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  1. Bridgerton Wisteria

    Many of us  have been gripped by Bridgerton, the fabulous Netflix series. One of the reasons it is so enchanting is the fantastic sets which include marvellous flowers. The house above features throughout the series and is clad with a lovely climbing purple plant. What is it? A wisteria, a late springand early summer flowering climbing plant which is spectacular as displayed in the program. What cannot be seen from watching Netflix is that Wisteria also carries a powerful sweet scent.

    Wisteria is easy to grow as it is a vigerous climbing plant, but needs some attention to get it to flower. Lots of advise about How to Grow Wisteria and vidoes on YouTube. If you just want to admire marvellous Wisteria take a look at it in full bloom. 

     

  2. Daffodil flowering in Jan

    This image was taken on 3rd January 2015, and it is genuine. The Daffodil was flowering in a sheltered border along side the Le Strange Arms Hotel,  Hunstanton in January.

    Does this mean nature is upside down? Our weather is much less predictable than it was and the seasons less defined. 

    For once it is not down to climate change, but the variety of daffodil. There are some very early flowering daffodils. I didn't plant this Daffodil, so I cannot be 100% certain, but I am fairly sure it is one of the early flowering varieties of Daffodil, the most common of which is  Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' which, in a sheltered spot, will flower from late December and January.

    This variety has the RHS garden merit award rhs_agm_logo-75x75 and is reliably hardy, although it is important to plant the bulbs deeply (at least 3x, preferably 4x the bulb depth) to keep it cool during the summer months.

    The fact this variety flowers so early is a reminder of the need when creating spring flowering displays with bulbs to check their flowering times.  Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'   is going to look good with early flowering crocus and dwarf Iris. Spring bulbs have a wide range of flowering times;  Tulips are spring-flowering but that is from March to May. Tips and advice on which bulbs to grow for a great display in the spring, information about growing Tulips and advice on the correct planting depths for bulbs.

    It's too late to plant spring bulbs for this year. If you would like to receive a monthly newsletter with gardening tips,  information and seasonal advice (which will remind you when to plant spring bulbs next year) please click here to subscribe.

     

  3. Agapanthus with winter mulch Agapanthus and scabious 310

    Not all varieties of Agapanthus are hardy, and withstanding winter can depend on where in the UK you garden. Parts of Hampshire and Southern counties are H3 which is acceptable to many Agapanthus, a lot of the North of England is H5+.

    If you garden in an area which is subject to low temperatures, frosts and snow you can either bring Agapanthus inside or if there is no room inside, apply a mulch. A good thick mulch can see the hardier varieties of Agapanthus through the winter even in colder parts of the UK.

    In the image above I left it a bit late to mulch, evidcenced by the snow. When is too late to mulch? This image is early January and if you have forgotton your Agapanthus, I would still mulch even in January and later because there is often more cold weather to come. We will not easily forget The Beast from the East. 

    To mulch, clear off as much snow and dead leaves as you can. Apply a thick mulch of 8cms, in the image I have used Strulch (of which I am a fan, its good stuff,) you can also use leaf mould, small bark chippings, organic garden material, straw or garden compost. Pack the mulch around the base of the plant but do not swamp the plant. You are tucking it in rather than covering it. The mulch can be removed in the spring, the good point about Strulch is it will rot down in situ and add to the organic matter in the soil. 

    If you are having problems getting your Agapanthus to flower, check out growing tips about Agapanthus and ensure they are growing in a sunny spot and fed regularly. 

     

     

  4.  Best Christmas Trees for Containers

    Rather than cut down a fresh tree each year, more and more of us are opting to grow a Christmas tree outside in a container or in the garden to decorate each year.

    To grow a tree in a container in the medium to long term the tree selected needs to be relatively slow growing and of a modest sized tree. The traditional varieties of Christmas tree are not suitable to being grown in a container or small garden; they all get too large.

    When buying a cut Christmas tree, typically the selection offered to us for sale will be the Norway spruce (Picea abies ) which is a fast growing tree ultimately reaching 55 meters. The Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana ) although slightly slower growing it will get to a very similar size over time, as will the Douglas fir.

    A Christmas tree to keep and grow on in a container really need something which looks like a Christmas tree, but is smaller and much slower growing so it will not get too large. 

    Whichever tree is selected, all container grown trees will need to be kept well-watered throughout the year. As always when growing any shrub or plant in a container, there is an increased risk of the roots drying out and regular watering is essential.  Plant into a large container with built in growing space but not so huge the new tree is lost. In terms of compost check the variety you choose with your retailer as some are best in ericaceous compost.

    Ideas for Containter Christmas Trees

    The Alberta spruce is a contender, although ultimately reaching 3m, picea gluca var. albertiana ‘Conica’ is very slow growing. It is an evergreen, conical in shape with a slight blue tinge to its foliage. It can be kept in a container and is best in ericaceous compost. You can prune it in the autumn to maintain the conical shape if there are wayward branches.

     Also suitable is the  Spanish fir abies pinsapo ‘Aurea’  which has the RHS award of garden merit. It is also an evergreen conifer growing up to around 1.5m with greyish blue colour. It can be container grown in neutral to slightly acidic compost and will tolerate partial shade.

     

    Blue Spruce

    Blue Spruce

     

    Picea pungens 'Blue Diamond Super Blue'  is a  really attractive, lovely Blue Spruce, which will slowly grow up to 2m. It has pronounced silvery blue foliage and again can be prune to keep to a “Christmas Tree “shape. In part, because of its lovely blue colour, it is becoming more popular as a Christmas selection.

    The last suggestion is Picea abies 'Rydal',  a Norway spruce with an  eventual height around 2.5m which means it may need to be transferred out into the garden in the later years.  However, it is slow growing and will remain suited to a container for many years. It has an upright conical habit which looks good decorated as a Christmas tree. It also has lovely red new growth in the spring, fading to green, showing that a Christmas tree is not just for Christmas, but a handsome tree in its own right.

     These are all good garden evergreens which will withstand growing in a container for a number of years and can easily stand in as a Christmas tree. Alternatively there are many dwarf varieties of conifer and pine which are even smaller still which may suit.