Early Spring is a good time to start growing herbaceous plants from seed. It is quite incredible – and a little daunting - to see the number of options available in seed catalogues, especially when you are new to propagating.
Over the years we have tried and tested LOTS of different seeds and while many are excellent, others have been sadly disappointing. For example, we thought Knautia macedonica would be simple to grow because it self-seeds so freely in the nursery garden, but we found when we collected the seed for spring sowing the germination rate was rubbish! In light of our own findings we wanted to share some of our best seed-growing finds with you so that you can give them a go for yourselves.
Some of our fool-proof plants to grow from seed are Gillenia trifoliata (not the best germination rate but good enough to be worth having a go), Lysimachia ephemerum (tiny, dust like seed results in a substantial sturdy plant indistinguishable from a cutting grown o...
Now - deepest darkest February - is a great time to have a proper look at the garden and decide what areas require attention for the gardening year ahead. Most herbaceous plants have died back which means you have a blank canvas to properly assess your space.
Do you have an area that has been neglected and is now in need of attention? Perhaps you would like to create an explosion of perennial colour for mid-summer, a staggered season of interest from late Spring to late-Autumn, or maybe there are some shrubs which have outgrown their space?
At East Neuk Perennials, we think planning a border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening which is why we offer a full border design, supply and planting service.
If you’re keen to revamp an existing border, or create a new one which really packs a punch, we can help by doing everything from assessing the conditions of your plot, choosing a colour scheme, helping you understand size and structure of specific plants and choosing combinations...
Autumn is a great time to divide herbaceous perennials – not only does this keep them looking their best by retaining their health and vigor, it also gives you lots of new plants to use around the garden and to give away to fellow gardening friends.
When it comes to dividing, it’s important to know which plants should be done now and which should be left until the Spring. Generally, the majority of plants can be divided now and over the next six weeks or so – that includes likes of Salvia, Geranium, Astilbe and Sedum. The only exception is tender late-flowering perennials, such as Heleniums and Echinacea, as well as ornamental grasses – it is best to leave these till next year to give them the best chance of surviving the Winter.
Below we’ve included our step-by-step guide to get you started with dividing. Follow this and your plants will be looking good in no time!
1. Don’t divide a plant too soon. Plants generally require 2-3 years of healthy growth before they are...
The weather has been far from fair but we are hopefully through the worst of it - bring on Spring! There's plenty of gardening to be getting on with over the coming week or so, and with the clocks changing this weekend we are looking forward to brighter days and longer evenings. Here are our top tips to keep you on track.
Splitting snowdrops and winter aconites
The best time to divide snowdrops is while they are still green – they are easy to see, but they also don’t grow particularly well from dry bulbs so it is an ideal time to tackle this job now. The same applies to winter aconites. Lift overgrown or congested clumps and plant them in areas of the garden that look a little empty and will benefit from a splash of colour early next year.
If you’ve not done this already, now is the time to start. We chit potatoes to start them into growth before planting. Lay tubers in a tray or empty eggbox in a light windowsill until the shoots begin to sprout. Once yo...
In a recent post we talked about things to do in the garden to help wildlife through the winter months. In response, we received an email from Sainsbury’s bank - money matters about how to build your own bottle bird feeder. We thought you'd like to see it - it could be a great activity to do with the kids during the holidays! We'd love to see your pictures if you decide to craft one. Please share them via the East Neuk Perennials facebook page.
This month is the perfect time to get your secateurs and loppers out for some much-needed pruning. Any overgrown or misshapen deciduous trees and shrubs can be pruned to improve their shape and structure. Winter flowering shrubs such as Hamamelis (witch hazel) don’t need regular pruning, but once the flowers are over you can remove any crossing stems of those spoiling the shape of the plant. Late-flowering shrubs such as Buddleja davidii and Ceanothus Burkwoodii, hardy fuchsias and Lavatera can be pruned as they flower best on growth made from spring onwards.
You can also spend time now finishing winter pruning your fruit trees before they start coming into growth.
Wisteria can be cut back too to ensure it comes into full bloom in summer. For Wisteria, pruning should be carried out in July/August by cutting back all whippy growth to five or six buds. You can also train some of the longer leading shoots to form the framework. Now, in February, the previously pruned shoots sh...
We think that planning a herbaceous border is one of the most exciting aspects of gardening which is why we offer a full border design, supply and planting
Whether you want to create an explosion of colour over high summer, or a more staggered season of interest from late spring to late autumn it’s a great way to get creative and find out about new plants.
If you’re keen to design a border which really packs a punch, here’s our top pieces of advice to get you started.
Decide on your plot & assess the conditions
Choose a colour scheme
Size and structure
Don’t forget foliage
Decide on your plot
A herbaceous border is a collection of perennials that are closely grouped to create a dramatic, colourful and structural show. Pick a space in your garden where they’ll be on full show and where they can truly shine – both to you as you walk through the garden, and to visitors. Traditionally, herbaceous beds are planted out fro...
It’s incredibly rewarding to grow plants directly from seed. All that’s required is a little knowledge about seed germination and care, and quite a lot of patience. Some plants, such as agapanthus, can take years to reach their first flower, but believe us - it is well worth the wait!
Certain seeds have special requirements for germination and many perennial seeds require a period of moist cold conditions (stratification) before they start to develop. They get this naturally in the wild by lying on the ground and being subject to frost. However, without this period of cold and wet, certain seeds won't germinate at all.
The next two months are the perfect time for stratification if you’re looking to grow from seed. Those that benefit from cold stratification include Aconitum, Actaea, Anenome, Cornus, Cyclamen, Mecanopsis and Primula, amongst others.
All you need to do is sow the seed into some good quality seed compost, water, and place outside in an open cold frame. Alternativel...
Greenhouses can be a gardener’s best friend, but they can also be our worst enemy if they’re allowed to become a breeding spot for pests and diseases. Cleaning out your greenhouse now will not only let more sunlight in to help your plants survive through the cold winter months, it will also prevent the spread of nasty moulds and viruses, and will diminish the chances of pests overwintering on your plants.
A mild autumn day is the ideal time to give your greenhouse a thorough clean – both inside and out – to ensure you’re ready for the growing season come spring. Follow our step by step guide to get the best results:
Remove all plants, seedlings and other materials from the greenhouse and retain in a sheltered area in the garden, or in a shed or garage. Tender plants won’t appreciate being put outside in severe frosts or in the driving rain!
Ensure any electricity supplies into the greenhouse are turned off and all electrical equipment such as heaters and radios are unplu...
With temperatures getting lower, garden birds that have benefited from a mild start to the autumn may begin to struggle as the weather changes. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) recommends three key things that us gardeners can do at this time of year to ensure our birds and wildlife continue to thrive over the chilly months ahead:
1. Birds will appreciate a variety of food, and fatty food will be especially helpful. For example, fat balls, or homemade bird cakes made with lard and packed with seeds, fruit or dried mealworms are great treats for a bird feeder or table. Kitchen scraps will work well, such as chopped fat from unsalted meat, cheese, dried fruit, and pastry
2. Unfrozen water for drinking and bathing may be hard for birds to find when there’s been a frost, but with a simple trick you can help to keep a patch of water ice-free. Try floating a small ball, such as a ping-pong ball, on the surface of the water. Even the lightest bree...