly sliced, much like a fruit carpaccio! Originating from China and totally hardy in the UK, the trees are self-fertile, so no pollinator is required! Makes a handsome tree, as the fruits will continue to ripen on the branches after the leaves have fallen! The branches of Sharon Fruit ‘Fuyu’ produce glossy, dark green leaves that turn to colourful shades of orange, gold and purple in autumn. The summer flowers give way to edible fruits that continue to ripen on the tree well into December, long after the leaves have fallen. It will make an attractive addition to a sheltered border or trained against a sunny wall.
You can give yourself a healthy boost with the intriguing pomegranate fruit too! Hardy down to -15C (5F), they can be grown in large containers or the border. The flowers are super fancy, in hot orange tones, and fruits ripen through mild autumns, and are ready for harvest by October.
Figs– aren’t they a joy? Especially when they’re all squishy and sun ripened! This particular strain originates from London’s Chelsea embankment, and all stock has been propagated from that 1 single tree! Fruits develop in spring and ripen from August to September. A second crop often develops in late summer and if protected, these fruits will ripen during the following summer.
There has been a lot of chatter about purple carrots in recent years, as chefs and cooks have wanted to jazz up their dishes, I blame Master Chef! But, Thompson & Morgan have just released the BEST purple carrot- ‘Purple Sun’– which is purple right through to the core!
Purple carrots have extra antioxidant ‘superhero’ powers, due to their unique anthocyanins, and they also possess more beta carotenes. ‘Atomic Red’ is a carrot, which is almost a tomato in disguise, thanks to the high levels of lycopene, just like the humble tomato. The colour and flavour improve with cooking too!
Can you imagine a golden-coloured beetroot? The flavour is more delicate, it could perhaps even be described as sweeter. Your dinner party guests will be puzzled as to what this different vegetable is on their plates! And, if you thought that was mind-bending, then you need to check out ‘Chioggia Pink’, with striped red and white roots!
Beans and peas haven’t escaped the paintbrush either! Pea ‘Shiraz’ is the first commercially available purple mange tout pea; the shimmering purple pods are packed with antioxidants. Use them fresh or stir-fried to keep the unique colourings. Bear in mind this is a gorgeous vegetable for the flower border too! The best of both worlds. Bean ‘Golden Teepee’ is also worth seeking out; as those bright yellow pods mean you’ll never miss them, so you can pick them when they’re nice and tender.
Have you grown rainbow vegetables? Then we want to hear about it!
Some garden centres will try and sell you tulip bulbs in August, because they soon want to make space for the (too early) sales of Christmas decorations. That’s way too early for tulips though! You should reserve your bulbs by mail order, to ensure later delivery, to coincide with the best time for planting tulip bulbs, October-November.
Planting later means you can avoid soil-borne diseases (‘nasties’ are killed by the cooler autumn soil temperatures) and ensure flowering at the optimum time- mid to late spring. The beauty of tulips is their late appearance- they bridge the gap perfectly between spring-flowering daffodils and the first of the summer-flowering perennials.
Do you want to know 3 of my very favourites?
Well, I always like to grow something a bit different, so rather than the usual red tulips in supermarkets and florists, why not grow your own fancy bouquets with ‘Florist’s Treat Mixed’? This is the best selection of peony-flowered tulips, which are unashamedly flamboyant!
‘Red Impression’ is that classic red tulip. A better perennial than most, this will come back year after year and not die out after a single season. Be bold and grow them nice and close for maximum impact!
My last choice is a classic variety Tulip ‘Blueberry Ripple’, which pretty much looks like a heritage tulip, but with modern vigour and a tough attitude! Each petal almost painted by hand-in the most divine lilac-blue shade.. Let it take pride of place in a container on it’s own, pack the bulbs in, max out your display!
However, one that is always on my radar is the hard to get hold of, Tulip ‘Brown Sugar’ ! It is gorgeous, and a variety that always makes me stop in my tracks. The bronze blooms look like brown sugar, but also SMELL of it, and from 6 foot away too! An incredibly choice bulb, which is worth trying to find!