Plant peonies for a garden full of colour

Nurseryman Alec White of Befordshire’s Primrose Hall Nursery urges us to fill our gardens with peonies, that most lushly petalled beauty.

Peonies are possible the most indulgent of all flowers. Impervious to the harshest of winters they emerge soring after spring and light up the garden with masses of beautifully decadent blooms. Then, before we’ve really had time to appreciate them, they’re gone – petals scattered on the spring breeze leaving nothing but their perfume in the air … read more

Why every garden deserves at least one beautiful peony

Peonies offer a decadent and luxurious display that is well worth waiting for. Alec White, nurseryman and peony grower, shares his top planting tips and talks about why these beautiful flowers are a garden highlight. Every English garden deserves at least one beautiful peony to grace its borders… read more

 

http://www.housebeautiful.co.uk/garden/plants/a1462/peonies-garden-flowering-plants/

Garden Jobs for October

The Beginning of the New Gardening YearEchinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit', Large 3lt (17cm) Pot

The beginning of the gardening year? Yes – because it’s the ideal time to plant many types of colourful perennials and shrubs to enjoy next year. Hardy plants planted now will settle in over the winter and will start growing much sooner and faster in spring.

What to do if you haven’t much time

  • Apply a fine mulch (not bark) to soils to feed them and improve their structure. A 2-3” (5-8cm) layer added now and lightly forked into the top couple of inches will start to be incorporated into the soil by the worms. Around plants that you find have roots close to the surface, like hostas and some shrubs, just lay the mulch on top and don’t fork it.


Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Plant container-grown climbers and shrubs
  • Move evergreen shrubs
  • Prune climbing roses to reduce damage from the strong winter winds.
  • Prepare ground for planting bare-root trees and shrubs
  • Trim conifers again if necessary
  • Plant hedges of evergreen and deciduous plants
  • Prune climbing roses
  • Take hardwood cuttings

 

Perennials

  • Cut back perennials
  • Plant new herbaceous perennials
  • Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials, adding planting compost or mulch
  • Finish planting all spring-flowering bulbs and lilies now
  • Lift dahlias, gladioli, cannas and other tender tubers and bulbs – before the frosts. Allow to dry out a little in a well ventilated, dry shed or garage and then store in a cool but frost free place that’s also well ventilated.

 

Containers

  • Continue planting containers with spring-bedding plants and bulbs
  • Don’t forget to buy perennials and shrubs for winter colour

 

Lawn

  • Rake out thatch, aerate and top-dress lawns
  • Make new lawns – with seed early in the month, or with turf all month

 

Vegetables and herbs

  • Dig in green manure crops
  • Finish lifting main crop potatoes
  • Continue lifting carrots and beetroot
  • Plant out spring cabbages, autumn onion sets and garlic
  • As soon as crops have been harvested, start winter digging of heavy clay soils, adding lots of well rotted organic matter such as mushroom compost or farmyard manure. The frosts will help to break down the clods of clay for you. Do NOT dig sandy soils at the moment as that will increase the rate at which nutrients are washed out of the soil over winter.

 

Fruit

  • Finish picking main crop apples
  • Clean up strawberry beds
  • Spray peaches and nectarines against peach leaf curl
  • Prune blackcurrants, blackberries and hybrid berries

 

Under cover

  • Buy bubble polythene
  • Sow sweet peas for next spring
  • Grow radishes, mustard, and cress for winter salad

Garden Jobs for September

SEPTEMBER IN THE GARDENAster_Monch_in_border_Oct_07_LMWHelenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'

This should be the time of mellow fruitfulness, so it’s time to enjoy the garden and fill in those gaps left by other plants that have gone over.  If you use perennial plants you won’t have the same gaps again next year, which will save money and effort in the long run.

What to do if you haven’t much time

  • Plant perennials for autumn colour and for next year. Try asters (there are now new, compact forms that don’t get mildew), rudbeckias and Japanese anemones
  • Deadhead perennials, bedding and basket plants
  • Mow lawns as required

 

 

Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Move evergreen shrubs
  • Plant container-grown shrubs and trees – they’ll have time to start getting established before the winter, ready to grow fast in spring. Use Rootgrow when you plant to speed up this process and so improve their chances of surviving if we have another harsh winter
  • Start pruning climbing roses

Perennials

  • Keep collecting seeds
  • Cut down and divide perennials, adding soil conditioner as you do so
  • Support tall-growing clumps of perennials such as asters

 

Bulbs

  • Plant spring flowering bulbs, including bulbs to naturalise in grass

 

Annuals and bedding

  • Sow hardy annuals
  • Lift tender annuals before autumn, for overwintering in a greenhouse or cool porch
  • Plant out spring-flowering biennials and bedding perennials such as sweet williams, wallflowers and foxgloves

 

Containers

  • Plant autumn containers – if done now, they’ll get going before the cold weather and look better all through the winter. Don’t forget to use a little controlled release feed like Osmocote.
  • Stop feeding permanent plants growing in containers. If you used controlled release fertiliser in the compost, it will slow down or stop releasing nutrients as the weather gets cooler.

Lawn

  • Start mowing less frequently
  • Remove thatch from the lawn and aerate the soil if it’s compacted and drains poorly
  • Top-dress immediately after aerating
  • Treat broad-leaved weeds with a lawn weed killer
  • Established lawns can be fed now, with an autumn feed
  • Sow grass seed or lay new turf

 

Vegetables and herbs

  • Cut down asparagus foliage
  • Pick marrows, pumpkins and squashes
  • Begin lifting root vegetables
  • Get onions under cover to dry out and store
  • Sow a winter variety of lettuce
  • Plant out winter cabbages and autumn onion sets
  • Continue harvesting fruit; protect your crop from birds with netting
  • Prune blackcurrants

 

Under cover

  • Remove shading
  • Start preparing your greenhouse or polytunnel for winter – clean up all debris, disinfecting with Jeyes fluid or similar to cut down on overwintering of disease spores
  • Reduce watering and ventilation. Change to watering in the morning if possible, so plants don’t got to bed wet
  • Bring in tender plants
  • Sow the last spring cabbages

Garden Jobs for August

What to do if you haven’t much time

  • Deadhead perennials, bedding and basket plants and roses to encourage more flowers. Apply high potash fertiliser (e.g. tomato food) to enable the growth of lots more flowers.

 

  • Mow regularly if the grass is growing. If the soil is very dry, raise the blades to leave the grass longer, which helps it to stay alive in a drought. Trim the egdes of the lawn – it makes such a difference!

 

Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Continue to deadhead roses
  • Trim lavender lightly to remove dying flowers
  • Give a final trim to your hedges
  • Prune rambling roses
  • Propagate clematis by layering
  • Complete the summer pruning of wisteria
  • Continue to take semi-ripe cuttings
  • Layer rhododendrons and azaleas

 

Perennials

  • Cut back perennials that have collapsed
  • Start dividing perennials (if you’re around to water them well in the coming weeks)
  • Take cuttings of alpines, penstemons and other slightly tender plants for overwintering under protection
  • Plant daffodils, narcissi, colchicums and madonna lilies
  • Pot prepared hyacinths and other bulbs for flowers at Christmas
  • Divide congested clumps of snowdrops (if you know where they are!); take care to minimise damage to their roots if they have started developing already
  • Continue collecting ripening seeds
  • Mulch soil around cut down perennials to tidy, improve the soil and suppress annual weeds
  • Continue to propagate carnations and pinks
  • If peony leaves are looking starved, give them a little liquid feed to keep them going

 

Annuals and bedding

  • Continue to deadhead and feed annuals (tomato food)
  • Take cutting from pelargoniums, fuchsias and other tender perennials
  • Collect seeds from hardy annuals

 

Containers

  • Continue watering and feeding plants in containers

Lawns

  • Mow the lawn regularly
  • Apply a fertilizer with high potash content
  • Don’t water unless absolutely necessary
  • Prepare for sowing seed or laying turf next month

Vegetables and herbs

  • Sow green manure crops
  • Harvest onions
  • Harvest beans and freeze them
  • Sow Japanese onions, salad crops, spring cabbages, parsley
  • Continue earthing up celery
  • “Stop” outdoor tomatoes by pinching out the growing tips
  • Pot up other herbs such as chives
  • Take semi-ripe cuttings from shrubby herbs

Fruit

  • Harvest early apples and pears
  • Continue pruning summer-fruiting raspberries – chop already fruited canes down to the ground
  • Summer-prune trained fruit trees
  • Plant new strawberry plants

Under cover

  • Check greenhouse heaters
  • Damp down regularly in the morning (NOT in the evening)

Garden Jobs for July

July

What to do if you haven’t much time

  • Keep mowing – not too short, as longer grass survives heat better (if we get some)
  • Trim the edges of the lawn for a quick tidy up, even if you don’t have time to mow. Trust us – it works!
  • Deadhead roses, alstroemerias, pinks, day lilies, petunias (not needed on Million Bells), annual geraniums (pelargoniums).
  • Feed, feed, feed pots and baskets with high potash food like tomato food.

Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Watch out for black spot, rust and mildew on roses in particular
  • Cut lavender for drying
  • Prune early summer-flowering shrubs
  • Remove any unwanted growth from the bases or trunks of trees and shrubs
  • Take semi-ripe cuttings
  • Pot up or plant out softwood cuttings
  • Trim conifer hedges
  • Try air layering climbing plants
  • Prune wisteria

Perennials

  • Divide irises
  • Disbud dahlias
  • Continue to cut back faded flowers
  • Harvest seeds from perennials
  • Layer pinks and carnations
  • Plant autumn-flowering bulbs

Fruit & Veg

  • Keep harvesting vegetables as soon as they are ready
  • Harvest early potatoes, shallots, onions, globe artichokes, garlic planted last year
  • Sow peas, vegetables for  autumn harvesting, spring cabbages
  • Sow autumn and winter salads
  • Finish planting out winter brassicas
  • Stop outdoor cordon tomatoes
  • Endives can be blanched
  • Watch out for tomato problems
  • Begin to earth up celery
  • Lookout for potato and tomato blight
  • Stop climbing beans when they reach the top of their supports
  • Pick and dry herbs
  • Take cutting from herbs
  • Harvest summer-fruiting raspberries, blackcurrants, red and whitecurrants
  • Summer-prune red and white currants
  • Prune summer-fruiting raspberries
  • Continue training new canes of blackberries and other hybrid berries
  • Continue training fan-trained fruits
  • At the end of the month begin summer- pruning trained apples and pears
  • Thin out fruit on apples and pears
  • Support heavily laden fruit trees branches

Lawns

  • Mow and trim edges once or twice a week
  • Don’t water unless absolutely necessary
  • Give the lawn a boost with a liquid fertilizer

Containers and bedding

  • Maintain annuals and tender perennials
  • Finish planting out summer bedding plants in baskets
  • Transplant biennial seedlings
  • Cut and dry everlasting flowers
  • Disbud tuberous begonias
  • Water and feed containers regularly

 

Under cover

  • Keep the greenhouse well ventilated
  • Start taking fuchsias cuttings
  • start removing foliage from tomatoes
  • watch out for tomato disorders

Garden Jobs for June

What to do if you haven’t much time

  • Apply and renew mulches
  • Water plants thoroughly through hot spells
  • Hoe or hand-pull annual weeds
  • Fill any gaps in borders with bedding or perennial plants
  • Deadhead plants

Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Watch out for greenfly and leaf-rolling on roses
  • Prune mature deciduous shrubs that finish flowering
  • Continue taking softwood cutting
  • Keep on top of training climbing and rambling roses
  • Propagate climbers by layering

Perennials

  • Remove old leaves and flower stems of hellebores
  • Cut back oriental poppies – they’ll look terrible right now but new leaves will grow in a month or two. They’ll flower again next year.
  • Deadhead Euphorbia robbiae and E. characias
  • Continue to stake tall-growing perennials
  • Deadhead lupins and delphiniums
  • Take cutting from pinks
  • Cut down the foliage of bulbs that have been naturalised in grass
  • Plant out cannas
  • Lift and divide bulbs that have finished flowering
  • Plant anemones to flower in autumn

Fruit & Veg

  • Continue to harvest all crops as they mature
  • Water and feed plants regularly
  • Plant celery in trenches prepared during winter or spring
  • Plant out celeriac raised earlier
  • Plant out runner beans
  • Sow radicchio (red chicory), Chinese cabbage, peas, salad vegetables, turnips
  • Plant out sweetcorn, tomatoes, marrows, courgettes  pumpkins and  ridge cucumbers
  • Plant out all winter brassicas
  • Plant herbs in containers
  • Remove cloches from strawberries
  • Control grey mould on strawberries
  • Put up pheromone traps
  • Continue pruning and pinching out shoots on wall-trained fruit
  • Gooseberries can also be thinned for larger fruits
  • Don’t thin apples and pears
  • Continue tying in new canes of blackberries and hybrid berries

Lawns

  • Mow lawn regularly
  • Don’t forget edging
  • Feed lawn with liquid fertilisers

 

Containers and bedding

  • Plant out summer bedding plants
  • Sow polyanthus and winter pansies
  • Plant up a hanging basket
  • Water and feed all plants regularly
  • Plant up half-hardy annuals and tender perennials in containers outdoors

Under cover

  • Damp down regularly
  • Water and feed all plants regularly
  • Shade the greenhouse
  • Pot on all young plants and seedlings that are ready