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Summer Tubs and Hanging Baskets

Summer Tubs and Hanging Baskets

It’s May so time to get those patio pots, troughs and hanging baskets planted and enjoy lots of flowers around the garden all summer. From the first week in May the risk of a late frost is minimal so get to the Garden Centre for all those brightly coloured bedding plants which will decorate your patio from now until the frosts come again usually in November.

The plant breeders have been busy and so we have a great favourite back. There is now a strain of Busy Lizzies that is resistant to the horrible fungus disease downy mildew that annihilated them from Summer Colour Schemes 6 years ago. The 2 resistant strains are called Imara and Beacon and are available in a colour range from white through shades of pink to red and multicoloured varieties. They are the new generation of Busy Lizzies flowering well in sun or shade, rain or shine. A low cost easy to grow plant that just keeps on giving.

We were encouraged to plant Begonia Semperflorens as an alternative to Lizzies and a new variety, Begonia Senator, looks to be exciting with a similar colour range to Busy Lizzie, but with dark foliage, a great foil to the flowers. It performs very well in tubs and hanging baskets especially on a sunny or partly shaded patio and will sustain periods of drought. For pots and shallow planters Begonia Nonstop Carmen, with double dark red flowers, and Begonia Catnin  a lovely compact variety with apricot flowers. All these varieties are suitable for shade.

Petunias are well known for the continuous flowering display they give all summer and autumn until the frosts in November. They are easy to grow with a huge range of colour, perfume and growing habits. We are familiar with the impressive trailing Surfinia Petunias which if kept watered and fed with a liquid plant food will trail down by one metre from the basket. There are now many vibrant colours to choose from. Another group are the Fanfare Petunias which are more compact forming amazing cushions in tubs or hugging the hanging basket giving a ball effect with a mass of flower. Petunia Amore Queen of Hearts is a stunning variety with yellow and red flowers with five striking rosy red hearts on each flower. It flowers its heart out from late spring until late autumn and cascades perfectly from a hanging basket. Another outstanding new variety is Petunia Night Sky. The flowers are deep purple blue with white speckles creating a clear night sky effect. Each flower pattern is unique making an “eye catching” display. There are also cutting raised types which outperform all the others. They are semi trailing with an explosion of flower colour and magnificent scent. Priscilla Purple is double flowered and Blue Vein has single flowers.

The third favourite plant for our summer displays must be the Zonal Geranium so called because of the darker markings in the middle of the leaves. Geraniums are very easy to grow and are particularly happy in hot dry summers so if planted alone the tubs and baskets do not need watering as often. They are also more resistant to cold than Begonias and Busy Lizzies so in sheltered places can be planted from the second week in April. A good new introduction is Calliope a cross between a trailing ivy leaf geranium and upright with the advantage of larger flowers and a semi trialling habit.

Nemesia Honey Orange Flame is a stunning strong compact plant for tubs on a sunny patio or front of the border. Plant in good compost and this Nemesia will flower all summer into the autumn. The flowers are bi colour deep violet and luscious buttery yellow and very sweetly scented. With the recent selective breeding of Nemesias there are now many lovely varieties. N. Amelia pale pink, N. Wisley Vanilla white, N. Easter Bonnet white and pale mauve and N. Mirabelle which is pale lilac in the paler shades and N. Bordeaux deep rose, N. Fleurie Blue, purple blue and white and N. Raspberries and Cream white and deep rosy red the stronger colours. If you haven’t yet grown these I recommend you give them a try.                  

I am really looking forward to trying some of these exciting new varieties this summer and I hope you will too.

Summer Tubs and Hanging Baskets

Summer Tubs and Hanging Baskets

It’s May so time to get those patio pots, troughs and hanging baskets planted and enjoy lots of flowers around the garden all summer.
Read more
Trees Trees And More Trees Please

Trees Trees And More Trees Please

Trees are probably the most important plant you can add to your garden.

Not only do they contribute to the air that we breath they are profoundly important for wildlife.  They provide shelter and homes for insects, berries and fruits for mammals and birds and shade for some plants, ourselves and our pets.

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You Really Do Get What You Pay For!

You Really Do Get What You Pay For!

Often the wet and cold winter weather of January will put our gardening jobs on hold for a while.  By February high pressure should herald less rain and even if cold the bright sunny days will finally encourage us to get some early gardening jobs done.
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