Posts Tagged ‘bare root perennials’

Slow and steady wins the race for Mr Fothergill’s Nation of Gardeners – how to grow bare root perennials

October 27th, 2014 | Nation of Gardeners | 0 Comments

Nation of Gardeners across the UK for Mr Fothergill's growing trialsWhen it comes to planting bare root perennials, Mr Fothergill’s Nation of Gardeners has found that over wintering in pots in cold frames and then planting out in spring make stronger plants in the long run.

The group of amateur gardeners based in various locations around the country received ten bare root perennials in November 2013 and were asked to report back on how they fared over winter.

They received five varieties (Astrantia Moulin Rouge, Cimicifuga James Compton, Eryngium Super Nova Starlight, Papaver Place Pigalle and Sedum Xenox), with two of each plant supplied; one for planting in a pot and one to go directly in to the open ground. The gardeners found that whilst those in the open ground, on the whole, survived the winter, those in pots were stronger and produced more flowers. Those planted in open ground may have had a quick start, with the potted version being much slower, but by April the pots were catching up with their counterparts in the ground around the country and were much stronger.

Sedum Xenox growing in Renfrewshire for Nation of Gardeners

Many of the gardeners’ bare root perennials did not bloom but they still saw new growth and Mr Fothergill’s is confident they will bloom more consistently in year two. This was most common of the plants in pots.

The most prolific bloomers were the Sedum Xenox and the Papaver Place Pigalle which were reported to be strong plants with lots of flowers, which for some of the Sedum Xenox, extended until October 2014.

Commercial director of Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, Tim Jeffries, commented, “We wanted to see how our gardeners got on with the perennial across the country throughout winter. Undoubtedly, planting in pots seemed to be the way forward to boost the plant’s strength in spring and bloom as summer approached. The results we are seeing from the Nation of Gardeners are proving very useful and will no doubt be beneficial to us in long run for giving advice on how and when best to grow our products.”

Papaver Place Pigalle in bloom in DevonThe gardeners also found that planting in pots was not just beneficial to the plants’ bloom and strength, but the pots also provided protection from slugs who found Mr Fothergill’s bare root perennials rather tasty! Whilst the pots protected the plants and boosted their survival chances, the gardeners sought other options for their open ground varieties with the Derbyshire representative seeing good results from a vigilante approach and a coffee based mulch that helped her ground grown plants become strong, tall and bushy. One county away, in Staffordshire, the rabbits feasted healthily on the open grounds.

From the 16 areas that the gardeners represent, the Surrey and the Cheshire representatives had the best results for their perennials – both seeing six of their perennials bloom in their first year. The Surrey gardener had three of her potted plants bloom, as well as three of her open grounds varieties. Whereas the Cheshire gardener had four pots flower as well as two in the ground.

For more about Mr Fothergill’s Nation of Gardeners visit their blog at blog.mr-fothergills.co.uk or follow #NationofGardeners on Twitter.

Astrantia in bloom in Pontypridd, South Wales

Nation of Gardeners November planting update: keeping our gardeners busy as autumn slips into winter

December 9th, 2013 | Nation of Gardeners, The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Live plants parcel received November 2013In November, the Nation of Gardeners received their second shipment of plants from Mr Fothergill’s.   As autumn slips into winter, many gardeners believe that their gardens go to sleep, but there’s so much to be done to plan for next year’s flower and soft fruit beds. It’s a perfect time to take stock of the structure of the garden and where there might be gaps that need filling.

Bare root perennials are shipped out at this time of year, and it’s a good time to put in fruit trees, fruit bushes and soft fruit plants too. And so it was a bumper pack of plants that hit the gardener’s doorsteps in early November, with the parcel containing 35 plants to keep our Nation of Gardeners busy.

A round up of November’s plantings

Blackberry Rueben primocan blackberry in Pontypridd

The gardeners received a Blackberry Reuben potted plant – this variety of blackberry is the world’s first primocane and so Mr Fothergill’s wants to really test this plant for performance across the whole of the UK, with especial interest in how this variety performs in more northern territories.

The blackberry plants – such as the one illustrated here newly planted in Pontypridd – was received with instructions for planting in the open ground.

All gardeners reported back that their specimens looked healthy and happy and were quick to establish themselves.  The plants were so happy in their new homes that three gardeners – in Pontypridd, Buckinghamshire and Suffolk  – even reported back that their plants were flowering soon after the plants had become settled.

By early December, most gardeners were reporting that their plants were still looking healthy and green-leafed, with no signs of them obeying the oncoming winter by dropping their leaves.

 

Strawberry runnersStrawberry runners were also shipped out in November, with 12 each of Strawberry Sweetheart (a June bearer) and Strawberry Buddy (an everbearing variety).

Mr Fothergill’s believes that autumn planting helps strawberries establish quickly and increases the yield for the summer, so how next summer’s crops turn out will be observed closely by the participants.   The gardeners will receive the same varieties again in Spring against which to compare their results.

The plants arrived as bare roots like the ones illustrated here. They arrived with the instructions to plant outside 15″-18″ apart.

The gardeners found a variety of means of planting their strawberries such as in raised beds, patio planters and potato bags.  Again, gardeners reported that the strawberries quickly established themselves with plants looking ‘perky’ only a few days later and definite leaf growth being observed within a couple of weeks.

strawberry_composition-nov2013

 

Bare root perennials are also being grown in this round to test the theory of planting out at this time of year to get a head start on establishing good growth the following year.  Five varieties of bare root perennial plants were selected comprising the following:

Two of each of these plants were received by the gardeners, along with planting instructions to put one in the ground and one in a pot that is to be protected in coldframe or greenhouse.   This should reveal the best method for handling these plants at this time of year, and will give insight into how they perform in the different regions included in the project.

Bare root perennials in the coldframe

Due to the nature of bare root perennials, strong results aren’t expected until the spring, though new leaf growth has been reported by a handful of the gardeners.

In North Devon, Papaver Place Pigalle is looking healthy

Papaver, Sedum and Astrantia all took to their placements well with new leaves emerging for many of the gardeners as the month of November unfolded.  Some gardeners also saw signs of life – or at least signs of a happy healthy plant – in the Eryngiums too. The photo to the right here shows our Devon gardener’s healthy and vigorous growth of her coldframe planted Papaver.

Across the board, the notoriously reluctant Cimicifuga refused to show anyone any sign of life.  This is a plant that takes a few years to properly establish however, and so our gardeners will have to maintain some patience waiting for this variety to show itself in the warmer weather in 2014.

October planting update

The plants grown by the group in October have continued to go from strength to strength.  For many, the garlic is starting to show, having got off to a very slow start during October and November.  There are still some garlic that refuses to show its head from beneath the soil however, so continued cold snaps will eventually show us if this will spurt these plants into life.

Sweet peas in Guildford

Broad beans are now fully established for all gardeners, with some of the gardeners needing to stake their plants due to the height they’ve attained since sowing.  The picture below shows the broad beans in our Cheshire gardener’s plot.  She reports that these plants are doing much better in the open ground than in the pots in the coldframe. Perhaps root constriction is at play here?

Time will tell if the lush growth that many of our more southerly located gardeners are experiencing becomes a disadvantage over the broad beans that have had more moderate levels of growth.  Hardier and more stunted growth may make them more resilient as the weather turns colder.

October plants in early December in Cheshire

Sweet peas – such as the ones the the left above here in our Guildford gardener’s greenhouse – are also doing well for most gardeners, though some participants have lost their sweet peas to hungry wildlife!

The challenge as we go into winter will be to protect these young plants from the cold whilst keeping them hardened off enough to not shoot on ahead prematurely.  This is as much a test of the skills of the gardeners as it is a test of the seeds themselves!

 

To follow the results of our gardeners in more detail, take a look at our table of stats for each of the varieties:

November 2013’s planting

October 2013’s planting

 

Looking forward into December

BasilMr Fothergill’s Nation of Gardeners has now entered  its third month, with the gardeners having just received their December package over the weekend.

With all of our gardeners now experiencing their first frosts and the perils of winter weather, the Nation of Gardeners will move indoors for their December trial to partake in windowsill growing of basil, coriander and four varieties of leaves.

Nation of Gardeners results: Astrantia Moulin Rouge

December 9th, 2013 | Nation of Gardeners, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Astrantia Moulin RougeAstrantia Moulin Rouge is a hardy perennial that grows to 20-28in in height bringing beautiful blooms to the mid-border with tiny dove-shaped florets above a collar of fringed bracts and palm-shaped leaves.  Flowers from midsummer through to autumn, it is a variety that is quick to clump and good as a cut flower.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to plant a bare root variety of Astrantia Moulin Rouge in November 2013 to test raising these bare root perennials in exposed and sheltered situations over winter.  They were sent two plants – one for planting in the open ground and one for planting in a pot and protecting in a coldframe or greenhouse. Results seen via each of these methods will be compared in Spring and Summer 2014.  The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 12 November 30 November (open ground plant) 1cm growth as at 30/11/13 in the plant in open ground.  No growth in the potted plant.
Renfrewshire 28m 9 November 15 November Both plants arrived with single shoot of growth which ‘brightened up’ a few days after planting.
North Devon 30-50m 8 and 9 November 20 November Planted in pot on 8 November and in ground on 9 November.  20 November observation: plants in the open ground are looking more established and settled than those in pots.
Worcestershire 55m 10 November Planted both on same date. 17 November: Covered ground planted perennials with umbrella cloche due to severe weather warning.
Derbyshire 39m 10 November
Cumbria 90m 8 November Planted both on same date.
Ceredigion 131m 8 November Planted both on same date. In the open ground planted into partial sunny position. In pot, planted into sunny position.
Bristol 55m 9 and 10 November  9 December One planted into coldframe in pot on 9 November, other in open ground on 11 November.  Protected with pebbles from slugs.  9 December: Some new leaf growth.
Suffolk 6m 9 November 1 December One planted into coldframe in pot, other in garden. By 1 December new leaf growth observed.
Hertfordshire 150m 23 November 23 November Were already growing new shoots on arrival
Surrey 58m
Pontypridd 157m 10 November 24 November (potted plant)
Buckinghamshire 66m 10 November
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 5 November 22 November Some weak growth observed 22 November
Derbyshire 241m 9 November 1 December One planted in pot and put into coldframe with slug protection. One planted in open ground with slug protection. 1 December: new leaf growth in open ground, one new leaf also on cold frame plant

Nation of Gardeners results: Sedum Xenox

December 9th, 2013 | Nation of Gardeners, The flower garden | 0 Comments

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Sedum Xenox is a dark leafed sedum with unusual colouring.  This hardy perennial is very attractive to bees and butterflies, sedums provide colour to the late summer and autumn border and grow to a height of 12″.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to plant a bare root variety of Sedum Xenox in November 2013 to test raising these bare root perennials in exposed and sheltered situations over winter.  They were sent two plants – one for planting in the open ground and one for planting in a pot and protecting in a coldframe or greenhouse.  Results from each method will be examined in Spring and Summer 2014.  The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 12 November 15 November 1cm growth as at 30/11/13 in both potted and open ground plants.
Renfrewshire 28m 9 November 18 November (open ground plant) Modest growth seen in the plant in open ground. Little to see in cold frame by 20 November.
North Devon 30-50m 8 and 9 November 20 November Planted in pot on 8 November and in ground on 9 November.  The open ground planting looks better established than those in pots by 20 November.
Worcestershire 55m 10 November Planted both on same date. 17 November: Covered ground planted perennials with umbrella cloche due to severe weather warning.
Derbyshire 39m 10 November
Cumbria 90m 8 November Planted both on same date. Settled in well.
Ceredigion 131m 8 November Planted both on same date. In the open ground planted into partial sunny position. In pot, planted into sunny position.
Bristol 55m 9 and 11 November 9 December One planted into coldframe on 9 November and one into ground on 11 November.  9 December: Some new leaf growth.
Suffolk 6m 9 November 1 December Planted one into coldframe and one into garden.  By 1 December new leaf growth was observed on both plants.
Hertfordshire 150m 23 November 29 November 29 November: new growth seen in potted plant.
Surrey 58m
Pontypridd 157m 10 November 25 November (ground)
Buckinghamshire 66m 10 November
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 5 November 20 November
Wrexham/Flintshire
Derbyshire 241m 9 November 25 November (open ground); 1 December (coldframe) One planted in pot and put into coldframe with slug protection. One planted in open ground with slug protection.

Nation of Gardeners results: Eryngium Supernova Starlight

December 9th, 2013 | Nation of Gardeners, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Eryngium 'Super Nova Starlight' - RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011Eryngium Supernova Starlight is a distinctive and easily recognisable plant that adds height to the back of your flower borders.

Our Nation of Gardeners were asked to plant a bare root variety of Eryngium Supernova Starlight in November 2013 to test raising these bare root perennials in exposed and sheltered situations over winter.  They were sent two plants – one for planting in the open ground and one for planting in a pot and protecting in a coldframe or greenhouse. Results seen via each of these methods will be compared in Spring and Summer 2014.  The table below charts their progress.

Location Elevation Date planted Date first signs of growth Notes
Cheshire 49m 12 November 30 November 2cm growth as at 30/11/13 in both plants
Renfrewshire 28m 9 November 15 November (potted in coldframe plant) 20 November: The plant seems happier in pot in cold frame than in open ground.
North Devon 30-50m 8 and 9 November 20 November Planted in pot on 8 November and in ground on 9 November.  20 November observation: the plants outside are looking stronger than those protected in pots.
Worcestershire 55m 10 November Planted both on same date. 17 November: Covered ground planted perennials with umbrella cloche due to severe weather warning.
Derbyshire 39m 10 November
Cumbria 90m 8 November Planted both on same date.
Ceredigion 131m 8 November Planted both on same date. In the open ground planted into partial sunny position. In pot, planted into sunny position.
Bristol 55m 9 and 11 November One planted into coldframe on 9 November and one into ground on 11 November
Suffolk 6m 9 November Planted one into coldframe and one into garden.
Hertfordshire 150m 23 November
Surrey 58m
Pontypridd 157m 10 November
Buckinghamshire 66m 10 November
Guildford 56m
Gloucestershire 74m 5 November 15 November
Wrexham/Flintshire
Derbyshire 241m 9 November early December in coldframe One planted in pot and put into coldframe with slug protection. One planted in open ground with slug protection.  Some new leaf growth on coldframe plant by early December. 20 December: both plants discovered to be eaten. No trace left.