The Sunday Gardener's Blog

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  1. Many gardens have areas where we struggle to grow shrubs and plants because of difficult growing conditions. It may be because the area is exposed, or predominately shady, too wet or too dry. In this blog written for Thompson and Morgan,…/ I look at tough plants for tough places. There are lots of ideas for tough plants suitable for those tricky garden areas. A bonus is that all the plants and shrubs mentioned are easy to grow, so green fingers, not required.


    Tough plants for damp shade Hosta


    Tough plants for exposed areas grasses and Achillea
    Tough plants for conservatories Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ is ideal for poor soil and dry conditions


  2. potting on cucumber

    Gardeners and garden magazines often refer to the need to 're pot a plant' but how do you know when to do this?

    Re pot too soon and you risk a small plant loosing itself in an overly large pot, too late and the roots are a tangled mess and the plant is pot bound.

    The first thing is to look at the underneath of the pot, carefully holding the plant in place. Can you see roots and plenty of them?

    If so slide the plant out of the pot and look. Illustrated left is a cucumber plant and you can see that there are lots of roots, filling the space and most of the compost, but not jammed in. This plant has filled up its pot, it is ready for potting on, just at the right stage before it becomes too congested.

    Given that I want to make sure the cucumber has lots of growing space I potted it on today, into a pot around 10cms (in total) larger than the existing pot so it has about 5cms depth and on each side to grow into. This is a bit generous, but cucumber are vigorous and growing strongly at this time of year. It will expand nicely into the space and hopefully soon some juicy home grown cucumbers to enjoy.


  3. There is so much to enjoy in the garden in June when all is still fresh and beginning to bloom. What is in flower in June still depends in part on the prevailing weather in the different parts of the country. This year we enjoyed a very warm spring, which set everything in the garden growing at a gallop, which since been slowed down by the cooler, unsettled weather during late May and June. Still the garden is looking very lovely.




    Peony are looking good at this time of year and whilst the flowers are relatively short lived, they are very beautiful and blousy. By late in June we may think that Peony time is over but the different varieties of Peony will flower over quite a long period and there are some later flowering varieties, such as illustrated P.'Bowl of Beauty'. Different types of Peony will flower from May to June, so you can have successive flowering.
    allium with butterfly 310

    June is definitely Allium time, they make a great statement in the border with their tall large flowers, some like fluffy pom poms others architectural and spiky.

    There are so many to chose from and a good number are illustrated at How to Grow Alliums. There is a gallery of images to help you chose the right Allium for your garden together with planting and growing advice. That said, however, Allium are a fairly self sufficient type of plant not requiring a great deal of attention

    Clematis crystal fountain

    This is Clematis ' Crystal fountain' and I  love these patio style Clematis . 

    This is a compact variety, less rampant than many clematis and so easier to grow, maintain and prune.

    There is also a chance it will repeat flower, especially if a good good summer weather wise, if it is deadheaded during this first flowering. Fingers crossed but it is making a fabulous showing now.


    Rosa Rugosa starts to flower in June and will flower for at least a month or so. It is a tough rose, will still flower if neglected and is much loved by bees.

    It will produce lovely hips later on in the year and is tolerant of most conditions including salt leaded winds making it ideal for a sea side garden.

    yellow flag iris

    There are lots of different types of Iris, about 300 species in the genus with different types of flowers, and with beards, or not beards ; this is the semi wild variety the Yellow flag Irish latin name Iris pseudacorus. 

    It is a woodland plant which likes damp areas and streamsides. It flowers best in the sun but will tolerate dappled shade. It makes a lovely addition to a wild area, which is where I grow it or alongside a pond.


     Tall graceful stems with the delicate flowers of mauve and white illustrated is Thalictrum delavayi, a stunning plant which is just irresistable.

    Easy to grow it adds height and colour the borders, mixed well with cottage plants such as Delphinium and Achillea but also looks good with grasses as its seed heads are attractive and I always leave them on the plant for as long as possible . Growing Tips.


  4. Scented Sweet Blue Scented Clem

    Image Thorncroft

    A lovely new Clematis was launched at Chelsea by Thorncroft and the good news, it's scented.

    Clematis SUGAR SWEET™ BLUE 'Scented Clem' is early flowering in April and May. It has pretty violet blue flowers and said to have an almond scent, more pronounced early morning and evening.

    Given its flowering time, I am assuming it is a group 1 which means little or no pruning and so one of the easier Clematis to grow.

    If you want to try something new for next year take a look details on Thorncroft website.