Posts Tagged ‘Containers’
Posted by editor on Monday, 24 September 2012
Heading out in The Garden House garden last Saturday – the last deliciously sunny day for a while I suspect – we were struck by just how much dramatic and fiery autumn colour remains to be picked and enjoyed. The jewel tones of the season are deep purples, rusts, scarlet and gold.
In between the rustling buff and golden grasses and seedheads: Helenium with their orange-red flowers, the flat heads of golden Achillea (yarrow) and simple sprawling nasturtiums – all looking simple and unpretentious, yet still wonderfully rich and bold.
Sadly the dahlias are pretty much over, though sedums are still looking strong and will go on for a while yet (though this week’s heavy rain is bound to batter them!), asters are still flowering, and happily even a few cosmos remain.
Given that we can and often do enjoy early autumn warmth and sunshine, it is really worthwhile considering interspersing grasses with perennials that will extend the flowering year.
Winter pansies and ornamental chillies make a great display in the front garden pots.
Posted by editor on Friday, 8 June 2012
I doubt if there is anything about roses that Simon White does not know. He has worked for multi-medal-winning Peter Beales Roses in Norfolk for 30 years, but said that when he started there he didn’t care much for roses, but was just looking for a job! This was Simon’s second workshop for The Garden House, and he is a storehouse of rose-related facts and insider stories.
We began with a comprehensive A-Z of Roses, accompanied by lots of pictures, which gave us a good grounding in the many different types of rose. Already we were noting down the names of old favourites, must-have unfamiliar ones, and desirable new introductions. Simon’s message was that roses are a very versatile plant: there is something for every situation. Particularly useful was the knowledge that shrub roses grown against a wall or fence will climb up while still flowering beautifully from the base.
From where I was sitting, the fragrance from a bucket of cut roses standing just outside kept wafting in. They had featured on the Peter Beales stand at Chelsea the previous week and were still in amazing condition. We passed them round to look at their colours and forms and tried to describe each one’s distinctive scent. Then we were given a demonstration of the professional method of propagating roses from tiny buds on to rootstock. We were also shown how to plant a rose to get it off to a good start, especially in our local chalky soil or to avoid rose replant disease – apparently the secret is all in a cardboard box.
The very full and informative day ended with a walk around Bridgette’s garden, rose-spotting. Although I’m very familiar with the garden from working in it each week with the Friday group I was still surprised by the number and variety of roses growing there – although Simon was reluctant to spend time on any that had been bred by their famous rival rose-growers (whose initials are D.A.)
Posted by editor on Saturday, 2 June 2012
If you nip down to your local garden centre, it may not be too late to rustle up some red, white and blue bedding plants and even perennials to plant up a couple of pots or window-boxes (ideal for your front garden if your street is planning a party!).
The RHS website has some brilliant ideas – the following info is from their website:
Patriotic displays of red, white and blue-flowered plants are traditional favourites for British celebrations. Below is a selection of plants recommended by the RHS and the Horticultural Trades Association, who have been working together to promote the brightest and best to garden centres and nurseries for the summer celebrations.
|Begonia Semperflorens Cultorum Group||
|Begonia × tuberhybrida||
|Viola × wittrockiana (pansy)||x||x||x|
*’blue’ plants include shades of mauve and purple, as there are few true-blue flowers.
Images are from:
One Good Thing by Jillee – who also suggests painting your pots in red, white and blue!
Bill Flowers - love those ‘over railing’ pots!
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 21 February 2012
We recently connected with a fantastic local initiative, the London Road Station Partnership – a group made up of neighbours living near the lovely nineteenth-century London Road station, just outside the centre of Brighton. Not only do we love them, we admire them too!
Through their local Residents’ Association (DRARA), these friends and neighbours got together with Southern Railway in April 2011 to set up a station community partnership. They now garden on two small plots on either side of the station building. In one, growing shade-tolerant ornamental plants and in the other, edible plants in raised beds.
The Garden House was delighted to contribute a couple of attractive planters to enhance the plot as it develops. They even blogged about us! Click here.
Meeting regularly to work on the gardens, usually on a TUESDAY between 3pm and 5.30pm, they’ve said they’d be delighted to welcome anybody who’s interested in community gardening, particularly if you live nearby. To check out the daily Workdays diary of tasks, click here.
The LRSP are also hoping to develop displays showing aspects of the history of London Road Station and residents’ memories of it. To find our more or get involved, you can contact LRSP at email@example.com or through their blog.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 2 October 2011
We love sempervivums (houseleeks) – they are such easy plants to grow, tolerating cold temperatures but not liking wet weather. Sempervivum means ‘always alive’ – a reference to the fact that houseleeks tolerate extreme temperatures and drought. The hardiness of Sempervivum, and the closely related genus Jovibarba (also known as hen and chickens), makes them excellent, easy-to-keep garden plants.
Sempervivum and Jovibarba species are commonly grown in containers, but they can thrive in engineering bricks with holes, driftwood and tufa rock, because of their ability to grow in very little compost. South-facing rockeries, gravel gardens and vertical walls also make good habitats. The also look good in broken pots.
They thrive in a sunny, outdoor position, in well-drained compost, such as John Innes No.1 or No.2, with 25% sharp horticultural grit for added drainage. A layer of grit should be added to the surface of the compost to further aid drainage.
Houseleeks are most valued for their distinctive rosettes of succulent, spirally patterned foliage, although they also bear attractive flowers from spring to summer. Each rosette is a separate plant, and is monocarpic – it flowers once then dies, but is soon replaced by other new rosettes, called offsets. These offsets can be separated and planted up, and will then grow into new clumps.
Sempervivums don’t need feeding, but do benefit from being repotted each year into compost containing slow-release fertiliser.
- S. calcareum – bears very striking, large, grey-green rosettes, which shade to reddish-brown at the leaf tips.
- S. calcareum ‘Extra’ – bears large numbers of blue-green leaves in each of its rosettes, each with a distinctive reddish-brown tip.
- S. arachnoideum – possibly the most famous species, also known as the cobweb houseleek, due to the network of white hairs at the leaf tips. These hairs protect the plant against dehydration and intense sunlight.
- S. ‘Irazu’ – the attractive purple rosettes of ‘Irazu’ are offset beautifully by their silver leaf margins. The leaves can fade to a duller pink during winter.
- S. ‘Reinhard’ – a vigorous variety, which forms clumps of upright green rosettes, thrown into sharp relief by the almost black leaf tips.
- S. ‘Fernwood’ – similar in colouring to ‘Reinhard’, ‘Fernwood’ has larger, more open rosettes. It maintains its colour well throughout the year.
- S. ‘Squib’ – red houseleeks generally require high light levels to maintain their colour, but ‘Squib’, a dark purple variety, keeps its colour well in winter.
- S. ‘Moerkerk’s Merit’ – the velvety appearance of ‘Moerkerk’s Merit’ is due to the tufty hairs that adorn the leaf tips. Related to S. arachnoideum, its leaves are a delicate silver-green.
- Jovibarba heuffelii ‘Angel Wings’ – whereas sempervivums mostly produce red or pink flowers, Jovibarba species produce yellow, more bell-like flowers. ‘Angel Wings’ is a vigorous variety with sharply pointed brown and green leaves.
- Jovibarba allionii – has long, tapered leaves. Jovibarba offsets separate from the clump much more readily than those of Sempervivum, and the rosettes are generally more sturdy.
We have some stunning ‘Semps’ for sale at the Garden House – really worth a look for a special present or if you are starting a collection. Also check out Sempervivums By Post (our main image is from their wonderful website) www.sempsbypost.co.uk
Posted by editor on Sunday, 14 August 2011
At this time of year, hardy Passiflora are in full bloom. A wonderfully exotic-looking plant, the Blue Passion Flower (P. caerulea) has large white flowers and central filaments of purple, blue and white, followed by egg-shaped, orange-yellow fruit, and flowers from July to September. The fruit are edible, but not very tasty and not to be confused with ones you can buy in the supermarkets!
This vigorous, trouble-free climber looks really good in a tropical planting scheme, and will grow best at the base of a sheltered wall in full sun, although they can tolerate some shade. Even the leaves and tendrils look other-worldlly, deeply lobed, dark green and glossy. It is frost hardy but may need some winter protection in cold areas. The eventual height is 10 metres.
The “Passion” in “passion flower” refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
- The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance
- The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ
- The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (excluding St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer)
- The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns
- The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
- The 3 stigmas represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance)
- The blue and white colours of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
Being easy to grow they require little maintenance, but if you don’t want them to reach too high, plant in pots or tubs and let them grow up and cascade over an obelisk.
Choose three to five of the strongest shoots, tying them in to horizontal wires. Once the plant is established, cut back the flowered shoots immediately after flowering to within two or three buds of the permanent framework of the plant. In spring remove dead, misplaced or overcrowded stems.
If you want to find out more about passion flowers, Passiflora: Passionflowers of the World by Torsten Ulmer and John M. MacDougal is a really good read.
Posted by editor on Monday, 11 April 2011
This fascinating genus contains over 100 species of bulbous perennials, from the tall and dramatic F. imperialis (Crown Imperial) to the delicate F. meleagris (snake’s head fritillary) with its distinctive chequered flower. In the main they originate from around the Mediterranean, Asia and North America (F.meleagris is the one species of fritillaria thought to be native to Britain).
The majority bloom in spring and have distinctive flowers that are generally bell-shaped and pendant. These hardy bulbs need deep, rich and well draining soil and should be planted in autumn to a depth of at least twice that of the bulb. They can also be successfully grown in pots, which in the case of F. imperilais is helpful, making them easier to move under cover during the winter months.
Other favourites include F. persica, a deep dusky mauve, and F. persica Ivory Bells. Flowers are held in long racemes of up to 30 narrowly bell-shaped somewhat conical flowers, about ¾” long with a waxy bloom.
Also look out for Fritillaria michailovskyi, it has up to five, pendant reddish-purple bells with a yellow edge on the outside and a shiny yellow interior. Like F. meleagris it is only 8-10” tall, an exquisite woodland or river meadow gem.
Posted by editor on Sunday, 7 November 2010
Tulips are fantastic spring bulbs. There is nothing to beat them – for scent, colour and drama. If, like me, you want them to last for at least two months starting in the middle of March and continuing until the Alliums flower in May then you will need to do some planning. It is such a lovely task on a gloomy evening to sit and look through the bulb catalogues and choose and plan your show!
Combining your tulips with spring flowering biennials, such as the deep red wallflower Erysimum ‘Blood Red’, or the orange, E. Fire King, or honesty, Lunnaria annua, will give a fantastic carpet of colour.
Plant some tulips for an early display, the Fosterianas are good, they have big flowers, and don’t forget the tall stemmed tulips like ‘Purissima’ or ‘Flaming Purissima’. The Fosterianas are great in pots and they flower in March and early April.
The species tulips such as Tulipa bakeri and T. clusiana also flower early in the year. ‘Prinses Irene’ is an early tulip with gorgeous orange flowers, that have crimson and red streaks and is perfect for pots.
Make sure that your pots are clean as tulips are susceptible to blight which is transferred by spores and if your pots are not clean then they can become infected.
Next come the Triumph tulips and these will give you the earliest of the deep reds. A mix of ‘Jan Reus’, the almost black ‘Queen of Night’ and the lovely deep purple ‘Recreado’ look sensational together and will flower around the middle of April.
The beautiful Parrot tulips come into bloom in the middle of spring and the form ‘Rococo’ looks brilliant with lettuces or the blood red Erysimum. This is a great tulip for forcing and if you plant them in pots under cover you can manipulate them to flower by the middle of March.
The next ones are my favourites – the lily flowered tulips – and one of the most scented is ‘Ballerina’. It is such an elegant tulip and looks wonderful with ‘Black Hero’, which is a double late form of ‘Queen of Night’ – it’s double flowers look peony like – there is a huge range of lily flowered tulips, ‘West Point’, ‘Burgundy’ and White Triumphator’ and Christopher Lloyds favourite,’ Queen of Sheba’, to name but a few.
Then finally to end the show some of the green-splashed ‘Viridifloras’ are long lasting and often flower year after year, which is a bonus. The Parrot tulips, ‘Flaming Parrot’ and ‘Orange Favourite’ should see you through to the middle of May when the Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ is poised to take over.
The best time to plant tulips is after the first frost, or preferably frosts as these will kill off any fungal spores which are left in the ground, and is a good organic gardening method for getting rid of the disease tulip fire, (Botrytis tulipae), something that you really don’t want in your garden as it will kill all your tulips.
Try to plant your tulips at least 20cm/8” deep as this will ensure that any spores near the surface will not infect your bulbs. Planted under shrubs will also allow your tulips to ‘die well’ as the shrub will provide a good foil for the dying leaves.
Order your bulbs on line at www.dutchbulbs.co.uk or call them on 0161 848 1124 if you prefer to study your bulbs in a catalogue. This company also supplies A5 pictures of your chosen bulbs, (you can order them with your bulbs). This is really helpful if showing bulbs to customers or if you are trying to decide on plant combinations.
At the Garden House we still have some bulbs for sale so why not drop by on Friday afternoon between 2.00 and 4.00pm for a slice of cake, a cup of tea and buy some bulbs to brighten up your spring!
Posted by editor on Sunday, 17 October 2010
To get us all into the autumn mood, we’ve decided to open The Garden House for FREE on the afternoon of Friday 22 October. We’ll be offering demonstrations on seasonal tasks like propagation and bulb planting, with useful hand-outs to take away with you.
The same day, local artist Jo Sweeting will lead our evening workshop, showing us how to create a unique and personal pumpkin carving – and what could be more evocative of autumn than a carved Halloween pumpkin?
Jo typically carves stone but her pumpkins are a sight to behold! Think of making a carved pumpkin ‘soup bowl’, a richly carved table centerpiece – or a pumpkin, beautifully carved and lit from within!
Do book now, as the course is almost full – cost: £42 (or £40 each for two people booking together) – to include a pumpkin (of course!), and a delicious light supper and a glass of wine. The Pumpkin Carving workshop starts at 6.30pm and finishes at approx. 9.15pm.
Location: The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Posted by editor on Sunday, 26 September 2010
We love autumn! It’s always hard to choose between the joy of new growth in spring, the pleasure of a warm summer (if we’re lucky!), and the season of greatest change – autumn…
Autumn smells different, it looks stunning (I’m thinking the drama of leaf colour change), and it’s time for wrapping up warm and putting the garden to bed. But of course, nothing stops, we’re also thinking ahead – forcing bulbs to flower at Christmas, propagating our favourite plants, sowing hardy annuals, and planting bulbs and new plants whilst the soil is still warm.
At The Garden House we have some great autumn workshops and visits coming up.
On Wednesday 20 October, a visit by coach to Sheffield Park and Garden to savor the stunning colour change as the many rare trees and shrubs turn yellow, gold and red…(10am to 3pm / £25 pp for National Trust members and £34 pp for non-NT members).
Then on Friday 22 October we have two events:
- Firstly, The Garden House will be open from 3pm to 6pm. Do come along with a friend – we’re offering FREE demonstrations on seasonal tasks like propagation and bulb-planting, with useful hand-outs to take away with you – and we’ll have a variety of bulbs for sale, also tea or coffee and homemade cake for sale (£4.50 pp).
- Following that, in the evening, one of our favourite local artists, Jo Sweeting, is holding a pumpkin carving workshop (6.30pm-9.15pm / £42 pp, or £40 each for two people booking together – supper and wine included). This will be a brilliant evening – Jo is an amazing sculptor, working more typically in stone – and her carved pumpkins are just so different and inspiring!
All the details of these and other great autumn/winter workshops and courses are in our DIARY…check it out!
Posted by editor on Saturday, 29 May 2010
Brighton-based designer Andy Sturgeon won both gold and Best in Show Garden at CFS with his contemporary gravel garden. A wonderful and adventurous garden in many respects – the free-standing rusted steel structures framing stunning planting. Our eyes were particularly drawn to three large dramatic bowls of bronze coloured irises (Iris ‘Action Front’).
We also loved the stunning display put on by Cayeux, the French Iris specialists. The logistics of exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show were quite a challenge for Cayeux – their nursery in France has no poly tunnels, all irises being grown in 55 acres of open fields. Thus the plants shown at Chelsea were grown in England by the nursery Iris of Sissinghurst, in pots from rhizomes sent over in August 2009 from the Cayeux fields in France. www.iris-cayeux.com
Irises are well suited to dry, hot conditions. The following planting/care info is taken from the Cayeux website:
- When to plant: July to mid-October. It is important that the roots of newly planted Irises are well established before winter.
- Where to plant: In full sun – Irises need sun at least two thirds of the day. The soil must have very good drainage. Plant either on a slope or in raised beds. No water should be allowed to stand in iris beds.
- Soil preparation: If your soil is heavy, coarse sand or humus may be added to improve drainage. Lime is also good to improve clay soils. The ideal pH is 7 (neutral), but irises are tolerant in this regard. Remove all the weeds before planting.
- Distance apart: Plant 30 to 40 cm apart. Closer planting will give an immediate effect, but the irises will need to be thinned often.
- Depth to plant: Irises must be planted so that the tops of the rhizomes are exposed and the roots are spread out facing downward in the soil. Just after planting, water to pack down the soil around the roots.
- Watering: Newly set plants need moisture to help their root system become established. Once established, irises do not need to be watered except in arid areas and it is always better to under-water than over-water. TOO MUCH WATER CAN INDUCE ROT.
- Dividing old clumps: Irises must be divided every 3 to 5 years before they become overcrowded and begin to flower less. Thin by removing the old divisions at the centre of the clumps and leaving new growth in the ground. Alternatively, dig up the entire clump and remove and replant the big new rhizomes.
- Feeding: Depends on your soil type but bone meal, superphosphate or 5-10-15, or 6-8-12 are effective. Feed once in early spring and then one month after flowering. AVOID USING FERTILIZERS HIGH IN NITROGEN, IT ENCOURAGES ROT PROBLEMS.
- About the foliage: During the growing season healthy green leaves should be left undisturbed, but diseased or brown leaves must be removed. In the late autumn, trim off old dying foliage and cut the leaves back to about 15 cm. Flower stems should be cut off close to the ground after blooming.
Posted by editor on Monday, 8 March 2010
Everyone’s talking about growing your own veg these days, and a new initiative in Brighton and Hove aims to get more local residents growing by showing what is possible right on their doorstep!
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership’s Harvest project has been working with the City Council to start a demonstration fruit and vegetable garden in Preston Park. The garden will be packed with colour, textures, scent and taste, visible and open to the public with raised beds and containers showing different planting styles.
As well as operating as a resource for existing and new growers, the idea is that it will attract and introduce people to the idea of growing food and show the possibilities of growing their own produce, even in a small space. Local residents will help setup the garden, manage it and take home some of the harvest!
The Food Partnership is inviting local residents, gardeners, park rangers and councillors to celebrate the inaugural dig of the plot. Should be fun! If you are interested do come along – Tuesday 9th March, next to the Rotunda Cafe, Preston Park, at 4-4.30pm.
If you would like to volunteer and/or have tools that you can donate to the project, Harvest would love to hear from you. Contact: 01273 431700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by editor on Saturday, 27 February 2010
Having been on a visit to RHS Wisley last week with The Garden House I decided it was so amazing that I visited again this week, this time with my father (who is nearly 90) in tow.
RHS Wisley has such a wealth of information and this time – only a week later , there were different things to see and new plants emerging , despite the dreadful weather!
The alpines were certainly one of the stars of the show and they are a group of plants that I for one tend to forget about – an alpine is mainly grown between the tree line and the line of permanent snow and the conditions they have adapted to are many; altitude, cold, wind, free draining soil, poor soil and also a short growing season.
It is because of these conditions that they tend to be low growing and have leaves that have adapted to reduce moisture loss, so consequently the leaves are often small, rolled up, hairy or succulent. Some are evergreens which reduces the amount of growth they have to make each season.
Alpines are associated with rockeries, this is an attempt to recreate their natural environment but Wisley have them growing in the alpine houses , this is so they keep dry. They really dislike poorly drained soil and damp conditions.
RHS Wisley also has a wonderful educational value – the labelling is fantastic and seeing so many young children really enjoying themselves in the glasshouse was very hopeful – budding horticulturalists!
Do pay Wisley a visit – anytime of year there is so much to see – whatever your age!
Posted by editor on Monday, 5 October 2009
Last month The Garden House invited rose expert Simon White to give a talk on roses – and, having worked at the renowned Peter Beales Roses nursery for almost twenty-five years, Simon certainly knows a thing or two!
He’s a great character, amusing us all with anecdotes from the nursery, and scarey tales of setting up the beautiful – and mammoth! – Peter Beales stand at The Chelsea Flower show! Simon took us on a fascinating visual journey through the A-Z of roses, their history and types; how to propagate roses, how to plant to avoid disease, and how to prune climbers and ramblers.
He also had some good tips on how to grow roses in pots and containers. Most roses cope well with shade and are happy enough in pots– so great news for those of us with smaller shady gardens!
- Pots should be minimum 20” diameter, filled with John Innes no3 (NOT multi-purpose compost, as once dried out this never gets properly wet again). After planting cover the top surface with horticultural grit.
- If planting a larger shrub rose or climber/rambler, create a robust obelisk or tripod out of bamboo, willow or hazel (Simon told us that, amazingly, even ramblers can be happy in a large pot!)
- Water every day April to October, and feed with Tomorite fortnightly (or weekly at half-strength).
- Bare-root roses can be planted anytime from Nov-Jan. The soil-level should be above the root-stock union, and the rose should be pruned hard in Feb (3-5” from the ground!).
- Container-grown roses should be planted in June – if you buy your rose before June, simply plant in position WITH the plastic pot, then plant properly into the soil in June.
- As the plant grows tie stems loosely around the obelisk, spiralling the branches gently in both directions.
- Every year in Dec/Jan, scrape out any loose exposed soil and replace with fresh John Innes no3. In the third year, again in Dec/Jan, re-pot completely (not necessarily in a larger pot, the aim is simply to refresh the rose with new soil).
- Organic care: grow chives as companion planting, and spray with 50/50 skimmed milk and water once a fortnight to protect against mildew, and an occasional spray with diluted washing-up liquid to keep greenfly at bay.
Finally a great tip for planting a new rose into soil where roses have grown before – use a cardboard box! Dig a hole large enough for the box (a good sized box large enough to take the roots without cramping), position box in the hole, position plant in box, and fill with a mix of John Innes no3, some well-rotted manure and a small handful of bonemeal (and Simon recommends a sachet of Root Grow) – then water well!
A highly informative hands-on day – we all went home with boundless confidence, armed with some good advice and a long list of ‘must-have’ roses!