The quickest way to plant up a new garden

Are you planting up a new garden and don’t know where to start? I would recommend garden shrubs as a starting point. By selecting more compact varieties, and those which are easier to prune and tame, you can make life easier for yourself! A garden which only includes bedding plants is a blaze of colour, yet is so much more difficult to maintain, and needs re-planting every year, whereas shrubs will last for 20 years or more.

It’s so easy to build a new garden, or fill gaps in an existing garden, when you buy small shrubs online! Thompson & Morgan are also offering an ‘instant garden’ range this year which offers large, chunky plants (and same size as garden centres) which will begin to fill borders from the moment they’re planted.

There are some fantastic evergreen shrubs for small gardens in this range, and those which offer something a little bit different in colour, form and fragrance!

The quickest way to plant up a new garden

I’d like to show off to you, Buddleja ‘Buzz’; the very first garden-friendly Buddleja! Buddleja are well-known as being easy to grow shrubs which attracts birds, bees and butterflies to the garden and now they will stay restrained; growing no more than 1.2m and without self-seeding everywhere they shouldn’t!

The quickest way to plant up a new garden

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ is similar in that it’s a well-known shrub in miniature! Powerfully perfumed blooms, on rounded plants, which sit well at the front of the border or in decorative pots. An extremely long-lasting shrub too, plants will last well over 20 years! Cut some sprigs fort indoor winter vases too!

The quickest way to plant up a new garden

But, let’s not forget the fuchsia family, especially the hardy varieties which are little mini shrubs all of their own! Super hardy, branching and dripping with jewelled blooms throughout the summer. There’s almost a hardy fuchsia for every position too; from creeping ground cover to mid-sized bush or even robust hedging!

Why not try a new shrub in your garden this year and let us know how you get on?

Michael Perry
Michael works as Thompson & Morgan’s New Product Development Manager, scouring the globe for new and innovative products and concepts to keep the keen gardeners as well as amateurs of the UK happy!

Getting the best from your fuchsias – our growing secrets revealed

Fuchsias will put on a good show with minimal care throughout the season, but for the best displays it pays to learn a few simple tricks and tips.

For a fantastic fuchsia display this summer follow our secrets for success:

history of fuchsiasGrowing conditions:

  • Plant in fertile, moist but well-drained soil, with shelter from cold, drying winds. Work plenty of rotted compost or manure and slow release fertiliser into the area ahead of planting.
  • In patio containers and window boxes use a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and soil-based John Innes No.2 compost, mixing in some slow release fertiliser ahead of planting.
  • In hanging baskets, stick to multipurpose compost to keep the weight down, but add some Swell Gel to reduce watering needs in the height of summer.

Uses:

  • Use hardy fuchsia varieties for permanent planting – use as specimen shrubs or seasonal floral hedging.
  • Use trailing fuchsia varieties in baskets and containers at height or as seasonal ground cover.
  • Use upright fuchsia varieties in patio containers and window boxes or as gap fillers in the border.

fuchsiaGrowing on Thompson &Morgan fuchsia plug plants:

-Young fuchsias are frost-tender and need to be grown on in warm frost-free conditions before planting out at the end of May or Early June, once threat of frost has passed.

-Pot on plug plants soon after delivery into small pots or cell trays filled with multipurpose compost.

Early training:

-Pinch out the soft stem tips once plugs have put on three leaf sets – simply remove the tip and top pair of leaves with scissors snips or fingers. This will encourage bushier, compact plants and more flowers. Pinch out 2 or 3 more times once each resulting side shoot has developed three pairs of leaves – the first flowers will start to bloom 5-8 weeks after the last pinching.

Later training

  • The early training above will create a bush.
  • You could experiment and create a fan or espalier, similar to fruit tree training. This is best done with hardy varieties and done over several years to create a truly impressive flowering wall shrub.
  • It’s easy to train a standard fuchsia (long bare stem with a lollipop canopy), but it can take 18 months to achieve. We’ll be posting more in-depth instructions for this method – watch this space.

Early training:

  • Boost the flower power and habit of your fuchsia plants by pinching out the soft stem tips.

fuchsia growing tipsOn-going maintenance:

  • Feeding: Fresh compost should supply enough nutrients for 4-6 weeks of growth. Start to offer a balanced liquid feed after this time, once or twice a month through the season. Alternatively, for fuss-free feeding with impressive results, mix our long lasting Incredibloom® plant food with your compost at planting time for 7 months of controlled feeding.
  • Watering: Keep composts and soils moist at all times. In the height of summer, baskets and small containers may need watering twice daily – do this early morning and late evening to avoid scorching foliage.
  • Deadheading: Look for faded blooms every time you go past you plants – the more you remove the more your plants will bloom.

Fuchsias are edible too!
All fuchsias produce edible berries but some taste better than others! We’d love you to taste test the berries of every variety you grow this year. Let us know your favourites varieties and how you used them in the kitchen.

Try a little tenderness!

While there are some fantastic hardy fuchsias available it is usually the tender varieties that put on the most impressive floral displays. You can overwinter container plants in a frost-free location for re-using the following year – but you might not need to! We’re finding that tender varieties are getting tougher and tougher and you may find they will overwinter in your garden soil with little to no protection. Experiment this year with your favourite plants – leave them in place at the end of the season, cutting them back by a third and mulching around the base. With luck you’ll be rewarded with re-growth the following spring. If not, you can always reorder fresh plug plants in spring for guaranteed success next summer.

Kris Collins
Kris Collins works as Thompson & Morgan’s communications officer, making sure customers new and old are kept up to date on the latest plant developments and company news via a wide range of media sources. He trained in London’s Royal Parks and has spent more than a decade writing for UK gardening publications before joining the team at Thompson & Morgan.

Gardening without the graft

Gardening is, without question, one of the most active and rewarding hobbies. To get the most out of your garden it is best to plan all year round and create your own gardening calendar to keep you on track. You have to think about which flowers and vegetables you are going to grow, when is the right time to plant them and how to care for them. When everything falls into place and you get it right, you get such a sense of satisfaction and achievement from raising your seeds to maturity.

However, sometimes reality can creep up on us and we run out of time, leaving our gardens taking a back seat. Occasionally something more immediate is called for when we lack time or even space to grow plants from seed. With modern innovation, creating a beautiful garden does not need to take up much time. That is why we introduced our instant gardening range.

Our range of larger shrubs and plants have a proven track record for hardiness, ease of care and garden performance and includes instant-impact shrubs and herbaceous perennials. The best part is, they are established on the nursery grounds and delivered straight to your door, ready to be planted in your garden.

gardening without the graft

Take a look at Lavender ‘Hidcote’. This hardy English lavender is perfect for pots and borders. Mid-height ‘Hidcote’ is ideal for an informal low hedge along paths, where its evergreen foliage can be appreciated. Flowers July – Sep. Supplied as 1 x 3.5 litre potted plant.

For the full selection of our larger plants click here.

You can also now buy garden ready plants online. Unlike shop bought plants that have been grown to look good in store, our garden ready plants are sent out in prime time for planting out in your garden or containers. Our garden ready plants are sent to you ‘green’ ahead of flowering which means the plants will establish quickly and as their energy goes into producing roots, they will be producing more flowers throughout the season.

Our garden ready Busy Lizzie ‘Divine Mixed’ has received a 5 star customer rating for their spectacular colour spectrum and ease of planting. No potting on is required and they can be planted straight into your garden.

gardening without the graft

‘These plants arrived in fantastic condition and truly were ‘garden ready’. No potting on required, they’ve been planted in their final position and in only a few days look well established’ – Natalie, online customer.

To see our full range of garden ready plants click here.

Why not try our instant gardening and garden ready ranges this year, we promise it will be worth it! We would love to see how you get on so please post or tweet us your pictures.

 

Terri Overett
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.

Top 10 Fuchsia Plants

Fuchsias are extremely versatile with a variety on the market suitable for most situations. Few other plants perform so well in the garden with so little upkeep, even the tender types can make it through winter with minimal protection. Fuchsia plants are easy to grow, long-lasting and make the perfect addition for hanging baskets and tower pots. Here are our top 10 fuchsia plants.

hardy fuchsia 1. Climbing Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ – Our new ‘Pink Fizz’ challenges common climbers like honeysuckle and clematis as unlike these varieties, it produces blooms all the way along each stem. This variety offers blocks of vibrant vertical colour, perfect for walls and trellis. Flowers June through to September.

2. Fuchsia ‘Giants Collection’ – With blooms up to 10cm across, these turbo charged trailers guarantee a stunningly colourful display all summer. Perfect basket plant or add to window boxes, flower pouches and containers.

fuchsia plants3. Fuchsia ‘Bella Collection’ – These new style flowers are real show-offs, designed for window boxes and patio containers. Unlike your traditional fuchsia varieties, bella’s blooms are outward AND upward facing, meaning no more hidden blooms.

For more information on how to grow fuchsias click here.

4. Fuchsia ‘trailing’ mixed – Fill your hanging baskets and window boxes with these colourful trailing fuchsias. These fuchsia plants boast stunning double blooms that cascade all summer long.

fuchsia plants5. Fuchsia ‘Beauty Queen’ – This hardy fuchsia variety has the largest blooms of any hardy fuchsia. ‘Beauty Queen’ really turned heads when it was launched in 2014, so if you are after a show piece in your garden, this is the variety for you. They’ll become a staple feature in your borders due to their reliable habit.

6. Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ – This beautifully elegant fuchsia boasts dark green leafy stems, hung with dainty white flowers with trace of green at the petal tips. This hardy fuchsia plant will flower non-stop from early summer to autumn.

fuchsia plants7. Hardy Fuchsia Arborescens – This Mexican blueberry is a variety of upright, shrubby fuchsia, sometimes referred to as ‘tree fuchsia’. The juicy, soft and edible fruits appear in abundance after the unusual sprays of lilac-like pink blooms.

8. Fuchsia ‘White King’ – This purest white fuchsia plant makes the ideal basket addition for brightening shady spots where they seemingly glow in the dark. Flowers May through to October.

fuchsia plants9. Hardy Fuchsia ‘Garden News’ –“Quick to flower and consistently covered with large and frilly flowers” said Which? Gardening. It’s strong garden performance led to a Best Buy award.

10. Fuchsia ‘Eruption’ – The most prolific fuchsia variety! Eruption by name, eruption by nature! This stunning fuchsia looks incredible tumbling from a basket. At peak season you’ll struggle to see foliage through a globe of pendulous finger-like blooms. No other fuchsia plant can match ‘Eruption’ for its show stopping flower power. This is a must have fuchsia for all hanging basket gardeners – the cheerful pink flowers will just keep coming right through to autumn.

 

 

Terri Overett
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.

How to Grow Tomatoes

You can’t deny the flavour of fresh home-grown tomato straight from the vine. Their taste is far superior to the bland tomatoes offered in the supermarkets making them perfect for tomato soup and they’re really easy to grow.

growing tomatoes from seedGrowing tomatoes from seed

Growing tomato plants from seed is a great way to discover new varieties and test your gardening skills. Tomato seeds are normally sown 6-8 weeks before the last frost date (March/April) but if you are lucky to have a greenhouse they can be sown earlier. Sprinkle your tomato seed thinly on the surface of good quality seed compost. Cover the seed with about 1.5mm (1/16in) of compost and water lightly with a fine-rose watering can. Tomato seeds generally take 7 to 14 days to germinate at a temperature of around 21C (70F).

Top tip: Keep your compost moist, whilst making sure you do not over water as this can encourage disease such as mould.

growing tomatoes in greenhouseGrowing tomatoes in a greenhouse

Growing tomato plants in a greenhouse can mean an earlier crop. For greenhouse tomatoes grow recommended varieties such as ‘Sungold’, ‘Money Maker’ or ‘Country Taste’. These tomatoes are generally sown from February onwards and in 7.5cm (3in) pots.

Plant young tomato plants when they are about 15-20cm (6-8in) tall and the flowers of the first truss are just beginning to open. If you are growing tomatoes in pots or a grow bag remember they will require a lot more watering and care. Plant approximately 45cm (18in) between the plants and 75cm (30in) between the rows. In a grow bag, generally plant no more than two plants per bag. Make sure you ventilate the greenhouse regularly to reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Tomatoes prefer a temperature of 21 – 24C (70 – 75F) and will perform poorly at temperatures above 27C (81F) or below 16C (61F).

Growing tomatoes outside

When growing tomatoes outside, choose recommended varieties such as ‘Gardeners Delight’, ‘Money Maker’ or ‘Sweet Olive’. You can grow varieties such as ‘Cherry Cascade’ or ‘Tasty Tumbler’ in a flower pouch or as hanging basket tomatoes.

Top tip: Wait until approximately 6-8 weeks before the last frost is forecast and sow as directed on the individual seed packet in 7.5cm (3in) pots.

When all risk of frost has passed, plant the young plants when they are about 15-20cm (6-8in) tall and the flowers of the first truss are just beginning to open. If you are planting into your border make sure you have dug in plenty of garden compost or manure during the winter. Just before planting, rake in a general purpose fertiliser – tomatoes are hungry plants!

Plant approximately 45cm (18 in) between the plants and 75cm (30in) between the rows. If you are growing tomatoes in grow bags or pots remember they will require a lot more watering and care. In a grow bag, generally plant no more than two plants per bag. There has been a recent trend for growing tomatoes upside down to save space in the garden. This is a great space saving solution similar to growing tomatoes in hanging baskets. Simply plant a young tomato plant through a hole in the bottom of a bucket or similar hanging container, and fill the container with multi-purpose compost. Suspend the bucket from a bracket and allow the plant to hang down beneath it.

You can also watch our youtube video How to grow tomatoes here;

Terri Overett
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.

What’s new at Thompson & Morgan?

Here at Thompson & Morgan we strive to excel in customer service, to be able to provide you with top quality products, expert advice and a no fuss approach to gardening. That being said, we know that there is always room for improvement and this year we have made a few changes and added new lines to help you create your dream gardens.

what's new at thompson & morganQuality control is better than ever this year. We have appointed Peter as our Quality control Manager and plants are being triple checked before they are posted to you in our new and improved packaging. So, what do we look for?

1. Size
2. Healthy foliage
3. Strong root system
4. Moisture levels

Most importantly we ask ourselves ‘Would I be happy to receive this plant?’ If the answer is no then the plant is rejected.

 

How your plants are packed.

what's new at thompson & morganWe understand that when you order plants online, there is always some hesitation as you cannot see, feel and pick your own plants. That is why we use specially designed containers to prevent dehydration and protect your plants from any bruises. Before your plants leave, our dedicated staff check to ensure optimal levels of moisture for the plants journey.

Sometimes you may find yourself placing an order for a product that won’t be delivered for another couple of months, or maybe longer. This is because we deliver your plants in top condition and at the optimum time for planting or potting on. Until then, your plants are being carefully looked after by our plantsman until they are ready for despatch. If in doubt, you can always log in to our new my orders service where you can track your order.

 

New Varieties

With 160 years of horticultural and mail order know-how under our belts, we are now putting our skills to the test by offering you a great range of instant impact plants in larger containers for immediate effect in the garden. We are extremely proud to be able to provide you with a new range of larger plants, all with a track record for hardiness, ease of care and excellent garden performance.

Our range includes a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous perennials for added interest in your garden. Shrubs form the backbone of most garden designs and are used as a backdrop, screen or companions to other plant groups. Herbaceous perennials will return each spring and they require little help so are perfect for low maintenance gardens.

View full range here.

what's new at thompson & morgan

What makes us stand out?

No other UK mail order company can boast their own breeding programme, at Thompson & Morgan we are extremely proud to say we can. Past breeding successes include customer favourites, Foxglove ‘Illumination Pink’ and Cosmos ‘Cupcakes’. Not only that, they have won numerous prestigious awards worldwide too!

There is so much going on with Thompson & Morgan right now and a lot of exciting things to come so do join in the gardening community on our Facebook and Twitter pages and sign up to our email newsletters for special offers.

If you have any suggestions for us on how to improve our service we will be more than happy to hear them, help us help you!

Happy Gardening :)

Terri Overett
Terri works in the e-commerce marketing department assisting the busy web team. Terri manages our blog and social media pages here at Thompson & Morgan and is dedicated to providing useful advice to our gardeners. Terri is new to gardening and keen to develop her horticultural knowledge.

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