JOHN’S JOURNAL

The Splendour of Spring Bulbs

Autumn is such a beautiful time, with the highlights of the late flowering perennials and the colour beginning to appear in the leaves of the trees, it’s a real time to enjoy everything around us along with starting to think ahead for next Spring. The soil is warm and at last the days are dry, the timing is also perfect for planting Spring bulbs. Whether it be beautiful Alliums threaded through your borders or maybe some cheery Tulips in pots and containers it’s all possible and now you have chance of saving some money doing it, rather than forgetting and buying them potted up in the Spring…..

When you see the bulbs gracing the benches under the living roof they look incredible, first grade in size and full of such promise for next year. Many bulbs can be either grown in pots or in the ground, the only exception being Tulips. They thrive in a well-drained soil and when planted in such they will come back every year, now we all know what the soil is like around here and they are best being planted in pots as they like to also be deep down, with your pots we all have lots of small to medium sized pots and this is a great chance to stick to single varieties in each pot, it makes more of a statement and then you have full flexibility to place them and combine the colours picking and choosing what to put where, rather than being committed to what you planted them with!

Alliums are the perfect counterpart to flowerbeds, in every scheme we plant we always include the Allium Purple Rain as this is the strongest growing of all varieties and in its 4th year you will have to thin them out, can you believe! Most of the time your experience with Alliums is watching them fade out to nothing in the 4 years…..not the case with this one, and we also offer a few select other varieties which also thrive in the north, Mount Everest being a good strong growing white variety and much taller standing at 4ft tall

Daffodils are also great and plant these in the ground as well, with all bulbs if you feed them in the Spring with Vitax Q4 along with all your other plants they will flower year after year rather than them coming up blind!

You will also find lots of other types and varieties nestled in amongst the bulb crates at HC, Iris, Chionodoxa, Fritillarias and Snowdrops along with many more so it’s time to get busy, planting them now we know for certain Spring will arrive and they will flower, Mother Nature is one of the constants we can always rely on!

Q AND A

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

Can I prune shrubs now?

Only light pruning can be done on shrubs at this time of year to tidy them up, leave any harder pruning till late February once the sap is rising otherwise any parts which you prune hard now will get burnt back more during the winter frost leaving dead stumps within the bushes.

My Heucheras have gone bare in the middle?

After 3-4years Heucheras do go a little woody, it’s nothing to worry about they are just ready for a replant, now isn’t the time as March onwards is the perfect time, simply cut them off at ground level and then keep the stems in 3s and replant them with the soil up to the top of the stems, remove any big old leaves as well at the same time. You can take out individual stems at this time of year and trim them into 4 inch lengths from the top and pot them up and they will root.

 Can I cut perennials back now?

Some plants like Hostas and other early ones which die back you can trim back, think about heaping these leaves up at the back of the border for overwintering insects and always leave some of the garden not cut back again for anything overwintering to hibernate in, then give it a Spring clean later on.

1 – Collect Seed Heads

Gather structural seed heads from summer flowering plants, Fennel is a perfect example for arranging along with your Spring Alliums seedheads

2 – Trim Roses

Trim any flowered stems from your Roses to help tidy them up for the Winter before their Spring prune

3 – Feed Winter Bedding

Feed any newly planted bedding with Tomato food to give it a boost and get it thickening out and flowering

4 – Plant Winter Cabbages

They add beautiful colours to Autumn and Winter containers and look even better once the frosts begin!

5 –Soil Preparation

It’s a great time to dig over empty parts of your flower beds and work in rotted compost, hardy plants can also be planted at this time of year allowing them to establish before Spring

6 – Make Garden Notes

Make constructive notes about your planting before everything starts to die back, allowing you to remember next year and build upon

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’

A striking shrub with masses of purple berries held on bare stems throughout the Winter months, beautiful for the Autumn and Winter garden and will grow in sun or light shade, prune lightly in the Spring. Great for the garden or as a centrepiece for Winter pots or containers