The Sunday Gardener's Blog

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  1. Tulip and Skimmia


    This is a lovely spring combination, pink and yellow tulips planted alongside a Skimma which makes a long flowering display, with the added benefit of being easy to grow.

    To create this display you will need a large container filled with compost. The stunning pink Tulip is Tulip 'Angelique'  and the Skimmia is japonica 'Rubella'  both of which are available from on line garden retailers. The Skimmia has red buds early in the season  in the winter, ideal for a festive display, which  later open to pale white flowers in spring  to coincide with the flowering of the Tulips. 

     The Tulips need planting in November/early December at the latest. They should be planted lower down in the container at least 3x the depth of the bulbs. It is best to buy a small Skimmia so it is in proportion to the Tulips. 

    As the Skimmia starts off with red berries, you can plant it in a festive style and add red and white cyclamen, or the lovely  Hellebore Christmas Carol for the Christmas season, and then  let the Tulips come through for the spring. 

    After the spring bedding display is over you can plant the Skimmia in the garden to continue enjoying it for many years. It is a slow growing shrub, reaching  around 1.5m over 10-20 years. Skimmia is tolerant of partial shade although it will flower best, and is most suited to a spot which is not too exposed.  It is not fussy  and will grow in almost any soil, except that which is waterlogged. As an evergreen shrub it makes a good addition in the garden border, the flowers are fragrant and it is hardy down to -5. 


  2. A little Book of Garden Wisdom
    Calling all gardeners out there  here is a free book!
    " A little Bit of Garden Wisdom"
    I find by this time of year I am doing more reading about gardening, than actual gardening, especially on cold and wet days.
    This is a little free book, as it says, of Garden Wisdom from Thompson and Morgan and you can read it on screen, or download it. It is small but packed full of ideas and tips (including one from the Sunday Gardener,) from 60 garden bloggers with their best garden advice.


  3. The brightly coloured spring flowers of Erysimum cheiri Cheiranthus also kno subtle shades of Erysimum

     One of the things I like about gardening is looking forward to the next season, the next year. As we slide into autumn, it is the time when plants and spring bulbs are being chosen for next year's display. Wall flowers, latin name Erysimum really pack a punch and have to be one of the sweetest scented flowers in the garden, up there with Lilies and Roses. Wall flowers are easy to grow, requiring a sunny spot and well drained soil. Wall flowers are spring-flowering and look great with the spring flowering bulbs. It is easy to imagine the bright red Wallflower illustrated left, which is E. cheiri Cheiranthus with some bold Orange Tulips and left the subtle shades with blues of Hyacinth or pale pink Tulips.

    September is an ideal time to plant Wallflowers which can be bought as smaller plants for growing on over the Autumn to spring and so more cheaply than the fully grown plants next spring. Be sure to check which variety to buy; the biennial types have scent, the perennial variety which is usually Bowles's Mauve does not. More tips on growing Wallflowers. 


  4. Leafy wisteria before summer pruning Trimmed down wisteria after summer prune

    July and early August are the best times to give the Wisteria it's summer prune. Over the summer months the Wisteria has put on a lot of vigorous growth and it needs a good prune . This prune needs to take off long wippy growth, and where the Wisteria has outgrown its allotted space. In the image it is impinging on the windows and needs cutting back.

    The other reason for pruning Wisteria in the summer is to ensure it keeps flowering. The pruning regime, Winter and Summer is an intrinsic part of the routine to ensure it flowers well.

    These quick before and after images show just how much Wisteria can be happily cut back. Advise on growing and pruning Wisteria, video advise on how to make Wisteria flower including the summer prune, and a reminder how lovely the Wisteria looked earlier in the year.