• Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Many flowers and vegetables can be sown safely outdoors in May as the risk of frost is diminishing. Last month I made a lot of indoor sowings of plants which I currently have sheltered in my greenhouse and should be going out gradually by mid May. This includes tomatoes, chilies as well as a wide range of flowers such as cleomes and geraniums.
Below is a list of plants which are easy-to-grow and I shall start sowing most of them outdoors in May if the weather allows it.
- Outdoor sunflowers: bring a bit of sunshine in your garden with tall sunflowers. May is a better month to grow them outdoors. I did sow some sunflowers seeds in my greenhouse in April but they did not germinate and it looks like a slug ate the tender shoots.
- Love-in-a-mist: easy to grow annuals usually available in shades of blue and pink.
- Sweet peas can be planted outside and trained to climb on a bamboo wigwam for example. Mine are already out.
• Wednesday, April 08th, 2009
Many of us will be looking for flowers to plant in our garden over the coming Easter Bank Holiday weekend and heading straight to the garden centres. Ideally we will be looking to bring instantaneous colour to our gardens and get planting over the weekend.
Fritillarias in my garden
There are always the usual pansies, primroses and potted bulbs which are easy-to-grow plants that won’t suffer too much from the frost which we may still have to endure until mid-May. But if you are looking for something different, I would recommend the following:
– these are in full bloom at present and are very handy as ground cover, looking like a carpet of purple/pink flowers. They will grow and cover more ground each year and are also easy to propagate.
: lovely delicate flowers which comes in so many different colour combination. Not scented though.
The Pasque flower is similarly a very stylish flower which is referred to in the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and in bloom at this time of year.
For scented bliss, try Skimmias who are in full bloom at present although the flowers are probably not their best asset. Similarly Mahonias are average size bushes which yellow blossom at this time of year and could make a nice addition to the back of a border or near a fence.
Otherwise, although not yet in bloom, I will be looking to plant more perennial flowers which will grow on and blossom for many years. For my blue border the addition of the heart shaped pink flowers of the Dicentra bleeding heart may complement the blue theme nicely.
Delphiniums are also a must-have perennial which are dominating my blue border and this year I shall try to propagate them this by doing some cuttings for the first time.
• Sunday, March 29th, 2009
My long border in summer is a vibrant display of flowers, shrubs and textures which attracts butterflies and friends alike. At present it is looking rather plain; the last crocuses have shriveled away and the tulips are just about to bloom. My border is not as wide and large as the magnificent ones which you can see when you visit national gardens like Wisley or Kew, however there is still scope for creativity.
Weeding in my English Garden
On this sunny yet chilly day I have started to tidy up the border by trimming back some of the hellebores (also known as Christmas roses) which provided a bit of winter blossom over the last few months. Hopefully this should provide more light to my bulbs and allow them to grow quicker.
I have also finished pruning the roses which are at the back of the border. I found a few slugs as I was weeding that area and promptly disposed of them with my secators.
There is a semi permanent structure to my border in the sense that the rose bushes always form the background colour of the border and a few perennials and bulbs make an appearance when the season is right for them.
Each year I look forward to selecting the flowers which will make up my border throughout the seasons. And that’s probably the most challenging part of the task: finding plants which will contribute to a constant display of flowers from april to september. You can see a picture of my long border in full bloom in the introduction page to my English garden.
There are flowers which I am really fond of, and will include invariably in my borders and it includes: Dahlias, Cosmos, Clarkias, Californian poppies and sweet williams. This year however I shall remove the self seeded sweet Williams and try some new Crinum bulbs, as well as Gallardias which I have not grown for a long time (I have chosen a variety with double flowers called Razzledazzle). The seedlings for most of these plants are still indoors for now and doing well.
One thing you can guarantee with a border like mine is that whatever I plan to do, there is always some unexpected flower, usually of an odd colour, that will crop up amongst the composition. But I guess that’s all part of the magic of gardening…