The RHS conducted a survey in spring 2013, in which it asked its members for their favourite scented plants.
Traditional flowers such as sweet peas, hyacinths and honeysuckle topped the list, which consisted mainly of spring-flowering plants. We’ve selected one of our own best-selling plants from each of the top 12 scented plants and, for the next two weeks*, we’re giving you 10% off when you order any of these selected scented plants from the Thompson & Morgan website!
No garden should be without sweet peas. Their fragrance fills the air and the more flowers you cut, the more will grow. They’re great for ground cover or grown against walls, fences and trellises. A simple bouquet of sweet pea blooms on a windowsill or table just can’t be beaten. Sweet pea seeds should be sown either indoors in October, which produces much stronger plants, or outdoors in March and April. If you’re buying them as plug plants you’ll need somewhere to grow them on before planting them out. Sweet Pea ‘Scent Infusion’ is a real favourite with our customers.
With their unmistakeable scent and beautiful blooms, hyacinths give a stunning spring display both in the border and in pots on the patio. They make great cut flowers too. Try ‘Breeder’s Selection’ – an exclusive mix that you can’t buy anywhere else, with shorter stems and densely packed with colour-rich flowers.
Honeysuckle comes in many shapes and sizes, from the well-known fragrant varieties to the more unusual ‘trumpet’ honeysuckle. ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ is one such variety and, while it is unscented, the striking fiery-red blooms and blue-green foliage more than make up for it. This vigorous climber flowers from June to September and is perfect for covering walls, fences and unsightly garden features.
The highly sought-after Daphne is a hardy evergreen shrub with deeply fragrant, pale pink flowers that open around Christmas. They’re a real treat at a time when the garden is usually a bit on the dull side! Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is a slow-growing shrub that’s perfect for growing in large containers in a sunny or semi-shaded spot in the garden. These highly scented plants will grow just as happily in the border too.
Narcissus, or daffodils, are a sure sign that spring is well on its way. There are many varieties available, from the traditional bright yellow daffs t0 pink, cream, bicoloured, double and single varieties – the choice is amazing! But for real impact, narcissus ‘Replete’ takes some beating – the sumptuous double flowers open into peachy-pink ruffles up to 10cm (4in) across. Easy to grow and perfect in borders, rockeries, containers or naturalised in grass.
Most varieties of lilac flower for a few weeks, but by growing ‘Bloomerang’, you’ll have flowers for months! This dwarf lilac fits into most gardens without being overbearing and blooms from spring to summer and again from late summer to the first frosts. Butterflies love it too and it even makes a great cut flower.
Viburnum ‘Dawn’ is a winter-flowering, deciduous shrub that produces masses of dark pink blooms with a rich fragrance. The flowers fade to white before producing berries in the summer. Autumn brings a change in foliage colour to bright orange and yellow, before the flowers appear in winter again. It’s easy to grow and care for and is a perfect plant for a prominent border, where it’ll be a talking point all year round.
With their heady fragrance and impressive blooms, lilies are a great feature in both the border and cut flower arrangements. The Trumpet Tree Lily produces huge white trumpet blooms with lime green throats that have an alluring freesia-like scent.
Jasmine plants are known for their richly perfumed flowers and the variety ‘Revolutum’ is no exception. The bright yellow flowers are on show from May to August and really stand out against the semi-evergreen foliage. Planting it in a sunny spot intensifies the fragrance.
Wallflowers are just about the perfect plant! Versatile and undemanding, they’ll thrive even in the poorest of soils and bloom in the spring. Wallflower ‘Sugar Rush’, winner in the ‘Best New Bedding Plant’ category at the Grower of the Year Awards 2013, flowers twice – in spring and again in autumn, when most of the garden in dormant and giving a welcome display of fragrant blooms.
Roses need very little introduction in terms of scent and ‘Lady Marmelade’ is one of our favourites. Awarded ‘Rose of the Year 2014′, the vintage, cabbage-shaped blooms have a deliciously sweet scent, but that’s where any relation to the past stops – these scented plants have the disease resistance of modern roses.
Lily of the valley
Perfect for springtime posies, lily of the valley fills the air with its sweet fragrance. Plant the ‘pips’ out in spring and, once the plants are established, you’ll be rewarded with a low-maintenance plant that gives wonderful ground cover in woodland gardens and damp, shady areas.
*Please note, this offer only applies to selected plants and ends at midnight, Monday 10th March 2014. Enter order code TWEB44YZ to activate the discount in the ‘use order code’ box in your shopping basket.
Summer bedding plants don’t all have to be petunias and marigolds! As well as the more common bedding plants there are a huge range of annual bedding plants you can grow for height, scent and colour, from cornflowers and sweet peas to rudbeckia and zinnias. Some, such as petunias and geraniums (pelargoniums) are frost-tender perennials, which are treated as annuals and require frost protection; others are hardy annuals which can be sown directly outside. Nearly all summer bedding plants can be raised from seed although there is often a lot of work involved, from germination to pricking out tiny seedlings. If you don’t have the time or space for raising fiddly seedlings why not try our bedding plug plants to quickly get your garden started! It’s easy to order bedding plants online. We’ve listed our 10 best summer bedding plants below.
Learn more about growing bedding plants with our ‘How to grow bedding plants’ guide. For more information about autumn bedding plants for winter and spring flowering, take a look at our ‘Top 10 winter bedding plants’ guide. You can choose from our large range of bedding plants for sale here.
One of the most versatile summer bedding plants, begonias are well loved for their large flamboyant blooms in a wide range of colours, and their ability to thrive in both sun and shade. Flowering continuously throughout summer up to the first frosts, begonia bedding plants can be upright or trailing and are suitable for beds, borders, hanging baskets and window boxes. Some varieties such as begonia ‘Non-stop Mocca’ even have dark leaves to add foliage interest to bedding schemes. Tuberous begonias can be lifted and stored over winter and get bigger and better each year whereas begonia semperflorens cultivars such as begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’ are treated as annual bedding plants.
Sweet peas make fantastic cottage garden bedding plants. Let them scramble up obelisks, wigwams or netting where they will reach heights of 1.8m (6′) or alternatively try dwarf sweet peas for groundcover at the front of beds and borders. With their delightful fragrance and wide range of colours, sweet peas are excellent summer bedding plants and also provide bunches of gorgeous fragrant cut flowers throughout summer!
Incredibly valuable for shadier beds and borders, Impatiens summer bedding plants produce large flowers in a range of fruity colours, from pinks to reds through purples and white. New Guinea Impatiens have replaced the previously popular Impatiens walleriana due to busy Lizzie downy mildew, but share the same desirable characteristics – a long flowering period, bushy mounding habit and a preference for partial shade. Forming big spreading plants, busy Lizzies are superb for ground cover in beds and borders or will quickly fill patio containers with colour up to the first frosts.
A common bedding plant and for good reason! These sturdy, sun-loving plants are well suited to hot, dry conditions and flower all summer through to the first frosts. Pelargoniums, commonly known as geraniums, are versatile bedding plants for summer and include trailing, climbing and upright varieties which are perfect for beds, borders, patio containers, hanging baskets and obelisks. Primarily available in vibrant shades of pink, white and red, geranium bedding plants are also available in subtle shades of lilac, apricot and rich burgundy.
Much loved for their architectural flower spikes and incredibly long flowering period, antirrhinums have fascinating mouth-like flowers which open when squeezed, making them a particular favourite with children. Available in a wide range of strong and vibrant colours, snapdragon bedding plants vary in height, from dwarf plants no taller than 25cm (10″) to large plants such as antirrhinum ‘Royal Bride’ which reach 90cm (35″). Tall snapdragons make superb cut flowers and add height to beds and borders; dwarf snapdragons can be used in beds, borders and patio containers. If you’re looking for bedding plants that attract bees, antirrhinums are a good nectar source, being most popular with bumble bees.
The dainty flowers of lobelia create wonderful dense waterfalls of colour in hanging baskets and containers, or grow the upright varieties for edging beds and borders. Easy to grow and long-flowering, they compliment any summer bedding scheme and look particularly pretty mingling with bedding plants in hanging baskets. Lobelia generally come in shades of cool blue, purple and white and are great if you’re looking for blue annual bedding plants.
Surely the summer bedding plant with the most exciting blooms! Petunias are popular for their large trumpet flowers in a fantastic array of bright colours and patterns, including stripes and picotees. These vigorous half-hardy annuals can be trailing or upright, and look spectacular spilling from hanging baskets, window boxes and containers, or massed in beds and borders. Some such as petunia ‘Purple Tower’ can even be trained to climb a frame! Petunias are particularly useful if you’re looking for purple bedding plants, offering shades of mauve, lilac-blue or rich deep purple.
Annual rudbeckias, also known as coneflowers, make robust and cheerful garden bedding plants. Particularly useful as late summer bedding plants, rudbeckias flower from July through to October and add a fiery element to annual displays with their red, orange and yellow colour palette. Compact varieties such as rudbeckia ‘Toto’ are excellent in beds and patio containers; tall varieties such as rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ work well planted in sweeping drifts in beds and borders or dotted between perennials and shrubs. Not only do they look fabulous in the garden, rudbeckias also make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers for a vase indoors.
For vibrant colour you can’t beat a Californian Poppy! This hardy annual is sown directly in beds and borders and will happily self-seed, creating effortless drifts of colour year after year. Traditionally orange, recent breeding has brought us a plethora of new colours including yellows, pinks, reds and apricot. The intensely coloured silky blooms are borne above neat clumps of feathery blue-green foliage and are attractive to bees and hoverflies. Thriving in poor, dry soils in full sun, simply scatter the seeds of these lively summer bedding plants where you want them to flower and let them take care of themselves.
If you want bedding plants that attract bees look no further than cosmos! The large saucer-shaped flowers bob prettily on slender, wiry stems and are a great source of late nectar for pollinating insects. The wispy fern-like foliage adds texture to bedding schemes and works well in an informal cottage-style bed or border. These fabulous summer bedding plants are mainly available in shades of pink, red and white, although cosmos sulphureus provides fiery yellows, oranges and reds. Cosmos bedding plants begin blooming in mid-summer and flower prolifically until mid-autumn. They also make fantastic cut flowers for a vase indoors.
Exciting career opportunities within Thompson & Morgan
Thompson & Morgan, which has been based in Ipswich since 1855, has grown to become one of the UK’s most successful horticultural seed and plant companies. Through the publication of its catalogues, the operation of its award-winning website, and presence in leading garden centres, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy. The company’s success is due to its hard-working, loyal and committed staff, many of whom have been with them for over 10 years. Careers can and do start here!
Michael Perry and Hannah Ashwell both came to Thompson & Morgan from Otley College after studying a National Diploma in Horticulture.
Michael is now our new product development manager and searches the globe for new, exciting and innovative products. He can also be seen as a presenter on the home shopping channels. If you would like to be involved in the behind the scenes preparation for the shows why not apply for the role of TV show assistant?
Hannah joined the nursery as a trainee horticulturalist where the growing, breeding, trials and plant production takes place.
Having studied for her NVQ and ILM qualifications in management training, Hannah has progressed to the position of assistant nursery and site manager.
Hannah said, “Since I first started, I have always been encouraged to develop myself”.
If you have a background in horticulture plus an enthusiasm to learn, Thompson & Morgan is offering a rare opportunity to join Hannah’s team as a trainee.
But you don’t have to be a garden expert to start your career with them; Chloe Farmer joined Thompson & Morgan packing seeds in the warehouse at the age of 17. She was then given the opportunity to move into the print department and now heads up the design team, as design manager, producing
some 20 plant and seed catalogues each year. If you are looking for a career in this area, and have some practical experience using InDesign, then the mail order design assistant could be the job for you.
“T&M is most certainly a family-friendly company”, says Chief Executive, John May “When so many of our staff recommend working here to their family members, we know we are doing something right! Our staff are loyal and a real credit to the company”.
Here is a brief outline of Thompson & Morgan’s job opportunities. For a full description visit www.thompson-morgan.com/jobvacancies
IT Systems Administrator (IT-0214)
Responsible for the support of company networks, servers & databases, system availability and management reporting.
Trainee IT Systems Administrator (ITT-0214)
To support the systems administrator. Good opportunity for someone wishing to start a career in IT.
Copywriter and Communications Officer (PR-0214)
Responsible for copy-writing across a range of media, including press releases, catalogues, social media and internal communications.
TV Show Assistant (TV-0214)
Co-ordination of all products and horticultural materials required for the TV set.
Mail Order Design Assistant (MO-0214)
Assisting in the design and co-ordination of all mail order catalogues and direct mail marketing materials.
E-Commerce Marketing Assistant (EC-0214)
This role includes new website content, merchandising, Google analytics and email marketing.
Trainee Horticulturalist (TH-0214)
Working with a wide range of plants for exhibition, trials and plant material, within our award-winning breeding programme.
Please contact Natalie Durrant at Thompson & Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich, IP8 3BU, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thompson-morgan.com/jobvacancies for a full description. Closing date for applications 28th February 2014.
2013 was a very successful year for gardener Geoff Stonebanks and his garden, Driftwood!
The back garden
It saw his garden related charity fundraising top the £32,000 mark in just 4 years, for which he became a finalist in the BBC Sussex Community Heroes Awards last December. Even in the depths of winter and the bad weather we have been experiencing, his back garden still seems to look better than most.
Charities that Geoff supports
You may recall that last year was his first year as a member of the Thompson & Morgan Customer Trials Panel, something he will be reprising in 2014, having just been invited to take part again. Geoff was thrilled to be invited for a second year. The subject of being involved was a much talked about point with visitors last summer.
He says that by far the most successful plant he trialed, by virtue of comments received from his 2000 visitors, was the Peruvian Tree Lily Alstroemeria Collection, which he took delivery of last April. The plants flowered profusely right up to early December as the picture shows although a little burnt by the wind around the petal edges! Amazingly, these stunning plants have seen off the dreadful winter weather on the south coast, which has seen gale force winds straight off the sea and never ending rain, but are already showing strong signs of growth in early February.
Another of the trial plants from 2013 was the Foxglove ‘Dalmatian Peach’, which although they took a long time to establish, arriving March and flowering in August have withstood the winter so far and they too, are showing good signs of growth in February as you can see. The dreadful gales and torrential rain have been the worse that Geoff has experienced in the 10 years he has been living and gardening on the south coast! At times he says he has lain in bed thinking the roof would blow off the house, yet the garden seems to have come through the whole thing unscathed, apart from 2 new fence posts that were needed in the back garden, along with the propping up of an old apple tree, in danger of falling down in waterlogged ground.
Foxglove ‘Dalmatian peach’
His front garden directly faces the sea between Brighton and Eastbourne as you can see. This picture was taken during one of the recent storms, yet the structure of the garden, designed to cope with the strong winds, stood firm. Geoff has used the rowing boat in the centre, along with the upturned sections of railway sleepers and some original beach groynes to create an arc of protection for the plants that are thriving in their shadow. The full force of the SW winds from the Atlantic blow up the Channel and hit the garden full on.
The front garden
One of these plants is another from last year’s trial, Rose ‘Garden Party’, and several of the other plants are already showing signs of growth again. Geoff also received many bulbs as part of the trial last Autumn, that have yet to show their faces in his garden, Tulip ‘Silver Parrot’, the Iris ensata Collection and Tulip “Ice Cream”, all of which will look quite stunning once they start to grow this spring, “that is if we ever get one!” says Geoff, who promises pictures once they have flowered!
Rose ‘Garden Party’
Other late arrivals were a range of hardy geraniums, the Hardy Doubles Collection comprising Southcombe Double, warm pink flowers, Plenum, ruffled purple/pink flowers, Double Jewel, white star shaped and Summer Skies, tightly frilled mauve/pink flowers. All will look wonderful, newly planted around the pond area in the back garden. Back in September Geoff also took delivery of Golden Lysimachia, which he chose to hang on to and plant out this spring. They are already showing signs of new growth in the greenhouse!
Three plants he bought himself last year from Thompson & Morgan were Buddleja ‘Buzz’ compact varieties, perfect for pots on the patio! They did well and have already shown significant growth in 2014!
The final plants to be delivered in 2013 were a collection of Osteospermum, Cape Daisies. These were planted out in late September and have survived the winter well so far, as you can see.
We have already advised Geoff of the plants he can expect to receive in 2014 so we will look forward to his updates on how they are progressing, once established.
Geoff has a busy year ahead, writing a monthly article about his garden for the Magazine, Garden News, fulfilling his volunteer role as an Assistant County Organiser and Publicity Officer for the National Gardens Scheme in East & Mid Sussex and preparing for his own 16 garden openings in 2014. In addition to the specific web page he records details of the Thompson & Morgan trial, you can read more of his garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk
Every day in February we’re offering you the chance to win some fabulous prizes in the Big Spring Giveaway!
Prizes include a backstage experience at Gardeners’ Question Time, membership to the RHS for a year, a place on a ‘Grow your own cut flowers course’ and many more.
For your chance to win these great prizes, simply visit the Big Spring Giveaway page every day this month. You can enter as many competitions as you like, but do please note that we will only accept one entry per person per day.