There are some plants that we tend to take for granted or largely ignore; this is because we are simply so used to seeing them. But these plants that are given the backseat are great performers and are our gardens most faithful planting companions.
Have you ever noticed how car parks and other heavy use landscape areas use many of the same plants? Well, there is a good reason for this; they are tough as old boots. They will grow with minimum attention, many of them positively thriving on neglect and even when our busy lives divert our attention away from them, they will still flourish.
Who are these stalwarts of the plant world?
Many of them are reliable shrubs such as Cotoneaster, Vinca, Viburnum, Dogwood, Sambucus, Ceanothus and Pyracantha. Shrubby Dogwoods, otherwise known as Cornus, aren’t fussy about their soil conditions and will thrive in particularly damp soil where other shrubs may not.
What makes them suitable for these environments?
These shrubs are tough, resilient, low maintenance and can withstand trampling by children and animals. Once established they can cope without any irrigation and even though they need virtually no pruning, they will still look great throughout the year. Many of these plant varieties will provide evergreen groundcover, summer flowers and winter berries for a full years worth of colour and interest. What more could you want?
These plants are the perfect choices if you are a beginner gardener and if you have little time to spare but still like your outdoor spaces to look fantastic.
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.
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.
‘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.
‘Locked in the tower’ for a decade, and almost forgotten, ‘Perfume Princess’ is set to knock its wicked step mother, Daphne odora, from the throne to reign as the world’s most scented shrub.
Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ has taken more than 10 years to develop and, at one stage, was almost discarded. Having secured limited stocks we are pleased to offer one of the strongest-growing daphne available to gardeners, and customers are already snapping it up! Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ was raised by plant breeder, Mark Jury. The aim was to combine the tough, strong growth habit of Daphne bholua types with the heady fragrance and flowering performance of Daphne odora varieties.
However, Mark found the seed set extremely low, and almost gave up on the project. Finally, he found 6 ripened seeds, yet only one of these went on to germinate. Mark persisted with the offspring but with his focus switching to magnolia breeding, this young daphne plant was left forgotten in a corner of the nursery.
The plant secretly flourished, but it wasn’t until Mark rediscovered it and set it out in the garden that it really came into its own. ‘Perfume Princess’ was a true breeding success, and demonstrated both the characteristics that Mark had hoped for; compact, shrubby foliage growth and heavy flowering. Plants reach a manageable 90-120cm and produce flowers between each leaf, double the size of those on usual odora varieties. Scent is improved too, with flowers offering an alluring fragrance with citrus undertones.
Michael Perry says; “This is one of the most important shrub introductions for many years; this unique hybrid has brought daphne to a new level. ‘Perfume Princess’ produces tough plants, and each stem is literally dripping with potent blooms through spring. No wonder they often call daphne the most fragrant shrub in the world!”
Our autumn plants range boasts spectacular spring bedding plants, shrubs and perennial plants and with such a huge variety available you will be spoilt for choice. We asked our gardening guru Michael Perry for his top 10 plants from our autumn range, so that we can bring you our autumn plants ‘behind the scenes’.
Primrose ‘Planets’ Mixed
This is a primrose mixture like no other! I first saw the red-eyed variety at a trade show about 5 years, and just knew we had to offer it to our customers! Since that first sighting, more colours have been added to the range, each with that distinctive eye. It’s modern, contemporary, and isn’t something you’ll be able to find in the shops! The contrasting inner ring has never been seen before in primroses and makes ‘Planets’ the perfect variety for lighting up your spring borders and pots.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’, well this is the sister variety ‘Love’. First seen in hydrangea trials, this variety stood out thanks to the 2-tiered blooms in punchy, candy pink. So, if you thought all Hydrangea plants were boring, then you need to think again!
Begonia ‘Garden Angels’
Now, a hardy begonia is not a new concept, species forms have been around for years. But they aren’t often very showy, but ‘Garden Angels’ is from the amazing breeder and selector Dan Heims, who has created a begonia for your perennial borders, with metallic, patterned foliage as well as sprays of begonia blooms!
Clematis ‘Blue River’
I love cut flowers, and I love trying out new and different cut flowers. ‘Blue River’ is, would you believe it, a cut flower clematis! I remember seeing a glorious vase of them on the breeder’s trade stand in Germany a few years ago. It’s one of those informal Clematis too, which will weave through borders, helping your other plants to look good!!
Rose ‘Sweet Spot Calypso’
Now, don’t say I never bring you new roses! This is wildly different. All the way from a plant selection company in Australia, this rose plant has been tested for many years, in almost every climate around the world! It isn’t ashamed to be colourful either, with paint-splashed blooms in psychedelic colours, that’s why they call it the ‘decorator rose’! I think this rose will change the way we use roses in the UK!
Clematis ‘Top to Bottom’
Despite the cheeky name, this clematis makes a lot of sense! Usually, your large-flowered clematis plant would only produce flowers from about the 2 foot mark, and have … ahem.. a bare bottom! However, these new French varieties have been selected for having blooms from the top to the bottom! A huge advance in clematis, and will hopefully be the benchmark for new clematis varieties in the future!
Tulip ‘Cupcakes’ Mixed
This mixture came about in a rather serendipitous manner, as our reception just picked some tulips from our trials and placed them in a vase. She seemed to choose the blousy, peony-flowered types, and the colours worked really well together, so when I walked past, I knew we had a new Tulip blend on our hands!
Heteropappus ‘Blue Knoll’
Now, this is one we have been offering for a few years now. The first seed was sourced from a botanical university, and we found that- not only are the flowers like a pure blue chrysanthemum- but the plant also blooms quite late, September to October. This is just brilliant, as it injects colour into the border way after most bedding and perennial plants have faded.
Daffodil ‘Rose of May’
I remember this being on the front cover of the very first plant catalogue I worked on, and that was back in 1998! A favourite with customers for many years, as each flower has a really unusual, and somewhat surprising, gardenia fragrance!! For a dramatic spring spectacle, grow Daffodil ‘Rose of May’ in bold drifts naturalised in grass. Narcissus flowers are also excellent for cutting for a lovely springtime arrangement indoors.
Ranunculus ‘XXL Collection’
These definitely have the wow factor! The difference with this selection is they’re super big blooms, and the claws (type of bulb) are supplied with shoots on already, so growing them on could not be easier! Grow your own uber gorgeous cut flowers, and show off a bit!
To see our full autumn range you can request or beautiful autumn catalogue here.
Evergreen shrubs form the backbone of the garden. They provide structure and colour even in the depths of winter when other plants are dormant and bare.
Evergreens offer more than just foliage. Many have attractive flowers such as Rhododendron and Camellia. In fact some even flower during the coldest months, perfuming the cold air with a delicious scent. E.g Sarcococca . Other evergreens provide fruits that are both ornamental and useful as a food source for local wildlife. E.g Holly, Cotoneaster, Pyracantha.
In summer they create a useful backdrop that will set your flowering perennials off to their best advantage. But don’t be fooled by the term ‘evergreen’ – some have brightly coloured variegated foliage that makes them really stand out from the crowd! E.g Euonynous fortunei/ japonicus cultivars, Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’, Aucuba etc.
From low growing Box hedges to large specimen Camellia’s, there’s an evergreen to suit every garden.
Box and Yew make superb formal evergreens that are perfect creating topiary sculptures, dense formal hedging, parterres, mazes etc – no stately home is complete without them! While Fatsia japonica and Aucuba provide exotic foliage for tropical themed gardens. Pittosporum, Hebe, Viburnum tinus, Lavender and Rosemary are the stalwarts of the Cottage garden.
Evergreens make fabulous hedges too! The much maligned Leyland conifer can be found bordering many gardens throughout the UK. However, Box, Yew, Viburnum, Privet, and Holly make far more attractive evergreen hedges. In challenging coastal areas Grisellina is a good choice for a boundary hedge.
Some evergreens offer aromatic foliage too such as Lavender, Santolina, and Rosemary. Many make superb wall shrubs too – Cotoneaster, Pyracantha, some evergreen Ceanothus varieties and Corokia.
Evergreens bring colour, scent, architecture, privacy, and formality to gardens, as well as attracting wildlife by offering food and shelter. No garden should be without them! Take a look at our choice of top 10 evergreens.