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Sunday May 09 , 2021

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

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Planning for Spring in Autumn

Posted by on in Garden Design

Tulip 'Ballade'

Yes, that’s right and there’s no better time than late autumn to plan for spring!  The garden centres, nurseries and in some cases even supermarkets have huge amounts of spring flowering bulbs for sale right now so it really is the perfect time to buy and plant them.   Just the sight of snowdrops or daffodils can make even us feel just a little excited that spring is on the way and the cold Winter months are being left far behind us.  Spring plants are also one of the earliest sources of nectar for our emerging bees and other pollinating insects that really need do need a food source.

Some people I have spoken to see bulbs on sale and buy a selection of those they know or have heard of and plant them up and there is nothing wrong with that at all.  However, if this is you why not try something different this year and here’s a few questions to ask yourself which could influence your decision:

  • What bulbs did you buy last year?  
  • Does your garden have a particular colour scheme throughout the year?
  • Are you aware of any planting gaps in the borders around spring?

Once you have the answers to these questions you’ll have more of an idea how to plan for early colour next year.   If you don’t have a colour scheme in your garden don’t worry just try to think of a pleasing colour scheme and use it to plan for spring, it will be fun!  

There are so many different varieties of tulips some are late spring and others early summer but you can find those that are a solid colour and others mixed.   Let’s take soft, muted pinks and purples as our colour scheme for this example Tulips, e.g. Tulipa ‘China Pink’, T. ‘Ballade’ (see main photo, above), T. ‘Greuze’ or T. ‘Queen of the Night’.  So, where do daffodils fit with these colours?  There are several varieties of daffodils that are white or cream with limited yellow in the centre so you could look out for those rather than the bright yellow ones that are likely to clash Narcissus actaea e.g. Narcissus ‘Actaea’ (photo, left) or N. ‘Cool Crystal’.  White is a colour that is often used sparingly in planting design for the eye to naturally rest and this provides a comfortable break or pause from colours.  Snowdrops will do this perfectly, there are so many different varieties why not try a different one this year?  You could try Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ or G. elwesii. There are a huge variety of bulbs or other small flowering plants in so many different colour schemes that can add interest in your spring garden such as Fritillaria meleagris, Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’, Eryanthis hyemalis, Muscari armeniacum, Primula vulgaris also crocus and various cylamen.

Once you have decided upon your bulbs check which months they flower to ensure that you have colour as early as possible and every month right through until your established garden plants begin to come into their own.  Don’t forget to plant up your containers too as they will give you more interest and you can move them around the garden. If you have squirrels in your area lay some chicken wire or similar over the containers for protection until they start to grow.

The next stage is to buy them and remember a tool to plant them with, if you have only bought a few you would get away with a hand held tool if you’ve bought a lot it would be worth investing in one with a long handle that you can use standing up.  Buying the right tools for the job makes the job much more pleasurable and less painful!!  

We’ve only really touched lightly on planning for spring, if you want to know what to do now for your garden in spring give us a call we’ll be happy to come out and give you some advice.

 

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Tatton Flower Show 2012

Posted by on in Garden Visits

tatton2012-mornflakeThe gods must have been smiling on us as we made our way to the Tatton Flower Show because the rain stayed away for the day and we were able to enjoy all that Tatton has to offer without resorting to waterproofs... and Tatton has much to offer.

We were in our element with 36 show gardens including 10 flower bed displays - all based on a sports theme this year as a nod to the greatest show on the planet being in London just now.  There were also the orchestra themed gardens, community gardens, the now famous back-to-back gardens and more.  So many, in fact, that we didn't know where to turn!  (But only for a minute because, as ever, it was the show gardens that got - and held for most of the day - our attention right from the outset.)

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Dunham Massey visit

Posted by on in Garden Visits

dunhammassey425-1We arrived at Dunham Massey on a very hot and sunny day, the website and literature said that it was the most visited National Trust property in the North West so we thought we were in for a treat. There are three main areas to visit: the Georgian house, the gardens and the 300 acre deer park, the house was yet to open so we decided to go and visit the gardens first.

People dressed in authentic costume greeted us and were walking through the grounds in character; it really did make you feel as though you had stumbled upon a piece of England that simply hadn’t been touched by the 21st Century.

The gardens were beautiful in many ways from a historical point of view and also from a horticultural stand too. We were given a map of the gardens which made sure we didn’t get lost and miss anything out which I thought was a really good idea and did help too! As we entered we came upon the croquet lawn which was surrounded by jolly and colourful perennials as if welcoming us to the main house garden. Luckily for us there was a brass band playing under a gazebo keeping the heat of the sun off them, there was stall selling soft drinks and champagne and everyone simply sat on the large lawn and soaked up the atmosphere. The staff who were dressed in costume walked around the lawn area with their parasols bidding us a good day, children played and band continued to fill the air.  All terribly civilised and lovely too!

Tagged in: deer National Trust
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RHS Wildflower Plants for Pollinators List Released

Posted by on in News & Views

pollinator4The RHS has recently released an additional plants for pollinators list - this time focusing on native wildflowers - many of which are also good for inclusion in our gardens.

The plight of our pollinators was highlighted in our recent Pledge for Pollinators article. We are passionate about trying to help our pollinators who are in serious trouble right now and whilst the reasons for their decline are varied and complex part of the problem can be attributed to the reduction in the abundance of wildflowers in the countryside.

The new list contains over 200 wildflower plants and the cultivated garden plants list that we linked to in our previous article has now also been extended to include over 400 plants.

Our gardens are becoming increasingly important in the fight to help our pollinators and we can make a real difference by including as many plants as possible in our planting schemes that are good sources of nectar and pollen.

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RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012 - a first-timer's view!

Posted by on in Garden Visits

hamptoncourt-10Had a lovely day at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show at the weekend.  It was my first time there and first impressions were good.  Thankfully they stayed good too.  If you've never been the site itself is impressive... (well, if it was good enough for Henry VIII...) and as you approach the flower show you are allowed glimpses of Hampton Court Palace and some of its gardens - it definitely looks worth a visit in its own right. 

The show ground feels immense - we were there all day and we still felt that we hadn't covered everything but by the time of our departure our senses were well and truly saturated.  Around every corner there was something to grab our attention and to say that we all regressed to 'kids in a candy store' mode it will probably give you an idea of our response!  Here are some of our favourite bits... (click on the thumbnail images for a larger view!)

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