Posts Tagged ‘flower gardening’

February Gardening Advice

February 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

Hearts beat a little faster this month with the arrival of Valentine’s Day. Likewise, for gardeners, pulses begin to race with the prospect of spring on the horizon.

Whether you’re working on the allotment, or in the garden, the jobs list is beginning to increase as we start to prepare for the arrival of a new season. However, don’t be seduced into thinking you should immediately start sowing outside. Jack Frost is a cunning cad, and is always seeking the opportunity to break hearts. Whether it’s a severe frost, or a late flurry of snow, gardening plans can be quickly scuppered. Right now, in this unpredictable month, patience is the key.

So, why not take a moment to enjoy what February has to offer. Hellebores, crocuses, even an early daffodil, can be just what’s needed to get you in the mood for spring.


In the flower garden

DIVIDE

Most snowdrops have now bloomed and will start to fade before returning to their green form. Now’s the time to lift, divide and re-plant. Over the years, they will naturally increase and spread. However, a gardener’s intervention can result in larger displays, without such a lengthy wait.

This process can also be applied to the perennial plants in your herbaceous borders. Quite often a sharp spade is the best way to divide them. Think about how you want your border to look this summer, and re-plant accordingly.

BORDERS

At the moment, borders aren’t looking at their best, but this is the time to get them ready for the growing season ahead. Remove all weeds and fallen debris, and cut away last season’s dead perennial foliage. Finally, mulch the area, ideally to the depth of six inches, as this will help suppress weeds. Be careful not to cover perennials, shrubs or protruding bulb shoots as this will prevent the sunlight and warmth reaching them, and could encourage rot.

GRASSES

Ornamental grasses in winter can add wonderful structure to a vacant gardening space. But as winter wanes, they will start to look a little ragged. Deciduous varieties will benefit from being cut back hard with a pair of shears. This may seem drastic, but don’t worry, they will thank you for it. Varieties such as Stipa, need nothing more than a good comb. By using your hands and a sensible pair of gloves to prevent cuts, simply drag your fingers through the clump, removing old growth.

GREENHOUSE

Despite the cold month, if you’re lucky enough to own a heated greenhouse, polytunnel, or a well-lit, warm, windowsill, you could think about sowing hardy annual and perennial seeds. Whether it’s Cornflower, Cosmos, French marigolds or Echinacea, these can be sown now. Overfill a small pot or tray with either seed or multi-purpose compost. Tap the container gently, and brush the excess soil from the rim. Sow your seeds thinly over the surface, and then cover over with a thin layer of compost, or vermiculite. Once labelled, place your container in a couple of inches of water. It’s preferable to let the pot draw the water from the bottom, leaving the seeds undisturbed, as watering from above can easily scatter the seeds, disrupting their growing environment and hampering germination. Finally, place in a bright and warm spot.

PANSIES AND VIOLIAS

Pansies can provide well-needed colour during the solemn winter months. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep them in check if you want them to continue providing colour. Deadheading is key. Remove any fading or diseased blooms, making the cut just above a lower pair of leaves. Do not let your plants go to seed, as they will stop producing blooms. If you’re growing them in pots or containers, ensure they don’t dry out, but don’t overwater. If you have them in the ground, keep an eye out for pests, such as slugs and snails.

PRUNING

This is the month to prune late flowering Clematis, Prune Group 3 (For definitions of each group, go to https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=109 ). They flower from mid to late summer, and on newly grown stems. Therefore, you can cut back a lot of last year’s growth, down to a strong pair of buds, about 30 cm above the ground. Ensure you spread out the stems, tie them into a support frame, and mulch around the base of the plant. As soon as the temperature starts to rise, they will quickly put on growth.

Similarly, you can prune shrubs that have just finished flowering such as Witch Hazel, and prune hard on shrubs such as Cornus, Buddleia and Salix. Also, prune Wisteria by cutting back to three buds.

GARDEN WILDLIFE

Continue to keep bird-feeding stations supplied with food and fresh water. If the weather is too bad to work in, then this might be the time to retreat to the shed, and think about building a nest box. Garden birds will soon be looking for nests to hatch their chicks. So why not help bring birdlife into your garden, and install a nest box.


On the veg patch

RASPBERRIES

Cut all autumn fruiting varieties down to an inch above the ground. Mulch around the raspberry stalks, ensuring you don’t cover them over. If you want a longer growing season, cut only half of your stock down to above the ground. The untouched canes will provide fruit earlier in the season.

This is the last opportunity to plant bare root varieties. Once summer varieties are planted and mulched, cut canes down to ten inches. Again, with autumn fruiting varieties, mulch and cut-down to an inch above the ground.

FRUIT TREES

There’s still time to prune your fruit trees and soft fruit, such as gooseberries, as they’re still dormant. Beyond this, tree sap will be on the rise, so pruning too late might create a seeping wound, thus damaging the tree. Consider buying bare rootstock varieties, and rhubarb crowns, and plant out.

 CHITTING

Up and down the land right now, windowsills are dominated by seeding potatoes sat on eggbox thrones, with their eyes looking skyward. However, if you haven’t bought your tubers yet, it’s still not too late. Get them chitting as soon as possible, and six weeks from now you could be sitting them in the warming soil of your allotment, or in growing bags.

SOW

If you have a cold frame or greenhouse, ideally with a heat source, then you might consider sowing into plugs the following; onions, beetroot, cabbage, leeks, spring onion, lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes. If you sow into large plugs, and thin your seedlings out accordingly, then your young plants can continue to grow on until you’re ready to plant out. This method will not only give you the time to prepare the plot, but give the soil an opportunity to warm up in the early spring weather. Bear in mind, it’s still a low winter sun, so light levels can make plants leggy.

If you’re hoping to sow seeds, such as carrot, straight into the ground, wait until at least the end of the month. Ideally, warm the allocated plot, by covering the soil for few weeks with either a cloche, or plastic sheeting. This extra warmth is precious when trying to germinate seeds, such as carrots and parsnips. Remember to stagger your sowing, otherwise months from now you may find yourself with a glut.

PEAS AND BEANS

You can begin sowing early varieties indoors. As these legumes have a deep root system, ideally you want to sow them in root trainers as they don’t like their roots disturbed. Not only are you providing the best opportunity to grow strong plants, but when you plant out, the roots won’t suffer from stress.

PARSNIPS

If you still have parsnips growing, lift and store them. Beyond February, these tapered beauties will sprout. Place carefully into a box, cover with dry sand, and store somewhere cool and out of sunlight.

STORAGE

Check regularly for any damage or decay on any fruit or veg you having been storing over winter. Anything spoilt, remove at once and destroy. Ensure remaining produce is individually spaced to prevent further contamination, and to encourage a good airflow.

Indoors

BULBS

Any remaining bulb plants that have finished blooming can be taken outside, or kept in a greenhouse, to let the foliage dieback. However, continue to water and feed any Amaryllis bulbs, as this may encourage the flower to return late next autumn, or winter.

Enter now for your chance to win a hamper of Grow Your Own flowers, fruit and vegetables from Mr Fothergill’s

November 1st, 2015 | Competitions | 0 Comments

Win this bumper parcel of good things to grow in your garden from Mr Fothergill's

We decided to bring you an early Christmas gift this year.  And what better gifts for gardening enthusiasts than a bumper pack of things to grow?

We have had huge success with our RSPB range in 2015, which raises cash for the RSPB as well as encourages gardeners to introduce wildlife havens for birds and pollinators. And so we are including one of each of the single flower varieties and all three seed mixes for you to try. Also popular this year has been our GroMat and GroBox ranges. We’ve included 2 of the children’s GroBoxes and two GroMats in our giveaway hamper too.

To help us to celebrate the Year of the Cosmos, and the Year of the Tomato in 2016 we are also including a selection of new seeds for you to try in your gardens next year.

Finally, just in case you are more of a vegetable grower, we are also including one each of our Get Growing range, that includes the best of all the most popular vegetable types.

For the full list of contents of the Grow Your Own hamper see below.

Entering this competition could not be easier.  Just follow these instructions.

 

How to enter the Grow Your Own hamper competition:

Simply ‘Follow’ us on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook to enter the competition. If you do both, you will be entered into the draw twice, which will give you double the chance of winning.  Do share on our posts to encourage others to enter!

If you already ‘like’ or ‘follow’ us then just share our posts on Facebook and Twitter to be entered into the draw.

You can find us at the following locations:

 

Terms & Conditions:

  • The competition will run for the duration of November 2015, commencing at 9am on 1 November 2015 and closing at 11.59pm on 30 November 2015. Entries made after this closing date will not be considered in the draw.
  • Mr Fothergill’s will announce the winner via social media on 2 December 2015.
  • There will be only one winner.  Mr Fothergill’s will choose the winner at random, and our decision on this will be final.
  • There is no cash alternative to the prize.
  • The prize is open to UK residents only and will be delivered by UK courier.
  • The winner will have one week in which to respond and claim their prize.  Failure to respond after 7 days will forfeit the prize and we will draw again.
  • Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Ltd will reserve the right to publish the name of the winner on our website and in any related press release in relation to this competition.
  • This competition is not open to employees or family members of Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Ltd.

 

Full list of contents of the Grow Your Own hamper worth over £250!

Description

RRP

RSPB AMARANTHUS Ribbons and Beads

£2.95

RSPB ASTER (Michaelmas Daisy) Mixed

£2.95

RSPB CALIFORNIAN POPPY Single Mixed

£2.95

RSPB COREOPSIS (Tickseed) Unbelievable

£2.95

RSPB CORNFLOWER Tall Mixed

£2.95

RSPB COSMOS Sensation Mixed

£2.95

RSPB FLAX

£2.95

RSPB MILLET (Foxtail) Hylander

£2.95

RSPB GERANIUM (Hardy) pratense Mixed

£2.95

RSPB GLOBE THISTLE

£2.95

RSPB GREATER KNAPWEED

£2.95

RSPB RUDBECKIA Marmalade

£2.95

RSPB SCABIOUS Tall Double Mixed

£2.95

RSPB VALERIAN

£2.95

RSPB VERBENA bonariensis

£2.95

RSPB YARROW

£2.95

RSPB Flower Carpet for Bees seed mix (20 sq. m)

£6.95

RSPB Flowers for Birds seed mix (20 sq.m)

£6.95

RSPB Flowers for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects seed mix (20 sq. m)

£6.95

GROMAT Wildflower Mix

£9.99

GROMAT Grow Your Own Vegetables

£9.99

GROBOX Childrens Vegetable Garden

£6.99

GROBOX Childrens Flower Garden

£6.99

COSMOS Brightness Mixed

£2.15

COSMOS Double Click Cranberries

£2.35

COSMOS Seashells Red

£2.15

COSMOS Tetra Versailles Dark Rose

£2.15

COSMOS Xanthos

£2.15

TOMATO Bountiful F1

£3.25

TOMATO Suncherry Smile F1

£3.25

TOMATO Sunchocola F1

£3.25

TOMATO Sunlemon F1

£3.25

Get Growing BASIL

£1.95

Get Growing CORIANDER

£1.95

Get Growing CHIVES

£1.95

Get Growing PARSLEY Curled

£1.95

Get Growing PARSLEY Flat

£1.95

Get Growing SAGE

£1.95

Get Growing THYME

£1.95

Get Growing BEETROOT

£2.15

Get Growing BROAD BEAN

£2.35

Get Growing BROCCOLI Green

£2.35

Get Growing BROCCOLI Purple

£2.15

Get Growing SPROUTS

£3.45

Get Growing CABBAGE Ball

£1.70

Get Growing CABBAGE Heart

£3.25

Get Growing CABBAGE Savoy

£1.70

Get Growing CARROT Finger

£1.70

Get Growing CARROT Large

£2.55

Get Growing CARROT Baby

£2.80

Get Growing CAULIFLOWER

£1.30

Get Growing CHARD

£2.80

Get Growing CLIMBING BEAN

£2.80

Get Growing COURGETTE

£2.55

Get Growing CRESS

£1.95

Get Growing CUCUMBER

£3.25

Get Growing DWARF BEAN

£2.35

Get Growing FENNEL

£1.95

Get Growing KALE

£1.70

Get Growing LEEK

£2.15

Get Growing LETTUCE Iceberg

£2.15

Get Growing LETTUCE Little Gem

£1.65

Get Growing LETTUCE Cos

£2.29

Get Growing LETTUCE Loose Leaf Red/Green

£2.15

Get Growing LETTUCE Loose Leaf

£1.95

Get Growing SPRING ONION

£1.95

Get Growing PARSNIP

£2.35

Get Growing PEA

£2.35

Get Growing PEA Mangetout

£2.35

Get Growing PEA Petit Pois

£2.35

Get Growing PEA Snap

£2.35

Get Growing PEPPER Hot Mix

£2.55

Get Growing PEPPER Hot Red

£2.15

Get Growing PEPPER Sweet

£2.35

Get Growing PUMPKIN

£2.35

Get Growing RADISH Globe

£2.15

Get Growing RADISH Long

£1.30

Get Growing ROCKET

£2.35

Get Growing RUNNER BEAN

£2.35

Get Growing SPINACH

£2.15

Get Growing SQUASH Butternut

£2.55

Get Growing SQUASH Summer

£2.80

Get Growing SWEDE

£2.15

Get Growing SWEETCORN

£2.55

Get Growing TOMATO

£3.25

Get Growing TOMATO Tumbling Cherry

£3.25

Get Growing TOMATO Cherry

£3.45

Get Growing TURNIP

£1.70

If you would like to win a hamper of Grow Your Own flowers, fruit and vegetables from Mr Fothergill’s worth over £250, then enter our competition today.

 

Free Sunflower seeds with every seed order at Mr Fothergill’s

March 2nd, 2015 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Free Sunflower Pacino ColaAnyone who places a seed order from the spring edition of Mr Fothergill’s mail order catalogue, published on 28 February 2015, may claim a free packet of sunflower seed in celebration of what has been declared the Europe-wide Year of the Sunflower.  The variety Pacino Cola (20 seeds per packet) is compact at just 50cm (20in) high, but produces plenty of medium to large blooms on well-branched plants all through the summer.

The Year of the Sunflower was the idea of Fleuroselect, the organisation which assesses new flower varieties from around the world to determine their suitability for European conditions.  Mr Fothergill’s Tracy Collacott is the sole UK seed company representative on the Fleuroselect Home Gardening committee.  “We hope as many people as possible will grow sunflowers in 2015, and to set the ball rolling we are delighted to send all our spring customers a free packet of this beautiful variety, which is particularly easy to grow and tailor-made for first-time gardeners”, says Tracy

Sunflower Pacino Cola has golden petals and contrastingly dark centres.  The neat, compact plants are ideal in beds, at the front of borders or in large terracotta pots, where they are sure to attract attention.  During the summer the large heads attract a wide range of beneficial and pollinating insects, while in autumn wild birds can feed on the seed heads.

You can order Pacino Cola or any other sunflower seeds from our extensive range from Mr Fothergill’s on the website, or by mail order from our catalogue.

Top performing Stellar Geraniums

February 26th, 2015 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Geranium Grandad Mac

Stellar geraniums (Pelargonium) have their origins in Australia, with some varieties being bred more than a century ago.  Mr Fothergill’s has been trialling several varieties which are not often seen and rarely available, in conjunction with a local  grower, and has selected three of the best performers for British gardens.

The fascinating series comprises the semi-double, coral coloured Grandad Mac, the double, pale pink Rookley and Robyn Hannah, which has bright cherry red blooms, each with a contrasting white eye.  “The plants grow up to 40cm (16in), and are ideal for baskets and other containers either in sun or partial shade.  They really are fantastic performers all summer long, and we are delighted to offer them to our customers,” explains Mr Fothergill’s Tom Stimpson.

Stellar geraniums are characterised by their unique, lobed foliage and brightly coloured flowers, they are excellent garden performers, providing colour from early to late summer, have excellent disease resistance, are easy to grow and require the minimum of attention to give their best – the perfect plants, according to Tom.

Three plants of any of the three varieties costs £7.95, while anyone ordering all nine plants may do so for £16.85.  Last order date for Stellar geraniums is the end of April 2015, with despatch from early May 2015.

Social media voters pick Fuchsia Amelie for Mr Fothergill’s catalogue front cover

February 25th, 2015 | News, The flower garden | 0 Comments

Fuchsia Shadowdancer Amelie (close-up)

When Mr Fothergill’s was undecided which new flower variety to feature on the front cover of the new spring edition of its seed, plant and bulb catalogue, it decided to ask gardeners via social media.  The four choices were posted on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with votes cast on Facebook.  In a closely run contest, the winner was fuchsia Amelie, which is part of the Sundancer® series, famed for its neat, compact habit and outstanding garden performance.

Mr Fothergill’s Tom Stimpson comments that although not a brand new series, Sundancers® are not readily available and make a pleasing change from some of the more common varieties.  “They are incredibly floriferous, in fact some of the most profuse bloomers I’ve seen, with plants smothered in attractive blooms from early to late summer. The frilly, light pink sepals contrast wonderfully with the intense purple corolla to create a fantastic summer-long show,” he says.  “We’ve trialled them for several years, and Amelie is the best in the series.  Its neat, upright, yet somewhat lax habit makes it suitable for both patio containers or as a centre plant for a hanging basket – the flowers are well displayed on the plant too, so all of them are clearly visible – no hiding behind the foliage!”

Fuchsia Amelie grows to a height of 30cm (12in) and has a spread of 25cm (10in).  A pack of five young plants costs £8.95, but two packs may be ordered for just £6.45 per pack, with a saving of £5.00.  The company can accept orders until the end of April 2015, with despatch from late April onwards

You can view and order from our extensive range of fuchsia plants from Mr Fothergill’s on the website, or by mail order from our catalogue.