Hedge Funds!

After a frozen start to the month, this week has brought sunshine and birdsong – spring is definitely in the air! As the weather improves, the sap begins to rise, and before you know it there will be a new flush of foliage everywhere you look!

This signals that the bare root season will soon be drawing to a close. But there’s still time to plant bare root shrubs and trees if you’re quick about it.

Hedging plants

©Thompson & Morgan Hedging plants

Bare roots are often far cheaper than potted plants. These young ‘whips’ establish quicker than more mature specimens, and will soon catch up in size. Bare root hedging is by far one of the greatest savings you can make in the garden.

Given the quantity of plants that are normally required to create a hedge, it’s a ‘no brainer’ to buy your plants as bare roots. Time to spend that hedge fund!

I often think the value of hedging is overlooked by many gardeners. Hedges provide the bare bones of the garden creating structure, securing boundaries and providing a backdrop for your borders. The right hedging plants will attract wildlife and create wind breaks in gusty locations.

Beech is one of my favourites – it forms a dense deciduous hedge that stays neat and manageable, but retains its tawny brown autumn leaves for months over the winter. So you are never faced with completely bare branches.

Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea

© Shutterstock Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea

If you prefer an evergreen hedge then Yew is the traditional choice for a formal look, or try Privet for a quick growing, trouble free hedge that will thrive in most conditions. Box is always a popular choice, but in recent years the fungal disease Box Blight has decimated Box hedges up and down the UK. A good alternative, with a similar growth rate and appearance, is Ilex crenata or Euonymus japonicus.

Euonymus japonicus Jean Hughes

© Shutterstock Euonymus japonicus Jean Hughes

Wherever possible, choose species that will benefit wildlife. Hedges are essential wildlife corridors allowing birds, mammals and insects to travel freely between areas. Hawthorn and Blackthorn both provide berries for birds, nectar for insects, and shelter for many different species. Better still, these thorny plants also make very effective security hedges too.

Prunus spinosa

©Shutterstock Prunus spinosa

Whatever type of hedge you need, there are plenty to choose from at Thompson & Morgan. Take a look at our range of hedging plants online. For advice on how to plant a hedge, check out this helpful guide

Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I’m a regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gives me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists are up to in their nurseries and gardens.

Pumpkin update: Tackling Powdery Mildew on Pumpkins.

Pests and diseases on crops are always a problem in the garden – and my Pumpkin crop is no exception, in the last few days, the leaves of my plants have unfortunately developed Powdery Mildew.

Powdery mildew is easily identified by the powdery white spores on the surface of the foliage, severely affected leaves will quickly shrivel and die back. The spores of this unsightly disease are air borne so it can spread quickly and easily where plants are growing close together.

Powdery mildew is particularly prevalent during humid, wet summers like we’ve had this year, where the spores are spread from leaf to leaf by rain splashes.

powdery mildew on pumpkin leaves

If you notice powdery mildew appearing then you’ll need to act fast to stop it spreading: You can remove and destroy infected leaves to control its spread. Put them straight in the household waste – never compost the leaves as this will simply spread the problem again next year. Keeping the roots evenly watered will also help to prevent the problem.

If the infection is over a wider area then you may have to use a chemical control; there are lots of fungicides available to pick up at your local garden centre. Just be sure to check that you choose one which is suitable for use on edible crops. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and spray the plants evenly, both above and beneath the foliage.

Hopefully that will solve the problem, but if necessary then you may need to repeat the treatment in a few weeks time.

Check out my other videos on growing pumpkins here :

How to grow pumpkins. Part 1: sowing pumpkin seeds

How to grow Pumpkins. Part 2: Planting out Pumpkin plants.

How to grow Pumpkins with Thompson & Morgan. Part 3: Feeding and pollination

I hope you enjoy pumpkin growing this year – who knows, you might grow your very own giant!

 

Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I’m a regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gives me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists are up to in their nurseries and gardens.

Trailing Fuchsias

Trailing fuchsias come in every colour combination imaginable. There are so many choices, from elegant single flowered fuchsias such as Fuchsia ‘Mandarin Cream’ to flamboyant double forms with carefree, ruffled blooms such as Fuchsia ‘Quasar’. They are particularly useful for bringing impressive displays to summer hanging baskets, window boxes and containers. Their lax stems gently cascade over the side of containers, allowing the dangling blooms to be viewed at their best. These versatile plants cope equally well in semi shade as they do in full sun. This makes them an ideal choice for brightening up those shadier corners of the patio.

trailing fuchsia

Some forms can produce colossal blooms reaching up to 10cm (4”) across eg Giants Collection.

Fuchsias are superb value too, flowering over a long period from early summer right through to September.

Growing trailing fuchsias really couldn’t be easier. Plant trailing fuchsias directly into baskets, window boxes, Flower Pouches™ and containers, in any well drained compost.  Grow them on in warm, frost free conditions.  Pitrailing fuchsianch out the growing tips of each plant while they are still small to promote bushier growth and more flowers. When all risk of frost has passed, gradually acclimatise fuchsia plants to outdoor conditions over a 7 to 10 day period, prior to placing them in their final positions in sun or semi shade.

Throughout the growing season keep them well watered. It’s well worth feeding them every other week with a fertiliser such as Incredibloom® to promote an endless supply of flowers. Deadhead faded fuchsia flowers to prolong the flowering period.

These reliable plants are stalwarts of summer garden, bringing colour and movement to hanging baskets whether grown individually or as part of a mixed container.

Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I’m a regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gives me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists are up to in their nurseries and gardens.

Growing a fuchsia standard

Growing fuchsia standards is not as difficult as it might appear. Fuchsia standards have a clear main stem topped with a dense head of foliage created through pinch pruning and make superb specimen plants. However patience is required as they may take up to 18 months of careful training to achieve.

Here are my top tips for growing fuchsia standards;

growing fuchsia standard•    Allow a young fuchsia stem to grow upright, whilst removing all of the side shoots as they develop. Do not remove the leaves from the mail stem however, as these will feed the plant.
•    Tie the main stem in to a cane to provide support as it grows.
•    Once the fuchsia plant reaches 20cm (8″) taller than the desired height, pinch out the stem tip.
•    New side shoots will be produced at the top of the plant and these will form the head of the standard. Pinch out the tips of each side shoot when it reaches 2 to 4 sets of leaves. Continue pinch pruning until a rounded head has formed.
•    The leaves on the main stem will be shed naturally in time, or can be carefully removed.

To overwinter standard fuchsias, they will need to be moved to a frost free position during the winter months to protect their vulnerable stem from frost damage, regardless of how hardy the variety is.

Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I’m a regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gives me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists are up to in their nurseries and gardens.

Hardy Fuchsia

There are few plant groups that are as diverse as the fuchsia. There is a lovely range of hardy fuchsias in the market, many with different colour foliage and form.

hardy fuchsiaFuchsia Genii is a more unusual fuchsia variety, with distinctive yellow foliage. The flowers have inky blue petals backed by magenta tepals, and these blooms are set against golden, glowing foliage. Genii is an easy to grow shrub that will grow happily in sun or part-shade giving your borders a magnificent display.

Fuchsia Hawkshead is a customer favourite and has been awarded RHS Garden Merit. Hawkshead is an upright and bushy cultivar which blooms non-stop from early summer to autumn making a lovely addition to your beds and borders.

 

hardy fuchsiaNew and exclusive to Thompson & Morgan is Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’, the best climbing fuchsia you will grow. The vigorous upright stems can extend by up to 1.5m (5ft) in a single season, making it perfect for covering walls, fences, arches and obelisks.

How to care for hardy fuchsia plants in winter

Hardy fuchsia plants are ideal for growing in sheltered borders all year round. These cultivars range from neat compact varieties such as Fuchsia ‘Tom Thumb’ that reaches just 30cm (12″) tall, up to Fuchsia magellanica which can reach a colossal height and spread of 3m (10’) in ideal conditions. Hardy fuchsias are best planted deeply in the ground to protect the crown during cold winter weather. Further winter protection can be provided by applying a deep mulch of bark chips, leaf mould or straw in late autumn each year.

Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online. I have a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy Geraniums. I’m a regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society which gives me lots of opportunities to see what other horticulturalists are up to in their nurseries and gardens.

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